Friday, January 30, 2004

They Never Learn

They Never Learn

Oh, what was that bumper sticker that liberals were so proud of a few years ago? I remember. “Bombing for peace is like fornicating for virginity.” Only, the word they chose wasn’t fornicating. It was that other “f” word. Anyway, liberals either have a short attention span or don’t really pay that much attention to them selves because, if they did, they wouldn’t be fighting racial stereotypes by trying to institutionalize racism.
Of course, by institutionalized racism I mean racial preferences. Washington House Bill 2700 was introduced to overturn a vote of the people and restore racism to college and university admissions. Five years ago, the voters of Washington, by a huge majority, chose to abolish racial preferences and racial handicapping in hiring and admissions at Washington’s colleges and universities. And now, those who lost are advocating that Initiative 200 be overturned by the legislature.
"We all would like to live in a world where race doesn't matter," declared Nate Caminos, the University of Washington student lobbyist, without a trace of intentional irony. "We feel that we have yet to reach that point."
Gail Stygall, a faculty member at the University of Washington huffed that, "College classrooms should reflect the society in which they operate."
Somehow, I don’t think that Ms. Stygall would go so far as want to have a faculty or an administration that reflects the ideological diversity of the society that pays her salary, otherwise, 60% of her colleagues and bosses would oppose her in this matter.
This drive to reinstate a system of racial spoils runs against the tide of experience. Five years ago, these same hand wringing leftists predicted that our universities would become unbroken oceans of white faces. That certainly hasn’t happened at WSU. And the University of Washington’s most recent freshman class is the most ethnically diverse ever.
They even sank so low as to predict that the state’s football teams would be unable to recruit quality athletes because our universities would become known as racist. No doubt this was an effort to sway the beer swilling sports bar vote, but even that has turned out wrong. Washington State University’s football team has completed the finest three-year run in the school’s history with a recruiting class that was brought to Pullman immediately after I-200 passed.
But, it really doesn’t matter how the football team does, or precisely what the racial ratios are on a campus. Awarding preferences or imposing hindrances upon people based upon their ethnicity is simply wrong morally and it is bad social policy.
Whatever fancy word is chosen for racial preferences, such as “affirmative action,” the ugly truth is that such programs are compensatory racism. These policies would be defensible only if the actual victims and perpetrators of racism were having their roles reversed. Instead, modern racial preferences attempt to hold whole classifications of people responsible for sins committed by ancestors.
Where else in society would we punish children for the sins of their fathers, or their great great grandfathers? And tell me, what did Asians or Jews do to deserve marginalization? When racial handicappers try to “make classrooms reflect the society in which they operate,” it is those two groups that tend to be over represented in universities, not whites.
And, there is evidence that racial preferences tend to harm the very groups who are supposed to be the beneficiaries of these policies. Economist Thomas Sowell has documented increased failure rates among blacks in higher education attributable to racial preferences. Because of the competition among schools for black students, when racial preferences are given to black students, those students tend to land in colleges above their level of preparation. A student who might prosper at Washington State University may flunk out at Harvard. A student who might have prepared himself for a successful life after college with a Bachelor’s degree from Eastern Washington can end up over his head at the University of Washington.
When admissions are equally merit based, then students of all colors will be sorted, not by their skin color, but by their academic preparation.
So lawmakers have three things to consider before passing this bill. First, it’s morally wrong. Secondly, it is counter productive as social engineering. And third, since 60% voted to get rid of racial preferences last time, overturning it could cost legislators their seats.


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