A Color-Blind Society Gets Overruled

Arnold Ahlert is a former NY Post op-ed columnist currently contributing to JewishWorldReview.com, HumanEvents.com and CanadaFreePress.com. He may be reached at atahlert@comcast.net.


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Why is that quote telling? Because the conclusions regarding affirmative action reached by Judges Cole and Daughtrey would make it permanent. There will never be a time when the elimination of preferential treatment will not disproportionally affect those who have benefited from that treatment, relative to those who have not. Thus, if one accepts the judges’ contention that such disproportion is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, affirmative action can never be eliminated.

Proponents of Friday’s ruling cited the fact that since the implementation of MCRI, underrepresented minorities fell each year, from 12.6 percent of freshmen admitted to UM in 2006, to 9.1 percent in 2009. Yet last fall, there was an increase to 10.6 percent. Judges Cole and Daughtrey were undeterred. “Proposal 2 reorders the political process in Michigan to place special burdens on minority interests,” they wrote.

The plaintiffs’ lead attorney, George Washington, was ecstatic. “It’s a great victory. It means affirmative action is legal again in college admissions. It means that thousands of talented black, Latino and Native Americans can go to our public universities,” he said. No, it doesn’t. What it means is that thousands of students will once again be held to a different (i.e. lower) standard than other students in the college admissions process, based on nothing more than ethnic considerations.

This is affirmative action’s fatal flaw. First instituted in 1961 as a program aimed at increasing equality of opportunity, affirmative action has devolved into a program attempting to engineer equality of results. The pernicious nature of this devolution was emphatically revealed in 2009 in New Haven, Connecticut, where city officials attempted to invalidate the results of a 2003 firefighter promotional exam passed by Hispanics and Caucasians, because no African Americans were among the qualifiers. The city contended it invalidated the test out of fear of a potential racial discrimination lawsuit. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the failure to achieve a pre-determined outcome regarding diversity was no grounds for tossing out the test scores.

It should be noted that Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, an Obama nominee, sided with the city at the federal appeals level prior the the ruling by SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the US). Her argument at the time sounded much like that of Judges Cole and Daughtry. “We’re not suggesting that unqualified people be hired,” Judge Sotomayor told the firefighters’ lawyer Karen Lee Torre. “[I]f your test is going to always put a certain group at the bottom of the pass rate so they’re never, ever going to be promoted, and there is a fair test that could be devised that measures knowledge in a more substantive way, then why shouldn’t the city have an opportunity to try to look and see if it can develop that?”

Note that for Sonia Sotomayor and doubtless those who think like her, the fault is with the test, as opposed to the people who take it; those who fail, despite various levels of individual effort, can be lumped into a group; and the ethnic composition of that group constitutes de facto discrimination if they fail to pass the test.

Lawyers who achieved victory in Michigan have announced their intentions to file a lawsuit in California in an effort to overturn Proposition 209, a referendum approved by 54 percent of the voters in 1996. It also eliminated considerations of race, ethnicity or gender from being used as determining factors by public institutions. Prop 209 was also held up initially, when U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson made a ruling virtually identical to that of Judges Cole and Daughtrey: He decided that eliminating affirmative action would disproportionately affect those who benefitted from it. Henderson was overturned by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the law remains in effect.

Critics of this latest ruling expect it will also be overturned. “It’s saying the people have no right to insist that everyone be treated equality. It places the ultimate decision in the hands of the university–that they are supreme ones,” said Ward Connerly, an equal rights proponent instrumental in the implementation of both MCRI and Prop 209. “It’s a terrible, terrible decision that will not stand,” he told The Detroit News.

Here’s hoping Connerly is right. If not, we are headed towards a society where any “disparate impact” affecting any sub-group of Americans can be construed as a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. Such a reality would substantially increase the power of government to pick “winners” and “losers” based on nothing more than a pre-determined idea of what a particular outcome should be. The perniciousness of such a concept was recently revealed in this amusing videotape, where students who supported affirmative action were asked to sign a petition demanding that a school’s basketball team, dominated by black athletes, be forced to accept a certain number of white and Asian players on the team in order to achieve diversity.

Be sure to watch it — and note what happens when inexorable logic meets preconceived notions of good intentions head on.

Arnold Ahlert is a contributing columnist to the conservative website JewishWorldReview.com.

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  • waterwillows

    It is positively a criminal thing when stupid is allowed to win and rule.

    Much of this affirmative action is a promotion of stupidity. Look at the overall results. Do you see a road that will lead to anything but the elevation of mediocre?
    It is only 'ability' to do the job, study the subject or take the lead, that should be the major deciding factor.
    Just because someone is another color is not a good enough reason.

    • Rifleman

      You're right, and considering the socialist ideology behind it, the "overall results" are intentional.

  • Chezwick_mac

    It'll go to the Supremes…and once more, Anthony Kennedy will decide what is law in America.

  • Rifleman

    Either one is against institutionalized racial discrimination or one is not. One may notice, the democrat party has always been for it, first against minorities, now against anglos. It's the same basic mentality, they just switched targets.

  • mrbean

    Stacey E. Blau says:

    Almost every debate about affirmative action eventually shifts to a discussion of certain women and minorities: the truly deserving. The truly deserving are the women and minorities who are exceedingly intelligent, impeccably qualified but will have to forever endure the unspoken assumption that they got where they are because of their gender or race. In seeking to right past wrongs and foster diversity, critics say, affirmative action does nothing more than insult the truly deserving because it too often promotes the less-than-qualified. Critics regularly cite this point as a prime failure of affirmative action.

    • StephenD

      Take your argument to the next step and you'll see that the elimination of affirmative action will take away this assumption. If everyone is truly on an equal plane and not the product of an exclusionary program who could have any "unspoken assumptions" as to their qualifications?

      • mrbean

        There is no such thing as an equal plane, some peoplwe are smarter than others. some more skilled than others, some have more experience than others, some are better looking than others, on ad infinitum…. What Liberals want is equal outcomes – like PC kiddie ball – no one keeps score and eveyone gets a trophy so their false self esteem doesn't get bruised.

  • sharpsrifle

    Affirmative Action is just another way for a minority who is an unqualified idiot to whine his way into a job or other slot in place of a minority who IS qualified. Look at Hussein and Mooch-elle Antoinette…neither one has the sense of a retarded amoeba, yet they both went to "elite" universities, had every door in the world held open for them, and HATE everything about the society that gave their worthless behinds breaks it doesn't give people NOT of their ethnic backgrounds. Someone like Herman Cain, who actually worked and learned and demonstrated ability, is a great example of what this country SHOULD be…while Hussein and Chewbacca are examples of the failure of institutionalized black racism, AKA, "affirmative action" (or, if you prefer, the "Unqualified Moron Self-Esteem Promotion Enhancement Program").

    • Dennis X

      When was that affirmative action election?

  • Lfox328

    I really can't see that Sotomayer's words aren't a slur on minorities. There is no reason that they can't pass those tests; to imply that they never could insults their intelligence.

  • Stephen_Brady

    An example of reverse-discrimination:

    In the summer of 1980, I had finished my junior year in college. I had a 4.0 average and was running out of courses to take in my major. I had also won a university-wide award for scholastic excellence. Then, it came …

    I received a notice from the Dept of Education. My BEOG (now the Pell Grant) would not be renewed for my senior year. The reason given: Affirmative Action. I'm white, you see.

    Institutionalized racial discrimination. That's what it was …

  • pagegl

    Continuing affirmative action forces race to be an issue. Human nature is such that if you flagrantly force people to accept something they believe is inherenty unfair they will have issues with those that benefit. Any bozo who doesn't understand or refuses to understand that has an interest in maintaining that unfair situation.

  • http://baersart.com Jane

    I am a first generation American on one side and seceond generation Amrican on the other. My parents are Scadinavian. to me many white Americans are mixed.

    • http://baersart.com Jane

      to a Scandinavian like me, those who used ot be called hillbillies look mixed…Elvis, Johnny Cash, etc. (kind of like some Mexicans)