In the University of Michigan Supreme Court "affirmative action case," the court reaffirmed the use of race as an admissions criterion. The court struck down the specific way the University of Michigan undergraduate school uses race -- automatically assigning 20 points to a Hispanic, black or Native-American applicant. (Asians presumably lose their status as minorities given their irritating habit of doing well.) But the court bought the school's argument which called diversity a "compelling state interest," and reaffirmed the use of race to achieve that goal.
Compelling state interest -- for a tax-supported institution to use race as a criterion?
University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman called "racial diversity" important for classroom discussion. Do students live in hermetically sealed classrooms? Do students lack "diverse" friendships? Do students, somehow, avoid any interaction with those who look, act and think differently?
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, curiously, in the 5-4 majority decision, wrote: "The court expects that 25 years from now the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today." Interesting. Twenty-five years from now?
In 1963, then National Urban League President Whitney Young proposed a "Marshall Plan" for blacks. He expected "the Plan" to last 10 years. Thus, according to Young, he expected "affirmative action" to end in 1973, not by 2028, as envisioned by Justice O'Connor.
Twenty-five years from now?
In 1963, A. Philip Randolph, founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, said, "Negro youth must offer the future the same things that white youth offer and they must have the faith that there is no basic racial difference in potential for achievement -- moral, intellectual, or spiritual. The future holds great opportunity for those who are prepared to meet and face the challenge of this age of science, technology, and industrialism, and social, economic, and political change." Hmmm . . . nothing about race-based preferences.
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