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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The Elephant in Harvard Yard

Friends, today I recommend to you this excellent article about the state of affirmative action in higher education.  Very soon the Supreme Court might consider this issue anew, and I sincerely hope they will end affirmative action for good.  You don't hear much about racial preferences in the media -- because to draw attention to them or to question them is not politically correct -- but, as this article describes, the extent of their use, both in higher ed and in the business world, is vast...and very troubling.  Millions of Americans are being negatively impacted by these preferences: whites and Asians who are denied opportunities based on their race, and blacks and Hispanics, who are, in many cases, given these opportunities, but do not have the background to be successful in their new roles.  The alternative -- to judge people based "on the content of their character" and on their abilities, rather on than their skin color or ethnic background -- seems not to occur to many leftists, but it's one that conservatives, and most Americans, support.  Let's end affirmative action for good, therefore, and let's call race preferences what they are: a form of racism that has no place in 21st-century America.

And a quick reminder: media bias has been with us for a long time, and the dearly departed President George H.W. Bush was a frequent victim of it.  Take all the after-the-fact praise of his legacy that you see in the press with a grain of salt, therefore.


  1. Dr. Waddy: Re: affirmative action: I experienced it first hand both in employment policy in the NYS Dep't of Corrections and in the education of minority students in the prison schools (mandated then in all state prisons and extending from Adult Basic Education to High School Graduation.) I taught legal research courses to groups which included many minority members.

    In employment: Higher level state adminstrators were insulated from the day to day disfunctional consequences of empowering at important facility administrative positions, some grossly incompetent minority members hired only because of their minority status. Lower level administrators feared for their jobs should they question policies promulgated by their superiors and knowing they had no recourse, went along with it. The result? Some pathetically nonfunctional minority "Deputy Superintendents' who spread bemused and cynical resignation and forced cooperation with and to their arbitrarily acquired sway.

    In education: I had a minority student in my legal research course who was blatantly inattentive in class. As a result, I kicked him out of the class. He maintained that my action was racially motivated. Afterwards, I wondered what could have told him that his negative behavior would afford him the advantages he sought (in this case, employment in the prison law library, a choice position.) I concluded that he had to have been taught by past educational experiences that his participation and achievement was meaningless and that his race alone guaranteed him advancement.

    Many racial minority members have, over decades of blatant suppression, adopted cynical attitudes which encourage deception and "games playing". Many of them are loathe to abandon these strategies in a modern U.S. in which sincere effort to remove all artificial barriers to access to American opportunity has been championed.

    Peter Jennings was an exalted member of the MSM. I well remember him sneering, to the accompanyment of Michael Dukakis's dismissive giggles, at George Bush in a broadcast debate he "moderated" during the 1988 campaign.

  2. Ah, the liberal "sneer"... How many elections have we won courtesy of that high-handedness? Keep it coming, I say!

    I read a book several years ago about race preferences in higher ed, and the scope of them is truly breathtaking. I assume the situation in public and indeed private employment these days is little different. The political -- and legal -- pressure on businesses and institutions to DEMONSTRATE their commitment to "diversity" by continually increasing their minority staff is intense, as you know. Are corners cut? Of course they are. Are incompetent employees tolerated? Naturally. The irony, as the article above notes, is that, the more white America bends over backwards to coddle minority candidates, the more minorities seem to think they are hobbled by "institutional racism". It's gotten to the point where virtually anytime a minority is denied any preferment, or suffers any inconvenience, "racism" is the default excuse. The unhealthiness of this situation is hard to overstate. Our country is groaning under the weight of these manufactured grievances.

  3. A clarification to the above: In referring to education in the prisons I meant only my own classroom experiences and when I referred to "past educational experiences" I meant in public schools. In my experience, most prison schools (with one blatant exception) demanded achievement of their students. This was especially true at Lakeview Shock Incarceration in NY, where military discipline afforded an orderly atmosphere and at which excellent administration at all levels resulted in a recognized exemplary program.

  4. Dr. Waddy: The disconnect between those who champion concrete measures meant to make up for past injustices seldom have to experience first hand the real world consequences (eg. the Clintons and Ted Kennedy). I knew a very able administrator in a state prison who was denied advancement when, at the same time, a grossly incompetent minority administrator of equal rank was rated "highly qualified for advancement". This was an injustice and was in no way a mitigation of past racial oppression. It visited an undeserved and discouraging setback on a hard working state employee; he did suffer the consequences of this wrong headed action for which he was not responsible.

  5. Seldom, in fact, do the "victims" of affirmative action even know that they are victims, but when they do I imagine it's a very hard pill to swallow... The truth, of course, is that a fairly small number of minorities actually benefit from affirmative action. Most of the "underclass" is untouched by it. There have been calls for decades to base affirmative action on class rather than race, which would make considerably more sense, but that will never happen, for one overpowering reason: the Left cares more about race than it does about class, and it will happily write off poor whites in favor of racial quotas. C'est la vie.

  6. P.S. It's also been well-documented that many of the beneficiaries of affirmative action are upper- and middle-class minorities who come from relatively privileged backgrounds.

  7. Dr. Waddy: I think the "race card" is played as often as it is because it works.

    When a society decides to try to compensate groups which have suffered past injustices it should not do so at the expense of those who are not responsible for that oppression. A rough analogy to this occurred to me when a colleague told me he would bump me if layoffs happened. I was the most senior person in my title and grade in WNY at the time. He said,"the rules say I'm senior to anyone because I'm legally blind". Was I responsible for his affliction? If the state wished to assure him job security, fine, but I would have paid a very heavy price under that rule. Why not simply exempt his position from layoff? Employment is often a zero sum situation; someone is hired and consequently someone is not. Affirmative action preferences (which often amount to mandates, due to the fear administrators have of questioning them)often have this unjust effect. On balance is it equal to the oppression minorities have suffered? No, but that is cold comfort to those so denied when they bear no blame.

    Our society should seek means other than affirmative action to do right by those who have been denied access to American freedom and prosperity.

  8. Personally, I think it's dangerous even to begin the herculean task of social engineering and righting past wrongs. Let sleeping dogs lie, I say, and let every man be judged on his merits and abilities. The alternative is to permanently Balkanize the country into "oppressors" and "oppressed". I agree, though, that these tactics are used because they work. So far most minorities have stayed put on the Democratic plantation. We conservatives need to rescue them, if at all possible.

  9. Dr. Waddy: We have done the best thing possible. Because of our determination and our President's moral courage we have an increasingly lawful Federal Judiciary which may outlaw or hamstring affirmative action. Too,minority members may decide on their own that affirmative action does not, on balance, benefit them. The "race card" may wear out its efficacy through misuse and overuse, just as the terms "racism" and "sexism" are doing, albeit slowly. Confrontation of those who presumptuously wield these terms in the expectation of automatic intimidation is the way to discredit them. I know it can't always be done and that totalitarians like Cuomo will seek to outlaw it by terming such insolence "criminal hate speech". He is certain to push such legislation now that he thinks he has carte blanche. We must then go to Federal law for relief and it may be available now.

  10. Very true, Jack. There's no doubt that accusations of racism are losing their credibility with right-thinking people...but minorities have been pretty effectively brainwashed. Decades of counter-programming are needed.