An Outbreak of Equality in Wisconsin

When last we heard from Wisconsin, Roger Clegg, the mild-mannered, scholarly president and general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity, had provoked a riot of pro-racial preference liberals there by visiting the state to discuss CEO’s studies demonstrating massive racial discrimination by the University of Wisconsin. He must have put something in the water (or beer) while there, since now even a  Democrat there has surprised, shocked, and angered her party colleagues by introducing a measure in the legislature to eliminate race or ethnicity as factors in awarding state education grants.

“The bill at the heart of the latest debate,” the Associated Press reported,

originally made largely technical changes to a $4.4 million program that extends between $600 and $1,800 grants to the most needy and educationally disadvantaged students attending college in Wisconsin. About 4,300 students qualify every year.

Applicants must be poor and a nontraditional student. To be a nontraditional student, the applicant must meet one of several criteria including being in prison, a first-generation college attendee or black, Indian, Hispanic or Hmong.

The amendment removed being a minority as one of the qualifiers for the grants. It was adopted on a 57-34 vote with all Democrats voting against it except [the amendment’s author, Milwaukee Rep. Peggy] Krusick.

“The proposal,” the Associated Press article continued, “made around 11 p.m. Tuesday, elicited a furious response from Democratic opponents.”

That fury is quite revealing about how most elected Democrats understand (or don’t) equality these days:

• According to Rep. Tamara Grigsby, D-Milwaukee, “What [the proposal] is is racism in its highest institutional level.” Moreover, she charged, “You are making it plain as day that your priority is to get the minorities out of the system.

• Rep. Brett Hulsey, D-Madison, “called the proposal a ‘racist race to the bottom’ that will result in minorities losing access to jobs.”

• Rep. Kelda Helen Roys, another Madison Democrat, pronounced herself “disgusted by what happened in the Assembly….”

[The Republicans, she continued] have chosen to divide our state repeatedly, by pushing right-wing social measures and attacking the economic security of middle class families. The ‘highlight’ of this jobless special session was the surprise stripping away of educational opportunities for young people of color.”

WUWM, Milwaukee public radio, made it sound like minorities were being excluded from the grants: “Assembly Set to Vote on Amendment that Would Disqualify Race and Ethnicity When Awarding Specific Higher Ed Grant.”

• Rep. Jon Richards, D-Milwaukee, is “concerned” about the proposal “because one of the challenges that we have all across the UW System, and for colleges and universities in general in Wisconsin, is making sure that minorities and people of color have access to higher education.” Richards, like most elected Democrats evidently believes that prohibiting preferential treatment of minorities denies them “access” to higher education.

Rep. Janet Bewley, D-Ashland, found it “absolutely breathtaking to witness the total disregard for people’s lives.”

Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, D-Milwaukee, the Assembly’s only Latina, believes the requirement to treat applicants without regard to their race or ethnicity is “divisive and certainly mean-spirited” and “what it’s going to do is make it more difficult for promising young Wisconsinites to access a higher education…. Basically it discourages young Wisconsinites from going to one of our wonderful UW schools or technical colleges.”

Rep. Krusick, the proposal’s author, patiently explained that her purpose was to make the grant program more, not less, inclusive. “Many people, regardless of minority status, are poor,” she said. “And the intent of this amendment was for inclusivity for all.” Belief in colorblind inclusiveness, however, may now result in her expulsion from the Democratic party in Wisconsin, since Rep. Zamarripa told a Madison radio station “that she would support removing Krusick from the Democratic caucus.” And Rep. Leon Young, D-Milwaukee, sent Krusick a letter asking her to stay out of Democratic strategy sessions. “We’ve all got to be one and vote that way,” he said in an interview.

Ironically, both Rep. Krusick’s admirable attempt to prohibit racial and ethnic discrimination and the predictable eruption of fury the prospect of colorblind equality provoked among the Democrats may both have been unnecessary. According to Kevin Ingram, director of the Wisconsin Educational Opportunities Program, racial preferences were already in the process of being eliminated. “The changes have come about as the result of a complaint that was filed with the U.S. Department of Education. And that was done on (in) September 2006,” he said.

According to Ingram, the complaint alleged white students were discriminated against when it came to TIP grants. Back in August of last year, the state reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education to remove race and ethnicity from the list qualifications. However, the change has yet to trickle through formally, but should soon.

In fact, according to a Nov. 4 Associated Press article the Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board has just announced that “it hadn’t used race as a factor in awarding the grants since August 2010,” leading the Chronicle of Higher Education to report that the furious debate over race “was needless.”

I disagree. I think it’s quite useful and instructive to see the depth of the Democrats’ devotion to racial preferences and the anger, bitterness, and sense of betrayal they express when one of their own surprisingly demonstrates a lingering commitment to the principle of colorblind equality.

Moreover, there is some room to question whether and when race was actually abandoned as a qualification for state grants. The 2010 population of Wisconsin, according to the U.S. Census, was 86.2% white, 6.3% black, and 5.9% Hispanic. “As of last February,” WUWM reported, “just over 51 percent of the grants went to minority students while nearly 49 percent went to whites.”

John S. Rosenberg blogs at Discriminations.


18 thoughts on “An Outbreak of Equality in Wisconsin

  1. They are representations of many shared hours of collaboration between us all. That’s the real nature of the relationship I am trying to build.

  2. Looks like Wisconsin is making great progress in becomming a sane state. If they keep this up, and keep defeating the leftists, one more state will be saved from the leftist death spiral of Ca and Il.

  3. How can race as a selection factor for grants have been eliminated in August 2010 when the law still stated that only minorities or prisoners need apply? How many white applicants were there for the grants since August 2010? And how in heck can it take from 2006 to August 2010 to decide to realign the applicant pool for a grant program?
    I see nothing but CYA going on here and Democratic racism run rampant.

  4. John,
    “The egg is on the face of the race-proponents”.
    That it is. The irony is lost on these “Holier than thou”, wielders of other peoples money, power brokers. He\She who gives the money gets the Luv baby. Remove this leg to their political stance and they may not have one to stand on. I believe what you are seeing here is the “fight or flight” reflex from the Dems. It’ll be interesting to see their “flight” response.

  5. The Democrats in Madison are just a sad pathetic crew who do not believe that minorities can do anything to improve their condition in life.

  6. The 2010 population of Wisconsin, according to the U.S. Census, was 86.2% white, 6.3% black, and 5.9% Hispanic. “As of last February,” WUWM reported, “just over 51 percent of the grants went to minority students while nearly 49 percent went to whites.”
    Let that sink in. Those numbers don’t describe affirmative action, they describe apartheid.

  7. Agree with Rep. (and why are they called “Rep.” anyway? In all the other states where the lower house of the legislature is called The Assembly members are called “Assemblyman” or “Assemblywoman.) Krusick, but it would be more useful to compare the shares of state grants to the ethnic composition of the target age group. No doubt it would still be predominantly white, but most likely not as much so as the entire state population.

  8. Racist Republicans demanding that the program be race neutral. That’s as disgusting as racist Republicans putting Cain in first place in most polls. Is there no end to their racism?

  9. WUWM reported, “just over 51 percent of the grants went to minority students while nearly 49 percent went to whites.”
    If the standards that normally apply in Title IX cases also applied here, UW would have some mighty serious ‘splainin’ to do.

  10. On the surface, it would appear that democrats believe minorities incapable of gaining admission to higher education of their on merit. Such is not the case. Democrats realize the reason blacks do so poorly in qualifying for admission is the poor quality of their preparatory education. To address this problem however would put them at odds with the fruits of their dependency culture, black managed and staffed secondary schools. Bringing this problem to a head would force its resolution, but break the grip of democrat control over the black voting bloc. This can’t happen so the fight will continue to be over affirmative action programs designed to cover up the problem rather than solve it.

  11. “We’ve all got to be one and vote that way,” Whatever happened to representing constituents, not worrying about the party line?

  12. What exactly happened in Sept 2006 but hasn’t managed to “trickle through” yet?
    Whatever it is, five years is mighty slow, even for a trickle.

  13. I seriously doubt that the Wisconsin HEAB had abandoned the use of race, or that it really had plans to do so. This sounds like something fed to the press to allow them to attack Rep. Krusick.
    I think the thing that bothers me the most about affirmative action is its covert nature. Racial preferences can only thrive when their actual methods of operation, and true effects, are concealed from the voting public. The press has become an active participant in this concealment, in the process destrying what shreds of its own credibility (not to mention integrity) remain.

  14. The mild-mannered and scholarly Roger Clegg emails that he agrees that Rep. Krusick’s proposal was hardly unnecessary. As he wrote to a friend in Wisconsin (I quote with permission):
    “The Chronicle of Higher Education reports today that the
    assembly action may have been “unnecessary” because the agency involved had stopped considering race last year. That seems to me a very silly way to look at it: So long as the statute authorizes racial considerations, the agency could easily return to that standard; it’s best to make sure that this doesn’t happen. And, indeed, the fact that the agency itself had decided that the program need not consider race is good evidence that the statutory authorization should be changed. The egg is on the face of the race-proponents, for fighting to maintain something that even the agency had decided was a bad idea, not the race-opponents.”

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