Under a policy called affirmative action, a benign name for racial preferences, the government discriminates against individuals based on the color of their skin.
Despite the clear violation of constitutional rights, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the policy.
So-called affirmative action began as a well-intended policy in the 1960s to “cast a wider net” to include well-qualified black applicants in a pool of job applicants where they previously were excluded based on race. Hiring were to be decided on the merits.
From a previous BCN post on the issue:
“Affirmative action was first used in a 1961 executive order by President John F. Kennedy. It instructed federal contractors to take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are treated equally “without regard to race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” President Lyndon B. Johnson followed up with a similar order in 1965. Contractors were encouraged to cast a wider recruitment net to include more qualified minorities in the hiring pool. Ironically, a Republican president opened the door to racial preferences. In 1971, President Richard M. Nixon authorized the U.S. Department of Labor to set specific goals (quotas) and timetables to correct the ‘underutilization’ of blacks by federal contractors. Instead of ending racial discrimination, Nixon set up a sort of reverse discrimination in which blacks were the beneficiaries.”
Discrimination expanded when results didn’t meet expectations, and the government began to lower standards for blacks to boost the numbers.
For example, black college applicants generally are admitted to colleges and universities with lower grades and standardized test scores than Asian, white, and Hispanic applicants. The high court justified this practice purportedly because the educational benefits of “diversity” trumped fairness.
White applicants have sued the government over this policy, with wins and losses. The Supreme Court ruled in Gratz v. Bollinger (2003) that the University of Michigan law school’s points-for-race system was unconstitutional. In the companion case, Grutter v. Bollinger (2003), the same court held that the undergraduate school’s race-as-a-plus factor admissions policy was constitutional.
Generally, institutions, including the government, still use racial preferences to admit or deny admissions, and to hire or decline to hire.
The New York Times reported that the Trump administration intends to do something about discrimination in college admissions. An excerpt:
The document, an internal announcement to the civil rights division, seeks current lawyers interested in working for a new project on “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.”
The announcement suggests that the project will be run out of the division’s front office, where the Trump administration’s political appointees work, rather than its Educational Opportunities Section, which is run by career civil servants and normally handles work involving schools and universities.
The document does not explicitly identify whom the Justice Department considers at risk of discrimination because of affirmative action admissions policies. But the phrasing it uses, “intentional race-based discrimination,” cuts to the heart of programs designed to bring more minority students to university campuses.
Roger Clegg, of the Center for Equal Opportunity and longtime opponent of racial preferences, said “civil rights laws were deliberately written to protect everyone from discrimination, and it is frequently the case that not only are whites discriminated against now, but frequently Asian-Americans are as well.”
The so-called civil rights industry does not want the government to stop judging individuals based on race.
The government should take Chief Justice John Roberts’s words to heart. In a case in which Seattle used race as a tie-breaker to assign schools, Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District (2007), he wrote:
“The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”