Jay Bergman’s Personal Statement for SFFA Board
I have long opposed racial and other preferences in student admissions and faculty hiring on the grounds that they are inherently discriminatory and unfair. I have published a number of opinion pieces on the subject:
- “A Preference System is Discriminatory,” Hartford Courant (April 13, 1996).
- “Michigan’s Diversity Defense,” FrontPage Magazine (April 30, 2001).
- “Liberal Colleges Need a Different Kind of Diversity,” Hartford Courant (October 20, 2002).
- “Diversity’s More Than Skin-Deep,” Hartford Courant (January 7, 2007).
As the president of the Connecticut Affiliate of the National Association of Scholars I commissioned in April 2000 a poll of 1,308 professors in the Connecticut State University system that was conducted by the Center for Survey Research and Analysis at the University of Connecticut. The results showed overwhelming opposition (in ratios from 2-1 to 3-1) at the University of Connecticut, the Connecticut State University, and the community colleges. The results were included in amicus briefs filed in the Gratz and Grutter cases, which were adjudicated ultimately by the Supreme Court in 2003. A summary of what transpired at the University of Connecticut before, during, and after the polling is the topic of another of my op-eds, “Arrest That Poll,” Washington Times (July 14, 2000).
I remain president of the Connecticut Affiliate of NAS and have served since 2005 on the board of directors of NAS, in which capacity I have introduced resolutions committing NAS to supporting the various ballot initiatives sponsored by the American Civil Rights Initiative, headed by Ward Connerly.
From 2009 to 2014 I was a member of the Connecticut Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights.
My curriculum vitae is here: CURRICULUM VITAE. Find my personal statement below.
Racial preferences are inherently discriminatory. To give preference to some on the basis of race is necessarily to discriminate against others on the basis of race.
Racial preferences hurt people. Sometimes they hurt people badly.
Virtually every college and university in America defends racial preferences on the grounds that they are necessary to achieve “diversity,” which purportedly enhances student learning; in fact, there is no credible evidence that proves this, and a good deal of evidence showing the opposite – that racial preferences diminish learning for everyone regardless of race.
Of course these colleges and universities do not give preference in either student admissions or faculty hiring to applicants who are politically conservative, despite their being woefully underrepresented on college campuses.
The dirty secret in academia is that advocates of “diversity” really do not want intellectual diversity, which is the only kind of diversity that matters in higher education. Instead, they seek a student body and faculty that are racially heterogeneous but that believe the same things, including and especially the mantra that racial preferences and racial diversity are socially useful and morally just.
By itself, racial diversity does not create diversity of opinion. Contrary to what the mavens of diversity assume, black Americans do not think the same things, nor do they think what they think because of their race. There is no distinctively “black” perspective on Darwinian evolution, the origins of the universe, euthanasia, animal-rights, capital punishment, global warming, and other issues discussed in universities. Nor is there any uniformly or uniquely black position on preferences themselves. In California fully one-fourth of the black electorate there voted to ban them in 1996.
Given the undeniable cost that racial preferences exact on white and Asian-American applicants who are rejected because of their race, one wonders why, in the name of fairness, college presidents, provosts, and deans who favor these preferences have not resigned from their positions so that they can replace them with members of an “underrepresented” minority.
Perhaps it is churlish to expect academics to practice what they preach. But it would be refreshing if at least a few had the courage and integrity to endure the hardships they so blithely inflict on others.
Regrettably the mavens of “diversity” and their allies in the media and government have succeeded thus far in perpetuating racial preferences. In the end, however, they will be abolished. Racial preferences contradict the plain language of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. They are contrary to fundamental concepts of fairness and justice that have been an integral part of Western Civilization since the Enlightenment. The American people disapprove of them overwhelmingly.
Eventually America will redeem the noble vision of the original civil rights movement as a country where everyone enjoys the dignity to which all human beings are entitled, where individuals are judged without regard to their race or ethnicity, and where a person’s uniqueness is acknowledged as having nothing to do with his membership in any larger collective entity or group.
No amount of posturing about the benefits of “diversity” will prevent this.