The Bakke decision limiting the use of racial quotas in professional school admissions has had "a more chilling impact" on minority education and employment than earlier anticipated, the NAACP executive director said today.
Speaking at the end of the association's annual board meeting here, executive director Benjamin L. Hooks said the decision, handed down by the Supreme Court last June 28, has caused "a lot of so-called liberal schools in this country to abandon the affirmative action concept."
Hooks said he could not immediately provide statistics to support his claim. But he said the NAACP, which initially appeared to try to minimize the impact of the split decision on affirmative action programs, has had "sobering" indications in the past seven months that both educators and employers are beginning to eliminate, or reduce the importance of, programs designed to help minorities and women gain access to schools and jobs.
In its 1978 year -- end report made public yesterday, the NAACP called the Bakke decision one of its "notable defeats" in the last year.
"The fact that the Supreme Court ordered Mr. [Allan] Bakke admitted to the medical school at the University of California at Davis provides a cover for many educational institutions to commence tampering with and, in some instances, badly uprooting" affirmative action programs, the report said.
"Even employers are known to be distorting the limited holding in Bakke to justify eliminating or cutting back on affirmative action and promotional programs. This reality has been sobering to those who thought that the struggle for civil rights had been won, and that black Americans had it made," the report said.
The report said other "defeats" were Congress' failure to enact labor law and welfare overhaul and the passage of California's Proposition 13, which substantially reduced the use of property taxes for schools and other municipal and social programs.
"The clear and solid victories were few" for 1978, the report said. "The Panama Canal treaty's ratification was one. The passage of the District of Columbia voting rights legislation was another," it said.
Hooks said one of the most notable victories last year was the NAACP's successful get-out-the-vote drive in Philadelphia, which resulted in the rejection of controversial Mayor Frank L. Rizzo's bid to change the city's charter to enable him to seek a third term. The NAACP is credited with registering nearly 100,000 new voters in that endeavor.
Despite current financial problems, Hooks said he believes the NAACP, the nation's largest and oldest civil rights group, will increase its victories in the future.
"For us, fiscal deficits are not cause for embarrassment but evidence of ambition and zeal," Hooks said.