by Patrick J. Buchanan – August 22, 1997
For the first time in years, the entering classes of California state law schools are no longer under affirmative action. University regents abolished it.
The results are astonishing. In 1996, 473 blacks and Hispanics were accepted to California state law schools; this year, the number fell to 229. At Berkeley alone, acceptance of blacks and Hispanics fell from 165 in 1996 to 64 this fall. Racial discrimination against white and Asian students in previous classes was apparently far broader than imagined.
Liberals are aghast; a horrified U.S. Department of Education is investigating. Yet, when Fred Graham of Court TV confronted Norma Cantu, head of the civil rights division at Education, he uncovered an amazing fact: Not a single California student has protested that he or she was denied admission to law school this year because of race! Not one.
If there is no victim, where is the crime?
What has liberals so agitated is that the new student bodies no longer reflect the “diversity” of their states. When Bill Clinton, Mr. Affirmative Action himself, declared at a graduation that diversity must be restored, he was given a huge standing ovation.
Such applause, however, is cheap. Not one of those cheering students was a victim of affirmative action. The victims, the kids who paid the price of “diversity,” were not in cap and gown. Denied admission because they were white, they are likely by now in the labor force, paying taxes for Pell grants and student loans for the kids cheering the racist policy that kept them out of college.
Like the old champions of busing who sent their kids to private schools, the new champions of diversity are often hypocrites who wish to impose on other people’s kids sacrifices they rarely impose on their own. Do liberals genuinely believe in affirmative action? If so, let me make a modest proposal:
Let all future applicants to California colleges and graduate schools answer on their admission forms “yes” or “no” to a single statement: “I believe in using affirmative action to attain racial and ethnic diversity at the school I am about to enter.”
When the student body is selected, based on grades and test scores, then — if diversity has not been achieved and more minority members are required — the university can send a letter to those who answered “yes,” asking for volunteers to drop out of the freshman class in favor of a minority student.
The “yes” students should be willing to give up their places for the diversity in which they professed to believe. And if not enough volunteer, the school can select at random a sufficient number to be dis-enrolled until “diversity” has been achieved.
This would separate principled liberals from phony liberals. It would restore diversity to the student body, and yet, no student would be denied admission because of race, unless he or she had expressly approved of such discrimination in the name of diversity.
It is time the noisier liberals began practicing what they preach. California is represented in the U.S. Senate by two white liberal Democrats. Would not a splendid example be set if Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer drew straws to see which of the two would resign in favor of a Hispanic Democrat — to advance the cause of “diversity” in the California delegation and the U.S. Senate?
New York state is represented by two white Catholics. If Pat Moynihan were to resign and an African American were to take his place, and if one of the two Irish-Catholic senators from Massachusetts, John Kerry or Teddy Kennedy, were to step down to advance a minority, liberals would be leading by example. They would be imposing on themselves the same sacrifices they are demanding of the nation.
That would be leadership!
Bill Clinton could get a truly deserved ovation if he asked his daughter, Chelsea, to surrender her place at Stanford in favor of some African American girl who barely failed to get in. Let Chelsea go to a community college.
Here, we would have a president and first family leading by example, not just exhortation, imposing on their child the same policy they wish imposed on all children.
Absent such sacrifices, we have a right to be skeptical — indeed, cynical — about the true depth and sincerity of their liberal convictions.