Affirmative action as practiced today is a dishonest system and it should be phased out starting now

Admissions trying to judge the “whole person” when talking about 18-year-old is silly and usually dishonest. It favors the already well-connected whose parents know how to game the system. The young person is incomplete. They will change in school and the 18-year-old who comes in will be very different from the 22-year-old graduate. If not, school was useless.

I have a better system. Recognize and use randomness. Determine a pool of qualified applicants.* Make this real qualification, i.e. they would thrive at the school. There would probably be several times more qualified applicants than places available. Do a simple lottery. Tell the kids the odds and let them figure it out. This would have the advantage of making the process much cheaper, more transparent and predictable over the whole system, i.e. more than one school. It would replace uncertainty with probability. It would also make the kids less crazy, since they would not have to feel so closely judged. They would just have to be good enough to get to start.

My other permutation is for all kids to go to community college for the first two years. Let the kids prove themselves while maturing enough to make better choices.

Of course, I doubt the whole system will go down w/o a big fight. There are whole bureaucracies that depend on maintaining the fiction that they are getting "THE best." These guys like uncertainty and ambiguity. It is a source of their power. They will fight hard to maintain their phony-baloney jobs and deploy the well-honed tools of guilt in defense of the ornate superstructure build on error.

The Supreme Court has a chance to dismantle the biggest component of this corrupt system - affirmative action. Let's hope they do it this time.

---

*Qualified can be slippery term. I am qualified to play quarterback in the NFL, since I can toss a ball, run down a field and usually survive a tackle. Of course, the team that let me play would never again win a game.

Posted by Christine & John at December 9, 2015 3:03 PM
Comments
Comment #401304

And then there’s the racist, bigoted Supreme Court Justice who thinks black people are just to stupid. This man is a disgrace to the highest court in the land and should be impeached. Let’s just hope Madame President will be able to appoint his successor as quickly as possible. The sooner he is gone the better for our country.

Posted by: Speak4all at December 9, 2015 3:18 PM
Comment #401309

Speaks

I agree with Scalia. It is not a racist thing at all. I was a poor kids. I had really high test scores but really bad study habits. My scores would have “qualified” me for Harvard. My habits were better suited to community college. Lucky for me, there was no affirmative action for people like me. I went to a non-competitive undergrad institution, where I was relatively smart. I learned how to study and then could compete in the big leagues.

I am morally certain that had I gone to a competitive school, I would have failed and blamed “the man.” Whenever I wanted to do something hard, my father would always tell me, “that is only for rich kids.” Had I believed him, he would have been right. The excuse of racism is similar.

Affirmative action, if it means casting a wider net, is great. Affirmative action, if it means racial preference, is bad. It has gone bad.

Posted by: C&J at December 9, 2015 3:31 PM
Comment #401310

A century ago, the Ottoman Empire was called “the sick man of Europe”. It’s time had clearly come and gone, but its vestiges remained. It wasn’t until the rise of Mustafa Kemal after WWI that the death blow finally came.

I draw an analogy between the old Ottomans and Affirmative Action. The writing is on the wall, but it would be foolish to hasten the end. Let the beast peter out and starve naturally.

Posted by: Warren Porter at December 9, 2015 3:49 PM
Comment #401312

Warren writes; “…it would be foolish to hasten the end.”

Please explain.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 9, 2015 3:59 PM
Comment #401314

In the 1850s, an Anglo-French alliance supported the sick man of Europe against Russian aggression. They understood the importance of letting the Ottomans decay naturally.

Posted by: Warren Porter at December 9, 2015 4:03 PM
Comment #401316

Warren, explain why it would be foolish to hasten the end AF please.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 9, 2015 4:06 PM
Comment #401318

Warren

The beast may not starve. There are thousands of people making good livings off the system. We have the grievance industry that uses it was a way to suck resources out of colleges. Affirmative action is a cancer. We can wish it would go away, but it supports too many phony-baloney jobs. It has proponents.

Posted by: C&J at December 9, 2015 4:18 PM
Comment #401321

If the beast doesn’t starve then my judgement that its time has come must be wrong.

Posted by: Warren Porter at December 9, 2015 4:42 PM
Comment #401322

These things can live a long time. If you criticize affirmative action, you run the risk of being called racist. This is a strong power. It does not need to be true or useful to survive. The bureaucrats making the big bucks for the affirmative BS is a strong constituency.

It need to be destroyed. It will last a long time otherwise.

Posted by: C&J at December 9, 2015 4:57 PM
Comment #401327

There are varying views on affirmative action. Vehement support for the dissolution of the practice and tenuous support to keep it in place. Affirmative action started long after I was able to know anyone who could take advantage of it. From what I gathered it was relatively ineffective where it was most needed, inner city mean street neighborhoods that offered little respite to escape the revolving door of crime, sentencing, rehabilitation, crime, more sentencing, etc..

As I understand affirmative action might have helped one striving individual out of a thousand and that was if they could apply themselves for eligibility, most could not. I guess I have a different view of the benefits of affirmative action. I didn’t see any people being denied access because of affirmative action but that is probably because I didn’t really spend to much time worrying about someone that could find a different school without to many hurdles and still don’t.

You may have grown up poor but there is a difference to growing up poor with good guidance which it seems your father afforded you. There are many, many more that do not have that advantage. They are poor, the streets the live on are mean and they don’t have the guidance of someone who cares about them to help.

I know, I know, you can’t help someone who won’t help themselves but I always thought affirmative action was a good thing even if it wasn’t as effective of a social tool as it could have been or is now. If it came up in a general election as a elective proposition I would vote for it. Bureaucrats be damned.

Posted by: Speak4all at December 9, 2015 5:25 PM
Comment #401334

Speaks

I had a good moral guide in my parents. They were very poor guides when it came to schools. My father’s stated opinion was that if you had to try very hard, it probably was not worth it.

In the affirmative action world we help some people at the expense of others and the losers tend to be the poor, good kids.

The rich kids are well-prepared. The poor black kids get lower standards. The poor white kids are pushed out so. The most disadvantaged are Asians who have to be better than all.

But I also point out the poor black kids suffer FROM affirmative action. They are pushed into places they cannot thrive. They fail and blame racism. It is a kind of racism called affirmative action, but that is not the one that gets blamed. The ones that suffer the most are those you talk about w/o good guides in general.

The smart but disadvantaged black kids would do better w/o affirmative action in the long run.

Posted by: C&J at December 9, 2015 6:50 PM
Comment #401346

CJ, so Justice Scalia thinks they are to stupid and you think they are bound for failure. I would submit that these contentions are exactly why affirmative action was instituted in the first place and why it should be upheld today. This tone deaf response is remarkable if not contrary to the goals of affirmative action. It is also why I completely support affirmative action and will do so until, instead of referring to them as to “stupid” or “bound for failure”, someone can say that the success of the policy has been outstanding and there are more minorities succeeding in life because of it.

I will once again quote Theodore Roosevelt’s statement made at the beginning of the 20th century”

“Practical equality of opportunity for all citizens, when we achieve it, will have two great results. First, every man will have a fair chance to make of himself all that in him lies; to reach the highest point to which his capacities, unassisted by special privilege of his own and unhampered by the special privilege of others, can carry him, and to get for himself and his family substantially what he has earned. Second, equality of opportunity means that the commonwealth will get from every citizen the highest service of which he is capable. No man who carries the burden of the special privileges of another can give to the commonwealth that service to which it is fairly entitled.”

In my opinion these words wrought the beginning of affirmative action’s infancy and are still applicable today.

If affirmative actions were up to a vote for the general public I would vote yes, you obviously would vote no. I don’t intend to convince you otherwise and would ask that you stick to your contentions and allow me to have mine.

Personal observation follows. While your parents may not have provided you good guidance regarding schools they seem to have had enough knowledge and foresight to understand that in order for their son to succeed they needed to stress that he probably couldn’t be anymore than the least of his expectations. Your very existence as a successful business person, fine family man, someone who did service for their country and a person who stands by his convictions in the face of adversity would seem to indicate that they were successful in their influence upon you. They deserve some credit for that, don’t you think?

Posted by: Speak4all at December 10, 2015 10:05 AM
Comment #401348

Unmentioned above, but implicit throughout is the recent case of Fisher v. Texas. Instead of debating the abstract idea of “Affirmative Action”, let us discuss the particulars of the UT-Austin admission scheme.

Personally, I find there to be a lot to like with Jack’s lottery system. Texas has a similar approach whereby it automatically grants admission to anyone who scores in the top 10% of their high school class. In 2008, such people filled 92% of the seats at UT-Austin.

Unfortunately, it would be impracticable for any school to admit 100% of its students through a program such as the “Top Ten” program in Texas. A school has certain organizations and functions and students with unique talents and abilities are needed to fill them. A young man capable of throwing a pigskin very accurately is needed to play quarterback. The university orchestra is going to need a competent oboist or two. In addition, there are going to be applicants with unique backgrounds. Consider someone who has mediocre grades and test scores, but has already been recognized for completing groundbreaking scientific research through programs such as the Intel Science Fair. If UT-Austin wants to consider itself a premier research institution, it will need students like that. Ultimately, a few legacies are admitted in order to grease the alumni fundraising machine.

That said, let’s look at the particulars. Abigail Fisher did not graduate in the top 10% of her high school, so she was competing for one of the 841 openings that remained. The rejection rate for people not eligible for the Top Ten program is larger than Harvard, Fisher was not in a good spot. Now, Fisher’s grades and test scores (GPA = 3.59; SAT = 1180/1600) are not particularly remarkable either. She was a competent cellist, but that is a rather common instrument. I’m sure she had an array of other extracurricular activities too, but there doesn’t seem to be anything that distinguishes her from her peers apart from the fact that she was a legacy applicant.

Ultimately, UT-Austin admitted 47 students with lower test scores than Fisher. 42 of the 47 were White and the other 5 were Black or Latino. Fisher alleges that she deserved admission than those 5. 168 Black or Latino students with scores better than Fisher were rejected. Honestly, I think her case is quite weak.

For more information: http://www.propublica.org/article/a-colorblind-constitution-what-abigail-fishers-affirmative-action-case-is-r

Posted by: Warren Porter at December 10, 2015 12:11 PM
Comment #401349

Honest observations regarding affirmative action are what is necessary and will lead to success. A baby in bath water comes to mind. Affirmative action in the past and now is not something that needs to prevail but to obviate the idea will not contribute to any success.

Not to mention that said Fisher has already obtained a degree from another educational institution. Weak, indeed.

Posted by: Speak4all at December 10, 2015 12:29 PM
Comment #401351

Now, I don’t know Fisher personally so I probably shouldn’t make this sort of judgement, but the temptation is just far too great.

Fisher strikes me as a spoiled brat. She had the privilege of growing up in Sugar Land, a very affluent community with a top tier school district. With all these advantages, she still managed to eek out only a mediocre SAT score, less than a standard deviation from the mean. As far as I can tell, the only contributions she offered to bring to Austin were her competency with a Cello as well as good, but not great study skills. And to be honest, I have no clue whether she took mainstream courses when she earned the 3.59 GPA. I earned a 3.32 in High School, but every course I ever took was of the highest caliber; plenty of students far stupider than me graduated cumma laude because they got As in remedial classes. Ultimately, I find it quite perverse to see her whining when it seems she did not demonstrate that she had either the brains or the work ethic to contribute to the UT-Austin community. She didn’t make a name for herself at LSU, but was able to work a few unpaid internships and now she has a cushy job as a financial analyst. It is very difficult to feel sympathy for her.

Posted by: Warren Porter at December 10, 2015 1:03 PM
Comment #401353

Speaks
My point and probably Scalia’s is exactly the opposite of what you understand.

I was in exactly the position that many affirmative action recipients are today. I was not stupid. On the contrary, I score in the 99th percentile, which is pretty smart. BUT I was not prepared for a competitive academic environment because of my disadvantaged background. This was just true.

After a little while, I learned and became competent. Had I been thrown into a very tough environment, I would have failed. I did not have the skills reasonably expected of a college freshman at a strong university. Could I learn them? Yes. Did I learn them? Also yes. It took me about a year and a half to catch up to where more “privileged” kids had been at 18. Was that fair? Maybe not. Was it true? Yes. Could I have succeeded at a top-university? No. Not w/o significant remedial education amounting to more or less that year and a half.

It is NOT a matter of race. I am a person of white. If a black person meets the usual qualifications at a top university, he/she should certainly be admitted. If not, you are risking the kid’s future for the sake of a mistaken view of equality.

Your quote from Roosevelt supports my position. I want to make opportunity available to all. I recognize that what people bring to that opportunity varies and that the real test is what they end up with, not what we think we have given them.

I am sure Roosevelt would reject affirmative action as it is practiced today. The affirmative action we all love it the part where we cast a wider net to get more people the opportunity to do well. Nobody opposes this and that was the original conception. But when the numbers did not match those sought by the social engineers, they began to use quotas and goals. This is where it went wrong.

Re – where affirmative action has been put to a vote, it usually loses. That is why they have to have those convoluted goals in places like Michigan, California or Texas. Affirmative action is unpopular with voters. Again, we are talking about the “as practiced” version.

Finally, as the tolerant guy I am, I would have no trouble with affirmative action if it was practiced really voluntarily. If Harvard wants more of one sort of person and less of another, I don’t care. What the courts should do is uphold the right of Texas to admit as they wish. BUT they should simultaneously remove the recourse to the courts for anyone who claims discrimination based on statistical grounds, i.e. if you allege discrimination, you need to show how YOU were affected. The statistical fact that your group is over or under represented should be inadmissible as evidence, since it is an invalid proof.

Re my parents – they deserved a lot of credit, as do the schools I went to, the teachers who helped me, my swim coach who inspired me … Among my many advantages was the fact that I got to start on the slow track until I could win on the fast one. This is what affirmative action denies kids like me who happen to come in a darker shade. It is what Scalia was talking about and why my experience taught me.

Posted by: C&J at December 10, 2015 4:24 PM
Comment #401354

Warren

We need not be sympathetic to the plaintiff. She doesn’t seem that smart and maybe she should not have gotten into UT. Of course, that implies that neither should the people who got in below her scores and grades.

I dislike affirmative action because I find it morally offensive. I was willing to accept it as a way to jump start people who may have suffered discrimination, but that was fifty years ago. Whatever good it was going to do was done a long time ago.

Now we have a goal and quota system. I think that is unjust and racist.

But what bothers me more is the implicit attack on excellence. In order to justify affirmative action, we need to imply that those who do well are somehow less deserving. We have to downplay actual academic achievement in favor of an emotionally based subjective “holistic” approach. This invites corruption. The well-connected have better “holistic” scores.

I have written before about my Gold’s Gym rule. It is simple. Pick up the weight or not. I don’t want to hear about how much time you spent at the gym, why you really want to do it or why you would be able to do it if you were only stronger. Just pick it up or not. I feel the same way about many things.

When I was in HS, I wanted to be an Olympic swimmer. My problem was that I was not good enough. Was it fair that people with more talent, who worked harder and had the advantage of better coaching got in and I did not?

Posted by: C&J at December 10, 2015 4:34 PM
Comment #401355

I had no doubt that Roosevelt’s statement would not be in conflict with your contentions as you see it. He was a very good politician which means that his words were taken to mean many things by different people. He would not survive in today’s conservative political climate, he was after all an avowed environmentalist and can be credited with the National Park system in our country. Not to mention that his statement on “equality of opportunity” would sound like a hand out to some conservatives today. I am unable to agree with you regarding his opinion of affirmative action and find it rather amusing that you can state that he would reject it. You must have some type of metaphysical connection to be able to discern that, I don’t.

Your experiences are just that, yours. You and others like you seek to pigeon hole people and their ability to accomplish great things. I don’t criticize you for that but do believe you should acknowledge that it is your opinion of someone else’s experience and you do not have the first hand knowledge to judge them in the way you do.

Forgive me if I don’t garner much confidence in the ability of conservatives to predict voting trends, the record speaks for itself. As I have stated I would vote for a continuance of affirmative action, I will not be so fool hardy as to predict the outcome of such a vote by the general electorate.

And what is it with conservatives? They always seem to want to guarantee me something about a prediction or they always feel that they have the pulse of the voting population better than anyone else. Does it somehow make it seem what you are advocating will be accepted more readily if you can convince someone of that? It would seem to me to present the opposite, I don’t know of anyone who likes to be told that they don’t know something as well as the person they are listening to or reading from unless their qualifications can be substantiated.

You have been fortunate to have caring parents and others around you that did too. I only wish that everyone could have that opportunity. They might turn out to be as good of a person as yourself if they do.

Posted by: Speak4all at December 10, 2015 4:58 PM
Comment #401356

Jack,

As I already said, affirmative action is on the deathbed. Sandra Day O’Connor predicted a death-date of 2028. At this juncture, I am liable to agree with her, but only time will tell. If the time is ripe, then eliminating affirmative action should not be controversial.

We need not be sympathetic to the plaintiff. She doesn’t seem that smart and maybe she should not have gotten into UT. Of course, that implies that neither should the people who got in below her scores and grades.

It’s not just her mediocre scores and grades. As I said before, the 8% of students that aren’t admitted through the “Top Ten” program are selected to meet very specific criteria. The orchestra needs an oboist and the football team needs a quarterback. Abby Fisher didn’t bring any special traits or talents. Some of the students who had even worse scores likely did.

Now we have a goal and quota system. I think that is unjust and racist.
Quotas were ruled unconstitutional decades ago. That is not the system used by UT-Austin.
But what bothers me more is the implicit attack on excellence. In order to justify affirmative action, we need to imply that those who do well are somehow less deserving. We have to downplay actual academic achievement in favor of an emotionally based subjective “holistic” approach. This invites corruption. The well-connected have better “holistic” scores.

As I have repeatedly said, excellence comes in many forms. Following your Gold’s Gym analogy, ultimately everyone is either going to preform or they will flunk out. The goal of a university admissions process is not to build a homogeneous community of the “smartest” people. I got a 2210/2400 (1520/1600) on the SAT, placing me at least 2.5 standard deviations above the mean test-taker. Does that mean I am smarter than all but 1% of my peers? I don’t think so. I certainly have certain cognitive skills that other people lack, but in other areas I am completely lacking. Intelligence is not linear; I only do well in a few of its dimensions.

Is there any evidence that affirmative action is leading to the admission of unqualified minority applicants and the rejection of superior applicants from “privileged” groups? I don’t think so.

Posted by: Warren Porter at December 10, 2015 5:15 PM
Comment #401361

Roosevelt certainly would not survive in today’s liberal climate. He was too much a doer and too competitive and even warlike.

As for being an environmentalist - he was a conservationist, as I am. Today it is called “wise use.” There is today a reformation in the environmental movement with a conflict between conservation and preservation. In the old days, it was between Roosevelt’s man Gifford Pinchot and John Muir. The terms are not exactly today’s but we can still see the roots.

My patron saint is Aldo Leopold.

Re my opinion - it is based my experience and my respect for people trying to make it as I did. I think it is better for people to come into the race at the right point.

I also oppose affirmative action on moral grounds. We will see if the Supreme Court rules. If they uphold affirmative action, I will dislike the results but accept. If they strike it down, I will celebrate and accept.

Re voting - I am not making predictions. I am referring to history. Google it.

Posted by: C&J at December 10, 2015 6:26 PM
Comment #401362

Warren

People predicted the end of affirmative action year ago. They said that Asians would destroy the concept. But the AA supporters merely classified Asians along with whites and went along.

Re the evidence that affirmative action lets in the less qualified. The problem is well known. Affirmative action kids sometimes do okay, but they are often near the bottom and rarely near the top of their classes. This is what you would expect. I don’t even really have a problem with this, but then we get the complaining that campus is unfair.

So this is how it works. We have criteria that we apply to all. Affirmative action folks imply or say that these criteria are not good. So we let some in that do not perform to the criteria. AND they do not do as well. BUT the activists now say it is ongoing discrimination. Maybe the criteria were right and maybe the grading was right.

Of course, we have those bogus African American studies, where they get paid to make up all that BS like white privilege or microagressions.

When I was in college, I had a room mate from Pakistan. He and his friends all were studying engineering and they were not enthusiastic about studying but they had to maintain a 2.5 GPA. Their solution? They double majored in engineering and African-American studies. They got Cs and Ds in Engineering but As in African-American studies. They said that if they showed up to class, they got As. If they did not show up to class, they got Bs.

Posted by: C&J at December 10, 2015 6:37 PM
Comment #401366

CJ, so I don’t think TR would survive in the conservative climate and you don’t think he would survive in the liberal climate. We could both be wrong considering that TR was a survivor of much more than you and I have ever had to endure. Since we don’t have the ability to ask TR the point is mute. It does present an interesting point to ponder, if people and in particular great political leaders and formulators of policy were able to exist for 2 or 300 years, would their political aspirations change? In my opinion TR seemed to advocate much more of a liberal view for his time in history than other “conservatives” of that time.

The Fisher case seems to me to be a particularly weak case for such a contentious legal battle. I would have thought that Ed Blum would have been able to uncover a case that could be more easily presented with obvious ethical,legal and moral supports for his point of view. That doesn’t seem to be the case. Since Justice Hagan recused herself due to prior activity in the case as solicitor general, it seems it will come down to Justice Kennedy’s decision. He already sent it back for remand several years ago and doesn’t seem to think the necessary legal precedent has been met, so I am unsure how he will vote.

Whatever the decision outcome is, it should be celebratory if for no other reason than this is how decisions presented to our country were intended to work, outside of elections.

I appreciate the honest discussion again without either of us attacking the premise of our contentions but attempting to stick to the legal precedence of the case and the eventual outcome.

Posted by: Speak4all at December 11, 2015 9:57 AM
Comment #401385

Speaks

He was a man of his times. He would not be elected to anything today, just as our ideas would be difficult for people then. They saying in that the past is a different country. They do things differently there.

Let me address the tangent of liberal and conservative. In America, we have no conservatives in the European sense. America was founded on the liberal ideas of guys like Adam Smith, John Locke and Charles de Montesquieu. These sorts of ideas pertained to freedom, individual autonomy and limited government. They included economic freedom, since the Founders recognized that tyrants and despots use their power over the economy to destroy freedom more generally.

Our current politics results from a split that began in the early 20th Century, widened in the New Deal and became a chasm in the 1960s & 1970s.

Ronald Reagan was a New Deal Democrat. He used to quip that he never left the party but the party left him. A man who lived as long as he did could have witnessed the changes. It literally took place in a long human lifetime.

As you may know, one of my favorite illustrations is that the difference between a life-giving medicine and a deadly poison usually involves the dosage and application. Government is like that. In TR’s time, Federal government was minuscule compared to today. You could fit the almost whole executive branch into one building. The only big operation besides the military was the Post Office, and that was not very big. Besides seeing the postman, the average American in TR’s day may have had no regular contact with anything Federal. There was room to grow and maybe need for more government. But it didn’t stop growing.

Older parts of government are uncontroversial(besides how well or poorly they are managed.) The Federal government has legitimate purpose in Defense, Treasury, State, VA and TR’s favorites in the Department of Interior, parks etc. It is the overreach that I find objectionable.

Liberals (now new progressives) seem to think that there is a rule of history where government grows. Thomas Jefferson thought so too, but it was a fear, not an aspiration. He knew we needed to be careful because government tends to grow at the expense of liberty.

I stay true to the liberal faith. I fear concentrations of power and prefer to liberty to do things wrong to the service of experts who make me do what they determined is right.

Re the Fischer case, I think the good guys are going to win. We may interpret that differently.

I would say that Fischer is not an attractive plaintiff. She is also what is wrong with affirmative action. If universities did not have to play the race card in that occult way they do, they would have a more transparent system that probably would have admitted neither Fischer nor those people who got in with even lower scores.

Affirmative action fosters the mendacious system where we have to be holistic. It is really the same system once used to keep Jews out of the Ivy League. If you cannot beat them openly, choose subjective “holistic” and complex criteria where you can cheat.

Posted by: C&J at December 11, 2015 1:56 PM
Comment #401394

I am still not seeing any harm that was done by affirmative action, but that is me. If you see harm being done I respect your opinion and advise you to seek advocacy of your ideas. I myself have seen many changes in my short 68 years of existence in this country, seems mighty long to me some days. I appreciate the work progressive liberals have accomplished and hope to see more to come although at 68 I can’t expect too much to yet be experienced. One thing I would hope for though would be to see the dissolution of the terrible turn conservatism has taken in our country. Blaming government for everything gives them an easy out and doesn’t require them to do much other than complain and try to defeat anything labeled liberal or progressive. I don’t see my children expressing much difference than you or I do in our comments, some are more liberal or conservative than another. The big change I see coming is in my grandchildren. They seem to see the world so much differently than I or their parents do. It might be wishful thinking but I seem to notice the seeds of liberal thought taking hold in there thoughts and aspirations. Of course I foster those thoughts and aspirations every chance I get.

Heard something interesting the other day about the success of the American Revolution. Postulation was made that something like that could never be accomplished in today’s world of ever increasing communication and dissemination of words and thoughts. Also heard a refreshing take on government then and now. Then people didn’t fear it as much even though there could have been more of a reason to, given the disparity and inequality that monarchies fostered. People in the original colonies were already accustomed to being involved in government since the crown was an ocean away and many local issues had to be dealt with in an immediate sense. These people enjoyed using government and had no problem assuming the mantle of government once the revolution succeeded. They didn’t fear government and they didn’t think it was to overpowering, they knew it for what it was, a way of attaining a better life. I see a lot of that in the generation of grandchildren that I come in contact with, my own and others. Once the current conservative movement has moved past garnering fear and divisiveness as a tool and realized that governing is a gift, we will see a much more robust assumption of the mantle of governing and the great responsibility that comes with that. Who knows our great, great, great grandchildren may even find the wherewithal to do away with weapons, money, hatred of the other, fear of government and much more. You and I can only dream of that but I think it curious to wonder sometimes how that could happen without good governance and wise leadership.

Posted by: Speak4all at December 11, 2015 3:05 PM
Comment #401411

Speaks

It is harmful for the mendacity. It is harmful because it calls merit into question. It is harmful because of the expense of maintaining the diversity establishment. It is harmful because of the suspicion it creates and it is harmful because it is based on racist principles. Back in 1970, you could argue it was a necessary evil. There is nothing good about it anymore.

We see “liberal” ideas very differently. I believe in freedom and responsibility. Progressive ideas - as expressed today (I always need to caveat with that) make people more dependent and less free. It is a wimpification of America.

Your perception of government in colonial times is mistaken. Government was very much smaller in those days and very much more local. That is why people were involved with it. The Federal government was small and limited. It remained that way until the 20th Century.

The courts until the 20th Century respected private property rights almost 100%. They enforced contracts no matter the “fairness”. People responded to each other and courts were not used as offensive weapons to further social goals.

People did not fear government in their daily life because it was not present in their daily lives. Except for the military and post office, a citizen could avoid contact with Federal rules and authorities for nearly his entire life.

“They didn’t fear government and they didn’t think it was to overpowering, they knew it for what it was, a way of attaining a better life.” In 1900 TOTAL spending by government, Federal, state and local, made up 7% of GDP. Of that, only 3% was Federal. So there was not much government to fear or think overpowering. And most of the spending was local.

Today, by comparison, Federal government spending is around 20% of GDP. States spend about 9% and locals about 10%. And their reach is greater through mandates and rule making.

Posted by: C&J at December 11, 2015 7:09 PM
Comment #401412
It is harmful for the mendacity. It is harmful because it calls merit into question. It is harmful because of the expense of maintaining the diversity establishment. It is harmful because of the suspicion it creates and it is harmful because it is based on racist principles. Back in 1970, you could argue it was a necessary evil. There is nothing good about it anymore.

Is affirmative action for minorities any different than affirmative action for quarterbacks or oboists? Never have universities been a bastion of meritocracy.

Posted by: Warren Porter at December 11, 2015 7:41 PM
Comment #401421

Warren

It is fundamentally different.

The basis of our liberal society is the we judge by behaviors and not status, by the content of your character rather than inherited characteristics, by what you do, not what you are. This is what allows us choices, allows us to reinvent ourselves.

Since we believe that quarterbacks and oboists add to the university experience, and people can choose to pursue those things, it is okay. We specify the activity, not the status. I have no doubt that blacks disproportionately benefit from football scholarships and probably win few swim team spots. That is okay.

We are seeking diversity. True diversity does not follow the shades of people’s skins but the contours of their ideas and choices. As a society, we have decided that racism is odious.

Posted by: C&J at December 11, 2015 10:45 PM
Comment #401435
Since we believe that quarterbacks and oboists add to the university experience, and people can choose to pursue those things, it is okay. We specify the activity, not the status.

I think many college administrators would argue that African-American students add to the university experience in the exact same way. In particular, the goal is not only to encourage the admission of minority candidates, but to also ensure that the minority candidates that are admitted represent a diverse swath of socioeconomic classes. For instance, an African-American from an affluent upbringing could serve as a useful role-model for peers from less privileged backgrounds.

Consider again, the case of UT-Austin. The school actually admits a decent number of minority students through the “Top Ten” program. The question is how to allocate the remaining 8%, which represents 841 in the case of the class of 2012. The holistic admission process is only used for these 841 seats. By definition, these are people coming from the lower 9 deciles of their high school, so they are not going to be the most elite applicants. Some of them will show remarkable accomplishments in other arenas, but inevitably the admissions officer will have to select someone who is on the margins.

This means picking someone who graduated at the 88th or 89th percentile from an affluent High School, given the serious inequities that exist between these schools and minority majority districts. The SAT score will be good, but not great. At this point, one of Abby Fisher’s black peers from Sugar Land looks a lot more attractive than Abby herself, even if this person scored 20 fewer points on the SAT.

Posted by: Warren Porter at December 12, 2015 1:41 PM
Comment #401439

Warren

Then those administrators may be racist. You would not admit a quarterback because he was a quarterback. You admit him because of what he will DO, i.e. play football. And you don’t admit quarterbacks as a group, i.e. just because a kid played the position on his HS team does not mean he preference.

You could argue black kid from south Alabama adds diversity to a northeastern university, but it is not his blackness. It is what he does and what he thinks.

I would remind that Fischer herself represents what is wrong with AA. They have to make an opaque system that lets some people like her in as part of their effort to shore up AA.

Besides my lottery solution, I have another. Schools should be free to admit whomever they wish for whatever reason they want. ONLY the court should specifically absolve them of any class-wide complaint about race, gender etc. I bet affirmative action would wither away w/o the implicit threat by aggrieved black applicants.

One of the worst ideas ever was the concept of disproportional impact. It is the precautionary principle of social life. It sounds profound but means nothing and everything. Obama folks have made it worse. I wish the courts would decisively throw that out. A lot of our problems would disappear with it.

My own take on the black issue is that problems in the black community ARE the result of racism. But it is a fossilized racism contained in attitudes and ideas of some significant percentage of the black community. It provides an excuse for bad behavior and elevates being cool about being right. It is not their fault, but it is their problem in that only a change in attitude can help. This cultural trait needs to change. It is not a racial one, as indicated by the relative success of black immigrants, who are racially similar to American blacks but culturally different and often more successful.

Posted by: C&J at December 12, 2015 5:05 PM
Comment #401440
You could argue black kid from south Alabama adds diversity to a northeastern university, but it is not his blackness. It is what he does and what he thinks.

How does racial diversity differ from geographic diversity? I contend that an African-American will do and think differently than a White peer simply as a result of his or her race. In the particular case of UT-Austin, we are likely talking about an African-American from an affluent background as anyone from the ghetto who did not graduate in the top decile of his high school class would be a nonstarter. Wouldn’t the unique experience of growing up Black in an affluent suburb bring a particular perspective that yet another white suburbanite could not?

Posted by: Warren Porter at December 12, 2015 5:39 PM
Comment #401443

Because we are just talking physical appearances. Should we balance blonds with brunettes? Blue eyes with brown? Short with tall?

Posted by: C&J at December 12, 2015 11:27 PM
Comment #401444

Unlike other aspects of physical appearance, race is ingrained into our culture. There is a history of prejudice and discrimination that continues to this day. Experiencing such prejudice and discrimination results in a different worldview, different ideas that can be an essential contribution to the conversations that happen at a university.

Posted by: Warren Porter at December 13, 2015 10:27 AM
Comment #401446

Some continue to blame white folks for the failures of black folks, and yet, black folks blame poor parental guidance hardly ever.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 13, 2015 2:27 PM
Comment #401447

Warren

Race is fading. On Facebook, we sometimes see pictures that say something like, “Famous people you didn’t know were black.” That is because we simply cannot tell. And we should not care. According to the article, people like Jennifer Biel and Rasida Jones are black. Are they? How much discrimination did pretty women like this experience?

Or consider Barack Obama. I wish I could have suffered his sort of disadvantages. He grew up less “black” than I did, since I grew up with American blacks and he did not. His skin is dark, but he had no connection with the African-American experience until he benefited from it in the form of affirmative action.

Posted by: C&J at December 13, 2015 4:17 PM
Comment #401448

I’m not even talking about disadvantages anymore. It’s just a different vantage point. Despite our best efforts, Blacks are still treated differently by society. They are more likely to be stopped & frisked, they are more likely to arouse the suspicion of a shopkeeper, etc. These experiences forge a viewpoint of the world that can be quite different than yours or mine.

For instance, take stop & frisk. You have defended the NYPD program’s targeting of racial minorities because those are the groups behind a disproportionate share of NYC’s crimes. I don’t want to discuss the merits of that argument today, but can we at least acknowledge that there is an element of dispassion when people like you and I discuss a policy knowing that we are unlikely to be its targets? Maybe we’d reach the same conclusions if the police were targeting 60 year old men of Polish descent, but surely the cognitive route would be different.

Some continue to blame white folks for the failures of black folks, and yet, black folks blame poor parental guidance hardly ever.
I’m not trying to say that white people are responsible for any Black person’s mediocrity. I am sorry if I am being misunderstood. My point is that being the target of discrimination and prejudice influences one’s worldview. Having a diversity of viewpoints strengthens the culture of learning at a university, which is why the admission of such people is encouraged.
Race is fading. On Facebook, we sometimes see pictures that say something like, “Famous people you didn’t know were black.” That is because we simply cannot tell. And we should not care. According to the article, people like Jennifer Biel and Rasida Jones are black. Are they? How much discrimination did pretty women like this experience?
Of course, when you get down and dirty with the details, figuring out who is or isn’t “black” is a difficult problem when considering the mosaic of multiracial people alive today.
Or consider Barack Obama. I wish I could have suffered his sort of disadvantages. He grew up less “black” than I did, since I grew up with American blacks and he did not. His skin is dark, but he had no connection with the African-American experience until he benefited from it in the form of affirmative action.
Again, I am not arguing that Barack Obama was disadvantaged. A cursory look demonstrates that he had a quite privileged upbringing, attending private schools and benefiting from Hawaii’s cosmopolitan culture. Yet, he still brought a unique viewpoint to Occidental, Columbia and Harvard. Very few people are raised by a parent of a different race. Still fewer have the unique experience of growing up with an Indonesian stepfather. Obama brought those legacies to the classroom and I am quite sure the entire community benefited as a result. Posted by: Warren Porter at December 13, 2015 5:29 PM
Comment #401449

”..until he [Obama] benefited from it in the form of affirmative action.”

I don’t believe that there is any evidence that he was admitted to any of his undergraduate or graduate programs on the basis of affirmative action. But, if he was, he is the poster child for the success of affirmative action. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School (top 10% grade average) and was the president/editor of the Harvard Law Review. Editors of the Law Review are chosen after the first year on the basis of grades and writing competition.

Posted by: Rich at December 13, 2015 5:41 PM
Comment #401450

Warren

I favor a variety of points of view. Race is a poor proxy for this. It is racist to assume that opinions follow race or that all blacks have particular points of view.

You mention that it breakdown in details and it does. That is the whole issue. Affirmative action makes sense only if you treat groups as immutable entities, like individuals.

In fact, AA benefit rich blacks and immigrant blacks. It doesn’t touch the poor ones we ostensibly want to help. They don’t get to the starting line because they go to crappy schools in schools in places like Detroit, Chicago, Baltimore or New Orleans, cities long controlled by liberal politicians. These same guys want to paper over the mistakes twelve years after their failure.

Posted by: C&J at December 14, 2015 12:47 AM
Comment #401451

Read this article here. https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/12/11/heres-what-antonin-scalia-doesnt-get-about-affirmative-action/?hpid=hp_regional-hp-cards_no-name%3Ahomepage%2Fcard

This kids is a good example of what is wrong. His confidence greatly exceeds his competence. He gets an MA and a cursory exposure to Russian and thinks he is some kind of expert who deserves better than he is getting. I have some experience with this sort of foreign affairs job and I find him ridiculous. But he evidently feels aggrieved. He was pushed ahead too fast and given too much encouragement.

I think it is funny in the pathetic sort of way.

Posted by: C&J at December 14, 2015 12:51 AM
Comment #401452

CJ, “Consider Barack Obama……he benefited from it in the form of affirmative action.”

Oh so that is what this is all about? Even though you have been provided ample evidence by other commenters on this posting, you continue to use your misguided and, I must say, illogical contentions to disparage a program that has helped many, many people because you don’t think our President could have made it to where he is without affirmative action. I don’t believe you have been being honest about your dislike of affirmative action. I would submit that your dislike of our current President has clouded your judgement and influenced your rationality to the point of being almost laughable if it weren’t so pathetically despicable. You and much of the conservatives and Republicans today need some kind of therapy to overcome this terrible affliction, it is unhealthy. Good luck.

Posted by: Speak4all at December 14, 2015 9:48 AM
Comment #401455

Speaks

I choose the example of our president because he so well illustrates the evolution of the system from one that was supposed to compensate for past discrimination to one that simply seeks color. Obama’s American ancestors were people of white, not subject to the racial discrimination ostensibly at the root of the problem. His father was not American at all. Obama had no connection with the black experience in America except for his appearance. He was culturally white. It is unlikely that he suffered any net racial discrimination.

Universities seek people like him. They are also very keen on immigrant kids and kids with mainstream white parents. I have three friends each married to black women, from Jamaica, Brazil & Ethiopia. Like me, they are well-off and well educated and so are their wives. The kids are mixed but can call themselves black (in their mothers’ countries they would probably be called white). They all benefited from affirmative action. They suffered no significant challenges based an race and do not embrace the black-American culture. On the contrary, their friend tend to be white or immigrant black. One of the older girls married a doctor from Nigeria.

IMO - they are great citizens and the kind of people I like, but it is not the spirit of affirmative action.

I have disliked affirmative action - AS PRACTICED - since the 1980s. I have to admit that the original reason was that I am in the group most victimized by it. But that personal rancor has passed as I succeeded despite the programs.

However, I dislike it viscerally today because it violates my core beliefs as an American. I believe that we should judge by what people do, the content of their characters, and not be race, color or creed. I believe we American can and do “reinvent” ourselves. We can largely leave behind the parts of the past we no longer find useful and become different - better - as people and as a people. I believe in the power of change. In this case I am very liberal.

Affirmative action judges precisely by race. It downplays character. It freezes the society of 1960 and tells us that we cannot reinvent ourselves, that we cannot choose to be different. It is a terrible system very corrupting to America.

Posted by: C&J at December 14, 2015 10:27 AM
Comment #401456

C&J,

I generally agree with your analysis of the black issue in America. That is that past overt, legal and institutional racism caused not only lost opportunity for blacks in America but resulted in a dysfunctional and segregated culture which perpetuates lower achievement, crime, etc.

I disagree, however, with your contention that the vestiges of overt racism (dysfunctional culture) are now “their” problem exclusively to solve. Why? As you point out, the harm of that past racism continues to this day. Washing our collective hands of responsibility for the ongoing damage strikes me as not only unfair but shortsighted.

Affirmative action may not be the most appropriate or effective means of redressing past racist harm. However, it is at least a good faith attempt.

Rather than ranting against what you and others consider to be a flawed effort, why not present a reasonable alternative? An alternative of shared responsibility.

Posted by: Rich at December 14, 2015 10:36 AM
Comment #401457

Rich

I think we, the larger community, can help - IF we are allowed.

My family had no part in the problems of racism. My grandfather was an immigrant, my father’s first language was not English and both parents were HS dropouts. I “arrived” at the opportunity starting line about the same time many blacks did. And I had some experiences that might be helpful.

1. My father disliked rich kids, felt oppressed. He always cautioned me to be suspicious and don’t try things “reserved for rich kids.” He was really wrong. But had I acted on is advice he would have been right. He had the rich kid excuse. Blacks have racism. Was it true that “rich kids” had an easier time? Maybe. Should I have let that stop me? Hell no. This is a useful lesson for blacks.

2. The school systems suck in many black areas. We need to have more charter schools and school reform. Ironically, per pupil expenditure in these schools is often higher than that in much better school districts. We need to try something very different.

3. We need to be more judgmental. I recall hearing drug dealing justified by the argument that the only other opportunities were to work at McD for “chump change.” Working at McD is morally superior to drug dealing. We need to not apply the low standards, the soft bigotry of low expectations.

4. Phase out affirmative action. Affirmative action perpetuates the victim stereotype. Read that article I posted up above. That kid has serious self-esteem issues, i.e. too MUCH. It is going to take hard work to get out from under the problem.

5. It is their problem. We can help. We should help. I DO help. But pernicious habits and behaviors need to change. Unless they do, progress is nearly impossible. If they do, progress is nearly inevitable.

Think of the lessons of immigrant assimilation. We took in people from worse circumstances and they became Americans, as I did. We need to shed the old identities and embrace new and more appropriate ones. That does not mean giving up all aspects of your culture, but it does mean taking what works from others and making it yours.

In short, the whole mindset we worked with in the 1960s and 1970s had serious flaws. We need to address them. A first step is phasing out AA.

Posted by: C&J at December 14, 2015 11:23 AM
Comment #401458
I favor a variety of points of view. Race is a poor proxy for this. It is racist to assume that opinions follow race or that all blacks have particular points of view.

Is it racist to believe that being the target of discrimination and prejudice one’s entire life makes for different worldview? Until we reach the point where growing up Black in America and growing up White in America are indistinguishable experiences, affirmative action will work to increase the palette of viewpoints in the classroom.

You mention that it breakdown in details and it does. That is the whole issue. Affirmative action makes sense only if you treat groups as immutable entities, like individuals.
This is the fallacy of composition. Just because it breaks down in the details of some individuals does not imply that it breaks down for others. In nearly all parts of this country, people with darker skin are treated differently than people with lighter skin. While these differences might be marginal in the sense that they cannot be blamed for mediocrity or poor performance, they do add up in order to influence one’s worldview.
In fact, AA benefit rich blacks and immigrant blacks. It doesn’t touch the poor ones we ostensibly want to help.
Absolutely. That’s the entire point. If we were just concerned with impoverished Blacks, then affirmative action would be tied to family income, but it is not. In the case of UT-Austin, low-income students of all races get a leg up through the “Top Ten” program, which is not considered controversial. The “Top Ten” program offers automatic admission to the top decile of any Texas High School, thereby ensuring that at least 10% of students in impoverished school district have a chance to attend UT-Austin.

The question for the admissions officials is how to fill the remaining 8% of seats, which by definition will come from people who aren’t from the top decile of their graduating class. This is where the holistic review comes into play. It allows for the admission of the oboist and the quarterback with poor marks. And yes, it prefers the admission of an African-American at the 88th percentile over a White person at the 89th percentile when both have good SAT scores. Generally speaking, students with good SAT scores, but who don’t fall in he top decile of their class come from top-tier suburban high schools. Other districts simply aren’t competitive enough. Admitting an African-American from such a district brings an extremely unique worldview to the classroom. He or she has experienced the privileges of growing up in an affluent community while at the same time facing occasional discrimination and prejudice.

This kids is a good example of what is wrong. His confidence greatly exceeds his competence. He gets an MA and a cursory exposure to Russian and thinks he is some kind of expert who deserves better than he is getting. I have some experience with this sort of foreign affairs job and I find him ridiculous. But he evidently feels aggrieved. He was pushed ahead too fast and given too much encouragement.

I think it is almost universal for people to complain if they don’t get the work they think they deserve. I spent half of 2013 either unemployed or underemployed and I definitely vented my frustration on WatchBlog when I struggled landing my first entry-level job.

Now, this sort of thing becomes pathetic when the person complaining is truly mediocre and undeserving of the position they desire. However, a cursory look at Terrell Jermaine Starr’s writing does not demonstrate anything of the sort. He seems to be well-versed in the culture and politics of Ukraine, Russia & Georgia. His experience living there gives him the opportunity to sprinkle his writing with the anecdotes that truly illustrate what he is trying to say. He would not have as much success as he has had as a freelance journalist if he wasn’t able to carry his own weight. Suffice to say, he passes the Gold Gym test.

Posted by: Warren Porter at December 14, 2015 3:24 PM
Comment #401459

Warren writes; “Admitting an African-American from such a district brings an extremely unique worldview to the classroom.”

I hear much about “worldview” and “diversity” being so important to a good higher educational experience in America.

“Ranking the World’s Educational Systems

We’ve just listed the first 10 below – scroll through the whole graphic to see all of the countries examined in the report.

South Korea
Japan
Singapore
Hong Kong
Finland
UK
Canada
Netherlands
Ireland
Poland”

http://www.edudemic.com/learning-curve-report-education/

Is it significant that many of these countries do not have a diverse population?

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 14, 2015 4:59 PM
Comment #401460

C&J,

In my opinion, it would be extremely helpful if all discussions about current black racial problems started with a mutual awareness, as you expressed, that such problems are ultimately the result of a long history of racism in this country. Whether the current problems are a direct or indirect result of such racism, they are racist in origin.

It is also my opinion, that we, the larger community, would be well served by abandoning the argument that we are not personally responsible for the racist history of this country. My grandparents were also immigrants to the this country. They had nothing to do with the racial policies of the past. But, they were voluntary immigrants. There is a huge difference between voluntary immigration and involuntary immigration to serve as slaves. In any case, we all love to embrace the accomplishments of the founding fathers and others down through history as though they were our accomplishments. Proud Americans. Yet, when it comes to racism, we are quick to disavow any relationship whatsoever. Collective identity for the good, not so much for the bad.

On the other side of the coin, it would helpful if black leadership in the country stopped alleging that every act of violence by the police against blacks or the general socio-economic problems of predominately black communities were the result of overt, institutionalized racism. It is time to recognize that the dysfunctional cultural legacy of racism is now driving the conflict. Time to recognize that external and legal barriers are no longer the main impediments to achievement. Time for reflection on factors within the communities that deserve attention and reform. The recent movie by Spike Lee, Chi-Raq, is a step in that direction.

Posted by: Rich at December 14, 2015 6:32 PM
Comment #401461
Is it significant that many of these countries do not have a diverse population?

Firstly, that is a list ranking the quality of K-12 education, not higher education.

The US is the best country to ever existed. We have the largest economy in the world and we rank #1 in higher education and it is partly due to the fact we are blessed with such a diverse array of citizens in this nation. Where would we be today if it weren’t for the millions of immigrants that came here over the past 200 years?

Rich,
Your words are very poignant. Indeed, much ink has been spilled crafting ridiculous arguments on both sides. I think we can all agree that 50 years ago and prior, there was a mass conspiracy to prevent nonwhites from achievement. The impediment of that conspiracy is long gone, but vestiges of racism still remain. Baseball cards held by Black hands sell for less money on Ebay than the same card held in White hands. Resumes with Black sounding names get fewer call backs for a job offer than an identical resume with a traditional name. Airbnb hosts discriminate against potential guests according to perceived race. I think hardly any of the people who do these things is making a conscious decision to continue the conspiracy of decades past, but they are merely affected by the subconscious biases that plague us all. Our brains are not built for the modern world and it takes a great deal of effort to overcome the tribal mindset and kin selection that ceased benefiting society ages ago.

Still, these lingering effects of discrimination are not an excuse for mediocrity like the grand conspiracy was. Ultimately, the material impacts are marginal and most of the detriment is psychological. Still, psychological challenges can be overcome, indeed they must be overcome by anyone who wishes to live a fruitful and successful life.

C&J,

It may be helpful to illustrate the situation at UT-Austin with the anecdotes of students probably admitted by the holistic admissions process that considers race. Jarius Sowells was admitted under the “Top Ten” program, which has similarities to the lottery system that you support. Tedra Jacobs was not, but she is precisely the sort of African-American sought by the holistic admission process. Attending an elite suburban high school, Jacobs did not finish in the top ten percent of her graduating class. Nonetheless, like Fisher, she got decent grades and even had a higher SAT score.

Now, these students have struggled to not flunk out of UT-Austin while Fisher leaped from one unpaid internship to the next before landing her cushy gig in finance. However, I think that is mostly a testament to the privilege Fisher enjoyed as the daughter of two college graduates who lived together in a stable marriage. Neither Sowells or Jacobs had the benefit of an adult to teach them the ways of tertiary education, so they fumbled through things as they taught themselves. Granted, both of these students dampened their original ambitions and are now majoring in African Studies, but that is neither here nor there. I assume that there might be a selection bias at work when Sarah Garland searched for people to interview.

Posted by: Warren Porter at December 14, 2015 8:42 PM
Comment #401462

Warren

I think it is easy to overestimate how much blacks have been the unique target of racism in the lifetimes of anybody applying to school toady. Much of what we call racism today is the consequence of identifiable behaviors and habits. It might be useful for middle class kids to see such behaviors as a lesson of what NOT to do, but I don’t think that is a goal of affirmative action.

Re rich blacks benefiting - this is the bait and switch. The rich blacks are already people of privilege. To give them additional privilege is not necessary or just. Proponents of AA do a bait and switch. They talk about systemic problems that afflict the underclass of blacks. Then the propose a AA solution that almost systematically excludes those on the bottom and may harm them, as Scalia explained and I experienced.

Re the Washington Post article - we all complain when we don’t get what we want. What impressed me about that guy is how completely clueless he was. As you know, I am very experienced in that particular field. I would maybe hire this kid as an intern and he would need to spend the next five or ten years learning the business. He really is currently unqualified, not less qualified, he actually does not meet minimum entry level requirements. I know dozens of junior officer who beat him hands down. We let them stamp visa and escort VIPs.

Rich

What you say makes sense. I think it does happen. AA is causing us some trouble in this sense.

I know I give too many personal anecdotes, but I have some experience. In one of my jobs, I promoted three black employees to good and responsible positions. A local black organization approached me with an offer of an award for my “sensitivity.” I explained the truth. I had promoted these three because they were really good at their jobs and I needed good people. Were the activist happy. No. They were vaguely angry and they stopped talking about an award. This confused me, until I thought of it from their perverse group-rights point of view. I had divided these folks from the pack, gave them respect as individuals, not group. This is a legacy of AA, IMO.

Posted by: C&J at December 14, 2015 8:44 PM
Comment #401463
I think it is easy to overestimate how much blacks have been the unique target of racism in the lifetimes of anybody applying to school toady. Much of what we call racism today is the consequence of identifiable behaviors and habits. It might be useful for middle class kids to see such behaviors as a lesson of what NOT to do, but I don’t think that is a goal of affirmative action.

I don’t believe that this is a phenomenon restricted to Airbnb or EBay. Anecdotally, out of dozens of conversations I have had with people of color, all report being the victims of some sort of unjustified discrimination. Most common were false accusations of shoplifting or unfair targeting by law enforcement. Now, having to spend a few minutes on occasion to prove one’s innocence isn’t a material impediment to living a successful life, but it is certainly an experience that changes ones outlook. Because universities seek to broaden the number of perspectives in a classroom, extending admission to such people may be warranted.

Re rich blacks benefiting - this is the bait and switch. The rich blacks are already people of privilege. To give them additional privilege is not necessary or just. Proponents of AA do a bait and switch. They talk about systemic problems that afflict the underclass of blacks. Then the propose a AA solution that almost systematically excludes those on the bottom and may harm them, as Scalia explained and I experienced.
This does not compute. Do the hands of a wealthy black man not face the same prejudice that an impoverished one faces on EBay? I agree that certain attitudes and behaviors can mitigate racial prejudice and discrimination. For instance, if Trayvon Martin had donned a business suit instead of a hoodie when he left his house to buy skittles, he’d be alive today. Wealthy, privileged Blacks oftentimes do these things and successfully mitigate the discrimination in their lives. Nonetheless, there will be days when they wish to wear clothes that are comfortable rather than fashionable. There will be days when they prefer to speak in the vernacular dialect they grew up with rather than the professional language they use at work.

For the umpteenth time, the purpose of present day affirmative action is not strictly to right the wrongs of the past. That mission was already complete years ago. The purpose of modern day affirmative action is to increase the diversity in the classroom in order to maximize the number of viewpoints and perspectives that a class may draw upon. Not only does a wealth Black person bring experiences similar to those of his underprivileged peers, but he also brings the unique perspective of being simultaneously privileged in one aspect, but unprivileged in another.

What impressed me about that guy is how completely clueless he was.
Count me clueless too. What else does one need to do to become a full-time journalist other than get a degree and write freelance articles for 5 years? I have friends who aspire to become full-time broadcast meteorologists and that is essentially what they have done.

Ultimately, the issue of whether this guy is a bit cocky nowadays is neither here nor there. It’s not like a white student with a higher GRE score would be immune from the same sense of entitlement. On the balance, I look at Mr. Starr’s freelance material and I see a guy who knows what he is talking about and communicates well. Ultimately, his original point, that affirmative action granted him the chance to excel, still stands.

quote text
Posted by: Warren Porter at December 14, 2015 11:06 PM
Comment #401464

Warren

I am not sure if this kids arrogance was caused by his youth or his feeling of AA entitlement. I don’t have a problem with him wanting to be a journalist and it looks like he is working his way up. That he thinks this would be different if he was white is silly.

It is true that many white misunderstand the black experience, but many blacks misunderstand white experience. Some think we have a lot more privilege that we do.

And maybe it is my misunderstanding, but I don’t believe a lot of those stories of discrimination. For example, “driving while black.” It is very hard to tell the race of a driver even in daylight. It is impossible at night. Even if cops wanted to target blacks for whatever reason, they would be unable to do it.

Let’s talk about transactions. I work with stocks and investments. Nobody knows my race and I don’t know theirs.

I have been on promotion panels. I don’t know the people whose files I read and I don’t try to find out. I don’t know and don’t care if I promote only one group or none.

I understand your point about diversity, but I reject the premise. First, diversity itself is not valid goal in itself. It depends on what we are seeking.

We want diversity so that our systems can be adaptive and innovative. That means that particular parts of a diverse system will react different and adapt. Diversity is almost a synonym for inequality. We seek diversity and incongruously expect equality.

I do not believe diversity itself is a valid goal, especially if it is forced.

Consider the case of Cal-Tech. It is a university that applies merit principles. A majority of their students are non-white, so white privilege does not apply.

But let me make clear. I advocate getting the most appropriate student body. As a liberal guy, I believe in free choices. I am perfectly willing, eager, to let universities employ whatever criteria they please to form their classes, subject to discipline of choice of others, i.e. if they start losing status and their graduates start having a harder time getting jobs, don’t complain. However, the court should make it perfectly clear that it will entertain NO cases of general discrimination.

Posted by: C&J at December 14, 2015 11:48 PM
Comment #401477
Is it significant that many of these countries do not have a diverse population?

Royal I would suggest it is meaningless as the bottom of the pack on the list you link to do not have a diverse population either.

I have a better system. Recognize and use randomness. Determine a pool of qualified applicants.* Make this real qualification, i.e. they would thrive at the school. There would probably be several times more qualified applicants than places available. Do a simple lottery.

C&J, I like this idea. Using this approach would seem to negate the need for AA at colleges.

And maybe it is my misunderstanding, but I don’t believe a lot of those stories of discrimination. For example, “driving while black.” It is very hard to tell the race of a driver even in daylight. It is impossible at night. Even if cops wanted to target blacks for whatever reason, they would be unable to do it.

Oh puleeze C&J, You introduce us to a idea with potential in one post and then show us why AA is still needed just several comments later. We need to acknowledge what the DoJ has told us in the past, the police have been infiltrated by white supremacist in some locations.

http://thegrio.com/2015/05/12/fbi-white-supremacists-law-enforcement/

Posted by: j2t2 at December 17, 2015 11:51 AM
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