Moving Against Racial Discrimination

Jul 05, 2018 |  NAS

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Moving Against Racial Discrimination

Jul 05, 2018 | 


On Tuesday, July 3, 2018, the Department of Education (ED) and the Department of Justice (DoJ) announced their joint decision to repeal seven regulatory documents promulgated by the Obama administration that put the weight of the Federal government in favor of racial preferences in higher education, by means of "diversity" and other euphemisms. The National Association of Scholars (NAS) applauds this decision by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

These regulatory documents gave colleges and universities "guidance" that they should interpret the Supreme Court's unclear jurisprudence to maximize race preferences and minimize individual merit. Essentially, they provided a roadmap for how university bureaucrats could discriminate while paying lip service to the Supreme Court's hesitations about forthright race preferences. This was guidance the colleges were unlikely to refuse, for fear of how they would be punished by Federal bureaucrats if they failed to toe the line.

In 2011, NAS President Peter Wood criticized the first of these seven rescinded documents, the 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter. Wood noted that the guidance documents “seem to sanction common university practices which circumvent the law," adding, “The Departments of Education and Justice justify the new ‘guidance’ as an explanation of how colleges and universities can expand the use of race without running afoul of federal law. But they are very loose in their reading of Supreme Court rulings over the last decade.” “This,” he says, “is contrary to the spirit of existing law.”

The Departments of Justice and Education now confirm Wood’s critique, and judge that the documents “advocate policy preferences and positions beyond the requirements of the Constitution, Title IV, and Title VI. […] By suggesting to public schools, as well as recipients of federal funding, that they take action or refrain from taking action beyond plain legal requirements, the documents are inconsistent with governing principles for agency guidance documents.”

The NAS applauds this step by the Departments of Education and Justice--and calls on them to do more. Even if the Federal government has ceased its pressure on American colleges to engage in race discrimination, the Supreme Court allows the practice, by way of the fig leaf of diversity. Many university administrators, perhaps most, need no external guidance as they eagerly practice race discrimination. The executive branch should work to formulate guidance that will minimize the scope of race preferences in higher education, with an eye toward eliminating them entirely.

NAS firmly believes that America lives up to its highest ideals when it judges individuals as individuals. We welcome this action by the Departments of Education and Justice, which gives hope that an ugly chapter in American history may soon come to an end.


Photo: 08.14.MLK.MOW.WDC.23August2003 by Elvert Barnes // CC-BY-SA 

Donald F Nelson

| July 18, 2018 - 3:36 PM

  I also “hope that an ugly chapter in American history may soon come to an end.” I grew up in America which was a democracy based on equal individual rights. The “affirmative action” decision of the Supreme Court changed our country to one based on unequal group rights.
  The decision divided Americans into seven groups: five minority (African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders), females, and “other” (white males) and gave preferences to the first six groups over the seventh. The decision made sexist and racist discrimination against one group, white males, legal.
  Citizenship plays no role in this discrimination. Hiring an illegal alien who is black, female, and has a Hispanic name is a great hire because she can be counted in three categories in the required annual report to the federal government. A white male citizen, on the other hand, just requires the employer to hire that many more from the required groups.
  Dividing Americans into seven groups has been politically divisive. Unity is no longer admired, diversity instead is now advocated.
  The Supreme Court did not interpret the Constitution. It set aside the most hallowed principle contained in it.
  Yes “this ugly chapter” must come to an end.

Jamie Spencer

| July 20, 2018 - 8:53 AM

It’s an insoluble problem, but I have no problem with some combo of common sense and essential civic fairness putting a light thumb on the college-acceptance process. We white males have had the system stacked for us for generations. If a few “minority” applicants—of comparable ability to a handful of us—get let in, the community as a whole benefits. No one’s happy, but that’s how a democracy works, dammit.

Dr. Sylvia Wasson

| July 20, 2018 - 3:23 PM

Mr. Spencer: I am not given to pedantry, but your comment cries out to be scrutinized—one word at a time. 1. Race preferences are not “an insoluble   problem.” The problem is solved by NOT practicing them. 2. You plead for “some combo of common sense and essential civic fairness putting a light thumb on the college-admissions process.” Race preferences defy common sense and are the antithesis to civic fairness. As to the “light thumb”, you must be jesting, Sir. Ask any student whose dream of going to an ivy league university, only to have their dream eclipsed by the ugly practice of race preferences, whether the impact was “light.” I assure you it was not. Finally, spare me the “white male” and, its corollary, the “white privilege” argument. Past injustice is never rectified by more injustice. It is NOT “how a democracy works” … DAMMIT!