One of the largest unoccupied spaces in our ongoing cultural civil war is the enormous gap between the moral high ground assumed by proponents of racial preference, aka “diversity,” and the arguments they adduce to defend it.
Take this article criticizing legislative proposals that would eliminate racial preferences in Tennessee (please!) by Joseph Sweat, who serves on both the Tennessee and national board of directors of the ACLU. He argues that ending preferential treatment based on race or ethnicity
is not only misguided in trying to solve a problem that does not exist, it will set back efforts to open more doors in education for a range of disadvantaged individuals.
Witness to this is that no less than 12 bills are pending in the Tennessee General Assembly seeking to stamp out any possibility that race, ethnicity, gender, past discrimination or lack of diversity can ever be factors in addressing the educational or public employment needs of our state. Equal opportunity is a guiding principle of our democracy, and these bills limit access to public education and employment opportunities. This is why the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, universities, and other civil rights organizations oppose this legislation.
This of course is pure, silly, unadulterated malarkey. Ending discrimination based on race or ethnicity will set back no effort to open more doors in education or elsewhere. No advocate of colorblind equality, and no statute or state constitutional provision requiring colorblind equality, says or even hints that “race, ethnicity, gender, past discrimination or lack of diversity can [never] be factors in addressing the educational or public employment needs.” What those provisions and those of us who support them say is that state benefits and burdens cannot be distributed on the basis of race, ethnicity, etc. States may continue — indeed, should continue — to address educational or employment needs all they want, and in so doing can consider whatever evidence they deem relevant.
All they cannot do is favor some and disfavor others because of race, ethnicity, or gender.