Affirmative action study lacks credibility
The proponents of affirmative action have a new banner to wave. They will soon renew their attacks on the Hopwood decision, closed-minded conservatives and anyone who supports equal reward for equal merit.

The Dallas Morning News reports the release of a book that studies affirmative action and declares the program a success. The book, The Shape of the River: Long-Term Consequences of considering Race in College and University Admissions, is a propaganda piece -- though a well-researched one.

Mark Twain once said, "there's a lie, a damned lie and there's a statistic." The authors of The Shape of the River mold their statistics around their viewpoint and claim they have found proof of affirmative action's success.

The two authors, an economist and a political scientist, admit they are supporters of affirmative action, and their study fails to address some key areas of concern.

Their figures focus on the performance of black students compared to their white counterparts, but the authors admit they cannot determine whether society is harmed by the displacement of one group of students in favor of another.

The authors are not objective, and the study does not -- and cannot -- address affirmative action's biggest concern.

Yes, it appears benefactors of affirmative action programs are happy, healthy contributors to society. They have achieved well and their interaction with other cultures influenced them positively.

But this is not news. Society has long acknowledged the advantages of a university education. A&M sees an increasing number of students seeking graduate degrees and a decreasing number of students merely seeking an MRS.

The concern with affirmative action is the double standard. It is morally wrong to hold one set of individuals to one standard while holding another group to a different standard.

This is the problem with affirmative action. The programs force participating institutions to treat people unequally.

The authors of the book, however, do not believe this inequality is harmful. The study not only examines the achievements of affirmative action benefactors, but also looks at the attitudes and experiences of those former students.

The study focuses on students who entered college in 1976 and 1989, but race relations have been changing rapidly in the United States.

Although the '70s saw segregated water fountains, America has grown up since then.

There are still pockets of racism -- and one of them is Bryan/College Station -- but racism does not have the same broad oppressive hold it once had.

Minorities are not prevented from achievement because of the closed-minded views of people in power. There are those with prejudices, but everyone on the planet has to deal with that.

It is time for the country to show its maturity and stop considering race a factor in admissions, hiring, sports, entertainment or any other area.

Race will continue to be an issue as long as Americans make it one. Every conversation, book and column discusses the poor state of race relations. This exploits the issue instead of remedying it.

America has grown since the time of widespread prejudice.

Decades ago the issue was segregation, and society has reached a consensus that everyone benefits from interaction. Today, however, the issue is quotas. No one benefits from unfairness and inequality, in fact everyone loses.

Dinesh D'souza, author of The End of Racism, claims affirmative action programs unfairly turn people into failures. He argues by lowering standards, schools admit students with the risk of not being capable of completing their course of study.

D'souza suggests these students could perform admirably at a less-elite college, but by admitting them to a university where they need a special allowance to enter, they face an excessive risk of failure.

Despite the arguments, proponents of affirmative action programs claim they are necessary achieve a level playing field. Giving some an allowance to make up for a disadvantage sounds nice, but comes at too high a price.

It is easy to support affirmative action programs if you do not have to look into a student's eyes and tell them they would have been admitted/hired/recognized -- if only they were another color.

Even if the data show benefits of affirmative action programs, the ends never justify the means. Any race-preference initiative violates a moral principle by treating people differently.
Dave Johnston is a senior mathematics major.