Editorial: My eye test for college admissions and hiring

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald

Column By John Young

A word here to paunchy Republicans dancing on the grave of affirmative action:

The dancing shoe is about to be on the other foot.

A figure buried in recent headlines tells me Republicans shortly may demand the just-torpedoed institutional advantage many people of color needed to get where they’re going.

Why? Because Republicans will be the minority that gets marginalized.

The figure comes from Texas, where figures from The Washington Post show white people (39.8 percent) officially have become a minority compared to Latinos (40.2 percent).

Nationwide, the census shows that Americans under 18 already are minority-majority.

Take note, GOP. In your culture wars crusade, each day affirms your status as the Old White Person’s Party.

Prediction: It will be no time at all before white people are longing for once upon a time when institutions of higher learning and employers as a whole looked kindly at the white oppressed minority through the diversity, equity, and inclusion policies Republicans banned.

But we aren’t simply talking about color here.

Let us speak of the merits of “merit-based” that affirmative action foes say have been consecrated by a “color-blind” court.

Understand, if merit of any kind were the key to ascendancy, we wouldn’t still be talking about an ex-president/bankruptcy savant who rarely reads.

We wouldn’t be considering politically significant a whole class of cultists so willingly conned by him.

We wouldn’t rub our eyes at the size of the latest lawsuit against Fox News for lying to its viewers.

Such a suit wouldn’t be worth mega-millions, because Fox News would have been reduced to the viewership of a high school YouTube channel.

As I said, part of the equation that should bother those rejoicing at the end of affirmative action is that their heirs will need some help. Something just for not-very-qualified white people left at opportunity’s gate: affirmative ascension? They may need it.

Consider the latest of several studies affirming that limiting one’s information base largely to Fox News makes you dumber than the average consumer of information.

Or, in more academic terms: “a significant, negative relationship between visiting foxnews.com and facts about society writ large.”

The authors of the 2020 study, which employed the American National Election Survey, referred to what I’ll call the “Fox News deficit” as one of “society-oriented knowledge.”

You know, stuff like science and American history.

This is not to say that Republicans as a class are dumb as rocks. That’s unfair.

But if colleges and other institutions are going to base decisions on merit alone and not turn to any other means of including the excluded, the new American minority will be in a pickle.

Though inclined to be empathetic regarding diversity matters, to this eventuality, my response would be, “Tough nuts.”

In fact, because merit is all that matters, colleges and employers should enact the kinds of tools Jim Crow employed to keep people of color from gaining political or economic power.

You’re saying, “Wait. Literacy tests?”

Close, but no. What I have in mind is a little simpler. For college admissions and employment consideration, a three-part eye test should be imposed.

The first part should be easy for those with basic visual acuity. The next two might be tricky based on one’s source of information:

Question 1: Did you see, by way of video, what supporters of former President Trump did at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021?

Question 2: Did you see what then-President Trump did to stop the death and destruction at the Capitol? (Answer: nothing.)

Question 3: Did you see the results of the presidential election of 2020? Who won? (Answer: not Donald Trump.)

With college admissions and hiring based solely on merit, anyone who fails this three-part eye test should be told to scram.

And don’t go running to the Supreme Court for remedy.

Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email him at jyoungcolumn@gmail.com.

The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author.