Results in other states prove MCRI campaign is deceptive

To the Daily:

In yesterday’s Daily, Carl Cohen (MCRI upholds true goals of affirmative action, 04/18/2005) failed to address the main points of contention about the Michigan “Civil Rights” Initiative that BAMN raised in an earlier letter (MCRI proponents not telling the truth about its effects, 04/14/2005). If, as Cohen asserts, MCRI means “positive steps to ensure that all persons of all races are treated equally,” why then are there Michigan chapters of the Ku Klux Klan (an organization notorious for racist brutality and segregationist stands) supporting the initiative? Regarding Cohen’s assertion that “no progress is made by calling one’s opponents liars,” why did he fail to address the results of BAMN’s survey which so far has found that more than 98 percent of Detroit voters who signed MCRI’s petitions did so only because they were misled by MCRI’s signature gatherers? Some of those same signature gatherers have also signed affidavits saying they never would have participated in MCRI’s effort if they too had not been deceived about the intentions and effects that the MCRI will have on our state.

The fact of the matter is that Proposition 209, the anti-affirmative action proposal that passed in California in 1996 with the exact same language as the MCRI, led to a precipitous drop in minority enrollment at the top universities in the state, The University of California at Berkeley and University of California at Los Angeles. Minority enrollment has not recovered since. MCRI can only have the same effect of narrowing educational opportunities and resources for black and other minority students in Michigan, leading to more segregation and more racial inequality here.

Cohen further tries to mislead the students on this campus by asserting that affirmative action for black and other minority students is nothing more than “racial preferences.” In reality, however, the actual racial preferences that occur in this society operate against the interests of black and other minority students. Even with affirmative action in place, the percentage of black students in this year’s incoming class was only one third of what it should be according to state demographics. Only 5.9 percent of the freshman class is black compared to the college-aged population of the state which is about 18 percent black. Clearly, there is no “preference” operating in favor of black students.

The question that MCRI poses to our state in general, and to our campus in particular, is the following: Should Ward Connerly and his Michigan followers (like Cohen) get away with deceiving the people of Michigan in the name of resegregating our universities and other state institutions? BAMN contends that they should not.

Ben Royal


Kate Stenvig


Monica Smith

LSA sophomore

The letter writers are all members of BAMN.

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