The New Age of Discrimination

decease arial, drugs sans-serif;”>By Abigail Welborn

drugs arial,sans-serif;”>50 years after the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement, and with all the national focus over the ensuing decades on the ills of racial discrimination, you wouldn’t think that a major US university – even one in the Deep South – would still be discriminating. But you’d be wrong in that belief as evidenced by a recent federal complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.

Unbiased academic research upholds the validity of this complaint finding that on the SAT’s 2,400 point scale, African Americans must score 310 points higher than Hispanic students, 170 points higher than Caucasian students, and 130 points higher than Asian-American students in order to be granted admission to Hampton.

The complaint further asserts that Hampton’s admissions department reflects widely held racial biases against African Americans and their presence on campus above some arbitrarily determined number. In the admission process, Hampton prioritizes each applicant’s racial and cultural background before considering test scores. This priority is so central to the admissions process that it is weighted just as important (if not more, in some cases) as academic achievements.

Charles Kirby, President of Hampton University, responding to the complaint, stated that the university’s admissions process is compliant with both federal and state law. He points out that Supreme Court decisions have affirmed a university’s right to take into consideration many important diversifying factors other than academics in order to maintain a university’s diverse educational culture. It just so happens that Hampton’s pool of applicants has become so dominated by African Americans that, if some diversifying factors weren’t considered, there would be too many blacks in the university to maintain a diverse culture.

So here we have the paradox of rules intended to help African Americans now being used to discriminate against them. Young men and women, many of them coming from families which immigrated from Jamaica and other parts of the Caribbean, who worked just as hard as other applicants, were told they had to work harder than anyone else because of the color of their skin.

Writing this article in the 21st century shows us all that the same discrimination so bitterly practiced in the years from our country’s founding through the early 20th century is still alive and well today. All that has changed is the target of the discrimination. Because this needs to stop, we all need to demand a public outcry louder than what we witnessed at the dawn of the Civil Rights Movement when Martin Luther King’s speeches and peaceful demonstrations first aroused our anger at racism’s brutal, dehumanizing ugliness. Racial discrimination needs to stop.

But there is a bigger problem here than just the plight of those students who, on the basis of their skin color, were denied admission for which they worked long and hard and to which they were due by any measure of a civilized nation.

The bigger problem is that the NAACP, the ACLU, and almost every other prominent civil rights organization is remaining silent in the face of such blatant racial discrimination. There is also the bigger problem that these same self-proclaimed champions of civil rights don’t see such racial discrimination as inherently evil. In them, it elicits reactions which run the spectrum from indifference to fervent defense of such practices.

I hope you are as shocked as I was by the discrimination these deserving kids have experienced; I hope you are shocked at the hypocrisy of “civil rights” organizations ignoring or defending racial discrimination. But I suspect you – or at least some of you – may not be bothered in the least when I reveal one last detail of this story, and it is this revelation which is the true heart of the article and my plea.

You see, I have taken a real story of real racial discrimination against real deserving students, and I switched their racial identities. I have no doubt you were angry at Hampton and that your heart ached for the black students denied admission. But will your heart ache now when you learn that it was Harvard discriminating against Asians to the benefit of blacks? That is the true story. Harvard University is the subject of a federal complaint filed by groups who support the right of Asian students who face the unfair hurdle of meeting substantially higher test scores in order to achieve admission.

If your emotions are unchanged, then good for you. Your moral compass points solidly northward, and you abhor racial discrimination wherever it is found. If your emotions have changed, if you now question whether victimized young Asians are worthy of empathy and fair treatment, then your moral compass is askew. In fact, if those are your feelings, your “sense of morality” relies on nothing but your feelings and prejudices.

Those who believe we should favor one racial group at the expense of another are inherently callous in their feelings toward true victims and bigoted in their moral calculations. We were all called eloquently to a moral high ground by Martin Luther King’s dream of a world in which people would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. Some of us got it. Others of us took it as an excuse to repay evil with evil – to repay old discrimination with new discrimination.

There can be no valor in such an opinion, and there can be no end to such a practice. As Chief Justice Roberts said, “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” If yesterday’s discrimination against blacks justifies today’s discrimination against Asians, then tomorrow’s reality will only be more discrimination. The way to end discrimination is to end discrimination! And therein lies the true moral high ground.discrimination

 

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About the author: Abigail C. Welborn is a graduate of the University of Virginia and has recently begun her political career in Washington D.C. She can be reached at [email protected] and her work can be seen at www.abigailwelborn.wordpress.com

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