May 4, 2012

"I always thought that a well-embedded Norm was the guy at the end of the bar in Cheers."

Dr. C is puzzled by my statement that affirmative action is "a well-embedded norm."

ADDED: Back in the 1960s, there was an opportunity, as a culture, to adopt the mental discipline that is color-blindness. All the decent people and the people who aspired to decency had awakened to the stark and obvious reality that discriminating against black people was terribly wrong. But some people — including Democrats and Republicans — believed it was important to take account of race in order to overcome all the deeply embedded discrimination and the effects of that discrimination.

Back then, we were at a fork in the road, and we don't know how things would have worked out if we'd taken the try-to-be-color-blind road. We went down the affirmative action road. We are very far down that road. To say let's start being color blind now feels completely different. Many, many people who think of themselves as good people, certainly decent people, think they've been doing the right thing and worry that those who are pushing for color blindness are not the good people. It's at least terribly complex. The let's-be-color-blind feat is not what it was back when we were at that fork in the road in the 1960s!

91 comments:

Mark O said...

It's never ending? What does that say about those receiving its benefits?

edutcher said...

Very droll.

But, yeah, everybody knows what it's really about, but we're not supposed to actually, y'know, talk about it.

That would be rraaaccccccissstt.

PS This whole business really bugs you, doesn't it?

(I think there's another reason, but you'd laugh)

EMD said...

Can something be poorly embedded?

Doesn't "embed" suggest a degree of inclusion/synergism that already exists?

Why am I parsing your language?

Writ Small said...

Dr. C is approaching the edge of the verbal cliff with that one.

YoungHegelian said...

The reason why no one on the Left argues for race neutral norms is because we all know now that race neutral norms would mean whites & Asians in the competed positions.

And we have absolutely no idea of how to fix that situation.

Jim Crow racism was based on the most imbecilic understanding of racism imaginable. Sadly, the tabula rasa behaviorism that underlay the civil rights movement wasn't much more sophisticated.

Patrick said...

That's quite a Pearl, man.

Quayle said...

The mistake was to tie compensatory privilege and benefits to race, not income level.

Geoff Matthews said...

Let's be clear. Martin Luther King was in favor of doing something to improve the lot of African Americans. I cannot see him opposing affirmative action, and his ideological heirs certainly don't.

Bob Ellison said...

"The way to stop racism is: stop being racist." I can't remember who said that (approximately).

Patrick said...

It would be nice if more of the people you describe with this:

Many, many people who think of themselves as good people, certainly decent people, think they've been doing the right thing and worry that those who are pushing for color blindness are not the good people.

would also agree with this: It's at least terribly complex.

At least they could have the argument instead of calling those who oppose AA racists. I'll never forget, after an alleged racial incident st school(later proven to be a set up by the "victim,") we were told, unequivocally by the Dean that those who make racist arguments such as opposing affirmative action were no different than the one who perpetrated the racist act. This was quite awhile ago, when accusations of racism hadn't yet been watered down from overuse.

So, if I am to assume the good will of those who believe AA to be a good remedy, they must do the same. I've seen little to no evidence of such willingness.

Tim said...

It's at least terribly complex."

Yes. That's an excellent shelter for those defending official racial discrimination.

MikeR said...

Sigh. My very liberal mother always told me that it doesn't matter what color your skin is, and I always believed her. Even today, I find it hard to believe that so much of America's history is based around what color people's eyes are. Sorry, skin. Whichever.

Patrick said...

Geoff Matthews,

I don't know what MLK thought about AA back when he was living, and I'm not sure it's particularly relevant. It certainly is not dispositive of the issue.

Nevertheless, I don't glean support for AA from this

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

Mark O said...

It's de jure inferiority. Codified. Public policy that these affected insular minorities are just not that smart.

Hagar said...

"The way to stop discriminating on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."

John Roberts, Chief Justice.

And it is not complicated.

In the 1960's Affirmative Action was sold as a way to get Black people "into the pipeline," which indeed was needed, and to some extent one could justify doing otherwise unreasonable things on a temporary basis.
Now there are Black people in the pipeline - in some areas even more than there should be by population ratio - and we can tell it is time to cut back by the ever more esoteric arguments for keeping these ad hoc Rube Goldberg contrivances going.

traditionalguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dante said...

First, it is in my view absurd to suggest that people haven't known for a very long time that discrimination is wrong. Obviously, discrimination is a natural act (for instance, I freely admit I prefer women as sexual partners, and I hope that doesn't make me a bad person). But we all know it is wrong to take our prejudices and apply them as a measure of worth on an individual. It's lazy, for one, and for two it's not fair. We all know this.

So now "Decent" people have come to the conclusion that AA is a good thing. They want to be good, so they follow the rules. See, I don't think "Decent" people adopt others rules of decency. They figure it out for themselves. So what, we are supposed to be concerned about the followers who do what they are told, and then feel bad when following isn't decency?

I think it would be illustrative to see the end of that path. You need look no further than the almost Nazi like attitudes of some of the political correctness crowd. Certainly, Free Speech is highly offensive to this crowd. And I don't think they care much for facts, either.

So I say screw the people who think of following what others tell you as making themselves "Decent." They are the problem. That is how we got into this mess in the first place, people adopting social norms as an excuse to discriminate.

Donna B. said...

One big problem with affirmative action is that it wasn't implemented with a sell-by date and/or definition of success.

Another big problem is that it keeps racism and discrimination alive and flourishing.

Embedded things sometimes fester and cause sores and scarring. Wouldn't it be accurate to say that Jim Crow and slavery were also well-embedded norms?

That's not an invitation to discuss how much worse one thing is than another. It's only to point out that "well-embedded norm" is just another way of saying "but that's the way it's always been done".

We don't have to go back to the 60s and pick up that "let's-be-color-blind" fork (thank you, Yogi), but I don't see that changing directions now would be more difficult as you sort of imply.

So, would you clarify? Are you implying that it's now too late for a color-blind society? Or that it was never possible? Or... what?

Hagar said...

Well, electing a Mormon president of the United States may still be a bridge too far for some, but otherwise it is no longer a surprise to see individuals of whatever race, sex, religion, or national origin, etc. function quite effectively in positions not considered suitable for them a generation or two ago.

Andy Freeman said...

> Back then, we were at a fork in the road, and we don't know how things would have worked out if we'd taken the try-to-be-color-blind road. We went down the affirmative action road. We are very far down that road.

Yes, we are. That's no reason to continue.

Yes, it would have been easier to have turned around before, but we can't do that. However, we can turn around now, while it is easier than it will be to turn around later.

kcom said...

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

Every step down the road of AA is a step away from that breath-takingly simple yet powerful and noble principle.

The AA fork leads to racial gerrymandering, interest group politics and requiring people in certain groups to act, think, dress, talk and vote in specific ways*, based directly on the color of their skin. It's the antithesis of being defined by the content of one's character.

The other fork, however difficult, is the only one that could possibly fulfill MLK's dream.

* usually at the direction of a white person (like Elizabeth Warren) who knows best what's right for everyone else

Chip Ahoy said...

I am concerned about what color people's hair is and I discriminate accordingly. For instance, when I see people whose hair is black but they've decided to color it white, well, that's a commitment. If that person is a television presenter then there is no excuse for slacking on the commitment. There is no middle ground there so when I see a slacker to their color commitment I verbally mock them like this, "Hey Guy Fieri, your colorist called and said to get your ass in right now or find somebody else. You're giving him a bad rep."

Original Mike said...

"Many, many people who think of themselves as good people, certainly decent people, think they've been doing the right thing and worry that those who are pushing for color blindness are not the good people."

I think they don't want to let go of their feel-good, moral superiority high.

Synova said...

Is there a term that describes the concept of the directionality of events? Because the starting conditions have changed, following a previous route will not bring one to the same place. Is there a word for that?

A's come up a few times lately in different contexts and being unable to describe the concept clearly is annoying to me.

In any case, it's true that making a decision to follow a color-blind path now is not the same path as following a color-blind path in 1960. The starting conditions are different, the path starts in a different location and time refuses to let us go any direction but forward.

But is CB 1960 is a different thing than CB 2012, and perhaps CB 1960 was the correct path untaken which may not be revisited. Or even if it was not! None of that means that CB 2012 is unavailable Or illadvised.

O2BNAZ said...

Affirmative action is so intricately woven into the fabric of leftist ideology,, “fairness “and redistribution of wealth, colorblindness isn’t even relevant any more. As Elizabeth Warren has shown, it’s no longer even really about race.

Bruce Hayden said...

The let's-be-color-blind feat is not what it was back when we were at that fork in the road in the 1960s!

Part of the problem for me, is that I, and I think a lot of others here, took the other fork of the road. Who actually believed Dr. King in his Dream Speech.

Maybe if I had been a year behind in school (I think that would have been Ann's year). Freshman year, we were into the race blind thing, not being that far after Dr. King's death. But by sophomore year, the Blacks started seriously getting into Black Pride. Friends you had, girls you dated, freshman year, by the end of sophomore year wouldn't give you the time of day. Because you were White, and they were oppressed because they were Black. Not that they really seemed that oppressed the year before whey you were living next door to or getting drunk with them.

Maybe it was the Moynihan Report that we had to read as Freshmen, or the recent enactment of the Great Society policies that Moynihan was implicitly arguing against, that made me question, even back then, the basis of what we know know as Affirmative Action.

My problem is that I am too old now to readily accept that I took the wrong fork in the road. I see a vicious cycle here, of paternal government ostensibly helping minorities (including, the majority - women), and esp. Blacks, but in reality destroying their communities and lives through this government intervention. And, yes, AA in all of its guises, is a big part of this - where "fairness" is defined by equality of results, and not by equality of ability and work.

Donna B. said...

Synova -- yes. Thank you for putting it better. We do need a word for that time/direction thing.

Hagar said...

Once you start a government program, the impetus is always to keep the program going and, indeed, to expand it if possible into ever more areas. The program itself becomes the rationale for its existence long after the reason why it was originally adopted is forgotten.

ricpic said...

The moment of truth for an AA adherent comes at the moment when she's lying on the operating table waiting for the surgery that will decide her fate and in walks a government assigned AA black surgeon, courtesy her impassioned lifetime denial of reality.

ndspinelli said...

I've long thought the most pernicious outcome of affirmative action is the doubts it causes for truly worthy minorities who have had high achievement in different fields.

dreams said...

The important thing is that liberals feel good about themselves not weather they are doing any good or ultimately doing harm.

Bruce Hayden said...

I think they don't want to let go of their feel-good, moral superiority high.

I wonder how much of this though is out of guilt for pushing minorities, and, esp. Blacks into this position in the first place, through their maternal view of government.

I used "paternal" instead of "maternal" in my previous post. But, I am thinking that it is really a more maternal view of the role of government. I make this point here, because the thing that has hurt Blacks the most, I think, over the last 40+ years, has been the destruction of the Black family through the supposed good of the welfare state. Males have been pushed out from their traditional roles in the community and families, and the results for those communities have been devastating.

I saw a Black activist yesterday on, I think, O'Reilly talking about how the White community had killed that poor child - Trayvon Martin, ignoring that Martin was 17 years old at the time, towering over the guy who killed him by maybe 6 inches, serving a suspension from school for pot, had been in trouble for apparent theft, and was tatted up, wearing a gold grill that must have cost serious money (with no visible legal source), and had the attitude that is so common these days in late adolescent/early adult Black males coming from fatherless families.

dreams said...

"I've long thought the most pernicious outcome of affirmative action is the doubts it causes for truly worthy minorities who have had high achievement in different fields."

Liberals used it to try and smear Clarence Thomas.

Hoosier Daddy said...

When whitey is 49% of the population will there still be AA?

wyo sis said...

There are always questions about what would have happened if another choice had been made. We can only try to make the best choice based on the available data.
I think it's pretty obvious that most attempts at regulating social norms doesn't work. It always brings unintended consequences.
That's not to say that deregulation doesn't also have consequences, but at least they come from reality and fixing them doesn't require undoing government agencies. (There is nothing more permanent than a government agency.)
This isn't the first time a society has had to rethink the direction it's going. It's just made much more complex when you have to undo laws and quotas.
We need to get over the notion that things can be "fixed" by government. Most things can't. Undoing about half of the things government thinks it can do something about would result in natural fixes for many problems.

dreams said...

"I don't know what MLK thought about AA back when he was living, and I'm not sure it's particularly relevant. It certainly is not dispositive of the issue."

He said he dreamed of a color blind society.

Franklin said...

How oh how will we get by when the Boomers are gone?

Oh. Yeah. Much more easily, I suspect.

The Crack Emcee said...

We went down the affirmative action road. We are very far down that road. To say let's start being color blind now feels completely different. Many, many people who think of themselves as good people, certainly decent people, think they've been doing the right thing and worry that those who are pushing for color blindness are not the good people. It's at least terribly complex. The let's-be-color-blind feat is not what it was back when we were at that fork in the road in the 1960s!

Oh bullshit. There's nothing complex about it. AA was supposed to for blacks, but the program got exploited by everyone else.

Bring it back to it's original intention - and not for every Tom, Dick, and Harriet (or Warren) claiming discrimination - and the problem's solved.

Bruce Hayden said...

Here is a link to the O'Reilly segment last night with Tavis Smiley where Smiley was claiming that that poor child, Trevyn Martin, died through racist policies in this country.

What was striking to me is that even now Smiley ignored so much of the evidence that we now know of, painting Martin as a child victim of racism, and not the likely perpetrator of the crime that resulted in his death.

Original Mike said...

"One big problem with affirmative action is that it wasn't implemented with a sell-by date and/or definition of success."

As the left asked of Bush in Iraq - "What is the end game? What does victory look like?"

Cedarford said...

Patrick said...
Geoff Matthews,

I don't know what MLK thought about AA back when he was living, and I'm not sure it's particularly relevant. It certainly is not dispositive of the issue.

Nevertheless, I don't glean support for AA from this

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

================
Unfortunately, that stupid quote is the only one most brain-dead conservatives know about MLK. Not his other stuff about racial quotas in city jobs, and socialist redistribution of wealth from those of content of character making money to those that need it due to their poor life choices.

Just one out of context quote that sounds good to conservatives to throw at the blacks and liberals. Who respond that the conservatives are ignorant of King and other civil rights leaders and what they really wanted - and have a point!

And what MLK, a morally challenged individual more than a Saint..thought about AA and quotas IS despositive.
After the Civil Rights Act passed, LBJ assigned two progressive Jewish lawyers to create the EEO table of races and ethnicity forms that employers and schools would have to file. That would quantify "discrimination", and set up employers and officials to explain disparate results and how they would "Voluntarily" correct them. (The Federal source of all Affirmative Action 'remedies')

THis was run by the academics and "Civil Rights Leadership" of the time in 1965, including the Sainted One, MLK.
They liked it!

Original Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chip S. said...

A path is a poor metaphor for AA. Better to think of racial justice as a continuous function over a closed and bounded interval.

It attains its maximum value at some point. Once that point has been reached, moving further in the same direction is counterproductive.

We are now in a time when it is considered racist to criticize a breathtakingly incompetent president. It is a time when a female candidate for the U.S. Senate accuses her opponent of sexism when he criticizes her.

Retreating from this destructive nonsense is not backtracking, it's re-optimizing.

Original Mike said...

"AA was supposed to for blacks, but the program got exploited by everyone else."

I was incredulous when women pushed their way onto the affirmative action bandwagon. How can you have AA for over half the population?

kimsch said...

I think it's still a paternalistic government. Feminists came out and said a woman doesn't need a husband. Fine. But a couple, sharing responsibilities (no matter who does what) works better for families than a single mother alone.

Government has become the "husband", the provider.

Look at the Julia story - she's provided for all her life by that wonderful, benevolent government.

tim in vermont said...

So the reason to support AA is because one doesn't want to be seen as on the side of the "wrong sort of people" as they say?

Wow. It is said that liberals think differently than conservatives. One of the things is "gaze cues." Search on "liberal" and "conservative" and "gaze cues" for more. But the upshot is that liberals tend to be more influenced by what others think, whereas conservatives tend to think for themselves. Both sides, IMHO, think that the other side thinks the same way they do, and must just have some nefarious motive for coming to the conclusions they do.

This is one of those cases. AA is *wrong* the way it is implemented, it is *unpopular* because it is *wrong*. It *punishes the innocent* for the crimes of their grandparents, and while it *in a directed manner from specific groups*, it *rewards capriciously* many who *never suffered harm*. The whole concept is pernicious to our society.

And if you want to know my motivations for writing the above, read my words, my motivations are there, not hidden under some crypto racism protecting facade.

Cedarford said...

The two progressive Jewish lawyers LBJ assigned to formalize races and ethnicities in government reporting forms created by their EEO following the Civil Rights Act - well deserve spots in US history, along with their supporting cast.
Alsmost half a century later, we need a formal academic study into how the hispanic, black, Native American, and Pacific Islander "races" were created by the two lawyers.

Their greatest creation was "the hispanic people". Meaning Spanish speaking blacks brought to Latin America before the 1st slave set foot on the N American shore....children of Nazi refugees born in Paraguay, Japanese Peruvians and Brazilians - but not actual hispanics born on the Iberian Penninsula who the two Jews assigned as "white".

Native American was a 1965 feat of intellectual wizardry as well. A 1/64th 1/128th blood person was a native American, but not the full-blooded 100% Mayan Guatemalans cleaning toilets at Indian Casinos today. They are "hispanic".

The lawyers, with MLK and the Civil Rights leaderships full connivance and endorsement - went with the old Racist South "one touch of the tarbrush" rule for blacks. (Why 43 years later at the 2008 Olympics we celebrated a 1/64th black as the 1st Negro ever to medal in Olympic swimming...despite his blue eyes and blonde hair.)

My favorite is Pacific Islander. That is where the two progressive Jews got really creative and said only people on certain Islands qualified as "minorities".

Alex said...

Anyone who is against AA - you are to report to your local reeducation camp immediately.

Blue Ox said...

" (Why 43 years later at the 2008 Olympics we celebrated a 1/64th black as the 1st Negro ever to medal in Olympic swimming...despite his blue eyes and blonde hair.)"

Wanna try that again, idiot?

http://whatsortsofpeople.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/3876mb03a6c63-dfc2-4e49-b7ee-9a047e57d8d21.jpg

The Crack Emcee said...

Another post gone - quoted by Original Mike - wild.

n.n said...

With assimilation it should be considerably easier to respect individual dignity today. The real threat to the viability of an integrated American society stems from policies designed to divide people by classes and encourage development and preservation of prejudice. This includes, but is not limited to, affirmative action. If it was ever justified, then it could only be justified for one generation, and it would have been better handled through ex post facto review when there was probable cause. We cannot and should not presume guilt or prejudice.

In any case, if Americans in the majority continue to embrace evolutionary dysfunction, then this concern is really a moot point anyway. It's just an intellectual curiosity to keep us distracted as a pragmatic group of people endeavor to replace us. Isn't "democracy" wonderful? Well, it is ours to lose.

And people wonder why corruption is progressive. It begins with selective respect for individual dignity. It is exacerbated with a rejection of the natural order. It ends with the devaluation of human life.

jimbino said...

A big part of education and of becoming an adult is learning to discriminate. As to size, sex, race and color and many other qualities.

Education teaches us to resist gummint efforts to force us to ignore differences, to treat unequal things as equal. Hell, you can be reminded of the pervasive discrimination in our country just by visiting Yosemite, where you will see only Asians (85%) and Whites (15%); no Blacks, no Hispanics and no American Indians. Gummint itself is the greatest Race Discriminator of all!

Amartel said...

Bob Ellison @9:56
"The way to stop racism is: stop being racist." I can't remember who said that (approximately).

Chief Justice John Roberts said "the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."

Didn't Justice O'Connor give AA another 25 years in Grutter v. Bollinger? That was a 2003 case so we've got another 16 years. Not exactly a "well-embedded norm."

Bob Ellison said...

Amartel, yes, thank you; Hagar got it up there as well. You folks probably did better than I in history classes.

O'Connor was perhaps not the brightest light ever to shine in the SCOTUS, but at least she gave everyone a deadline.

Amartel said...

I was joking that Justice O'Connor set a sunset date for AA. She didn't, of course. She was just trying to make the decision seem reasonable and expressing her expectation that AA will be phased out in 25 years based on her assumption that the law school really really wants a race neutral admissions standard.

From Wikipedia, the quote about the expected 25 years phase-out and some bonus snarkage by the great Justice Thomas:

"The Court takes the Law School at its word that it would like nothing better than to find a race-neutral admissions formula and will terminate its use of racial preferences as soon as practicable. The Court expects that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today."

The phrase "25 years from now" was echoed by Justice Thomas in his dissent. Justice Thomas, writing that the system was "illegal now", concurred with the majority only on the point that he agreed the system would still be illegal 25 years hence.

Michael K said...

"Now there are Black people in the pipeline - in some areas even more than there should be by population ratio - and we can tell it is time to cut back by the ever more esoteric arguments for keeping these ad hoc Rube Goldberg contrivances going."

An astonishing percentage of the beneficiaries of AA are upper lass American blacks, like Obama, and immigrants. It is not accident that Colin Powell's family are Jamaicans.

There have been some interesting studies of West Indian populations, like Barbados where men were taken away to work and then returned, and Haiti which excluded whites, and Dominican Republic which welcomed white immigrants,

Balfegor said...

Many, many people who think of themselves as good people, certainly decent people, think they've been doing the right thing and worry that those who are pushing for color blindness are not the good people.

I think part of what those people -- who think of themselves as "good," "decent" people -- fear is that adoption today of the colour-blind norm would represent a judgment that they were racists too, that they weren't the good decent people they told themselves they were, but were in fact condescending, paternalistic, and racist.

Balfegor said...

Re: Original Mike:

"AA was supposed to for blacks, but the program got exploited by everyone else."

I was incredulous when women pushed their way onto the affirmative action bandwagon. How can you have AA for over half the population
?

The majority/minority thing isn't really relevant -- don't they have affirmative action for Malays in Malaysia?

If Affirmative Action is about compensating bloodlines for injustices committed against their ancestors, well, tiny minorities can commit gross injustices too. If Affirmative Action is about diversity, the fact that you're a majority says nothing whatsoever about your ability to compete on an even footing with minorities -- and if you can't then of course Affirmative Action is going to be used to help you and hurt them because that's what needed to ensure diversity. We see this a little in California already, where the principal effect (and I suspect, purpose) of Affirmative Action is to drive down the numbers of Asians at top state schools.

Cedarford said...

Blue Ox - Got your 1st Negro, evah!! - confused, my lefty lad. The one the media celebrated as the 1st medalling swimming negro and a landmark in racial advancement, is Anothony Ervin.

Affirmative action admissions and a minority athlete in a qualifying "nontraditional sport", too.

Whiter than me, and a 1st Jewish Black Negro ever to medal as well as the landmark 1st Negro ! (Jewish Mom, Dad barely black)
Hope he uses lots of sunblock when he swims outdoors or that will be one reddened-up Negro.

Follow this link to get a picture.
http://www.celebrityethnicity.blogspot.com/

I have nothing against the young man. I am sure he is a fine guy. I dislike affirmative action and the media "Narrative" of oppressed peoples lauded as the 1st Negro swimmer, the 1st Female F-16 pilot, the 1st Hispanic astronaut...etc.

Blue@9 said...

Many, many people who think of themselves as good people, certainly decent people, think they've been doing the right thing and worry that those who are pushing for color blindness are not the good people.

That explains so much, eh? It doesn't matter whether you're doing a good thing or not-- it just matters that you're not siding with the wrong people. There's something religious about that kind of thinking. Surprised?

Blue Ox said...

Cedarford:

I am well aware of who Anthony Ervin is. He won a pair of Gold Medals at the 2000 Olympics (which your trusted link refers to as the "2001 Olympics").

Once again

" (Why 43 years later at the 2008 Olympics we celebrated a 1/64th black as the 1st Negro ever to medal in Olympic swimming...despite his blue eyes and blonde hair.)"

Anthony Ervin had been retired for 5 years in 2008 when Cullen Jones won gold. He has neither blue eyes nor blonde hair.

http://b.vimeocdn.com/ts/272/884/272884141_640.jpg

Idiot.

Original Mike said...

"The majority/minority thing isn't really relevant"

I'm just sayin', it's kinda inefficient to give extra credit to 60-plus percent of the population. Economy of effort alone would suggest instead giving demerits to white males.

Not to mention it would be more honest.

Original Mike said...

"Another post gone - quoted by Original Mike - wild."

You're leaving? Because of me?

Was it something I said?

Ann Althouse said...

On the question of whether I've been the recipient of affirmative action.

1. I was a recipient of discrimination as a high school student, described in other posts, and it affected my entire career, giving me a much later start than the people I ultimately competed with.

2. I graduated first in my law school class at NYU, based entirely on a GPA achieved through blind-graded exams.

3. I'm sure the fact that I am a woman was valued by the people who hired me here at Wisconsin Law School, which was my first lawprof job and where I've remained ever since.

Steve Koch said...

OK, kudos to Althouse for opening up the affirmative action debate (maybe I wore her down). Can Althouse do us a favor and explain why it is a complex decision now to drop affirmative action. Althouse will probably make the best informed, clearest, least emotional, least insulting argument for affirmative action of anybody that frequents this board. By making the argument for affirmative action, Althouse will raise the level of argumentation on the left side, thus making the discussion more focused, productive, and enjoyable.

We cannot have a discussion of affirmative action without somebody on the left stepping up and making an argument for affirmative action. I hope they will address the political corruption (i.e. dem vote buying) implicit in affirmative action.

Gender discrimination should also be discussed because it is white males who are suffer discrimination, not white females.

I don't think Althouse is off to a good start by stating that affirmative action is embedded in the culture. Once upon a time slavery was embedded in the culture.

mtrobertsattorney said...

If affirmative action is "compensation" for past acts of injustice, what about a similar acknowledgement for past acts of justice?

It seems to me that anybody who had an ancestor who served in the Union Army during the Civil War, should be eligible for an affirmative action program. After all, their ancestor fought to end slavery

Kirk Parker said...

mtroberts,

That would certainly describe me! My great-grandfather served with the Second Regiment Iowa Volunteer Cavalry. (My grandmother was the youngest child, born when her father was around 60.)

My wife's family as an even stronger case. Her ancestor (I forgot exactly which one) arrived in SC as an immigrant from Germany, and decided to volunteer for the army since he had been a soldier in Germany. As time went on and his English improved a bit, he got a clearer picture of what the Civil War was about, defected, and joined the Union Army instead.

Steve Koch said...

From wikipedia:

Origins

The term "affirmative action" was first used in the United States. It first appeared in Executive Order 10925, which was signed by President John F. Kennedy on 6 March 1961, and it was used to refer to measures to achieve non-discrimination. In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued Executive Order 11246 which required federal contractors to take "affirmative action" to hire without regard to race, religion and national origin. In 1968, gender was added to the anti-discrimination list.

Purpose

Affirmative action is intended to promote equal opportunity. It is often instituted in government and educational settings to ensure that minority groups within a society are included in all programs. The justification for affirmative action is that it helps to compensate for past discrimination, persecution or exploitation by the ruling class of a culture, and to address existing discrimination. The implementation of affirmative action, especially in the United States, is considered by its proponents to be justified by disparate impact.

Quotas

Quotas are not legal in the United States. No employer, university, or other entity may create a set number required for each race.

Kathy said...

Steve Koch said that Ann set up a false premise as he writes "I don't think Althouse is off to a good start by stating that affirmative action is embedded in the culture. Once upon a time slavery was embedded in the culture."

We are on a timeline of human development. Thank goodness we saw the evil of slavery in 1864. Thanks goodness we saw the need for real Civil Rights in the early 1960s. Thanks goodness we can have this kind of discussion now - as whites are becoming the new Affirmative Action candidates of the next decade or two.

I love Ann's explanation of the idealistic goals of the original Affirmative action laws. Without them, the white privilege that is so unconsciously ingrained in any European rooted nation would have kept so many from gaining access to the middle class.

Here's an analogy: We all know about the Holocaust - we learn about it in K-12 school (sometimes over and over). How come we didn't learn about King Leopold's ravage of the Congo from 1984-1907 where 10 million Congolese died? How come we never learned about the Armenian Genocide in a similar timeframe?

Could it be that the Holocaust victims were white?

tim in vermont said...

Shorter version of my post:

If a racist lowlife asked you not to jump in a lake, would you do it?

jimbino said...

Kathy,

The Armenians I've known are pretty White, and they're certainly Caucasian. In fact, Armenian, Caucasian and Kardashian are of the same gender.

Balfegor said...

Re: Kathy:

Could it be that the Holocaust victims were white?

Did Cedarford see this? I expect he may have something to say . . .

That said, a few of the more obvious answers might include:

(a) America wasn't directly involved in Belgian Congo or the Ottoman Empire, but America was directly involved in stopping the Holocaust, by invading Europe. Of course American history books are going to crow about that!

(b) Nazis are everyone's favourite villain. Uniforms by Hugo Boss, etc. etc.

(c) American soldiers captured some of the concentration camps, and what they saw there left a huge impression, one that has been passed on, in some form, to the current generation.

In other words, that's a silly analogy. One might as well ask why American schoolchildren are not made to dwell on the An Lushan Rebellion or the disaster of the Teutoburg Forest.

Cedarford said...

Blue Ox - My exemplary Negro was the 1st black to medal in a swimming event. Your exemplary Negro wasn't "1st Negro to medal".

Idiot.

Balfegor said...

The Armenians I've known are pretty White, and they're certainly Caucasian.

And how!

jimbino said...

Somebody needs to post a Devil's Dictionary of Leftist thinking, starting with:

Affirmative Action = leftist ruse to gain minority votes while pretending to do something about our endemic Amerikan racism, sexism, etc.

Diversity = leftist term for equalizing the racial apportioning while paying no mind to diversity of skills, height, nationality, intelligence, religion, et.al. [Supreme Court is "diverse" with no Protestants, Muslims or Atheists or anybody who understands STEM--all degreed in English, psych and gummint]

Social Security = an insecure leftist system for transferring wealth from young, single, childfree and industrious Black men to White, married, old, breeding and indolent women.

Public Education = a leftist system to dumb down and bore the bright achievers while hiding information about sex, finance and expatriate opportunities from the students, all at great expense.

PPACA = a leftist system to sustain Big Pharma and Big Insurance while invading patients' privacy and a trillion-dollar unaffordable way, all at great expense in wealth, income and liberty of the people.

Cedarford said...

Kathy - "We all know about the Holocaust - we learn about it in K-12 school (sometimes over and over). How come we didn't learn about King Leopold's ravage of the Congo from 1984-1907 where 10 million Congolese died? How come we never learned about the Armenian Genocide in a similar timeframe?"

===================
Balegor gave some fine reasons.
I will add what he doesn't.
What "atrocities" a population are propagandized against is also a large function of who controls the channels of information.

In Iran, you will see emphasis on the MOngols, Tamur the Lame..not the "Jewish Holocaust". In Africa, the atricities pounded into schoolkids and in mass entertainment media are about the horrors of colonialism, not the Jews.
Irish, Chinese, Latins...all give far less emphasis on the Jews troubles and more on their own troubles and injustices.

In America, Jewish clout makes "THE only Holocaust worth talking about", the Jewish one. Few Americans know a thing about the Belgian Congo, the MOngol Holocaust, the Ukrainian Homoldor, the deaths of tens of millions of Hindis and Buddhists in Northern India in the 800s by Muslim butchers.
I think the tally is 680 Hollywood movies on, or relating to the Jewish Holocaust...one on the Cambodian genocide, zero movies on the Armenians, Ukrainians, the Tatar and Cossack democides, the democide in China.

It's about clout.

It is also why each schoolkid is expected to know "6 million Jews"..but not know how many Americans died in WWII. Test that out for yourself. Ask 10 kids or adults how many Jews perished in WWII, then ask how many Americans. You will get 100% 'correct' answers on the Jews, likely zero on how many US troops died.

And don't even think to ask Americans about holocausts in the Congo, Ukraine, N India, Armenia, Iran, Greeks 1900-1910. The response will be "what Holocaust"?

Could it be that the Holocaust victims were white?

Michael said...

Professor. You have the history right, exactly right. At the inflection point all those years ago the other choice,presented to blacks, was between the integrationist King's vision and the Malcolm X seperatist ideal. The latter argued that black culture was juat fine, thanks, and integration was a whitey scam. Most, of course, chose the Malcolm X approach. Easier. Tragically easier.

Trashhauler said...

I think Affirmative Action is morphing into Diversity. I noticed last year that the USAF now has a Diversity Plan, God help us. I ran into a bit of bother on a veteran's website by pointing out that diversity, per se, is not a military virtue. In fact, the historical list of better military performance is rife with units of homogeneous background for a number of reasons mostly related to esprit de corps. There is no data or logic that says, the more different the participants are, the better the unit will perform. Yet, here we go again, trying to make a silk purse out of society's pig ear.

Elliott A said...

Cedarford- Most Jews are white

Elliott A said...

It didn't help them at the time

Balfegor said...

Re: Michael:

The latter argued that black culture was juat fine, thanks, and integration was a whitey scam. Most, of course, chose the Malcolm X approach. Easier. Tragically easier.

I don't think that's completely right, though. I'm certainly not a scholar of Black social movements in the 60s, as I find the subject rather tedious, but I think there was a strong vein of self-reliance running through Malcolm X's approach. That is, its goal wasn't just blind rejection of White norms, but construction of a parallel Black community, one which could stand on its own. In its own way, that would be a harder path than the path of integration.

I don't know what his position on government privileges like affirmative action was, but philosophically, there's at least something there that would reject such dependence.

Kathy said...

Balegor and Cedarford - Your points are well taken but don't you think we all benefit when we learn of the "others" - the other genocides that have been ravaged upon humans in the last century? Why can't we teach them all - you know what they say - well - two things - history is written by the victors and "less we repeat the same mistakes".

My students are horrified to learn that 4-6 million Congolese have died since 1995 - they were little kids then. Why is this such a mystery to students who come to college?

Who is writing our textbooks? Who is teaching what?

I believe this is a major question that needs to be answered before you call my analogy "silly".

Kathy said...

Oh - yeah - Belegaor and Cedarford -

If you have read Hochschild's historical narrative King Leopold's Ghost - you would know that America did - to some extent - play both a Congressional role in acknowledging King Leopold's ravage of the Congo and a role in editorializing the atrocities that ended Leopold's reign in 1907.

I posit another question though - why does the BBC hold authority over informing the world about what is happening today in this richest nation in the world (as for resources) and yet the greatest failed state in the world?

Why can't we change the way we teach history?

bgates said...

Many, many people who think of themselves as good people, certainly decent people, think they've been doing the right thing and worry that those who are pushing for color blindness are not the good people.

That was as true of the Democrats who chose Negroes to get out of the fields and come live with them in the big house as it is of the Democrats who choose African Americans to get out of the ghetto and come live with them in the university.

Cato Renasci said...

This is pretty much crap, Ann.

There were plenty of us who wanted to see race blindness back then, but the burgeoning race industry didn't like that approach.

Affirmative action could have been very different, too: it could have maintained existing academic standards and used the high schools to identify kids who had the cognitive ability, but not the preparation, and put them into community colleges with remedial help until they were ready to compete in the university on an equal footing. Since the AA transfers would have met the same transfer standards as the other transfer students, there would be no stigma, and because they would not have any slack cut at the university, their degrees would not be suspect. It was possible, and there were those who supported that approach.

But, private colleges didn't like it because they wanted 'brownie points' for getting minority kids in right away, and didn't want to partner with public community colleges.

Balfegor said...

Re: Kathy --

I'm not sure what you're trying to say at this point. The reasons Americans are fixated on the Holocaust are obvious, and have nothing to do with the whiteness of the victims. Indeed, those reasons are so transcendently obviously unconnected with whiteness that it is possibly the worst example you could choose if you wanted to make a point about whiteness.

Learning about other genocides is fine, but education in American schools ought to focus on American history. So if you really want to focus on White people being beastly to non-Whites, the obvious choice would be the Trail of Tears rather than, say, the Indian Mutiny.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't teach World History too -- to let young students see the place of the USA in history, naturally they ought to learn about Athens and Sparta, Rome and Carthage, the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, the Dark Ages, Charlemagne, 1066 and all that, the Thirteenth: Greatest of Centuries, the Hundred Years' War, the English Civil War, the Glorious Revolution, the Seven Years War, and the American Revolution, and the bits of world history we were involved in afterwards.

Topics like the Corn Laws and the "dear loaf," that nasty business of 1848, the Mutiny, the Crimean War, the Boer War, etc. are naturally not going to be a huge focus of a history class in most American high schools, and that seems perfectly all right.

And while topics like the Six Martyred Ministers, the tyrant Yeonsangun, and the Imjin War or the Genpei War, the Sengoku Jidai, and the Bakumatsu are all of great interest to me, I can see there's no particular reason they should be taught in an American history class. So too, even, with events of world historical importance with horrific human consequences, like the An Lu Shan rebellion.

We have a wealth of history of our own, and our students learn very little of it as it is. We ought to focus on our history first.

Balfegor said...

I guess, now that I look at what I just wrote, it's pretty clear that I have almost as many problems with how history is taught to Americans as Kathy has, just in a different direction.

Well!

There is only a tiny amount of historical information students can hold in their brains, because their brains have been filled with sex, drugs, and newfangled rock and roll (bah humbug!). So we ought to fill it with a heroic narrative of America's place in history: the USA as the shining city on a hill, the last best hope of earth, blah blah blah.

I want my fellow citizens to feel a stirring in their heart, a yearning after greatness, when think on their fatherland. I want them to feel a crushing pressure to live up to the greatness of their forefathers, and a sense that they will be shamed before their ancestors should they fall short. I want them to be patriots.

Even if I am not.

Roadkill said...

The great irony is that Martin Luther King advocated for the color-blind road, not affirmative action. Those ominous clouds of inferiority were forming in his daughter's little mental sky not because she needed a leg up via AA, but rather because she was not being treated like everyone else. The AA construct would surely be a surprise to MLK, who only asked that persons of color be judged "not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

Kirk Parker said...

Here's another entry for that esteemed dictionary:

jimbino (n): a person who rants against breeders, while secretly benefiting from their own breeder ancestry; more generally, a hypocrite.

John Lynch said...

Just because it's different for aging Boomers doesn't mean it's different for the rest of us.

Steve Koch said...

Clearly affirmative action is wrong because it discriminates against white males on racial and gender grounds.

The defenders of affirmative action such as Althouse predominantly have a conflict of interest because they have received preferential treatment due to affirmative action. They claim to be high minded but they are just working the political system to preserve unfair economic advantages for themselves that are achieved by unconstitutionally discriminating against white males.

These same immoral sanctimonious hypocrites defending affirmative action use it to increase the political power of the dems by buying the votes of women, blacks, and hispanics.

It is outrageous, immoral, and unconstitutional for the government to force racial and gender discrimination against white males and should have been stopped decades ago.

GOP pols are, of course, quite stupid, confused, and incompetent in opposing affirmative action.