Jun 05 2009

Judicial “empathy”?

Category: affirmative action,diversity,Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 9:49 am

The issue here is that of the empathy of Supreme Court nominee Sotomayor for a firefighter named Ricci, whose case against the New Haven Fire Department she overturned.  He had sued the city for  failing to promote him when he had met all qualifications, purely on the grounds that no black candidates had similarly qualified.  Apparently taking that fact as proof that the qualifications were racist, Sotomayor concurred that the city had done the right thing in promoting no one.  So we have a very hardworking firefighter, who went far above and beyond expectations to prepare for the examination to determine his qualifications for promotion, for whom the good judge appears to have no empathy whatsover.  Charles Krauthammer makes it very clear that this should be a teaching moment.

Empathy is a vital virtue to be exercised in private life — through charity, respect and lovingkindness — and in the legislative life of a society where the consequences of any law matter greatly, which is why income taxes are progressive and safety nets built for the poor and disadvantaged.

But all that stops at the courthouse door. Figuratively and literally, justice wears a blindfold. It cannot be a respecter of persons. Everyone must stand equally before the law, black or white, rich or poor, advantaged or not.

Obama and Sotomayor draw on the “richness of her experiences” and concern for judicial results to favor one American story, one disadvantaged background, over another. The refutation lies in the very oath Sotomayor must take when she ascends to the Supreme Court: “I do solemnly swear that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich. … So help me God.”

When the hearings begin, Republicans should call Frank Ricci as their first witness. Democrats want justice rooted in empathy? Let Ricci tell his story and let the American people judge whether his promotion should have been denied because of his skin color in a procedure Sotomayor joined in calling “facially race-neutral.”

When judges are to be evaluated based on their “empathy,” inevitably the question is, “Empathy for whom?”  It is clear that judicial empathy will pretty much never be exercised in favor of the currently most despised class, namely white males, who are presumed to have “white male privilege,” even if they are dyslexic, or come from a poor family or broken home, or were abused as children, or had to work extra hard, etc.

In any case, judicial empathy, to the extent that it is appropriate (which isn’t much, in my opinion) should be reserved for prescribing punishments after triers of fact have demonstrated guilt in criminal cases, or perhaps limiting damages in civil cases, after the facts have been determined.  It is certainly inappropriate in an appeals judge (which is all the Supreme Court is), who is normally NOT there to determine or review facts of cases, but rather whether the law was correctly applied TO those facts.

Will Judge Sotomayor find it acceptable if no fire-fighter in New Haven is ever promoted again?  Would she find that “fair”?

We are supposed to be a government of laws, not of persons.   Lady Justice is supposed to be “blind.”  She certainly isn’t supposed to be opening one eye to check for the level of skin pigment.


Jun 04 2009

Seeking identity in the USA

Category: affirmative action,diversity,left,race,racismharmonicminer @ 9:29 am

Lost in the Labyrinth of Race  (much more at the link)

One of the unexpected results of the Sotomayor nomination is a refocusing on the politics of racial identity and the fossilized institutions of affirmative action-or the belief that the U.S. government should use its vast power to ensure an equality of result rather than a fairness of opportunity.

In the last fifty years, United States has evolved into a complex multiracial state. Race no longer is necessarily an indicator of income or material success-as the record of, say, Japanese-Americans or, indeed Asians in general, attests.

And what criterion constitutes race itself nowadays, when almost every family has someone who is half-Hispanic, a quarter-Asian, one-half black, or part Pakistani? What percentage of one’s lineage ensures purity of race, or qualifies for minority status? Are California Hispanics minorities, or so-called whites that are now a smaller percentage of the state population?

And what constitutes racial authenticity? Lack of income? An absence of success in the American rat race? Is the fourth generation upper-class Cuban an “Hispanic” who should qualify for affirmative action because his name is Hillario Gonzalez? Does the one-quarter aristocratic Jamaican qualify for American redress on account of his partial blackness?

And how does affirmative action-or even the fuzzy notion of “diversity”- adjudicate all this without mirror-imaging the statisticians of the Old Confederacy who could precisely calibrate the 1/16 drop of black blood? The university where I taught was full of South Americans and Europeans with Spanish surnames that allowed their various departments to be considered “ethnically diverse,” while others, having Russian émigrés, or the foreign born from New Delhi, Israel, and Egypt, struggled to satisfy the dictates of diversity czars.

In other words, affirmative action, and the racial identity politics that fuel it, are swamped by their inherent racialist contradictions-and made irrelevant by the dynamism of popular culture of the last three decades in which intermarriage, assimilation, and integration have challenged the notion of racial fides itself.

So begins an article from Victor Davis Hanson on the state of race in the USA, including affirmative action, “diversity,” racial preferences, racial identity, the nature of privilege in modern USA, the whole nine yards in the current race discussion and its political and social implications.  It’s all worth reading and difficult to summarize, a sign of pithy, concise writing.  Suffice to say that it highlights all the inner contradictions of the race conscious, and the futility of policies that were designed to redress grievances and correct imbalances, but cannot even identify who should qualify in any rational way.

Here is what’s clear to me: the election of a president of African ancestry has done nothing to satisfy the Left.  It has not convinced the Left that America is no longer significantly racist in its average viewpoint.  Instead, it appears simply to have placed the Left in the driver’s seat for every race-based preference and accommodation that it can construct.

We’re a long, long way from the “content of his character” vision of Martin Luther King, Jr., and getting farther away every day.

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May 30 2009

An age now fading

Category: diversity,economy,environment,government,Group-think,Obama,race,racism,societyharmonicminer @ 9:04 am

Reflections On an Age Now Fading… Read it all.

On matter of race, one detects beneath the therapeutic calls for inclusiveness, an unfortunate renewal of identity politics with a new harder edge-we saw that in the campaign with the slips about reparations and oppression studies, the clingers speech, Rev. Wright, and the ‘typical white person’ put down. Then with Eric Holder’s blast about Americans as “cowards” and now with the Supreme Court nominee’s somewhat derogatory remarks about the proverbial white male judge. We are not hearing praise of the melting pot ideal of intermarriage, assimilation, or integration-even if such elites in their private lives do not predicate their daily regimens in terms of racialism. I spent 21 years in a university in which quite affluent elites sought any multicultural patina possible for an edge in professional advancement and general leverage–the hyphenated name, the addition of the accent mark on the name, the non-American accentuation, occasional ethnic dress, the relabeling of one as a designated minority who otherwise had not previously emphasized race, etc.—that would suggest they were not part of the popular capitalist culture-supposedly centered on the white male-around them. Yet I left sensing the industry of race was doomed, due to the power of popular culture, the unworkable labyrinth of racial identification due to intermarriage, the laughable contradictions (the jet-black immigrant from India got no favored treatment, the light-skinned Costa Rican name Jorge piggy-backed onto the Mexican-American experience), the son of the Mexican father who used his name Gomez was authentic, the son of the Mexican mother who carried his non-Mexican father’s name Wilson was not. And on and on with this ridiculous neo-Confederate practice of adjudicating percentages of race to the sixteenth, and drops of targeted minority blood—a racist enterprise to the core. The only constant? The white male was fair game. It mattered little that more women were graduating than men, that under the racial spoils system we were beginning to see white males in less percentages than those found in the general population at the university; instead, it was sort of OK to trash, as in the manner of Sotomayor’s comment, the proverbial white male, as if we are collectively ashamed of everyone from the Wright Brothers to Lincoln to John Wayne to JFK.

When so close an observer of history and modern life as Victor Davis Hanson is this pessimistic, I feel the need to go see an escapist movie or something.

Read his entire article. Then go get a massage or a pedicure and try not to think about it.


May 13 2009

Is the real problem “White Male Privilege,” lack of “Diversity,” and discrimination against “people of color”?

It has become common to berate institutions of all kinds that are deemed to be insufficiently “diverse,” as if there is automatically some institutional barrier preventing “people of color” from associating with them, and is if some kind of unfair “white male privilege” is the problem.   While there were significant institutional barriers in previous decades, those barriers are now largely gone, and civil-rights activists are busily fighting a war they’ve already won, almost in a manner reminiscent of Civil War re-enactments.   Nevertheless, the removal of those barriers isn’t enough for diversity activists, who now insist that institutions pursue essentially quota-based strategies to “diversify.”  The latest set of institutions engaged in self-flagellation for perceived failures of diversity are Christian colleges and universities, many of whom are scrambling just as fast as they can to “get diverse.” It is as if these institutions believe that if only they are more diverse, then the problems of minorities in American society will go away, or at least be ameliorated.  Or perhaps, if they are more diverse, they can at least feel less guilty about it.

The two biggest problems of injustice in black — and, increasingly, Hispanic — America are abortion and the epidemic of fatherless children.
Blacks abort their babies at a rate five times that of whites.  Nearly 70% of black children are born into fatherless households.  The first of these issues is directly traceable to the national legalization of abortion in 1973, an act of a left-leaning, activist court.   The second of these issues is directly traceable to the creation of LBJ’s Great Society programs in 1965, the act of a left-leaning congress and president.  These two problems cannot be primarily attributed to racism, for the historical reason that abortions were far less common before it was legalized, and the “illegitimacy rate” of blacks in 1960 was about 25%, not 70%.  What changed was government policy, in legalizing the murder of the unborn for essentially any reason at any time in the pregnancy, and in providing incentives to make babies out of wedlock by paying more for each one.  It is arguable that left-leaning governmental policies did more harm to black America than Jim Crow.  And it’s worth noting that blacks were climbing out of poverty rather steadily in the period from 1940-1960 (Thomas Sowell writes very clearly on this), while Jim Crow was still the norm.  Progress slowed dramatically with the beginning of the Great Society, proving that you can indeed offer someone too much help.

“Social justice” activists are fond of pointing to the disproportionately high representation of black men in prison as evidence of white injustice in law enforcement, the judicial system, the economy, etc.  But when the statistics are controlled for the presence of a father in the home, blacks raised with a married father in the home are no more likely than whites to be in jail.   So the “justice” problem is a society that discourages black families from forming, let alone failing.  The Left will say that “there are all kinds of families” and imply it is prejudice to promote the traditional understanding, but the sociologists and criminologists know better, if they have the courage to look at their own data.

The third biggest social justice problem for blacks is the state of the schools, but that cannot be fixed without addressing the issue of black families at the same time.   All too often, the family values are missing that will produce children with whom schools can work effectively.  Schools, no matter how well intentioned and well funded, can’t replace successful parents.  Churches can certainly help, but not when they are basically apologists for the status quo, and are used as platforms for leftist politics as much or more than for faithful transformation of inner-city culture along Godly lines.  None of this means the schools can’t be better, and various experimental schools have shown that typical inner-city black children can benefit greatly from improved schools, provided those schools don’t have to keep the most troublesome students enrolled, and are allowed to pursue educational techniques and policies of their own choosing.  But no one believes that schools alone can make up for deficits in parenting, even in experimental schools that shuck the usual pieties of the education lobby, even when the schools simply do what works, without trying to be social laboratories and places to park troubled children.

The real “white male privilege” with which we should concern ourselves most is that of white doctors killing black babies in the womb, or just barely out of it, for profit, in abortion clinics placed conveniently near inner city neighborhoods to encourage repeat business.  We would submit that the apparent nature of “black male privilege” does more damage to blacks than anything white males are doing, or saying.  Finally, there is the “white male privilege” of mostly white politicians who depend on the black vote, and buy it with government benefits and promises of more, the new form of sharecropper oppression, because by taking the deal, blacks have crippled themselves as a group in being able to improve their own circumstances by their own efforts, though there are obviously many individual exceptions.

These problems will not be solved by whites.  They will not be solved by a black president, leading a government made up mostly of whites, unless that black president is determined to undo the government incentives that encourage bad behavior.  That seems unlikely in this case, doesn’t it?  These problems will only be solved by black leaders “on the ground,” who must spend more time challenging their own communities, straightforwardly demanding better behavior, teaching skills and values for successful living, than they spend twisting the arms of “white” institutions to be more “diverse.”   They need to be teaching their people to reject government handouts that weaken their motivation to lift themselves up, tempting them to lower standards for personal and public behavior.  We need ten thousand people like Jesse Peterson, Clenard Childress and Johnny Hunter for every Jackson/Sharpton shakedown artist and/or community organizer whose idea of service is to take a young woman who shouldn’t be pregnant to city hall to apply for benefits (to “find her voice”), or, even worse, to provide rides to the local abortion mill, and in either case protecting from any responsibility the man or boy who made her pregnant, and in many cases the parent or guardian (usually only one) who failed to provide her with adequate supervision.

Inner-city black America is suffering not from being non-diverse, not primarily because some colleges and universities are not diverse, but because it is killing itself. We have just inaugurated a president who will encourage much, much more of the same, judging by his record, his public statements, his political commitments to his supporters, and his chosen advisers.

In the meantime, those Christian colleges and universities that are in a headlong rush to “diversify” are learning that it is very difficult to avoid all the Leftist influences that accompany diversity activism.  Some of these schools, which were once unabashedly pro-life, pro-traditional-family and pro-American, are now finding that with diversity comes the choice between promoting life or lionizing Obama-as-symbol, between being pro-traditional-family or endorsing all kinds of other arrangements as being “just as good,” and between acknowledging the strong Judeo-Christian ethic in the American founding and social ethos, or seeing America as “just another nation” with no uniquely important religious elements shaping its heritage, values and behavior.

It’s a choice these institutions are making, this decade.  The faculty they’re hiring now will be the ones who decide the directions of those institutions in the next decade, not today’s adminstrators and board members, who may make policy statements attempting to “hold the line,” etc.  Adminstrators and trustees come and go, but faculty have tenure.  Unfortunately, it seems no more possible in the current environment for prospective faculty to be asked, “Are you anti-abortion?” than it is to ask a prospective supreme court judge about future rulings.  That’s because, somehow, abortion has been relegated to being a “political question” instead of the frankly moral one that it is.  Somehow, it has become acceptable in some quarters for Christians to vote for pro-abortion politicians, and for that choice, and campaiging for such, to be seen as a valid “political choice.”  Yet I’m quite sure that most Christians would consider it a sin to vote for a pro-slavery candidate.

We are in a grim place, and those of us who see it that way need to be deep in prayer over it, and then we need to work within our institutions to improve the situation.

UPDATE: Walter E. Williams on Race Talk

Race talk often portrays black Americans as downtrodden and deserving of white people’s help and sympathy. That vision is an insult of major proportions. As a group, black Americans have made some of the greatest gains, over the highest hurdles, in the shortest span of time than any other racial group in mankind’s history. This unprecedented progress can be seen through several measures. If one were to total black earnings, and consider black Americans a separate nation, he would find that in 2005 black Americans earned $644 billion, making them the world’s 16th richest nation — that is just behind Australia but ahead of Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland. Black Americans are, and have been, chief executives of some of the world’s largest and richest cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. It was a black American, Gen. Colin Powell, appointed Joint Chief of Staff in October 1989, who headed the world’s mightiest military and later became U.S. Secretary of State, and was succeeded by Condoleezza Rice, another black American. Black Americans are among the world’s most famous personalities and a few are among the richest. Most blacks are not poor but middle class.

On the eve of the Civil War, neither a slave nor a slave owner would have believed these gains possible in less than a mere century and a half, if ever. That progress speaks well not only of the sacrifices and intestinal fortitude of a people; it also speaks well of a nation in which these gains were possible. These gains would not have been possible anywhere else.


May 07 2009

Deceased Diversity Defenses

In his review of the current state of minority preferences, diversity/affirmative action agendas, merit testing — including very serious, concerted attempts to remove any kind of prejudice from the testing — and the left/right wars in hiring practices at public agencies, John Derbyshire picks as his starting point the utter inability of the New Haven Fire Department to find a way to promote firefighters without being sued.

There is nothing new here, of course. Given the history of this subject, the really surprising thing is that as late as 2003 a fire department was still giving formal examinations for promotions. The New York City Police Department was fighting lawsuits over “discriminatory” test results 30 years ago. Police, fire, and other municipal departments all over the country have been similarly affected across an entire generation.

Attempted solutions have included every kind of rigging and “race norming” of results, the dumbing-down of the tests to a point where well-nigh everyone passes (candidates then being promoted by lottery or straightforward race quotas), the hiring of expensive consultants to devise bias-free tests, and just giving up on tests altogether, as New Haven has now done.

None of it helped, though dumbing down the tests has proved fairly effective for litigation avoidance. (In 1991 the New York City Sanitation Department gave a test on which 23,078 applicants out of 24,000 got perfect scores — try spotting a race gap there!) The careful concocting of scrupulously bias-free tests is now a profitable specialty within the management-consulting field. New Haven hired the Houston firm of Jeanneret & Associates, Inc., who called in a contractor named I/O Solutions to devise firefighter tests, and the city spent over $100,000 in fees to these firms.

It did no good, of course. It never does. The New York Police Department spent ten years trying to write tests for promotion to sergeant that would pass court approval. They brought in minority representatives to help design the 1988 tests, and included video portions. It didn’t help: A quarter of the 12,000 police officers who took the test were minorities, but of the 377 test-based promotions, only 20 went to minorities.

The unhappy fact is that different ethnic groups exhibit different profiles of results on tests. Attempts to devise a test on which this does not happen have all failed, across decades of effort, criticism, and analysis.

Nobody knows why this is so; but the fact that it invariably, repeatedly, and intractably is so, makes testing hazardous — and ultimately pointless — under current employment law. Yet still employees must be selected somehow from applicant pools, and there must be some clear, fair criteria for their subsequent promotion. The state of the law now is that almost anything an organization does in this area will open it to litigation.

Ricci v. DeStefano takes place in a time of general public exhaustion over racial inequalities. We’d really rather just not think about it. Fifty years ago it all seemed cut and dried. Just strike down old unjust laws, give the minority a helping hand, give the non-minority some education about civil rights and past disgraces, and in a few years things will come right.

We coasted along under those assumptions for a generation. When it became obvious that things were not coming right in the matter of test results, scholars and jurists got to work on the problem.

Liberals, with their usual coarse stupidity, naturally assumed it was just a matter of spending more money on schools. This theory was tested to destruction in several places, most sensationally in Kansas City from 1985 to 1997. Under a judge’s order, the school district spent $2 billion over twelve years, pretty much rebuilding the school system — and the actual schools themselves — from the ground up. The new, lavish facilities included “an Olympic-sized swimming pool with an underwater viewing room, television and animation studios, a robotics lab, a 25-acre wildlife sanctuary, a zoo, a model United Nations with simultaneous translation capability, and field trips to Mexico and Senegal.” The experiment was a complete failure. Drop-out rates rose and test scores fell across the entire twelve years. Here are current test scores for the school that got the Olympic-sized swimming pool. (I could not find any published results for achievement in aquatic sports.)

Conservatives, thoroughly race-whipped by the liberal media elites, preferred to go along with whatever liberals said, except that they made, and still make, mild throat-clearing noises about school vouchers. It has turned out in practice, however, that the only people keen on school vouchers are the striving poor, a small (and dwindling) demographic with no political weight, and whom nobody in the media or academic elites gives a fig about. The non-striving underclass has zero interest in education; middle-class suburbanites like their schools the way they are, thanks all the same; and teachers’ unions see vouchers as threats to the public-education gravy train their members ride to well-padded retirement.

As test gaps persisted and lawsuits multiplied, the scholars retreated into metaphysics. The word “culture” was wafted around a lot. It seemed to denote a sort of phlogiston or luminiferous aether, pervading and determining everything, but via mechanisms nobody could explain. We heard about self-esteem issues, “the burden of ‘acting white,’ ” “stereotype threat,” and a whole raft of other sunbeams-from-cucumbers hypotheses. Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom, two distinguished scholars in the field, produced a much-praised book about test-score gaps with a conclusion in which nothing was concluded. “Choice [of where to live] should not be a class-based privilege.” Where, in a free society, has it ever not been? How will you stop people moving, if they can afford to? “Families must help their children to the best of their ability.” Oh. “Vouchers are a matter of basic equity.” See above. “Big-city superintendents and principals operate in a bureacratic and political straitjacket.” True, no doubt; but test-score gaps are in plain sight even out in the ’burbs. John Ogbu wrote a book about it. Six years ago.

And the test-score gaps just sat there, and sat there, and sat there, grinning back at us impudently.

At last, we just stopped thinking about the whole disagreeable business. Unfortunately, by that time a great body of law had been built on the theories and pseudo-theories of the preceding decades, and couldn’t be wished away. Hence Ricci v. DeStefano.

You can deduce our state of exhaustion from booksellers’ lists. I just spent half an hour trawling through the bibliographies and references in my own modest collection of social-science literature to come up with the following list of 50 published books, most by accredited scholars, relevant to Ricci v. DeStefano and the issues underlying the case. I offer it to the Supremes as a reading list, if they’d like to get up to speed on the necessary sociology.

Derbyshire’s article goes into a very complete recounting of the state of “diversity scholarship” (for lack of a better term).

What he demonstrates, pretty convincingly, is that anyone who has bothered to study all the attempts at “race norming” in testing, at finding ways to make tests “nondiscriminatory,” etc., can’t fail to come away from it believing that it’s essentially impossible to construct a test on which all sectors of society will do equally well, and that includes deliberately TRYING to slant the test in a direction that will be easier for minorities.

What does it mean that we keep on keeping on, pretending that there is any way to make equal outcomes for every sector of society?  Well, it means we’re blind and stupid, maybe.  It means that all cultures are not created equal, will not become equal, and will not produce people of equal ability.  It means that differences between individuals matter HUGELY more than differences between ethnic groups, of whatever description.  It means that our systems of education, certification, hiring and promotion should be “color blind,” and allow excellence to come to the top, from whatever source.  It means that we need to study what is different in the cultures and family lives of the people who succeed more often, of whatever ethnicity, and use that information to teach others how to arrange their lives for the success of their children.

There is a curious phenomena in sociology/global studies departments in universities.  They often have a program of requiring students to spend a semester living in “the inner city” or some minority community so they can get past their “whiteness” and learn how life really is in those communities.  There’s probably nothing wrong with this (absent the inevitable “white bashing”), but imagine the opposite.

What if we had a program for bringing entire minority families into the homes of “typical middle class” families of whatever race, with the stipulation that they will live, for a few months, like the host family lives?  If they came to my house, they’d have to make sure their kids did their homework before anything else.  They’d learn that the parents demand, and the kids give, respect, and that the respect flows both ways.  They’d see TWO parents, working hard to teach their children values that will help them succeed.  (This may seem unfair;  what can a single mother do about it NOW?  Answer:  teach your kids not to repeat your mistakes,  show them what raising kids in a two parent home can be like, and build the ambition in them to seek that stability for their own adult lives.)  They would learn that the parents ALWAYS know where their kids are, who they’re with, what they’re doing, and when they’re coming home.  They’d see kids who actually care what their parents opinions are about matters large and small, at least partly because the parents have respected the kids’ abilities to think and reason.  They would rarely hear a raised voice, or out-of-control expression of negative emotion, from parents or children.

They would see people living within their means, not asking the government for anything much, looking over the shoulders of the teachers and schools, going to church and participating in the church’s life, and taking it seriously at home.  They would see parents seriously discussing current events with their children, explaining issues, giving them books to read on various topics, discussing the values underlying what they see on TV and in movies, etc.  They would see parents seriously discussing the future with their children, suggesting possibilities for the kids, based on realistic appraisals of their ability and personality (not fake “esteem building” that isn’t based on anything real in the child), and they would see parents who make sure their kids have plenty of opportunities to discover things at which they can succeed.

In other words, kids and parents of the hosted family would be learning how to be middle class Americans.

Even if this could be done, if the resources and organization existed to put families together, and the minority families were willing to do it, and even if it could be shown to succeed as a method of teaching successful living strategies and child rearing, objections would be raised, woudn’t they?  Let’s see:

Michelle Obama’s advice.

And, of course, we all recall Jeremiah Wright’s ringing condemnation of “middle class values.”

But what I am advocating is exactly an embrace of “middleclassness” as way of life for people who want to BE in the middle class, with middle class options in education, career, etc.  I’m suggesting that we make “learning to be a member of the middle class,” with all that implies, a goal for our entire approach to helping people get out of poverty.

What we shouldn’t do is create a system of testing, evaluation and rewards that pretends that people have achieved things that they have not.  Yet that this is exactly what we’ve already done, and so our problem is even bigger.

I’m not a dreamer.  I know it’s unlikely that we can get large numbers of those now in poverty to take the trouble to learn how to be “middle class” in the broad sense, which is a whole set of values and orientations that are simply different from typical behavior/attitudes among the chronically poor and “disadvantaged.”  But for way too many of them, their disadvantage is being raised by a single mother (or grandmother!) who did not herself make good life decisions, and is unlikely to be able to help her children do differently.  Learning to “be middle class” would be the best thing that could happen to them all.

We won’t be able to do this effectively, as a society, until we get over the multi-cultural pieties that have made it impossible for enough people to say that one way of life is better than another.


Mar 25 2009

Seven Contradictions of Diversity

Category: diversity,higher educationharmonicminer @ 9:55 am

In the traditions of Six Contradictions of Marxism, I present Seven Contradictions of Diversity, because Marxism was invented by dead white men, and what’s so special about the number “six”?  Herewith:

Seven Contradictions of Diversity

*  Your college has an Office of Diversity — yet it isn’t diverse enough

*  It isn’t diverse enough —  yet it celebrates diversity constantly

*  It celebrates diversity constantly —  yet faculty of color are oppressed

*  Faculty of color are oppressed  —  yet they are constantly invited to speak their mind

*  They are constantly invited to speak their mind  —  yet they are marginalized and ignored

*  They are marginalized and ignored —  yet many are hired as faculty and promoted to important administrative positions to develop “diversity weeks”, “diversity courses”, and “faculty diversity committees” in order to promote people of color.

*  They attain unprecedented political clout focused on a single issue —  yet they’re still “speaking truth to power”

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Mar 17 2009

The Left At Christian Universities, part 9: the students’ parents are idiots

Category: diversity,higher education,leftharmonicminer @ 9:09 am

The previous post in this series is here.

As has been pointed out previously in this series, “diversity” is not in any sense politically neutral.  It always strongly favors the Left, and people who are big fans of “diversity” are almost always strongly committed to the Left in other ways.

Just to analyze one instance in a recent faculty discussion of diversity:  a professor of social ethics was disappointed that his students, having finished his course, had not come to the conclusion that the Iraq war is unjust.  Let’s unpack this.

First, he seems to believe that his comment is related to the discussion of diversity.  How would that be, exactly?  What relevance does the justice or injustice of a particular bit of foreign policy have to diversity at his university?  It’s clear that in his mind, diversity and general leftist thought are very much related, and since the discussion is about diversity, the floor is open to general leftist discussion.  He thinks he is at ideological home with his fellow travelers.   He has done this before, almost certainly, and been well-received.   This seems more and more common at too many Christian colleges and universities (especially the universities).

Second, he seems to believe that no other position on the matter of the Iraq war can possibly be held by a rational person, in possession of the facts, with a decent heart and Godly intent.  So his disappointment makes sense, in his very constricted world-view.

Third, he seems completely unaware that he has just hurled a deadly insult at the parents who pay his salary, because it is likely that his students reflect some of their parents’ perspectives on such matters, and he thinks those perspectives are morally and rationally indefensible.  To be blunt, he sees his job as taking parents’ money to teach their children to think that their parents are fools, or worse.

Yet there he is, in the middle of a discussion of diversity, knowing that heads around the table will nod sagely as he fires from the hip, without really having a target, other than those benighted souls of the world who do not subscribe wholesale to leftist thought.  Plenty of heads nodded, as if the comment were perfectly appropriate. He is a perfect example of what has been happening in Christian higher education, as we bring in more and more faculty who are so thoroughly indoctrinated by the Left in their graduate programs that they see themselves as being on a mission from God to disabuse undergraduates of their foolish traditional misconceptions.

Translation:  these kids’ parents have been doing a miserable job of preparing the kids for polite society, and we have to completely reorient them, as soon as possible.

The next post in this series is here.

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Dec 05 2008

The Left at Christian Universities, part 7: Speech codes

Part 6 in this series can be found here.

Speech codes limit campus freedom

Millions of high school seniors have started the process of deciding which college or university to attend in the next academic year. Prospective students will take into consideration cost, academics, social life, and location. And while many students will also look at schools that reflect their interests and values, virtually none will be thinking about the school’s speech codes or free speech zones. They should. Students at colleges and universities who articulate conservative and traditional views are at particular risk of bullying and indoctrination by campus administrators and faculty who are zealous ideologues.

Continue reading “The Left at Christian Universities, part 7: Speech codes”

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Nov 20 2008

Diversity quotas and lower standards for blacks in Law School Admissions actually reduce the number of black attorneys

Category: affirmative action,diversity,educationharmonicminer @ 9:13 am

This is not news, though it is papered over by the major media and academic administrators who care less about the long term outlook for minorities than they care about the short term appearance of politically correct admissions policies.

Continue reading “Diversity quotas and lower standards for blacks in Law School Admissions actually reduce the number of black attorneys”

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Nov 18 2008

Post-Obama, whither “diversity”?

Category: affirmative action,diversityharmonicminer @ 9:27 am

Ken Blackwell points out the obvious, that the election of president-elect Obama signals a Post–Racial Preference America.

Two things are evident from the 2008 election. The first is that the American people voted for change, embodied in President-Elect Barack Obama. The second is that this is still a center-right country, shown by the success of traditional values ballot initiatives. This center-right orientation will compel our new president-elect to make difficult choices next year, especially regarding racial preferences.

Read the article linked above.

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