Center for Equal Opportunity

The nation’s only conservative think tank devoted to issues of race and ethnicity.

Tue12122017

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DOJ Investigating Harvard’s Racial Preferences

Over the summer, it was reported that the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division was taking steps to investigate Harvard University’s use of racial preferences in admissions, especially insofar as they discriminate against Asian-American applicants.

You may recall that the Center for Equal Opportunity was mentioned prominently as encouraging the investigation (see the statement we issued here) when the story was first reported in the New York Times.  Well, news stories are now confirming that this investigation is, indeed, under way.

Good. As I explain here, such an investigation is entirely appropriate. What’s more, such discrimination should be stopped at all schools, and here’s hoping that challenges to politically correct racial and ethnic preferences continue — and that the Trump administration supports them.

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By the way, one of the points I make in the essay linked to the preceding paragraph is that no one really believes in the “diversity” justification for racial preferences, and that the only purported justification for such discrimination that people do believe in is one that the Supreme Court has (quite correctly) rejected, namely that we have to have discrimination now in favor of some groups in order to make up for historical past discrimination against them. 

Well, evidence that I’m right is found in this article here, about how a number of black students at Cornell are demanding that the school focus its preference efforts less on blacks from recently immigrated families and more on “black students whose families were affected directly by the African Holocaust in America. Cornell must work to actively support students whose families have been impacted for generations by white supremacy and American fascism.”

Now, whatever this overwrought justification is, it is not about “diversity,” since one would expect recently immigrated African Americans to provide more, not less, diversity of outlook and experiences than non–recently immigrated African Americans.

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New Challenge to P.C. Racial Gerrymandering – The indispensable law firm (who knew there could be such a thing?) Consovoy McCarthy Park filed an important lawsuit on last week, challenging the constitutionality of the California Voting Rights Act. That statute requires in particular that race-based single-member districts be created and that they replace at-large systems if “racially polarized” voting exists; the complaint alleges that this violates the Fourteenth Amendment because such “race-based sorting of voters” does not serve a compelling government interest and is not narrowly tailored.

The lawsuit is important not just because it challenges an aggressive, identity-politics-uber-alles law in our nation’s largest state, but because the federal Voting Rights Act is frequently used to coerce racially gerrymandered districts as well.  The Center for Equal Opportunity has been loud and clear over the years on this point, testifying before Congress, filing amicus briefs in the courts, and writing innumerable columns and op-eds (CEO chairman Linda Chavez also condemned the practice in her book, Out of the Barrio: Toward a New Politics of Hispanic Assimilation.   

To be sure, the California law goes further than the federal law has (so far), and indeed was passed to circumvent limits put on racial gerrymandering by the U.S. Supreme Court. But a successful lawsuit here could have salutary effects in other states and at the federal level, too.

So kudos all around: to the law firm, to the plaintiff (a former mayor, Don Higginson), and to the Project for Fair Representation, which acted as matchmaker for the two.

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That’s Not Funny – Here’s my favorite joke of the light-bulb genre:  How many left-wing feminists does it take to screw in a light bulb?  Answer:  That’s not funny.

I don’t mean to pick on left-wing feminists — well, not just on the feminists at least.  A lack of sense of humor describes the Left generally and its protestors in particular.  This is related to its obsession with grievance and backward-looking stubbornness:  Not a recipe for a sense of humor or perspective.

And so the choice between the mindset of organizations like the Center for Equal Opportunity on our side of the aisle and the Left could not be starker.  We are impatient with racial discrimination, racial preferences, and race-based decisionmaking of all kinds (including the disparate-impact approach to civil-rights enforcement), so our side does not lack seriousness of purpose.  But it is forward-looking, positive, and optimistic.  It recognizes past wrongdoings but does not obsess over them, and keeps them in perspective, recognizing that America is all in all a great country — the greatest ever, in fact — that affords unrivaled opportunities for all its citizens.

So lighten up.