Mike Kueber's Blog

October 14, 2012

An open letter to Ruben Navarrette re: Abigail Fisher

Filed under: Law/justice — Mike Kueber @ 3:06 pm
Tags: , ,

Dear Ruben,

Everyone is entitled to a stinker every once in a while, so perhaps I should simply consider your recent column on Abigail Fisher as such and just move on.  But the Fisher column is so egregiously bad compared to the reasonable columns that you have been penning for the past couple of month that I am taking the time to let you know in hope that you will get back to being logical and reasonable. 

Although I have a visceral reaction to you making an ad hominem attack on Fisher, just as many liberal reacted similarly to the personal attacks on Sandra Fluke, the 30-year-old law student who wanted her Catholic employer to pay for her birth-control pills, both Fisher and Fluke invited the attacks by choosing to become the poster children for controversial legal-cum-political issues.  But your attack on Fisher was so emotional and so illogical that it was beneath you.    

In your column, you say that if your kids ever suffer a defeat, such as Abigail Fisher suffered in being denied admission to the University of Texas, you will tell them:

  • Winning is easy. It’s how you respond to losing that matters. Take a deep breath and resolve to work harder. Know that you got beat, fair and square. Don’t be a victim, and don’t blame anyone else for your failure. Otherwise, you will have failed twice.  Apparently, 22-year-old Abigail Fisher never learned this lesson. If she had, it might have saved us all a lot of trouble — and freed up a spot on the docket of the Supreme Court.”

That is a ridiculous and hypocritical statement.  The entire premise for affirmative action at UT is that Mexican-Americans have not been beaten, fair and square.  Rather, they were beaten by an uneven playing field caused by discrimination.  Affirmative action is designed to level the playing field.

Just as abhorrent is your suggestion that someone who believes that they have been discriminated against should be told that shouldn’t bother “us” or the courts by complaining.  I suggest that you let the Supreme Court decide whether the issue deserves a spot on its docket.  You may have thought the affirmative-action issue was finally resolved with the California and Michigan cases, but thankfully African-Americans did not accept the Court’s initial “separate, but equal” Plessy decision.  Instead, they persisted and eventually Brown v. Bd. of Education declared that separate was inherently unequal. 

Fisher is not the whining loser that you attempt to paint her.  She had a dream that was stymied, but she did not sit in a corner and whine.  Instead she pursued her education elsewhere and will graduate this year.  But she had simultaneously devoted much of her energy to ensure that what happened to her does not happen to any other student – i.e., being on the wrong side of set-asides.  If Abigail Fisher were a child of the Civil Rights 60s, she would become an icon, not a whiner.

Any finally, you had to include what I consider to be one of the flimsiest of defenses of affirmative action:

  • “Much of the blowback is probably coming from folks who feel that white students are being discriminated against in the admissions process.  This argument would be more compelling if there weren’t a steady stream of white applicants being admitted to colleges and universities across the country.”

How can you question whether white students are being discriminated against?  That reminds me of the Titanic movie’s engineer responding to the suggestion that the ship was unsinkable – “I assure you that a ship built with 70 million tons of steel can sink.”  Well, if affirmative action discriminates in favor of African-Americans and Mexican-Americans, I can assure you that white students are being discriminated against.  Your argument that Abigail Fisher is not one of them has no relevance to the thrust of your column. 

Yes, there are white elitists – students and otherwise – who continue to benefit from discrimination in their favor that is beyond the reach of government anti-discrimination laws.  But that does not militate in favor of government discrimination in favor of African-Americans and Mexican-Americans (often of the elitist variety) and against non-elitist whites.



  1. touchee

    Comment by Q — October 16, 2012 @ 2:14 pm | Reply

  2. “If Abigail Fisher were a child of the Civil Rights 60s, she would become an icon, not a whiner.”

    She’d be an icon for those against integration. “What, my grades didn’t even meet the minimum standards set by the University of Texas in their admission policies? Clearly it was damn minorities that took my rightfully deserved spot!”
    The only people complaining about affirmative action supposedly discriminating against white people are those who were told they were special their entire lives, only to find out that they couldn’t hack it in the real world.
    P.S. Affirmative action hurts Asian applicants the most. I don’t see you rushing to their defense.

    Comment by AJ — January 21, 2013 @ 5:10 pm | Reply

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