Friday, August 25, 2006

Common Sense About the MCRI

The Kalamazoo Gazette has published a well-written, informative opinion piece about the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative. Read it all:

Common sense about civil rights initiative

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

There is plenty of misinformation swirling about concerning the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI), a proposal that will appear on the ballot in November in Michigan. Case in point is Joshua Woods' July 17 Viewpoint, ``Civil Rights Initiative reads like a bad `Saturday Night Live' script.''

Woods claims that the MCRI would ``ban affirmative action.'' This isn't exactly true.

The use of the term ``affirmative action'' in this debate serves to confuse rather than clarify. Different people use this term in different ways to refer to different types of programs. It can refer to both programs that discriminate based on race, and those that seek to recruit more minorities. The former would be banned, the latter would not. Hence, saying that the MCRI would "ban affirmative action'' is inaccurate.

The MCRI would only ban preferential treatment or discrimination based on race, sex or ethnicity in public contracting, public education and public employment. Private schools and businesses would be exempt.

Make no mistake. You cannot support both civil rights and racial preferences. Supporting civil rights means treating people based on their character, not on the color of their skin. Racial preferences treat people differently based on the color of their skin.

Supporters of the MCRI don't deny that there are racial problems in America. We deny that racial preferences help to solve them. Racial discrimination creates an atmosphere of suspicion and mistrust which only serves to further divide us. Racial preferences are all too easily exploited by both white and black racists to promote hatred.

Another reason that racial preferences will not help to solve racial problems is that they do not help black people. Racial preferences are usually conceived as helping blacks while hurting whites, with people supporting the interests of one group or another. However, racial preferences actually hurt black people by setting them up for failure. They promote a systematic mismatching of candidates and positions. In fact, studies have shown that a large percentage of people who are admitted to college because of racial preferences end up dropping out. This doesn't do them any favors.

Woods claims that MCRI proponents disdain democracy, but it is the opponents of the MCRI who have repeatedly filed lawsuits in an attempt to stop the people from voting on this measure. Thankfully, they failed.

In November, we will have an opportunity to support the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative and end governmental racial discrimination once and for all.

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