Time to end racial & gender profiling

The Supreme Court has another chance to end racial discrimination in the form of affirmative action in the case of Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action. In this case, the people of Michigan voted to end racial preferences, but the racial grievance industry struck back to reassert them. It is time to finish this.

Affirmative action started promisingly enough with the desire to "spread a wider net" and work to make sure that opportunity was distributed more widely. It soon degenerated into a defacto quota system and then a general attack on standards and excellence.

There is always a conflict between inclusion and excellence. And diversity is an important value that makes our society stronger. But racial and gender preference highjack these things and create a spoils system. They do this by misusing or cherry picking statistics and assuming any observed difference in outcomes among different groups results from discrimination. This assumption violates the concept of diversity. Diversity means different behaviors, ideas and habits. It is natural that different behaviors, habit and ideas will produce diverse, i.e. unequal outcomes.

We have a situation where most people understand this, which is why voters almost always overwhelmingly reject affirmative action, but elites have managed for a generation to stifle debate by calling any opposition racist.

Why do the elites favor affirmative action?

I think some of them honestly believe it is necessary. Elites, by definition, tend to be successful and rich. Many of them feel a little guilty about that and see affirmative action as an indulgence. They often still live in the past of their formative years. The 1960s were indeed a time of fighting discrimination. The good guys won, but the images still inform our understanding to this day.

But there are more insidious reasons why the elite embrace affirmative action. For one thing, it gives them much more power and creates phoney baloney jobs for them and their proteges. Imagine a college admission with simple criteria, maybe some known combination of grades, test scores and a dose of true diversity, i.e. represent all schools in the state. If you want true unbiased results, qualify more people than can enter and then do a lottery. This system is simple, fair & effective, but what does it do to the jobs and power of the elite? It eliminates it.

I think there is even a more insidious factor. Affirmative action has allowed the reintroduction of bias in favor of the elites. During the 1960s, it was getting harder and harder for the duller children of elites to get into top schools and jobs. Test scores made it possible for smart poor kids to out compete duller elites. Affirmative action gave this wagon a flat tire, by devaluing test scores in favor of the "whole person". The whole person idea favors wealth and race, but reduces merit.

You may recall that "whole person" criteria was employed by top universities in the early 20th Century to lower the numbers of Jews admitted. By including criteria that the striving urban Jewish children of immigrants probably would not have and calling those things being "well rounded" the old elites defended their position for another generation.

Don't get me wrong. I am a believer in elitism and excellence, but it should be an elite of ability tied to the promotion of the general good, not one of inherited privilege and corruption, not to mention race, gender or ethnic mix. Take a look at this funny consideration of elitism from Frasier.

Elite colleges today tend to have more rich kids, more poor kids of color and more rich kids of color. Who is left out? The striving middle and working class kids who for a brief moment were displacing the elites. And if they complain, the rich whites call them racists, all the while enjoying the privileges that wealth have conferred.

America should be the land of many chances. I wish we could have open enrollment and let people prove themselves in the real world. That is why I don't think that to universities should even have freshmen or sophomores. Let all aspiring kids go to open enrollment community colleges and let in those who took the right classes and did well in them, w/o paying attention at all to race, gender or national origin.

That would create more true diversity in our great country AND would help educate a larger part of the workforce Even if many of them decided that college was not the way to go, they would have developed the skills to take them where they need to be.

So affirmative action cannot be mended and should be ended. We have better solutions than we did in 1963. .

Posted by Christine & John at October 14, 2013 9:47 AM
Comments
Comment #372448

Seeing as how a Republican protest in front of the White House this weekend featured a big Confederate flag, front and center, I am going to go out on a limb, and suggest the best way to improve race relations in America is to defeat the GOP in the 2014 midterms.

Posted by: phx8 at October 14, 2013 12:29 PM
Comment #372449

phx8

A Confederate flag? So you hate that and that is enough to make you think that racist quotas in universities are justified?

You kind of act like a sheep on most issues, don’t you? You are easily manipulated by symbols. Think beyond it maybe.

Do you think race-based admissions still makes sense? Do you feel it justified to have an “Asian” quota, whereby elite universities keep the numbers of Asians lower than they would be based on merit? Would you have supported the Jewish quota at Harvard when some people thought there were too many Jews? Do you believe in merit based admissions or racial divisions?

No, maybe you think that a rebel flag indicates nothing has changed since 1965 and that Southern whites have no right to be proud of anything in their history. When Grant and Lee got together in April 1865 to mostly end the biggest war in American history, you figure that they should instead have pursued a war of annihilation.

You sound a lot like the racists you purport to hate. They also supported special treatment based on race and assumed that they could judge by skin color and not content of character. Some of us have evolved beyond your thinking.

Posted by: CJ at October 14, 2013 12:48 PM
Comment #372452

Affirmative action is one of those issues which has a negative impact whether it is imposed or not. It is the very definition of the word “controversial”. Those on the Right should be open to the negatives of ending affirmative action and propose compensatory measures. Those on the Left should be acknowledging the negatives of affirmative action and proposing compensatory measures to offset them. Such a recommendation however, will be resisted by both the Right and Left, which leaves few in the middle in support of the recommendation. If we had Statesman in government instead of partisan politicians, such a recommendation would have currency with a majority. But, alas, we no longer have a majority of Statesman in our halls of government. Not sure we ever did after the Civil War.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 14, 2013 1:34 PM
Comment #372453

David

I am not sure we need racial “compensatory measures”. The best way to stop racism is to stop being racist.

IMO, maybe the best way to combat problems of opportunity is to use community colleges. They have open enrollment and young people can catch up and/or prove themselves. It would also give some time to grow up. Especially boys are not really ready the life choices they must make at 18.

We would not expect perfect correlation. Cultures and habits differ. The fact that blacks dominate sports and are present in entertainment far beyond their percentage in the population is the result of choices, not discrimination against whites and Asians. Similarly, we don’t have to think discrimination when we walk into a classroom in hard sciences that looks more like the population of Shanghai than the U.S.

In fact, many of our best universities, such as UC Berkeley are majority non-white already. Affirmative action makes them less Asian.

The first step is to let affirmative action atrophy. We will see that happen more and more if the Supreme Court decides for the people of Michigan. After that, if we want to make things more equal, we need to get “under privileged” populations to behave more like Asians or immigrants blacks, who, BTW, enjoy higher incomes and education levels than native American whites.

Affirmative action made some sense in the 1960s, but like the GI-Joes, Rockem-Sockem Robots and Etch a Sketches we used to think were so great back then, the time has passed.

Posted by: CJ at October 14, 2013 2:08 PM
Comment #372459

CJ,
If we lived in a society without racial injustice, we would not need affirmative action. But we do live in an unjust society, a society with a long history of racism. Today, we see racial inequality everywhere we look: in income distribution, wealth distribution, even in the make-up of the House of Representatives and Senate. We see one political party that has pursued the Southern Strategy, and even as we speak, seeks to disenfranchise voters through ID laws and redistricting. The first thing TX did when a portion of the Voting Rights Act was struck down was re-institute redistricting that eliminated the seats of two black Congressmen. It had been ruled racially discriminatory. Now, a racist redistricting is back in effect.

And so, it is appropriate to address such inequality through the instrument of the federal government, whether it is through affirmative action or the VRA. Some states, particularly in the South, continue to pursue racist policies. Equality of opportunity requires the leveling of the playing field, and that means affirmative action, among other things.

That Confederate Flag in front of the White House, that symbol of racism and succession, stood there with Senator Ted Cruz and former VP candidate Sarah Palin on hand. It sends an clear message.

So let me repeat: the best way to improve race relations in America is to defeat the GOP in the 2014 midterms.

Posted by: phx8 at October 14, 2013 3:18 PM
Comment #372461

phx8

There is no perfect justice.

Racial preferences do not do much to address injustice. Recipients are often people like Obama, Holder or Colin Powell, immigrant kids who never suffered the history of Jim Crow or slavery in the U.S.

Re seats for black congressmen - this is exactly one of the problems. Creating safe seats for minorities has made congress more entrenched and less representative. Minorities have no need for safe seats. They should compete and comproise as others. White will vote for blacks, as we have seen in elections of mayors and governors in places like Seattle or Mass, which are heavily white, or the election of Barack Obama in a country that is still white in its overwhelming majority.

It is not 1963 anymore.

As for the rebel flag in front of a White House and a black president now in his second term, only the second Democrat to have achieved that since FDR, well the thing about the black president being reelected says it all.

Your comment about Republicans is just silly. I know you like to equate Republicans with the racism of the Democratic past, but nobody really believes that. I suspect even you know it is silly and use it as an attempt to avoid the hard questions.

Race is no longer a serious impediment to individual success. We no longer need affirmative action. It tends to help already successful people and does pretty much nothing for the real poor, who don’t even get to the gates of Harvard and suffer the soft bigotry of low expectations. This is fed and sustained by the excuse of affirmative action.

Posted by: CJ at October 14, 2013 3:37 PM
Comment #372469

CJ said: “The best way to stop racism is to stop being racist. “

That kind of simplistic response doesn’t even scratch the surface of understanding the problem and its history, which determines its present state.

Where public policy works against “equal in the eyes of the law”, there is correction needed in the halls of government which effected that policy. If such policy exists at the federal level, it must be corrected at the federal level. Where such policy exists at the State and local levels, State and local governments need to address the faulty policies. Whether or not the federal government should intervene with discrimination by policy at the State and local level, is highly debatable, but, history indicates there is a role for federal government intervention where a clear refusal of State and local entities to address discriminatory policy exists.

Of course, not all discrimination which holds some groups lesser in the eyes of the law, originates in the halls of government. The effect of such discrimination however, nearly always results in unequal in the eyes of the law. When that is the case, especially where such discrimination extends to numbers of people, legal apparatus has to be employed to negate the effects. If local courts are unable to create equal in the eyes of the law, then the State apparatus has to be employed. And if State apparatus fails to eliminate the effects of discrimination, then the federal apparatus has to be employed, if the majority of the American people hold that discrimination that renders groups of people unequal in the eyes of the law. That is in fact, what the majority of Americans believe.

Legal apparatus cannot alter discrimination in the hearts of individuals. It can however, address the harmful and negative effects that result from such persons employing their hatred and discrimination at the public level of intercourse.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 14, 2013 5:58 PM
Comment #372472

The best way to end racism is to deny liberals the right of free speech; since it is only liberals who talk about racism. I have found that the most racist people are Democrats and members of my own race. JTHO of a black man. I have even been called an “Uncle Tom” by liberals on WB. I certainly don’t remember any conservatives talking to me that way.

Posted by: Political Hostage at October 14, 2013 6:20 PM
Comment #372473

David

We need to remove discrimination where we find it. Adding another layer of discrimination doesn’t help in anything but the very short term. The short term ended sometime around 1973.

In fact, affirmative action is adding LEGAL discrimination that you justifiably want to eliminate.

Think about this. If you have a black HS student with good test scores and grades, are his chances of getting into university better, worse or the same as a white kid with exactly the same background? Take this same kid four years later. He has graduated with good grades and wants to go to get an MBA. Does he have better, worse or same chances of getting into a top school than a white peer with exactly the same background, i.e. took the same classes, got the sam grades? He graduates with his MBA from a top school. What are the chances that he will be offered a good job compared with the exactly similar white peer.

Chrissy works in HR. When they find qualified minorities, they go after them with vigor. The only problem is that they often lose the competition because others are after them too. Schools try to get more black students.

Once Chrissy was recruiting mine inspectors. Most of them are white males, since they tend to come from Appalachia or Wyoming. They went around the country searching, yes searching for minorities while putting on hold qualified white applicants.

My daughter was born in South America, so I always check the “Hispanic” box. The instructions say, “origins in Latin America” so I am just following the instructions. We had an interesting case a few years back when we tried to get her into the gifted program. She could not get in because we had just moved to the district and she had not been in the year before. We gave up. A few weeks later, I got a letter. The school system thought she was Hispanic and had “discovered” that she was super smart and they practically begged us to put her into the program.

Okay, as a white girl, she couldn’t get in if she tried. As a Hispanic, they would have practically come to the house to drive her in every day.

So if we are taking discrimination, where? When I took my test to get the job I have, I had to score 5 points higher than if I was black. Checking the black box was worth five points in highly competitive test.

Or let’s go back a little more. I applied for a job at the City of Milwaukee. They had a fantastically easy test. I got 100%. But you needed more than 100% and the way you could get those extra points was to be black. In other words, there was no way that I could get the job, since I could not score more than 100% and could not get extra points because of my race.

So let’s stop these kinds of racism.

Posted by: CJ at October 14, 2013 6:32 PM
Comment #372477

Liberalism and progressives have often credited themselves with great social advances over the past 60 years or more.

OK, I will give them credit for our failure to properly educate the majority of our children. They get credit for failing black families. They get credit for the high murder rate among young blacks. They get credit for the failure of some of our largest cities to remain fiscally sound. They get credit for millions of aborted fetuses. They get credit for the need of over half of our population using food stamps to survive. They get credit for a general decline of morality in our nation.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 14, 2013 6:58 PM
Comment #372478

AMEN BROTHER

Posted by: Political Hostage at October 14, 2013 7:11 PM
Comment #372479

DITTO P.H.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at October 14, 2013 7:17 PM
Comment #372486

Liberals are so elitist and arrogant; they think they know everything. But, they don’t know blacks. Men like Thomas Sowell, Dr. Ben Carson, and even Bill Cosby understand the problems facing blacks. Creeps like Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson are a disgrace to the black community. They are in it for personal power and wealth. A pox on them for the damage they have done. And a pox on the leftist Democrat Party for placing black Americans back in slavery to the Massa DNC.

Posted by: Political Hostage at October 14, 2013 8:25 PM
Comment #372764

CJ, discrimination at institutions receiving federal dollars is what affirmative action should address. I believe you would agree with me that federal action should NOT extend beyond that criteria.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 15, 2013 1:44 PM
Comment #372796

David

We should address discrimination where we find it. Affirmative action is a type of discrimination we should avoid.

Posted by: CJ at October 15, 2013 6:13 PM
Comment #372810

CJ, Affirmative Action eliminated far more discrimination than the policy engendered. The policy question for the present is whether that is still true? Ask those of color or women if it still true, the informed majority will say yes. Unequal pay for the same work for women and racial profiling by police departments are examples of why that majority would say yes, affirmative action is still eliminating more discrimination than it engenders of itself.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 15, 2013 7:07 PM
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