ED JONES: Court to Decide Fate of Affirmative Action
Jones, Ed, The Gazette (Colorado Springs, CO)
As a state senator from Colorado Springs in 2004, I sponsored legislation called the "Colorado Civil Rights Act." It would have prohibited any public entity in Colorado from discriminating - or granting preferential treatment - on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin. The act would have applied to public employment, public education and public contracting.
My measure would have had far-reaching effects. It would have meant no more of those "set-aside" programs that led to so much finger-pointing and litigation in government contracting. It also would have meant no more race-based admissions on campus and no more hiring preferences in government employment.
Sounds fair, doesn't it? Well most of my fellow senators, including even one Republican who was a friend and had signed on as a co-sponsor, did not see it that way. The measure failed by one vote on the Senate floor. As a result, Colorado remains burdened today with a policy that has the best of intentions - but has in fact backfired on the very Coloradans it was intended to help.
Instead of creating opportunity, affirmative action has created a stigma. It has resulted in a perception that black and brown people cannot achieve success without help. That we cannot make it in this world without handouts. That we cannot succeed without getting a special break.
And not only has affirmative action created that impression among the white majority, but perhaps worse still, it has created that same mind-set among minorities. That's right; affirmative action programs teach our own young people that they cannot make it in college or in a career or in business without special accommodations. That only perpetuates the myth that minorities are inferior.
The United States Supreme Court recently agreed to take up the case of Fisher v. University of Texas. The case will once more put the issue of affirmative action squarely into national focus just eight years after the court upheld the use of race in the University of Michigan's admissions policies in Grutter v Bollinger. …