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A Decision-Making Guide to the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative

12. September 2006 • Bruce Fields
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Gus Teschke writes:

UM Prof. Scott Page, of the Center for the Study of Complex Systems, recently published a interesting and balanced account of the Michigan (anti-)Civil Rights Initiative titled
A Decision-Making Guide to the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative. It presents two sides for six arguments, and presents a decision-making model like what you might use for buying a house, but does not take sides.

  1. The so-called “balanced” guide is as biased against MCRI as anything could be, while pretending otherwise. It is clearly a piece of UM propaganda for continuing discrimination based on race, sex, and other arbitrary quailities. Here’s the key sentence:

    “Finally, it is important to note that affirmative action programs only affect a small number of students and have almost no effect on the admissions probabilities of the tens of thousands of students who apply to competitive schools each year” (21).

    “Almost.” Sort of like a Nazi saying extermination programs “only affect a small number of” Europeans and have “almost no effect on the life expectancy rates for most people…. Or maybe instead of incinerating nearly 6 million Jews, it would have been acceptable had Hilter only slaughtered, say, 50,000, thereby increasing the odds for the vast majority of Jews?

    Too many still? How about 5,000? Statistically would that not quailify as “almost no effect”? Given the German intellectual superiority and ability to decide who is fit to live and who isn’t (having attended superior European universities), what’s wrong with 5,000? Okay, how about 1,000?

    What’s wrong with 100…. How about ONE? Why should we care about HIS or HER LIFE? Or whatever the “almost” acceptable number is for the professoriate at my alma mater? HE or SHE can do something else….

    What’s wrong with a little collateral damage, broken eggs, etc., given the laudatory goals of making ourselves (white people), feel better….

    Stalin wasn’t sqeamish, why should Mary Sue Coleman be? A Harvard or UM education makes it possible to make the right decisions, after all…. and assuage our misguided white guilt….


    Frederick Glaysher
    Why Voters Should Approve the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative

       —Frederick Glaysher    Sep. 17 '06 - 04:52PM    #
  2. “It is clearly a piece of UM propaganda for continuing discrimination based on race, sex, and other arbitrary quailities. Here’s the key sentence:”

    Uh, that sentence is from one of the “anti-MCRI” sections. If it’s the strongest example of anti-MCRI “bias” that you can find in one of those sections, then you’re not looking very hard!

       —Bruce Fields    Sep. 17 '06 - 07:54PM    #
  3. Obviously Mr. Glaysher has never heard of Godwin’s Law.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 17 '06 - 08:45PM    #
  4. It’s trying very hard to be balanced, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. You shouldn’t be balanced on heliocentrism or alien abduction; when the answer is obvious, you should say so.

    Racial preference means judging people’s rights based solely upon the color of their skin. *That’s discrimination. There are no two ways about it, and anything that tries to be “balanced” with regard to this issue will end up presenting it unfairly.

    Honestly, I don’t know why this is so hard for some people to understand.

    “I have a dream, that one day my children will be judged, not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
    -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1963.

       —Patrick Julius    Sep. 18 '06 - 01:37AM    #
  5. Except it’s not racial preferences. What I don’t understand is how difficult it is for some people to understand the authority and reasoning of the United States Supreme Court.

    “the goal of achieving a diverse student body is sufficiently compelling to justify consideration of race in admissions decisions under some circumstances” (Powell in California v. Bakke, 1978)


    “The Law School’s educational judgment that such diversity is essential to its educational mission is one to which we defer. The Law School’s assessment that diversity will, in fact, yield educational benefits is substantiated by respondents and their amici. Our scrutiny of the interest asserted by the Law School is no less strict for taking into account complex educational judgments in an area that lies primarily within the expertise of the university.” (O’Connor in Grutter v. Bollinger 2003)

       —Dale    Sep. 18 '06 - 01:47PM    #
  6. There’s nothing “objective” nor “balanced” about the pseudo-impartial “guide” to how to vote on MCRI, now being promoted this morning through Michigan Public Radio’s dominance of the radio waves.

    The Supreme Court was wrong in the Dred Scott decision. It was wrong in its U of M law school decision….

    “Equal treatment under the law” shouldn’t be “almost” or statistically, usually, an individual right….

    Frederick Glaysher
    Why Voters Should Approve the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative

       —Frederick Glaysher    Sep. 18 '06 - 02:52PM    #
  7. Frederick: If everybody currently received equal treatment by our societal systems, affirmative action wouldn’t be necessary. Unfortunately that isn’t the case…race and class play a major factor in how a person will be treated by most of our systems today.

    Case in point: Michigan (like many other states) has decided that traditional manufacturing jobs aren’t the way of the future, so we’ve been devoting the lion’s share of resources to attracting high-tech and other such businesses. The problem is, most high tech jobs require some sort of post-secondary education. This country doesn’t provide equal access to post-secondary education…we primarily let “the market” decide who gets a degree. College, technical, and advanced degrees cost exorbitant amounts of money that many people simply can’t afford. Other people can’t get into post-secondary schools because their primary and secondary educational institutions have been so heavily divested from that they aren’t receiving the same levels of primary/secondary education that well-off people do (again, the “free market” at work). I would hardly call this a level playing field for all citizens…we’re returning to the “separate but [un]equal” style of service provision (and in some places we never left it).

    Grants, special admissions programs, and other types of affirmative action help to reduce some of the barriers to getting high tech (and similar) jobs by creating more equal access to our educational systems.

    With traditional manufacturing jobs this was less of an issue. One could pretty much obtain a very well paying job regardless of one’s educational attainments (though plenty of other racial factors kept people of color from getting these jobs). This country built up a strong middle class using universal primary/secondary education in combination with manufacturing jobs. Maybe someday this state/country will provide universal access to post-secondary education. Until then, affirmative actions programs are now more necessary than ever for helping people obtain well paying jobs.

       —kena    Sep. 18 '06 - 06:30PM    #
  8. Having student taught in the Detroit, Ypsi, and Ann Arbor public school systems, I can fully agree with kena’s comments. All you have to do is go visit schools in those three districts to see that the quality of education is so vastly different that to call them equal would be a joke/insult. The Detroit schools i taught at were under-equipped, the buildings were run-down, and the teachers were overworked and underqualified. Ann Arbor, on the other hand, was quite the opposite, while ypsi was somewhere in between. through no fault of their own, the children coming out of these poorer quality districts are at a distinct disadvantage when put up against students coming out of more affluent districts. this is a product of not only race, but of economic differences as well. unfortunately, it isn’t financially feasible for most cities to build new schools every 20 years, pay teachers the same as suburban teachers, or buy the supplies/books/equipment needed. affirmative action is the best AVAILABLE solution we have to solve the problem of educational disparity in this country.

       —tim    Sep. 19 '06 - 04:43AM    #
  9. State-sponsored discrimination excerbates the problems and leads to others.

    Frederick Glaysher
    Why Voters Should Approve the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative

       —Frederick Glaysher    Sep. 19 '06 - 05:02PM    #
  10. what problems does it exacerbate? what problems does it lead to? what would you propose as an alternative solution to the obvious disparity between the qualities of eduation between the inner city and suburbs?

       —tim    Sep. 20 '06 - 08:34AM    #
  11. Definitely not racial preferences….

    Frederick Glaysher
    Why Voters Should Approve the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative

       —Frederick Glaysher    Sep. 21 '06 - 05:58PM    #
  12. frederick, what steps should be taken by the state and the nation to counter racism and racial discrimination?

       —peter honeyman    Sep. 22 '06 - 07:37AM    #
  13. Why Voters Should Approve the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative

       —Frederick Glaysher    Sep. 22 '06 - 03:34PM    #
  14. frederick, your lack of interest in engaging in any significant dialogue is disheartening. it leaves me with the feeling that your position isn’t based on anything more than your personal experiences. take pride in knowing that your poorly articulated position has encouraged at least one person to vote against your cause.

       —tim    Sep. 22 '06 - 10:20PM    #
  15. frederick’s perseverations are shades of …

    ... of …

    ... him whose name i dare not utter lest he be conjured up forthwith.

       —peter honeyman    Sep. 23 '06 - 07:01AM    #
  16. I hesitate to wade in here, since it is such a contentious subject and I don’t have time for a protracted discussion. But here goes anyway….

    1) Agree with Tim (8) and Kena (7) about existence of disparities. I would throw in cultural differences in value of education as well. Way to fix this is address property tax funding of schools, be more rigorous about quality of teachers/teaching, preach about striving for academic success. If primary education stinks, focus on that. When affirmative action ignores real differences in preparation, it sets people up for failure (problem = harming people AA intends to help).

    2) Agree with Kena (7) about financial barriers to attending college. Way to fix this is via individual grants and general state support of higher ed (to keep tuition low). No need to factor race into this—it’s only an indirect correlate of socioeconomic status. (problem = does AA conflate race and disadvantage so that rich minorities benefit while the poor from other groups do not?)

    3) Agree with Dale (5) to a point—having all kinds of different people in a class enriches the experience for all. If it wasn’t race explicitly but cultural diversity; if cultural diversity was a goal at the same (low) level as geographic diversity and political diversity and religious diversity and diversity in extracurricular activities, then I would agree wholeheartedly. But it is race, and race trumps the others because people want AA to make up for other things (as Kena and Tim plainly state). So I ultimately have to agree with Patrick (4) on the operative principle. I find the amicus filings to be disingenuous—universities only put forward the diverse classroom argument after more blatant forms of social engineering like quotas and point systems were (about to be) struck down. Given all this, people are suspicious about how admission is decided, how much is due to “academic merit” (whatever that is) and how much is due to “other considerations”. (problem = people might assume minorities are not there based on their merit, and only there as enrichment for other students)

    4) Now I’m not one who believes that “academic merit” can be measured in any exact way. Test scores and high school grades are not precise enough to rank applicants or make strict cut-offs. Nevertheless, they provide a rough ordering. They are also perceived to be things that applicants have “earned” or worked for, as opposed to something like race that someone is born into. Being a minority is seen as conferring an unfair advantage in admission. (problem = privelege based on skin color is not right)

    5) So I know my last point turns privelege on its head, and how it will be attacked. The question is not “who has the advantage in life” but “how shall we judge academic merit”. The rules of university admission are worth fighting over, because a university degree is worth so much and there are a limited number of places. Gains for one do come at the expense of another, I agree with Frederick there. Trouble is, no system for determining admission will ever be “fair” because race and class influence every measure it could ever be based on. (problem = animosity created between groups as they fight for the perks of admission)

    And just like that, I’ve arrived at my conclusion—there is no perfect solution. I will vote for the MCRI because I think it furthers the long-term goal of making society color-blind. College admission should be based on individual qualities and not group affiliations. (same for government contracts and everything else MCRI affects) Interviews, essays and letters of recommendation should be used to offset tests and grades to give a holistic picture of college applicants. Affirmative action is a quick & dirty fix that lets us ignore the core problems minorities face. Society must continue to address those directly. Affirmative action is nobly intended, but perpetuates racial and group distinctions, problems which have plagued this nation since its founding.

       —trouble-me-not    Sep. 25 '06 - 03:39PM    #
  17. So after 400 years of affirmative action for rich white men,

    You’re casting your vote for 400 more years of… the same.

       —400 Years of Affirmative Action for White Men.    Sep. 26 '06 - 01:41AM    #
  18. Pro sport teams don’t have a “no cut policy”, everybody on the team doesn’t get equal playing time, nor do they all have the same level of athletic ability. They always keep score and at the end of every game, one team wins and the other loses. Is affirmative action the best AVAILABLE solution we have to solve the problem of athletic disparity in this country? Who speaks up for the small rich white men, who through no fault of their own, were forced to live in affluent communities where educational goals always superceded athletic pursuits? Sure, they can play golf or tennis,maybe even bowling, but after 18 years of substandard physical education, how can they ever hope to play in the Big House? Race and class play a big role in choosing who gets athletic scholarships or lucrative professional sports contracts. It’s not fair and voting against the MCRI won’t do anything to address this form of discrimination.

    Where’s the affirmative action program for ugly women who want to be fashion models? Beauty is such an arbitrary, subjective standard. Why don’t we allow hopeful models to submit personal essays? Isn’t inner beauty the more important factor? Couldn’t we as a society provide plastic surgery to help overcome the misfortune of not being pleasing to look at? This country doesn’t provide equal access to cosmetics, fitness centers, or poise and beauty schools…we primarily let “the market” decide who gets to become a model.

    If diversity is acknowledged by U of M to be an asset in the classroom, where is the diversity of political views among the faculty? Why does Mary Sue always talk about our shared values? Doesn’t she realize that our multicultural institutions have students, staff and faculty who bring widely disparate values to the university? And if diversity is valued, why is the goal of most educational programs to make everyone think in “lockstep”? Wouldn’t the goal of “diversity” be better achieved if all forms of educational propangandizing were eliminated?

    The judges who thought diversity in the student body was an educational benefit obviously didn’t attend classes at the U where 500+ students attend the same lecture and the professor shows the same powerpoint slide shows every semester without any opportunities for questions or discussion. If a student manages to get through a couple of years of this massive lecture hall teaching method, they may end up in a class that allows discussion. There, students are rewarded for regurgitating the professors views and heavily penalized for any diversity of thought. Even if the student next to me has a different skin tone and perspective it would not be advantagous for him/her to express it. The best students,i.e. the ones with the best GPA’s, are those who learn to pattern their answers to correlate to the belief system of the person who awards the grades.

    While most inner city disadvantaged youth don’t end up attending schools like the U of M, those with ability and hard work ethics can meet the admission requirements without using affirmative action and they do get admitted every year.

    What is wrong with selecting persons with athletic ability to be employed as professional athletes, beautiful women to be employed as models, and students with academic skills to be selected to study at the best Universities? I think the MCRI ballot initiative has a very good chance at passing. Those who assume that persons of certain races can’t compete on an equal basis are either lazy or racist.

       —Name 1 Affirmative Action Program that has succeeded in solving the problem    Sep. 26 '06 - 06:47AM    #
  19. I have never in the past had a choice in the matter, but I will in November.

       —Name 1 Affirmative Action Program that has succeeded in solving the problem    Sep. 26 '06 - 08:36AM    #
  20. Peter, and others,

    I believe that Frederick has engaged in condemnable hyperbole here when he conjures up the analogy of the Holocaust to demonstrate a probability point (his point is that the lower probability doesn’t make much difference to the individuals actually affected, but he loses respect by comparing the inconvenience suffered by a Jennifer Gratz to murder, let alone genocide).

    That said, I’ve read the guide, and while I agree it is mildly biased against MCRI, and that it unprofessionally failed to include interviews with MCRI staff while it included material provided by opposition’s political consultant, I think the piece has “intellectual honesty.” That is, there was some effort put forth to balance the piece, and that whatever lack of balance there is was not intentional (either subconscious or residual from the argumentative “noise” that exists on the issue). I also can’t see why MCRI wasted the time to officially criticize the work, or why Frederick is so offended by it. It’s one of the TAMER pieces out there, and there’s plenty of other harder garbage against MCRI that is more worthy of targeting.

    Trouble-me-not makes some superior arguments (and I assure it wasn’t me, although I’ve made these arguments for a long-time). My favorite line is:

    Affirmative action is a quick & dirty fix that lets us ignore the core problems minorities face.

    Peter, let me answer this question which Frederick has failed to answer, since you ask an important one:

    frederick, what steps should be taken by the state and the nation to counter racism and racial discrimination?

    My answer: Step 1) Traditional and vigorous enforcement of Civil Rights laws, such as the Civil Rights Act. Ironically, preferences weaken such laws as they give any organization using them an “automatic” way out or defense. They also provide a “ceiling” as much as they raise the floor. 2) Traditional affirmative-action-outreach. Reach out to everyone in your outreach, job postings, and programs to encourage applications, etc. 3) More vigorous focus on the underlying socio-economic causes of disparity. Here’s obviously where the political disagreement on method comes in. 4) More vigorous focus on the failure of K-12 schools, which is highly clustered, again based on scoio-economic conditions.

    That’s just the beginning, of course. But preferences stand in the way of any real political solution as they give both parties an excuse to use with certain constituencies. We have had roughly 40 years of preference – and ironically, we’re MORE SEGREGATED now. Although I don’t believe that simple correlation is good scientific evidence of causality, it is certainly good counter-evidence that preference doesn’t have a causality link to better societal outcomes to decrease segregation, which is the only moral reason that could be compelling enough (diversity certainly isn’t) to justify them.

    Finally, in response to Dale in 5, he writes:

    What I don’t understand is how difficult it is for some people to understand the authority and reasoning of the United States Supreme Court.

    Dale, what I don’t understand is how difficult it is for some people to understand the ultimate authority and source of power for government lies in the reasoning of the People of the United States, not the Supreme Court. Ironically though, the United States Supreme Court’s reasoning in Grutter v. Bollinger FULLY EMBRACES that this a political decision of the People of the various states (which is how the University of Michigan was granted the right to use preferential discrimination), and it explicitly recognizes and even encourages the exploration of alternatives and the people’s power to prohibit their state institutions from preferences when it mentions the California and Washington State systems. So the Supreme Court decision is not being “overridden” or even dis-”respected”, as you imply. It is being honored to its fullest by the people who followed the rule of law, Michigan system, and American system in petitioning their government for change. Of course, the will of the people should certainly be subjected to some constraints, but the Supreme Court has clearly and explicitly in this case determined that this is an area subject to the political processes of each state.

       —Chetly Zarko    Sep. 27 '06 - 06:58AM    #
  21. There are at least two important questions here.

    1. What are the merits of affirmative action?
    2. What will Proposal 2 actually deliver?

    I’d like to address the second one.

    We know what Proposal 2 will do to Michigan because it is similar to California’s Proposition 209, which was passed in 1996. Here is one example, from “The Gender Impact of the Proposed Michigan Civil Rights Initiative” by Susan Kaufman,

    ”...the National Coalition of Free Men, Los Angeles (CFM) or its members filed suit to challenge, among others, breast cancer screening and battered women s shelters programs. In Blumhorst v. Jewish Family Services of Los Angeles, an individual CFM member directly sued battered women s shelters for violating equal protection by allegedly providing services to women, but not men, and sought the elimination of state funding as a remedy. Funding for battered women s shelters was preserved when the courts found that Blumhorst lacked standing because, although he claimed to be a survivor of domestic violence, he was not in need of services when he called shelters seeking to be admitted, and therefore had not suffered any injury when he was allegedly denied services.”

    “Although these suits have not succeeded so far, it remains possible that the Coalition of Free Men or other individuals or groups will be found to have standing in future lawsuits. In addition, the necessity of mounting defenses in these lawsuits has already consumed scarce resources of time and money for chronically under-funded shelters as well as the state.”

    My point is clear. If Proposal 2 passes, it will threaten the funding of domestic violence shelters in Michigan, like Safehouse.

       —Gus    Sep. 28 '06 - 09:20AM    #
  22. Your bias is showing. Treating everyone the same regardless of skin color is not racist. I don’t think white women need affirmative action at all, especially in education. Why give an additional advantage to a group that outperforms other demographic categories?

       —Everybody counts!    Sep. 28 '06 - 07:33PM    #
  23. I’m guessing that opponents of the MCRI, such as Gus, are making arguments about its impact on white folks, because most of the voters who will decide the fate of this proposal are white.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 28 '06 - 09:31PM    #
  24. Hmm, why would a shelter organization choose to fight a legal case rather than demonstrate that it either will or cannot (for whatever reason) provide services to men (or whomever)? (I also wonder about the legal interpretation of the difference between “advantage” and “protection”.)

    Interesting that Kaufman presents a position that’s distrustful of the courts to fairly judge whether men have standing on such an issue (if I read that correctly.)

    Larry, I doubt that Gus is deliberately making a political argument, but rather one on the basis of what he cares about.

    I’ve followed this debate since last spring—watched the televised debate held at the downtown library, read the online discussions, attended the ACLU membership meeting that included Kaufman and other presenters, read the LTEs in the News. I think that the logical argument in favor of the MCRI is stronger, even in our real world context. As presented by its supporters (like Frederick, here) it’s sometimes weaker, for various reasons. The opponents appear to have the emotional advantage ‘in their favor’.

    Regardless of the outcome of the vote, we’ll all be responsible for our feelings about it and our personal behavior in response to it. Anger and recriminations from either ‘side’ won’t help. There’s more important work to do than blaming.

       —Steve Bean    Sep. 28 '06 - 10:39PM    #
  25. I’ll save my breath on this one, but why were the inline images removed? I think they were appropriate and germane to the topic, not to mention they broke up the monotony of some of these responses.

       —dumi    Sep. 29 '06 - 02:43AM    #
  26. “why were the inline images removed?”

    1. They add to the download times, especially if they’re used a lot, and if (as happens sometimes…) the thread runs to a few hundred posts.

    2. Commenters can always just link to the images, so readers can go look at them if we want without having to have the page filled with them.

    3. Germane or not, I don’t find that they advance the argument very much.

    Inline images in comments are supposed to be turned off, actually—this seems to be a textpattern bug.

    Note also the only image removed was an oversized image, which has the effect of widening the page and making comments harder to read. (This happens when people paste in overly long URL’s, too; see this thread for an example.)

    I’d prefer to avoid all inline images, though.

       —Bruce Fields    Sep. 29 '06 - 03:39AM    #
  27. I start out on the “no” side of the MCRI debate. But I’d like to be open minded about it and consider the logical argument for the “yes” side that you consider to be stronger Steve. Please elaborate.

       —AK    Sep. 29 '06 - 04:09AM    #
  28. As I noted, I’ve been studying this issue for months. I couldn’t possibly sum up the many (valid) perspectives here. I found strong arguments in presentations and LTEs by professor Carl Cohen, as well as some on Frederick’s site (linked to above.) If you’re open-minded you should be successful at separating the wheat from the chaff—not all of it is presented as well as it might be.

    The primary weakness of the opponents’ arguments against MCRI is that most of them don’t address alternative means of tackling discrimination. A secondary weakness is that they discuss the expected negative impacts of the elimination of affirmative action as if they would be permanent (or at least don’t acknowledge that they needn’t be and most likely wouldn’t be.)

    Without getting into it, I also noted the emotional aspect of their case. As a tall, white male, I may have an easier time not feeling strong emotions about perceived impacts. At the same time I think I’m able to be objective about the arguments. I’m still open to arguments as to why the elimination of affirmative action now would be detrimental in the long run. I’m not participating here to convince anyone to vote one way or another. I believe that our actions after, not on, election day will be far more important.

       —Steve Bean    Sep. 29 '06 - 06:39AM    #
  29. Interesting points Steve. They’re not ones I had given much thought to. And I can’t dismiss them out of hand.

    To clarify, is your first point indicating that you believe there are effective remedies for discrimination that wouldn’t involve affirmative action style programs?

    Are you suggesting in your second point that whatever programs MCRI would eliminate could be brought back through some mechanism? Another ballot initiative? Legislative action?

       —AK    Sep. 29 '06 - 08:11AM    #
  30. George Will wrote a column about Michigan’s upcoming ballot initiative in yesterday’s Ann Arbor News. A colorblind Michigan?

       —Everybody counts!    Sep. 29 '06 - 03:26PM    #
  31. “To clarify, is your first point indicating that you believe there are effective remedies for discrimination that wouldn’t involve affirmative action style programs?”

    Yes. Education may be the most important, but I have no doubt that we can develop programs to address clear discriminatory practices, whether based on existing laws or on new ones.

    “Are you suggesting in your second point that whatever programs MCRI would eliminate could be brought back through some mechanism? Another ballot initiative? Legislative action?”

    Yes. The mechanism is irrelevant, but preferably electoral or legislative action wouldn’t be necessary. The simplest change would be for programs to offer their services to men, as in the case of breast cancer screening—my understanding is that men can get breast cancer—and to economically disadvantaged (for lack of a better term—”poor” is a poor label) people, as in most “affirmative action” programs. That is, all citizens (and maybe non-citizens, but that’s another discussion) should be eligible, with the most deserving (to be defined, but based in some way on need) being served and the least deserving being excluded, all this based on how we collectively choose to allocate resources.

    The greatest disparity in this country is economic—the “poor” are exploited to benefit the “rich”. I don’t share that in order to discount the real racist and sexist injustices that occur, I just offer it as context.

    By the way, the opponents of the MCRI could make their strongest argument against it by addressing not the overt racist and sexist behavior—both current and anticipated—but by exposing the subtle, unconscious racism and sexism that the vast majority of us hold inside. I’ve stated before here on AU that I’m a racist. I believe that most US citizens are (and not just the “white” ones.) We can’t help but be, given our history and culture. I don’t know why this reality isn’t being discussed since, at this point in our history, it’s the elephant in the room. I can guess, though, and I don’t have reason to expect it will be examined after November either.

       —Steve Bean    Sep. 29 '06 - 04:52PM    #
  32. The difference is that I’m very (if not quite fully) aware of my own negative racist and sexist feelings (which are less frequent as a result, due to that awareness combined with my desire to overcome them), and the percentage of my behavior that is impacted by those feelings is somewhere below 0.1% of my overall behavior. Yes, I am proud of that. Those who are largely unaware of such feelings and who therefore allow a much higher percentage of their own behavior to be affected negatively are who need attention, not me.

    But then none of this is about me anyway, right? You’re undermining your own case by allowing your own anger to interfere with your thinking about a broad, complex issue.

    If affirmative action is a “flimsy protection”, get to work developing one that isn’t flimsy or reducing the need for protections. Don’t waste time with your self-indulgent slide show. You might start by signing your name and taking responsibility for your own words and behavior.

       —Steve Bean    Sep. 29 '06 - 07:02PM    #
  33. After You Eliminate Affirmative Action,

    You propose to replace its flimsy protections with… what, exactly?

    And how long will Black America be waiting for you to get your new proposals up and running?

    You called yourself a racist.


    You white liberal racists can get a scholarly look at yourselves in:

    Reaching Beyond Race,

    by Paul M. Sniderman and Edward G. Carmines Harvard University Press (1998).

    When white liberals can’t find any credible Black people to speak aginst affirmative action, they will simply put greasepaint on their white faces, and go right on speaking against affirmative action:

    Think about how ready you are to wipe out affirmative action, supposedly in the interests of Black people(!), as you read Sniderman and Carmines, in Reaching Beyond Race:

    The book’s authors, almost a decade ago, found that the most “tolerant” whites are opposed to affirmative action preferences. “Looking only at the 25 percent of the [white] public whose attitudes toward blacks is most favorable, we discovered that opposition to affirmative action in this group is overwhelming, with between 7 and 8 out of every 10 objecting to it”, they found.

    Even among those 1 percent of American whites classified as the “most tolerant”, 80 percent oppose race preferences in hiring.
    —But the study doesn’t mention the pro-white preferences that bestowed ALL RACIST LIBERALS with their own jobs, their suburban spreads, their maids, and their college admissions.

       —After You Eliminate Affirmative Action...    Sep. 29 '06 - 10:32PM    #
  34. Steve, I appreciate your clarification on the questions I asked. I’ll think over your comments.

    And I also appreciate your straightforward acknowledgement that you have thoughts about race that occassionally veer towards stereotypes. At least that’s how I interpret “racist” as you use the term. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    If I’m right, then others here are taking shamefully cheap shots at you, rather than arguing the points you made. By the definition above, most—probably all—of us, of all races, have some racist thoughts from time to time. I certainly count myself among them. People tend to over-steer towards stereotypes of all kinds—it’s the human condition.

    What matters is what you do about this. Your comments about awareness and self-control are insightful.

    I credit your arguments for MCRI as not coming from your views on race, but from your views on public policy. I take them seriously.

    I come at this issue with an initial “no” stance towards MCRI. But the people who most recently argued this case here have given me cause to doubt this position.

       —AK    Sep. 30 '06 - 12:34AM    #
  35. So now you have misgivings about Affirmative Action?

    You’re ready to flush, oh, a few hundred thousand Black students down the toilet, due to a terribly impolite posting on Arbor Update?

    Ready to stand in the schoolhouse door, to keep out Black students who strike you as “undeserving”?

    Oh, you say you’re doing it for Public Policy reasons!

    Public Policy… keep the universities full of corn-fed, lily-white piglets like this “deserving” Yale student, who received the country’s highest honor?

    Public Policy, or greedy white Piglet Policy?

       —Now You Hate Affirmative Action?    Sep. 30 '06 - 12:58AM    #
  36. Count me in as one who may have voted against and now will be voting for MCRI based on these inane rantings.

       —Marcus    Sep. 30 '06 - 01:15AM    #
  37. You know what you’re doing, don’t you?

    When you eliminate the last chance for higher education, for a job, for a future, for perhaps millions of Black men, women, young people?

    You know what you’re doing.

    You especially know what you’re doing politically:

    it’s a humiliating slap in the face, to those who built the wealth which you now enjoy.

    Remember the 1960’s.

    Want to re-live that?

    Photo: The Black Panthers’ Breakfast for Children program.

       —You know what you're doing, don't you?    Sep. 30 '06 - 01:53AM    #
  38. I wonder if the mindless posts above that belittle and mis-state the views they attack are actually designed to move people away from their “no” position on MCRI? Could be.

    But for the moment I’ll take them at face value. Just because some who would vote no on MCRI post like this won’t affect my thinking as I make my mind up. The vote is on the public policy, not a referendum on the character of the advocates on both sides.

       —AK    Sep. 30 '06 - 05:17AM    #
  39. If you like what happened in California after essentially the same “civil rights” initiative took effect, then you’ll vote for the MCRI.

    I don’t like what happened, so I will be voting “no”.

       —David Cahill    Sep. 30 '06 - 09:56PM    #
  40. David,

    Precisely what happened in California that you don’t like? I’d like to address those points, as I know you have an open mind.

    Also, great to see your name out there again.


    Others, I think Scott nicely outlines the alternatives (as I have on my website, particularly here in this Michigan Bar Journal op-ed in 2003, which are simply described as 1) stand up for vigorous enforcement of civil rights law (which, preference, ironically weakens, as I point out above). One advantage of this is that it focuses on holding individuals responsible for their own actions, and therefore doesn’t have the philosophical and practical problems. 2) stand up for creative alternatives that address the underlying causes of racial-economic disparity. We know race itself isn’t the cause of the “achievement gap,” but rather social-economic and geographic position that perpetuates itself. Break-up clusters of poverty. Hold failing schools accountable. Thinking about the impact of public policy with this in mind does not require preferences based on race. Ironically, preferential affirmative action most directly prevents this outside-the-box thinking because it gives weak politicians an excuse to say we’re doing something for the group when in fact it’s really nothing that will help long-term success.

    86% of preference recipients are weatlhier minorities from the suburbs. 66% of Harvard recipients were non-American citizen foreigners (the wealthiest African-Africans, etc.). It’s all for show (the very essence of “diversity”). While I have no problem with individuals of either of these groups – neither have any legitimate moral claim to a preference. Preferences do not solve our societal segregation problem (for if they did, one would expect Detroit to have at least marginally improved, but it has gotten more segregated over the years – - one might, although it would be a weak statistical argument, make the argument that preferences contributed to it – - but it is a strong statistical argument to use in the converse as evidence that they don’t succeed at desegregation).

    Right now Michigan is walking through history with the blissful blindfold that preferences place on us. Sure, the campus is marginally more “diverse” in APPEARANCE (Michigan statisticians argued that that 12% black enrollment would fall to 4% if we “did nothing,” but that ignores solid work by the centrist “Century Foundation” (Nat Hentoff is a member) researcher Richard Kahlenberg that showed that if an agressive socio-economic alternative were pursued, that at least 75% of those numbers would be recaptured, bringing us back up to 10% minority enrollment. If U-M is telling us that it can’t find 2% through either more vigorous outreach (race-neutral) to increase applicant pools or through hard-work helping schools actually better prepare students, then U-M might as well just fold up shop and declare it is no longer an elite insitution.

    Ending preferences is the only way to force our universities and politicians into serious reform.

       —Chetly Zarko    Oct. 4 '06 - 02:27AM    #
  41. Chet, would you agree that David’s logic (absent clarification) is something comparable to ‘Michigan is getting a C minus on equal opportunity, but California is now getting a D, so I prefer to stick with the C minus’?

    (I can imagine affirmative action helping us move all the way up to a C plus someday. Maybe women will earn 75% of what men do for the same work by 2020, for example.)

       —Steve Bean    Oct. 4 '06 - 05:51AM    #
  42. OK, to get back to MCRI…

    Imagine what happens if it is approved, and it emboldens every racist Tom, Dick, and Harry to start MCRI campaigns in 48 other states.

    Do you want to empower those types, who just LIVE to roll back any protection afforded to Black America?

       —MCRI lynch mob    Oct. 4 '06 - 06:38PM    #
  43. “Ending preferences is the only way to force our universities and politicians into serious reform.”

    Chet – do you oppose legacy and residency preferences?

       —John Q.    Oct. 4 '06 - 07:18PM    #
  44. I oppose legacy (and the patently offensive “VIP” preferences) preferences, as the public record well before MCRI’s existence shows (see my Michigan Bar Journal op-ed). However, I do not think the issue of legacies is the same philosophically as race, and an attempt to include that in the ballot language would have subjected MCRI to multiple legal issues (addressing technical stuff). I do believe legacies would be ended voluntarily by U-M, just as they were in Texas, if MCRI passes.

    I do not oppose residence preferences philosophically, although I would love to see a system whereby Michigan residents were not given a quota at U-M, because I believe that U-M could essentially “tax” other states and increase its overall quality by increasing out-of-state attendance and increase tourism etc, while a significant enough number of Michiganders would still qualify to attend U-M.

    I would note very pointedly that the existence of the so-called geographic preferences (Upper Peninsula, rural districts, etc.) does not work against MCRI – it works against those saying that there are no race neutral alternatives. One could easily imagine that minorities would benefit from a preference that targeted ALL underperforming schools (since underperforming and/or underfunded schools are clustered in inner-cities and rural districts), etc., or schools on the basis of their per-pupil funding differentials (which are far lower since Proposal A passed). Such systems would have moral soundness and practical benefit. One could even imagine U-M getting into the charter business and improving the applicant pool itself, or any number of other solutions (indeed, there will need to be a patchwork of multiple efforts to achieve serious results).

    Only twenty some states have initiative laws, so it couldn’t go to all 50, and I predict that even if MCRI wins there will be only a slow matriculation of other states given the difficulty these particular drives now face.

    Steve, I would find merit to David’s logic were that hypothetical factual actually true, however, I do not believe California is in fact worse off than we are, that 209 had the exaggerated effect claimed, etc. That is why I asked Dave what statistical points of the California experience concerned him specifically.

    Estimate of women’s earnings are not accurately portrayed as “75%” male earnings FOR THE SAME JOBS OR WHEN FACTORING IN LIFECYCLE DIFFERENCES. That number is the aggregate earnings of females compared to the aggregate earnings of males. Since women have a lower labor participation rate due to child-rearing, they will have earn less on aggregate. Other studies I’ve seen place apples-to-apples labor-price comparisons for women at between 95 and 109%, depending on what is factored in. Women are being admitted to universities at roughly a 55%-45% ratio over men, who have for over a decade been performing worse on standardized tests (a “male achievement gap”). I believe “affirmative action for men” would be ridiculous as a solution to this latter problem because it simply wouldn’t work (to better prepare males), just as I believe it fails for other groups for the same reason.

    Another thing about California – the Californis-system now has one of the highest minority retention/graduation rates in the nation. U-M is at the bottom of the ladder among elite schools in that category. The key to repairing societal disparity is GRADUATING more people – the whole idea behind the “diversity” justification is that graduation is irrelevant and we need more black people on campus so that whites “learn better.” It flips logic and morality on its head.

       —Chetly Zarko    Oct. 5 '06 - 02:02AM    #
  45. Watching you judge “merit” and assess “factors”...

    ...You could ALMOST forget what MCRI is really about:

    MCRI is about minimizing Black self-confidence and, yes, pride.

    Minimizing the number of Black students that your privileged derriere has to sit near, in the classroom.

    That is all MCRI is:

    another Minefield around Cozy Racist Institutions.

    Just how many Black students are you willing to sacrifice, to MCRI?

    If the percentage of Black students, at U-M, simply dwindled to zero, would you beg to bring back Affirmative Action?


    You’d pride yourself on your merit.

    You’d wonder why potential Black applicants took MCRI “so personally”, wouldn’t you?

    But you show no signs of caring what any Black person thinks…

    ...except maybe for Ward Connerly, who has already got it and gone.

       —How many Black students are you willing to sacrifice?    Oct. 5 '06 - 03:03AM    #
  46. Thanks, Chet. Interesting point about graduation rates. My thoughts on legacy and residential preferences are similar to yours.

    Do you have thoughts on racial (not sex-based) gaps in employment and compensation? Do you know anything about which measures have been tried in California since they passed Prop 209 in 1996 that have failed? Any which have had some success?

    Gus posed the question of “What are the merits of affirmative action?” in #24. It would be helpful to be able to measure the purported merits against those of other, non-affirmative action efforts elsewhere (as well as relative shortcomings.) Unfortunately, I haven’t seen that type of comparison from either ‘side’ in this debate.

    As I noted earlier (and as we’ve seen here), the arguments against are more emotional, even what might be called ‘shame based’ (in the extreme), than objectively informative. That’s not to say that there is no information provided, but there seems to be a line where it ends rather than being open to fully exploring the possibilities. I understand why, I just don’t find it helpful as a voter.

       —Steve Bean    Oct. 5 '06 - 06:41PM    #
  47. “I do not think the issue of legacies is the same philosophically as race”

    In what way? At least racial “preferences” are addressing a historical wrong. Legacies, on the other hand, appear to be exacerbating a system based not on merit but on who you know.

       —John Q.    Oct. 5 '06 - 07:52PM    #
  48. Legacy preference is a self-serving mechanism to maintain “brand loyalty” for the university, and to keep alumni ( = potential donors) happy. Nothing noble about that.

       —trouble-me-not    Oct. 5 '06 - 08:23PM    #
  49. For me, it comes down to 2 things: math camps and nurses.

    Let’s start with nurses. As most folks know, right now Michigan (and most of the U.S.) faces a nursing shortage. Some reports indicate that we’re actually importing nurses (sorry, I can’t find a reference for that).

    Obviously, we need to use several tactics to solve the nursing shortage. One tactic is to recruit non-traditional populations into nursing. That’s why I support affirmative action programs to bring males into nursing—we need more nurses—and if affirmative action helps provide them, that’s good for me, it’s good for Michigan, and it’s good for the health care system.

    The U-M has programs to recruit males into nursing, and proposal 2 would ban many of these programs. That’s not good.

    The other thing that comes up for me is math camp. Does anyone remember the Barbie dolls that used to say, “Math is hard”? We have a long way to go before we get to gender equality in math and sciences. One way to do that is to create math and science camps for girls, to get them excited and engaged in these disciplines. Proposal 2 would ban state-funded math camps for girls. As Michigan works to get a 21st century workforce that can compete for 21st century jobs, we can’t afford to loose any opportunity to strengthen the education of our citizens.

    Personally, I also oppose prop 2 on moral and religious grounds, but as a matter of public policy, I think it’s just foolish to ban programs that can help provide a more diverse, more competative workforce (and a workforce with enough nurses to take care of me if I hurt myself in my run for peace )

       —Chuck Warpehoski    Oct. 6 '06 - 01:44AM    #
  50. “Let’s be cool”,

    Who here has declared themselves to be a racist?

    And to say that MCRI is “shutting out” anyone, let alone “millions of blacks” as you hyperbolically claim, is absurd. MCRI prohibits preferences – it does not prohibit black people from succeeding.

    And to the psuedo that asserts MCRI is about “minimizing black self-confidence … and pride”, I’d really like to know how it does that. Some have suggested that preferences weaken self-confidence because they reduce the perceived value of a degree (or hiring or any accomplishment) both among others and the person receiving the preference. While I don’t believe this is the most compelling argument (precisely because it is so subject) against preferences, it is a consequence. What you’re saying is that because MCRI passes you will lose confidence. I’d suggest that if you’re “self-confidence” and “pride” is so-contingent upon governmental policy (or really anything from outside yourself) that its not really self-confidence, nor is it strong. If you’re self-confidence depends upon my vote.

    John Q., your point elaborates on why race and legacy are indeed philosophically different. Their moral justifications are far different. And you have completely taken me out of context by just quoting my declaration that they are different—- I made it very clear in my post that I oppose the use of legacies, indeed, in my Michigan Bar Journal piece in 2003 I point out that they exacerbate that system just as you do, and argue forcefully against them. Adopting MCRI I believe will put pressure on U-M to end legacy. Additionally, you’re point that preferences are “addressing a historical wrong” is not correct from the perspective of U-M and the legal ruling – they are SOLELY for the alleged “educational benefits” accruing from “diversity’. The “historical wrong” argument has been rejected by the courts (though it is still very popular) – and the simple truth is that preferences do not change the time line, they do not rectify the wrong, and they are wholly inadequate in scope and power to even begin doing so. They also rectify the wrong by harming individuals who had nothing to do with the wrong and allegedly benefiting individuals who likewise in many cases were not harmed by the wrong (for example, 66% of Harvard’s black preference recipients are non-American (African-Africans) foreigners, according to Lani Guinear, hardly a figure friendly to MCRI, and according to another study 86% of preference recipients generally are wealthier minorities – that is, students attending the same Bloomfield Hills and Grosse Pointe high schools that just happen to be minority). And the “whites” allegedly “responsible” are most often descendents of 20th Century immigrants, whose parents didn’t even participate in or gather the fruits of the discrimination. When you start talking about reparations, you have to ask 1) who do we pay 2) who pays 3) how much.

    “trouble-me-not”, you are correct. nothing noble about legacies.

       —Chetly Zarko    Oct. 6 '06 - 04:06AM    #
  51. After You Cut Affirmative Action Out… Then What?

    Mission Accomplished?

    Problem Solved?

       —After You Cut That Remedy Out... Then What?    Oct. 6 '06 - 04:10AM    #
  52. Chuck,

    MCRI does not ban math camps or recruiting male nurses. First, nursing. You say U-M has programs to “recruit” male nurses. That is true. And they do. And some men are choosing that course-path. But recruiting is not banned by MCRI, only “discrimination” and “preference” on the basis of gender, race, etc. That is why we say MCRI does NOT ban all “affirmative action.” Because recruiting and outreach are types of affirmative action that have always been legal. If U-M’s nursing or any other school continues to expand its advertising, job-postings, and informational reach to wider pools of people, that benefits everyone. So if U-M determines that advertising nursing in Sports Illustrated or Mechanics Times or whatever demographically-pre-dominantly male outlet it chooses, that’s fine. Women happen to read such things, and would be equally elibible to apply. On the other hand, if U-M actually gives entrance-qualification preference, MCRI would stop that. The bottom line is that we need MORE NURSES of ALL KINDS – whether they are male or female is irrelevant to the shortage you speak of, and entrance preferences to males or females are not going to increase the slots available. You’re shifting chairs on the Titanic on this one, since the solution doesn’t change the number of chairs.

    With math and science, the answer is similar. First, we need MORE math and science students of BOTH GENDERS. Let’s get them both excited. Our boys and girls are lagging statistically compared to other countries. Why just help girls? Let’s stop making those dumb Barbie’s you refer to. Second, what empirical evidence leads anyone to believe that SEGREGATING GIRLS in just one area of study – math and science – is going to benefit them. It is counter-intuitive to me to believe that teaching girls separately on a specific topic is going to help their confidence, and if such camps and programs are so great, why not have them on a massive scale for boys and girls alike (that is, if such programs aren’t just government money giveaways to a particular group-political lobby). Now, I do believe it is possible that separate-sex schooling might have some place in society and some efficacy in controlling the distractions created by hormones, etc., but I don’t believe government should be making that decision (which, ironically, still allows for the possibility of government-run separate-sex schools, SO LONG AS THERE IS PARENTAL CHOICE and co-ed and both single-sex options are all available). It’s actually rather simple – I can’t discriminate against YOU if you are the one making the choice. Single-sex schools are the ONE single issue that opponents raise that actually has some merit in attacking MCRI – and even then, a carefully thought government policy can design a non-preferential program. It should also be pointed out that without choice it is unlikely single-sex education – if rammed down parents throats by a school district – would survive a federal-law normal discrimination legal challenge with or without MCRI. With choice, it has a shot of being legal (and the Michigan legislature is taking up a bill, or maybe already has, that would repeal the 1933 law making it illegal).

    On both math and nursing, approaching from a different but not inconsistent angle, I think it should be apparent that there are fundamental physio-mental (style) differences between males and females. These differences create different lifestyle preferences among men and women. Why should government try to erase those choice differences? Is it wise? Do statistical tendencies as certain specialties suggest that such government meddling – moving people away from what they choose to be their life calling and incenting them into other fields – might actually do more harm than good? The bottom line is that we should give everyone as close to possible equal OPPORTUNITIES AND CHOICES, but let them make them once given. Where such opportunities or choices are not available, there is a legitimate role for government to step in (for example, to enforce discrimination laws when individuals take away others opportunities, etc.). The other world view is that the OUTCOMES of just about everything in every measurable field and micro-cosm of life should be roughly equal (note that this is ironically the opposite of “diversity,” it is homogenity), and that we should change human tendencies where necessary. To get there one requires preferences. So this battle is truly between the two competing views of the world.

    You say you are morally and religiously against MCRI, but leave the why hanging. I’d like to hear that argument.

       —Chetly Zarko    Oct. 6 '06 - 04:43AM    #
  53. Wow, Chetly, I thought a political consultant would be more careful to avoid the Lawrence H. Summers “innate differences” argument.

    I do believe that discrimination remains an issue in our schools and in our workplaces, which is why I support affirmative action programs to recruit qualified candidates into fields they are poorly represented in.

    As I look back at the back-and-forth on what Proposal 2 would or would not do, I guess that’s part of the issue. We would ammend the state constitution (which I think is a big deal and shouldn’t be done lightly), but there are many questions about how the courts would interpret it.

    When California passed a similar initiative, groups sued to block funding for domestic violence shelters and breast cancer screeing programs (source). We don’t know how the courts in Michigan will interpret Proposal 2.

    Would it cut funding for cervical cancer screenings? Would it eliminate math camps for girls? Would it tie the hands of recruiters to invest money into targetting under-represented populations, ruling that targetted recruitment is a form of “preferential treatment?”

    We can argue back and forth, but the point is that we’re rolling the dice here on this on if we make this ammendment to the Michigan constitution. That’s not something I’ feel comfortable with.

       —Chuck Warpehoski    Oct. 6 '06 - 07:20PM    #
  54. Race and sex discrimination are so deeply imbedded in our society that I am willing to support “equality of result” and not merely “equality of opportunity”.

    Affirmative action is necessary to achieve equality of result.

    Ergo, I oppose the MCRI.

       —David Cahill    Oct. 6 '06 - 08:18PM    #
  55. David, I’m used to better argument from you, rather than a resort to Hitler comparisons. And I certainly never said that women should limit themselves to cooking or pregnancy – YOU ARE AN ASS TO TRY TO PUT THOSE WORDS INTO ANYONE’s mouth. The difference is Hitler didn’t support women (or anyone) making their own choices about what they prefer. Hitler and other societies forced women into the barefoot and pregnant lifestyle. My vision is of a world where women choose their lifestyle. The simple fact (for the survival of the species) is that some women will choose to become pregnant, and many will choose to stay home. I have close friends where the woman has the child but the man will end up as homemaker. I think that option is a positive development for society, and is one of the positive outcomes of the feminist movement (if this debate were about “tolerance” for other ideas, I’d have no problem admitting that the civil rights and feminist movement made vast strides in that area, and that there are still intolerant people on the extremes, but we’ve also become intolerant of any dissent on what the appropriate course of actions in race-gender relations is). Except where there is direct interference with the rights of another individual, I support the locus of choice being with the individual, not the government (Hitler supported the locus of control being government – Hitler was a social-engineer, preferences are a (much milder) form of social engineering). Race and gender preference obviously has a locus of choice and power with the government, so I would be closer to the point to accuse you of being more Hitler-like, but that would also be wrong because there are host of other differences between your views and his. Government’s role is protecting the individual – not groups, and in equalizing opportunities and choices.

    Hold on Chuck, I didn’t make Summers argument, although I can see you will want to pigeonhole me on that. Summers made a significantly different variation of the argument – he suggested that women were less talented in certain categories. I suggest that we are all as individuals DIFFERENTLY TALENTED. That is, the range of individual variation in process and thought is far more significant than the range of variation among cultures or sexes. It has often been pointed out by nearly unanimous scientific sources that the range of variation within a race is greater than the range of variation among races (as is sex). Look, if we can’t admit that there are differences between us, we’ve lost the point of diversity. Again, that’s the irony of the movement – it strangely homogenizes in the name of diversity.

    As to “rolling dice,” every political action and non-action is a roll of the dice. I don’t think we should roll the dice on a 40-year failed program. As to your “groups sued” to block domestic abuse shelters, you are correct that one suit was filed which was dismissed. Any legislation could be opposed on the grounds that some group might sue frivolously. Michigan courts will not end domestic abuse shelters or breast cancer funding, and there is no earthly way that “public hiring, public education, and public contracting” could be interpreted to include governmental operations not in those categories, let alone the fact that MCRI has an exception for “bona fide” physical differences between men and women, which I also believe is nearly a certain second firewall against “breast cancer screenings” (there is a certain “physio” difference involved there, despite your distaste for admitting it) and domestic violence shelters (there is yet another bona fide set of differences there). So these concerns you are worried about are double-protected in the design of MCRI.

    Are there not differences in the choices that women and men make? I find more often than not that women make the better ones, but that’s not the point.

    Mr. Broke, if you dislike inherited wealth, attack it with government policy. If you dislike legacy preferences, attack them with policy. “Affirmative action” does not change those things, which, among other things, is why I said that affirmative action is a woefully inadequate structure to “equalize” anything. 40 years of affirmative action haven’t done, and ten million years wouldn’t. Racially-preferential “affirmative action” is a tool of the rich and elites to placate – not to solve. Those harmed most by it are non-rich-non-elite-non-minorities.

       —Chetly Zarko    Oct. 6 '06 - 08:51PM    #
  56. Why are you so driven, to end affirmative action?

    * Because it only placates? True! It’s pitifully inadequate.

    * Because it often benefits only those who can get at it? True again!

    That’s also true for doctors and teachers:

    Doctors can only benefit those who can get at them.

    Teachers can only benefit those who can get at them.

    So before you cut out access to doctors, to teachers, to Affirmative Action…

    ...Tell us:

    How many years will your remedy will take, to get up and running?

    How many millions of Black children will do without, while you combat centuries of White Privilege by… by… enforcing White Privilege.

       —Why are you so driven, to end affirmative action?    Oct. 6 '06 - 09:25PM    #
  57. David Cahill’s response came in just as I was replying to David Boyle. So to be clear, my response to “David” is to David Boyle.

    To David Cahill, I concede that race and sex discrimination are deeply embedded in society. Most on our side do. We do not believe 1) equality of result reduces racism and sexism in society, and in fact may increase it 2) that race/gender-neutral means exist to achieve more equal results in better ways than race/gender-based ones, and therefore using race and gender based affirmative action is doubly-wrong because the alternatives are overlooked in the presence of affirmative action (in legal terms, that would be narrow-tailoring). Since you are a lawyer, I would note that your societal discrimination argument has been rejected by the Supreme Court, though it is the popular justification and really only true reason U-M engaged in its policies.

    You cited California. I’m still wondering which results you were troubled by. Was it the higher minority graduate rates? The greater number of minorities in the higher-ed system as a whole? Or just the reduction in the two elite institutions, whose magnitude has diminished as enrollment has rebounded after the short-term drop and alternative policies were implemented and began to take effect?

    And as I hope he knows, knowing David Cahill personally, I respect his opinion here but respectfully disagree.

       —Chetly Zarko    Oct. 6 '06 - 09:27PM    #
  58. So you’re passionately opposing affirmative action because….

    ...Because killing Affirmative Action is somehow good for Black America??

    ...Because closing the doors to UCLA, to U-M, to the Ivy League, will somehow help Black America??

       —You're driven to help Black applicants?    Oct. 6 '06 - 09:45PM    #
  59. Thanks for doing the heavy lifting on this, Chet. By the way, I’m the admitted racist here (see #35.) My guess is that every one of us here is racist, in various stages of denial of that fact. It’s not by choice, of course, but by learned behavior, and unlearning that can take many years—a process which affirmative action has only little positive impact on. The positive effects may even be outweighed by the negative ones, as you alluded to.

    Chuck, please consider why you oppose policies based on fear as have been implemented by the Bush administration yet cling to inadequate and discriminatory policies for reasons of your own fears. There’s less difference between the two than you might imagine.

       —Steve Bean    Oct. 6 '06 - 10:24PM    #
  60. “And I certainly never said that women should limit themselves to cooking or pregnancy – YOU ARE AN ASS TO TRY TO PUT THOSE WORDS INTO ANYONE’s mouth.” Well. No one said you wanted all women making soup, but “Are there not differences in the choices that women and men make?” is questionable too; there may be no difference at all, in many cases. However, affirmative action may help preserve for many women the power to make choices at all, e.g., not to be at the bottom of the job ladder, etc. Neither of us may be an ass, but I think I am still clearly on the right side, and the side that Sandra Day O’Connor would probably understand, she an accomplished woman who knew about the still-extant barriers to women (which had hurt her herself) and minorities.

       —David Boyle    Oct. 6 '06 - 11:35PM    #
  61. Reading back, I see that Steve and Chet have been attempting to have a civil discourse on the MCRI. Here’s my big problems with the MCRI:

    1) When many of the proponents (NOT including Chetly) are the same people who either couldn’t lift a finger in support of civil rights and equality or actively opposed it, I have a hard time getting behind the proposal. Sorry but I don’t trust the motives of many of the people who will be voting for it. They had no problem with discrimination, so long as it wasn’t affecting them. Now, they’ve suddenly found religion on equality.

    2) Even when the government seeks just equal treatment, not affirmative action, many of the same forces have done everything possible to block it. Look at Title IX which was supposed to provide equality in education. That was adopted almost 35 years ago and we’re still fighting to ensure equal treatment for women. No doubt, many women have benefited in education and sports from Title IX. But look how hard a fight it has been for basic equality. There are people now who want to undo the advances made under Title IX. How am I supposed to have faith in the claims of MCRI proponents when in action, equality under the law has been anything but?

       —John Q.    Oct. 9 '06 - 06:24AM    #