Q: Did you have sexual relations with that woman?
A: As Polonius says, "I will go seek the king."
Of course, Bollinger's "think of it as a vacation" argument is no less compelling than the many -- and I mean many -- other arguments for racial discrimination. It's a constantly changing tableau of justifications for the unjustifiable. Just when you finally defeat one liberal sophistry for "affirmative action," it drops it into the Orwellian memory hole and a new sophistry appears in its place. We have always been at war with Eastasia.
About a decade ago the argument for race discrimination was the role-model theory: Blacks could only learn from other blacks. But that was no standard at all -- presumably everybody could use a role model. Even the Supreme Court refused to endorse a "role model" exception to the 14th Amendment.
That was displaced with an argument that was almost its precise opposite: Blacks can only learn if they are sitting next to whites. This was abandoned when it turned out to be too embarrassing an argument for anyone but federal judges to make.
Then the argument was that discriminating against whites would put more doctors, lawyers and bankers in black neighborhoods. But admission to college isn't a commission with the Peace Corps, and black professionals wanted to make money as much as the next guy.
Not only that, but the "giving back to the community" theory suffered a serious setback when it turned out the affirmative-action doctor celebrated for taking Allen Bakke's place at medical school was "giving back to the community" by maiming and killing his black patients.
At one time, discrimination against whites was said to be a remedy for 400 years of slavery. Twenty years later, it was evident that this supposed "remedy" was incapable of ever producing a cure.
Then it had nothing to do with 400
years of slavery at all. Reverse discrimination -- or "discrimination" -- was merely an offset for bad schools in poor communities. (All white people are assumed to have attended fancy schools in affluent neighborhoods.) This was an obvious lie since the black beneficiaries of affirmative action were often the children of doctors and lawyers, while poor whites from Appalachia were still being excluded.
Defense of the Indefensible, Argument No. 17: Racial discrimination against whites is intended to compensate blacks for general societal discrimination. That argument disappeared under the specter of a flood of Asians who presumably face discrimination, too.
A perennial favorite was: "Suppose you have two equally qualified applicants ..." That bubble burst when it was revealed that universities were admitting blacks with scores about three standard deviations below the whites who were rejected.
Then it was claimed that racial preferences were no different from preferences for the children of alumni. In undergraduate admissions at Michigan (we also sued them), four points are awarded for being the child of an alumnus, three points for a good essay, and a hefty 12 points for a perfect SAT score.
Being born black is worth 20 points.
Thus, an applicant with perfect SATs, an excellent essay and alumni parents gets fewer points for all that than simply for being black. So The Washington Post was not being precisely accurate when it described Michigan's affirmative action program as merely "giving an edge" to minorities -- "as it does to the children of alumni."
Finally -- the rationalization that won't go away -- racial discrimination against whites is necessary to promote "diversity." Stipulating to the incredibly racist assumption that skin color predetermines opinions, 20 years of affirmative action has produced college campuses with more uniformity of opinion than a Stalinist re-education camp.
After a student protester at Michigan denounced the recent prohibition on race discrimination at the law school ("Diversity is a good thing for everybody"!), someone offered a counterargument. The protester cut him off, saying "I hate devils." That's "diversity" in action.
COPYRIGHT 2001 UNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE
Last week, my old law firm won a spectacular court victory against my law school prohibiting it from engaging in racial discrimination in admissions. Thank heaven I've graduated. I don't think I could take the piety and hysteria now engulfing the University of Michigan.
Explaining the importance of discriminating against citizens on the basis of their race, Michigan President Lee Bollinger told The New Yorker magazine: "I happen to be rereading 'Richard II.' ... There's an exchange between Gaunt and Bolingbroke, father and son, just as the son is being banished. The advice the father gives the son -- how utterly, utterly poignant and convincing it is. The father says, 'Just think of it as a vacation.'"
And that, boys and girls, is why Jennifer Gratz and Barbara Grutter had to be rejected from the University of Michigan.
This is the academic equivalent of "It depends on what the meaning of 'is' is."