Affirmative Action Opponents Gain Support, Leonard Warns
Walter J. Leonard, special assistant to President Bok, said last night that agencies of the federal government have tried to stop affirmative action programs, from succeeding.
Leonard said opponents of what he calls institutionalized fairness for blacks and women are "protecting their advantages in an inherently racist society."
He told 25 people at the Cambridge Forum that America still has "an unfinished agenda," because equal rights of citizenship and an equitable distribution of resources have not become reality.
"Something strange is happening." Leonard said, citing articles, policies and lawsuits by sociologists, politicians and disgruntled white people.
Leonard warned that William B. Shockley, professor of engineering and applied science at Stanford, and others are reviving the "Neanderthal argument" that blacks are inherently less intelligent than whites.
Civil Rights Memorandum
He said he received a memorandum last December from Peter Holmes of the federal government's Office of Civil Rights, telling institutions to choose only the most qualified candidates for faculty positions.
Leonard said he replied to the memo from Washington. "I told Holmes his letter is despicable," he said.
The administrator pointed to a 1969 memo by Daniel P. Moynthan, professor of Government, to then-President Nixon advocating a period of "benign neglect" toward racial issues. Leonard said it resulted in a policy of "malignant retreat" from black people's progress.
Leonard called the Supreme Court out by Marea DeFunia last year "a racist case--absolutely, totally, and completely racist."
DeFunla sued the University of Washington Law School in 1971 for allegedly discriminating against him in favor of minority applicants with lesser academic credentials. The case was ruled moot by the Supreme Court last year.
Leonard said these articles, suits and policies have all been aimed at "crushing the movement of black students into the universities.