Thursday, September 4, 2008

Constructing Greater Social Inequality

Ward Connerly, a highly-compensated spokesman for the so-called "Equal Rights" Agenda.

NPR reports that several elite colleges now cost $50,000 or more per year per student (200k for a four-year program). The yearly amount is more than the US median income for a family of four. Although these schools offer student aid, the report notes a shift from economic need to "merit." Unfortunately NPR didn't question the meaning of "merit," which is socially constructed by those with race and class privilege.

Is this merely news, or a sign of something much greater?

In 1996, California passed Proposition 209 which dismantled affirmative action in UC schools. As a result, scholarship programs for racial minorities were eliminated. Ten years later, Blacks comprised only 3% of the student body. In 2006, Latinos were 36.5% of the state high school graduates but made up only 16.3% of UC freshmen. Asian Americans however are overrepresented in UC schools, outnumbering Whites.

In 2003, California attempted to further dismantle affirmative action with Proposition 54. Ninety-five percent of the contributions to promote Proposition 54 came from seven individuals, all but one from outside the state:

John Moores, Sr., University of California Regents board member/owner San Diego Padres ($400,000)

Rupert Murdoch, head of the Fox News empire ($300,000)

Joseph Coors, Colorado beer baron ($250,000)

William J. Hume, head of the anti-labor Basic American Foods ($200,000)

Kansas City businessman John Uhlmann ($190,000)

Harlan Crow, Dallas financier ($140,000)

Peter Schaeffer, Texas-based investor ($62,703).

Big money from the Scaife Foundation and other neoconservative/neoliberal interests is also being used in 2008 to dismantle affirmative action in Arizona, Nebraska, and Colorado. While national elections are at the forefront, racist and classist initiatives like this can have dramatic effects for generations.

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