School District Claims Individualism is Racism

Washington, D.C., August 22, 2006—The Competitive Enterprise Institute has filed an amicus brief in support of a challenge to a Seattle school district’s race-based student assignment plan. In Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, the school district argues its decision to use race is entitled to deference, a presumption of correctness before the law. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed.

"CEI argues that the district isn’t entitled to deference, because, among other reasons, the district made false and offensive statements on its website regarding racial matters, statements that also contradict its explanations in court briefs on why it uses race,” explained Hans Bader, CEI legal counsel.

“For example, on its website, the district has stated that individualism is racism, that only whites can be racists, and that ‘future time orientation’ – planning ahead – is a stereotypically white characteristic that minorities shouldn’t be expected to exhibit,” Bader said.

In the amicus brief, CEI also points out that since the Supreme Court has said that prisons don’t get deference to use race (in spite of a tradition of giving prisons such leeway in almost every other context), then K-12 schools shouldn’t get it either.

The case is scheduled to be argued before the court by the end of the year, with a decision expected in 2007.

Read the amicus brief

Hans Bader bio & publications