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Affirmative Action Forever

Fifty-eight percent of Michigan’s voters said that affirmative action in university admissions ought to be illegal in their state. A federal court has just overturned their will, and for an outrageous, ridiculous reason [1]:

The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled, 8 to 7, on Thursday that Michigan’s voter-approved 2006 ban on affirmative action was unconstitutional.

The ruling [2], in Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action v. University of Michigan, was not based on racial discrimination, but rather on a violation of the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection. The ban, the court said, unfairly placed a special burden on supporters of race-conscious admissions policies.

People trying to change any other aspect of university admissions policies, the court said, had several avenues open: they could lobby the admissions committee, petition university leaders, try to influence the college’s governing board or take the issue to a statewide initiative. Those supporting affirmative action, on the other hand, had no alternative but to undertake the “long, expensive and arduous process” of amending the state Constitution.

“The existence of such a comparative structural burden undermines the equal protection clause’s guarantee that all citizens ought to have equal access to the tools of political change,” said Judge R. Guy Cole Jr., writing for the majority.

Sailer nails it: [3]

This is an extraordinarily unpersuasive argument by the Sixth Circuit majority. Before this ruling, proponents of affirmative action facedexactly the same burdens as the opponents of affirmative action faced in 2006 when they got their initiative approved. Heck, proponents don’t need 58% of the vote like the ban got, they just need 50% +1 vote to amend the state Constitution.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, right?

Wrong, of course. Structural racial discrimination on behalf of groups who vote Democratic is self-evidently justified, as everyone would see if their eyes weren’t clouded by sin. Or something.

Despite the good intentions with which it may have been launched, at this point affirmative action has nothing to do with morality, and everything to do with power, as this Christopher Caldwell quote cited by Sailer recognizes:

“One moves swiftly and imperceptibly from a world in which affirmative action can’t be ended because its beneficiaries are too weak to a world in which it can’t be ended because its beneficiaries are too strong.”

Conservatives have to hope that the Supreme Court outlaws all race-based college admissions schemes when it rules this term on the Fisher [4] case.

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93 Comments To "Affirmative Action Forever"

#1 Comment By Franklin Evans On November 17, 2012 @ 9:27 am

I’ll try to cover all the direct responses to my post. The only correct assumption about what my silence means on any point is that I haven’t posted a reply to it. 😉

Everyone should pay attention to our friend Siarlys, who combines gently biting wit with a keen insight. When I falter on legal issues, I stop and listen to him very carefully… unless he’s the one that is catching my falter and I’m the target of his wit. I apply first aid before stopping and listening. 😉

There are several things wrong with this debate, what I see as the two primary ones in no particular order:

Formerly advantaged groups — yes, the vast majority of them white — are smarting because their parents, they or their children no longer get to enjoy being advantaged. The objective measurement validly includes whites getting less than their predecessors while minorities get more. Any AA proponent who fails to acknowledge that should please leave the floor (very obscure movie reference there).

Newly advantaged groups are without a doubt making a huge mistake: Seeing this shift in being advantaged as just desserts and even revenge. I have one thing to say to you: Keep it up, and you will lose my support. The point is not to take away. The point is to find a rational balance. No one can go back in time and make your parents and grandparents lives better than they were. I’d love to go back to WWII Croatia with modern weapons and a list of targets, but I can’t, and the three-quarters of my mother’s extended family still died there and that’s the end of it. I’m not throwing that out as my side of a pissing contest, but I sure as hell expect a more mature approach to our joint membership in our society.

Please, please read my second post above. Others have chimed in on just how simple a fully merit-based procedure can be, with the only “casualty” being the embedded notion that arbitrary decisions are the rights of those who want to advantage “their” people. Sure, it’s mostly whites in that position, but not completely any more, and it is a valid point to show that minorities are finding themselves in those positions and behaving in exactly the same unethical fashion. The practice itself is immoral. Join us in using AA to stop it, not simply replace the players.

There’s plenty of straw lying around waiting to be twisted into seemingly valid men. I will without hesitation concede my own use of it at times. This is not one of those times. To wit:

pjsmoov: FE
“I have yet, in all the blogs and threads about AA, to see an opponent of AA acknowledge the actual provisions of it.” Perhaps you’re not making much of an effort. Affirmative Action is not simply some outreach program. Discrimination is essential to any successful affirmative action program. And how does one show a sincere commitment to affirmative action, one that satisfy government bean counters, without resorting to numbers?

PJ, did you go to the DOL website, and read through all the descriptions? Did you even superficially trust my emphasized portions of what I quoted here? It says there and here, in plain language, that the numbers are guidelines. Experience shows — please pardon my blanket cynicism, it is not meant to be personal — that people will either ignorantly contradict or deliberately spin the fact that the numbers are guidelines. The ignorant can’t be bothered with the effort to understand them and do the work their being guidelines requires. The saboteurs jump on that ubiquitous ignorance and perpetuate the lie that it’s all about quotas when the published, legally valid language says right there in simple words that quotas are not permitted.

The saboteurs made “[d]iscrimination [is] essential to any successful affirmative action program” with the cooperation of the ignorant. The alternatives were simply not even attempted. You cannot claim necessity when the experimental cohort has only one member. 🙂

Hopefully you’ve read this far, PJ, because I have a caveat: I know better than most what the burden of regulations entails in the corporate sector. My first career’s salary was paid by those corporations, my job to keep them in compliance. AA, far less complex than my employee benefits milieu, was just that sort of burden, and I have some rational sympathy for the opposition to spending money on compliance with it. Drastic changes to the hiring procedures would have been expensive.

The point is that if those first, contemporary employers had had no other choice but to implement those changes — without any need to resort to quotas, as supported by the regulatory language in no uncertain terms — our debate would have been very different right now, if it had any motivation to happen at all.

#2 Comment By Glaivester On November 17, 2012 @ 9:33 am

Matt – of course, the solution that Affirmative Action supporters have to this is to create special classes of ethnic studies so that minorities can study racial resentment. (I tend to be wary of women’s studies, gay studies, or ethnic studies classes).

#3 Comment By AnotherBeliever On November 17, 2012 @ 10:09 am

Look, I don’t like getting into these discussions about race because frankly, I hear a lot of static that is the hallmark of an older generation. It is a generation I respect and admire deeply for many reasons but one which my peers and I way back in high school concluded have outdated ideas and hang-ups about race and racism, ideas which will only pass with time.

I would be in favor of phasing out race-based admissions if they were replaced instead with socio-economic allowances in college admissions. One rule here in Texas is that you are supposed to be granted admission to any public university if you are in the top 10% of your class. Naturally, if you attend a public school in an economically depressed school district with low test scores and not very much academic rigor, your stats won’t look nearly as good as the stats for a young person raised in a wealthy gated subdivision who attended a private school or a very well-funded public school. Is this fair? No, not strictly. But neither is our current system.

But as long as school districts are funded by property taxes, many of the wealthiest families will sort themselves into real estate enclaves which ensure that their schools are mostly attended by the well-to-do, and that their children thus get the best education their half-a-million dollar homes could by. Meanwhile, many families of modest means are left renting small homes or apartments in areas where most everyone else is also renting. Their school districts are not as well funded, and their student body consists of the children of those who could not buy their way into a better one. These schools offer fewer advanced and AP classes, much lower resources for college admissions advising, larger classes, etc. And also tend to be “browner” in many states. So if you admit the top 10% you will be admitting a diverse student body, socioeconomically and not coincidentally, also racially.

Of course, this brings up a whole other set of problems. Not all of the top 10% in a very bad high school are prepared to handle a state university. This is why some of my charity donations each year go to the Posse Foundation. It’s an organization that seeks out “strivers” among lower income high school students. These are students whose test scores and grades, while still low by elite college admissions standards, are much higher than is the norm for young people of their backgrounds (they account for family income, single-parent household, area crime rate, and similar indicators.) Many are black or Hispanic or immigrants but there are also students from poor white rural schools. The disparity between these student’s expected performance and their actual performance often indicates that these students have the grit and motivation to close the gap and achieve college success. They are placed in a supportive college prep after-school/summer program, and are admitted in clusters to top-ranked private colleges and universities. Most of these students go on to graduate, going in a single leap from the projects (or the equivalent) to Dartmouth grad (or similar.) Look up their website, it’s a good news story sure to put a smile on your face.

#4 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On November 17, 2012 @ 10:10 am

Re: Hector, why should Latinos get Affirmative Action? For that matter, why should anyone who comes to the U.S. of their own free will?

Because my support for affirmative action isn’t premised on being fair to individuals, it’s premised on being fair to groups, and ensuring that those groups as a whole are integrated into American society. Latinos are still poorer and socially more marginal than whites. They deserve to be represented among the doctors, lawyers, scholars, and professionals of society, as well as among the economic and political leaders. Society’s better off when they are. In addition, having role models among those groups makes it easier for other Latinos to succeed.

And for the record, ‘Latino’ is a cultural term, not a racial one, and no sane supporter of affirmative action would apply it to a Spanish immigrnat.

Rod,

With due respect, I live in Michigan and work at Michigan State University. You don’t. This state has a horrendous history as regards race relations, and things have only gradually gotten better over the years. I don’t want to return to the racial animosities of the past, and I don’t want my workplace to become dominated by whites and Asians. The good of society is more important than your kids getting into the highest ranked university they could (and in all honesty, they would probably get better value for money going to Louisiana State than to Duke anyway). Please consider that those of us who strongly support affirmative action have good reason for our support.

#5 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On November 17, 2012 @ 10:13 am

For the record, I oppose AA for women because women aren’t oppressed in the economic, political or intellectual arenas anymore. (They are oppressed in other ways, e.g. they’re the victims of violence, but that’s not an issue that AA solves). The 85 cents on the dollar stuff is mostly easily explained away, and is not something AA should address. Women and men are naturally different and complementary in a way that Black and White people aren’t, thus women generally making less than men wouldn’t bother me so much.

#6 Comment By M_Young On November 17, 2012 @ 10:58 am

“’Im rather skeptical that a white kid at the 2.5% top percentile (or in fact a kid of any background at that percentile) would be turned down in favor of anyone. Care to back that up?”

1) That was a hypothetical in direct response to the suggestion that the white people hurt by AA were ‘mediocre’. It was based on an assumption and a fact. The assumption is that even a black kid getting admitted to an elite university would be well above average– I picked 1 sd from the population mean. The fact is that blacks are regularly spotted 100 or more points on standardized tests. That’s another sd. So white (and even more so Asian kids) that are competing against that black kid are generally 2 sd, or in the top 2.5% of the population.

2) But, as a matter of fact, in my own high school class there was a white friend who scored a pre-recentering, pre insane Kaplan cramming 1530 on the SAT. He was also a national caliber swimmer, Key Club member, all the usual junk. He was rejected from Harvard, while a friend, Mexican-American, 1300-something SAT, was accepted. Sure, the white kid went on the USC, and that’s really good, but we all know it isn’t as good as Harvard.

BTW since Harvard is a stepping stone to power (seemingly almost requisite these days), the point about the AA recipients being ‘too powerful’ to get the policy of discrimination against whites and Asians seems to be appropriate.

#7 Comment By M_Young On November 17, 2012 @ 11:04 am

“And for the record, ‘Latino’ is a cultural term, not a racial one, and no sane supporter of affirmative action would apply it to a Spanish immigrnat.”

(1) you are arguing, then , for *purely* racial discrimination. No whites need apply. (2) But you are wrong — Sailer had a post on just what it takes to be ‘Hispanic’, a Q and A he got from some official entity. The upshot is that if you feel yourself to be Hispanic, you are. Comically, Matthew Yglesias has started identifying as ‘Hispanic’.

” I don’t want to return to the racial animosities of the past, and I don’t want my workplace to become dominated by whites and Asians. The good of society is more important than your kids getting into the highest ranked university they could (and in all honesty, they would probably get better value for money going to Louisiana State than to Duke anyway). ”

From your comments history, I believe you are Asian Indian, an over-represented demographic. Are you willing to give up your job?

#8 Comment By M_Young On November 17, 2012 @ 11:07 am

“I have to ask where you see too few white people:”

In our stream of immigrants, which doesn’t ‘look like America’ at all.

#9 Comment By Rod Dreher On November 17, 2012 @ 11:18 am

Hector: With due respect, I live in Michigan and work at Michigan State University. You don’t. This state has a horrendous history as regards race relations, and things have only gradually gotten better over the years. I don’t want to return to the racial animosities of the past, and I don’t want my workplace to become dominated by whites and Asians. The good of society is more important than your kids getting into the highest ranked university they could (and in all honesty, they would probably get better value for money going to Louisiana State than to Duke anyway).

Yeah, here in Louisiana we know nothing of horrendous race-relations histories. I still don’t understand how one overcomes a horrendous history of racial discrimination through racial discrimination.

When you (as an Asian) say, “I don’t want my workplace to become dominated by whites and Asians,” I am prompted to ask: Why not? So what if it were? You work at a university. If you worked at one of the country’s historically black colleges, you would probably be in a workplace dominated by African-Americans. Would that bother you? Could you see yourself saying, “I don’t want my workplace to become dominated by black people”? If not, how do you justify the “whites and Asians” comment.

Personally, I don’t care if I’m the only white guy working in a place, as long as I’m treated fairly and surrounded by people who work hard and are good colleagues.

M_Young’s question is a good one: If Asians came to dominate your workplace, would you be willing to give up your job to allow a non-Asian, non-white person to take your slot? If not, why not? The thing affirmative action supporters typically don’t understand is that the cost of their abstract notions of collective racial justice is borne by actual individuals.

I would prefer that if my child has the test scores and work ethic to merit admission to Duke, that he have the choice of Duke or LSU, and that that choice not be denied to him because of the color of his skin. Why is it such a radical idea that we should fight racial discrimination by ceasing to practice racial discrimination?

#10 Comment By Elizabeth Anne On November 17, 2012 @ 12:16 pm

“If Asians came to dominate your workplace, would you be willing to give up your job to allow a non-Asian, non-white person to take your slot? ”

There’s a point in there that sums up the problem that you’re missing, Rod: that spot in real life *isn’t yours*. It’s A Spot.

#11 Comment By Chris On November 17, 2012 @ 1:10 pm

I asked where M-Young found the “deck stacked against whites,” as demonstrated by there not being enough whites. The response.

In our stream of immigrants, which doesn’t ‘look like America’ at all.

So to be clear: The deck is stacked against whites because there are more non-whites on the planet than whites?

Or are you making the nativist argument that was made against the Irish, Italians and Polish in the 1800s, but with a racial instead of religious tint?

#12 Comment By Chris On November 17, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

If Asians came to dominate your workplace, would you be willing to give up your job to allow a non-Asian, non-white person to take your slot?

That’s a red herring, Rod. No-one is kicked out of college so that someone of a different race can get in. No-one is fired so that someone of a different race can be hired.

What’s being done is that ethnicity is being considered as one factor among many when deciding who will be admitted, or who will get the job.

I hate the tyranny of quotas as I hate the tyranny of test scores. I hate the notion that human beings are reducible to a set of statistics on the basis of which decisions must be made. You claim to want people to be judged on the content of their character, but then wish to deny me the ability to take into account a part of their character when deciding whether to hire them.

#13 Comment By pjsmoov On November 17, 2012 @ 1:42 pm

FE
As an ignorant saboteur who in the past has served on several university committees entrusted with promoting diversity and satisfying diversity requirements established by regional and national accrediting agencies, I can assure you that we were well aware of the language regarding quotas and thus committed ourselves to substituting language that essentially meant the same thing. It’s actually quite easy because universities are full of wordsmiths capable of disguising what’s actually taking place. Thus, when a department head told me that he needed to hire a black woman to satisfy national accreditation “standards” or “guidelines” –definitely not quotas, only an ignorant saboteur would even think such a thing–we were charged with meeting a “standard” of exactly 1 black female for a small department (not an easy task—it wasn’t education, sociology or African American studies). Whites and Asians were not considered, But I guess that didn’t involve discrimination. And Latinos weren’t either because we managed to convince the agency that a blond-haired, blued-eyed white guy with a German last name had some great grandfather who may have been Cuban. This is why I encourage whites to claim to be Hispanic if it works to their advantage. It’s not like he was asked to show papers.

“Formerly advantaged groups — yes, the vast majority of them white — are smarting because their parents, they or their children no longer get to enjoy being advantaged.”
Whites have come to terms with the shameful aspects of our history when slavery and segregation were legal. Thus, i believe government should be wary of supporting racial discrimination. We tried it once and it didn’t work out so well. I’m conflicted because I support some efforts on behalf of African Americans and Native Americans although I’m wondering if I’m talking myself out of it.

“Newly advantaged groups are without a doubt making a huge mistake” I appreciate your honesty.

Hector:
“Because my support for affirmative action isn’t premised on being fair to individuals”
I appreciate your honesty as well.

“They deserve to be represented among the doctors, lawyers, scholars, and professionals of society, as well as among the economic and political leaders.” Deserve? That’s an interesting word. Are they incapable of meeting the basic requirements for entry into these professions without getting a leg up? I’m watching an SEC football game right now. Do whites deserve to play SEC football? Most of the players are African American, unlike most of the fans in the stands. Do Asians deserve more than Jeremy Lin in the NBA?

“Society’s better off when they are.” That may or may not be true. What is true is that society would be better off if Latino’s lower their out-of-wedlock birthrate, embrace education to a greater degree and reduced their high-school dropout rate, and assimilate into the common culture essentially the way many Asians have done. Latino’s would be better off as well. Would society be better off if we didn’t allow so many undereducated Latinos to come here in the first place? Would African Americans be better off without having to compete with immigrants for jobs? Assimilation would be easier and we’d have fewer demands for special ethnic privileges.

“‘Latino’ is a cultural term, not a racial one, and no sane supporter of affirmative action would apply it to a Spanish immigrnat.” So if, say, Juan Antonio Hernandez, a recent Guatemlan immigrant to America, essentially adopts the lifestyle of a Mississippi redneck (my brethren) or a New England WASP, he’s no longer Latino?

#14 Comment By ds On November 17, 2012 @ 1:46 pm

Rod, why do you support judicial activism?

The Equal Protection Clause guarantees equal access to the political process.

Admissions decisions at Michigan public universities are decided by an elected board. Opponents of affirmative action are free to run anti-affirmative action candidates (they do), and lobby members of the board (they do).

But when you sidestep the normal political process and impose a new barrier *only* on minorities advocating for affirmative action in admissions, but not on any other group advocating for any other sort of admissions policy, you are violating their equal protection under the law.

You dislike affirmative action, and would like the Supreme Court to rule it unconstitutional. But that is not existing law.

#15 Comment By Glaivester On November 17, 2012 @ 2:56 pm

I think that the issue is less Affirmative Action specifically than it is the general trend towards imposing racial egalitarianism.

The saboteurs jump on that ubiquitous ignorance and perpetuate the lie that it’s all about quotas when the published, legally valid language says right there in simple words that quotas are not permitted.

But if your hiring does not match a quota, you are automatically suspect of discrimination. In some areas, explicit quotas probably would be better, because at least we would be getting the top of each group, whereas under the current interpretation, a test that does not give racially proportional results is often automatically rejected (See the New York firefighter case).

Yes, the quota is based upon the number of “qualified individuals” rather than on a simple demographic profile of your geographical area, but if the proportion of “qualified individuals” of a particular race is far lower than the proportion of the general population, expect that what you consider “qualifications” will be held suspect.

The law can claim all that it wants that there are no quotas, but unless the 4/5ths rule is abolished and discrimination has to be proven on a case-by-case basis, a company’s compliance is going to be measured by its adherence to a de facto quota.

The fact of the matter is, if what happened was simply that in marginal cases, a black person was chosen over a similarly qualified white person, there would not be a problem. The problem is that minorities are accepted who are far less qualified than whites who are rejected.

#16 Comment By Lord Karth On November 17, 2012 @ 3:22 pm

Mr. Dreher writes: “Why is it such a radical idea that we should fight racial discrimination by ceasing to practice racial discrimination?”

Because it’s not about “racial discrimination”, Mr. Dreher. It’s about power, pure and simple. It’s about who’s on top and who’s below: who gets to kick butt and who has to kiss it. The leftists who currently infest our so-called “institutions of higher learning” have used their preying on the unwarranted and unjustified guilt of normal Americans to score themselves pay, positions and perquisites ever since the appallingly misnamed “Civil Rights Acts” first started being inflicted on the American commonoriate.

The difficulty with the current situation is that these parasites have become so embedded in what is left of the academy that it will take, frankly, blowing up about 85 % of these institutions, through downsizing of one sort or another, to get them out of there.

The same thing holds true for the “diversity” fraudsters who have the large corporations in a hammerlock. The “diversity” industry has managed to bamboozle, mislead and befuddle enough otherwise clear-thinking Americans into thinking they’re “unconscious racists” so as to prevent any actual thinking about the actual problems facing the various “minority” communities from taking place.

Anyone with even a passing acquaintance with Reality knows what is holding down a great many “minorities” from advancement and prosperity–the widespread acceptance of ba$tardy, lack of personal discipline (believe me, it doesn’t take much to avoid getting arrested or expelled from school) and a disregard for the need to buckle down and work for a living. And God forbid anyone actually brings up the subject of sacrifice. Santa Claus has an appeal—who doesn’t like getting Free Stuff ? It’s a lot easier to blame the other guy and whine to the caseworker about one’s “rights”. Easier on the ego, too.

And just to be perfectly clear, a great many white Americans have the same problem. As more Americans become proletarians, the problems associated with proletarian culture and mentation (there is no reason to dignify it by calling it “thinking”) become more widespread.

Thing is, nobody likes to be told that their problems are largely their own fault. Part of that “self-esteem” business, I suppose.

The diversity-peddlers aren’t worried; they still get their power, perks and tenure in office. A nice racket, if you’ve the stomach for that sort of thing.

I’m not worried, either. Come the Meltdown, the rubber meets the road, and the wheat is going to get sorted from the chaff. “And the Gods of the Copybook Headings will/With terror and slaughter return !” Might be a little rough on the chaff, but what the hey……sooner or later, everybody dies.

Meanwhile, the Countdown……to the Meltdown….rolls on !!

Your servant,

Lord Karth

#17 Comment By Glaivester On November 17, 2012 @ 10:37 pm

ds – He did not want the Supreme Court to strike down Affirmative Action – he wanted them not to strike down the Constitutional Amendment that specifically abolished it.

#18 Comment By Glaivester On November 17, 2012 @ 10:43 pm

Honestly – the idea that on average different races have different aptitudes should not necessarily be a barrier to a happy society. We actually have an example on children’s television of a multi-racial society where the members of some races actually have abilities that virtually no one in other races have, yet it rarely causes conflict and friendships and a productive society are still possible.

If we have a multi-racial society, I think it should be modeled on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (to be clear, the three races of that society are earth ponies (good at farming), unicorns (magic, especially telekinesis), and pegasi (flying and weather control)).

#19 Comment By Sands On November 17, 2012 @ 11:09 pm

ds: “But when you sidestep the normal political process and impose a new barrier *only* on minorities advocating for affirmative action in admissions…”

No such new barrier was imposed on minorities only. Granted, the constitutional amendmend created a barrier for supporters of AA, but the supporters of AA, as a group, are no more a disenfranchised minority group than the supporters of a balanced budget amendment. Sure, among the supporters of AA are members of a group that has been historically disenfranchised, but the same can be said of the opponents of AA (black people oppose AA too).

And the exact same amendment process that was available to Prop 2 advocates is equally available to any other person or group that wants to change admissions policies.

Using your logic, the entire amendment processes is unconstitutional because there will always be a loser facing a tougher hurdle once an amendment is passed.

You don’t want equal protection; you
want preferential treatment. A kind of affirmative action program for the
political process.

#20 Comment By M_Young On November 18, 2012 @ 2:34 am

“So to be clear: The deck is stacked against whites because there are more non-whites on the planet than whites?”

That might be an argument if our immigrant stream looked like the planet as a whole — but it doesn’t.

“Or are you making the nativist argument that was made against the Irish, Italians and Polish in the 1800s, but with a racial instead of religious tint?”

Oooh noooh, a ‘nativist’. How did that word become a slur. It’s funny how it is good to be a ‘native American’, but bad to be a ‘nativist’.

The ‘nativists’ were well within their rights to impose an immigration law, which held for most of the ‘American century’, which both sharply restricted immigration and also made sure it didn’t upset the ethnic balance of the country. Aside from the fact that had obviously good results over all — everything from the Baby Boom to the moon landing took place under a ‘nativist’ regime– we are finding out now that new immigrants or their children vote as blocks. Why should any people will their own dispossession politically?

#21 Comment By The Sicilian Woman On November 18, 2012 @ 2:42 am

As one who works in higher education, I back up everything Lord Karth said. Onward to the Meltdown.

#22 Comment By M_Young On November 18, 2012 @ 2:42 am

“But when you sidestep the normal political process and impose a new barrier *only* on minorities advocating for affirmative action in admissions, ”

Michigan has a referendum process, so those who fought against racial discrimination against whites didn’t ‘sidestep’ anything, they participated in the ‘normal political process’.
They went through, as the court calls it, the ‘long and arduous process’ of getting the issue on the ballot and passed.

Proponents of AA are free to put a referendum on the ballot asking for the reinstitution of racial discrimination against whites.

#23 Comment By Chris On November 18, 2012 @ 2:44 am

Meanwhile, the Countdown……to the Meltdown….rolls on !!

ROFLMAO!

A countdown without a timeframe to an undefined meltdown with undefined effects! What manner of prediction is this, other than one that allows the predictor to take credit for future events that he hasn’t actually predicted?

#24 Comment By AnotherBeliever On November 18, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

One always knew that Ponies would eventually make their way into a discussion about Affirmative Action … (my kid brother is a fanboy.)

#25 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On November 18, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

Golly, there’s a lot to respond to. I’ll start with Rod’s thoughtful and sensitive remarks, and then proceed from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Re: Yeah, here in Louisiana we know nothing of horrendous race-relations histories.

You know, that wasn’t really my point. My point was that as a resident of Michigan, and as someone affiliated with one of the two large state research universities, the future of affirmative action in this state affects me directly more than it affects you. I want to live in a state characterized by peaceful and amicable race relations, not by the kind of animosity that characterized the late ’60s and ’70s. And I want the university for whom I work, to play a part in integrating society and contributing to Black and Latino representation in the professions, in economic and political leadership, and in scholarship.

Re: When you (as an Asian) say, “I don’t want my workplace to become dominated by whites and Asians,” I am prompted to ask: Why not? So what if it were?

As regards Asians, specifically, because I don’t identify with Asian culture, and because I’m not especially comfortable with Asian cultures, and especially with the existence of Chinese, Indians, etc. as privileged, highly educated, wealthy minorities in America. I don’t want my ethnic group to play the same social role as the Jews did in Europe, because down that road lies the pogroms. On the contrary, I want Indians and other Asian groups to assimilate to American culture.

More generally, I think society is healthier when our everyday interactions involve people from a range of different socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic groups. I want an integrated society, not a segregated one. I want churches and residential neighborhoods to be integrated, and I want the same for workplaces and places of learning as well. I think we are all better off when our day to day interactions expose us to people from all different strata of society, and when upper middle class people aren’t able to lock themselves away from everyone else in little bubbles.

Re: If Asians came to dominate your workplace, would you be willing to give up your job to allow a non-Asian, non-white person to take your slot? If not, why not?

It’s a little different, because we aren’t talking about taking jobs away from people, we are talking about not giving them the job or the college slot in the first place.

Rod, you spent a month in France this year. I’m sure you’re aware that France prides themselves, with cloying self-righteousness, on being race blind, and on not doing this affirmative action stuff. What you may *not* be aware of, is that the situation for minorities in France is much, much more dysfunctional than it is here. Africans in France have much higher crime rates than Black people in this country, are much more alienated from society, and endure more poverty and discrimination. This is what self-important Gallic arrogance about ‘colour blind societies’ gets you. We don’t want to go the way of France.

Let me give you some background about where I’m coming from, here. My family is from southern India, and they’re from the Brahmin caste, which historically monopolized education, the professions, and the scholarly pursuits, and which maintained its social privileges through one of the most vicious and inhuman systems of oppression and exploitation that the fallen human race has ever thought to invent. The Indian caste system, at its height, rivaled Russian serfdom and American slavery in its blatant and naked assertion that some people were superior to others by virtue of a mere accident of birth. It added to oppression and cruelty the hypocrisy of claiming that its justification came from God. And it maintained its existence through systematic discrimination, murder, and abuse of anyone who seemed to violate the dictates of their station in life.

In the 1960s, politics in my family’s home state became dominated by a left-wing Tamil nationalist party, that was bitterly opposed to orthodox Hinduism, rich people, North Indian domination, and most of all to the privileges of the Brahmin caste. They embraced a sweeping program of affirmative action, including explicit caste quotas, that went much further than anything America has ever done or even considered. Around 70% of university seats, among other things, were reserved for the so-called ‘Backward Castes’. And, clearly, the advancement of the lower castes came at the expense of discrimination against the Brahmins, including my family and relatives.

I don’t at all challenge those laws, or the anti-Brahmin policies pursued by successive Tamil governments. Because I can see exactly why they were needed. And because ultimately, the well being of the poor is more important than the well being of the wealthy or the middle classes. The fact that a particular government policy made life more difficult for my family, isn’t a reason not to support it. To be blunt, we deserved it, because our whole existence and way of life was predicated on four thousand years of inhuman oppression. When we talk about Indian politics, most of my immediate family is for the parties of the centre (who also favored affirmative action, thought at a more modest level), but my sympathies are with the Left. If you have more than you should- more social dominance, more money, more access to educational opportunity, more status in society- then yes, the moral thing to do is to embrace your own dispossession.

This is where I come from when I think about affirmative action. The idea of racial discrimination against a group, in principle, doesn’t bother me: the question I have is whether that discrimination brings us closer to a society characterized by justice and equality, or further away from it. I think it’s critically important to build a society which is not characterized by a Black and Latino underclass and by a largely Asian and Jewish elite. And to the extent that I can, on issues of this nature, I will always side with the Black and Latino cause.

#26 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On November 18, 2012 @ 2:02 pm

Re: Why should any people will their own dispossession politically?

Because mature adults, expecially mature *Christian* adults are expected to think about what’s good for society, and for the poor, not just about what’s good for ME. It seems that you, and people like you, would prefer to be like the third graders who judge everything about whether it’s good for *them* or not. Fine, but then don’t expect decent people to have much moral or intellectual respect for you.

Re: Aside from the fact that had obviously good results over all — everything from the Baby Boom to the moon landing took place under a ‘nativist’ regime– we are finding out now that new immigrants or their children vote as blocks.

Boo hoo. Lynchings, racial segregation, American imperialism all over Latin America, the mass murder of Native Americans, monopoly capitalism, the Dust Bowl, and brilliant foreign policy inventions like the Vietname War were all the fruit of your beloved White America as well. If that’s the case, count me very glad to see a day when racial demagogues like yourself are no longer in the majority.

Re: If we have a multi-racial society, I think it should be modeled on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (to be clear, the three races of that society are earth ponies (good at farming), unicorns (magic, especially telekinesis), and pegasi (flying and weather control)).

So the best literary inspiration the Steve Sailer devotees can find to embody their values, is My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. That really says it all, folks. No need to hark back to people like Dickens or Dostoyevsky, when you can have My Little Pony. Honestly, Glaivester is like a parody of his own cause here.

#27 Comment By Franklin Evans On November 18, 2012 @ 4:13 pm

PJ, I can only surmise that the accrediting authority has overstepped the standards of the EEOC. There is no regulatory language that supports your experiences in academia. I was about to chide you for an apples-oranges fallacy, but there is ample precedent for non-federal authorities (usually states) to be more restrictive than federal guidelines. The concept of federal pre-emption — that a federal statute will trump a state statute — has been known to create rather “interesting” situations. All I ask is that you confirm that the accreditors were claiming their approach as the federal compliance standard, and not their own take on diversity.

Glaivester… there is nothing automatic involved. Claims must be filed with the EEOC, confirmed or denied by them, and in some (stupidly done, IMO) cases taken directly to court under a lawsuit. There is no FBI-like force combing the streets and documents looking for possible violations. There is only the usual fear of litigation — a very different can of worms, I hope you’ll agree — that prompts employers to do what I’ve described: Take the least expensive course, even if it means injuring others for the sake of restitution to minorities. My posts describe my view on all of that.

Look, practice doesn’t negate theory, it simply complies with it or not. Use of quotas has never been required at any level. It is explicitly prohibited by overt regulatory language. The analogy I choose — being biased against most drivers — is the routine violation of speed limits. If the vast majority of drivers are doing 65 in a 55 zone, does that mean that when they create the speed limit signs, they are printing “55” because it really means “65”?

No, and any cop who pulls you over will not decide to let you off with a warning because “everyone else is doing it”. The analogy weakens because of what I wrote earlier, there are no “enforcers” out there waiting to trap employers… but neither is “everyone does it” a valid defense when they are hit with claims.

#28 Comment By Mark in LA On November 18, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

So Hector

Because my support for affirmative action isn’t premised on being fair to individuals, it’s premised on being fair to groups, and ensuring that those groups as a whole are integrated into American society. Latinos are still poorer and socially more marginal than whites. They deserve to be represented among the doctors, lawyers, scholars, and professionals of society, as well as among the economic and political leaders. Society’s better off when they are. In addition, having role models among those groups makes it easier for other Latinos to succeed.

If we have no Latinos capable of getting legitimate PhDs in mathematics, we still need to hire them to teach math at universities because other Latinos seeing them with an office in the faculty wing of the building is more important than someone qualified to teach math?

#29 Comment By MEH 0910 On November 18, 2012 @ 8:43 pm

Hector_St_Clare: I think it’s critically important to build a society which is not characterized by a Black and Latino underclass and by a largely Asian and Jewish elite. And to the extent that I can, on issues of this nature, I will always side with the Black and Latino cause.

So, for instance, higher average IQ Jews should be dispossessed by lower average IQ blacks, despite the resultant setback in the advancement of human knowledge? That’s not moral, that’s immoral.

#30 Comment By Chris On November 18, 2012 @ 9:18 pm

M-Young,

You have not offered a single tangible example of where and how the “deck is stacked against whites.”

I asked where, gave a long list, you offered only “immigration” but fail to explain how it is that immigration by non-whites stacks the deck against whites.

Furthermore, you keep trying to drag your complaint further and further from your assertion.

Look: It’s your point, if you don’t care to defend it that’s your problem. If you care to defend it, please try to be specific.

As for mentioning “nativists,” my point was not some boogeyman, but just pointed out that the language you used was used against whites in an earlier era. You missed it, possibly because you realize that there is no actual evidence to bolster your assertion that the deck is stacked against whites.

#31 Comment By sdb On November 18, 2012 @ 9:39 pm

“I would prefer that if my child has the test scores and work ethic to merit admission to Duke, that he have the choice of Duke or LSU, and that that choice not be denied to him because of the color of his skin. Why is it such a radical idea that we should fight racial discrimination by ceasing to practice racial discrimination?”

But here’s the problem: we don’t know how to measure “work ethic” and test scores are not a particularly reliable predictor for success in college. Sure, on average kids with 1300’s do better than kids with 1100’s, but the distribution is huge. High school gpa? Its all over the map. Accounting for all the biases that arise from looking at correlations between college gpa and SAT score+HS GRE, the correlation is only about .5 (the raw correlation between SAT score and freshman gpa is .2). It just isn’t possible to construct a clean rank order list of applicants upon which you can draw a clear line and say that student X is more qualified than student Y. The hubris of progressives who believe that everything can be quantified and objectified keeps us from recognizing the limit of our predictive power.

But if you have a group of more or less indistinguishable applicants and you know that some subset of students have faced significant bias on the basis of their race or sex (or religion or politics I might add), then it makes sense to put a thumb on the scale in their favor. We know that CVs from women are considered less impressive than identical CVs with male names on them (and this is true for male and female hiring chairs!). We know that black applicants are judged less qualified than their white applicants even with all other things made equal. It is reasonable to expect that the same thing holds true for other venues where one’s work is judged subjectively: the black kid’s writing, projects, and conduct are likely to be judged more harshly than that of white kid’s (unless schoolteachers have a power to overcome bias that has eluded employers in other fields working with adults). I don’t know that we can quantify the lifetime effect of such bias. Does it mean that a black 3.2GPA is equal to a white 3.3? I’m not sure how you can know that with any reliability. But a reasonable approach to ameliorate the effect of bias (not make everything perfect, but take off the edge) is to give a small benefit based on race (all other things being equal go with the black kid for example).

Can AA be implemented in an unjust fashion such that unqualified applicants are accepted over more qualified applicants? Sure it could happen. But I think the damage to social cohesion that comes from ongoing bias + stark social inequality is serious enough to warrant an imperfect approach like AA. Rather than complaining about fanciful situations where a kid in the top 2.5% is turned down in favor of a kid in the 90th%-tile, it is far more prudent to propose constructive approaches to deal with the effects of bias. We are quickly becoming a minority-majority nation and the existence of a permanent underclass is not conducive to a stable and cohesive society.

#32 Comment By Sands On November 18, 2012 @ 10:36 pm

Hector: “It’s a little different, because we aren’t talking about taking jobs away from people, we are talking about not giving them the job or the college slot in the first place.”

See, that’s the problem — you’re not willing to put your money where your mouth is. You ignore all of human history and dream up some kind of Kumbaya world. But when it comes down to it, you want other people to sacrifice for your idealism. When it comes to your situation, it’s always “different.” That’s an easy thing to say when your lot in life is already established.

#33 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On November 18, 2012 @ 10:41 pm

M_Young says:
November 16, 2012 at 9:14 pm

“It is a good thing not to have a lily-white campus.”

Why?

I’ve been too busy working this week-end to keep up with on-line threads, so M_Young’s question is over the “50” horizon and back up the previous list. Still, its a fair question and deserves an answer.

If Protestants never meet Catholics, if Presbyterians never meet Wisconsin Synod Lutherans, if Hungarians never meet Irish, except on the other side of an avenue when rocks are flying across it both ways, a number of problems result. One is that neither side has an opportunity to recognize the humanity of the other. The demarcation makes it easy to demonize. This is even more of a problem, because growing up into adults, you have to work with any or all of the above.

People with congenital melanin deficiencies, whose ancestry has been added to the list of those now considered “white,” who have always lived in neighborhoods, schools, workplaces where everyone else looks the same, literally don’t know how to relate to any given “other” when they encounter one. Suddenly finding oneself face to face with one of the “others,” one may made the paranoid assumption that this is a thug about to commit rape, murder, mayhem, and armed robbery, or naively assume that this is a mild-mannered Baptist pacifist who will be ever so grateful to have some recognition bestowed on him by the patronizing “white” room-mate… or whatever.

If the campus has a nice mix, you learn first hand that you are dealing neither with angels nor devils, but complicated imperfect human beings. Some may become your friends, some may not, some may excel academically, some may not, but the impact will be similar to all the European ethnicities thrown together in the front lines of World War II. (Happened between Alabama “white” men and a number of “black” men too.)

The world is not lily-white. If college boy hasn’t learned that yet, its high time he did.

#34 Comment By Mark in LA On November 18, 2012 @ 10:47 pm

Well sbd the underclass is the result of evolution. Blacks and Hispanics of Amerindian origin came from societies with no written language, no formal schooling, no history of literature, and no system of mathematics. Look at the PISA scores. Why do groups in the US score with their closest genetic cousins in the rest of the world?

The bias in peoples minds exist because people have experience with these people. That’s why they think (I am giving you the benefit of the doubt) less of the CV of people from certain groups. Where do you think all bias comes from? But why are you talking about that? How does somebodies application indicate they are black unless the process wants it that way. In California, Hispanics were coached to talk about the “obstacles they have overcome” in their essays to let the reader know they were not white so they could get those extra points for minorities that are outlawed.

You keep saying “all things being equal”. That is the problem isn’t it, all things are not equal. When a black gets an automatic 20 points at Michigan that practically guarantees admission while whites with 200 SAT points higher are not. This is what AA is all about. It is not about a black with a 3.2 and a white with a 3.3.

So in your mind AA is creating social cohesion?

#35 Comment By Glaivester On November 19, 2012 @ 9:07 am

Franklin Evans seems to be rather naive here. Affirmative Action is implemented in a way that allows people with much lower qualifications to take jobs because they belong to protected classes. That businesses are unwilling to spend huge amounts to try to find someway to implement things that do not lead to this development (with the constant risk that if these ways do not give the desired ratio of employees of each class that some judge will overrule it anyway and you will have to start from scratch) is hardly an indictment of the employer.

Hector:

If you have more than you should- more social dominance, more money, more access to educational opportunity, more status in society- then yes, the moral thing to do is to embrace your own dispossession…Because mature adults, expecially mature *Christian* adults are expected to think about what’s good for society, and for the poor, not just about what’s good for ME.

I think the experience of Zimbabwe and South Africa would indicate that white dispossession does not necessarily benefit anyone, other than to the extent that avenging yourself is a benefit. I don’t think that those countries have improved since the end of white rule.

But if you have a group of more or less indistinguishable applicants

We don’t. As Mark points out, we are not dealing with small preferences given to more-or-less identical students. The median black attendee at most colleges would be in the far lower percentiles of the white attendees by almost any measure.

We are quickly becoming a minority-majority nation and the existence of a permanent underclass is not conducive to a stable and cohesive society.

Becoming a minority-majority nation is not conducive to a stable and cohesive society. We are becoming a minority-majority nation because of deliberate choices in immigration policy. It is ridiculous for us to create policies to compensate for the problems created by our overly generous immigration policy, but not to change that policy.

#36 Comment By Glaivester On November 19, 2012 @ 9:09 am

Also, Hector, my point about My Little Pony is that when abilities of different groups are different, you can still have a decent society while acknowledging this. You seem to feel that every ethnic group should be equally represented in every field, regardless of qualifications, which is ridiculous.

#37 Comment By Franklin Evans On November 19, 2012 @ 9:28 am

I surrender the field to Glaivester. If “naive” is how I’ve become after 14 years of professional intimacy with IRS and DOL regulations, and nearly 15 years of software development to support recordkeeping systems that keep employers compliant with those regulations, then I guess reading comprehension is no longer an important factor. I can’t help scratching the itch one more time:

Easily defined classes of people have been documented as routinely discriminated against on no better and not possibly more arbitrary a criterion than their skin color or country of origin. Routine favoritism with nepotism at the top of the list was and is so ubiquitous it begs any attempt to call the evidence anecdotal. Along comes an executive order, later formalized by legislation, that requires in plain language that employment practices go “blind” and give proportionate opportunities to qualified members of previously disadvantaged classes of people.

Analogies of abuse abound. Legislation is still on the books that is routinely violated via loopholes. It is incredibly easy to see the intent of that legislation and track how it has been circumvented, ignored without consequence or sabotaged. AA is just one of many examples.

Reading all of my previous posts in their entirety will show both my understanding of the differences between legislative intent and practical application, along with my opinions about certain situations like critical services (fire, police, etc.). In the end, we have a tug-of-war that no one can win, and I’ve called for both sides to quit their whining, check their egos at the door and sit down with the realities. There is a sane balance waiting to be attempted. It has existed only in rare isolation. I leave you with one of my favorite (and for some likely overused) quotes: People will believe a lie because the want it to be true, or because they are afraid it might be true. I give such people little consideration. Equality is about a dynamic, not a series of old powers-that-be replaced by new ones with an averaging of privilege and oppression over decades being defined as “equality”.

#38 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On November 19, 2012 @ 9:57 am

Zimbabwe clearly demonstrates that an armed kleptocracy acting In The Name Of The People does not improve living standards for the masses. This does not, per se, demonstrate that making room for more of our fellow-citizens to have a stake in the resources of our society is everywhere and always a bad thing. Zimbabwe is also a good argument for term limits: if Mugabe had served two terms and bowed out, recognizing that post-revolutionary construction requires different skills and aptitudes than winning a guerilla war, the country would have been far better off.

Why do groups in the US score with their closest genetic cousins in the rest of the world?

Well, do any of those “closest genetic cousins” live in advanced industrialized nations with high standards of living and excellent universities, freely open to all, or even dominated by those close genetic cousins? After all those advantages, do they still score low on PISA? I’m not aware of any extant nation that would provide such a basis of comparison.

Colonial rule and enslavement are two rather different propositions, but both stunted the natural development of the people on the wrong end of the stick. Actually, most of those sold to the Trans-Atlantic slave trade were prisoners of war sold by powerful African empires, and the British in particular used as one pretext for acquiring political control of African territory the fact that these empires practiced slavery. This did not make enslavement in America a more enlightened experience for those who endured it, nor did it make colonial rule pleasant and enlightening.

Affirmative action was rooted in the experience that well qualified applicants had been routinely rejected for several generations, on the grounds that blacks were not wanted. Woodrow Wilson said as much to Rev. William Drew Robeson at the turn of the 20th century.

It may well be time to offer a somewhat different approach. Really well qualified black applicants are by and large sought after and welcomed these days. Republicans avidly seek them out as candidates for public office to showcase, even accepting those who are obviously deficient in the thinking department, such as Allen West.

We are left with a population that has, for various reasons that are not exactly of their own creation, been left behind in qualifications and achievement. So, how about a program, particularly for colleges that lag far behind the demographics of the general population, to recruit a body of likely black men and women who can be candidly told, by every measure we normally apply, you lag behind, but we believe with a 1-2 year course of study, you could catch up. Those who stick it out and reach an objective measure of achievement would be promised admission.

For many years, Hampton Institute emphasized vocational skills, partly because that is what patronizing white liberals came to think was appropriate for black students, and partly because for students recently illiterate and fresh off the plantation, it was an achievable step up. Graduates with ambitions to, say, Harvard Law School, had to acquire some additional courses. Many went to Ferris Institute in Grand Rapids Michigan, where with no particularly structured requirements, they could cram on trigonometry, Latin, and whatever else they needed.

The fact that they were able to master these subjects should put to rest the notion that students of African descent CANNOT do so.

#39 Comment By Mark in LA On November 19, 2012 @ 8:47 pm

What is amusing about this is you can create an excuse for everything if you don’t want to face facts:

Well, do any of those “closest genetic cousins” live in advanced industrialized nations with high standards of living and excellent universities, freely open to all, or even dominated by those close genetic cousins? After all those advantages, do they still score low on PISA? I’m not aware of any extant nation that would provide such a basis of comparison.

The reason why Mexico is not at the same development level as the US or Japan is because Mexicans live there. What was stopping them from becoming the US and having world class universities and research facilities? In fact, it should even be easier than it was for the US, just copy Europe and the US like Japan and Korea did. Did those things just magically appear? You act as if the people living in the advanced nations had nothing to do with and came after their society was built and they just moved in.

Zimbabwe is just like all the other places in Africa after the colonial powers left, just more so.

#40 Comment By JonF On November 19, 2012 @ 8:47 pm

Glaivester,

In human beings there is no such thing as “group ability”– there are after all no “group minds” or “group bodies”. These groups are mere abstractions that we create in our own minds for classification purposes; but they have no reality in nature. Abilities like intelligence, artistic skill, intuition, athletic prowess, etc are properties of individuals only and we should restrict our judgments to individuals. Judging an individual by what group we place him in is both an error of fact and an ethical failure.

#41 Comment By Mark in LA On November 19, 2012 @ 8:53 pm

One more thing Siarlys – you have invoked the ridiculous anti-genetic version of the one drop rule. Find one accomplished black and it means that there are no differences between blacks and …. when it comes to the traits necessary to …..

Nobody said there aren’t capable and intelligent blacks. I used to work with black engineers who were just as capable as anybody else. The problem is that there isn’t nearly as many of them as necessary to keep a modern technological society advancing because of the great bulk of the blacks to the left of them on the bell curve.

#42 Comment By Mark in LA On November 19, 2012 @ 9:14 pm

One more point Siarlys:

We are left with a population that has, for various reasons that are not exactly of their own creation, been left behind in qualifications and achievement. So, how about a program, particularly for colleges that lag far behind the demographics of the general population, to recruit a body of likely black men and women who can be candidly told, by every measure we normally apply, you lag behind, but we believe with a 1-2 year course of study, you could catch up. Those who stick it out and reach an objective measure of achievement would be promised admission.

Isn’t this a bit ridiculous in the US where we have an unlimited amount of chances to succeed? You want a hand-holding program. If somebody is behind but wants to work at improving themselves there are plenty of programs at junior colleges. Once they are caught up they can transfer. Where you start may be a result of events in your life you don’t always have control over but who says you stop trying. I know a woman from Germany who went to community college and was accepted by UC Berkeley and UCLA in their physics departments. She went to UCLA because her husband worked at Boeing in Southern California. I also know a woman who went to a CSU as an undergrad but went to Caltech for graduate school.

Why is society tasked with creating another program? This seems like a wonderful idea for a charity – maybe you can pitch it to Bill Gates and he can fund it and you can run it. You want us to pay while these people “catch up”. We paid when they were in high school and never tried to accomplish anything (even in today’s dumbed down world). Why are these people so special as compared to the guy who attends night school to get a promotion?

#43 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On November 21, 2012 @ 10:13 pm

One more point Mark… and one more… and one more…

One reason Mexico is not at the same level of development as the United States is that it inherited Spanish institutions. British colonists could appeal to the rights of freeborn Englishmen, even if they exaggerated what those rights really amounted to in England. They were used to benign neglect from London, and their own local institutions of somewhat elective government.

There was no such concept in Spanish law or culture. The padrones ruled. Those who were strong exploited those who were weak. Mexican independence was first proclaimed by an impoverished priest, but accomplished when a good part of the army turned against Spain, proclaiming their leading general Emperor.

Another reason is summarized by an old aphorism: Poor Mexico, so far from God, so close to the United States. Mexico saw the USA filling up its empty spaces with immigrants (without which, some other power might have taken the land away). But, while the USA got immigrants from Europe, a long sea voyage away, leaving from depressed monarchies, Mexico filled up the northern reaches of Coahuila-Tejas with immigrants from the USA, who almost immediately sought to do what anti-immigration Americans today fear Hispanic immigrants will do: reject the national culture of the country they immigrated to, take the land away, and eventually break off, or, annex to the United States. Mexico did lose half its territory in a subsequent war, with substantial mineral wealth and agriculture…

The one-drop rule… when did I mention the one-drop rule? Are you trying to revive the hoary myth that any “black” people who show intelligence and aptitude do so because of “admixture of white blood”?

Your claim about percentages capable of engineering or anything else goes far beyond what any available data supports. While I consider arguments that intelligence is perhaps 50 percent inherited plausible, not at all outside the pale, its not firmly established either. No less a personage than Arthur Jensen, after making his splash with the thesis that black kids just aren’t that smart, went on to do research which suggested that growing up black in rural Georgia tends to DEPRESS the IQ children are born with.

My IQ, incidentally, based on four tests administered between Kindergarten and high school, is somewhere between 70 and 145. That neatly summarizes how much weight I give to IQ. More precisely, in chronological order: 135, 70, 119, 145.

Isn’t this a bit ridiculous in the US where we have an unlimited amount of chances to succeed?M

Apparently, your contact with people of African descent is limited to meeting engineers up close, and observing knots of dissolute young men on the street. Individual people are not mere ciphers for a racial stereotype. Those who have advanced from the status our culture originally cast for Americans of African descent have had to make a considerable effort. It takes motivation. Many don’t have it. Given a choice between having a semi-unemployable underclass, or a massive increase in the number who can make substantial, productive contributions and be self-supporting, even family-supporting, I consider any effort that delivers results to be worth every penny spent on it.

Ronald De Wayne Palmer spent most of his adult life as a Foreign Service Officer. But in high school, he was told he was aspiring above his station in life. After high school he went to work on an auto assembly line. When he was laid off, he entered Howard University. Only AFTER starting at Howard did he find “I felt my brain stir like some dormant muscle and I felt that some sort of transformation was taking place, and I could think logically, quickly, and imaginatively. I found I had a gift for the French language. I liked economics and even statistics.”

Now we can agree that not EVERY child of African descent has a brain that will stir like that, any more than every child of European or Asian descent. (There weren’t any black kids in my schools, but there sure were some dumb white kids. But they weren’t REALLY dumb when you got to know them, and in high school, many of them were my friends.) Perhaps a somewhat smaller percentage will. But there are plenty of children who simply haven’t had the stimulation, incentive, opportunity, to feel their brain stir at all. Every classroom does not provide instant motivation. Maybe the kids aren’t motivated to try, until pushed, pulled, exhorted, until they find someone who actually believes in them — certainly you would be no inspiration at all.

I wouldn’t want it to be one monolithic government program. Preferably, individual campuses will develop many approaches, some possibly with government grants, others from endowment funds, yeah, Gates might take an interest. Let a hundred schools compete. Further, it doesn’t have to be college. There is rising demand again for skilled trades, and those also take intelligence and aptitude. It was wrong to tell Malcolm Little that it was unrealistic for him to aspire to be a lawyer, but if some young man aspires to be a carpenter, there is no reason to redirect him to college either.