Julian Bond, Chairman, Board of Directors, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), issued the following statement in response to President Bush's opposition to the University of Michigan's affirmative action program. The constitutionality of the program is now before the U.S. Supreme Court:
"As expected, President Bush has come down on the wrong side of the struggle over justice in higher education. 'Racial prejudice,' the president said, 'is a reality,' but at the same time he wants to end the most effective remedy against it.
"The president characterized the University of Michigan's affirmative action program as a 'quota,' which it is not. His use of the word 'quota,' with all its overtones of supposed preferences to allegedly unqualified persons, is an attempt to disguise his failure to support justice.
"Affirmative action is the just spoils of a righteous war, won at great cost and intended to heal division and end centuries of discrimination. Unfortunately, this is one war the president does not think worth fighting.
"The president complained that black applicants at Michigan were given twenty points toward admission, not because of 'life experience,' he said, but because of race. But life experience in the 21st century is determined by race. Race colors all our lives.
"Coming on the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., this is a sad, sad gift and a poor way to honor his memory."
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