Ward Connerly, the African American crusader who has never met a government set-aside based on race that he's liked, believes the University of California is hellbent on reducing Asian-American admissions--and Asian-American rights groups are not doing enough to stop them.
Writing in the Sacramento Bee, Connerly--who is president of the American Civil Rights Institute and author of the newly released Lessons From My Uncle James--begins his opinion piece by recalling an incident that supposedly took place five years ago before his term ended as a UC regent.
I was having a conversation with a high-ranking UC administrator about a proposal he was developing to increase "diversity" at UC within the dictates of California's Constitution and the prohibition against race, gender and ethnic preferences.
I asked him why he considered it important to tinker with admissions instead of just letting the chips fall where they may. In an unguarded moment, he told me that unless the university took steps to "guide" admissions decisions, UC would be dominated by Asians. When I asked, "What would be wrong with that?" I got an answer that speaks volumes about the underlying philosophy at many universities with regard to Asian enrollment.
The UC administrator told me that Asians are "too dull-they study, study, study." He then said, "If you ever say I said this, I will have to deny it." I won't betray the individual's anonymity because to do so would put him in a world of trouble. Yet, it is time to confront the not-so-subtle hand of discrimination against Asians that masquerades as "building diversity" at many campuses.
Such attitudes by admissions officials proves discrimination flows not only "from hate and inherently foul motives," Connerly writes, but also attempts to diversify for ostensibly positive reasons. But if, say, those who "study, study, study" are rejected to make room for, say, blacks who study insufficiently, "then the mission to include more blacks becomes a much more ominous one," he maintains.
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Connerly ticks off figures that show since passage of Proposition 209 in 1996, Asian undergraduate enrollment at the UC has skyrocketed, led by the 55 percent at UC Irvine. Other UC campuses are in the 40 percents except UCLA at 38 percent. The state's Asian population is only about 13 percent.
As Asians excel "under policies that emphasize and reward academic achievement at a ratio that is more than three times their actual statewide population," UC administrators and social engineers tinkering with diversity are de-emphasizing both the Asian presence and academic achievement, Connerly reasons.
Meanwhile, "so-called Asian civil rights groups, such as Chinese for Affirmative Action, that purport to represent the interest of Asians have not served their communities with distinction" and "cast their lot with the 'diversity' and inclusion crowd," he charges.
What the UC system needs, he concludes, is someone like him who will champion color-blind policies. They coulda used Connerly in Alabama in the 1950s. If they didn't hang him first, of course.