Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Taking A Moment To Be A Bit Unfair....

Professor Bernstein, who spent a year collecting a paycheck from the University of Michigan Law School, bleats about UM's reaction to the Michigan proposal banning affirmative action:
President Coleman, in the midst of lengthy remarks expressing her dedication to "diversity," added, "Of course the University of Michigan will comply with the laws of the state." Her devotion to a cause she believes just is admirable, but I think it would have been appropriate for her to recognize, even if briefly, that out of a student body of 40,000, and an alumni body of hundred thousands, there are many thousands of people of good will who disagree. The actual remarks, however, suggest that the only good member of the Michigan community is someone who supports "diversity" policies.
It does? Well, it's pretty clear that Prof. Bernstein isn't in favor of "diversity" policies, but he's not really part of the Michigan community.

I'm assuming that he didn't have access to UM Law's admissions records, but still I have to ask: Was his experience with UM Law's minority students really so bad? (And where can I read him lament that his children will have an advantage getting into Yale, as the children of an alumnus?)

Affirmative action, at least as presently defined, has to end sometime - that is, at some point you have to recognize that it has passed its point of effectiveness or, if it is effective, that it is no longer necessary. I personally believe that many (perhaps most) affirmative action programs are deeply flawed as administered. Funny, though, I can't recall the last time I saw an opponent of affirmative action make a cogent case against the need for affirmative action, or even the manner of its administration. I can't recall the last time I heard an opponent argue for reform and improvement as opposed to abolition. To the extent that a plausible case can be made that affirmative action is no longer helping to achieve progress for targeted groups, I don't recall hearing that argued, either.


  1. . . .maybe not an opponent, but I seem to recall a well thought of young lawyer who, in your presence, argued that affirmative action should be based on socio-economic status (poverty) or school district (poor educational system) rather than race. My recollection is that the argument referenced Appalachia . . .


  2. There's little question that a lot of people have identified ways to improve affirmative action programs, and have identified flaws in the programs which exclude people who arguably need the assistance.


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