Carolinian – Opinions
Issue: 2/3/03

Bigotry born of pity
By Jason M. Crawford

In March the U.S. Supreme Court will consider the constitutional merit of the admissions program at the University of Michigan that was challenged in a lawsuit over three years ago by a group of Chinese students. The controversial element of the university’s 150-point program is that it automatically awards the applicant if he or she belongs to any one of a particularly favored race – Hispanic, African American, or Native American, more specifically. So if the University of Michigan wins, should our own university administration be excused if it wishes to implement a race-based admissions policy of its own?

Anyone that is observant can detect that many in our school’s administration coo at even the mention of the words “diversity” or “multicultural.” But while most would recognize that these are red-hot terms right now, many may not fully understand the radical ideas that these terms represent to some intellectual elitists, particularly those that congregate on college campuses. The University of Michigan (UM) and those that sympathize with it argue that students benefit more from a learning environment that is racially diverse. UM argues that if the presence of differing races enhances the educational environment, what is wrong with taking the next step: screen the race of new applicants and add weight to certain ones that are perceived as having increased difficulty? White or Asian applicants would not get the bonus because there are enough of them as it is.

But wait a minute.

Would this race-based scheme make our school better, or would it simply condone a new breed of bigotry? We are familiar with the old bigotry that springs out of hatred, but what about this new bigotry born of pity? It is this more subtle form that condescendingly looks down on Hispanics, African Americans, and Native Americans and deems them unfit to compete on a level academic playing field. Giving them the same chance as everyone else is not enough. These neo-bigots think diversity apparently will not happen unless the odds are shifted in favor of a few groups they consider less capable.

The powers-that-be at UM obviously think that racial diversity is important – very important. In the 150-point scale, an applicant can garner twenty points for just marking that he or she is of a preferred race. Get a perfect score on the S.A.T.? You get only twelve points. This would revolutionize university admissions, of course, since grades and testing suddenly would become secondary to the color of one’s skin. How hard you have worked would suddenly take second place to what you look like.

Diversity is important, but it is intellectual diversity that I am more interested in. It’s people that have different political, philosophical, and religious views that make campus life livelier. Whether they are white, black, red, or yellow makes no difference. That this variety of viewpoints can be secured by plunking different races into a classroom is just absurd. One’s appearance does not dictate what a person thinks, and UNCG policy should never assume that it does.

Jason Crawford is a student advocate of conservative causes on campus. He has argued before the Student Government Association against school funding of PRIDE, UNCG’s gay and lesbian organization, and of an on-campus lecture by Maya Angelou. This is Crawford’s first printed work for The Carolinian.