In 2006, Michigan voters overwhelmingly approved Proposal 2, ending state-sponsored discrimination via race-based preferences in college admissions, hiring, and contracting. But a recent federal court ruling
has temporarily overturned the will of Michigan voters, opening the door for affirmative action’s return to Michigan.
Supporters of affirmative action in college admissions face some tough questions.
Is it consistent to support affirmative action when practiced by a staff member in the admissions or financial aid office of a university in one building on a college campus, but not support "affirmative action grading" when practiced by a college professor on that same college campus in another building?
If race-neutral grading is the accepted standard for the treatment of students in the classroom, can race-based preferences be justified when selecting students for admission to the university in the first place?
The challenges revealed in these questions and the obvious unacceptability of academic favoritism in the classroom with affirmative action grading explains why Michigan voters ended racial favoritism in college admissions in 2006.
College students in Michigan are treated as individuals without regard to race by university professors once they enter college and start taking classes. Treating all students as individuals by college admissions officers when they first apply to college will ultimately move us further along toward the ideal of a colorblind society than bringing back admissions practices involving double standards, special preferences, and racial discrimination.
In 1963, President John F. Kennedy said: "Simple justice requires that public funds, to which all taxpayers of all races contribute, not be spent in any fashion which encourages, entrenches, subsidizes or results in racial discrimination."
Hopefully, President Kennedy's vision will prevail in Michigan and the current prohibition of state-sponsored racial discrimination will be upheld by the courts.