Tuesday, November 14, 2006

One bright spot
Sorry for my lack of postings lately. I have been slacking for two reasons: my depression over the election results and being very busy with work. Anyway, a source for optimism: Michigan's Proposal 2 - the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative - passed with 58% of the vote despite being dramatically underfunded compared to the opposition (see great article from National Review Online). The proposal makes state-sponsored affirmative action unconstitutional in hiring and admisssions. One might argue it already was unlawful under the 14th amendment of the U.S. constitution, the Equal Protections Clause, which states: "no state shall... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
Affirmative action denies the equal rights of one person to favor another. Of course this is a sticky political issue because the preferred group tends to be African-Americans and the groups suffering discrimination are whites and Asians. Proponents of afffirmative action argue that diversity is so important that more capable candidates should be bypassed for less capable candidates with a more desirable skin color.
This is especially problematic for college admissions. The University of Michigan won one and lost one in its Supreme Court battle to keep its affirmative action admission policies. Gratz v. Bollinger challenged U of M's undergraduate admissions policy of giving 20 points to any minority. A perfect ACT would not earn an applicant that many points. The Court ruled that this was unconstitutional because the affirmative action program was not "narrowly tailored." In Grutter v. Bollinger the Court ruled (basically) that the U of M law school could factor in race as long as they kept secret how big a role race played. U of M has already promised legal action against the proposition and the will of the people.
Discrimination based on race is wrong. Whether you are white or black, it feels no different to be passed up for a job, promotion, or college admission because of your race.
The people of Michigan may have re-elected a liberal Canadian who thinks macroeconomics comes in a box from Kraft foods, but at least they got one thing right.

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