Government Sponsored Racism

affirmative-action-protestShould a white person be given preference to college admissions because he is white? Of course not. That’s racist. So why are admission preferences given to any specific race?

In the 2003 case Grutter v. Bollinger, the Supreme Court ruled that race could play a role in admissions policies of universities that receive federal money (even if only in the form of aid to students). This “positive discrimination”, known as affirmative action, attempts to compensate for historical racial discrimination by giving minority applicants a “leg up”. But these policies are currently being challenged by a case before the Supreme Court, Fisher v. University of Texas.  This new case asks that the Court overrule Grutter, which would end government-imposed affirmative action at American universities.

Affirmative action is a form of racism. These policies, intended to benefit minority students in the United States, only feed into the same racist machine that they are supposed to counteract. Well-intentioned affirmative action measures are inherently racist by giving benefits based on skin color, not merit. Such policies are divisive rather than uniting, and lead to perpetual victimhood. Affirmative action was needed in the ‘60s and ‘70s, but now these policies unnecessarily treat today’s minorities as victims.

If a college wishes to promote diversity on its campus through affirmative action policies, fine. Private organizations and companies (including colleges) should have the freedom to adopt whatever admissions policies they want. Racial, sexual orientation, and religious diversity only enriches the educational experience on campus. But government-forced “positive discrimination” is racist and counterproductive.

Affirmative action often hurts its beneficiaries more than it helps, by placing minority students in programs above their abilities. Scholars euphemistically coined the term “mismatch” to refer to this outcome. Mismatch suggests that students who get into a top school with the help of affirmative action would be better served attending a less competitive school, where they could gain admission through their own merit and achievements. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who admits to benefitting from affirmative action himself, saw firsthand how racially-based admittance policies negatively impacted black students. He said, “I watched the operation of such affirmative action policies when I was in college, and I watched the destruction of many kids as a result.”

According to Thomas J. Espenshade, a Princeton University sociology professor, a black student with a virtually identical application to a white student receives the equivalent of a 310-point bump in SAT scores. This generous advantage potentially hurts the black student by placing him in a program where he is more likely to struggle or fail out. It is therefore no surprise that significantly fewer minorities end up graduating than whites. This stands true at private colleges, but the problem is especially pronounced at public universities.  At the University of Wisconsin, for example, 81 percent of white students graduated compared to only 56 percent of blacks.

Placing minorities into programs they are not qualified for may be a contributing factor to their high unemployment rate. The black jobless rate, for example, is about twice that of whites. A student who struggles in an academic program that he is not qualified for is less likely to succeed in the job market. For instance, an unprepared student who is placed in a rigorous engineering program may retain less of the essential knowledge to be successful in that field.

Does the mismatch theory suggest that minority students should be prevented from attending elite universities? Absolutely not. Rather, it asserts that students of any race (minority or not) do not necessarily benefit from attending a top school if they are not academically on par with their peers.

There is also unspoken resentment among some in the white community who may assume that minority students were accepted because of affirmative action policies, not merit. Eliminating these policies would dispel such racist assumptions.

There are undoubtedly countless bright, promising minority students across the country who would be assets to elite universities. To argue that minority students need a “leg up” to gain admission is offensive, and suggests that these young people cannot succeed on their own. Fisher v. University of Texas may result in the elimination of government-imposed affirmative action in universities altogether. This would be a significant step towards a truly equal society, where individuals are judged on merit, not race. As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “I have a dream that my children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

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17 thoughts on “Government Sponsored Racism

  1. Robert Resnick says:

    It’s disgraceful that my son will be discriminated against because he is white, all in the name of fairness. What an oxymoron.

  2. Carole says:

    This really rings true. My niece is a high school senior. She went through the college application process this fall. I felt so bad for her. She had to answer questions about her ethnicity, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic background. She apologized to her father (my brother) that she didn’t qualify for any scholarship offerings, or entrance shortcuts.. The worst part of the process was that none of their ‘profiling probes’ gave my brilliant, well-accomplished niece the opportunity to share that she achieved high-honors, stellar SAT scores, and musical accomplishments while her mother suffered from cancer for 7 years. My sister in law passed away when my niece was only 15. My beautiful neice overcame much greater obstacles than the color of her skin or her heritage. It breaks my heart.

    1. Carole says:

      On the plus side, she will be attending UCSD this fall as part of
      their Honors Japanese Studies Program!

    2. Steve T says:

      Carole, your niece should have claimed she was a lesbian Muslim. She could have written her ticket to any school in the country, with a full ride. But then, something tells me your niece is going to do just fine.

      1. Carole says:

        Steve T., funny you should say that. Her mom was adopted so my niece, not knowing her true maternal heritage, considered many options that she may be a minority. We had a lot of fun with that one
        , “Dad, you know how I have to get my eyebrows waxed? Maybe I am…”

  3. Kevin Morley says:

    The case you discussed in front of the Supreme Court, Fisher vs University of TX, gives me some hope. Like MLK said, when will we finally all be judged by the content of out character and NOT the color of our skin??? Since when has it become our government’s job to promote discrimination?

  4. Steve T says:

    Does anyone really think reverse discrimination helps encourage harmony among different races? If anything, it breeds resentment, and promotes negative stereotypes on both sides. Nice discussion, Kristin.

  5. Carole says:

    My niece received many acceptance letters, and luckily my brother can afford to send her wherever she wants to go. I just hate that her struggle to succeed while losing her mother to cancer is dismissed, while minority, same-sex, son of a single mother got special consideration. (I’m not being dramatic. Those were actual specifications on her college applications.)

  6. Tony W says:

    Interesting perspective. I think there is some truth that many minorities end up getting hurt by these special interest programs. Nobody benefits when someone is granted a position that they are not fully prepared for. The free market is the best determination of who should get what job.

  7. Mark L says:

    A work colleague of mine was married to a woman from South Africa. She was whiter than Casper the Ghost. Nonetheless, they claimed that their son was 50 percent African American and their mediocre son got into two Ivy League schools.. This affirmative action BS has turned into a massive corrupt game.

  8. Ricky says:

    I don’t very many people who commented on this post attended Inner City High Schools. To compare the educational facilities, curriculum and Quality of educators to say…East Los Angeles vs. West Los Angeles is Night and Day-aka-No Comparison. All one has to do is enroll your child in one of these Schools to find out Exactly what I mean. There are Many Bright and Gifted students who may not posses the ‘test taking skills’ that some of their urban brethren may possess– there are many that do deserve a shot at Higher education non the less. Now, whether this idea has morphed into something more corrupt and sinister-I really do not know. I know your readers don’t want to hear this-but that is the Reality.

  9. Steve Thompson says:

    This has been going on for years. I remember when I graduated from college, the college placement office had a sign up sheet, for minorities. You could only get an interview with IBM, GE, Intel, etc. if you were a minority on this sign up sheet. Being a white male, I was so offended that I would be discriminated against. Nothing new here, Obama is a recipient of such reverse discrimination do you really think he will change anything?

  10. Kai Six says:

    Nice Article, I am guessing it might have been hard to think of publishing this because of backlash you might have received but I just wanted to say good job, takes a lot of nerves to do something you know will likely generate hate in your direction.

    I am curious about what you think about Native Hawaiians and Native Americans receiving “aid” however. I am Native Hawaiian and personally don’t think that the type of things the government gives us is appropriate.

    For example currently Hawaiians of a certain percentage(because I guess it matters, blood quantum and all) can apply for land and homes and within Hawaii and they will receive it after going through a certain process and years of waiting and what not. However it is not like they (and I say they because I don’t meet the blood quantum thresh hold.) get to choose where they get to live (not that I am implying they deserve land on a general basis anyways). They are all packed in areas of development specifically meant for Hawaiians who have applied. It’s not that the houses are bad or anything its that anyone thinking things through will understand that there will be people who don’t respect what they have gotten. Many of the people applying don’t really have that great of a future and I personally see these Hawaiian Ceded lands areas becoming ghettos within a generation or two.

    Regardless of how long it takes to degenerate into a ghetto or what not I think we can agree that most of these people probably don’t deserve anything. Maybe my grandparents generation does and anyone older then them, I have heard my grandparents talk about getting beat in school for talking in Hawaiian. Or getting yelled at and rejected from shops and stores because they are Hawaiian. So yeah there was hate and discrimination, but asking for free stuff in my opinion makes you weaker. But people will go for it, because it is free.

    And despite what people may think, no I don’t think the government has the best in their heart for the people. My Great Aunt, lives in La’ie with property right across the street from the ocean, and every year rich elites, whether they are mormon, white, Hawaiians them selves. raise the property taxes in the area to ensure poor lower educated Hawaiians, like most of them actually, are pushed out of richer areas and driven into poor high density areas of Hawaiians, Filipinos, Vietnamese, and other Pacific islanders live.

    But like I said, I personally don’t think handouts are good for a disenfranchised people. Personally I think Hawaiians should stop accepting any personal handouts and start thinking about how to get their country back or start forming a new government.

    Anyways, I was just wondering what your thoughts are on people who have been conquered by the United States but who still want their freedom and their country. What do you think is acceptable to be offered by the Government and what shouldn’t be given.

  11. apriori says:

    I’m all for your argument. You are good at fighting, and you like it. Bringing up whites vs blacks in the debate, although easily justifiable and high in contrast, will never turn any heads, regardless of the straight, hard facts. Watch your emotions in your writing, place an exterior control on the style it pervades, trust me I am the same way. Emotionally fueled, excellent eloquent writer.

    You fail to bring up the kicker in this debate: Asians, Indians

    Here try this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdtWDenGxWQ

  12. Sue says:

    I’m so glad that affirmative action will be put to rest if the blacks want to be equal they can’t have it both ways it’s abt time if u do t have your act together by now u never will and I don’t think anyone should be discriminated against

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