“Civil rights used to be about treating everyone the same. But today some people are so used to special treatment that equal treatment is considered to be discrimination”. –Thomas Sowell
Archive for the 'affirmative action' Category
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Warning: Rant to follow.
“I think that he has been an embarrassment to the Supreme Court. I think that his opinions are poorly written”. –Senate Democrat Minority Leader Harry Reid, referring to the only black US Supreme Court Justice
White liberal democrats are strong supporters of affirmative action. Not income based affirmative action, but race based affirmative action. Meaning that if you grew up in a rich neighborhood, with one parent who is a doctor and another a lawyer, but still the right race or ethnicity, you would be aided by affirmative action – not because of financial hardships, but simply because of your race or ethnicity.
In addition, affirmative action aids in a unique way. It is not like letting a friend sleep over when s/he doesn’t have a place to sleep, or giving a friend food, or tutoring, or paying for their tuition, no, affirmative action is more analogous to doing their homework for them, to letting them copy from a test – in other words, by giving certain races higher point scales than others, you take away some of their hard earned merit.
This might, and I stress might here, have been necessary in an age of heavy racism and jim crow laws, where affirmative action did represent a counterbalance to the many challenges minorities faced in entering universities. However, times have changed and today universities do far more to attract minorities, especially ‘underrepresented minorities’, than they do to repel them. This is evident to anybody who has spent more than a few months on any university campus. This radical change in times makes affirmative action become, where it once used to be seen as a counterbalance to the prevalent racism, nothing but handicap points, a few feet head start in the university race.
It is the (unconscious?) logical deduction of many years of supporting affirmative action and other race based policies that has led many white liberal democrats evolve to view minorities not as equally qualified, but as inferior, academically and intellectually. It is this view, for example, that leads many white liberal democrats to view Clarence Thomas as a ‘poorly written’ ‘embarrassment to the Supreme Court’, despite the fact that those who have studied his opinions, claim the very opposite.
This is what Walter Williams, a Black professor at George Mason University, meant when he wrote, in an article titled Conservatives, Liberals, and Blacks, that:
During the first Reagan administration, I participated in a number of press conferences on either a book or article I’d written or as a panelist in a discussion of White House public policy. On occasion, when the question-and-answer session began, I’d tell the press, “You can treat me like a white person. Ask hard, penetrating questions.” The remark often brought uncomfortable laughter, but I was dead serious. If there is one general characteristic of white liberals, it’s their condescending and demeaning attitude toward blacks.
According to a Washington Times story (July 14, 2004), Democratic hopeful Sen. John Kerry, in a speech about education to a predominantly black audience, said that there are more blacks in prison than in college.
“That’s unacceptable, but it’s not their fault,” he said. Do you think Kerry would also say that white inmates are faultless? Aside from Kerry being factually wrong about the black prison population vs. the black college population, his vision differs little from one that holds that blacks are a rudderless, victimized people who cannot control their destiny and whose best hope depends upon the benevolence of white people.
This is why news like this doesn’t suprise me:
Despite the Democratic Party’s historical ties to minorities, Capitol Hill Republicans are said to have a better reputation for hiring minorities.
According to a running joke one House staffer shared with The Times, “the only people who hire blacks and Hispanics around here are blacks, Hispanics and Republicans.”
Rep. Gregory W. Meeks, New York Democrat and a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, did not dispute the charge.
“I’ve heard it, and I’ve looked around and found myself scratching my head,” he said. “That has been said and it is a challenge for us to make sure our numbers are better.”
It doesn’t surprise me when the Democrat party does it, and it didn’t surprise me when Howard Dean or Michael Moore did it either. After all, minorities are useful when it is votes one is after, but serious business like running a campaign, making a movie, or doing real work, can’t be risked on those who are academically and intellectually challenged.
Shavar Jeffries, writing in the Black Professors blog, makes sense on affirmative action:
This brings me to what I think is a more important point: the pragmatics of affirmative action. The Black community, like all communities, has limited political, economic, and cultural resources. We currently allocate a disproportionate amount of these resources to affirmative-action battles. I’m becoming increasingly skeptical that this is a wise use of our resources — primarily because I find affirmative action to be inevitably incidental. Affirmative action at elite colleges and universities, for example, presupposes a group of highly accomplished applicants qualified and competent to graduate from these rarefied institutions. If college admissions is going to be predicated on biased, anti-meritocratic criteria like legacy and alumni preferences (not to mention the attenuated relevance of the SAT), sure I’ll fight for affirmative action as a means of evening the playing field. But can I get apoplectic about it? Absolutely not. Not when less than half of Black and Brown students earn a high-school diploma; not when Black men are exponentially more likely to attend the “pen” Upstate than Penn State.
Even if you were to conclude that affirmative action helps some minorities, it is apparent to me that the number is very small, certainly not large enough to make affirmative action the life and death issue so many make it out to be. Instead of focusing on something that can help only a handful of minorities at most, one should focus their energy on something that can help an overwhelmingly large number of minorities – vouchers.
Mike S. Adams on what affirmative action promotes:
But the discussion of affirmative action should by no means focus on the bad results it produces for white males like me. The real tragedy is its negative impact on the groups it purports to help. The effect is one I describe with a phrase called the “Reverse Roger Bannister Effect.”
When Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile in 1954, a whole class of people — not a race but those who run them — realized for the first time that a seemingly insurmountable goal could be achieved. So, naturally, others started breaking the four-minute barrier left and right just as soon as the bar of achievement was raised by Bannister.
That is precisely the opposite of what is happening with affirmative action. By lowering the bar and (in the short-term) making things easier for minorities, we guarantee persistent gaps in achievement. President Bush calls this the “soft bigotry” of low expectations. I prefer to call it the “hard reality” of low expectations.
Affirmative action is also an embarrassment for minorities who do not need or want to be measured by a lower standard. A black female student I taught in 1993 summed it up best by saying that although she had been admitted to college on the basis of outstanding grades and test scores, no one believed her. Whites just assumed she was there because of affirmative action. Once a class of people is given credit for something its members did not achieve, individuals in that class forfeit credit for the things they actually did.
The full article can be found here.
One of my favorite Black conservatives is Michael D. Cobb Bowen, or Cobb for short, who blogs over at the blog Cobb. In reading through the comments section of a post on Black Republicans over at the Black Professors blog, I found this comment of his:
If there’s a quick way to summarize the difference between the orientations of Liberalism and Conservatism that each party seeks to represent it would be this:
Liberals try to use the power of the State to insulate against the dysfunctions of family and community. Conservatives try to use the power of family and community to insulate against the dysfunctions of the State. Most everything follows from that.
From a black perspective, I think the salient choice is determined by a thoughtful consideration of what your family and community situation is. I think there can be no clearer illustration of this difference in black than the paths of Malcolm X and MLK, keeping specifically in mind that Malcolm X’ split from the Nation of Islam was a direct result of his discovery that Elijah Muhammad was the baby daddy of EIGHT illegitimate children.
Malcolm X did not support Affirmative Action. He was a religious conservative. This is the big open secret few black Democrats ever debate or consider.
“Despite much gushing about how we should “celebrate diversity,” America’s great achievement has not been in having diversity but in taming its dangers that have run amok in many other countries. Americans have by no means escaped diversity’s oppressions and violence, but we have reined them in”.–Thomas Sowell, in a WSJ editorial explaining that diversity itself is the problem in Iraq
“Indeed, I was told a chilling story of another Ivy League University that had two applicants from the same inner-city high school. Both were Hispanic. One applicant was a very good student who had participated in school and community affairs. The other was a mediocre student who had frequently clashed with authorities and even had a scrape with the law. A leading graduate of the school was trying to help the former student get admitted. The deciding factor might have come during his senior year when his parents managed to save enough money to move a few miles away to a suburb. “When I heard of their move I told the mother her son was doomed, because I knew how the admissions office thought,” the graduate told me. “Sure enough the more marginal kid got in, because he was viewed as a more ‘authentic’ representative of the Hispanic community.”"–John Fund, The Wall Street Journal editorial pages – discriminations blog has more
The greatest dilemma in attempts to raise ethnic minority income is that those methods which have historically proved successful — self-reliance, work skills, education, business, experience — are all slow developing, while those methods which are direct and immediate — job quotas, charity, subsidies, preferential treatment — tend to undermine self-reliance and pride of achievement in the long run.” –Thomas Sowell, in 1975
“By far the largest concern we hear on the right concerns culture, especially the worry that the current Hispanic influx is so large it can resist the American genius for assimilation. Hispanics now comprise nearly a third of the population in California and Texas, the country’s two biggest states, and cultural assimilation does matter. This is where the political left does the cause of immigration no good in pursuing a separatist agenda. When such groups as La Raza and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund push for multiculturalism, bilingual education, foreign language ballots, racial quotas and the like, they undermine support for immigration among even the most open-minded Americans. Most Americans don’t want to replicate the Bosnia model; nor are they pining for a U.S. version of the Quebec sovereignty movement. President Bush has been right to assert that immigrants must adopt U.S. norms, and we only wish more figures on the political left would say the same”. –The Wall Street Journal editorial page explaining Why The Wall Street Journal favors open immigration
Stuart Taylor Jr., writing in the Monday, June 19, 2006 National Review, reports on what affirmative action for lawyers results in:
Most — if not all — of the nation’s leading law firms seek to become more diverse by using “very large hiring preferences” for African-Americans and smaller preferences for Hispanics. So most of their newly hired minority lawyers have relatively weak academic records that would have brought rejection had they been white.
But these preferences are at best a mixed blessing — and are often a curse — for their recipients. After a year or two on the job, most minority associates at big firms get less desirable assignments and less training than their white counterparts. Many become discouraged and embittered. Young black lawyers leave big firms “at two or three times the rate of whites.”
These problems plague minority lawyers precisely because of the racial preferences that got most of them hired. By lowering the big firms’ usual hiring standards, large preferences bring “disparities in expectations and performance that ultimately hurt the intended beneficiaries.”
These are among the conclusions copiously documented by Richard Sander, a UCLA law professor, in a 66-page article soon to be published in the North Carolina Law Review. It is laden with meticulous statistical analyses of six publicly available data sets, including surveys of thousands of law students and lawyers at various stages in their lives and careers.
Sander’s blockbuster article, “The Racial Paradox of the Corporate Law Firm,” rejects the conventional wisdom that racism explains why most young black lawyers in large firms do not fare well, and why barely 1 percent of big-firm partners — compared with 8 percent of new hires — are black.
The paradox, Sander says, is that “aggressive racial preferences at the law-school and law-firm level tend to undermine in some ways the careers of young attorneys and … contribute to … the failure of the underlying goal of this whole process — the integration of elite firms at the partnership level.”
“This is why I think folks who are concerned about diversity in higher education are wrong to focus so much energy on affirmative action in college admissions. 1800 students simply are not enough to make black students more than a small minority at top schools. If you want more black students in college, you need better K-12 education. You need to fix the inner-city school districts where three-quarters of black boys fail to graduate high school. Colleges may be able to soften their admission criteria to admit blacks with lower GPAs or SAT scores, as Wesleyan has done, but they can’t relax their standards enough to admit high school dropouts”. –A Constrained Vision
“I agree that most of the diversity arguments about affirmative action are worth little. Diversity arguments were used in the past by Ivy League universities to keep down the number of Jews, and are now used to keep down the number of Asian Americans. A diligent student can learn from any good teacher, no matter his or her background. For example, Jewish students are better off with excellent non-Jewish teachers, sometimes even if they are anti-Jewish, than with mediocre Jewish ones. I believe the same conclusion applies to others”. –Gary Becker, Nobel Prize winning economist, responding to comments on his Affirmative Action post over at the Becker-Posner blog
“It’s really important that AA [Affirmative Action] have a goal in sight. Prejudice is generally regarded as counter-factual. Let’s say that you are prejudiced against blacks; you think that blacks make worse accountants. You would prefer to hire a white accountant. Prior to AA, it’s likely that a black accountant would have had to work harder in school, in order to overcome the racism of those who think blacks would make bad accountants. So the racist’s prejudice would be exactly backwards.
If AA is goes on longer than it should, then you end up with the opposite situation. Rather than blacks being given a hand up to the level of whites, blacks are effectively told “Our expectations of you are lower,” “You can’t do as well as whites, so we have AA for you,” and “You don’t have to work for success.” Since a black can get into a degree-granting program with lower credentials, graduate with lower grades, and be hired by an accounting firm under AA, the racist has a concrete reason for preferring white accountants to blacks.
As reparation, AA is perfectly fine. “We harmed you in the past; this makes up for it.” But reparation beyond the extent of the damage becomes a crutch. The question at hand is not “should we have AA?” but instead “has AA done its job; if so we must abolish it to avoid creating harm.”" –The Angry Economist
One of my favorite economists, Gary Becker, who in 1992 won the Nobel Prize in Economics for his pioneering work in topics such as discrimination, and the author of the groundbreaking book “The Economics of Discrimination“, writes with regard to affirmative action:
My belief is that affirmative action is bad for any country that aspires to be a meritocracy, as the United States does, despite past slavery and discrimination that are terrible violations of this aspiration. The case for a meritocracy is that achievements based on merit produces the most dynamic, innovative, and flexible economy and social structure. Encouraging promotion or admission of less qualified applicants because of their race, gender, or other characteristics, clearly violates this principle, and produces a less progressive economy, and a distorted social structure….
more subtle way that affirmative action harms many members of the very groups they are trying to promote is illustrated by admissions to college. If lower admission standards are used to admit African Americans or other groups, then good colleges would accept average minority students, good minority students would be accepted by very good colleges, and quite good students would be accepted by the most outstanding universities, like Harvard or Stanford. This means that at all these types of schools, the qualifications of minority students would on average be below those of other students. As a result, they tend to rank at the lower end of their classes, even when they are good students, because affirmative action makes them compete against even better students. Studies have shown that this simple implication of affirmative action applies to students at good law schools, where the average African American student ranks toward the lower end of their law school cohort. My observation of many colleges and universities is that this conclusion has general applicability well beyond law schools.
It hardly helps self-esteem if one is a member of a group that typically ranks toward the bottom in performance at a university or on a job. When discrimination dominated affirmative action, an African American or female medical doctor would be better than average since they had to overcome artificial hurdles to get where they were. That was not a desirable situation because discrimination made it harder for these groups to get ahead, so fewer of them than was warranted by their abilities and skills managed to make it to medical school. However, now, minority doctors and other professionals are greeted suspiciously by many patients and customers who fear they got where they are only because they were subject to lower standards. That can hardly make someone feel good, and helps explain some of the segregation and defensiveness of minorities receiving affirmative action help at schools or on jobs.
But that is not all he says, he follows up with:
While opposing affirmative action, I do not advocate just letting the status quo operate without attempting to help groups that have suffered greatly in the past from discrimination. Employers, universities, and other organizations should make special efforts to find qualified members of minority groups, persons who might have been overlooked because of their poor family backgrounds or the bad schools they attended. By using this approach, one can spot some diamonds in the rough that would get overlooked. I know that the economics department at Chicago in recent years has been able to discover and help train some excellent economists from disadvantaged backgrounds by searching harder for them.
Another attractive policy is to help disadvantaged children at early ages rather than using affirmative action when they apply for jobs or colleges. There is still controversy over how much and how durable is the gain from head start programs, although I believe that extra effort spent on these children at very young ages tends to yield a decent return in terms of later achievements. But it has been conclusively shown that efforts to educate and help in other ways when children are in their teens generally fail since by that time the children have fallen too far behind others of their age to be able to catch up. Put more technically, current human capital investments builds on past investments, so if past investments are inadequate, the current investments have low returns.
“I’m still very interested in the question of black-white disparity, but I think about it quite differently than I used to. The blatant discrimination that existed in the South before Title VII was in large part eradicated by civil rights legislation. It’s far less of an issue today. There’s still disparity, of course, but it’s not now primarily due to discrimination. I now think it’s much more due to the differentials in family environments and the fact that the initial life circumstances of racial and ethnic groups are very unequal. And understanding that, I think, is the source of solving the black-white problem, not new civil rights laws, and certainly not affirmative action laws. So yes, the race issue fascinates me”. –Interview with James J. Heckman, Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, 2000
“…defending affirmative action is the wrong fight. Latino and African-Americans should worry less about the admissions policies of college X or university Y and more about the everyday practices at elementary and secondary schools in this country. What should concern them is that so many public schools fail so dismally at educating minority students that relatively few will ever be in a position to benefit from affirmative action in the first place”. –Ruben Navarrette Jr.