Thursday, January 16, 2003

Bush Observes Martin Luther King's Birthday

There is a principled case to be made against affirmative action generally, and definitely against particularly implementations of it. However, I echo what many others have said in stating that the motives of those who put solving the "problem" of affirmative action above solving the very real problems it is intended to address are more than a little suspect.

Bush has declared that being an African American doesn't qualify as a "life experience," ignored the affirmative action of legacy admissions, justified his position by exaggerating his support for the "separate but equal" Historically Black Colleges (many of which have affirmative action - in hiring and admissions - for white people), and misrepresented the Michigan system by referring to it as a quota system and claiming that being African American gets you 20 points, and one fifth of the way to the necessary 100. The truth is you can get 20 points for any one of "membership in an underrepresented minority group, socioeconomic disadvantage, attendance at a predominantly minority high school, athletics, or at the Provost's discretion." All of these things can be a "decisive factor" that Bush ascribes only to race, as can Michigan Residency (10 ponts), "leadership or personal achievement" (10 points total), being from an "underrepresented Michigan county" (six points for being from a white rural area), or by getting the up to 110 points purely through academic acheivement. There is no magic cutoff at 100, with subjective evaluation on top of the points system entering into the admissions decision as well.

Add all of this to the timing - Martin Luther King's birthday - and one can only conclude that Bush is engaging in the worst kind of race-baiting. He made his supporters mad over Trent Lott, and it's time to get them back.