America has developed a psychological obsession with equality,
much in the same as Jan Brady had about Marcia. Screaming
“equality, equality, equality,” citizens in our country scowl
anytime somebody is preferred over another. Like Jan spiting Marcia
by becoming the most popular girl in school, we’ve begun to smite
racism and sexism by becoming – well, a little more racist and a
bit more sexist.
Our government does a marvelous job at misconstruing laws such
as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to coalesce with cases
like University of California Board of Regents v. Bakke filed under
Title VI. The law says that federal funds will be withdrawn from
and federal lawsuits allowed against programs that discriminate on
the basis of sex or race; the court case says that race can be one
of several factors in the context of affirmative action programs.
The two appear incommensurable, but somehow the courts found a way
to justify them. Funny how unequal equality can be.
The other form of prohibition against discrimination, plain ol’
social mockery, isn’t quite understandable either. The problem lies
in that those criticizing such policies, like myself, are
considered racist, sexist and homophobic (the current insult of
choice). But those that champion such policies are socially
conscious, considerate and are just plain good people. Critics of
affirmative action are, unjustifiably, lumped with members of the
Klu Klux Klan.
Proponents argue that affirmative action rights the wrongs of
the past. However, two wrongs don’t make a right and three don’t
either. The irony would be so laughable, if the results weren’t so
dangerous, that a reverse discrimination is used to solve the
problems of racism and sexism.
There are ways to institute policies that don’t discriminate
based on immutable characteristics and still achieve the goals of
programs that claim to equalize opportunity. Texas, in response to
UT-Austin Law School’s affirmative action policy struck down by a
federal appeals court, instituted a “10 Percent Rule.” This
six-year-old law gives the top 10 percent of every graduating class
in Texas guaranteed admission to state colleges.
As long as schools maintain demographic segregation, there is
the affirmative action of selecting the top scholars from
predominately minority schools. The important distinction is that
this program only involves race because of the constant
self-segregation by communities in Texas.
The most notable trend to keep in mind, too, is that groups of
people just discriminate all the time, and quite a bit on the basis
of natural characteristics. Social circles are sometimes formed and
maintained on race or student groups on the basis of gender. And
for liberals who are starting to cringe, that’s OK. We shouldn’t
feel ashamed if we discriminate a little here and there.
While it’s something we should manage in terms of employment,
education and opportunity in general, we don’t have to develop an
anal retentive fixation with being “diverse.” As a male, I
shouldn’t expect to have an equal chance at employment in
institutions that may be dominated by women, and as a Caucasian
those dominated by minority groups.
The best end we can come to expect from affirmative action is
the production of angry citizens, not opportunity. Individuals
benefiting from affirmative action will always have an asterisk by
their name on the payroll or classroom roster. A sign is taped to
their back and they become the target of ridicule, more harassment
and even more discrimination.
I’m sure I may have a sign after this column, too. The words on
that sign are racist and sexist; if I left any out, then by all
means write to the editor. The hope is to accumulate enough
designations that I am a minority group unto myself. If that
becomes the case, I’ll just abuse this affirmative action thing
while it’s around. I’ll be in next week to pick up an
Robert is the vice chairman for the Colorado Federation of
College Republicans. He is a guest columnist for The Collegian. He
is a senior majoring in political science.