On Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, Jan. 15, President Bush announced in a brief he is against the use of quotas and racial preferences in university admissions- specifically the University of Michigan.
The supposed quota system Bush spoke out against is now the target of an affirmative action case that will go before the Supreme Court in March.
UM gives minorities 20 points towards the 100 points needed for admission. It also awards points to athletes and students from certain regions. Obviously, if UM allots points to them, race is not the only factor in admissions.
Even Colin Powell, one of two black members in Bush’s cabinet, agrees that affirmative action is necessary. Sunday, on CBS’s Face the Nation, Powell said, “I have expressed my support for the policies used by the University of Michigan, the president, in looking at it, came to the conclusion that it was constitutionally flawed based on the legal advice he received.”
Throughout American history, minorities have been at a disadvantage. According to the 18th Annual Status Report on Minorities in Higher Education, 15 percent of 25- to 29-year-old blacks had completed four or more years of college, compared with 28 percent of whites.
Lawmakers claim removing race allows for an even playing ground. But that is absurd because there is no such thing. Some minorities can’t afford higher education on their own- making affirmative action necessary to ensure more opportunities for success.
Bush had no right to say anything against affirmative action when it was his influential family that got him admitted to Yale. Certainly wasn’t his academic achievement. Not everyone can get into Yale with a 566 verbal, 640 math SAT score. There might not have been a point system to help him, but he obviously benefited from affirmative action. His father and grandfather were politically influential alumni and he came from a fancy prep school.
When states eliminate race from being considered, they risk losing numerous applicants. Texas outlawed using race in admissions while Bush was governor.
Before the ruling, each freshman class at University of Texas-Austin included about 500 blacks. The following year there were only 296 new black students.
Should the Supreme Court rule against the University of Michigan, minority enrollment around the nation will likely resemble that of Texas.
Dominique Drake for The Famuan