The Corner

E Pluribus Unum: Something to Remember as the Census Numbers Come In

As the Census figures come in, there are lots of news stories about how racially and ethnically diverse America and individual Americans are becoming. Just this morning, for example, there were front-page stories in the Washington Post about the former and in the New York Times about the latter.

In such a nation, the principle of E pluribus unum becomes critical. We cannot have a legal regime in which government agencies (including public universities) sort people according to skin color and what country their ancestors came from, and treat some better and others worse depending on which silly little box they check. Nor should government agencies be encouraging private actors (employers, for example) to engage in such sorting and discrimination, politically correct or otherwise. And — as even Europeans are now acknowledging — what we have in common must be cultivated and celebrated more than our “diversity.”

At least, one hopes this is the conclusion that will be drawn from the Census numbers, and I think that for the overwhelming majority of Americans of all colors it will be. But not for many on the left: Rather, it will be an excuse to ratchet up their efforts to ensure that every university, every company, every public and private enterprise of any kind “looks like America,” and that racial and ethnic quotas — no matter how divisive and unfair — are used to ensure that. So this is a time of both opportunity and danger.

— Roger Clegg is president and general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity.


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