Monday, February 21, 2005
SAEN Editorial Board, Part IV
Most Americans agree that the civil rights movement of the sixties ushered in some much needed changes in our society, and policies to correct racial discrimination in school admissions was one of them. But are racial preference policies still necessary forty years later?
The board believes that the U.S. Supreme Court "wisely ruled that race can be among the factors considered in admission to the nation's colleges and universities" (6/24/03).
In a scathing indictment of Justice Clarence Thomas who wrote a 31-page dissent of that decision, columnist Russell writes "he despises his own liberation and seeks to deny it to others" and his is a "bigot's point of view" (6/26/03). Thomas wrote in his dissent, "When blacks take positions in the highest places of government, industry or academia, it is an open question today whether their skin color played a part in their advancement. That question itself is the stigma."
According to Tammy Bruce in her book, The New Thought Police, when Ward Connerly, a businessman and a regent of the University of California, led the campaign for Proposition 209 to eliminate racial preferences, he was called a "houseboy," a "paid assassin," and a "freak of nature." Jesse Jackson accused this black man of promoting "ethnic cleansing." Board member Russell aligns herself with people like Jackson who demonize those with dissenting opinions.
Padilla, however, gives the best example of the legacy of racial preference. Sent to do a story on the San Antonio Housing Authority because Hispanic activists "cried racism," she came to the conclusion that their charges proved baseless (7/23/03). In this piece, she provides the percentages of Hispanics (76%), Anglos (11%), Blacks (10%), and Others (3%) in this organization, coming to the conclusion that since there is a majority of Hispanics, racism cannot be proved. Since San Antonio is only 51% Hispanic, wouldn't a more equitable percentage be 51%, rather than 76%-if fair treatment is the goal? Apparently not.
She ends her editorial with this statement, "As someone who has benefited from affirmative action in various newsrooms across the state, I would like to think that while skin color got me in for the interview, my resume and clips got me the job."
That this bright, educated woman has to even mention this is a sign that racial preferences are doing a disservice, not only to her, but also to all Americans.
My thanks again to Ms. Massey for allowing me to excerpt from her article.