Magazine article Insight on the News

Sacrificing Truth for Diversity

Magazine article Insight on the News

Sacrificing Truth for Diversity

Article excerpt

After captivating America and the world with its courage and heroism in putting out the monstrous fires of Sept. 11, the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) recently was forced to extinguish the flames of a public-relations disaster. Developer Bruce Ratner commissioned a statue for the FDNY headquarters based on the inspirational photo of firemen Billy Eisengrein, George Johnson and Dan McWilliams hoisting the American flag at ground zero on the afternoon of Sept. 11.

However, there was one modification to the image taken by Hackensack, N.J., Record photographer Thomas E. Franklin: The three white firemen morphed into one white, one black and one Hispanic. Thus, two white firefighters were replaced by fictitious firemen of color who did not actually rise from the rubble and unfurl Old Glory.

While the purpose of this falsification was to achieve some artificial proportionate diversity, the fact is that of FDNY's 11,495 firefighters, only 2.7 percent are black while 3.2 percent are Hispanic. Nevertheless, had the statue been a general tribute to firefighters, it hardly would have been objectionable. But because it aims to depict an actual occurrence, it is fraudulent.

Although the public uproar now has led Ratner and the FDNY to re-evaluate the statue, this is not the first time that truth has been sacrificed on the altar of diversity. Last year, according to the March 16, 2001, Chronicle of Higher Education, the University of Wisconsin at Madison digitally inserted the face of a black student, Diallo Shabazz, into a picture on the cover of a brochure. The picture portrayed Shabazz amid a sea of white faces at a Wisconsin football game he had not attended. University officials subsequently apologized to Shabazz and acknowledged their purpose was to make the campus appear more diverse.

As disturbing as these two incidents are, far more troubling is the fact that they symbolize the intellectual dishonesty of racial-preference programs. These two intangible affronts to truth pale in comparison to the countless people who every day lose a place in college, a job or a contract because of preference programs. Whether used in college admissions, employment or contracting, racial preferences are built on lies.

First, they necessarily involve a double standard. For example, at the University of Texas School of Law prior to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals' Hopwood decision, minority applicants were placed in a different pile, reviewed by a different committee and accepted with lower grades and test scores than whites and Asians who automatically were rejected. …

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