Putting the fox in charge of the hen-house

Mark Lause lause at worldnet.att.net
Wed Jun 27 17:48:36 MDT 2001

Where I work Affirmative Action has essentially meant making the reactionary
henchmen learn how to use liberal rhetoric--making suburban white Reaganites
responsible for imposing institutional quotas on the job, so they can denounce
the imposition of quotas later.

... Now, it appears that they've just decided to dispense with the liberal
rhetoric--or maybe transform it entirely into a touchy-feely concern about the
self-esteem of the oppressed.

Mark Lause

Louis Proyect wrote:

> NY Times, June 27, 2001
> Affirmative Action Foe Picked for Rights Post
> WASHINGTON, June 26 - The Bush Administration has nominated Gerald A.
> Reynolds, a lawyer and staunch opponent of affirmative action, to head the
> Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights, the division responsible
> for protecting the civil rights of minorities, women and disabled people
> from kindergarten through graduate school.
> Mr. Reynolds, senior regulatory counsel at Kansas City Power and Light, is
> the former president of the Center for New Black Leadership, a conservative
> nonprofit organization that opposes mainstream civil rights groups on
> issues like minority set- asides, quotas and affirmative action. He has
> also served as counsel to the Center for Equal Opportunity, a Washington
> organization with a long history of attacking affirmative action and
> government-mandated advantages for minorities and women.
> Though not highly visible, the Office of Civil Rights plays a powerful,
> behind-the-scenes role on matters of race for the nation's public schools
> and universities. It is charged with enforcing all laws dealing with
> discrimination based on race, nationality, disability, sex or age. Last
> year, it received 6,000 complaints of discrimination, many of them through
> a dozen regional offices Mr. Reynolds will oversee in his new job.
> Lindsey Kozberg, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education, said Mr.
> Reynolds, who is 38, would make no public comments until after his
> confirmation by the Senate. But the Center for New Black Leadership, on
> whose board Mr. Reynolds sits, released statements and articles he has
> written in recent years.
> In 1997, Mr. Reynolds called for a return to affirmative action "as it was
> first proposed in the 1960's - aggressive and affirmative outreach to
> increase the participation of minorities in educational settings and the
> workplace." In Mr. Reynolds's view, quotas and minority set-asides are
> distortions of affirmative action that are "exacerbating racial tension in
> America."
> As states and universities increasingly turn to standardized tests to
> determine promotion, graduation and access to higher education, the
> division issued guidelines in December warning them against tests that
> would hurt minority students disproportionately, and cautioned that civil
> rights protections would apply in the new age of high-stakes testing.
> For the moment, those guidelines have been shelved by the Bush
> administration. Civil rights advocates said today that they were not
> hopeful that the guidelines, which were several years in the making, would
> be upheld under Mr. Reynolds.
> Bill Taylor, vice chairman of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights,
> noted that the Center for Equal Opportunity was on record as opposing much
> government enforcement of civil rights laws. He said he was concerned that
> Mr. Reynolds's resume showed scant experience in government or education,
> and that what experience he did have suggested hostility to the regulations
> he will be charged with upholding.
> "We now have some evidence that the Department of Education is a parking
> place or a dumping ground for ideological right-wingers," Mr. Taylor said.
> Roger Clegg, who replaced Mr. Reynolds as general counsel at the Center for
> Equal Opportunity, said that during his tenure, Mr. Reynolds filed Freedom
> of Information Act requests to public colleges and universities for a
> project publicizing racial preferences in admissions.
> While the center had frequently clashed with the Office of Civil Rights,
> Mr. Clegg predicted smoother days ahead. "My hope is that the
> administration will return to the original meaning of the civil rights
> laws, which is to guarantee equal opportunity for everyone, regardless of
> race, and reject policies that favor some races over others," Mr. Clegg
> said. "I believe that Jerry agrees that's the right approach."
> Clint Bolick, vice president and director of litigation at the conservative
> Institute for Justice, said Mr. Reynolds seemed a good fit with President
> Bush's views on minority participation in education, as demonstrated in
> Texas. As governor there, Mr. Bush banned affirmative action, replacing it
> with a policy guaranteeing admission to the state university system to all
> students graduating in the top 10 percent of their high school class.
> Louis Proyect
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