December 2, 1997 in City

No Artificial Fairness Formula Matches The Real Thing

Michelle Malkin The Seattle Times
 
Tags:column

Let me tell you what more and more young people are discovering every day in this country: Socially engineered “diversity” sucks.

No, I am not talking about the organically grown diversity of American life - the voluntary kind that in my own family has led to loving marriages between people of all races and ethnicities, including Filipino, Russian, Korean, black, Scottish, Irish, Chinese and Italian.

I am talking about the so-called diversity manufactured by government - the look-like-America-or-else variety that is enforced by race-obsessed civil servants who shuffle human beings around as recklessly as their endless piles of paper work.

These people-shufflers are motivated by a dream - a dream that one day every public school, city hall and federal government office will contain the same proportion of racial and ethnic groups as exists in the general population. There is only one way to achieve this bureaucratic dream, of course, and that is by classifying, hiring, firing and judging people by the content of their melanin-producing cells.

Those who support this statistical vision of a proper society deny mightily that it results in unjust racial discrimination. But the victims of diversity do-goodism are not abstract figments of the Angry White Male imagination. They include innocent children who, like generations before them, had the singular misfortune of being born with the wrong skin color:

In San Francisco, children wishing to attend Lowell High, the best academic public high school, continue to be turned away simply because of their ethnic background. Under a state-sanctioned consent decree to achieve racial “balance,” the district required Chinese-American applicants to Lowell to score 62 or better, out of a possible 69, on the admissions scale. The test bar was lowered for all other races.

Under a revised plan this year, the district created a “merit” admissions pool. But an arbitrary 40 percent race-based cap for Chinese-American students remains firmly in place.

So does the invidious message to every other student who supposedly benefits from the policy. “A lot of people are stigmatized because of the system,” Lowell High sophomore Kelli Thomas-Drake, who is black, told the Los Angeles Times. Thomas-Drake was admitted with a 65, but race-based admissions engender unfair race-based hostility: “(T)here’s a message,” she notes, “that you’re not good enough to get in on your own.”

In Maryland, two 5-year-old girls, Eleanor Glewwe and Hana Maruyama, were prevented from transferring from one public school to another because the district didn’t want to upset its neatly engineered racial-balancing plan designed by experts.

When asked if he agreed that “creating diversity” was a worthy goal even if it resembled segregation of children by race in the Jim Crow South, Hana’s father responded pointedly: “Well, I think that it’s not very much comfort to know that this policy was put together by someone who had a master’s degree from Harvard in education as opposed to someone who is operating in the South in the 1950s out of blind prejudice. … What it does is it pigeonholes people. It classifies them, and it denies them opportunities on the basis of race. Whether the motives are high or low, the effect is the same. It’s equally wrong.”

Closer to home, Bellevue (Wash.) city manager and self-appointed diversity czar Steve Bauer executed his noble social vision last month by sacking three of six high school students who won positions on a city youth board in a free and fair election. Bauer could care less about the students’ character or competence. One arbitrary, noxious factor made the difference: they were white.

Bauer replaced the elected trio with one Asian, one Hispanic and one black student.

Bauer and every other practitioner of race-based preferential treatment could learn a thing or two about balance, justice and equality from Armando Gonzalez, a Bellevue High School sophomore who was one of the three new appointees. Late last month, Gonzalez informed the Bellevue City Council that he would turn down his appointment rather than take a job for which he wasn’t elected.

“I really do want to be a representative on the Youth Link Board,” he wrote in a resignation letter. “But I would like to win fairly and not because of my ethnic background.”

In the next five weeks, citizens in Washington will have an important opportunity to stand with young leaders like Armando and reject government-dictated diversity. The Washington State Civil Rights Initiative would outlaw discrimination and preferential treatment based on race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in public employment, education and contracting.

The campaign has gathered more than 70,000 signatures; it needs approximately 200,000 by Jan. 2 for submission to the Legislature.

Defenders of racial preferences argue that the issue is complicated. Rather than confront the blatant wrongs now being committed in the name of equality and diversity, they launch into long history lectures and obtuse explanations about the constitutionality of their precious goals, formulas and timetables. But the next generation of Kellis, Eleanors, Hanas and Armandos don’t need rationalizations of law or history. They need adults who will simply stand on the right side of history - adults who will finally embrace the truth that “doing good by doing wrong” is a bankrupt proposition today, tomorrow and forever.

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