Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Discrimination and Divisiveness

Ward Connerly, a prominent affirmative action opponent, is leading efforts to put an initiative on Arizona's ballot to ban racial preferences in state contracting, employment, and university admissions. National Review (print edition) notes that McCain has endorsed the initiative, while Obama has called it "divisive" and said that these efforts are "too often designed to drive a wedge between people" rather than "to solve a big problem."

NR's take: "How big a problem racial preferences are depends on how you view the downgrading of merit, the codifying of unfairness, and the divisions that the preferences themselves engender. We suspect that what Obama most dislikes about Connerly is the way his initiatives tend to 'drive a wedge' between Democratic politicians and the public."

I'd add that ending affirmative action in itself will "solve a big problem." Affirmative action, in addition to violating the Equal Protection Clause of the constitution ("no state shall… deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws"), sets up under qualified students for failure (students admitted because of affirmative action have disastrously low graduation rates) and creates bitterness and resentment on the part of the more qualified Asian and white students denied admission. Hiring someone because of their race is the definition of discrimination - no matter who you are discriminating against.

If you have time to read more, here's a column from Thomas Sowell on the subject. A few nuggets:
This study... found that 'of those [faculty and members and administrators] who think that preferences have some impact on academic standards those believing it negative exceed those believing it positive by 15 to 1.'

Affirmative action is great for black millionaires but it has done little or nothing for most people in the ghetto. Most minority business owners who get preferences in government contracts have net worths of more than one million dollars.

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