What happens when the Law of Unintended Consequences is fulfilled?
Affirmative Action, the offspring of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, once meant efforts to help America's Black minority achieve a substantial economic footing after centuries of abuse and discrimination. Initial efforts were intended to address overt roadblocks and covert hindrances. Scholarships, jobs, loans, support programs, and the like were established to address economic problems. Black coalitions were encouraged and established to create a political presence that was effective and representative. Companies created affirmative action programs to mentor Black trainees whose background was deficient in business skills.
While there was resistance, there was acceptance. Something had to be done to redress wrongs and help a significant segment of our population to truly integrate with the rest of society.
Then some strange mutations began, most notably that women were covered by the efforts. While not a "minority" in a population sense, women were now considered an oppressed segment because they were "under-represented" in business, average income levels, education, sports, and on and on. So legal action (Title VII) addressed that. If men had it; women should have it, too. Simple enough.
But then the courts began to find a pervasive discrimination in everything everywhere. So, the only "logical" way to address that was to move beyond prohibiting discrimination to creating outright preferences for Blacks and women... a "temporary" fix until everything was the way it should be. Businesses went from discrimination to non-discriminatory hiring and mentoring to "diversity programs". Universities created different and lower admission standards to increase "diversity." Governments required "representation" in police and fire departments at the executive and supervisory levels.
And a strange thing happened: white males began to make noises about "reverse discrimination." It didn't matter if you were the best qualified; you weren't "diverse." There were statistics to fix.
But government and business and education had bought into "diversity" programs so this temporary adjustment period had to go on... even if it did hurt some white males who had all of the other advantages... even the poor, white males.
Then something stranger happened: a young woman was denied entrance to the University of Michigan law school even though her academic credentials were superior to a Black student who was selected. Wait a minute!!!! This wasn't fair! Women were under-represented in law school, too! Well, sorry miss, a choice had to be made between oppressed groups and your group lost. Race trumped all.
Let's cut to the chase. This woman became the poster child for what was perceived as the civil wrongs of Civil Rights. A law intended to eliminate racial discrimination had become the basis for blatant racial discrimination. The law of unintended consequences was fulfilled.
A "diverse" and unlikely group became the core of an effort to get a proposal on the Michigan ballot that would direct the State to amend its Constitution to:
- Ban public institutions from using affirmative action programs that give preferential treatment to groups or individuals based on their race, gender, color, ethnicity, or national origin for public employment, education or contracting purposes. Public institutions affected by the proposal include state government, local governments, public colleges and universities, community colleges and school districts
- Prohibit public institutions from discriminating against groups or individuals due to their gender, ethnicity, race, color or national origin. (A separate provision of the state constitution already prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin.)
But when November 7 came and went, the voters... 2 to 1... said "this is right."
Two years ago I wrote to the president of the University of Michigan about their admissions program. You can read what I wrote here.
There are ways... and there are ways.