Ward Connerly shares his thoughts on “Racial Discrimination”
Thursday, September 7th, 2017 @ 11:27AM
Racial discrimination is a term that conjures up a black person being denied a job or a promotion by a white bigot. In reality, this brand of discrimination is receding far into America’s past. What accounts for this fact? Mostly moral outrage of the American people!
There is another, more common form of discrimination for which there is virtually no moral outrage: discrimination against university applicants identified as “Asian.”
There is no moral outrage because the purpose of this discrimination – building diversity – is considered a noble one. And, when discrimination occurs in the course of what is considered a noble endeavor, definitions invariably change.
Hardly anyone who has even the slightest degree of knowledge about university admissions disputes the claim of discrimination against Asians in the world of higher education admissions. Therefore, the failure to address the issue is not the result of ignorance about it. The fact is that Asians, while viewed as a “minority” in American society, are not as high on the victims’ ladder as other “minorities.” And, it is clear that the level of moral outrage about discrimination is directly proportionate to one’s status as a perceived victim.
For me, one of the most troubling considerations about Asian discrimination is the tendency to excuse the argument that such discrimination is no big deal in view of the fact that Asians are so dominant, overall, when it comes to university admissions.
This argument, obviously, misses the most important point: The Constitution of the United States guarantees to every individual citizen a number of rights, to which we refer as “civil rights.”
Over the years, and especially during the era known as the “civil rights movement,” civil rights became identified uniquely as a black issue. To this day, “civil rights” and “black people” are essentially interchangeable terms. This is not how things should be, however. Civil rights are for all Americans. If we embraced that perspective, universities would not be using taxpayer dollars to discriminate against Asians or any others, for that matter. Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits entities that receive federal funds from discriminating on the basis of race, color, ethnicity or nationality.
Discrimination is so egregious against Asians that the parents of many Asian children almost routinely advise their children, from the elementary school level forward, to excel academically in preparation for discrimination when they apply for high school admission. This counsel can have two possible effects. First, it might inspire kids to excel. Or It might lead to a feeling that no matter what I do, I am going to be treated unfairly.
At the heart of the matter, America is designed to be a merit-based, equal opportunity society. This is the essence of who we are as a people. In virtually all areas of American life – sports, business, the arts, for example – individual merit is the standard by which we measure performance,
One of the biggest cross-national tests is the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which every three years measures reading ability, math and science literacy and other key skills among 15-year-olds in dozens of developed and developing countries. The most recent PISA results, from 2015, placed the U.S. an unimpressive 38th out of 71 countries in math and 24th in science. Among the 35 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which sponsors the PISA initiative, the U.S. ranked 30th in math and 19th in science.
Clearly, the United States is under-performing academically when compared to other nations. To change this reality, American universities should abandon their obsession with and socially destructive use of race to achieve “diversity.” Finally, the rest of the nation should embrace the dedication to individual merit as demonstrated by Americans of Chinese descent.