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Backlash Against Affirmative Action



     The popularity among chicanos of wild Aztlan ideas, described in the memo by Diana Hull, has provoked a backlash against chicanos. The misuse of affirmative action is illustrated in the selection of a violinist for a Chicago orchestra. The contestants performed behind a curtain to avoid charges of race prejudice. A black contestant who was not selected denounced the curtain as an example of racism.
     At Stanford affirmative action has distorted the appointment process. I was on the committee to select a new professor. The administration suggested a woman who had a Spanish name by mariage, and simply refused to consider any other candidate. When I reported the case of a black attendant, possibly on drugs, who manhandled me in Stanford Hospital, which was frightened to fire him, a Stanford colleague denounced my racism.
     The latest case is that of a black woman in the Law School (I had never heard of her) who resigned because she was passed over as head of the Transnational Business Law Program in favor of Thomas Heller, who deservedly has an international reputation. This has led to denunciations of the Stanford Law School, which has a far better record of hiring blacks than any other major law school.
     We wish to assure Thomas Heller and the Law School administration that they have our strong support and that this episode indicates the potential danger of favoring a black candidate whose main qualification seems to be her popularity.

Ronald Hilton - 02/15/99


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