Although President Bush has brought

Although President Bush has brought it on himself, some of the liberal arguments against his position in the University of Michigan cases are specious. Here, Fred Hiatt of the Washington Post attacks the University of Texas’ “top 10 percent” program on three grounds: first, that it isn’t admitting enough African-Amercans, second that it relies on affirmative action in recruitment, and third that it will only as long as schools and communities remain segregated. As to the first argument, Hiatt points out that the entering class at Austin last year was only 3.4 percent African American. But Hiatt fails to show why, particularly for a student body that large, the benefits of diversity (exposure to different backgrounds and points of view) will not be realized with that level of representation. Second, outreach programs and other forms of aggressive recruitment of qualified minorities may be affirmative action, but few conservatives have any objections to them. Most believe, as I do, that finding qualified minority applicants is a good thing and that “affirmative action” becomes objectionable only at the point when race is used as a factor to decide which applicants to admit. Hiatt is attacking a straw man here. But his most inane argument (and one that I’ve seen elsewhere) is that Bush style admissions programs will work only as long as schools and communities remain segregated. This is actually one of the few virtues of the Bush approach — that there is some point when, at least in theory, the preferences may end. What conceivable rationale would there be for race-based preferences If we got to the point that our communites and public schools were completely racially mixed? Hiatt’s argument reveals that he wants racial preferences forever, under all circumstances. Like most liberals, he has no vision of a color-blind society and nothing to offer African Americans other than permanent entitlement programs.


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