Walter E. Williams

The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Grutter vs. Bollinger permits colleges to award a "plus" to black, Hispanic and American Indian student applications for admission. As sure as night follows day, we can expect racial fraud. You can bet the rent money that the number of white students identifying themselves on their applications as black, Hispanic and American Indian is going to rise.

Take the Michigan Law School application. It requests, in part, that you choose "one race or ethnicity that you think best applies to you. Your decision to answer or not answer this question will not influence law school's decision on admission." Thus, the only proof required of membership in a preferred race is self-identification.

People lie about many things to gain an advantage, and they'll lie about their race, too. In 1990, there was a highly publicized case of racial lying. Two Malone brothers, who are white, took the Boston Fire Department test; they weren't hired because of low scores. Shortly thereafter, the Boston Fire Department was handed a consent decree mandating racial preferences. The Malones retook the test, this time identifying themselves as black. Their scores still weren't high enough to be hired as white, but they qualified under the lower standards for blacks and were hired. They worked for 10 years, until their lie was discovered during a promotion proceeding and they were fired.

When South Africa instituted its racial spoils system, it anticipated the possibility of racial fraud and enacted the Population Registration Act of 1950, which racially classified its entire population. The Act laid down race definitions so as to thwart people, mostly "Coloureds," from faking it.

For example, it defined a white person as one who "in appearance is obviously a white person who is generally not accepted as a colored person; or is generally accepted as a white person and is not in appearance obviously not a white person."

Despite careful attempts to define race, there were difficulties. A person charged with doing something prohibited to a native might claim he had some white blood. The Population Registration Act provided that a person aggrieved by a racial determination could appeal to a tribunal known as the Racial Classification Appeal Board. The act also provided that a third party could bring complaints as to a person's racial classification, but with strong penalties for frivolous objections to another's racial classification.

The Grutter vs. Bollinger decision might require that universities not only have affirmative action, diversity and multiculturalism offices, but racial classification offices as well, with genealogical and DNA capacity.

Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
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