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Colorado takes aim at race, sex preferences

 
 
au1929
 
Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2007 08:50 am
Colorado takes aim at race, sex preferences
By Valerie Richardson
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
April 24, 2007


DENVER -- Civil rights advocates kicked off a four-state campaign yesterday aimed at ending government race and sex preferences by emulating the success of last year's Michigan ballot initiative.
Organizers are planning to promote similar proposals in Colorado, Missouri, Arizona and Oklahoma for the November 2008 ballot.
"We're calling it the Super Tuesday of Equality," said Valery Pech Orr, executive director of the Colorado Civil Rights Initiative, the first of the four proposed ballot measures announced this week.
Helping to lead the effort is Ward Connerly, the former University of California regent who sponsored the first such initiative 11 years ago in California. That measure, Proposition 209, was approved handily by voters despite strong opposition from liberal organizations.
Similar measures have since passed in Washington and most recently Michigan, where voters approved Proposal 2 in November 58 percent to 42 percent.
Mr. Connerly and other organizers are scheduled to appear in Kansas City today to announce a Missouri initiative, followed by announcements later this week in Oklahoma and Arizona.
The proposed language of the Colorado measure mirrors that of earlier measures: "The state shall not discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting."
While several efforts to abolish preferences have failed in the Colorado legislature, organizers said they think voters will be receptive to the proposal. They pointed to the furor surrounding University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill, who is under investigation for comments comparing victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks to Nazis.
Mr. Churchill was awarded a full professorship despite weak academic credentials, and critics say the university gave him special treatment because he claimed Cherokee Indian ancestry, which is now in dispute.
"We know people are with us on this in the aftermath of Ward Churchill," said Jessica Peck Corry of the Independence Institute based in Golden, Colo. "People are clearly saying that enough is enough -- it's time to start treating women and minorities as the competent people we are."
Mr. Connerly disagrees with supporters of preferences who say such policies are needed to "level the playing field" for minorities and women. He and other initiative organizers say preference programs often harm the groups they intend to help. At universities, they say, the dropout rate is higher for minority students who fell short of standard admissions requirements but were admitted on the basis of racial preferences.
Since preferences were banned in California's public universities, Mr. Connerly said, the dropout rate for minority students has plummeted while the graduation rate has soared.

"Once we eliminated preferences, retention went up," he said. "This perceived benefit [of preferences] has mismatched them. It's placed them in a context where they're doomed to fail."
The Colorado proposal goes before the state's legislative council on Thursday. If the language is approved, supporters may begin gathering the 76,000 signatures needed to put it on the 2008 ballot.
While the measure would eliminate preferences in government contracting and hiring, Mr. Connerly said the focus will likely fall on university admissions and the tenure process.
Mrs. Corry, who sat on the university's diversity commission, said there are about 1,000 applicants for every tenure-track position, and that race is a factor in hiring decisions. "You'll find it very, very hard for a competent white applicant -- even an exceptional one -- to have a shot at these positions," she said.
Linda Chavez, a former labor secretary who is serving as the Colorado initiative's honorary co-chairwoman, recalled how she was involved with the University of Colorado's first preference program, started in 1968, aimed at poor, rural Hispanic students. She said the program was originally supposed to help students polish their academic skills, but that the focus soon shifted.
"I saw it transformed from giving someone a leg up to 'We're going to hold you to completely different standards,' " said Mrs. Chavez. "I tried to teach grammar and writing, but other leaders wanted to radicalize it, tell them, 'It's racism that's kept you down.' "



What is your opinion is it time to abandon affirmative action and base actions on competency and ability?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 3,252 • Replies: 74
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2007 12:15 pm
Re: Colorado takes aim at race, sex preferences
au1929 wrote:
What is your opinion is it time to abandon affirmative action and base actions on competency and ability?

That's a false choice. The opponents of affirmative action aren't in favor of basing decisions on competency and ability. If they were, they'd also oppose legacy admissions in private schools and in-state preferences for state schools. And they'd be as opposed to the "old boy network" as they are to hiring preferences for women and minorities. But they aren't. Clearly, they don't advocate abolishing sex- and race-based school admission and hiring policies, they just advocate abolishing the ones that don't favor men and whites.

As for why this is suddenly a big issue, the answer is obvious: the GOP has found that ballot initiatives on hot-button social issues are a way of motivating their core constituencies to go to the polls. The gay marriage issue has lost steam, English-language-only statutes are legally dubious, and flag desecration is so old and busted that even Hillary Clinton favors a flag-burning amendment. So now I guess it's affirmative action's turn to provide a rallying cry for the right wing. Plus ça change, plus ça meme chose.
0 Replies
 
cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2007 12:40 pm
I can't disagree with Joe more. The Michigan issue cited had nothing to do with getting GOP voters to the polls. If it did, we wouldn't have Granholm, and we would have a dove season. As it turns out, macho-union types also don't like race and gender based quotas.
0 Replies
 
Advocate
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2007 03:03 pm
I believe that affirmative action is extremely insidious, and should be banned. I, wrongly I guess, thought it was on the way out because of some key court decisions.

I remember reading, about 10 years ago, that the federal government set up goals for its managers relative to the percentage of employees, at different grade levels, who should be black, women, asian, native American, Eskimo, et al. The goals were, in reality, quotas inasmuch managers not meeting the goals would be punished in some manner. The goals discriminated particularly against white males (who never discriminated against anyone), who often were superior applicants or employees.
0 Replies
 
au1929
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Apr, 2007 08:39 am
Ending racial preferences
By Linda Chavez
April 29, 2007


This week marks the beginning of the end of the racial spoils system that has come to symbolize affirmative action in higher education, as well as state contracting and employment. Ward Connerly, chairman of the American Civil Rights Institute and the father of the California Civil Rights Initiative, which abolished state-sponsored racial preferences in California more than a decade ago, has launched a new effort to place similar initiatives on the ballot in 2008 in several states, including Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma and Arizona.
I was proud to be by his side in Denver on Monday to announce the Colorado Civil Rights Initiative along with another Colorado native and familiar figure in the fight against racial and gender preferences, Valery Pech Orr, whose suit against federal minority set-asides led to the landmark Supreme Court decision in Adarand v. Pena. For me especially, this day has been a long time coming.
It has been nearly four decades since I became involved with affirmative action in Colorado. When I entered the University of Colorado as a freshman in fall 1965, few black or Hispanic students were enrolled. During my five undergraduate and graduate years at CU, first at the Denver campus and then in Boulder, I encountered only one other Hispanic in any of my classes and perhaps one or two blacks.
That didn't seem right to me. So, I joined with a group of other students to persuade the university to aggressively recruit more minority students and set up tutoring programs and summer sessions of remedial courses to assist those who lacked the skills to compete effectively. The Educational Opportunity Program started out with great promise -- it was exactly what was intended by affirmative action: to cast a wider net and provide the skills necessary to compete on an equal footing.
But it soon transmogrified into a program that lowered standards and radicalized students in the process. The university not only admitted students whose academic preparation made it nearly impossible for them to succeed, but it permitted many to remain in school despite failing grades. Worse, the program's organizers encouraged students to take largely segregated ethnic studies courses, whose primary purpose was to forge ethnic solidarity and reinforce students' feelings that they were victims of a racist society bent on their destruction.
By the time I left Boulder in 1970, I had become a critic of affirmative action, and my later experiences as an instructor in the affirmative action program at University of California-Los Angeles made me a downright opponent of such programs. It became clear to me that universities were applying racial double standards that helped no one, least of all the intended beneficiaries. The real problem blacks and Hispanics faced was a skills gap that affirmative action programs didn't even attempt to solve.
In the 40 years that affirmative action programs have operated, millions of deserving white and Asian students have been passed over at competitive schools across the country in order to admit black and Hispanic students with significantly lower standardized admission test scores (usually 200-350 points lower on a 1600-point scale) and lower high school grades (typically a half-point lower on a 4-point scale). These affirmative action students often struggle to compete in the classroom, and huge numbers simply drop out. Instead of helping black and Hispanic students succeed, affirmative action programs mismatch students and institutions.
But an end to racial preferences won't mean a return to the days when blacks and Hispanics were simply missing from college classrooms, as in my youth. In California, which outlawed preferences in 1996, more black and Hispanic students are enrolled in college today than ever before -- and more importantly, a higher percentage of them graduate. In 1995, only 26 percent of black and Hispanic students actually graduated from the UC system; now 51 percent do so, roughly equal to the white and Asian rate.
Affirmative action programs were never meant to be permanent, something former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor reiterated in her majority opinion in the Supreme Court's 2003 University of Michigan law school case. Yet these programs are still available to the children, and even grandchildren, of students I taught 40 years ago.
It's about time we ended racial double standards. In doing so, we will actually improve the chances more black and Hispanic students will earn college degrees.

Linda Chavez is a nationally syndicated columnist and the author of "An Unlikely Conservative: The Transformation of an Ex-Liberal."
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Apr, 2007 08:55 am
Quote:

The goals discriminated particularly against white males (who never discriminated against anyone),


This single quote sums up the entire debate.
0 Replies
 
Baldimo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 May, 2007 03:46 pm
ebrown_p wrote:
Quote:

The goals discriminated particularly against white males (who never discriminated against anyone),


This single quote sums up the entire debate.


What equal treatment for evernyone regardless of race or sex?

Funny but you know that Ward Connelly is a black man right?
0 Replies
 
snood
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 May, 2007 05:38 pm
Just in pigment.
0 Replies
 
au1929
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 May, 2007 05:53 am
snood wrote:
Just in pigment.


What would you call him if not Black? An oreo cookie.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 May, 2007 08:15 am
Ward Connelly and Linda Chavez aren't the only beneficiaries of affirmative action policies who attack those policies once they become successful. Clarence Thomas, possibly the all-time poster child for affirmative action, is also a notable critic. There will always be people who want to pull the ladder up behind them.
0 Replies
 
Advocate
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 May, 2007 09:17 am
joefromchicago wrote:
Ward Connelly and Linda Chavez aren't the only beneficiaries of affirmative action policies who attack those policies once they become successful. Clarence Thomas, possibly the all-time poster child for affirmative action, is also a notable critic. There will always be people who want to pull the ladder up behind them.



This doesn't make affirmative action wise or fair. It creates reverse discrimination. We should work toward a meritocracy.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 May, 2007 09:55 am
Advocate wrote:
This doesn't make affirmative action wise or fair. It creates reverse discrimination. We should work toward a meritocracy.

That's a hoary canard. Affirmative action provides for a tie-breaker, in case two or more candidates are equally qualified for a job or position. That doesn't create "reverse discrimination." There's no discrimination if a qualified job applicant is hired instead of another qualified job applicant.
0 Replies
 
au1929
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 May, 2007 10:21 am
joefromchicago wrote:
Advocate wrote:
This doesn't make affirmative action wise or fair. It creates reverse discrimination. We should work toward a meritocracy.

That's a hoary canard. Affirmative action provides for a tie-breaker, in case two or more candidates are equally qualified for a job or position. That doesn't create "reverse discrimination." There's no discrimination if a qualified job applicant is hired instead of another qualified job applicant.


You couldn't be more wrong. In particular in Government and civil service jobs and contracting. As far as entry into collages and universities. Minorities are placed over more qualified whites. Which has negatively affected the graduation rates. IMO at this point after 50 or so years of affirmative action the time has come to return to ability regardless of race.
0 Replies
 
Baldimo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 May, 2007 10:30 am
joefromchicago wrote:
Ward Connelly and Linda Chavez aren't the only beneficiaries of affirmative action policies who attack those policies once they become successful. Clarence Thomas, possibly the all-time poster child for affirmative action, is also a notable critic. There will always be people who want to pull the ladder up behind them.


Do you know for a fact that they benefited from AA? Or does being black and successful automatically make you a product of AA?

joefromchicago wrote:
Advocate wrote:
This doesn't make affirmative action wise or fair. It creates reverse discrimination. We should work toward a meritocracy.

That's a hoary canard. Affirmative action provides for a tie-breaker, in case two or more candidates are equally qualified for a job or position. That doesn't create "reverse discrimination." There's no discrimination if a qualified job applicant is hired instead of another qualified job applicant.


So the tie breaker goes to the minority by default?
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 May, 2007 10:46 am
au1929 wrote:
You couldn't be more wrong. In particular in Government and civil service jobs and contracting. As far as entry into collages and universities. Minorities are placed over more qualified whites. Which has negatively affected the graduation rates. IMO at this point after 50 or so years of affirmative action the time has come to return to ability regardless of race.

Any evidence to back up those assertions, or are you just mindlessly parrotting the conservative line?
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 May, 2007 10:55 am
Baldimo wrote:
Do you know for a fact that they benefited from AA? Or does being black and successful automatically make you a product of AA?

"Clarence Thomas has lived a life riddled with irony and contradictions. Although he has opposed racial preference and affirmative action programs, he nonetheless benefited from them. As a young student, Thomas entered the College of the Holy Cross, a Jesuit institution in Massachusetts, after the school began a black recruitment program. Thomas was the beneficiary of a similar minority program a few years later at Yale Law School.... And racial preference ultimately explained Thomas's appointment to the Supreme Court. Although President George Bush stated that he chose Thomas for his legal qualifications, it would take conscious effort to ignore the political pressures on Bush to name a black candidate after the retirement of Thurgood Marshall, the Court's first and only black justice." Source.

The fact is, all minorities have benefitted from affirmative action, if not directly then indirectly, just as all minorities have benefitted from the civil rights movement even if they didn't participate in that movement.

Baldimo wrote:
So the tie breaker goes to the minority by default?

No, by design.
0 Replies
 
au1929
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 May, 2007 01:35 pm
joefromchicago
Parroting my foot. I have seen it happen and actual cases have been documented over the years. Please don't try to tell me it's news to you. What do you think promulgated the action in Colorado and several other states?
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 May, 2007 07:58 am
au1929 wrote:
joefromchicago
Parroting my foot. I have seen it happen and actual cases have been documented over the years. Please don't try to tell me it's news to you.

Anecdotal evidence isn't evidence.

au1929 wrote:
What do you think promulgated the action in Colorado and several other states?

I imagine it's the same thing that usually prompts conservatives to act: blind, irrational fear.
0 Replies
 
au1929
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 May, 2007 08:41 am
joefromchicago wrote:
au1929 wrote:
joefromchicago
Parroting my foot. I have seen it happen and actual cases have been documented over the years. Please don't try to tell me it's news to you.

Anecdotal evidence isn't evidence.

au1929 wrote:
What do you think promulgated the action in Colorado and several other states?

I imagine it's the same thing that usually prompts conservatives to act: blind, irrational fear.


That won't fly. It is not a conservative issue. It is one of fairness and common sense. And supported by people of all political persuasions. After 50 years it is time for the crutch to be removed. Equal opportunity should mean equal opportunity for all.
0 Replies
 
cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 May, 2007 08:57 am
Michigan certainly thinks so. Prop 2 passed by a wide margin.

But Illinois is a special case. In fact both IL and WI should be relocated somewhere near Massachusetts.
0 Replies
 
 

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