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calendar   Tuesday - October 31, 2006

Discrimination In Michigan

If you think the folks here in Missouri are having a tough time with Amendment 2: Stem Cell Initiative on the ballot next week, you ain’t seen nothing yet. In Michigan, they’re having an even tougher time with Proposition 2, which basically says stop using race or sex to give preferences in jobs and education to minorities and women.

I don’t live in Michigan but if I did I’d have to vote “YES” on this proposition. This may have been a good idea back in the 60’s and 70’s when blacks and women were trying to catch up after decades of wrongful discrimination but it is now forty years later and I just don’t feel it is necessary any more. Attitudes have changed and women and blacks have thoroughly integrated themselves into the college classrooms and business management.

To continue this preferential treatment based solely on sex or race would be to admit that women and blacks are inferior and still need help. If I were black or female I’d consider that an insult. It’s time to put the past behind us and get over it. The best person for a job is the best person for a job, not the one whose skin color is “correct” or who wears a dress.

This does a disservice to all of us. Whites and males are discouraged because they see this as unfair discrimination and females and minorities know they are getting preferential treatment, making them feel less like they have accomplished something on a level playing field and more like they don’t deserve their successes. It’s a lose-lose situation for all of us.

We are losing our technological edge in the world markets because the best and brightest are being shut out by programs like this. It’s time to put affirmative action to bed and go back to competitive recognition of character, skills, drive and intelligence ... instead of skin color or gender. Unless the people of Michigan are ready to apply affirmative action fairly - in which case the Detroit Pistons need to hire more whites and females as players. Discrimination is bad ... no matter who is doing it.

Campaign to End Race Preferences Splits Michigan
ANN ARBOR, Mich., Oct. 25 (NY TIMES)

imageimageThree years after the Supreme Court heard Jennifer Gratz’s challenge to the University of Michigan’s affirmative action policy, she is still fighting racial preferences, this time in a Michigan ballot initiative. Leaflets at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor urging voters to oppose the ballot initiative.

“We have a horrible history when it comes to race in this country,” said Ms. Gratz, 29, a white applicant who was wait-listed 11 years ago at the state’s flagship campus here. “But that doesn’t make it right to give preference to the son of a black doctor at the expense of a poor student whose parents didn’t go to college.”

The ballot initiative, Proposition 2, which would amend Michigan’s Constitution to bar public institutions from considering race or sex in public education, employment or contracting, has drawn wide opposition from the state’s civic establishment, including business and labor, the Democratic governor and her Republican challenger. But polls show voters are split, with significant numbers undecided or refusing to say where they stand.

Passage would probably reinvigorate challenges to a variety of affirmative action programs in other states. In California, where a similar proposition passed in 1996, the number of black students at the elite public universities has dropped. This fall, 96 of 4,800 freshmen at the University of California, Los Angeles — 2 percent — are black, a 30-year low.

For the University of Michigan, the proposition would require broader changes than the Supreme Court did; it ruled in Ms. Gratz’s case and a companion case that while the consideration of race as part of the law school’s admissions policy was constitutional, a formula giving extra points to minority undergraduate applicants was not.

The president of the university, Mary Sue Coleman, an opponent of the proposition, said its reach could extend into K to 12 education. “It would make it illegal to have our program targeting girls in junior high school, and having them come to campus to learn about science and engineering,” Ms. Coleman said. “I’m a woman scientist, and I know how fragile our gains are.” Such arguments have resonance in Ann Arbor, where the Democratic headquarters is doing a brisk business in “No on 2” yard signs.

“We need to keep affirmative action because it’s still not a level playing field for women or minorities,” said Gena Morris, who is black, an event planner who volunteers at Democratic headquarters.

Susan Greenberg, a widow whose husband was a University of Michigan professor, took home a yard sign recently, saying, “It’s probably the most important thing on the ballot.” Just 20 miles north of the liberal university enclave, in Brighton, there is less familiarity with the proposition but more opposition to affirmative action.

- More on the story here ...


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 10/31/2006 at 08:08 AM   
Filed Under: • Racism and race relations •  
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