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HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Still fuzzy on racial preferences

Written June 24th, 2013 by

courtThe latest Supreme Court opinion on racial discrimination shows that we’re still a long, long way from putting that problem behind us. The basic principle is that under the Constitution, it’s wrong for the government to treat people differently because of their race. But the court has made exceptions in the area of admissions to colleges and universities.

In the Bakke case in 1978, the court ruled against a racial quota system at the University of California. But in that and later decisions, the court said race could still be considered as part of a more sophisticated program of achieving racial diversity in university classes. The court applied what it called a test of strict scrutiny to any such programs and approved those that met the test.

In the latest case, involving the University of Texas in Austin, a Caucasian woman had been refused admission and sued, alleging discrimination. The lower courts sided with the university. But the Supreme Court said Monday they were wrong because they gave the university too much deference and didn’t apply the strict scrutiny test. It returned the case t the lower courts with instruction to consider it again.

With all this judicial hair-splitting, it’s hard for citizens including university boards to know how much discrimination is OK. What our society should say instead is that all racial discrimination by government is wrong and should not be allowed. (hh)

From Nancy Sturm, via Facebook:  A nice place to start would be with application forms that ask for race.  And what is it with the forms that now ask for both race and ethnicity and they are not necessarily the same thing?  As a member of a racially mixed family, I would love not having to decide if one is White, Latino, Hispanic or whatever the description du jour happens to be.



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