“Let’s talk about Asians” are the words that launch the most controversial part of a college counselor’s presentation to parents of kids seeking college admittance.  Counselor Ann Lee, co-founder of HS2 Academy, provides help to those navigating the intensely competitive world of elite university admissions at places like Harvard, Princeton, Yale and others.

 

A recent Los Angeles Times article captured the reaction of parents after Lee informed them of the racial considerations at these admittance departments. “Zenme keyi,” one mother hisses in Chinese (“How can this be possible?”) after Lee explained that applicants’ SAT test scores are adjusted by some universities based on ethnic background.  African-Americans get an average boost of 230 points, Hispanic applicants get 185, and Asian-Americans get 50 points deducted, Lee explains. Fifty points worth of talent, knowledge, and hard work is deducted from Asian kids because of their heritage.

 

Lee further instructs how Asian applicants must demonstrate much more to admittance departments than other applicants. Skills like music, athletics, overcoming the challenges of immigrating, or excellence in Advanced Placement courses help most applicants, but are often devalued for Asian kids. Quite simply, universities look at race – not at individuals – and ‘there are too many Asians’.

 

A quote in the LA Times article from 16-year-old Asian student Lawrence Leonn demonstrates how the identity politics and diversity industries have twisted logic and cause Leonn to worry that his desire for equal treatment  may make him considered a racist:

 

“I don’t want to be racist or anything,” Leonn said. “Everyone works hard and struggles. But there’s this feeling that it’s going to be harder for us.”

 

Fortunately, some parents are refusing to sit in the back of the bus and have filed a lawsuit against Harvard University for their admissions policies. In addition, Asian-Americans played a crucial role in scuttling the California legislature’s efforts last year to reintroduce racial quotas in college admissions. California voters banned race preferences in 1998.

 

I applaud the courage of these parents for standing up for what is right. Let’s hope that the lawsuit and accompanying light shed on such discrimination help us succeed in the long-sought goal of our nation: equal treatment under law by our government for every individual, without regard to their skin color or gender.

 

- Jennifer Gratz

 

Jeb Bush’s just-disclosed email communications while Florida’s governor (1999 – 2007) demonstrate a disturbing, but too-common ‘politician approach’ to dealing with racial equality and affirmative action.

 

In the emails, Bush describes his concern that a possible voter initiative in 2000 to end race preferences in state government hiring, contracting and public university admissions would be a “distraction” and “divisive”. He pledged to “do my part as governor to fight against it”.

 

Bush claimed to oppose race quotas and, indeed, issued an executive order in 2000 restricting some affirmative action policies while ordering Florida’s “state procurement officials to strive harder to award more business to minority contractors”.

 

The emails paint an unflattering portrait of a governor who claims to oppose race preferences, but considers citizens seeking to ban them through a petition drive as divisive extremists. Bush describes his watered-down initiative that restricted some race preference policies as tactical and necessary to preempt the looming citizen petition effort.

 

Jeb Bush isn’t the first politician who hoped to duck the issue of racial preferences: Michigan’s 2006 Republican gubernatorial nominee, Dick DeVos outright opposed the 2006 voter-initiated race preference ban and other elected officials have done the same. Some try to have it both ways by claiming to oppose quotas but denouncing efforts to end them.  Sort of like representatives in congress railing against the budget deficit while opposing any spending cuts.

 

Jeb Bush released his emails to help his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. Instead, they muddle his claim to moral leadership. Thankfully, voters have much more moral clarity: voters in five states – California, Arizona, Michigan, Nebraska, Washington an Oklahoma – overwhelming passed bans on race preference policies. New Hampshire did so legislatively. The US Supreme Court upheld these comprehensive and “extremist” voters this past April.

 

Leadership doesn’t always come from holding political office, and private citizens who support a civil society free of government race discrimination often must take the lead ending such policies.  Jeb Bush can do better than describing these citizens as extremists or divisive because they are willing to lead when government officials seek safety in the moral fog.

 

- Jennifer Gratz

Happy Martin Luther King Day!

 

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed into law legislation creating the Martin Luther King Day holiday to be celebrated on the 3rd Monday of January (close to King’s January 15th birthday).  It was observed for the first time in 1986.

 

There was protracted opposition by some lawmakers to observing the King holiday, mostly centered on King’s political alliances and/or political views (such as his opposition to the Vietnam War). Others expressed concern over the cost of adding another federal holiday or the precedent of having a holiday named for an American citizen who was never elected to public office.

 

Martin Luther King Day, however, should not be viewed as a commemoration of just a person, no matter how historically impactful.  It is a celebration of the core idea that King fought so bravely to be represented and respected in our society: each person is entitled to equality under law and that we should judge each person’s character, talents, and values without regard for their skin color or ethnic background.  This core principle is what makes America great – each person is a valued individual who should control his or her destiny through their own actions and ideas.

 

Sadly, some have distorted that core principle in favor of policies that favor government racial preferences in contracting, hiring, education, etc.

 

Today I will pause to remember the impact that learning about MLK had on me when I l was a young girl in middle school.  And I will reflect on how his passion for equal treatment touched me and a nation.

 

- Jennifer Gratz

The Al Sharpton Shake Down

 

In 2003, Al Sharpton launched verbal attacks against American Honda, accusing the car maker of not hiring enough African American managers. Honda met with Sharpton and agreed to pay into his National Action Network (NAN). Sharpton’s attacks immediately ceased. No word on whether Honda has hired more black managers.

 

Sharpton was given $200,000 by Pepsi after he threatened a race-based boycott of the company in 1997.

 

According to a Jan. 4th New York Post article, Al Sharpton’s organization has been paid by AT&T, McDonald’s, Pfizer, and many other companies who subsequently become immune from Sharpton’s race-based accusations. According to the article, “NAN had repeatedly and without success asked GM for donations for six years beginning in August 2000, a GM spokesman told The Post. Then, in 2006, Sharpton threatened a boycott of GM over the planned closing of an African-American-owned dealership in The Bronx. He picketed outside GM’s Fifth Avenue headquarters. GM wrote checks to NAN for $5,000 in 2007 and another $5,000 in 2008.”

 

Sharpton may be the most prominent for-profit race hustler, but he is certainly not the only one in the game. Playing the race card for personal or political advantage takes many shapes. Whether it’s Democrat US Senator Elizabeth Warren dubiously claiming to being Native American to help climb the academic ladder at Harvard or the lower-profile jobs as ‘Diversity Officers’ at companies and institutions, race claims can be profitable and exploitation tempting.

 

Rooting out true racism in our society is highly commendable. Every person should expect to be treated based on his or her character and talents, and those who confront race and gender bigotry deserve our support. But when we allow a racial spoils system for jobs, contracts, and government benefits based on ethnicity rather than merit, we create an environment that breeds the likes of Al Sharpton and other seedy exploiters.

 

Together, we must fight through the legal system, the court of public opinion, and in every other venue to build a truly just and civil society dedicated to equality of each individual under law – with no racial quotas, set-asides, race hustles, discrimination or preferences. A society where each person can be proud of his or her own individual accomplishments based on their own merit. Thank you for being part of this important fight.

 

- Jennifer Gratz

Last Christmas season, we at XIV Foundation created a special version of “Twas the Night Before Christmas”. I hope you get a chuckle out of it and that you and your family have the warmest of holidays!

 

Twas the night before Christmas
at the North Pole toy shop,
Santa’s attorney’s were puzzling over a letter they got.
Al Sharpton demanded, through certified mail
that Santa’s list policy change what it entails.

No more should children be judged naughty or nice, whatever the case
But gifts be determined through gender, ethnicity and race.
“Affirmative Action gifting” must be St. Nick’s new mantra,
Or Sharpton would organize a boycott of Santa.

“Balderdash” bellowed Santa, “let that nut case sue,”
“No race hustling con artist tells me what to do.”
“Each child will be considered based on their actions and merit.”
“No preferences, discrimination or bias! I won’t bear it!”

“Boys and girls will be judged on their individual actions,”
“I’ll never treat children like competing race factions.”
“All children are equal in their value and soul.”
“Reply back to Sharpton with a stocking full of coal!”
May the New Year bring us all closer to the dream of equality for all! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
- Jennifer Gratz

Michigan’s governor and legislative leaders spent enormous energy these past few days in lame duck session trying hammer out a road funding proposal. When they coalesced around a proposed 17% increase in the state’s sales tax as the solution, these leaders faced the challenge of getting a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate to place the measure on an upcoming ballot. Because several Republican members opposed the tax hike, Democrats would have to almost unanimously vote ‘yes’ on the measure – and the Democrats understood their leverage.

 

According to MIRS News, a respected political newsletter, Democrats were willing to vote for the tax if Republican Governor Snyder would issue an executive order mandating racial preferences for some bidders in the selection of road project contracts. According to MIRS, Gov. Snyder was considering approving this deal, despite his 2010 campaign promise that he would respect voters’ 2006 approved ban on race preferences in public contracting.

 

Thankfully, this voter-approved ban is in the Michigan State Constitution – a fact brought to the Governor’s attention by several principled legislators privy to the negotiations. The race preferences deal was scuttled.

 

The moral of this story is that campaign promises by politicians are not enough to secure your right to equal treatment under law by your government, without regard to your ethnicity or gender. The legislative process is too convoluted and the demand for special treatment too politically profitable. Citizens must be vigilant in protecting their right to true equality through lawsuits, public education and awareness, and – if possible – with strong legal authority. It was the citizens of Michigan’s willingness to place a ban on race and gender preferences in their constitution in 2006 that saved them from racial contracting policies.

 

- Jennifer Gratz

 Both Black and White Americans say race relations have deteriorated during President Obama’s administration, according to a Bloomberg Politics Poll released this week.

 

Poll participants were asked, “Do you think race relations have gotten better, gotten worse, or stayed about the same under the first black president?“. Only 15% of Black respondents and 7% of White respondents thought Obama’s presidency improved relations compared to 45% and 53%, respectively, who said race relations have become worse.

 

America has made great progress toward racial equality over the decades, but the lack of public enthusiasm regarding Obama’s contribution to that progress should come as no surprise. Obama the candidate promised “one America” and progress toward a “post-racial America”. Obama the President delivers the exact opposite: race quotas in everything from federal contracting to health care – even demands for race quotas in school discipline policies.

 

Americans have different ideas on a myriad of issues with racial overtones, from Ferguson, MO to New York and beyond, but almost all Americans have the same goal: equal treatment for every citizen under the law. The best way to achieve that goal is to live it – and not undermine it with affirmative action race quotas and preferences.

 

- Jennifer Gratz

Lawsuits against Harvard and the University of North Carolina were filed this week by a group that includes two unnamed college students who were rejected from those schools. According to Inside Higher Ed, the Harvard applicant is of Asian ethnicity who had a perfect ACT score, the highest possible SAT score on several exams, and was valedictorian of his high school. He didn’t get in.

 

According to Reason Magazine author Robby Soave, Harvard has kept their Asian student population constant over many years, while universities that don’t consider race as an admission factor have seen more Asians gain admittance.

 

Harvard has a history of placing an arbitrary cap on students of certain backgrounds. Between 1918 and the 1950s, Harvard put an arbitrary cap of 17% on the number of Jewish students it would accept in incoming classes. Thankfully, civil society no longer morally accepts “too many Jews” as a valid form of discrimination. The result of ending the Jewish quota has been that Harvard has been more successful at being the university for the best and brightest students. When will Harvard – and all universities – recognize that applicants should be judged based on individual merit, not representatives of certain racial or ethnic groups?

 

Harvard’s “too many Asians” quota is just as immoral and repugnant as their previous discrimination and should not be tolerated. Accepting the best and brightest applicants – even if they are ‘guilty of applying while Asian’ – can only help Harvard be a stronger institution while also protecting our American value of equal treatment under law without regard to ethnic background.

 

As someone who has personally gone through the exhausting, frustrating, and intimidating process of suing a major university for fair treatment, my heart and prayers go out to the courageous students who filed this week’s lawsuits. Thank you for your courage and willingness to fight for what is your right: to be judged as an individual and not as a representative of a certain ethnicity or skin color.

 

- Jennifer Gratz

Left-leaning groups claiming to represent minorities frequently demand increased “diversity” in Hollywood, insisting that movies and television portray a higher percentage of specific types of ethnic characters. But when producers acquiesce, the diversity police then complain that minority actors are treated like racial and gender tokens.

 

This week, one Hollywood insider wrote in Salon about his behind-the-scenes observations on how the entertainment industry makes a superficial show of diversity for the cameras, just to satisfy the critics. Strangely, he call for more superficial quotas to fix the issue.

 

The “diversity” movement is so set on quotas and preferences as the answer to perceived racial disparities that its advocates fail to recognize how their “solutions” exasperate the problem and hurt real people in the process.

 

No one should have to live with the thought that they might have been hired or promoted just to fill a diversity quota. Unfortunately, this is what happens when companies and industries are pressured to make superficial diversity displays.


- Jennifer Gratz

In the wake of a surprise midterm election wave, many politicians and pundits are fumbling to explain why a near obsession with race and gender politics fell so short.

 

Why didn’t more women pull the lever for Mark Udall in Colorado with his endless focus on the supposed “war on women”? Why were black voters not as enthusiastic to turn out in support of Democrats after being warned about the prospect of more Ferguson-like shootings? Didn’t Hispanics see the campaign ads accusing Republicans of opposing immigration reform?

 

The answer is that most Americans are not the single issue voters politicians are so eager to label them as.

 

Proponents of identity politics display a disturbing fascination with reducing unique individuals to homogenous groups where gender or skin color determines how you are expected to think, act, and vote on election day. Election strategy based on cobbling together these disparate identity groups is profoundly cynical and insulting to those who make informed decisions about their preferred candidates.

 

This election, voters seemed largely unmoved by widespread, and ugly, appeals to racial and gender politics. This is an encouraging sign that Americans are growing weary of the all the identity pandering.

 

- Jennifer Gratz