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Affirmative Action

July 10, 1994

* Re "Civil Rights--the Graying of a '60s Dream," by Jonathan Freedman, Column Left, July 3:

How could Freedman not see that policies allocating economic and educational opportunities by ethnicity and gender would inevitably produce a fraud-ridden ethnic spoils system far from affirmative action's original intent of fostering individual equal opportunity? Indeed, Freedman is so annoyed with whites' reverse discrimination complaints that he ignores how affirmative action quotas pit black and non-black minorities against each other. (Ironically, affirmative action can now harm blacks as their quotas shrink to accommodate those of burgeoning immigrant groups.)

Affirmative action was corrupted from within by crafty judges and bureaucrats eager to expand the policies beyond narrowly tailored remedies. For example, Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act did not set hiring goals, as Freedman asserts; on the contrary, Title VII's section 703j expressly stated that the act did not require employers to give ethnic preferences to balance their work forces. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan subverted the obvious intent in Weber vs. Kaiser Aluminum in 1979 by slyly noting that the act did not prohibit employers from imposing "voluntary" quotas.

Such legal trickery, as well as secretive, exclusionary procedures--such as set-asides and "race norming" of employment exams--earned affirmative action its tarnished reputation.

FREDERICK R. LYNCH Ph.D.

Visiting Associate

Professor of Government

Claremont McKenna College

* How can Freedman expect Americans to be colorblind when the government institutes programs (i.e., affirmative action) that offer entitlements to groups based solely upon the color of their skin?

It is indisputable that today there is less racism and more opportunity for minorities than at any time in history. No individual (black or white) can realistically blame racism or lack of opportunity for his or her own failure to succeed in this society. It is a very conscious choice to become a criminal in America.

RICHARD PALMER

Redondo Beach

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