Sonia Sotomayor, the Left, and Affirmative Action: their answers are wrong because they aren’t addressing the right problems

Darleen Click of Protein Wisdom posted:

“Race Matters”

“Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic lineage — the notion that a man’s intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry” ~~Ayn Rand

SCOTUS “Justice” Sotomayor has lived up to every warning issued about her dedication to the Left’s ideology of viewing all reality through the lens of Race-Class-Gender. Her 58-page polemic can be reduced to one phrase she used several times while attempting to coin yet another euphemism for naked racial preferences.

“Race matters.”Sotomayor Racist Leftism

Such a phrase is the raison d’être of all manner of racial supremacist groups regardless of how often they use the words “social justice” in their mission statements. It has as much connection to actual natural rights as the phrase “People’s Republic” does to democratic governments.

What we are being fundamentally changed to is a racial spoils system, where individuals must cling to a group identity in order to be “authentic” and socially acceptable. And the group Rulers will be solely in charge of defining the correct thought systems for the members.

And the world of Race Identity is a Kafkaesque theater of the absurd where people are to be judged by other people’s race-dominate perceptions, accurate or not.

More at the original.

Mrs Click continued to note the kerfuffle over the racist comments of Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. Mr Sterling, an 81-year-old billionaire, told his twenty-something half-black, half-Mexican trophy girlfriend not to bring any black people to the Clippers’ games, specifically mentioning Magic Johnson. Mrs Click note that, by the way Justice Sotomayor and the left look at things, by the “standard of melanin counting,” the entire NBA would have to undergo so radical Affirmative Action, because whites and Asians are so dramatically under-represented.

But I’d look at it differently. Taking Justice Sotomayor’s own dissent in Schuette v Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigration Rights By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), I see a serious racial anomaly which just cries out for an Affirmative Action solution.

Women Earn More Degrees Than Men; Gap Keeps Increasing
Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

According to data from the Department of Education on college degrees by gender, the US college degree gap favoring women started back in 1978, when for the first time ever, more women than men earned Associate’s degrees. Five years later in 1982, women earned more bachelor’s degrees than men for the first time, and women have increased their share of bachelor’s degrees in every year since then. In another five years by 1987, women earned the majority of master’s degrees for the first time. Finally, within another decade, more women than men earned doctor’s degrees by 2006, and female domination of college degrees at every level was complete. For the current graduating class of 2013, the Department of Education estimates that women will earn 61.6% of all associate’s degrees this year, 56.7% of all bachelor’s degrees, 59.9% of all master’s degrees, and 51.6% of all doctor’s degrees. Overall, 140 women will graduate with a college degree at some level this year for every 100 men.

Clearly, something has changed, and women were once the beneficiaries of Affirmative Action admissions considerations. Justice Sotomayor wrote1:

Section 26 has a “racial focus.” Seattle, 458 U. S., at 474. That is clear from its text, which prohibits Michigan’s public colleges and universities from “grant[ing] preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race.” Mich. Const., Art. I, §26. Like desegregation of public schools, race-sensitive admissions policies “inur[e] primarily to the benefit of the minority,” 458 U. S., at 472, as they are designed to increase minorities’ access to institutions of higher education.

Justice Sotomayor clearly approves of policies which “inur[e] primarily to the benefit of the minority,” so, given that, shouldn’t we expect her to approve of policies which would increase the matriculation rate of males, including white males, on our college campuses.

Petitioner argues that race-sensitive admissions policies cannot “inur[e] primarily to the benefit of the minority,” ibid., as the Court has upheld such policies only insofar as they further “the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body,” Grutter (v Bollinger),2 539 U. S., at 343. But there is no conflict between this Court’s pronouncement in Grutter and the common-sense reality that race-sensitive admissions policies benefit minorities. Rather, race sensitive admissions policies further a compelling state interest in achieving a diverse student body precisely because they increase minority enrollment, which necessarily benefits minority groups. In other words, constitutionally permissible race-sensitive admissions policies can both serve the compelling interest of obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body, and inure to the benefit of racial minorities. There is nothing mutually exclusive about the two.3

Yet, would it not be true that the steady increase in the percentage of female students on our campuses decreases diversity, and since white males are, in fact, a minority group,4 using Justice Sotomayor’s argument, sex-sensitive admissions polices would further a compelling state interest in achieving a diverse student body precisely because they increase white male enrollment, which necessarily benefits that minority group. In other words, constitutionally permissible sex-sensitive admissions policies can both serve the compelling interest of obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body, and inure to the benefit of sexual and racial minorities.

The above argument was a reductio ad absurdum, and The First Street Journal does not seriously argue for any Affirmative Action programs to benefit white males, and we do not favor Affirmative Action programs on he part of government5 which benefit anybody, period.

Of course, we can fairly easily explain why so many more women than men are being graduated from colleges; it is because so many more girls are being graduated from high school than boys:

Leaving Boys Behind: Public High School Graduation Rates
by Jay P. Greene and Marcus A. Winters

Executive Summary

This study uses a widely respected method to calculate public high school graduation rates for the nation, for each state, and for the 100 largest school districts in the United States. We calculate graduation rates overall, by race, and by gender, using the most recent available data (the class of 2003).

Among our key findings:

  • The overall national public high school graduation rate for the class of 2003 was 70 percent.
  • There is a wide disparity in the public high school graduation rates of white and minority students.
  • Nationally, the graduation rate for white students was 78 percent, compared with 72 percent for Asian students, 55 percent for African-American students, and 53 percent for Hispanic students.
  • Female students graduate high school at a higher rate than male students. Nationally, 72 percent of female students graduated, compared with 65 percent of male students.
  • The gender gap in graduation rates is particularly large for minority students. Nationally, about 5 percentage points fewer white male students and 3 percentage points fewer Asian male students graduate than their respective female students. While 59 percent of African-American females graduated, only 48 percent of African-American males earned a diploma (a difference of 11 percentage points). Further, the graduation rate was 58 percent for Hispanic females, compared with 49 percent for Hispanic males (a difference of 9 percentage points).

More at the original. But it isn’t terribly difficult to understand: if 7% fewer males than females are graduated from high school, then 7% fewer males are eligible to matriculate at universities. No one would argue against that.

The trouble for Justice Sotomayor and the left is that if 78% of white students are graduated from high school, while only 55% of black students earn their diplomas, it is just as understandable that black students would be seriously under-represented in colleges. Yet, for some reason, the left don’t want to consider that rather obvious statistic.

As is fairly typical, the left come up with the wrong answers, because they don’t look at the facts objectively. The problems of black under-representation on college campuses begin long before black Americans can ever apply for university admissions; they begin at the elementary school level:

Throughout elementary and secondary school, blacks scored lower, overall, on mathematics and reading tests than whites. Even for children with similar test scores one or two grades earlier, blacks generally scored lower in mathematics and reading than whites.

Somehow, some way, in a public education system dominated by liberal Democrats, by teachers who would claim to be the most concerned about minority student achievement, black students are falling behind long before college and university admissions are ever in the picture.6

The problems which the learned Justice so laments, wise Latina that she is, are problems which are beyond the power of the government to address by the time students are applying to colleges. The problems begin in the elementary schools, and in the local communities, and they are problems of attitude and culture more than anything else. Our great public education system, controlled for so long by the left, has proved itself unable to deal with the problems; perhaps, just perhaps, it is that very control by liberals which has led to those failures. And perhaps, just perhaps, it is the unwillingness of the left to hold black Americans to the same standards, on just about anything,7 which contributes to the corrosive culture in our inner cities which fosters the attitudes which have so many minority children failing in school, long before they ever reach university age.

  1. Schuette v Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigration Rights By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), dissenting opinion of Justice Sotomayor, p. 15.
  2. Hyperlink not in Justice Sotomayor’s original, but added by the Editor.
  3. Schuette, dissenting opinion of Justice Sotomayor, p. 16.
  4. Non-Hispanic whites constitute 63.7% of the population, and slightly less than half, or 31.8% of Americans would be non-Hispanic white males.
  5. The cases at hand all concern state institutions, which must operate under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Private institutions are not so restricted, and The First Street Journal does not care, or think it is any of the government’s business, if private institutions wish to pursue Affirmative Action programs.
  6. In Philadelphia, for example, it is estimated that only 28% of black male students who enter high school are graduated in four years. Each of the nation’s ten largest public high school districts, which enroll more than 8 percent of the nation’s public school student population, failed to graduate more than 60 percent of its students, with the graduation rates in Detroit and New York City being 42% and 43% respectively. Those are cities which have been run by liberals for years and years.
  7. Interestingly enough, in those few areas in which black Americans are held to the same standards, athletics and the military being the best examples, black Americans have very solid records of achievement.

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