Affirmative Action goes before the Supreme Court again

From ABC News:

Affirmative Action: Supreme Court Justices Skeptical of University of Texas Plan

By 

At the Supreme Court today, the conservative justices had skeptical questions for a lawyer defending the University of Texas’ plan that takes race into consideration in the admissions process.

One of their main concerns goes to the heart of the case: at what point does the court stop deferring to a university’s judgment that the consideration of race is still necessary?

“I understand my job under our precedents is to determine if your use of race is narrowly tailored to a compelling interest, “Chief Justice John Roberts said to Gregory Garre, a lawyer representing the University of Texas. “The compelling interest you identify is attaining a critical mass of minority students at the University of Texas, but you won’t tell what the critical mass is. How am I supposed to do the job that our precedents say I should do?”

Much more at the link. Here’s the video:

The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States states, in part:

  • Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
  • Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

That seems rather simple to me: the state may not treat anybody differently, and Affirmative Action is based upon the notion that the government may, and should, treat people differently based upon their race, ethnicity or sex. Alas! the very simple, very straightforward constitutional principle of granting to each person the equal protection of the laws seems to have been honored in the breach more than in fact.

In 2003, the Supreme Court allowed the University of Michigan’s Law School to retain an Affirmative Action policy which considered the race of the applicant as one of several factors in the case Grutter v Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003). A companion case, concerning undergraduate admissions at the University of Michigan, which granted 20 “points,” one-fifth of the points needed to guarantee admission, to every single “underrepresented minority” applicant solely because of race, was declared unconstitutional in Gratz v Bollinger, 539 U.S. 244 (2003). The swing Justice making the fifth vote in the 5-4 decision was Sandra O’Connor.

The Court depended on the opinion of Justice Lewis Powell in the first of the Affirmative Action cases, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke 438 U.S. 265 (1978), which allowed the University of California at Davis Medical School, based on the application of strict legal scrutiny of any race-conscious state activity. Justice Powell’s opinion in Bakke is the one most often cited, but there was no majority opinion in Bakke, and no other Justice joined in Justice Powell’s opinion.

Supporters of racial preferences had hoped, your Editor supposes, that the two University of Michigan cases had settled the matter. Of course, they did nothing of the sort: Justice O’Connor’s majority opinion in Grutter concluded:

We take the Law School at its word that it would “like nothing better than to find a race-neutral admissions formula” and will terminate its race-conscious admissions program as soon as practicable. It has been 25 years since Justice Powell first approved the use of race to further an interest in student body diversity in the context of public higher education. Since that time, the number of minority applicants with high grades and test scores has indeed increased. We expect that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today.

That meant that, at the very latest, the issue would be rejoined in 2028. But, free citizens being free to file suit, an injured party didn’t take being discriminated against quietly, and filed suit claiming that the University of Texas’ race-conscious admissions policies constituted illegal racial discrimination, and Fisher v University of Texas has reached the Supreme Court. The very inexact science of Justice counting does not bode well for Affirmative Action surviving, as “swing” Justice, Anthony Kennedy, both voted in the minority in Grutter and asked some hostile-seeming questions of Mr Garre today,1 and Justice O’Connor has retired, and has been replaced by the more conservative Samuel Alito.

The liberal editors of The Philadelphia Inquirer weighed in, in today’s lead editorial, concluding that, “Voiding affirmative action without offering viable alternatives would be devastating.”

It is reasoning like that which has led to this still unsettled mess. It is not, and should not be, the responsibility of the courts to “offer viable alternatives.” It is the duty of the legislature, of our elected representatives, to write the laws. It is the duty of our Supreme Court to decide whether the laws written by our legislatures fit within the restrictions of the Constitution.

And to your Editor, discrimination on the basis of race clearly does not. The words of the Fourteenth Amendment are simple and clear. In attempting to allow Affirmative Action, Justice Powell in 1978, and Justice O’Connor in 2003, came up with all sorts of good reasons why we should allow such well-intended discrimination, as long as the reason was a compelling state interest and the discrimination was narrowly tailored to achieve such goals. Actually upholding the clear words of the Constitution was just not going to be done.

Justice O’Connor’s conclusion, quoted above, shows the inherent weakness of Affirmative Action: the Court recognized that it couldn’t be continued forever, because it does run afoul of the Fourteenth Amendment, but, absent an unforeseen constitutional amendment, it seems wholly unreasonable to believe that something which is constitutional in 2003, or 2027 would become automatically unconstitutional the following year.

The simple thing, and the right thing, is for the five sensible Justices2 to rule that the Constitution actually means what it says, and puts an end to legalized state discrimination.3
____________________________________

  1. The transcript of the oral arguments.
  2. Chief Justice John Roberts, and Associate Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Anthony Kennedy (sometimes) and Samuel Alito.
  3. Your Editor has no objections to private institutions employing some form of Affirmative Action; the Fourteenth Amendment and the Constitution as a whole does not apply to private action. § 601 of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides that no person shall on the ground of race or color be excluded from participating in any program receiving federal financial assistance; Affirmative Action policies at private schools would seem to run afoul of that, but the Congress can amend that.

27 Comments

  1. “Diversity” is a meaningless term. Diversity of what? Thought? Opinion? Should more conservatives be admitted to make up for all the liberal bias? No, treat all citizens the same. Ignore race entirely, as if you can even prove what race is. Look at Elizabeth Warren, who for all intents and purposes it pure white, never mind her claimed 1/32th Indian ancestry. Or Obama, who is half white, and his other half is African, not American black. If I put on an Afro wig and paint my skin in shoe polish, does that mean I can score lower and still get in to college?

  2. Affirmative Action is the least we can do for three centuries of slavery and second class citizenship against our African-American fellow citizens. And the second class citizenship still exists. One need go no further than this very blog for the evidence, support of voter suppression efforts being one of the present day manifestations!

  3. WW wrote:

    Affirmative Action is the least we can do for three centuries of slavery and second class citizenship against our African-American fellow citizens. And the second class citizenship still exists. One need go no further than this very blog for the evidence, support of voter suppression efforts being one of the present day manifestations!

    You may think that “Affirmative Action is the least we can do,” but at some point you have to note the fact that it is treating people differently on the basis of race . . . and that, when done by the government, is unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment.

    Let’s assume that the respondents triumph in Fisher v University of Texas, leaving Grutter intact. Grutter has an expiration date of 2028; what will you say — should you still be with us then — if aggregate black achievement still does not closely resemble aggregate white achievement?

    And I will tell you, right now, that aggregate black achievement will still lag in 2028. Why? It’s simple: the high school dropout rate for blacks is significantly higher than for whites. The graph is for students who should have been graduated in 2008.

    The students who were not graduated on time — some will be graduated a year late, no doubt — in 2008 will be 38 years old in 2028, at what should be an age when they have pretty well established their careers. Aggregate black achievement, at least as will be measured by productivity and income, for 2028 has already been set lower than that for whites, or any other ethnic group, because of the higher drop out rate among blacks. We pour billions into public education, and it isn’t “three centuries of slavery and second class citizenship against our African-American fellow citizens” which caused students to choose to drop out, but immediate factors.

    You can add the differences in the crime rates among racial groups to that. Young black males commit crimes at a disproportionately higher rate, and thus blacks in 2028 will have higher unemployment rates than any other group, because there will be a higher percentage of them with criminal records.

    Yet Grutter has an expiration date of 2028 set right in there; what will you say, in 2028, when the statistics I’ve just noted have the results I have stated?

  4. Affirmative Action is the least we can do for three centuries of slavery and second class citizenship against our African-American fellow citizens.

    All affirmative action does is set people up to fail. Would you want to be operated on by a man who only got into Med School because of affirmative action? Would you trust an airline pilot or air traffic controller hired because of affirmative action?

  5. Talk about failure, would Barack Obama be POTUS today if the nation wasn’t suffering under the unconstitutional but officially sanctioned racism of so-called Affirmative Action laws for over 35 years?

    No one can say for sure, but I think not, but it’s possible, maybe even probable.

  6. In the meantime, from Karen:

    Obama Admin Pressing Forward With Race Based Disciplinary Policy In Schools

    October 13, 2012
    By 

    Over the summer I alerted you to plans by the Obama administration to force schools across the US to institute race-based disciplinary policies. Well, it’s already happening.

    Under pressure from the Education Department, which investigated it over “racial disparities” and “disparate impact,” the Oakland, California, school system has agreed to impose “targeted reductions” in “suspensions for African American students, Latino students, and students receiving special education services; and African American students suspended for defiance.” See Agreement to Resolve Oakland Unified School District, OCR Case No. 09125001, page 14, Section VIII(c)(iii).

    These “targeted reductions” are racial quotas in all but name. (“Disparate impact” is when a process affects one racial group more than another, despite having no racist motive, such as when whites have higher average scores than minorities on a standardized test.) The Oakland case is just “the first of some 20 federal investigations into racial disparities in school districts’ disciplinary practices,” which may lead to racial quotas in school discipline in many other school systems (and eventually perhaps in colleges as well).

    Contrary to the Education Department’s demands, the federal appeals court in Chicago has said that schools cannot use racial targets or quotas for school discipline, since that violates the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause. See People Who Care v. Rockford Board of Education, 111 F.3d 528, 534 (7th Cir. 1997). That court ruling also said that a school cannot use race in student discipline to offset racial disparities not rooted in school officials’ racism (so-called “disparate impact”).

    Read the whole thing.

    In related news, Florida has unveiled a new plan to set academic goals for students based on race.

    On Tuesday, the board passed a revised strategic plan that says that by 2018, it wants 90 percent of Asian students, 88 percent of white students, 81 percent of Hispanics and 74 percent of black students to be reading at or above grade level. For math, the goals are 92 percent of Asian kids to be proficient, whites at 86 percent, Hispanics at 80 percent and blacks at 74 percent. It also measures by other groupings, such as poverty and disabilities, reported the Palm Beach Post.

    The plan has infuriated many community activists in Palm Beach County and across the state.

    Of course, the federal government had a hand in this as well.

    In addition, State Board of Education Chairwoman Kathleen Shanahan said that setting goals for different subgroups was needed to comply with terms of a waiver that Florida and 32 other states have from some provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. These waivers were used to make the states independent from some federal regulations. (Read More)

    These are examples of institutionalized racism, if you ask me.

    How, your Editor wonders, can our friends on the left ever expect minorities to catch up if we are going to hold minorities to separate, lower standards? Oh, but wait: we aren’t holding all minority students to separate, lower standards; the Sunshine State wants to set standards higher for Asian students.

    Now, Asians have certainly been a discriminated against minority in the past. We used Chinese “coolies” as manual laborers, in pretty harsh conditions often only barely distinguishable from slavery, and we threw Japanese-Americans into internment camps during World War II. More recent Asian immigrants, from Cambodia and Vietnam, often arrived with nothing but the ragged clothes on their backs. Did we somehow decide to discriminate in favor of Asian immigrants, leading to their higher achioevements, or was it something within the various Asian communities which enabled them to achieve success?

  7. Standards for admission is where we still need AA, but the standards for completion should be the same for all. This is the only way to compensate for three centuries of slavery and imposed second class citizenship, for which we should be thoroughly ashamed, and for which we owe reparations for our sins.

    Sandra Day O’Connor’s idea was that should take a generation or two more to allow AA to do its good works.

    I cannot help but think that those who oppose AA are those who either retain the racist impulse, or have never been understanding of the long term damage it has done, to the victim as well as the perpetrator.

    Instead of the Constitution being viewed in absolutist terms, specifically in this case the 14th Amendment, reality dictates that it be viewed as a living document which takes into account changes which inevitably occur over time. We should never view an absolutism as one which serves only to prolong a sin against a selected segment of our population, otherwise we are cruel fools for doing so.

  8. Perry, you’re the cruel fool who should be ashamed of your stupid comment. We all know slavery was outlawed in America over 140 years ago and since then no living American has been either enslaved or owned a slave. It’s much too late for former slave owners to pay reparations or for former slaves to receive payments, they’re all long dead. So unless you’re calling for people who never owned slaves to pay people who were never enslaved, then calls for reparations are yet another phony dodge for Democrats to buy votes with taxpayer money.

    As for the residual effects of slavery and racial discrimination, the way to end discrimination based on skin color is to stop using Affirmative Action to discriminate based on skin color. Wrongheaded caterwauling jerks like you fail to understand the damage done to our society by your refusal to insist on racial equality, worse, you’re calling for more race based special treatment. Racist!

    The Constitution is our bulwark against treacherous dictatorial leaders like Barack Obama who would undermine our fundamental freedoms, it can only be changed by the amendment process, otherwise it remains inviolate and government officials must take an oath to protect and defend it before they enter high office, although some of more recent vintage swear falsely as voters are becoming increasingly aware.

  9. I cannot help but think that those who oppose AA are those who either retain the racist impulse, or have never been understanding of the long term damage it has done, to the victim as well as the perpetrator.

    Gee, what a surprise! Those opposed to AA are either racist or stupid. Or both. Of course! Example #10,639 of how Perry is the ultimate hypocrite. Else, why would he continually complain about civility in here, yet constantly resort to statements such as the above?

    AA admittedly was needed at one time; it is MORE than arguable that it is still needed. Perry’s view runs into several problems:

    1) Why do so-called progressives such as yourself not care about the disastrous retention and/or graduation rates of the beneficiaries of [educational] AA?

    2) Why do so-called progressives such as yourself continually obfuscate the meaning of “equal protection” and “equal justice?” If you desire black Americans to have special privileges based on past treatment, then say so. Stop using equal protection when it suits you, and stop not using it when it suits you. It may not be popular, but if politicians (and others) just came out and said, “We’re going to stop beating around the bush and state outright that African-Americans alone are due special status for [insert time frame] in order to (hopefully) more fully integrate them into the greater society.

    3) Why isn’t the tens of billions already spent on social welfare programs “pay back” enough?

    4) When does AA legitimately terminate? Do you honestly believe liberals, especially racial liberals, will ever support ending AA — when it is clearly their gravy train?

  10. WW wrote:

    Instead of the Constitution being viewed in absolutist terms, specifically in this case the 14th Amendment, reality dictates that it be viewed as a living document which takes into account changes which inevitably occur over time. We should never view an absolutism as one which serves only to prolong a sin against a selected segment of our population, otherwise we are cruel fools for doing so.

    We certainly did decide to view the Fourteenth Amendment in less than absolutist terms . . . and it got us the separate but equal decision in Plessy v Ferguson.

    The Fourteenth Amendment was written specifically to prevent the state from treating people differently under the law; that was what the authors saw as the remedy for the very unequal treatment going on at the time.

    Naturally, you approve of viewing the Fourteenth Amendment as not meaning exactly what it says, because you happen to approve of the goals of the program. But if we can simply ignore the provision requiring equal protection of the laws in this instance, why can we not do so for other reasons, other instances? For example, many people believe that Muslims are a danger, pretty much the way many Americans felt about the Nesei during World War II, a significant potential underground for the jihadists. Since you view both the First and Fourteenth Amendments as not absolute, why could we not ban Islam, and subject those who were both Muslims and of Middle Eastern descent as potential enemies, deserving, at the very least, of heightened surveillance, if not apprehension and incarceration. We already have the precedents, in Hirabayashi v. United States, 320 US 81 (1943) and Korematsu v United States, 323 US 214 (1944), in which different treatment of American citizens of Japanese ancestry was acceptable, because the need to protect teh United States from espionage outweighed the individual rights of the petitioners or the rights of Americans of Japanese ancestry in general. I see no reason at all why those precedents would not be equally valid concerning Americans of Muslim allegiance and Middle Eastern ancestry; all that we have to do is, as you say, decide that the Fourteenth Amendment is not to be viewed in absolutist terms.

  11. Koolo asks:

    1) Why do so-called progressives such as yourself not care about the disastrous retention and/or graduation rates of the beneficiaries of [educational] AA? I am not aware of that. Do you have some facts to present?

    2) Why do so-called progressives such as yourself continually obfuscate the meaning of “equal protection” and “equal justice?” If you desire black Americans to have special privileges based on past treatment, then say so. Stop using equal protection when it suits you, and stop not using it when it suits you. It may not be popular, but if politicians (and others) just came out and said, “We’re going to stop beating around the bush and state outright that African-Americans alone are due special status for [insert time frame] in order to (hopefully) more fully integrate them into the greater society. The fact that African-Americans have not been the recipients of either equal protection or equal justice, and still are not, to the extent that the rest of us have, cannot be overlooked. Sandra Day O’Connor and her SCOTUS colleagues who prevailed on this issue recognized that there ought to be a time frame for AA, a goal really, but 28 years was not enough; it should have been more like three more generations. I wonder where I would be today had I been both poor and African-American, because in the day racism was more prevalent than today, so progress has been made; but more is needed, and AA is a facilitator to this still needed progress, in my view.

    3) Why isn’t the tens of billions already spent on social welfare programs “pay back” enough? White people are the main beneficiaries of social welfare programs. The “pay back” is in assisting those in need until they are able to survive on their own, the humane, and Christian thing to do.

    4) When does AA legitimately terminate? Do you honestly believe liberals, especially racial liberals, will ever support ending AA — when it is clearly their gravy train? An arbitrary date needs to be set, as in Sandra Day O’Connor’s idea. It is Liberals who are not “racial”, however, many Conservatives seem to be, like ropelight; or maybe ropelight is just insensitive to African-American history.

  12. Correction: Italic letter face was missing, so corrected below.

    4) When does AA legitimately terminate? Do you honestly believe liberals, especially racial liberals, will ever support ending AA — when it is clearly their gravy train? An arbitrary date needs to be set, as in Sandra Day O’Connor’s idea. It is Liberals who are not “racial”, however, many Conservatives seem to be, like ropelight; or maybe ropelight is just insensitive to African-American history.

  13. Koolo wrote:

    It may not be popular, but if politicians (and others) just came out and said, “We’re going to stop beating around the bush and state outright that African-Americans alone are due special status for [insert time frame] in order to (hopefully) more fully integrate them into the greater society.

    I’d say that was pretty much exactly what happened with Grutter V Bollinger. Justice O’Connor did exactly that, and specified the time frame, 25 years from the decision in 2003, which comes out to June of 2028.

    But, as noted above, Justice O’Connor’s expectation that Affirmative Action would not be needed after 2028 has already been frustrated, by the higher high school drop out rate and higher felony rate among American blacks. Come 2028, it will be virtually impossible that aggregate black achievement will match aggregate white achievement, because of the significantly larger, by proportion, number of blacks who have taken actions which will significantly diminish their future earning potential. Even if the black drop out and crime rates somehow lowered, this year, to match those of whites, and stayed that way until 2028, you’d still have half of the black labor force occupationally handicapped. Literally, we would have to wait until 2069 before it would even be possible for aggregate black achievement to match aggregate white achievement. (Math assumption: the black drop out and crime rates drop to match those of white immediately, and taking the entire black population under the older rates past retirement age of 65, to remove them from the statistical pool.)

  14. It is Liberals who are not “racial”, however, many Conservatives seem to be, like ropelight; or maybe ropelight is just insensitive to African-American history.

    Mr Editor, I am amazed that a man of your age has not yet acquired the wisdom to understand that context matters. Moreover, taking context into account will sometimes lead to what turns out to be mistakes in the longer term.

    It seems to me that in our system, an effective policy or law depends on the Constitution as the ultimate guide with the Courts making necessary judgments, and the Legislature reducing policy to practice.

    Context, which changes with time, is a factor which automatically comes into play in making judgments and decisions by both bodies. Moreover, in practice, our judicial branch is not completely autonomous from the legislative branch, although each has a specific function. But politics are present in each, is my point.

    Thus, the Constitution cannot be considered like a religion wherein absolutist mandates can be generated and enforced arbitrarily. It is on this point upon which you and I consistently disagree.

    And I use the term “arbitrarily” to indicate that ultimately, in Roman Catholicism for example, it is just another human who creates the mandates for acceptable and unacceptable behaviors.

    The beauty of democracy is that it enables the people to decide, not any one decider, as happens in certain religions like Roman Catholicism, and others.

    This is why the votes of our fellow citizens are so important, and why attempts by some to suppress the vote is so disappointing.

    So yes, context matters, thus must be taken into consideration when interpreting provisions in our Constitution in terms of our current context. To some this appears to be mush or creep. To others, like myself, it is a necessity, because our new knowledge and context must be taken into account.

  15. Mr Editor, the problem with your analysis here, is that you do not ask yourself why the behavior of African-Americans in general is different from white Americans? I claim that centuries of enforced second-class citizenship has promoted these cultural differences, and we have not done enough, nor has there been enough time, to turn this around sufficiently. In my view it will be many more generations of effort and attention required which will keep turning this around to where it should be, so we will have to continue to work at overcoming this unfortunate mess that we have permitted to happen over centuries. I quickly point out that American women have been fighting similar battles and are not there yet, like their pay is still only 70% of their male counterparts. A gender and racist dominated society, dominated by whites, takes many generations to rectify. You do not seem to understand this human phenomenon, Mr Editor.

  16. 1) I am not aware of that. Do you have some facts to present?

    Try here for starters.

    2) The fact that African-Americans have not been the recipients of either equal protection or equal justice, and still are not, to the extent that the rest of us have, cannot be overlooked. Sandra Day O’Connor and her SCOTUS colleagues who prevailed on this issue recognized that there ought to be a time frame for AA, a goal really, but 28 years was not enough; it should have been more like three more generations. I wonder where I would be today had I been both poor and African-American, because in the day racism was more prevalent than today, so progress has been made; but more is needed, and AA is a facilitator to this still needed progress, in my view.

    Why is three generations sufficient? Why not five? Or ten? What evidence do you have that blacks are not recipients of equal justice/protection? How do you know this is racial and not economic?

    3) White people are the main beneficiaries of social welfare programs. The “pay back” is in assisting those in need until they are able to survive on their own, the humane, and Christian thing to do.

    Stop. Blacks as a percentage of their population far outrank whites in terms of specific forms of welfare and you know it. And that’s fine; the question is, again, why isn’t this sufficient, or, when will it be sufficient? And how can you use “Christian thing to do” when we’re supposed to act in a secular manner, Perry? What does this have to do with the law? If one of us used the term “Christian” you’d be ripping us for it. It’s the Christian thing to do via individuals to assist those in need, not to yank our tax dollars to have the gov. waste in the process of assisting anyone.

    And your comment “able to survive on their own” is quite revealing of your attitude towards blacks.

    4) An arbitrary date needs to be set, as in Sandra Day O’Connor’s idea. It is Liberals who are not “racial”, however, many Conservatives seem to be, like ropelight; or maybe ropelight is just insensitive to African-American history.

    Again, why not make the date tomorrow, then, if it’s to be arbitrary?

    And liberals are INDEED the racialists here. You’re one of the biggest offenders. You see race in practically everything that goes against the current president (as do many in the MSM especially at MSNBC). This isn’t surprising, however, given your attitude towards blacks. After all, if they yet “cannot survive on their own” (your words), then it stands to reason our own elected president cannot govern w/o some sort of white person’s assistance, right?

  17. Thus, the Constitution cannot be considered like a religion wherein absolutist mandates can be generated and enforced arbitrarily. It is on this point upon which you and I consistently disagree.

    The whole point of having absolutes is to prevent decisions from being made arbitrarily. It is only when absolutes are replaced by mush that people can make decisions based on their own whims as opposed to hard and fast principles.

  18. Standards for admission is where we still need AA, but the standards for completion should be the same for all. This is the only way to compensate for three centuries of slavery and imposed second class citizenship, for which we should be thoroughly ashamed, and for which we owe reparations for our sins.

    We paid for the sin of slavery with the Civil War, when hundreds of thousands of Northern whites died to free the slaves. That debt has been paid.

    Yours is a patronizing attitude that assumes blacks are too stupid and lazy to make it on their own. We don’t treat Jews and Asians that way, although both groups have certainly been oppressed in the past. Affirmative action is a double whammy. Whites don’t respect its recipients because they assume they were given a position they don’t deserve, and blacks don’t respect themselves, knowing they didn’t get where they are based on merit.

  19. Also, Perry, you ducked my point. Do you want to be operated on by a doctor who received affirmative action? Or would you want to fly on a plane that was designed, flown, or maintained by affirmative action personnel? I would really like an answer to this question.

  20. Finally, look at the US military. There is no affirmative action of any kind. Everyone has to meet the same standards, and yet blacks have done well in the military. Further, because there’s no shortcuts to success, blacks in the military are respected by their peers, and further, they respect themselves.

  21. Mr Editor, the problem with your analysis here, is that you do not ask yourself why the behavior of African-Americans in general is different from white Americans? I claim that centuries of enforced second-class citizenship has promoted these cultural differences, and we have not done enough, nor has there been enough time, to turn this around sufficiently.

    This contradicts the statistical evidence, however, especially in terms of family cohesiveness. The Great Society programs disintegrated the black family … mainly b/c white liberals like yourself, Perry, believed that blacks “could not survive” w/o their “wise” guidance. Weird then, that black illegitimacy was so much lower prior to the Great Society programs. For instance, it was in the high 20%s in 1964; now it is around 70%.

    I quickly point out that American women have been fighting similar battles and are not there yet, like their pay is still only 70% of their male counterparts.

    Except that this is pure baloney. This figure is often cited — purposely misleadingly — to give the impression people like Perry want. The FACT is that that figure is an overall figure of men and women from ALL professions. Since men work in higher paying professions (like law, medicine) and women in lower paying professions (education, nursing), this accounts for the disparity. When practicaly ALL similar factors are taken into account — education level, experience, background — the pay difference is miniscule, perhaps 1-2%. And then it’s highly debatable that is due to discrimination.

  22. In addition, regarding black illegitimacy, African-American economist Walter Williams notes “Historically, from 1870s on up to about 1940s, and depending on the city, 75 to 90 percent of black kids lived in two parent families.

  23. Koolo says:
    October 15, 2012 at 14:45
    In addition, regarding black illegitimacy, African-American economist Walter Williams notes “Historically, from 1870s on up to about 1940s, and depending on the city, 75 to 90 percent of black kids lived in two parent families.“

    You have described Baltimore in the 50′s. It wasn’t hard to listen to the radio and hear the end of year reports on murder rates in a city near 1 million and it was in the very low one hundreds. Just recently (and the numbers are improving) but the rate had gone up to 300 when the population was 650K. The change occured in 1964. It was LBJ and his Great Society. After 64, marriage rates went down, one parent households went up, and the drug trade got bolder. I always found Irony in the the more money thrown at a problem like the Great Society and the War on Drugs just gave us more of what we didn’t want.

    And about this time with all the Kum-by-ya going on, the insanity of we can make everything equal if we force it on people. So, in reality, has any social experiment ever work? Haven’t seen one yet. It’s been 50 years, three generations, and we still agonize over the same problems that refuse to get fixed with government coercion.

  24. WW wrote:

    Mr Editor, the problem with your analysis here, is that you do not ask yourself why the behavior of African-Americans in general is different from white Americans? I claim that centuries of enforced second-class citizenship has promoted these cultural differences, and we have not done enough, nor has there been enough time, to turn this around sufficiently. In my view it will be many more generations of effort and attention required which will keep turning this around to where it should be, so we will have to continue to work at overcoming this unfortunate mess that we have permitted to happen over centuries. I quickly point out that American women have been fighting similar battles and are not there yet, like their pay is still only 70% of their male counterparts. A gender and racist dominated society, dominated by whites, takes many generations to rectify. You do not seem to understand this human phenomenon, Mr Editor.

    Actually, this comment is progress, because, with it, we have now all agreed that the problems attendant with black aggregate achievement not being equal to that of whites is due to cultural differences within the respective communities. Perhaps a gap has been bridged? :)

    The question immediately arises, however: can whites change the culture in which so many black Americans live? That’s something I do not see as very likely, and many black Americans actively resist such a notion. Ron Christie wrote “Acting White: The Curious History of a Racial Slur;” this is it’s description from Amazon:

    In the tradition of Randall Kennedy’s Nigger and Shelby Steele’s The Content of Our Character, Acting White demonstrates how the charge that any African-American who is successful, well mannered, or well educated is “acting white,” is a slur that continues to haunt blacks. Ron Christie traces the complex history of the phrase, from Uncle Tom’s Cabin to the tensions between Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X to Bill Cosby’s controversial NAACP speech in 2004. The author also writes candidly of being challenged by black students for his “acting white,” and also of being labeled a race traitor in Congress by daring to be Republican. This lucid chronicle reveals how this prevalent put-down sets back much of the hard-earned progress for all blacks in American society. Deftly argued and determinedly controversial, this book is certain to spur thoughtful discussion for years to come.

    The only real hope I ever had for an Obama presidency was that perhaps, just perhaps, the very existence of a black President, one who had gone through high school without dropping out, one who went to college and then law school, one who did enter the mainstream of success in our society, would be a way to lead young black males out of the wholly self-destructive notion that doing so was somehow “acting white,” and was thus to be culturally opposed. Perhaps if he has a lot more free time after next January 20th, he’ll be able to concentrate more of his influence and fame into helping with that, something which he has not yet found the time to make much of a major effort. First Ladies are expected, by tradition, to have their own special “projects,” perhaps this would have been a better area of concentration for Mrs Obama, though, since most of the problem is with young black males as opposed to females, it is arguable that she might not have been able to accomplish much.

    There really could not be a more important thing Mr Obama could do. The cure for differences in black achievement is to change black culture to something which helps its people more, and I don’t see how white people can do that for them; it has to come from within.

    It is interesting that you noted the differences in pay for American women. You stated earlier that:

    Standards for admission is where we still need AA, but the standards for completion should be the same for all. This is the only way to compensate for three centuries of slavery and imposed second class citizenship, for which we should be thoroughly ashamed, and for which we owe reparations for our sins.

    The fact is that women compete absolutely equally with men when it comes to collegiate admissions, and have, in fact, outpaced males in both admissions and graduation rates:

    A deeper look at these statistics, however, reveals another phenomenon—the “feminization” of higher education. Simply put, young women are now more likely to enroll in, and graduate from, college than young men. Where historically men have been more likely to finish college, since 1991 the share of women ages 25 to 29 with a bachelor’s degree or higher has exceeded the share of young men with the same credentials (see figure). And the gap has widened in recent years due to stagnation in the rate of young men earning degrees. Moreover, this phenomenon is present among all major race and ethnic groups. Women not only represent a majority of young adults enrolled as college undergraduates, but they also are now nearly three-fifths of graduate students.

    When you get to graduate and professional schools, the same pattern holds:

    The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) released its annual report this week (“Graduate Enrollment and Degrees: 1999 to 2009”); here are links to the press release and full report. What has been getting the most attention is the report’s finding that women earned a slight majority of doctoral degrees (50.4 percent) in 2009 for the first time ever, see top chart below. By field of study, women also had a majority and outnumbered men in six of the eleven graduate fields for doctoral degrees: arts and humanities, biology, education, health sciences, public administration, and social/behavioral studies (see chart below). Men still earn a majority of doctoral degrees in the most math-intensive fields of study such as business, engineering, math and computer science, and physical sciences.

    The CGS also reported on the total student enrollment in 2009 by gender and field for all graduate programs (master’s and doctoral, see bottom chart above). By this measure, it’s not even close: women enrolled in graduate programs outnumber men by a wide margin. Overall, women represent 58.9 percent of all graduate students in the United States, meaning that there are now 142.3 women enrolled in graduate programs for every 100 men. Female graduate students outnumber men in seven out of the eleven graduate fields of study, and are underrepresented now in only business, engineering, math and computer science, and physical sciences. In certain fields like education (75 percent female), health sciences (79 percent female), and public administration (74.4 percent), women outnumber men by a factor of three to four times.

    These statistics indicate the choices taken by male and female students. You complained about the pay disparity, but looking at those statistics, you’ll see that men have chosen the graduate fields which are going to lead to higher salaries at greater rates than women.

    Of course, there are other cultural differences which apply: women are far more likely than men to take time off from their careers for child rearing, something which puts them behind on the career path. Moreover, men and women still take significantly different decisions when it comes to career choices, and when the statistics are refined out for those choices, we see that pay for men and women in the same career fields is much more similar than the typically-reported 70¢ to the dollar.

    Do Men Really Earn More Than Women? This is not a difference which calls for some form of Affirmative Action; it is a difference which accrues to the choices taken by men and women. We cannot reasonably expect that different choices will have the same economic results.

    What your Editor sees is that, once we removed the legal and cultural barriers to participation in education and careers, women did just fine. Asians, as well, succeeded and prospered. The cultural discrimination against Jews ended earlier, and they, too, succeeded just fine, because they had the cultural imperative to work hard and succeed.

    Dropping the barriers, which has already been done, was what was needed for different people to succeed; beyond that, it really is up to them. Affirmative Action can never change culture; whites cannot somehow give a more economically efficient culture to blacks. Black achievement does not require special benefits accorded blacks by whites, but the work of black leaders within their communities to change things.

    And it will take the effort of more than just black leaders; the real key is the behavior of black women. I’ll be extremely blunt here: young black women have to stop giving pussy to young black men on paths of self-destruction. (The same is true of young white women concerning young white men.) If a young male is on a path which will lead him to nothing but the unemployment line or prison, it is utterly stupid of women to sleep with them, it is utterly stupid of young women to even give them a chance to start families, whether intentionally or otherwise. If a young man is on a course which leads almost inevitably to life-long poverty, if he is on a course which avoids responsibility and hard work, he is on a path which will leave him unable to care and provide for a family.

    Sometimes men need an outside push to measure up to the responsibilities of adulthood, and there is really no greater incentive for young men than to be able to have sex with young women.

  25. First Ladies are expected, by tradition, to have their own special “projects,” perhaps this would have been a better area of concentration for Mrs Obama, though, since most of the problem is with young black males as opposed to females, it is arguable that she might not have been able to accomplish much.

    She could reach out to young black women and try to convince them not to have sex with black men until they are married to them. That might help end the cycle of babies born in single parent homes.

  26. Instead of the Constitution being viewed in absolutist terms

    Satan is, himself a relativist. His very first time ever tempting mankind, he said something to the affect of “Surely God didn’t mean exactly what He said. Surely God wasn’t being absolute.” And Adam and Eve bought into Satan’s lie.

    Satan is a relativist. And all relativists do Satan’s work, whether they know it or not.

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