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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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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Sep 28 2008

Some inconvenient truths about racial preferences and affirmative action/diversity policies

Here are the first few paragraphs of a scholarly paper presented at “Race and Gender Preferences at the Crossroads,” a conference organized by the California Association of Scholars and cosponsored by the American Civil Rights Institute (ACRI) and the Center for Equal Opportunity, held January 19, 2008, at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California. The title of the paper is The Effects of Proposition 209 on California: Higher Education, Public Employment, and Contracting 09/25/2008 Charles L. Geshekter

In 1996, Californians overwhelmingly approved Proposition 209 that prohibited all state agencies from using anyone’s race, ethnicity, or gender to discriminate against them or give them preference in university admissions, public employment, or competition for a state contract.

Those who opposed Proposition 209 predicted that ending racial or gender favoritism would result in sharp declines in black and Hispanic college enrollments, setbacks for women in public employment, reduced funds for cancer detection centers and domestic violence shelters, or other alarmingly negative effects.

Continue reading “Some inconvenient truths about racial preferences and affirmative action/diversity policies”

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Sep 23 2008

California Supreme Court: restrained when it suits its political positions

Category: affirmative action,diversityharmonicminer @ 1:40 pm

An earlier post discussed the issue of Richard Sander’s attempt to get bar association records to evaluate the efficacy of affirmative action in law school admissions. It would seem that the California State Supreme Court, in an uncharacteristic display of judicial restraint, has decided not to consider Sander’s request for an order to release the records.

If UCLA law professor Richard Sander gains access to California Bar exam data for his own study on racial preferences, he’ll have to start somewhere other than the California Supreme Court.

Last week, that court denied Sander’s request for an order compelling the State Bar to cooperate with him. The justices didn’t rule on the merits of the request — which had been filed with the Supreme Court early last month — but rather indicated Sander should refile “in an appropriate court.”

This is, of course, a pure stalling action. They hope that Sander will just give up at some point, run out of money to pursue it, etc. They hope that somehow a resolution can be found for the matter that won’t require them to go on record as opposing public access to such records on the one hand, or appearing to support research that might undermine affirmative action on the other.

Our black robed masters are so courageous, whenever they can rule in favor of the extreme Left, but curiously gutless when it comes to upholding public access to what should be public records.  Of course, this is probably just a case of attorneys protecting attorneys, the jurisprudential version of professional ethics.

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Sep 20 2008

If you doubt the validity of affirmative action, you must be a racist

As usual, anyone who tries to scientifically study the actual effect of affirmative action is accused of racist motives.

In his 19 years as a law professor at UCLA, Richard Sander has pondered a nagging question: Does affirmative action help or hinder black people who want to become lawyers?

Two years ago, he published research suggesting that racial preferences at law firms might be responsible for black lawyers’ high rate of attrition and difficulty making partner. He hypothesized that, in the interest of promoting diversity, law firms sometimes hire black lawyers that are under-qualified, and that when there is a “credentials gap” between black and white lawyers at a firm, black lawyers often fail.

The research stirred debate throughout the legal community, and Sander said he was surprised at the vehemence with which people attacked his motives. A former Vista volunteer, fair-housing activist and campaigner for Chicago’s first black mayor, Harold Washington, Sander insisted he was simply trying to examine an important question.

Now the law professor has waded into another controversy. Sander says his goal this time is to examine whether law schools set up many affirmative action beneficiaries for failure by admitting them into rigorous academic environments in which they are ill-prepared to compete. He proposes to study almost 30 years of data on California Bar Association exam-takers. In the end, he hopes to explain why, as reported in a Law School Admission Council study in the 1990s, blacks are four times as likely as whites to fail the bar exam on the first try.

Continue reading “If you doubt the validity of affirmative action, you must be a racist”

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Jul 01 2008

Blocking the vote on affirmative action: strategy of the Left

Category: affirmative action,diversityharmonicminer @ 11:46 am

The essentially undemocratic intent of affirmative action/diversity supporters is on full display in Nebraska.

“The key to defeating the initiative is to keep it off the ballot in the first place. That’s the only way we’re going to win,” said Donna Stern, Midwest director for the Detroit-based By Any Means Necessary.

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