God, no doubt, moves in mysterious ways. But McCain needs to be reminded that the boy whose forefathers settled the country he professes to love has not been in the good graces of government for quite some time. The Latina daughter of illegal migrants is another matter entirely. She’s benefiting big time—at least at a top government school like the University of California, Los Angeles:
In August this year, Groseclose resigned from the admissions committee after the university refused to release the data he requested in an attempt to prove UCLA was flouting the will of Californians.
California’s Prop. 209 was supposed to ensure that race would no longer be a deciding factor in who gets into top government schools. When voters passed the Proposition, the California state government was supposed to ban any race or gender considerations in its hiring, contracting or educational policies.
But the decades-old race racket just went underground. Undaunted, university administrators proceeded to fashion an admissions process that utilized “stealthy surrogates for race.” As Heather Mac Donald has documented in rich detail, “Tutors in the university’s outreach programs [teach] students to emphasize their social and economic disadvantages in their application essay.” [Elites to Anti-Affirmative-Action Voters: Drop Dead, City Journal, Winter 2007] Minority applicants have become adept at belaboring the pigment burden in the essay section of the admissions process. Evidently, administrators are equally good at picking up cues that help them color-pick candidates.
The Orange County Register’s Marla Jo Fisher, who broke the story, provided the backdrop to Groseclose’s resignation and the blistering report he issued:
“For several decades,” Mac Donald chronicled, “the university had divided its applicants into two categories: it admitted one half only by objective tests of academic merit, such as standardized test scores and honors classes; it evaluated the other half subjectively, weighing such factors as race, economic status, or leadership. From this tier, where racial preferences had free rein, the vast majority of blacks and Hispanics were drawn.” Consequently, “[t]he median SAT score of blacks and Hispanics in Berkeley’s liberal arts programs was 250 points lower (on a 1,600-point scale) than that of whites and Asians.”
Due to the high drop-out rate of affirmative-action admits—and to prevent further attrition—UCLA had created a bunch of BS majors. Examples are Critical Race Theory and Black Studies.
This racial spoils system is a testament to the tenacity of diversity devotees. Preachers and practitioners of “benevolent” discrimination have institutionalized this collectivist quota culture in the teeth of popular opposition and legal injunctions against such practices.
Fortunately, affirmative action has offended the sensibilities of one black American: Ward Connerly, president of the American Civil Rights Institute. The libertarian Connerly is the force behind the drive to rid America of the invidious “race preferences, set-asides, and quotas,” and the man who has placed the issue on the ballot in states such as Nebraska, Arizona, and Colorado. Connerly’s aim is to restore the primacy of individual merit to American institutions.
Or, as he told an unsympathetic correspondent for the PBS program NOW: “to do what’s best for the country.”
After Prop. 209 passed, the number of “underrepresented minorities” accepted at UCLA dropped by half. As is their wont, energetic ethnic advocates framed this retreat from equal bean-counting as a grave injustice. While the California courts, surprisingly, upheld Prop. 209, California’s byzantine college bureaucracy, and the UCLA scheming machine, worked overtime to thwart the popular will.
To increase the Lilliputian number of minorities, admission standards were thus lowered for all students. For example, the importance of LSAT scores was diminished in the admission to UC Berkeley’s Boalt Law School. Similarly, students graduating with top marks from failing schools that award As for showing up were deemed as eligible—if not more so—than students graduating with honors from highly competitive secondary schools. In an attempt to net yet more minorities, “all students in the top 4 percent of their high school class, regardless of their standardized test scores,” in Mac Donald’s words, were accepted.
But UC Berkeley was not quick enough to adopt bush-college standards. The measures taken by California university campuses failed to yield the critical mass of minorities ethnic lobbies were clamoring for. So, Mac Donald reported, the university began ignoring all together “its applicants’ objective academic rankings”, and considering a “holistic” method of assessment. Academic scores are currently “contextualized”. To wit, an applicant with a lower SAT score who mentions having taken a bullet or quit a gang will be given preference over a high-scoring applicant burdened by a two-parent family.
Surprisingly, Groseclose, a scholar who has produced rigorous research on bias in the media, is said to favor the bias he uncovered at UCLA. Or, as he put it, “the idea of offering preferences to bring in more black students.” He just disapproves of the secretive nature of the selection process.
However, if a system that pays tribute to a type, not to the individual, doesn’t irk the good professor, one wonders why he went to all the trouble.
The accommodation of elite
s to racial preferences has been studied by Frederick R. Lynch, the author of Invisible Victims: White Males and the Crisis of Affirmative Action. When polled, corporate, political and academic elites mostly foreswear quotas/affirmative action. But they seldom resist its implementation.
Republicans, the consummate drag queens of politics (no offense to drag queens), are no different.
And in 2003, the Bush administration filed a brief challenging racial preference in student admissions at the University of Michigan. The university was awarding candidates 20 points out of 150 for having the right complexion (non-white) and only 12 points for the right mind (a perfect SAT score).
Bush’s was a most unusual brief because, as it transpired, the administration’s challenge was a cover for the very system Professor Groseclose has exposed at UCLA. Race, the administration’s Solicitor General conceded, could be a factor in admissions under certain conditions. Racial cue cards in the form of “a statement people can make about whether they’ve overcome hardship” were quite kosher.
Barack Obama’s honest support for affirmative action may be more irritating. But is there really a dime’s worth of difference between the parties?
©2008 By ILANA MERCER