We’ve only just begun

It’s hard to see stupidity…when you’re liberal. That was my take on the purported Duluth anti-racism campaign covered in the Star Tribune last month.

We believe in treating people equally without regard to race. Does any one of the white liberals sponsoring the campaign including the Mayor of Duluth believe in equal treatment without regard to race? Does any one of them oppose racial preferences in educational institutions, public or private employment, or anywhere the heavy hand of government holds sway? Not bloody likely.

Liberalism abandoned equal treatment as the reigning principle right around the time Civil Rights Law of 1964 adopted equal treatment as the supposed law of the land. Hugh Davis Graham cites chapter and verse in his meticulous history The Civil Rights Era (out of print, but available in abridged form in Civil Rights and the Presidency). See also Herman Belz’s Equality Transformed: A Quarter Century of Affirmative Action.

Liberals like the mayor of Duluth see nothing but race and want nothing more than to shove their obsession with it down our throats while letting us know it’s all part of the higher wisdom — you really wouldn’t understand. Indeed, we don’t.

A somewhat more consequential case in point: Eric Holder, the Attorney General of the United States. In conversation with Columbia University President Lee Bollinger — in his capacity as president of the University of Michigan, the defendant of the two affirmative action cases decided by the Supreme Court in 2003 — Holder expounded on the gospel according to the left. The Columbia Spectator reports:

One of Bollinger’s questions concerned the United States Supreme Court’s decision earlier this week to reconsider affirmative action [in Fisher v. the University of Texas at Austin]. Bollinger was involved in defending affirmative action when the court declared it constitutional in a landmark 2003 case, and he said on Thursday that the court’s decision to revisit the issue is “ominous.”

Holder expressed support for affirmative action, saying that he “can’t actually imagine a time in which the need for more diversity would ever cease.”

“Affirmative action has been an issue since segregation practices,” Holder said. “The question is not when does it end, but when does it begin … When do people of color truly get the benefits to which they are entitled?”

He added that as a Columbia student, he “saw diversity and interacted with people who had different views.”

“People come from so many different backgrounds and bring so many different perspectives that the study of contemporary civilization is enriched by those people,” he said.

It should be recalled that Bollinger and the University of Michigan lost the Gratz case involving undergraduate admissions. As practiced by the university, the undergraduate affirmative action program simply sorted students by race and applied different standards to achieve prescribed numerical outcomes. The Supreme Court held the affirmative action program to be illegal. Mr. Attorney General, you got a problem with that? Funny, but President Bollinger forgot to ask him.

At the University of Michigan Law School, they did exactly the same thing, but slightly more subtly. That was good enough for Justice O’Connor in the companion Grutter case. Even Justice O’Connor, however, thought there ought to be a limit to the affirmative action era — 25 years from 2003. Only 16 years to go!

Of course, even that isn’t good enough for Holder and his ilk (undoubtedly including O’Connor, when 2028 rolls around). I leave it to readers to excavate the cracked thoughts percolating in Holder’s cranium. John Rosenthal has pitched in to lend a hand in the excavation.