The fact of the matter, however, is that while Harris's life circumstances have been "difficult," difficult circumstances are not confined to black students. There is absolutely nothing in the description about Harris that is uniquely an obstacle confronted by blacks. Whites have also been known to file for bankruptcy and to have parental inadequacies. Asian and white kids also attend unstable schools. Yet, because Harris is black, every disadvantage in her life is interpreted as a problem engendered because of her "race." And, those who support race preferences want to use the tool of "affirmative action" to compensate for those supposed "effects of being black." They want to do that which the United States Supreme Court forbids them from doing: "curing societal ills." In the absence of Prop. 209, they could hide behind the fig leaf of "diversity," but Prop. 209 removed their ability to do that in California.
He closes by saying that giving preferences based on socio-economic status would be a reasonable substitute for race- or gender-based preferences. However, he really hit the ball out of the park a couple paragraphs before when he said:
Finally, it is not "just" for public institutions to practice discrimination based on the "race" or skin color of an individual. If that fact is not settled by now, then the past 40-plus years of American history have taught us nothing.
If we were a truly color blind society, then a poor white kid from Appalachia who scored high on the SAT's would get the same props as a kid from the Bronx or Watts. But that simply isn't the case. The conventional wisdom is that the "whiteness" of the Appalachian kid's skin automatically opens doors. Believe me, I have some cousins who were poor kids that came from a ranch where there was literally no inside plumbing. They ended up going into the military or getting married. Their high grades got them exactly NOTHING in terms of aid, assistance, mentoring or help. In fact, the one that did the best was the one that ended up in prison. He's has his own plumbing contracting company. The others did as well as they could. At some point we have to stop making excuses and pick the best and brightest. Every time we have another international academic competition the news media bemoans our lack of expertise. Well maybe if we didn't mitigate on our academic offerings based on politically correct limitations, our kids would kick academic butt. As it is, we aren't seeing our best, or our brightest, we are seeing the PC ideal in play. It should never come down to that.
Excellent post. I had the pleasure of hearing Ward Connerly speak this summer when I was visiting San Diego. He's right on target. I agree that it is time that we stop making excuses and start picking the best and brightest.
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