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October 05, 2006 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-10-05

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O PEDhIursay, uctober , 2 6- Te vMichigan Daily -
ichigan ivl ights nitiative
Campus speaks out on Proposal 2


MCRI and the price of admission

MCRI's systematic voter fraud

I admire the commitment that RC Prof. Carl
Cohen has for equality and individual rights. I
think that this is a wonderful idea and one that
we should all work towards. The problem is that
the world he wants exists only for some, not for
all. We do not live in a color-blind society or
one in which hiringadmissions or contracting is
privilege-blind, and to pass the Michigan Civil
Rights-Initiative is to further inscribe the rights
of those who already have great individual and
civil rights.
In his book "The Price of Admission", Pulit-
zer Prize-winning writer Daniel Golden exposes
the university admissions process in the United
States, particularly at elite universities, as an
affirmation of the individual rights of the white
and privileged. In an interview on CBS's Sun-
day Morning on Sept. 24, he said of elite uni-
"The school will say (applicants have) a one in
10 chance, but in reality, since the alumni chil-
dren may have a one in four chance, the kids of
big donors have a one in two chance, the actual
kid who doesn't have a connection may face a
one in 20 or one in 30 or one in 40 chance of
getting in. It strikes at the very basic American
notions of fair play and equal opportunity and
upward mobility."
In his letter to the Daily (MCRI ends racial
preferences, not affirmative action, 09/14/2006),
Prof. Cohen said this about the language of the
initiative to correct what he saw as a misinter-
pretation of the initiative by University Presi-
dent Mary Sue Coleman:

"Some people use the phrase 'affirmative
action' to refer to ethnic preferences with a more
palatable name. In the light of that usage, the
State Board of Canvassers settled upon ballot
language (the language voters will it see at the
polls) which says, correctly, that the MCRI will
'ban affirmative action programs that give pref-
erential treatment to groups or individuals based
on their race, gender, color, ethnicity or national
origin for public employment, education or con-
tracting purposes."'
In light of Golden's expose, will MCRI ban affir-
mative action for the privileged on the basis of race?
As the big donors and alumni are almost all white,
will it ban affirmative action on the basis of legacy?
On the basis of wealth? None of these words are in
the language of the initiative.
Race and privilege are not historical. Privilege
on the basis of race continues to exist largely for
those who had uninterrupted individual rights
for hundreds of years. A program that seeks to
give individual rights to those who have been
excluded from such opportunities is one way to
make amends. I am afraid, Prof. Cohen and Rep.
Leon Drolet (MCRI supports rights of individu-
als, 09/25/2006), that giving the excluded any
preference will only make a minimal dent on
the unassailable rights of the privileged in this
country - at least not until the excluded them-
selves become big donors to elite universities
and inundate their alumni rosters. And when
and how will that happen?
Hasifmfis a lecturer in the Centerfor
Afro-American and African Studies and
the Department of Women's Studies.

"(T)he MCRI engaged in systematic voter
fraud"; if it "passes, it will be stained by well-
documented acts of fraud and deception ... (T)he
state has demonstrated an almost complete insti-
tutional indifference to the credible allegations
of voter fraud." So wrote Federal District Court
Judge Arthur Tarnow.
Judge Tarnow was unequivocal in his denun-
ciation of the voter fraud perpetrated by the anti-
affirmative action campaign - the so-called
"Michigan Civil Rights Initiative". He also lam-
basted state officials for their failure to protect
the integrity of Michigan elections. Yet Tarnow,
despite his finding of systematic voter fraud, failed
to issue an injunction because of his interpretation
of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Tarnow claimed
that because white voters were victims of voter
fraud as well as black voters, no one would receive
the protections of the Voting Rights Act.
This makes no sense.
Now the issue is in front of the Sixth Circuit Court
of Appeals in Cincinnati awaiting a hearing.
At the heart of the Voting Rights Act challenge
brought by BAMN, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kil-
patrick, the Detroit City Council, the Legislative
Black Caucus, Operation King's Dream and oth-
ers is a simple idea that until now no one would
have thought was controversial: You can't amend
the constitution by defrauding the people.
Each body that has investigated the voter fraud
perpetrated by MCRI has found evidence of a
"systematic," "sweeping," "deliberate," "well-
documented" "pattern" - to use Tarnow's words

- of voter fraud. Ignoring such a pattern of voter
fraud would be unacceptable under any condition.
To do so when the voter fraud forms the basis
of an effort to amend the Constitution is entirely
Allowing the MCRI to go forward on the cur-
rent basis of systematic voter fraud will com-
promise the integrity and authority of Michigan
elections, irrespective of the outcome. The Con-
stitution is the highest law of the state. If Pro-
posal 2 passes and thereby amends this highest
law of the state on the basis of systematic voter
fraud, the authority of that law will be withered.
The prospect of amending the Constitution on the
basis of a campaign that has been found by each
body that has investigated it to be guilty of sys-
tematic voter fraud is unfathomable.
Targeting black voters for fraud in an effort
aimed at attacking progress for women and minori-
ties is an unwarranted and ill-advised provocation.
If it passes on the basis of sweeping voter fraud tar-
geted at Michigan's black voters, it will not only
be "stained'; it will lead to an angry mass political
awakening of black people across the state.
Had two consecutive, independent evaluations
both found systematic voter fraud to permeate an
effort to amend the State Constitution on any other
issue, the call for its removal from the ballot would
be clear, loud, bi-partisan and uncontroversial.
The assumed norms of honesty and basic integ-
rity in Michigan elections must be maintained.
MCRI must not go to the ballot.
Lopez is an LSA sophomore and Mulholland
is an Art and Design sophomore. They are writing
on behalfof By Any Means Necessary.

The Daily misrepresents MCRI

Racism doesn't exist?

We take offense to the editorial published
on Monday's editorial page Code-word cam-
paign: Politics, the English Language and MCRI
First, the article details the deceptive use
of the English language by MCRI supporters,
equating our use of the terms "fairness" and
"equality" with "political lies." But if the pro-
MCRI use of "fairness" and "equality" is a lie,
what can anyone interested in the meanings of
words make of, in a One United Michigan com-
mercial, the term "Affirmative Diversity" float-
ing across the screen? (This occurs while a black
girl and a white girl talk about how badly they
want opportunity in their future, as though it is
only through a system as immoral and nefari-
ous as affirmative action that these two would
be considered at all).
Though the irony is that the opposite would be
true - and that both of these girls would, under
a race-conscious system like that in Michigan
now, be evaluated differently because they were
of different races - that is not our point. Our
objection is with the euphemistically fluffy term
"Affirmative Diversity." Can anyone tell us what
that term means? It is a positivity rolled up into
a burrito of a word, and it is a joke, Orwellian in
its manipulation of language
If fairness and equality are "grossly misrep-
resentative polemics," then what of "affirmative
diversity?" And what of a diversity founded on
evaluating skin color above all else, as though
someone's race makes his opinion more desir-
able than someone else's?
Second, the issue of Jen Gratz's enroll-
ment/waitlist status can be clarified as long as
the public understands the difference between
the waiting list, which is still in use, and the
now-defunct "extended" waiting list, the list on

which Gratz was placed and which was used in
the years preceding her lawsuit. This is the exact
language used to describe the "extended" wait-
ing list by the University:
"Because the class is selected on a rolling
basis, rather than at-one point in time, a certain
number of seats is designated during the admis-
sions cycle for in-state students and for certain
other groups of students, including, for example,
athletes, foreign applicants, underrepresented
minority candidates, and ROTC candidates
(sometimes referred to as 'protected' space).
This space is 'protected' to enable (the Office
of Undergraduate Admissions) to achieve the
enrollment targets of the University and of the
individual units while using a rolling admissions
system. If this space is not filled by qualified
candidates from the designated groups toward
the end of the season, it used to admit students
from the postponed pool or the extended waiting
list ... "
This means that under the "extended" waiting
list, spaces were reserved for minorities at the
expense of Gratz's matriculation. The Univer-
sity tried to argue that Gratz lacked standing.
The federal district court and the U.S. Supreme
Court looked at this and said that the entire pol-
icy was riddled with discrimination. The phrase
"protected seats" is pretty outrageous.
In light of these new facts, we challenge the
Daily to defend the use of an "extended" wait-
ing list that is, ironically, nothing more than a
euphemism for the quota system, which, as the
editorial pointed out, is unconstitutional.
For any sort of legitimacy in the MCRI debate
on the English language, or on Gratz's Supreme
Court case, our advice would be for the Daily to
do its homework.
Fantuzzi is an LSA junior and a Washtenaw
County MCRI co-chair. Kelly is an LSA junior.

In his article Why racial preferences are a product of
white guilt (10/04/2006), Carl Cohen argues the follow-
"Universities, like corporations, do not pay to the
measure of any actual racism; they pay to the measure of
racism's bloated reputation in the age of white guilt."
In other words, according to Cohen, racism doesn't
actually exist; it is just a figment of the imaginations of
those who are oppressed and those few members of the
majority group who feel compelled to right those injus-
tices. By making this argument, Cohen totally dismisses
the hundreds of experiences of students at the University
who have encountered racism first-hand. He dismisses
the countless hate incidents that are so frequent that Uni-
versity administrators were forced to develop a hate and
bias hotline and website that deals solely with students
who are physically and emotionally assaulted. He dis-
misses professors who refuse to call on students of color
in classrooms and white students who refuse to work
with students of color in study groups. He dismisses a
city that has almost zero resources for students of color
and forces students to go to Ypsilanti for things like hous-
ing that doesn't cost $1,000 a month, affordable places to
eat, somewhere to get their hair cut and entertainment.
How dare you tell me, a black woman at the Univer-
sity, that my experience of having a car full of white
men drive up next to me screaming "you stupid piece
of shit" isn't real. I have had it with these privileged,
entitled white and black men (Shelby Steele, Ward
Connerly, Clarence Thomas) telling me my oppression
isn't real. Walk a mile in my shoes and then we'll talk.
Cohen's article is underhanded and plays on the
emotional biases of the people in this state. He polar-
izes the issue into one of whites versus blacks when
that couldn't be further from the truth. He goes so far
as to argue that Proposal 2 will not "forbid affirmative
action." According to Cohen, "the initiative does not
mention affirmative action, many forms of which are
clearly worthwhile and not at all preferential" and that

proposal 2 "only bears upon discrimination and prefer-
ences given by the state:"
But what Cohen doesn't tell you is that his definition
of "preferences" is not solely limited to black people.
It also encompasses other underrepresented minority
groups and women. So programs that help women get
into science and engineering - gone. Programs that
aid students of color at the University - gone.
Cohen goes so far as to imply that black students
get by at the University just by accusing professors of
racism. Excuse me, Prof. Cohen, but my community
and I earn our grades through harder work than most
students at the University could even imagine.
What is even more flooring about this article is how
Cohen describes the black power movement of the
'70s as a "band of black accusers" filled with "invin-
cible" "black rage." He argues that the black action
movements unfairly targeted college presidents "who
were certainly not racists" and were "filled with integ-
rity." But he completely ignores the fact that the black
action movements - and the many other movements
that happened on the University's campus and many
campuses like it - occurred after failed attempts at
negotiating diplomatically with administrations that
were simply not interested. These movements were
not random explosions of rage where black students
manipulated college administrators into agreeing with
unreasonable demands. These were students who were
demanding that they be treated like their histories and
their futures mattered!
It is heart-breaking that as a graduating senior at
the University, I still have to defend my right and the
right of everyone like me to have equal access to edu-
cation. It is ironic that as the Detroit Public Schools fall
farther into disrepair, as more people of color are being
sent off to fight in a war that may never end and as
enrollment rates for students of color at many universi-
ties around the country fall, these people want to take
away affirmative action.
Moffett is an LSA senior.

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