« I Blame The Patriarchy | Main | On Torture Hypotheticals--Conservative Perspective »

November 14, 2007

Comments

Most people just call me "Doc" or "Dr S".

Basically, I'm trying to say that I consider my statemens saying "the US is racist", far from being controversial, are obvious at the 9th-grade level -- the level at which a 300-word essay might need padding.

douthat's piece is worth reading (as is everything else he writes). i'm hoping to respond tonight, and i disagree at points, but it's worth the read

"I think it’s a pretty good response though I have to give it another read."

I think it's somewhat gossamery.

Is "'the complete picture' of the Republican realignment as a story of racist backlash, full stop, end of story"?

No, of course it isn't. Of course race wasn't the only significant factor in the rise of Republicanism in the second half of the 20th century.

I haven't the faintest problem agreeing with assertion.

But that's because it's a silly strawman. Whether Krugman meant to be that simplistic, or not, or was merely writing a bit loosely, I have no idea, but, yep, sure, race wasn't the only factor, absolutely.

Having agreed with that, there's not much left to the argument, though.

Goldwater's themes, which Douthat noted weren't picked up by the majority of the country in 1964, but some of which, such as those having to do with "state's rights," which happened to mean at the time that the federal goverment had no right or power to interfere with states' voting laws, or laws regarding civil rights of any kind, were resonating nationally in '68 and '72 not just "because crime rates exploded over the quarter-century that followed Goldwater, and the (liberal-run) government seemed helpless to do anything about it," but also because it gave people a not-necessarily-racist justification for their racist feelings, as well as for far more benign reasons.

Where Douthat's argument really falls down, though, is here:

[...] Southern whites were, and are, natural conservatives who happened to find themselves in the more liberal of the two parties; once Democrats associated themselves with the civil-rights movement, there wasn't anywhere else for white Mississippians and Alabamans to go except the GOP.
All very nice, but it totally ignores the completely conscious strategy of Richard Nixon and the leaders of both the national Republican Party, and most state Republican Parties, to deliberately go after the "white fear" vote, and pander to it.

Somehow the fact of the endlessly detailed history of this goes unmentioned by Douthat.

He quotes stuff, including this, which is close to an outright fib:

[...] Second, this was borne out in how little the GOP had to "offer," so to speak, segregationists for their support after 1968, even according to the myth's own terms. Segregationists wanted policies that privileged whites. In the GOP, they had to settle for relatively race-neutral policies: opposition to forced busing and reluctant coexistence with affirmative action.
Well, that would be nice, but it's just not true: the GOP offered, in the Nixon era through the Reagan era, a clear-cut message of opposing any and all programs intended to fulfill judicial orders, or in any way forward any further advancement in civil rights law, or programatically, and that wherever possible, such programs would be rolled back.

Is that the same as standing in a school door, bellowing "Segregation forever!"? No.

But it's not just benign race neutrality, either, however emphatically or repeatedly that cover story is put forward.

That what the GOP had to "offer" wasn't an outright to Jim Crow doesn't obviate that it was still a program of go as slow as possible, do as little as possible, resist as much as possible, roll back wherever possible over time, and that that's the best they could do on that front.

Does that mean that the parties were ever utterly, you'll pardon the expression, black and white in their stances on race? One party perfectly pure and good, and the other party perfectly racist and evil?

No, of course not.

But that doesn't mean we can't make important distinctions, and the fact that the Republican Party has a more shameful record, overall, than the Democratic Party, on race over the past fifty-odd years, is an unfortunate, though not the only relevant, fact.

Whereas glossing the matter as "the Republican Party was just race-neutral, and where else could people go?!" is, ah, not entirely accurate or honest.

Going back to the premise of publius's post: why deny this, if you're a contemporary Republican, or sometime sympathizer?

Why not just take Ken Mehlman's attitude, and say "we did some bad stuff; we're sorry; we won't do it again; here's what we now offer as policy and rhetoric: please try to judge us on it"?

I mean, one has to actually back that up with real effort, and results, for it to stand a chance of working, but it would be a more admirable approach than rewriting history for the echo chamber.

Minorities are particularly unapt to adopt such rewritten history, I'm inclined to think.

By the Forties, Fifties, and Sixties, the fight for civil rights in America, and against racism, was led by Democrats, and fought against by Republicans.

Um Hmm.

What about the Japanese-American internment?

Also seems like the Repubs were more on board the Civil Rights thing back in the 60's.

July 2, 1964: Democratic President Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act after former Klansman Robert Byrd's 14-hour filibuster and the votes of 22 other Senate Democrats (including Tennessee's Al Gore, Sr.) failed to scuttle the measure. Illinois Republican Everett Dirksen rallied 26 GOP senators and 44 Democrats to invoke cloture and allow the bill's passage. According to John Fonte in the January 9, 2003, National Review, 82 percent of Republicans so voted, versus only 66 percent of Democrats.

So, could it be that the conservative POV is much like Eisenhower's:

Now I realize as I talk about these matters that there is still, nevertheless, in your minds a special problem--that one of civil rights. Because of the problems that have been raised about the issue of racial discrimination and indeed any other types of discrimination, we have to be interested. We must be interested. We must do something about the Constitutional rights of the individual. To my mind, every American whatever his religion, his color, his race or anything else, should have exactly the same concern for these matters as does any individual who may have felt embarrassment or resentment because those rights have not been properly observed.

So it means that every American, if we are to be true to our Constitutional heritage, must have respect for the law. He must know that he is equal before the law. He must have respect for the courts. He must have respect for others. He must make perfectly certain that he can, in every single kind of circumstance, respect himself.

In such problems as this, there are no revolutionary cures. They are evolutionary. I started in the Army in 1911. I have lived to see the time come when in none of the Armed Services is practiced any kind of discrimination because of race, religion or color.

In the Federal Government this same truth holds steady.

In laws we have seen enacted those affecting the rights of voting. They are, let us pray, to be observed exactly as any other law passed and published by the Congress.

Such things as these mean progress. But I do believe that as long as they are human problems--because they are buried in the human heart rather than ones merely to be solved by a sense of logic and of right-we must have patience and forbearance, We must depend more on better and more profound education than simply on the letter of the law. We must make sure that enforcement will not in itself create injustice.

I do not decry laws, for they are necessary. But I say that laws themselves will never solve problems that have their roots in the human heart and in the human emotions. It is because of this very reason that I am more hopeful that we will, as the years go past, speak to each other only as Americans without any adjectives to describe us as special types of Americans. I am hopeful that we will see ourselves as equals before the law, equal in economic and every other kind of opportunity that is open to any other citizen. It is because education and understanding and betterment of human people can bring these things about, that I am hopeful.

What is your evidence that in the 40's, 50's and 60's, civil rights were fought against by Ronald Reagan, and like-minded people? (This is the subject of the post, by the way.)

According to Wikipedia:

A hat-trick occurs in cricket when a bowler dismisses three batsmen with consecutive deliveries.

Which doesn't sound like nearly as much fun as bowling a maiden over.

Good luck with the rewriting history (Not.)

Gary: I think it's somewhat gossamery.

I think you may be cherry-picking just a bit, but as I said I have to re-read, and I will do so in light of your criticisms. Still, I think it is a substantive response.

Mike: Which doesn't sound like nearly as much fun as bowling a maiden over.

Neither one is fun for the batter: a "maiden over" is six bowls in which neither of the batters manage to score any runs.

You can’t really be against affirmative action because you believe we should be truly color blind instead – secretly you’re just racist.

OCSteve, I agree that these kinds of statements can be toxic to real debate. However, I think if you reframe the statement as:

You can't really hope to overturn laws mandating affirmative action without the support of racist voters

... you can't deny there is something to that statement. Both liberals and conservatives appeal to the more baser instincts of their core supporters (liberals particularly appeal to anti-globalization types), but I think conservatives "win" because there are more prejudiced people than there are people who believe capitalism is destroying the world.

I grew up in Georgia in the 70s and 80s (i.e. when Reagan was ascendant) and more than once heard people say "the Democrats want to give all my money to the n*ggers." During tha period Georgia went from mostly Democratic congressman to overwhelmingly Republican. (Newt Gingrich symbolizes this. He ran twice and lost, then won when the incumbent retired and Carter was sinking in the opinion polls.)

Of course, the Democrats were the party of racists from the Civil War into the civil rights era, but they eventually morphed into the party of MLK and protesting Vietnam (another reason Republicans gained support in the South).

Also seems like the Repubs were more on board the Civil Rights thing back in the 60s

I think they were more principled in a Ron Paul sort of way, though I don't support some of the votes. Barry Goldwater supported the '57 Civil Rights Act but opposed the '64 version.

He later famously trashed the Jerry Falwell wing of the Republican party. Reagan's genius was in combining Goldwater libertarianism with fundamentalist Christian prejudice.

I grew up in Georgia in the 70s and 80s (i.e. when Reagan was ascendant) and more than once heard people say "the Democrats want to give all my money to the n*ggers."

now, it's phrased "the Democrats want to use my taxes to give free healthcare for all those illegals"

Great post! One can quibble over details, but the main point is well taken. Modern conservatives are too often in blissful denial about the racist roots of many of their policies.

Even Republicans who are not racists often speak about liberal policies such as affirmative action as if these policies arose in some racially pristine environment where merely removing government support for racism would have changed American culture, remedying the ills of what was a brutally racist, segregated society that was only a few generations out of slavery.

Many older Americans who have come around to a more enlightened view would simply like to forget about how they used to think about race and many younger Americans really have no idea how deep and culturally acceptable racism was in everyday American life back in the fifties and early sixties.

As America made headway on race, the Republicans developed the southern strategy leading to a massive political realignment with white southern males defecting to the Republican Party in huge numbers. Anyone who lived during that time knows that the South was a cauldron of racism and the Republicans became the hosting party for the seething resentment of disaffected racists.

"but they eventually morphed into the party of MLK "

That's all very well and good, but you didn't REMAIN the party of MLK.

That recent switch from remedial justifications for those quotas you're fond of, to 'diversity', has not gone unnoticed. People understand it's implications, and why you did it: If quotas are to be justified as remediation for harm done in the past, you eventually have to give them up. But if they're justified to create 'diversity', well, that's a rationale that will NEVER expire.

Quotas today, quotas tomorrow, quotas forever. That's the upshot of adopting the cause of 'diversity', and that's why you no longer have the right to claim to be MLK's party. Because you've deliberately embraced a cause which will see to it that we will NEVER reach that inspiring goal he set out.

Maybe this is a good time to remind people here that affirmative action, insofar as it involves positive discrimination, is illegal in the UK because it violates several anti-discrimination laws. This is a rather widely held consensus in the UK. It does not preclude the government from taking positive action towards leveling the playing field by giving disadvantaged groups the tools to compete fairly with others, but preferred selection based on race, gender, religion and other factors is expressively against the law.

For both philosophical and pragmatic reasons, I happen to agree with these laws rather strongly. Neither myself nor the people who pushed for these anti-discrimination laws are racists.

Even Republicans who are not racists often speak about liberal policies such as affirmative action as if these policies arose in some racially pristine environment where merely removing government support for racism would have changed American culture

Conservatives in general have a problem with facing the fact that most of the laws they view as government overreaching exist because some horrible problem made them necessary. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I have heard a conservative even acknowledge the purpose of a law he wants gone, much less offer an alternative solution that a) interferes less with liberty, and b) has any chance of working in the real world. I think the number of times I have seen that last happen is zero.

When it comes to crime and war, of course, those same people are happy to support any amount of governmental overreach, without asking for any proof that it will solve the problem. I do not understand this mindset.

That's great, Novakant, but here in the US, the model of 'affirmative action' the Democratic party is wedded to, and dissenting from which gets you branded a 'racist', is just exactly "preferred selection based on race, gender, religion, and other factors'.

THAT is the context in which Republicans are accused of being racists. One where a ballot initiative prohibiting racial discrimination in hiring and admissions is attacked as a racist plot.

Democrats have so debased the term 'racism' that it's losing it's sting here.

Brett is a perfect example of exactly the kind of person I was discussing in my first comment, particularly as regards my point #2. In fact, if I were writing a textbook, his last two comments would be the illustration for it.

Phil, if we got rid of the racial quotas that today go by the name "affirmative action", (Do you know, it used to mean something else?) it would indeed not leave a color blind society. But it would leave a society where the government wasn't mandating racial discrimination.

In the final analysis, you don't end an evil by practicing it, you end an evil by stopping practicing it. Racial quotas are NEVER going to result in racism going away, they only perpetuate it.

Ah, so we shouldn't provoke racists into being more racist by letting black people have better jobs and educations. Well, at least we know where your sympathies lie.

And, again, I note that the number of actual solutions you propose is exactly zero.

Well, this started OK anyway…

We're mandating racial discrimination against light skinned recent immigrants, in favor of dark skinned recent immigrants, and justifying it on the basis of something that happened between people they vaguely resemble, before either of them were born.

Do you have any idea how freaking dangerous the concept of racial guilt that is being used to justify those practices would be, if the public ever bought into it? If some second generation Asian-American has to be kept out of college to make room for an immigrant from Jamaica, and it's justified because of the color of their respective skins, then what's going to happen if the public thinks that's right and just, and happens to notice the racial demographics of our violent crime, and draw the logical conclusion?

You want solutions? How about not dancing around with a lit match in a pool of gasoline? And then we can talk solutions.

[...] That's great, Novakant, but here in the US, the model of 'affirmative action' the Democratic party is wedded to, and dissenting from which gets you branded a 'racist', is just exactly "preferred selection based on race, gender, religion, and other factors'.
I'm not clear what metric you're offering that we can evaluate, and I imagine one might be found that could be used to support the claim, but my actual experience, anecdotal as it is, is that opinion about affirmative action, and what steps should and shouldn't be taken to deal with "diversity," is somewhat heterogenous in the Democratic Party.

If there's some sort of gospel we're all supposed to have sworn to affirm on affirmative action, I fear I don't know what it is. Could you give us a precis of what you understand it to be?

"Racial quotas are NEVER going to result in racism going away, they only perpetuate it."

Who, exactly, is arguing for racial quotas, and where are they arguing for them, and in regard to what, Brett?

You then refer to "if we got rid of the racial quotas that today go by the name 'affirmative action'": could you perhaps please point us to a specific program currently in existence that you find objectionable, so we can discuss it, rather than some vague accusation where we have no idea what you're referring to?

Let me, however, note: good job of turning the conversation over to the topic of trying to make people defend affirmative action, rather then discuss Ronald Reagan.

But let me also bravely come out against "racial quotas." I hope the Democratic Party enforcers let me get away with this radical opinion!

And, again, I note that the number of actual solutions you propose is exactly zero.

I was hoping this sort of argument would've been retired after the Iraq war. Just because person A has a proposed solution to a problem and person B doesn't, doesn't mean that person B isn't entitled to argue against person A's solution. Some problems don't have an easy solution.

"could you perhaps please point us to a specific program currently in existence that you find objectionable"

Gary, I live in Michigan, about an hour's drive from U of M, so the quota system they have there for admissions comes to mind. And if nobody in the Democratic party is defending racial quotas, that blitz the Democrats put on last year attacking a ballot initiative that did nothing but ban racial quotas was sure inexplicable.

Sure, there are people in the Democratic party who don't favor racial quotas. I thought this was the broad brush thread...

No, but taking a stab at finding a solution would at least suggest that B believes there's really a problem.

Besides, most people who argue with Bush's "solution" to Iraq do have an alternative, namely, pull out. It's not a good solution, it's just probably better than anything we've been doing or can do at this point. So I don't see what Iraq has to do with it.

I don't see the problem with saying that we shouldn't make changes unless we have an improvement in mind. Indeed, I think that is the truly conservative approach. In the best sense of the word.

Brett, that's not an honest description of the U. Mich programs. They let race be a big plus-factor. After the Supreme Court decisions in '03, they can't even do that, race can merely be one of many factors considered. Either way, not a "quota."

Words mean things.

Here's the decision:

http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/02pdf/02-516.pdf

trilobite, I was thinking of the run-up to the war, when suggesting that invading Iraq and taking out Saddam might not be such a hot idea often got a response along the lines of "OK, so what's your answer then? Or do you think having Saddam in power is no problem at all?"

"And if nobody in the "Democratic party is defending racial quotas"

Could you please quote who it is here who has made such a claim, Brett? Thanks.

Also, did I miss your response to this?:

[...] You cite a link here, presumably to support your claim that you're "pretty sure that Sharpton, for all that he's the new guy on the block, has actually been involved in more arson/murders than [David Duke]."

As you know, "involved in... arson/murder" commonly means "was a criminal participant in arson/murder."

That's quite a serious charge. And you're "pretty sure" of it. I ask you again: what evidence do you have, or point to, of Al Sharpton's criminal responsibility in that arson?

It's a perfectly simple question. You've made the charge (which is, I think, incidentally, not that I'd worry about it, libelous if untrue). Please support it.

Why wouldn't you, after all? Let's put that arsonist behind bars!

All we need is some actual evidence. You wouldn't just casually libel someone, right?

Thanks.

Again, thanks for any substantive response.

"And if nobody in the Democratic party is defending racial quotas"

Could you please quote who it is here who has made such a claim, Brett? Thanks.

Also, did I miss your response to this?:

[...] You cite a link here, presumably to support your claim that you're "pretty sure that Sharpton, for all that he's the new guy on the block, has actually been involved in more arson/murders than [David Duke]."

As you know, "involved in... arson/murder" commonly means "was a criminal participant in arson/murder."

That's quite a serious charge. And you're "pretty sure" of it. I ask you again: what evidence do you have, or point to, of Al Sharpton's criminal responsibility in that arson?

It's a perfectly simple question. You've made the charge (which is, I think, incidentally, not that I'd worry about it, libelous if untrue). Please support it.

Why wouldn't you, after all? Let's put that arsonist behind bars!

All we need is some actual evidence. You wouldn't just casually libel someone, right?

Thanks.

Again, thanks for any substantive response.

"Gary, I live in Michigan, about an hour's drive from U of M, so the quota system they have there for admissions comes to mind."

Could you give us a couple of sentences or so as to precisely which parts of their "quota system" you find objectionable?

It's easier for us to join you in denouncing these rotten quotas if we're given some pointers to the specifics of the evil, you know. Educate us!

"Brett, that's not an honest description of the U. Mich programs. They let race be a big plus-factor"

When you have a "plus factor" that you adjust in real time to make sure you hit your target, you've got a quota.

Gary, "involved in" can also mean "fomented". Sharpton is very good at whipping up hatred, and then disclaiming any responsibility for what it leads to.

Brett:

[...] Gary, "involved in" can also mean "fomented". Sharpton is very good at whipping up hatred, and then disclaiming any responsibility for what it leads to.
Ah. So when you wrote that you were "pretty sure that Sharpton, for all that he's the new guy on the block, has actually been involved in more arson/murders than [David Duke]," you mean that he's fomented more arson/murders than David Duke.

Is your claim that Sharpton "fomented" the murder of seven people by Roland J. Smith, Jr. at Freddie's Fashion Mart based entirely on Sharpton having said "We will not stand by and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business," or do you have additional evidence of Sharpton's responsibility you'd like to point to?

Do you expect to be getting back to us about as regards giving us a couple of sentences or so as to precisely which parts of the U. of Michigan's "quota system" you find objectionable? A cite to something checkable about the policy would be the most useful.

Of course, you're not obliged to support your assertions.

It's just that it's usually the easiest way to convince others of the truth, and I'm sure that's what you'd like to do, after all.

kenB, I think decisions to change something are relevantly different from decisions to not change something. I don't need to state a "better alternative" to going to war because the status quo, peace, is the default alternative.

What's more, I have some reason to think the default is better: we are by definition surviving as a society in the status quo. So the burden is on the person who wants to change the status quo to show that the alternative is better. He could, for instance, prove that we will die if we don't go to war. Then the status quo would not clearly be better, and war opponents would have to come up with some third alternative. That rule of thumb, the presumption in favor of the status quo is, as I said, the basic conservative position, see Edmund Burke.

When deciding whether to reverse a recent policy decision, e.g., let's have our soldiers torture innocent civilians, the default alternative is usually the status quo ante -- you're basically just saying, let's have a do-over, go back 3 spaces, leave everything else the same. By definition, we were probably getting along reasonably well before we changed our policy, so we can change it back without fearing ill effects. This is especially true when the policy in question was put in place secretly, on an ad hoc basis, by people without the authority to do it, and nobody thinks it will solve the problem it was meant to solve.

But when the policy decision has been in place for a generation, e.g., let's do something to reverse the effects of generations of white racial preferences, you need more than that, because the entrenched policy has become the new status quo. Especially when the entrenched policy was put in place deliberately, with forethought, by people with authority to do so, and actually does do a lot to solve the problem it was meant to solve.

Brett says that at this point the policy, affirmative action, is in fact perversely perpetuating the problem. OK -- but he wants to change the status quo, so the burden of proof is on him. We have some reason to think that the problem doesn't solve itself without government intervention, because it didn't last time. Maybe enough of the problem has been solved that the rest would solve itself, but maybe not. We easily notice that blacks as a group are still not doing so well without the boost added by affirmative action -- if they were, affirmative action programs would result in blacks being overrepresented in education, jobs, etc., which is clearly not the case -- so, Brett needs to either show that's not a problem, any solution will cause much worse problems, or some other solution would work better. Unless he's just a utopian radical who wants to change things in the name of perfecting society towards an ideal, regardless of its actual effect. Which would be odd, because that's just the sort of thing he says he hates about liberals.

Good point, Brett. I don't know that this is what U Mich did, though. Was the 20-point figure chosen because it seemed likely to increase the number of successful black applicants to the "right" size, or because it was about the equivalent (according to the case) of one grade-point and somebody at U Mich read a study that said that poverty and other factors tended to depress average black high school performance about one grade point from the national average, or what? Knowing how committees work, I suspect they don't know themselves how they came up with that number.

In any case, they're not about to say how they came up with it, but we do know that they don't say up front, "this year it's going to be 20 points", and let the chips fall where they may. That much they've admitted: They change the boost over the course of the admissions cycle.

At any rate, good summation.

I suppose my response would be that affirmative action, in the form of racial preferences, is not some neutral solution to the evil of racial discrimination. It IS the evil of racial discrimination, only with a new set of people as the designated victims.

And without efforts to address the root causes of disparate outcomes, (Which given the different showings made by African-Americans and black immigrants, is NOT current racism.) that evil of discrimination will be forever.

Indeed, the switch from remediation to diversity as a rationale for racial discrimination appears to be aimed at just that: Avoiding eventually having to give the quotas up.

FWIW, I much prefer the "tie-breaker" or "one factor among many" approaches myself. I think they're much more true to the supposed purpose of advancing diversity, than the big-plus-factor or quota approaches.

As to whether racism and the effects of past racism are still a big problem, the difference in outcomes for native-born and immigrant blacks shows something else is going on, but I think that may be just a matter of the imperfect fit between abstract categories and the real world.

Racism is defined as prejudice on the basis of color. An archetypal racist believes that people of different color than himself are, or at least tend to be, inferior in ability, worth, and perhaps morality. But few bigots if any carefully target just the people in a category and all of those people. A bigot may react differently to a black person who is markedly different than the ones he is used to despising or fearing. He may not hate or fear black skin per se, but the combination of black skin and a lower-class accent, body language, attitude, etc. A black person different enough from that gestalt may well not trigger racist reactions, or not as much. It's a cliche that Colin Powell and Barack Obama, for example, don't come across to most whites as "black". Similarly, institutionalized racism, like financial redlining or government underservice of a largely-black neighborhood, or overpunishment of "black" crimes, may not hit immigrants, who may well live in different areas and follow different cultural norms.

This all suggests that we need to target affirmative action and other anti-'racism' strategies a lot more narrowly than we do, and I think that black people can assimilate much better than many of them believe possible. It does not suggest that affirmative action is always a bad idea, however. Even broad-brush, over-inclusive affirmative action programs may at least help the next generation by creating a greater pool of black-skinned role models and mentors.

Can we agree that there is something shameful, unseemly, and socially very destructive about the existence of a persistent, multigenerational underclass that can be recognized by skin color? And that it would be good to do something about it, if we can find the right thing to do?

Sure. I just don't think even more racial discrimination is the right thing to do. To the extent that it's government mandated, I don't think it's even the constitutional thing to do.

The problem, fundamentally, and it derives from a number of sources of which a history of racism is only one, is that black culture in this country is seriously messed up and dysfunctional. Unfortunately, this is one of those "they've got to fix it themselves" problems; We can't just up and change their culture for them, after all. The best we can do is provide a good example, and some backing to people like Cosby who are trying to do that.

I'm afraid that this is a problem Democrats aren't very well equipped to deal with, because of this "multi-culturalism" business, not wanting to acknowledge that one culture can actually be objectively worse than another.

Brett: is that black culture in this country is seriously messed up and dysfunctional

...as is white culture.

Can you believe parents seriously arguing that they don't want their pre-teen daughter protected for all her life against cervical cancer, because she'll take getting a shot as permission to have sex?

jes - I'm not sure that's limited to white culture.

Brett, you may well be right. Still, George Wallace was demonstrably wrong, you can legislate morality, and I'm not ready to give up on the ability of government to change these particular screwed-up cultural norms. Some small, localized progress has been observed with, e.g., midnight basketball programs -- which, of course, are high on the boondoggle list for conservative politicians and other noisemakers, because everyone knows that you can't change cultural norms, and that the only way to prevent crime is by throwing bad people in jail for a long time. I think anyone who thinks a job is impossible can make it so, but that we can do a lot more than we think.

Whether affirmative action is a good way to do it, or to alleviate symptoms in the meantime, is a much harder question.

And without efforts to address the root causes of disparate outcomes

Without minimizing the reality of its own indigenous problems, my guess is that one of the root causes of poor outcomes in the black community is that lots of folks treat blacks differently than they treat everyone else.

Just saying.

Unfortunately, this is one of those "they've got to fix it themselves" problems

Sadly, I agree with this.

If there is one group of people in this country that deserves some kind of amends from the rest of us, it is American blacks. Unfortunately, the best we've been able to come up with along that line is a debilitating welfare regime and affirmative action, which appears to have turned into, or at least is commonly regarded as, some kind of charity set-aside deal.

Here's what I'd like to see:

If it's proven that you discriminated against a black person, or even any minority, in hiring, you have to give that person your job, then you go to jail.

If it's proven that you denied a black person, or any minority, a mortgage for a house, you then get to buy them that house. Then, you go to jail.

If it's proven that you denied a black person, or any minority, any good or service you provide to other folks as a commercial venture, then you will provide that person that good or service for the rest of their natural life. And, maybe you go to jail.

That would settle folks' hash in a hurry.

Within my living memory, black people had to sit in different places to eat and ride the bus, had to wash their hands at different sinks, had to swim in different pools or at different times, had their access to other public places, places their own tax dollars helped pay for, limited to only certain days and times.

Within my living memory, there were parts of this country where a black man, woman, or child could be seized, mutilated, and killed, publicly, with little or no consequence.

We're damned lucky black folks didn't come and kill us in our beds while we slept. Seriously. I don't know how they endured it, or why they put up with it.

We owe them our thanks for their patience.

Yes, black people should not expect much in the way of help from the rest of us. They will improve their lot much more quickly if they just do it for themselves.

At least that way it will get done.

Thanks -

A little extreme, Russell, but I respect that.

Some friends of mine (liberal ones at that) once said that they didn't think reparations for slavery were right. They weren't talking about now--they were talking about the actual freed slaves themselves. I couldn't then and can't now understand what they were thinking. To my mind, slaveowners in 1865 should have been thankful they weren't murdered in their beds.

Bellmore would, if he were a doctor, say that it's bad to prescribe antibiotics because they kill things in the body and that means they're just diseases. If he were a firefighter, he'd oppose spraying water because it would ruin the furniture and that makes it just as bad as the fire in the first place.

Sheesh, Jaden, can't you come up with better analogies than that? How about, "Bellmore would, if he were a fire fighter, oppose setting back fires, because that's just more arson!"

See, that's the way you do it. Maybe you've got to be wrong, but you can at least try to sound like you're making sense.

I didn't invoke arson because I don't think it's relevant. I think the problem with your outlook is that it gets to the first diagnostic question, "Will it hurt?" and stops right there. A useful diagnostic goes on to ask what the outcome of the present hurt might be, if it's an appropriate remedy for the problem and the desired outcome, etc. For most of us, the fact that an effort to correct for long and entrenched injustice does impede some people's freedom to pursue their own discriminatory ends isn't very interesting because it's not very surprising. The same is true when it comes to the correction having some bad consequences of its own (just like antibiotics killing off helpful bacteria). These are the beginnings of a sober look at the overall process and its administration, not magic trump cards.

At least, that's the way it is for people interested in Constitutional government and its just foundations.

I didn't mean to set up a guessing game, though, and sorry for that. Rather than be vague, I'll be explicit -- I think libertarian philosophy is directly contrary to the letter and spirit of the Constitution when it comes to the general welfare of the country. The Constitution isn't individualistic; that requires a heavily selective reading of the text, the founding debate, and the history of legislation and jurisprudence ever since. Libertarianism and actual US governance are like the first seven letters of the alphabet and the whole set of twenty-six letters.

The problem is that it's an effort to remedy a long entrenched injustice by entrenching the exact same injustice with a new set of victims. This isn't a cure for racism that just happens to have unfortunate side effects. It's racism itself.

It's the sort of thing that only makes sense to you if you're already thinking like a racist.

trilobite, re the status quo distinction: I think there's some merit to it, but I'm not convinced that the person who issued the "where's your solution" challenge in this thread had such a distinction in mind.

But FWIW, I agree heartily with your eloquent comment at 03:20 PM.

The problem is that it's an effort to remedy a long entrenched injustice by entrenching the exact same injustice with a new set of victims. This isn't a cure for racism that just happens to have unfortunate side effects. It's racism itself.

One. This is not news to a lot of supporters of affirmative action.

Two. Affirmative action has ALWAYS been about choosing among a variety of alternatives. The legal and philosophical underpinnings has always recognized the heinous nature of the choices presented.

It is not enough of an argument to say "it is racist" or "it's the exact same injustice." Allowing the current situation to persist is ALSO RACIST. If all the choices that are available are all racist to some degree, what is the best way to proceed?

"This isn't a cure for racism that just happens to have unfortunate side effects. It's racism itself."

Brett, I've now asked you repeatedly to identify what it is you are referring to.

It's impossible to discuss whether or not something "is racism itself" or not, when you've never identified what "it" is.

You seem to have endless time to rant against "it," but no time at all to discuss what "it" is. The closest you've managed to come is that there's something about the U. of Michigan's current program that you disapprove of. What it is? You won't say.

But whatever it is, it's very very bad. Very bad. Extremely bad. Racist. Racism itself. Liberal badness. Racist liberal badness. What is it? Sorry, no time to answer. It's bad. Racist bad. Liberal badness.

Etc. Rinse, repeat.

So let's go again: Ah. So when you wrote that you were "pretty sure that Sharpton, for all that he's the new guy on the block, has actually been involved in more arson/murders than [David Duke]," you mean that he's fomented more arson/murders than David Duke.

Is your claim that Sharpton "fomented" the murder of seven people by Roland J. Smith, Jr. at Freddie's Fashion Mart based entirely on Sharpton having said "We will not stand by and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business," or do you have additional evidence of Sharpton's responsibility you'd like to point to?

Do you expect to be getting back to us about as regards giving us a couple of sentences or so as to precisely which parts of the U. of Michigan's "quota system" you find objectionable? A cite to something checkable about the policy would be the most useful.

Of course, you're not obliged to support your assertions.

It's just that it's usually the easiest way to convince others of the truth, and I'm sure that's what you'd like to do, after all.

And it would be awfully nice not to be back here tomorrow night, repeating the same questions yet again, Brett.

Brett: A Concise History of Black-White Relations in the USA.

Gary, just last year we passed a ballot initiative here in Michigan, banning racial discrimination in hiring and admissions. Basically just restating the language of the 1964 Civil Rights act. And all the usual suspects attacked it as a racist plot designed to destroy affirmative action.

Now you want me to provide examples of affirmative action programs that are racist. I could just say, "Ask the opponents of Proposal 2, I'm sure they can point you to some."

But I've already mentioned U of M, now, haven't I? Since this hasn't proven adequate, here's links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gratz_v._Bollinger

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grutter_v._Bollinger

Our ballot initiative had the purpose of overturning Grutter v Bollinger. (Yes, you can do that; Just because the Supreme court says it's constitutional for a state to do something doesn't mean the citizens of that state can't decide it won't be done.)

Oh, and if you followed the case, the Supreme court majority was definitely wrong about U of M not using a quota. They used an added weight on 'minority' applications which they each year tuned to achieve their target: Just another way of implementing a quota.

You want solutions? How about not dancing around with a lit match in a pool of gasoline? And then we can talk solutions.

This, of course -- and I would expect nothing less from you, and got nothing more -- ignores the extent to which doing nothing at all (which is exactly what you've proposed, remember) is also "dancing around with a lit match in a pool of gasoline." (For elaboration, see russell's earlier comment.) Or is it OK to anger black people in this way but not white people? Is that what you're getting at?

The problem, fundamentally, and it derives from a number of sources of which a history of racism is only one, is that black culture in this country is seriously messed up and dysfunctional.

There is, of course, no monolithic "black culture" any more than there's a monolithic "white culture." (Watch the ouvre of Spike Lee, particularly Do The Right Thing and School Daze for further instruction on this matter.) But, to the extent that you have any point here at all, "black culture" does not differ significantly from "white culture" in that respect, which I invite you to investigate further by spending some time among dirt-poor whites in Mississippi, or among suburban wannabes in Cleveland.

I'm afraid that this is a problem Democrats aren't very well equipped to deal with, because of this "multi-culturalism" business, not wanting to acknowledge that one culture can actually be objectively worse than another.

Any line of thinking that puts, say, Michael Vick, Denzel Washington, my neighbor across the street, Flavor Flav, the late W.E.B. Dubois and Condoleeza Rice all in one box and calls it "black culture," and further goes on to suppose that that box is inferior to a box called "white culture" which somehow contains, say, you, me, Timothy McVeigh, Donald Rumsfeld, Bill Gates and Carrot Top, is probably not a line of thinking I'm much interested in. Or were you thinking of some other cultures, and if so, can you describe them to me?

(We'll leave aside the idiotic notion that Democrats [or, I'm sure you'd throw in, liberals] see no heirarchy of cultures or cultural mores and values, unless you'd like to ask Hilzoy what she thinks of female genital mutilation, or Edward__ what he thinks of gay rights in Iran.)

And without efforts to address the root causes of disparate outcomes, (Which given the different showings made by African-Americans and black immigrants, is NOT current racism.) that evil of discrimination will be forever.

And we'll address those root causes by_____________? Come on, Brett, just once, fill in the blank for me.

"But I've already mentioned U of M, now, haven't I?"

Yes, Brett: let's try for the fourth time: what, precisely, about the U. of M's policy do you object to?

Why is this such an impossible question for you to answer?

How do you expect us to discuss what you object to, when you continue to dodge around the simple task of identifying it.

What you seem to want to do is rage and rant non-stop about the evils of "affirmative action," a concept you seem to wish to insist must be left undefined, so you can object to it vociferously without leaving any possibility of refutation, since you refuse to say wtf you're talking about.

"Since this hasn't proven adequate, here's links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gratz_v._Bollinger

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grutter_v._Bollinger"

Lovely. Now: could you please identify precisely what it is about the University of Michigan's admission's plan that you find objectionable?

And can you point to any other examples of whatever it is that you're objecting to, that you object to?

Thanks muchly!

(I gather the odds are high that tonight I'll be repeating all these questions at you again, but meanwhile you'll have plenty of time to again explain how racist and bad "affirmative action" is, even if you can't quite identify what it is you're referring to.)

"Oh, and if you followed the case, the Supreme court majority was definitely wrong about U of M not using a quota. They used an added weight on 'minority' applications which they each year tuned to achieve their target: Just another way of implementing a quota."

Here's an idea! Quote the language you object to.

The Supreme Court is wrong about what a quota is? Do you want us to agree? Or are you just talking for the sake of talking? If you want us to possibly agree, quote what the eff you're talking about?

Why is this so effing hard for you?

Why do you think "this is really really bad! Liberal bad!" is a substitute for "this is the language that I object to, and here's why"?

Meanwhile, let's get an early start here: Ah. So when you wrote that you were "pretty sure that Sharpton, for all that he's the new guy on the block, has actually been involved in more arson/murders than [David Duke]," you mean that he's fomented more arson/murders than David Duke.

Is your claim that Sharpton "fomented" the murder of seven people by Roland J. Smith, Jr. at Freddie's Fashion Mart based entirely on Sharpton having said "We will not stand by and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business," or do you have additional evidence of Sharpton's responsibility you'd like to point to?

Gary, I'm probably as exasperated at how obtuse you're chosing to be, as you are at how I'm refraining from writing a complete amicus brief for a Supreme court challenge to the constitutionality of racial preferences.

What do I object to about U of M's admissions plan? It's racially discriminatory! It takes person A, and person B, similarly situated, and treats them differently because of their race.

And this racial discrimination is not occuring at the hands of private individuals, who at least have some claim to freedom of contract and of association, and who are beyond the reach of the 14th amendment, reasonably interpreted. (Though not of state law, let it be noted.) No, it's taking place at the hands of agents of the government, unquestionably bound by the terms of the 14th amendment to extend equal treatment to people of different races.

It is everything that the civil rights movement set out to end. And I don't give a bucket of warm spit that it's being done out of benevolence towards blacks, rather than malice towards asians. (The effects being something of a wash for whites, it seems.) Why the heck should anyone being screwed over by officially sanctioned racial discrimination care what motivates it?

Now, you may ask your question yet again, but it will be in vain, for I will not respond any further.

Brett: What do I object to about U of M's admissions plan? It's racially discriminatory! It takes person A, and person B, similarly situated, and treats them differently because of their race.

Curious how angry some people get over admissions plans that are expressly designed to ensure that a college campus has a good, diverse mix of students, race, gender, and class... and how little anger they seem to feel over admissions plans that are designed to ensure that a college campus is mostly white and mostly wealthy. (The attempts to ensure that it would be mostly male were lost too long ago for conservatives to care about them now.)

It is everything that the civil rights movement set out to end.

The civil rights movement set out to end predominently-white, predominently-wealthy campuses? Curiously, that's not the version of the civil rights movement I heard of. Perhaps you're thinking of a different civil rights movement, one in which this speech would never have been made?

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

Good god, that was a muddle of a sentence. Intent is clear (I hope) but grammar is not.

Could have been phrased either "The civil rights movement set out to ensure predominently-white, predominently-wealthy campuses?" or "The civil rights movement set out to end college campuses with a good, diverse mix of students". I wish more blogs let you edit comments... Of course, PIMF.

Brett Bellmore: "What do I object to about U of M's admissions plan? It's racially discriminatory! It takes person A, and person B, similarly situated, and treats them differently because of their race."

Brett, I'm asking you a simple question: which part of the plan, exactly, is racially discriminatory?

Look, I'm trying to understand your point. All I'm asking you to do is cite the piece of the plan you object to.

I don't understand why you won't do such a simple thing, when you're ostensibly trying to persuade people of that simple point: that there's a key part of the plan that is racially discriminatory.

I'm saying fine, show me.

That's all. Just cite the gawrshdarn discriminatory language that you object to.

You can choose whether or not to do so all you like, of course, but how or why you'd expect anyone to agree with you if you refuse to do that simple basic elementary thing, I have no idea.

Why would you expect anyone to agree with you, if you can't cite what it is you object to?

If you have a point, make it.

Merely claiming over and over and over and over and over and over and over again that there's something discriminatory about the plan, and that we should take your word for it, but you'll never actually say what it is, couldn't possibly fly with anyone other than maybe your family, could it?

"Brett, I'm asking you a simple question: which part of the plan, exactly, is racially discriminatory?"

THE PART WHERE THEY LOOK AT WHAT RACE APPLICANTS ARE, AND DO DIFFERENT THINGS DEPENDING ON IT! What part did you think?

This is well beyond obtuse, I'm beginning to think your repeatedly asking this question is a symptom of OCD.

Brett: THE PART WHERE THEY LOOK AT WHAT RACE APPLICANTS ARE, AND DO DIFFERENT THINGS DEPENDING ON IT!

So can you quote or link to that part? So far you've just said it exists. Repeatedly. Without actually being able to quote from it, link to it, or even give a summary of exactly what it says, apparently.

I provided links (Actually, just the naked urls, I was in a hurry.) to the wiki entries concerning the cases upthread. Here are actual links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gratz_v._Bollinger>Gratz v Bollinger

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grutter_v._Bollinger>Grutter v Bollinger

That the University of Michigan were, and to the extent they're presently violating Proposal 2, still are, taking applications by aspiring students of different races, and handling them differently, (IOW, "racially discriminating") is not a matter of contention. Even a "20 point boost" is racial discrimination, if you're assigning it on the basis of race.

If you think otherwise, contemplate how the NAACP would react if it were the whites who were getting the "boost".

Brett: That the University of Michigan were, and to the extent they're presently violating Proposal 2, still are, taking applications by aspiring students of different races, and handling them differently, (IOW, "racially discriminating") is not a matter of contention.

To be precise, U of M are attempting to create a diverse student body. The only possible reason to object to this would be if you were against the idea of diversity on college campuses. One of the methods which is used to U of M is that if a member of an underrepresented racial group applies to U of M, they get a points bonus. You link to two cases where white students did not get in and claimed that this was because they were white - that if they had been members of underrepresented groups, as opposed to members of a majority group, this would have added sufficiently to their scores that they would have got in.

In one case (that of the law school) the affirmative action admissions policy was deemed acceptable until diversity in law school is achieved: in another, that of undergraduate admissions, it was deemed "too mechanistic" - no different from a quota system.

If you think otherwise, contemplate how the NAACP would react if it were the whites who were getting the "boost".

Not just the NAACP, I would hope, if a group that were significantly in the majority were getting a boost to remain in the majority.

" The only possible reason to object to this would be if you were against the idea of diversity on college campuses."

Yup, nobody could possibly object to this on any other basis. Say, that the way they're going about is involves racial discrimination, which violates the 14th amendment when committed by agents of the state.

I think "diversity" is just peachy. I also think there are serious constraints on the ways agents of the government are allowed to go about promoting it.

Brett: Say, that the way they're going about is involves racial discrimination

Guh.

Brett, I'm just not sure it's even worth pointing this out to you, because I am not in the least certain that you are arguing this position in good faith.

Given that (for example) a law school tends to have a uniformly-white student population, as (according to the Supreme Court) law schools in the US tend to do.

Given that a uniformly-white population of law students is a bad thing, it follows that it would be a good thing to get more students into that law school who are part of other racial groups. So far, you seem to be in agreement, which makes your next objection - that this involves racial discrimination - just kind of floating in mid-air, groundlessly.

If you count as "racial discrimination" any programme which tracks how many students of which races are admitted, and which then encourages the application of students of a racial group not much represented on that campus. And you say this is a bad thing and ought not to be allowed, because racial discrimination is wrong.

In short, you are arguing that it is wrong to attempt to make a campus more diverse: it only right to preserve the status quo, and keep the campus lily-white.

I also think there are serious constraints on the ways agents of the government are allowed to go about promoting it.

Indeed there are, evidently, since three white students who objected to not getting into a law school and who were convinced that their failure to get in was because the racial group to which they belonged was already over-represented on campus, got to argue their case to the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court decided that in one instance the affirmative action program was "too mechanistic". That's a serious constraint on a university's ability to govern itself, and decide what students they want to admit and what kind of campus they want to have.

They want to have a more-diverse campus. You think they ought not to be allowed to do so, because their doing so requires them to evaluate the racial makeup of the students applying.

So you object to diverse campuses, and think they're a bad thing: the status quo of lily-white law schools ought, in your view, to be preserved by the authority of the state preventing universities from deciding they want diversity on their campuses and acting accordingly.

I heard this story from the admissions director at a high school my son is applying to:

I was walking through the halls, and overheard an ethics class discussing affirmative action. One of the boys was criticizing it, saying that it was unfair to discriminate that way. I popped my head in and asked him what percentage of the school was male and what percent female. "It's 50-50", he responded, which is correct. "It would be about 70-30 female if we treated all applicants alike," I informed him. "It's a good thing for the male students that we practice affirmative action."

Not that I agree with Brett -- I've made it pretty clear that I don't -- but Jesurgislac seems not to understand that the University of Michigan, and in fact pretty much any such institution in this country called "University of [State X]," is actually owned by the state and is itself an agent of the state.

Thus, her statement "the status quo of lily-white law schools ought, in your view, to be preserved by the authority of the state preventing universities from deciding they want diversity on their campuses and acting accordingly," is semantically equivalent to "jdkfgljasioejtngmslandflnoirjytasngnamn." This is so for precisely the same reason that U.S. public schools have constraints placed on them by the First Amendment regarding school prayer and the like; they are themselves agents of the state.

"and which then encourages"

That was the original meaning of "affirmative action": Going out of our way to encourage under-represented majorities to apply to institutions, by efforts such as community outreach in minority-majority areas. Nothing terribly wrong with that.

But the University of Michigan wasn't "encouraging" blacks to apply, any more than they were "discouraging" asians. They were putting a heavy thumb on admissions standards in order to admit blacks who'd have been rejected otherwise, and in a zero sum context like parceling out limited numbers of freshman slots, that meant rejecting people who were not black, who'd have been admitted under a color blind system.

They weren't doing outreach, they were doing racial discrimination.

Brett: They were putting a heavy thumb on admissions standards in order to admit blacks who'd have been rejected otherwise

And you know this how? You've checked each black person admitted to the U of M law school and confirmed that they were inferior students who would have been rejected except for the color of their skin?

, and in a zero sum context like parceling out limited numbers of freshman slots, that meant rejecting people who were not black, who'd have been admitted under a color blind system.

And you know this how? You've checked each white student rejected and confirmed that they would have been accepted if not for the color of their skin?

Or are you just making assumptions... based on the color of the student's skin?


More to the point, actually: Has the U of M's academic standards gone up or gone down since they began this affirmative admissions program? If you can show, Brett, that the quality of the students graduating is significantly lower (by some measure other than the color of their skin) since U of M began this affirmative action program, then you have evidence that the university is admitting students who should not have been admitted, and rejecting those who should have been.

If not, you've got nothing but a conviction that it's just wrong for black students to get in while white students are rejected.

Phil: Thus, her statement "the status quo of lily-white law schools ought, in your view, to be preserved by the authority of the state preventing universities from deciding they want diversity on their campuses and acting accordingly," is semantically equivalent to "jdkfgljasioejtngmslandflnoirjytasngnamn."

Thanks for clearing that up, Phil. I was honestly under the impression that the Supreme Court of the United States represented the third branch of US government, and that state universities in the US were academically independent bodies, so thanks for explaining that I got it exactly reversed: universities are a branch of government, and SCOTUS is an academically independent body. The US is so confusing to a foreigner.

Um, there really is a simple solution to at least the undergrad "race" issue at UnivMich. UMI could do what Ohio State Univ did when I went there in 1967: admit every student who graduated from an accredited high school in the state who applied to go there. At the beginning of the freshman year, the freshman class was huge. By the end of the 2d quarter (we were on the quarter system) half of the admittees were gone.

No racial issue. The admittees had been given the opportunity to attempt college-level work, and more than a few of them couldn't. At least not at that point; maybe some of them returned.

I'll reserve opinion on the UMI's law school case. When I went to law school, more than a bit of the chit-chat among law school students centered around politics, not law. There, race might make a difference.

One major problem with the American educational system is that there is really no analog to, for example, Germany's apprenticeship system. There is something in the US that is jokingly referred to as "vocational education," but it is hardly similar. The US high school system is primarily geared to college prep, and that is one of its greatest failings.

Apparently it is confusing, Jes. I await eagerly your argument that, since US public grade schools and high schools are not agents of the state -- being independent bodies untied from the government -- that there is no First Amendment implication in the school principal leading students in prayer every morning. Can you have that on my desk my lunchtime? Show your work!

Oh, for bonus points, show why there is no Fourth Amendment implication for public school officials randomly searching students' lockers for drugs, schools being academically independent bodies. And why there are no further First Amendment implications for school officials censoring the content of student body publications, since those officials are not agents of the state. I can't wait to read what is sure to be a fascinating piece of work!

Phil | November 23, 2007 at 09:09 AM

Oh, for bonus points, show why there is no Fourth Amendment implication for public school officials randomly searching students' lockers for drugs, schools being academically independent bodies

That one ie easy. The lockers are owned by the schools.

"And you know this how?"

I know this because I live 90 minutes from the University of Michigan, and followed the case in newspapers and legal briefs.

What the university was doing was not contested. The fight was over whether or not it was constitutional for them to be doing it.

Phil

And why there are no further First Amendment implications for school officials censoring the content of student body publications, since those officials are not agents of the state.

This one is also easy. The publisher of the student body publications is the school. The publisher always has the right to "censor" (to use your term, I prefer "control") the content of the publication of which he or she is the publisher. That is also true of the NYTimes and other publications that are laughingly referred to as "media."

If a group that happens to be students at a public school wishes to publish something that is not controlled by the school, they are free to do so. They would have to get outside support in order to do so, however.

That has not been unheard of. Consider the ultra right-wing Dartmouth Review edited by D'Sousa.

Phil, apparently you're deliberately misunderstanding in order to pick a fight, so I think I'll just drop it.

Brett: I know this because I live 90 minutes from the University of Michigan, and followed the case in newspapers and legal briefs.

So you don't know, in fact, as you claimed, that all the black students accepted by U of M were inferior to the white students rejected by the U of M. You're just guessing, and your guess does not appear, in fact, to have any foundation aside from the race of the students rejected and accepted.

"So you don't know, in fact, as you claimed, that all the black students accepted by U of M were inferior to the white students rejected by the U of M."

Not only don't I know this, I never claimed it. You really need to work on your reading comprehension. Let me know when you're capable of responding to what I actually write, instead of what you expect me to write; At that point it might be worth arguing with you.

Brett you said that they were admitting blacks who would have been rejected otherwise. Ththink the statememtn clearly implies that you think the U is admitting black students who aren't up to their standards.

BTW many years ago a friend of mine, female, went to the U of Mich law school. She was a top student but got admitted under affirmative action becuase, in those days , women weren't admitted unless there was some kind of special program for it.

A year or tow inot her schooling the law school was sued or threatened with a suit (don't remember). The claim was tat the professors weren't grading fairly, that women were systematically given lower grades than men. The law school webnt to a blind grading suystem wherein the profs couldno longer see the names of students on student work, only student numbers. suddenly the grades of women went up significantly.

I'm really tiried of the poor-meism of somewhite males.

The fact is, at competetive schools, almost of all of the applicatns are qualified, if not ovewr qualified. The admissions office chooses a pool of applicants who MEET THEIR STANDARDS. Then the admissions office starts choosing from amongst the pool. There has been and must always be a certain arbitrariness to this minnowing out. Which qualified applicant willbe accepted annd whhichh won't? Bushtwit got in because Daddy donated a million to the alumni fund. Most of the competitive schools choose some public school applicants and some private school ones. Most choose students from all over Anerica. Most look for a variety of backgrounds: working class, middle class, eitc.

It's not the Olympics! They donn't choose the best. They choose FROM the best. So many top studnts appliy that no matter what basis they use for accepting or rejecting, many of the best wonn't get in.

Given that reality why the hell shouldn't they decide to pick some white and some blackandsome Hispanic and so onn?

Would you rather they put put the top applicant files in a big barrel, rolled it down an hill, and drew out names?

Brett: Not only don't I know this, I never claimed it.

What wonkie said.

wonkie: Would you rather they put put the top applicant files in a big barrel, rolled it down an hill, and drew out names?

According to a FOAF story (well, friend of my brother) the dean of a well-known medical school used to pick the candidates for admission when it was his turn by taking all the admissions forms of qualified candidates to the top of his staircase, and throwing them, hard.

Then he'd walk down to the foot of the staircase, and head upstairs, picking up the scattered forms. As soon as he'd picked up the total number that could be admitted that year, he'd stop.

According to FOMB, the dean (who only admitted this after he retired) claimed that this system produced better results than his colleagues' systems of looking over the forms and trying to pick out the best ones. (It had the advantage, too, of being genuinely color-blind and gender-blind.) Certainly, assuming the story is true, the random system produced results that were no worse than anyone else's...

I want to tweak my statement a bit: admissions committee at competitive schools will throw out the unqualifieds, and thhem choose a pool of the best of thhe qualifieds. Then they choose from that pool. "The best of " is determined various ways but straight CPA and stndardized test scores usually aren't the sole determiners. Some schools, for example, look for evcidence of guts and determination: outstanding employment record, for example. Anyhoo the pool of qualified gets narrowed to a smaller pool of highly qualified and then the students are chosen, based on whatever standard the school has chosen for the final cut.

The idea that students havve ever been chosen on the basis of academic achievement or aptitude alone is naive. The ones tht get admitted are not the best. They are from a pool of the best and got chosenfor matching the school's goals in some way.

I don't have a problem with a publically funded institution using its applicatin process to reach the goal of having the student body look like America.

(Of course I don't know what the U of Mich's current goals are).

"I don't have a problem with a publically funded institution using its applicatin process to reach the goal of having the student body look like America."

Neither do I, but I'll try to make Brett feel slightly better (unless he more enjoys feeling righteously isolated, in which case he can let me know) by noting that he does have some valid concerns on his side that aren't being acknowledged: while I agree that diversity is one of many valid goals for a university or institution (and Brett may or may agree with that, or may just have issues with methodologies of recruitment, rather than of goals: I dunno), not wanting any system pursuing that goal to descend into a rigid caste system of quotas is a valid concern.

I figure Brett should see that acknowledged.

However, having acknowledged that that would be undesirable, I think it's up to him to demonstrate that any and all acknowledgement of ethnic diversity, or efforts towards encouraging or increasing or maintaining that, necessarily start a roll down a slippery slope towards such an inevitable end state, since that seems not particularly inevitable if we choose not to make it so.

Whereas Brett seems to feel either that such an end state is inevitable, or that any such nod towards a goal of diversity, including ethnic diversity, is inherently racist. Nonetheless, it's non-obvious to me, at least.

But I have no problem agreeing with Brett that there are red lines that shouldn't be crossed. We simply seem to disagree about the neighborhood of those red lines.

"So you don't know, in fact, as you claimed, that all the black students accepted by U of M were inferior to the white students rejected by the U of M."

"Brett you said that they were admitting blacks who would have been rejected otherwise."

Just how bad do your reasoning and reading skills have to be, to not understand the difference between, on the one hand, admitting blacks who would have been rejected otherwise, and asserting that ALL THE BLACKS WOULD HAVE BEEN REJECTED OTHERWISE????

I've debated with chat-bots that had better comprehension than that. Seriously. I am getting f***ing tired of idiots who assign you a category, like "bigot", and then run everything you say through their "bigot" filter, so that it comes out bigotry no matter what you might actually happen to say.

You're not arguing with me, you're arguing with some stereotype that lives inside your head, and warping everything I say to match that stereotype. And I'm getting damned tired of it.

Brett: on the one hand, admitting blacks who would have been rejected otherwise

Please respond to wonkie's point, Brett, rather than getting hung up on your conviction that some black students were accepted who were inferior in some measurable way to some white students.

There is no doubt that some white students were rejected because the university preferred to have a diverse student body to an all-white one. You've declared that you have no objection to a diverse campus.

Unless you can show that a superior student was rejected in favor of an inferior one - "superior" and "inferior" in some measurable sense (and you haven't claimed to be able to do that) then all you seem to have is an objection to some white students being rejected because the university preferred to have a diverse campus and therefore opted for equally good black students in order to have a diverse campus.

If your insistence that the white students should have been accepted, and the black students rejected, does not derive from insider knowledge that inferior students were accepted over superior students, then what basis can it have other than you object to the idea that white students didn't get in, and equally able black students did?

You are not worth arguing with, Jes. You don't need me to further explain myself, you only need to go back and read what I actually wrote, rather than what you expected me to say.

I sincerely doubt you're capable of that, though.

That's one way out of responding to me, Brett: pretend that I just don't understand what you're saying.

Are you going to duck out of responding to wonkie's point the same way?

I call shenanigans.

What Brett said:
They were putting a heavy thumb on admissions standards in order to admit blacks who'd have been rejected otherwise.

What Jesurgislac says he meant:
each black person admitted to the U of M law school...were inferior students who would have been rejected except for the color of their skin

Not the same statement. First of all, he said nothing about "each black person," only about some. More importantly, if Wonkie is right, the students are all academically qualified, and are then winnowed further on non-academic grounds. Brett didn't say a word about their academic qualifications, which appears to be what Jesurgislac means by "inferior." (I'm sure it's what wonkie meant by it, because he contrasted nonacademic factors to inferiority, and Jesurgislac seems to think she agrees with Wonkie). The most consistent reading of Brett's remarks throughout this thread is that he knew everything wonkie said going in, and objected to race being one of the non-academic factors considered, no matter what the reason for considering it, because, in his opinion, to do so is both pernicious and unlawful.

Wonkie and Jesurgislac have made some good points about why it's reasonable to consider race as a factor, but they had no call to repeatedly attack Brett for something he didn't say. This is especially unfortunate since Jesurgislac had already strained courtesy by refusing to acknowledge that Brett correctly described the U Mich program, as described in the Bollinger cases, which I personally linked to in the thread well before, so she could easily have looked it up instead of challenging Brett to look it up for her. The program as described made race a sizeable plus factor in the admissions process for the purpose of increasing racial diversity -- which is another way of saying that the program intended and effected the admission of blacks who would otherwise have been rejected.

I.e., Jesurgislac refused to acknowledge that what Brett had said was self-evidently correct, and then took him to task for what he had not said. Along the way, she berated him for not reading the cases for her. Good grief.

I have rarely seen a leftwing troll, but this comes close.

I don't know if all of the U of Mich students who were accepted were drawn from a pool of qualified students. I think it's a safe assumption, but different schools do things indifferent ways.

I am curious, though, about the prhase "would otherwise been rejected" I took that to mean that the students were presumed by Brett to be inferior academically to whatever students would have gotten the spots. If that isn't what he meant then I am really confused, because how would annyone know for sure that they would otherwise have been rejected if they weren't lacking in academic competence?

Student admissions shouldn't be conceptualized as hierarchial. the students really can't be rated from one to two hundfred or whatever. They can be put into broad catagories based on various criteria (academics too weak for college work, marginal, mediocre, pretty good... references weak andgeneric, references specific and good, references excellentand from a very reliable source...) At some point an admissions committee will decide that certain students could make in their progarm and that others could't but it is really an act of fortunetelling to try to determine which student, amongst the qualified, is a better choice than some other student.

I apologize to Brett for the crackabout white male poor meism. I do not not believe that I accused him of bigotry, however. I accuse him of being too ideoplogical. Using race as a criteria isn't anny worse than using region, income, or public shool backgrouund (as oppposed to private) and is, in my opinion better than using the ability to play sports or kinship with an alumus as criteria. In the end the decsion to pick this qualified student rather than that one is always unfair to the one who didn't get picked. It has to be because the fair thing would be for all qualified students to get picked since there is no way to know really who the "best" ones are.

Here's an example: My sister was admitted to a state university under an affirmative action plan. She was a 4 point graduate with a degree in zoology. Another female student (African American, a twofer) also had a vry high GPA but from an inferior stae school in the south. Since they got accepted that means that two other applicants did not get accepted. It is possible that the two who didn't get accepted got their undergrad degrees from better schools orhad more clubs and activites on their resumes...but so what? Anne annd Regina werre qualified to be in the program and went on to become dentists. It is likely that the majority of students who didn't get accepted were also qualified. It is unlikely that anny difference in GPA, references, course work, job experiennce or whatever was significant enough to amke the admissions committee's job easy.

I wrote all that blather annd then I finally figured out what I wannted to say:
After rejecting the unqualified students there is really no way to determine which students are the best ones to admit. A school mighht assign each student a number from one to whhatever. They might decide to bump number ten who is white and accept number sixty who isn't. Or thhe school might scrutinize applications annd sweat blood annd analyze for hours and finally chose the studennts thhe admissioons committee members like. Or the school might work out some sort of formula based on an array of criteria....but, in the end, it's all a crap shoot.

Take for example my sister annd Regina. They were accepted and thhat means two applicannts, probably white males, weren't. It's hard to argue thhat mmy brainniac sister wasn't a top student: she was always academically gifted. However, in the end, it turnned out that the dental school wasted its resources on her. She only practiced for two years. Turns out shhe didn't like being a dentist. It could be argued that Regina was less qualified thann other students. It is quite possible that thhe student shhe displaced had better grades from a better school. However Regina went back to her hometown annd became a successful dentist and a respected pillar of thhe community. Who knows how the student she displaced would have donne? He mighht have won a Nobel Prize or he mighht have ended up the target for lawsuits.

The point is you can't tell. The black students who got admitted mighht turn out great, mediocre, or a waste of money. The same for the hypotheitical students thhey displaced. (annd displaced is a bad word because it presumes that the
spots righhtly belonged to someonne else).

Given that the admissions systems of schools,once the unqualified are elliminated, are basically in the fortunetelling business, I don't see why race can't be part of the crystal ball. It is no more arbitrary thhan any other criteria and has the positive effect of making the student bodies of government funded institutions match thhe general population.

I seem to be contributing best to this thread, trilobite, by just saying "What wonkie said."

If Brett wasn't arguing that the black students who were accepted were inferior in some way to the white students who were rejected, why was he claiming that he knew the black students would have been rejected otherwise? And given that he's admitted that all he knew about the black students who were accepted was that they were black, well...?

To which I must respond, "What Trilobite said." (And why do you understand it when Tril says it, but not when I say it?)

Supposedly there's something wrong with racial discrimination. You know, "content of their character, not color of their skin", and all that crap? If this has changed, in all fairness you ought to distribute the memo more widely, so that David Duke can be properly rehabilitated.

Oh, what's that? Racial discrimination is bad or good depending on who's being discriminated against? Racial discrimination against blacks, naughty, racial discrimination against asians, nice?

Screw that. That position isn't just morally wrong, it's stupid. You might, just might, be able to convince the vast majority of the population that it's wrong to racially discriminate. Expecting to convince the majority that racial discrimination is only ok if it's against them is a fool's game, most people don't have that degree of racial self hate.

Convince the public that racial discrimination is ok, (Judging by Ward Conorly's success to date, you're not making much headway, thank God.) and it's discrimination in their own favor people are going to sign on to.

In short, racial discrimination by public entities like the University of Michigan is pernicious, illegal, and horribly dangerous. Because some day you might convince people to agree with you that racial discrimination is acceptable, and you won't like the results.

Brett: And why do you understand it when Tril says it, but not when I say it?

Because you're the one complaining about black students getting into a university when white students aren't, and getting mad at me when I point out what that complaint says about you.

Nope, getting mad at you when you 'point out' what your incompetent misreading of what I actually complained about 'means about me': That you can't read above a 4th grade level.

Brett: You might, just might, be able to convince the vast majority of the population that it's wrong to racially discriminate. Expecting to convince the majority that racial discrimination is only ok if it's against them is a fool's game, most people don't have that degree of racial self hate.

Let's try again.

Let's suppose, first of all, that there's a group of 1000 qualified applicants who have applied to go to U of M, and all of them are - as far as anyone can tell by a formal assessment - perfectly capable of doing a college degree. 900 of them are white, 100 black. The state of M is 25% black. (I am making all these figures up.)

The reason why the applicants are disproportionately white is that (a) black kids tend to be in poor neighborhoods with worse schools (b) black kids tend to think of going to college as a "white" thing to do (c) black kids parents tend to think of going to college as a "white" thing to do. (I am not making any of this up.)

All of the 1000 kids who applied and are qualified deserve a college education, but there are only places for 800.

200 students have to be rejected. The U of M has to decide on criteria for who to admit.

One of the U of M's goals is to have a diverse campus that reflects the actual diversity of the state and gives students the opportunity to mix with people of different races, educational background, income level, nationality, etc. They may end up rejecting 200 students because those 200 will not contribute to that goal. A quota system is usually a bad way to do that, but some kind of "points system" can work flexibly and well. And eventually, we hope, race-related points won't be needed, because the 1000 applicants from whom 800 will be chosen will be 25% black, give or take.

The 200 students rejected will include both white and black students - but only the white students, seeing black students get in when they couldn't get a place, will have the sense of entitlement that leads to their suing the university, certain that they shouldn't have been rejected.

The notion that a white person would have to have "racial self-hatred" to see a diverse campus as a worthy goal, is, um... just wrong.

"Worthy goal"? Jes, we're not talking about whether the end is a noble one, we're discussing whether a particular means to that end is acceptable. There are other means, you know, like maybe mounting a PR effort to convince blacks that education is cool.

And don't think it hasn't been noticed the way racial quota mongers have switched from remedying the effects of discrimination, to "diversity" as a justification for their racial discrimination. They've done it because remedying the effects of discrimination is an excuse which is eventually going to pass it's 'sell by' date. Even O'Conner admitted as much.

Whereas "diversity" is an eternal excuse to judge people by the color of their skins. Which is why the public finally lost patience with it.

Also, I suggest you bother to actually follow the links upthread, and become informed about what U of M was doing. Because you've provided a rather inaccurate description of it. At U of M, race was not a "tie-breaker", it was one of the most powerful criteria going into a decision whether to admit.

Jes, we're not talking about whether the end is a noble one, we're discussing whether a particular means to that end is acceptable.

And as I pointed out to you way, way upthread: it is not possible to achieve a diverse campus if you are unwilling to "racially discriminate" - that is, to be aware that the campus is not racially diverse, and to be discriminate in your selection of students - including race as a criteria.

At U of M, race was not a "tie-breaker", it was one of the most powerful criteria going into a decision whether to admit.

I thought you were claiming that you didn't know anything about the academic quality of the students accepted? Yet now you're saying you know their race was the most powerful criteria, not their academic qualifications? Again - how do you know this? Where is your evidence that the U of M admitted students who were inferior over the students who were rejected?

Brett: Because some day you might convince people to agree with you that racial discrimination is acceptable, and you won't like the results.

You know, I just registered this. Brett, are you really that ignorant of the history of racial discrimination in the US and in the state of Michigan? If so, perhaps you should begin with the very, very basic level - website gives you a timeline to start from - before you presume to lecture others or accuse people of reading from a "fourth grade" level.

It'll take a few years. You've got a lot of reading to get through. Come back when you're better informed.

"it is not possible to achieve a diverse campus if you are unwilling to "racially discriminate""

Fine, then we learn to live without racially diverse campuses.

Here's what I don't get about this conversation. If underrepresented minority applicants were receiveing 20 points on top of what their admissions scores would otherwise have been, they moved up the list of applicants. They went ahead of someone else. It's highly, highly unlikely that someone, some number of applicants, who would have been rejected would not have gotten in because of the 20 point bonus. Otherwise, there's no point in assigning the bonus. The argument here should not be that there is no (racial) discrimination in this. The argument is that the (racial) discrimination is justified. If there is no discrimination, there is no program.

Given what Wonkie wrote, I don't believe that it is necessary to demonstrate that a successful applicant who would have been unsuccessful without the 20-point bonus is somehow "inferior." The applicant well may not have been inferior, but that doesn't mean that the applicant would not have been unsuccessful without the bonus.

Without someone getting in who wouldn't have otherwise, the program has no effect and no meaning. You can't have it both ways. You either discriminate on some given basis or you don't. If you do, you can't say that you aren't. You have to say that it's okay that you are. I would assume that Wonkie would agree with this, given the other criteria she (right? not "he?") listed as being worse bases for admission.

Any one type of discrimation may not have been decisive in some given cases, but it's almost certain that every type of discrimination was the deciding factor in some number of cases. Again, otherwise there would be no point in considering the factor as a basis for discrimination among applicants for admission.

hairshirthedonist, the key point in wonkie's comment was: everyone in the pool of possible successful applicants is qualified.

Given a pool of people who are all qualified to attend college or attend a course, and the necessity of rejecting some, what criteria may a college use?

If a diverse campus is important, the college may use criteria that will create a diverse campus from the available pool of qualified applicants. You can call this "racial discrimination" if you're intent on trying to make selection to create a diverse campus sound like a bad thing.

If the argument is that the college is picking applicants who are not qualified, that's a different objection.

"Fine, then we learn to live without racially diverse campuses."

Ah, but it won't be fine.

What about the cafeteria workers and the janitors on these retro campuses. Any opportunity there?

I hope so.

I'll know we're a shining meritocracy on the hill when America accepts 200 million of the highest I.Q. Chinese and Indian students onto its campuses, public and private. Until then, both of us get to feel smart.

"racial quota mongers"

Brett, you should wrap your stinky fish in more imaginative, and less reconstructive, boilerplate. It would make the mongering sell better.

Given the sheer amount of educational dollars and resources expended on the clever geniuses of all races who directed their ample talents toward gaming the mortgage market, hiding the paper inside exquisitely complicated financial instruments, and then creating towering computer models of mathematical babble to mis-cipher the risk, I'm thinking about starting a movement to offer higher education to ONLY stupid people.

They tend to kid themselves less and thus do less harm.

Plenty of white people would qualify.

everyone in the pool of possible successful applicants is qualified.

That was italicised for emphasis, not because it was a direct quote...

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad