In Colorado, Something Smells Like Selma

Since the abolitionists, if not before, liberals or their antecedents have consistently taken a highly moral (their critics would say moralistic) stand on racial discrimination. The only inconsistency is that for the first 130 years or so they opposed it; now, with equal moral fervor, they support it. They remind me of what Ole Miss history professor Prof. Jim Silver said of Mississippi after it voted overwhelmingly for Goldwater in the 1964: Mississipppi, he said, is the only state in the history of the country that remained a one party state while changing parties.

In Colorado, as previously noted here and here, black Republican state senator Ed Jones has introduced a bill, SB 194, that would bar universities and government agencies from considering race in admissions and hiring. The Rocky Mountain News reports today that the bill was approved by the education committee by a 4 – 3 vote, but only after some histrionic opposition.

The opposition included Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and representatives from the University of Colorado, domestic violence safehouses, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Pastor Reginald Holmes of the New Covenant Christian Church and president of the Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance recalled the racial discrimination he grew up with living in Florida and elsewhere in the South.

“Mr. Jones’ bill smacks and smells of Selma,” Holmes said. “This has no place in Colorado.”

I think Pastor Holmes’s sniffer must be out of whack. As someone who grew up in Alabama under segregation, I can assure Pastor Holmes and anyone else that it is the attempt to preserve racial preferences, not oppose them, that smells like the Selma of those days.

As presented in the article, the other arguments of those who would preserve preferences were remarkably lame.

Hickenlooper and City Council President Elbra Wedgeworth led the opposition to the bill.

The mayor said that the bill fails to properly define racial preference and creates enough uncertainty to invite lawsuits.

“I think, frankly, this bill is unnecessary,” Hickenlooper said.

Other opponents said the bill disregards the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld the University of Michigan Law School’s admission process.

That decision, as almost everyone must know by now, allowed universities to take race into account in certain limited circumstances. It did not require them to, nor did it prevent states from refusing to do so.

Sen. Ken Gordon (D, Denver) told a pro-ban witness, Jessica Peck Corry of the Independence Institute’s Campus Accountability Project, that “the problem is you can’t end segregation by being racially blind.”

Corry did not point out, as I would have, that the term “segregation” cannot properly be applied to the racial demographics of Colorado, but she did state forcefully that “my argument is discrimination to end discrimination is only going to perpetuate discrimination.”

Say What?