May 6, 2010

The right tries to stir up false controversy over a field trip

Rightwing bloggers in Michigan and Republican Senate candidate Leon Drolet are stirring up a false controversy over an elementary school field trip in Ann Arbor.

Apparently, 30 students at Dicken Elementary School that are members of an academic peer-support group called the Lunch Bunch went on a field trip to the University of Michigan to hear from a black rocket scientist in the hope it would inspire the African-American students to consider science and engineering as a career. All the members of the club, currently, are African-American, but it’s open to all students. The purpose of the club is to help students struggling academically.

The club was created to help improve African-American students' MEAP performance, but again, it is open to all students. Drolet is charging discrimination because invitations did not go out to other students. I’m not aware it’s against the law to not invite someone.

District spokesman Liz Margolis told the Detroit Free Press that the trip was not paid for with school funds. The only cost was the bus, which was paid for by a private donation.

Drolet is the former chairman of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, which successfully amended the state constitution with Proposal 2, that banned affirmative action; long a target of the right., and he claims the trip "absolutely" violated Proposal 2.

"If it was directed, guided, organized by the school district, they cannot say they are doing a field trip today for blacks only, or for whites only, or for Hispanics only or for Asians only," Drolet told the Free Press.

You will recall, there was widespread voter fraud involved in putting the measure on the ballot and in collecting signatures. Despite those widespread allegations of fraud, no other body or office in the state was allowed to look into the fraud committed, In fact, Republicans went out of his way to take powers away from the state Board of Canvassers because they were concerned with the fraud committed.


carraig said...

Public schools can't give preferential treatment to one group over another even with the best of intentions. That's called discriminating.

It's just the law. The school broke the law. No question about it.

Most discrimination takes place on an invitation basis - not in an open way.

Reverse it and put it that 40 white male kids were selected on the basis of race....see where it takes you.

Communications guru said...

How is this giving preferential treatment to one group over another? If 40 white male kids were the only members of, say, an ecology club, and went to a field trip to see Al Gore speak that would not be discrimination either.

I guess by your logic, we should get rid of Black History Month, Saint Patrick's Day, Cinco de Mayo, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, National Hispanic Heritage Month, Jewish American Heritage Month, Indian American Heritage Month or Puerto Rican Heritage Month .

carraig said...

The group wasn't really open to all students. That's the crux of the matter.

This wasn't an interest based club like arborists, zoology, chess, citizen government, gaming etc. It was a group built by the school to try to give black kids a sense of belonging in the school by building a community for them, to try to reduce the drop out rate. They had an institutional racism consultant (whatever that is) design the program.

Once you create a club designed for a specific ethnicity, attract people based on that ethnicity, and then use membership of that club as a basis for preferential treatment, you've met many of the legal tests for discrimination.

Non-invitation as a mechanism for discrimination is the reason why public bidding notices are required, rather than having each city manager send out quote packets to their 'qualified' supply base, as is the usual practice in industry.

Communications guru said...

The group was open to all students. This is from the Freep article: “The club was created to help improve African-American students' MEAP performance but is open to any student. But currently, only African-American students are members.”

carraig said...

That's just the legalese - you know much better than that.

Johnny C said...

This is nothing more then fake outrage from the right,heaven forbid you show black students they can be more than a professional sports player or doing something in the entertainment business..

The right need something to rally the racists in this state for the upcoming elections and this event gave them something.

For those who voted for prop 2 how does it feel knowing you're the ones that made things tough for your daughters?

Communications guru said...

I know better than what? I stand by what I wrote. This is a lot of ado about nothing.