ExposingLeftists.com arrived on the campus of the University of California, Merced, last May to gather signatures on a petition calling for a redistribution of grade-point averages. Not surprisingly, few star students wanted to share the fruits of their academic labors.
But the logic was liberally sound. Students who worked hard and studied longer than their peers—in the spirit of fairness—should be willing to sacrifice their higher GPAs to benefit those whose grades weren’t so high due to laziness or ineptitude (or both).
Ironically, many of the same A students unwilling to take a B so someone else could be saved from an F, endorsed a progressive tax code that essentially spreads wealth from people who earned it to those who did not.
The same crew recently showed up at the University of California, Riverside, to see whether the student body there would sign a petition demanding that the athletic department consider race as a determining factor in team rosters.
Its findings were similar to UC Merced. While UC Riverside students said they supported affirmative action laws to promote diversity and that race-based preferences “level the playing field” for disadvantaged minorities, they nonetheless refused to sign a petition to apply quotas to the UC Riverside basketball team. At UC Riverside, 10 out of the 11 active players on the basketball team are black. Blacks make up only about 20% of the student body. So why not use affirmative action to promote diversity there?
ExposingLeftists.com’s Oliver Darcy figured this disparity was a natural place to promote diversity. After all, affirmative action rules UC Riverside’s hiring policy and minority-specific outreach is not so vaguely couched in college advertising.
Diversity and equality are desired in our society, but the glaring double-standard found by ExposingLeftists.com shows where progressive policies promote problems.
Indeed, America walked out of the 19th century of slavery into segregation and Jim Crow. And while American exceptionalism is responsible for so many of humanity’s historic steps forward, almost a century of post-Civil War discrimination disfigured our republic. Until the civil rights era, a moral disconnect ruled the day. But an ensuing onslaught of court rulings and bureaucratic fiat comprised the noble effort to reconcile America’s egalitarian idealism and its discriminatory reality.
Herein lies the rub.
In the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1896 decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, segregated facilities for blacks and whites were overwhelmingly deemed constitutional as long as they were equal. It took 1954’s Brown v. Board of Education decision to determine that “separate, but equal” was “inherently unequal” because a segregated education “generates a feeling of inferiority.”
Ending segregation was a good thing, but the Pandora’s Box of reforms such as President Kennedy’s executive order that led to affirmative action and the forced busing laws passed to enforce Brown created mixed results.
Born of moral intentions, these remedies were never properly scrutinized for their immoral results.
Busing ultimately—and unfortunately—left too many school districts more segregated than ever. “White flight” saw large numbers of white families de facto segregating their children to private schools and suburban neighborhoods.
Affirmative action and its tentacles—quotas, minority-based points systems, group-based preferences, loosened testing and admissions standards—are an affront to our most sacred democratic principle: that all men are equal in the eyes of the law. For too long, our laws and court rulings have contorted this value. And the belief that career opportunities and educational successes should be the reward of individuals’ merit and unwavering work ethic has eroded over time.
Tragically—for blacks, women and other “oppressed” minorities—affirmative action indirectly communicates a demoralizing message of inferiority that reinforces the same separatism it set out to solve. It is pure illogic to think that you can fight fire with fire and get anything but scorched earth. Reverse discrimination simply cannot cure discrimination.
Today, two mutually exclusive Americas exist. We are either an affirmative action America, where some among us are held to a lower standard based on skin color or we are all equal under the law, free to fail or succeed no matter what group we happen to be born into. Both cannot be true.
Be it basketball or big business, allowing the best to advance is the true moral path.