Forum: Ditch race-based policy

Opponents of affirmative action have good reason to applaud a U.S. District Court ruling that the affirmative action policies of the University of Michigan Law School are unconstitutional. Those who disagree with the ruling must understand that opponents of affirmative action are not opposed to racial diversity, nor are we blind to America’s racial problems. We simply believe that policies favoring one group over another are inherently wrong and that instituting discrimination is not the solution to racial problems.

Achieving diversity and remedying past societal wrongs are noble intentions. Instituting a race-based decision-making system, though, clearly goes against beliefs in equality and will not help move past the ugly legacy of racial discrimination. If we wish to have racial equality, we cannot pit one group against another.

Some argue affirmative action is an attempt to remedy past injustices. The court ruled decision-making based on race should not be a remedy for general societal discrimination. Discrimination in any form is wrong. But we cannot let past mistakes define our future. Our future should be free from discrimination. By instituting more race-neutral policies, we will prove with action that we do not accept racial discrimination in any form.

Barbara Gutter, who was denied acceptance in 1997 and sued the university, had scores that enabled 80 percent of minority students to gain acceptance. However, only eight percent of non-minority applicants with these same scores were accepted.

This statistic reveals that race is not being used simply to compare two equally qualified candidates and provide a “plus” to one student, but rather to discriminate against applicants across the board on the basis of race. In doing so, the University of Michigan is violating the law as established in the landmark Regents of the University of California vs. Bakke Supreme Court case. The court’s ruling read in part, “The evidence indisputably demonstrates that the law school places a very heavy emphasis on race in deciding whether to accept or reject.”

If you accept the argument of giving two equally qualified candidates an unequal playing field simply because they are of a different race as a means to achieve diversity, you must ask at what price is this diversity achieved? Must we sacrifice our belief in equality to achieve this result? Discrimination is not the road to racial diversity, but rather a barrier to racial harmony.

I would much rather be judged on the content of my character than on the color of my skin.

-The writer is director of publications for the GW College Republicans.

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