The Corner

Discrimination Against Asians in College Admissions, and Hispanics in Contracting

It is widely known that Asians (along with whites) are discriminated against in university admissions, and it is more and more common for Latinos (again, along with whites) to be discriminated against in government contracting.

The most recent example is in Milwaukee. The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce today called for the repeal of the city’s new measure purportedly designed to ensure the participation of minority contractors in getting city business. According to the chamber’s president, the ordinance is “based on the results of the disparity study which said that Hispanic- owned and Native American-owned firms are overutilized in the area of construction.” She added, “It means we’re being penalized for our success and hard work.”

It’s good to make sure contracting programs are open to all, that bidding opportunities are widely publicized beforehand, and that no one gets discriminated against because of skin color, national origin, or sex. But that means no preferences because of skin color, etc. either — whether it’s labeled a “set-aside,” a “quota,” or a “goal,” since they all end up amounting to the same thing. Such discrimination is unfair and divisive; it breeds corruption and otherwise costs the taxpayers and businesses money to award a contract to someone other than the lowest bidder; and it’s almost always illegal — indeed, unconstitutional — to boot. The “disparity studies” used to justify this discrimination are usually bogus and, even when they are not, they are no excuse for adding a layer of politically correct discrimination; rather, as Chief Justice Roberts recently wrote, “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”

As America becomes more and more multiethnic and multiracial, it also becomes likely that more and more racial and ethnic minority groups will find themselves at the wrong end of politically correct racial and ethnic preferences. The only tenable system is one that treats all racial and ethnic groups equally. E pluribus unum, anyone?

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