Center for Equal Opportunity

The nation’s only conservative think tank devoted to issues of race and ethnicity.


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Back You are here: Home Affirmative Action Bean Counting in the Big Apple (and Elsewhere)

Bean Counting in the Big Apple (and Elsewhere)

The City University of New York has decided to add a “White/Jewish” classification to its list of “minority” faculty categories. The full list: “African-American/black, Asian, White/Jewish,Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender, Hispanic/Latino, Individuals withdisabilities, and Italian-American.” The move does not seem to bewell-received, according to the New York Post: “Jewish professors told The Post that marking them as Jews won’t make them the chosen people on campus — and may even shrink their ranks if Jews are found to be ‘overrepresented.’”Read all about it here.

What’s more, New York City now apparently requires those claiming Hispanic status in its municipal contracting program to submit a birth certificate and a signed affidavit as proof. An ugly business, but of course the alternative is an honor system that runs the risk of Elizabeth Warren–type exploitation. Oh, wait, there is one other alternative: Stop awarding municipal contracts and CUNY faculty positions on the basis of skin color and what country someone’s ancestors came from.

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But of course this nonsense is not just limited to the Big Apple, and the victims of the bean-counting are not limited to those discriminated against.  A major problem with affirmative action it that it stigmatizes those who receive it, as discussed in"Not Just a Diversity Number" at Inside Higher Ed. The author is a minority professor who complains about the stigmatization that results when the university points to its minority hires and brags about its “diversity” efforts. 

Well, the professor does a great job of identifying a problem, but apparently does not want to suggest the obvious solution. Yes, if racial preferences are used in hiring, the people of color hired will be stigmatized in the way that she describes. They will be assumed not to have been the best people available, because in fact they will not have been – by definition, that's what happens when you give a hiring preference on the basis of skin color. But the solution is not just to talk less about the use of racial preferences (the author's suggestion, which won't work because the truth will out): The solution is to stop using them.

And from The Hill recently:  “The Commerce Department is considering naming Arab Americans a socially and economically disadvantaged minority group that is eligible for special business assistance. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) petitioned Commerce earlier this year to ask that Arab Americans be made eligible for the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), which helps minority entrepreneurs gain access to capital, contracts and trade opportunities.”  And the story concludes:  “MBDA services are now offered to African-Americans, Puerto Ricans, Spanish-speaking Americans, American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, Hasidic Jews, Asian-Pacific Americans and Asian Indians.”

Is that all? Nothing for Lithuanians?

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Meanwhile, civil-rights organizations on the Left are happy with the proliferation of racial and ethnic preferences, but quite upset about … schools giving their sports teams American Indian–related names, like “Braves” and “Chiefs.”  A dubious complaint – and often a complaint that American Indians themselves do not share.  Consider:  “Tribes on two Oregon Indian reservations [recently] protested a new rule by Oregon education officials that bans public schools from using Native American imagery in team names and mascots,” according to the Wall Street Journal.  You can read another story about thishere, and I wrote a law-review article about this sort of thing many moons ago, here.

Last thing:  In case you missed it, Linda Chavez appeared on a panel discussion of immigration policy here (there’s a shorter video version and the longer audio version), championing the Center for Equal Opportunity’s free-market and pro-assimilation approach.