Focus Point - Affirmative ActionCommentary by Pete du Pont
April 24, 2001
I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. The supreme court has been striking down racial preferences since the Bakke decision in 1978. Yet intellectuals and academics insist promoting diversity is more important to society than considering an individual's merit.
William Bowen, Derek Bok and Glenn Loury plainly state in their book "The Shape of the River.". The idea infuriates John McWhorter, author of "Losing the Race: Self-sabotage In Black America." He contends holding blacks to a lower academic standard to push them up the ladder undermines their self-confidence and will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The fundamental question is, does social justice require us to use race to deny or grant opportunity to individuals based on the group they belong to? I think not. If America insists on adjusting or ignoring the measurement of achievement to benefit groups, we abandon an essential element of our social compact: The principle that merit matters, that an individual through effort and skill can better his circumstances.
Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, deregulating.