Friday, April 4, 2003

Affirmative action


A clear case of quotas

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General Mills, United Airlines, Nationwide Insurance, Texaco and Procter & Gamble are names that sound as American as Coca-Cola.

So why are these big corporations filing legal briefs to publicly support un-American racial discrimination at the University of Michigan? I'm talking about "affirmative action,'' that Orwellian pseudonym for quotas.

Federal Judge Danny Boggs, dissenting in the case that was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, wrote that the euphemism first entered our "national vocabulary'' in 1961, when President Kennedy ordered government contractors to "take affirmative action'' to treat employees "without regard to their race, creed, color or national origin.''

"It is thus clear that whatever else Michigan's policy may be, it is not 'affirmative action,' " Boggs wrote for the 6th Circuit Court in Cincinnati a year ago.

Here's why: The UM policy gives 20 extra points for admissions to minorities. A perfect SAT score is worth half as much.

Minorities with high C averages are treated the same as white students with straight A's. "The figures indicate that race is worth over one full grade point of college average,'' Boggs wrote. A white or Asian with a GPA of 3.25-3.49 has about a 22 percent chance of getting into the Michigan Law School. A minority with the same grades has a 100 percent chance, Boggs wrote.

Poison fruit

If blacks or Hispanics were on the wrong end of the same quotas, would we call it "diversity" or "discrimination"?

The answer is obvious. "This case involves a straightforward instance of racial discrimination by a state institution," Boggs wrote. "The constitutional justifications offered for this practice would not pass even the slightest scrutiny."

Not in a country that was founded on the principles that all are entitled to equal protection under the law, and merit is supposed to matter more than race or birth.

Affirmative action may have roots in noble intentions, but it has grown into a twisted tree that bears poison fruit.

It casts suspicion on successful minorities, erodes standards and spreads toxic bitterness.

So why are white CEOs so eager to get on the bus? Many believe it's the right thing to do. But some are simply scared of boycotts if they don't "get it" and support an entitlement for discrimination.

The fear factor

Roger Clegg of the Center for Equal Opportunity says that for CEOs, "supporting the University of Michigan ... is like paying protection money to the mob."

Besides, white CEOs have little to lose. They can afford to be generous with other people's jobs. They are already at the top of the food chain.

The University of Michigan policy never would have made it past the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati if liberal judges had not bent the rules to rig the review panel for a favorable decision.

It figures. Affirmative action has become an industry of dishonesty - the Enron of bankrupt ideas.

E-mail pbronson@enquirer.com or call 768-8301.




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