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 #163  

June 1997

 

Top Ten Acts of The Clinton Administration To Divide Americans By Race and Ethnicity


by Arturo Silva

 

On June 14, at the University of California, San Diego, President Clinton will deliver a speech on racial reconciliation and unveil a "race initiative." Whatever the President proposes, the black leadership group Project 21 has put together this Top 10 List to remind every American, of every race, that the President may speak the language of reconciliation, but his Administration has instituted and enforced policies of racial and ethnic division.

* * *

Number 10. Using quotas to choose delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

The 1996 Delegate Selection Rules by the Democratic National Committee required that the racial make-up of the delegates from each state exactly match the racial make-up of voters in the state.

Number 9. Distrusting the intelligence of minorities, the Administration refuses to count 10% of all Americans in the 2000 Census.

* To correct a disproportionately high undercount of minorities in the 1990 Census, the Census Bureau plans to unconstitutionally only count 90% of Americans, leaving statisticians to guess the racial make-up and location of the rest of Americans. Rather than spend more on minority outreach and hire people in their local communities to fulfill a constitutional function of the Commerce Department to count everyone, the Census Bureau has decided that minorities are incapable of filling out census forms.

Number 8. Violating Title VII (prohibiting employment discrimination) of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

4 In a reversal of a previous position, Clinton's then-assistant attorney general in charge of civil rights, Deval Patrick, chose to back the Piscataway High School board in its decision to use race as a means of determining whether to lay off a black or white teacher of equal qualifications. The white teacher lost her job because the school board said the black teacher added to the diversity of the business education department of the school.

Number 7. Exploiting ethnic and racial politics to get votes and raise money.

* African-Americans, Asians, Indians, and Hispanics were among the racial groups targeted with bribes of administrative positions and favors for donating political contributions and using balkanizing outreach plans to increase ethnic and racial votes for President Clinton.

Number 6. Listing the race and ethnicity of its political supporters in a centralized database.

* The White House received criticism for using public funds to maintain a database of political supporters used for campaign purposes. Little criticism, however, was directed at the information on political contributors which went beyond name and address and actually included supporters' race and ethnicity. Even more appalling was that some of the ethnic classifications were based on physical appearance or the ethnic origins of the supporters' names.

Number 5. Backing special interests over the interests of the nation and minorities.

* President Clinton has reversed previous support for school choice and bowed to the National Education Association despite the popularity of school choice among African- Americans. As governor of Arkansas, President Clinton sent a letter to Wisconsin state legislator Polly Williams praising her for her school choice bill: "I am fascinated by that [school choice] proposal and am having my staff analyze it. I'm concerned that the traditional Democratic Party establishment has not given you more encouragement. The visionary is rarely embraced by [the] status quo."

* As President, Clinton has opposed a school choice initiative in California and released the following statement in 1996 regarding a school choice provision in the 1995 District of Columbia Appropriations Act: "...establishing a private-school voucher system in the nation's capital would set a dangerous precedent for using federal taxpayer funds for private schools across the country."

Number 4. Unfairly accusing political opponents of Administration policies as being racists.

* After the Administration's fundraising scandal broke, a Commerce Department memo recommended attacking Republicans and other critics of the scandal as being anti-Asian.

* President Clinton, in his State of the Union speech, defended the fundraising scandal by playing the race card and implying critics of his fundraising techniques harbored anti-Asian sentiments.

* In another incident, White House spokesman Mike McCurry asserted that Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott's initial criticism of African-American Secretary of Labor nominee Alexis Herman was based more on her race than on her ethical standards.

Number 3. Using the Justice Department to oppose California's Proposition 209.

* The Clinton Administration's Justice Department filed an amicus curiae brief against Proposition 209. The brief argued that the proposition, which would bar California state government agencies from discriminating on the basis of race and sex, was unconstitutional. The proposition was approved by 54% of California's voters in the 1996 general election.

* Prior to Proposition 209's passage, then-White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta threatened to cut off all federal funding to California when the California Board of Regents eliminated admissions preferences and quotas. Panetta stated: "Obviously we're going to be reviewing our contract laws and the provision of resources to that state."

Number 2. Threatening Texas universities for ending racist admissions policies.

* Norma Cantu, assistant secretary of education and chief of the Education Department's Office of Civil Rights, sent out letters to Texas state universities informing them that the Fifth Circuit Court's ruling in Hopwood v. Texas that different admissions policies for blacks, whites, Hispanics, and Asians are unconstitutional should be ignored. She further insinuated that if these race-based admissions policies were ended, the universities could lose $500 million in federal funds for scholarships, work study, and research grants. She was later forced to back down on her threat.

Number 1. Defending and continuing government racial preference programs.

* On June 12, 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Adarand Constructors v. Pena that federal set-asides must meet the following "strict scrutiny" test: (1) Set-asides must meet a compelling state interest to remedy specific factual findings of discrimination, and (2) race-neutral remedies must be considered before racial preferences. Furthermore, the remedy must be directed only toward identified victims of past discrimination and cannot extend longer than the discriminatory effects it was intended to eliminate.

* Rather than comply with Adarand, the Administration has sought to do everything in its power to ignore it. In response to Adarand, the Justice Department released a memo written by Assistant Attorney General Walter Dellinger that provides legal instructions to the general counsels of executive agencies on what arguments to make to oppose Adarand.

* The memo was followed by "Affirmative Action Review: A Report to the President," by two White House aides that did not recommend eliminating even one of the existing 171 federal affirmative action programs.

* The Administration continues to litigate Adarand in its quest to maintain its racial preference programs. It has argued that Congress is exempt from the "strict scrutiny" standard. The Administration also contends that since Adarand Constructors wins half the guardrail contracts in Colorado, that is enough evidence that racial discrimination exists and the government should be free to continue to award cash payments to contractors who award subcontracts to disadvantaged entities. On June 3, 1997, the Colorado federal court rejected these latest arguments by the Administration.

* A series of official memos from the Executive Branch demonstrate that the "mend it, don't end it" slogan of the Clinton Administration is flashy rhetoric for maintaining the status quo. A memorandum by the Undersecretary of Defense said the following to his subalterns: "I need to be consulted whenever you are confronting the possibility that any excepted position [i.e., political appointment] or any career position at GS-15 level and higher is likely to be filled by a candidate who will not enhance... diversity."

* Another memo out of the Defense Department stated that, "In the future, special permission will be required for the promotion of all white men without disabilities."

* Yet another memo, this one from the National Park Service's director, stated: "Surely, we must be able to find a use for a Swahili-speaking person who has Peace Corps experience, is a cum laude in English from Harvard and has a biological background in date manipulation... Unfortunately, Mr. Trevor is white, which is too bad."

* While these memos are revealing, the real proof of the Administration's support for quotas can be found in the policies and positions of executive branch departments and agencies including the Departments of Justice, Housing and Urban Development, Labor, Education, Transportation, Defense, Health and Human Services as well as the Small Business Administration.


Honorable Mentions:

I. Playing racial politics with Haitian refugees.


* In the midst of his 1992 campaign for the Democratic nomination, candidate Clinton was quoted in the Miami Herald as saying: "I think the president [George Bush] played racial politics with the Haitian refugees. I wouldn't be shipping those poor people back." As President, Clinton said in a radio address to the Haitian people: "Those who do leave Haiti for the United States by boat will be stopped and directly returned by the United States Coast Guard." According to his own standard, Clinton is guilty of playing racial politics.

II. Granting U.S. citizenship to potentially Democratic voters before the election.

* The Clinton Administration granted U.S. citizenship to 180,000 immigrants without background checks to increase the Democratic vote in the 1996 Presidential election. Was the ethnicity of an immigrant taken into account when deciding if an immigrant was likely to vote for Democrats?

III. Nominating political appointees based on whether they "look like America."

* In his book Values Matter Most, Ben Wattenberg, a syndicated columnist and a former aide to President Lyndon Johnson, wrote of the first Clinton Administration: "...President Clinton began to look like President Bean Counter by appointing an administration to look like America, rather than to think like America." Wattenberg went on to write: "Just about every other [Clinton] appointee in charge of the various civil rights bureaucracies within government came from the activist ranks of the quota-pushers." Wattenberg described Mary Frances Berry, Clinton's pick for chair of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission on Civil Rights, as "the all-time, all-star quintessential queen of the quotacrats." According to Wattenberg, Berry once wrote that "civil rights laws were not passed to give civil rights to all Americans... [but only] to disfavored groups [such as] blacks, Hispanics and women."

Arturo R. Silva is coordinator for the African-American leadership group Project 21, a project of the The National Center for Public Policy Research.


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