Department of Labor was forced, after a public outcry, to abandon the practice of "race-norming": surreptitiously reporting aptitude test results as if all job applicants were being measured by the same standard.
According to Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade's research on the de facto race-norming carried out by college admissions offices, to have the same chance to be admitted to a selective private university, an Asian applicant has to score 140 points higher on the Scholastic Aptitude Test than an otherwise similarly qualified white applicant (out of a possible total of 1,600), 270 points higher than a Hispanic applicant, and 450 points higher than a black applicant.
Petitioners characterized the City's refusal to certify the results of the promotional exam as "a race-based government action grounded solely on the racial distribution of the test results." (93) The main problem with this characterization is that it relies on cases where race was specifically taken into account in the decision to promote, whether by race-norming the test results or by race-based eligibility lists.
The new standard also follows logically with established precedent that prohibits the race-norming of test results.
Never mind that the quota systems of Nigeria and Malaysia have never been enacted here; never mind that while India has extended its terribly amorphous category of "backward classes," the United States has backed away from controversial practices like set-asides and race-norming
. For Sowell, affirmative action in America is literally a question of life and death, as illustrated by the case of Patrick Chavis, a black man admitted to the medical school of the University of California, Davis, the same school that rejected Allan Bakke.
Three years ago, while defending race-norming
in college admissions and a dizzying array of campus "diversity" programs that transform everyone with a dark skin into a walking placard for disadvantage, Rutgers University president Francis Lawrence slid, infamously, into lingo about blacks' "genetic hereditary background." It was an all too emblematically liberal Freudian slip, born of believing that the best way to overcome racism's legacies is to create separate, remedial tracks for blacks while denying that one is doing anything the sort by enshrining and embellishing disparities as cultural "differences."
Edley puts his method to the test in a set of "hard cases," only one of which, the race-norming
of test scores, flunks.(39) Everything else -- the use of affirmative action in layoffs (at least in education), contractor set-asides (except for Aleuts in Richmond and the use of inflexible quotas), race-specific scholarship aid in higher education -- comes out of Edley's analysis relatively unscathed.
Test scores for racial minorities can rise by quantum jumps without the ugly practice of "race-norming
," where test scores for blacks and Hispanics are artificially raised to compensate for their racial status.
In the past, some organizations also resorted to simply adjusting scores on existing tests (e.g., "race-norming
") to ensure that they would end up with more representative numbers of minorities.
Moreover, the 1991 Act's prohibition against race-norming
standardized tests strengthens the conclusion that undiluted distributive equality is not the objective at which the statute aims.(115)
Racial relations deteriorated as, in law and policy, people began to be judged not by the content of their character, but by the color of their skin (i.e., quotas, race-norming
, and set-asides).
(House Democrats quickly responded by attaching a provision to the bill banning so-called "race-norming