Which Way Does That Slippery Slope Run Again?

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Last week, Washington State passed a bill barring private-sector discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. There were a few depressing statements from proponents of the bill, such as the claim by State Sen. Bill Finkbeiner that "What we are really talking about here is … whether or not it's OK to be gay or homosexual in this state," as if it's only "OK to be gay" if the state forces some bigoted prick to rent you an apartment. But the really sad part is that opponents seemed to be almost wholly acting on the worst motives. For instance:

Sen. Dan Swecker, R-Rochester, said, "Discrimination against anyone is unacceptable, and it is wrong."

"Unfortunately the bill before us today is not the magic tool that will end discrimination in our state," he said. "In reality, it takes us in the opposite direction.

"The passage of this legislation puts us on a slippery slope towards gay marriage. The two are linked. … Are any of us naive enough to think the court won't take notice?"

In other words, revoking private citizens' rights to free association is, in itself, just fine and dandy. The real threat, apparently, is this might lead to a requirement that the government treat all citizens equally, and that would be unacceptable. In the immortal words of Mugatu: I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

NEXT: The Songs All Sound the Same (SOTU Edition)

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  1. Oh yeah, libertarianism is the political school of choice of a small minority and its tenets have no sway over the populace except when they coincide with what folks want anyway. I almost forgot.

  2. Why would a gay person want to rent from a bigot, anyway? “Gee, you’re an asshole. Let me give you money.” Also, the gay person may win the opening battle, but they have a long war ahead for them.

    Freedom of association.. not perfect. But what can ever be perfect when you’re dealing with human beings?

  3. Zoolander is criminally underrated.

  4. Freedom of association works great when there is diversity on ownership in apartment complexes (and I think there is or has been until recently). However, should the market in apartments or new homes for some area ever become consolidated, then things could get bad for our gay friends.

  5. Dave W. – your monopolized/discriminatory rental housing market is my market opportunity. Personally, I’d love to have a gay client base in rental units – their demographics are solid gold, baby. Good median income AND great taste! A landlord’s dream!

  6. and they’re far less likely to have children running about, fucking up the drywall and whatnot.

  7. If you have a critical mass of gays in need of housing in your area, then that is great. I think it was in the Toronto paper this weekend that they are now taking orders for a gay condo going up. The man in the photo looked coiffed and rich as hell to me. So, yeah, you are part correct. Certainly Dallas its Oak Lawn, so no worries there. However, there are other places with potential problems.

    Personally, I don’t see housing discrimination as a problem right now precisely because there is diversity of ownership. For example, I have come accross a couple of landlords in my life who won’t rent to lawyers. Not a problem because I have always been able to go down the street and find a landlord without this sensible prejudice.* In fact, tomorrow I am switching from a bad landlord to a promising landlord. The market works! I truly love functioning markets and this functioning market in apartments is allowing me to spend a bit more money and get what I want. Terrific!

    All that said, my ears would not be closed if some gay guy in Bryan or Waxahatchie or Lubbock comes along in a few years and says he is having a problem due to market consolidation and anti-gay policies.

    FOOTNOTE:

    * Or is it. Supposedly lawyers are more likely to sue landlords, but I am not sure this is the case. I am pretty sure I have good grounds for suing my current landlord, but I am not suing, or even looking into it, precisely because I know all the extraneous games he can play at the tribunal. I have had lawyer friends sue their contractors, but I was kind of under the impression that everybody sues their contractor or at least threatens to.

  8. Ridiculous extrapolation for the day:

    Dave W. will say anything and make any argument just to have the privilege of using the term “critical mass of gays.”

  9. Wasn’t the mugatu the white ape with a horn who fought jim kirk?
    http://www.angelfire.com/sc3/yvuerys/mugatu.JPG

  10. actually, now that you mention it, I think the measuring unit is the “cruise” and 3 cruises make a critical mass.

  11. Here’s something to consider: I agree that affirmative action and certain civil rights laws were necessary back in the 60s, but now that it’s been two generations I think we should try getting rid of the laws requiring people to NOT discriminate against black people. However, if that resulted in our going back to the bad old days, where black people had to pack picnic hampers for long road trips because no restaurant would sell them food, and had to go back to sleeping in their cars because no hotels would rent them a room, and where even the most brilloiant, educated black man probably couldn’t get a job other than a shoeshine boy because no business would hire him, then I’d agree we need to go back to protective laws.

    What about you guys? Basically, what I am asking is this: I know you oppose special-protection laws because you believe that they are not needed. But if we got rid of all such laws and it turned out that certain minority groups did in fact find everyday life difficult if not impossible solely because of their minority status, would you stick with the “no special protection laws” out of commitment to ideological principle, or consider that in this case principle needs to take a back seat to pragmatism?

  12. In other words, revoking private citizens’ rights to free association is, in itself, just fine and dandy. The real threat, apparently, is this might lead to a requirement that the government treat all citizens equally, and that would be unacceptable.

    I would point out that this bears some similarity to the rationale of the much (and, IMHO, unfairly) derided decision of Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court in Goodridge which extended marriage rights to gay citizens.

    In a nutshell, the rationale of that decision went like this: (i) a really emphatic equality-under-the-law provision was added to our state constitution in 1976; (ii) since that time, the Mass. legislature has passed many, many laws to protect the rights of gay people to equal treatment under the law; so (iii) given the general rule nowadays that gays are treated equally under our law, it’s not consistent with our constitution to say that gays can’t get married unless there’s some compelling reason for that, and there isn’t.

  13. The funny thing is it’s probably just as illegal for a landlord to advertise for gay residents as it is for him to “discriminate” against them.
    What a world.

  14. How soon before the courts interpret “No Private sector discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation” to mean that an individual cannot choose a sexual partner using either gender, the prospective partner’s sexual preferences, or one’s own sexual preferences in the decision making process.

    That will leave just one tried and true method:
    Get shit faced drunk and fuck what ever climbs into your bed or whoever’s bed you climb into.

  15. [W]ould you stick with the “no special protection laws” out of commitment to ideological principle[?]

    Yup. Principles come first.

    – Josh

  16. What about you guys? Basically, what I am asking is this: I know you oppose special-protection laws because you believe that they are not needed. But if we got rid of all such laws and it turned out that certain minority groups did in fact find everyday life difficult if not impossible solely because of their minority status, would you stick with the “no special protection laws” out of commitment to ideological principle, or consider that in this case principle needs to take a back seat to pragmatism?

    I have always thought that those civil rights, and esp affirmative action laws needed sunset clauses. It just seemed obvious to me since the time I was in 11th grade or so and found out what sunset clauses were.

    I was happy when O’Connor (IIRC) discussed sunset clauses in the context of affirmative action back in one of those 2003 cases.

    Semi-Related: I think the sunset clauses on the Patriot Act mostly worked for their intended purpose. As bad as the Patriot Act was, at least we had to debate it again seriously at the 4 year mark. We all know that the debate was much different the 2d time around.

  17. Principles do come first.

    And I guess the difference between Josh and myself is that I rate the principle “No caste system” higher than “No intrusion into business practices,” and he rates them differently.

    I think this is because I have principles about what society should look like, and he has principles about what the goverment should look like.

  18. Me, I appreciate the fact that my Jewish name and I are allowed to live within the city limits of Fort Lauderdale. Fifty years ago there would have been fat chance of that happening, and I can thank civil rights legislation for that.

    I’m also grateful that I can stay at pretty much any hotel with a vacancy when I’m traveling. Additionally, I’m glad I have only once in my life been told that there was no gas available at a rural gas station where other vehicles, without out-of-state plates, were getting filled up.

    It’s possible this might have come to pass anyway through the invisible hand, or through changing attitudes, or through goodwill generated by the popularity of “Seinfeld”, or by the natural process through which one set of ethnic prejudices fades when a new, even more exotic ethnic group to hate starts showing up. But me, I thank the court rulings and legislation for a lot of it. I suppose there’s a pure philosophical virtue to not wanting to rent from a bigot or live amonmg bigots or whatever, but sometimes, dang nab it, you want to live close to where you work, or close to better, less expensive groceries than the ones in the ghetto, or close to a good school.

    Crazy as it might sound on this forum, the market does not always seek maximum freedom. And though a growing number of cities have lovely upscale gay ghettos, they’re still ghettos, and in the cases like where they exist less for proximity to other gay people than as refuges from daily threats of physical harm, it’s separate-but-equal all over again, often complete with the usual ghetto “perks” of high rents relative to the quality of the housing stock.

  19. Jennifer, didn’t we have this discussion once before? With you nobly offering to scrap the equal-protection and civil rights laws that you never had to suffer in the absence of and wouldn’t if they were repealed, just to see what would happen? (“We’ve secretly taken off the books all the civil rights protections formerly enjoyed by blacks. Let’s watch the fun!”)

    I’m not sure by what measure, “Yeah, we enslaved you for three centuries, but I think about 40 years worth of laws, with maybe 30 of real enforcement, oughta just about do it?” makes any sense at all. Why don’t we also repeal the 19th Amendment, while we’re at it? I mean, women have been voting for 86 years now; surely if we removed the Amendment nobody would try anything funny, right?

  20. I was happy when O’Connor (IIRC) discussed sunset clauses in the context of affirmative action back in one of those 2003 cases.

    Yeah, it was O’Connor, and it may have been the worst piece of jurisprudence since “separate but equal.”

    Either affirmative action is Constitutional or it isn’t. If it is Constitutional, then it won’t stop being so in 25 years unless the Constitution is amended in 25 years. If it isn’t Constitutional, then it isn’t right now andk should be struck down right now.

    The sunsent clause is a legislative device. Her use of it showed in no uncertain terms that she had totally lost her bearings as a jurist and was functioning as an unelected super-legislator.

    I think this is because I have principles about what society should look like, and he has principles about what the goverment should look like.

    Its not possible to have principles about one without having principles about the other, joe.

  21. I predicted that the issue of freedom of association might eventually put libertarians on the defensive on a gay-liberation issue.

    I suspect that, among mainstream gay-rights groups, support for freedom of association is regarded as simply one more form of “hate,” along with support for the man/woman legal definition of marriage.

  22. I should add that, in the absence of any compelling reason to do so, introducing a resolution to repeal the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, et al., would be one of the most symbolically hateful things we could possibly do in this country.

  23. Why don’t we also repeal the 19th Amendment, while we’re at it? I mean, women have been voting for 86 years now; surely if we removed the Amendment nobody would try anything funny, right?

    The 19th amendment can’t be compared to affirmative action laws; the first one applies to the government while the second applies to everyday people. That example makes as much sense as “let’s scrap the first amendment since we’ve had freedom of religion and freedom of the press for a long time now.”

    But I’d be more than willing to scrap laws that give women more-than-equal protection under the law, at least for awhile; if we go back to the bad old days where women can’t be anything but nurses, teachers and secretaries then we’ll put the laws back.

    And no, I’m not suggesting that we get rid of things like affirmative actions as an experiment to see what happens; I’m suggesting we get rid of it because we may not need it anymore. Most of the people with the old-fashioned racist attitudes are either dead, dying, or living in trailer parks and in no financial condition to refuse to hire a black man to work for them, since they don’t own a business anyway.

  24. Phil, who here is talking about taking away black people’s right to vote? There’s a huge difference between laws requiring the government to treat all citizens equally, and laws requiring all private citizens to treat each other equally.

  25. laws requiring all private citizens to treat each other equally.

    Forgive a possible triple post, but as I think of it, affirmative action isn’t even about treating people equally; it’s about having different sets of standards for different groups of people. I think it is ridiculous that, say, to get into a particular university an Asian kid needs a 4.0 average, a white kid needs a 3.5 and a black kid needs a 3.0. Why not just have the same standards for everybody?

  26. Jennifer: oddly enough, I blogged on something along those lines yesterday. Basically, I argued that a lot of people have unrecognized, subconscious bias against, say, blacks-and for reasonable cause, since blacks are less likely to be well-educated and more likely to be poor and/or criminal. In the absence of other information, that’s a reasonable assumption to make; problem is when people can’t get past the initial assumption.

    Problem is that people are really bad at that getting-past-the-assumption thing; once you conclude something, it’s easy to notice confirming evidence and ignore opposing evidence. One possible solution is to institute a conscious bias, like affirmative action, in the direction opposite the direction of the subconscious bias. None of which is to say that I think we should have government-mandated affirmative action; just that there are reasonable arguments that it’s a welfare maximizing private strategy in some cases.

  27. Just read the article. Seems kind of celebratory. Persecuted minority finally wins civil rights after bitter struggle, braces for backlash . . . that sort of thing. Libertarians aren’t mentioned, but given their support for private property rights and freedom of association, it’s clear that, in the MSM’s eyes, they’re on the Wrong Side of this tremendous clash between Love and Hate.

    The libertarian position is bound to elicit the same visceral reaction on the Left that drug legalization does on the Right. Be prepared for arguments in which you have to prove you aren’t anti-gay.

    “The bill expands the Washington Civil Rights Act, which protects minorities from discrimination based on race, religion, gender and disabilities. However, it would not on its own give gays and lesbians the right to marry.”

    What happens if an employee in Washington State asks his employer for benefits for his same-sex “spouse,” on the same basis as different-sex spousal benefits? What if he triumphantly produces a Massachusetts marriage license to back up his demand, and threatens to sue if the demand isn’t met?

  28. The first sentence, “Just read the article,” uses the version of “read” which rhymes with “red.” As in, “I just read the article.”

  29. Jadagul, my main complaint with affirmative action is not its existence, but the way it is implemented. I wouldn’t be opposed to, say, a rule requiring a large company to hire the most qualified person for a given job, but I’m opposed to laws which say “X percent of given jobs MUST be held by members of a certain race or gender.” I read of a case where some city symphony orchestra got in trouble because they didn’t have enough black members; even after the symphony showed that no blacks had applied for any jobs there the orchestra STILL got in trouble.

    Also, I’m not opposed to women becoming firefighters, but I oppose letting women meet much lower standards of physical fitness than male firefighters in the same job. If my building catches on fire and my only escape is to jump out of my window into one of those trampoline-things firefighters have, I don’t mind having the trampoline held by six Amazonian women, but I’ll be super-pissed, and quite possibly dead, if the trampoline is held by six women who all look like me.

  30. I can’t stop thinking about being rescued from a burning building by Amazonian women.

  31. I used to work for a hoagie shop outside of Philly and we’d always have the affirmative action people hounding us. The owner’s response was always, “Well, tell some minorities to apply and then we can hire them.” And we were just a small shop with maybe 7 employees.

    Let’s also not forget that at least part of the reason that affirmative action was necessary was to counteract previous government policies that made it impossible to hire blacks in the first place, at a time when they had been having at least some success.

    There’s a huge difference between laws requiring the government to treat all citizens equally, and laws requiring all private citizens to treat each other equally.

    Well said, Jennifer.

  32. And no, I’m not suggesting that we get rid of things like affirmative actions as an experiment to see what happens; I’m suggesting we get rid of it because we may not need it anymore.

    Well, that’s mighty white of ya!

    Most of the people with the old-fashioned racist attitudes are either dead, dying, or living in trailer parks and in no financial condition to refuse to hire a black man to work for them, since they don’t own a business anyway.

    I’m certain that this is demonstrably untrue, no matter how much you’d like it to be true, so I’m going to have to ask for more than your say-so on this.

    In any case, once again, I find it interesting that you’re so eager to dump these policies when you will not be the one to suffer when things go awry. Very, very noble.

    . . . affirmative action isn’t even about treating people equally; it’s about having different sets of standards for different groups of people . . .

    It really isn’t. Are you even aware of the history of the phrase “affirmative action,” what it meant, and what it was supposed to accomplish? It had nothing to do with quotas or anything of the sort. The fact that it has often manifested itself this way is unfortunate, but says nothing about the goals that were meant to be achieved.

    I think it is ridiculous that, say, to get into a particular university an Asian kid needs a 4.0 average, a white kid needs a 3.5 and a black kid needs a 3.0. Why not just have the same standards for everybody?

    You’re talking about something that isn’t really “affirmative action” here, but just to take up the case of El Diablo for a moment — and stressing that I don’t necessarily agree with the policy you posit here, which is not affirmative action — what’s wrong with a private university setting its own policies for how they admit students?

    I’m not even going to get into the arguments concerning systemic faults in the education system which mean that children who happen to live in places with crappy real estate values get subpar educations anyway, thus making a case for class-based affirmative action, which would disproportionately assist blacks anyway. I’m sure you’ve heard them before, and I’m not going to be the one to convince you.

    wouldn’t be opposed to, say, a rule requiring a large company to hire the most qualified person for a given job, but I’m opposed to laws which say “X percent of given jobs MUST be held by members of a certain race or gender.”

    But, see, the reason that affirmative action gets perverted into hiring quotas and the like is that companies agree, “Oh, yes, we’ll only hire the most qualified person regardless of other factors!” Then, over in HR, anyone who has a name like “Shamar” or “Shaniqua,” or who is a woman with large gaps in her resume (from raising children) gets their application summarily spiked.

  33. what’s wrong with a private university setting its own policies for how they admit students?
    I’m not even going to get into the arguments concerning systemic faults in the education system which mean that children who happen to live in places with crappy real estate values get subpar educations anyway, thus making a case for class-based affirmative action, which would disproportionately assist blacks anyway. I’m sure you’ve heard them before, and I’m not going to be the one to convince you.

    In the first place, it’s not just private schools that have different standards for different races; public universities do, too. And while it is indeed horrible the way public schools give such radically different educations to poor and rich kids, consider this: if a kid can’t read well enough to get into a good college on his own merits, how well do you think he’ll do once he’s there?

    In any case, once again, I find it interesting that you’re so eager to dump these policies when you will not be the one to suffer when things go awry.

    You must not have read where I said I also wanted to get rid of rules giving special consideration to women.

    It had nothing to do with quotas or anything of the sort. The fact that it has often manifested itself this way is unfortunate, but says nothing about the goals that were meant to be achieved.

    You also must not have read where I said I’d have no problem with laws requiring companies to hire the person best qualified for the job, but have problems with quotas.

    the reason that affirmative action gets perverted into hiring quotas and the like is that companies agree, “Oh, yes, we’ll only hire the most qualified person regardless of other factors!” Then, over in HR, anyone who has a name like “Shamar” or “Shaniqua,” or who is a woman with large gaps in her resume (from raising children) gets their application summarily spiked.

    Oh, I guess you DID read what I wrote. Well, then, if Shaniqua the 4.0 Harvard graduate never gets so much as a job interview, let alone an offer, she can sue. I’d much rather see that than our current situation where Shaniqua with the 2.0 from Bumfuck Community College gets hired before James Whitebread Witherspoon IV with the 4.0 from Harvard because the company is required to ignore well-qualified candidates to fill their ranks with the less-qualified.

  34. would you stick with the “no special protection laws” out of commitment to ideological principle, or consider that in this case principle needs to take a back seat to pragmatism?

    If one’s principles are sound, then they are also the most pragmatic, at least in the long run if not always immediately. It’s hard to imagine many restaurants in today’s world barring blacks.

  35. As I think more about it, I’d be willing to support the Chris Rock Affirmative Action Program (Paraphrased as follows):

    If a white man is more qualified than a black man for a job or a spot in school, give it to the white man. But if the white man is equally as qualified as the black man, give it to the black man–the white man had a four-hundred-year head start.

    I have no problem with race or gender being used as a tie-breaker. But holding different groups of people to different standards is just wrong.

  36. RCD:

    1. I sort of agree with your point that O’Connor shouldn’t be the one talking about sunset clauses; rather, it should have been the legislature. Although some Constitutional scrutiny requires the legislation to be narrowly tailored to its legitimate ends, and a sunset clause could theoretically help with this kind of balancing (not binary) jurisprudence, the sunset clauses really are a thing for Congress in the 1st instance. I just find myself wishing that the legislative opposition to affirmative action (and I think there was some) had been more about the sunset.

    2. As I have said on this board, I don’t think “separate was equal” was bad jurisprudence. I think it was bad jurisprudence when the courts chose not to put any real teeth in the equal part. Even when ordering integration 50 years later, the Brown court could have demanded equal per pupil funding as a condition of equality. Basically Brown made segregation less perfect, but getting rid of the equality requirement allows the imperfect segregation, post-Brown, post-utopian bussing schemes, to still be pretty bad. Hopefully the concept of equal funding per student will come back when we make the big switch to vouchers.

    3. so hopefully we are agreeing more than disagreeing here for once.

  37. But the really sad part is that opponents seemed to be almost wholly acting on the worst motives.

    “Seemed”? Heh.

    In other words, revoking private citizens’ rights to free association is, in itself, just fine and dandy.

    This is another example of an interesting thought exercise in Libertopian thinking colliding with reality. The right to discriminate against blacks and women is not going to come back – the country would devolve into chaos if it did. It would be a shame to deny the same protections to gays on the basis of wishes that aren’t going to come true.

    Why would a gay person want to rent from a bigot, anyway?

    Suppose you’re already renting from said bigot. Finding another place can be a REAL pain in the ass if he finds out you’re gay and kicks you out.

  38. This is bullshit. Why is it that you can’t discriminate on the basis of sex, race, etc., but you can discriminate on the basis of age? I’m specifically referring to old-age condos and such. In SF, you can buy a condo for about $300,000 if you’re over a certain age, but a similar condo will cost you about $700,000 if you’re younger. All younger people are discrimated against by this policy. Is it not enough that I have over 15% of my income confiscated from me and transferred to these people?

    This would make for an interesting lawsuit.

  39. I’m specifically referring to old-age condos and such.

    CAN they discriminate?? Kramer got into Boca del Vista….

  40. Don’t forget that the disrimination in the South was actually originated and enforced in government, not the market. It wasn’t until the late 19th century that legislators started passing Jim Crowe laws and enforcing separated public facilities, etc.

    So the hypothetical of “what would the market do absent those civil rights laws” needs to be compared to “what would history have been like without discriminatory laws in the first place?”

  41. It wasn’t until the late 19th century that legislators started passing Jim Crowe laws and enforcing separated public facilities, etc.

    I think there was a fair amount of discrimination going on long before whites were “forced” to do it by the government.

  42. Jennifer,

    I know you’re motivated by a desire to end racial discrimination, and that’s a noble goal. It’s one that I share, but it’s one that brings me to the opposite conclusion.

    We have a choice – we can drastically reduce the number of black people who get college educations, or we can have affirmative action in admissions. Great choices, huh?

    Think of a wheel in a rut. If left to its own devices, it will never come out of the rut. When the rut curves to the left, the wheel will turn to the left – even if nobody is turning the wheel to the left. It takes force to get out of the rut.

    The racial inequality that characterizes this country is our rut. As we all know, it took force to get us into this rut, and it’s going to take some kind of force to get us out.

  43. re: “would you stick with the ‘no special protection laws’ out of commitment to ideological principle, or consider that in this case principle needs to take a back seat to pragmatism?”

    I’d make sure that black people were treated as first-class citizens, allowed to eat and sleep where everyone else does. If my principles conflicted with that, there’d be something flawed or incomplete about my principles.

  44. We have a choice – we can drastically reduce the number of black people who get college educations, or we can have affirmative action in admissions. Great choices, huh?

    But it’s not a matter of “reducing the number of black people who go to college,” Joe; it’s a matter of “reducing the number of black people who are admitted to colleges for which they are not prepared.” It’s like I asked Phil already–if you’re not educated enough to get into a good college on your own merits, how well do you think you’ll do once you’re there? Better to graduate from a fair-to-middling college than to flunk out of the Ivy League.

  45. Jennifer,

    First, “people who can’t read” is a straw man. Vanishingly few people who can’t read are filling out application forms. You were closer when you talked about the black student with the 3.0 GPA.

    But that aside, let’s think about the implication of your thought – that we end up with .5% or 1% of Ivy League students being black, and most of the rest going to state schools or community college. What about social networks – the ones that turn into professional networks and political networks? What about the suburban white kids who go to top tier schools, colleges that are now just as lily-white as the grade schools they attended?

  46. BTW, Jennifer, just for some perspective, Harvard gets roughly 30 applications for every available slot. Of those, 15-20 come from students who are perfectly prepared to attend Harvard.

    The unprepared black student in college is, again, largely a myth. In reality, affirmative action means that a perfectly prepared (though not exceptional) black student is more likely to get into the school than a perfectly prepared (though not exceptional) white student.

    Of all the arguments against affirmative action, the assertion that your saving black students who don’t know what’s best for them from scary, hard colleges is probably the least convincing.

  47. Ooh yeah, triple post!

    I just wanted to add, to Jennifer, that Chris Rock’s “When it’s a tie…” is relevant to the point I just made about perfectly prepared though unexceptional students.

  48. “People who can’t read,” Joe? I said “people who aren’t educated enough.” And I am also saying that colleges should have one single set of standards for all applicants, regardless of race or gender.

    Don’t worry about your lily-white social networks, either–affirmative action universities require Asian students to be much, much better than white students if they want to get into their schools. So with my plan we’ll end up with lots of Asians in the Ivy League, and whites and blacks in the lower-tier schools until they–we–realize that we need to work harder if we want to get into a top-notch school. (And I say this as someone who got a lot of effortless B’s in high school rather than work hard to get A’s.)

    I graduated from a predominantly white high school, but the salutatorian was one of the few black kids who attended. If anybody told her that blacks couldn’t get into good schools unless they were held to lower standards she would have been very offended indeed. Affirmative action cheapens what she has done–I’ve lost track of the number of times she used to complain about the people who assumed that she got her full scholarship because she was a twofer–a black and a woman–as opposed to a damned smart student who worked her ass off to earn what she had.

  49. Of all the arguments against affirmative action, the assertion that your saving black students who don’t know what’s best for them from scary, hard colleges is probably the least convincing.

    Nobody–black or white–should be allowed to attend a scary, hard college unless they earned the right to be there.

  50. This may be a triple post unless Joe or someone posts first, but it occurs to me–think of my previous example: 4.0 for the Asian kids, 3.5 for the white kids, 3.0 for the black kids. My high school average was about a 3.5, I think; it could have been 4.0 if I’d chosen to work harder. I had no problem getting into the college of my choice, but had I been Asian I would probably have been rejected. What message does THAT send? “It’s okay for smart white girls to be lazy in high school, but smart Asian girls better work their butts off?”

  51. Jennifer,

    You’re arguing with racists, so you’re unlikely to change any minds. I’m not saying that they are the old-school heinous types, but they are racists nonetheless. Just remember, white folks, even those that aren’t racist, are all responsible for the racist crimes of other whites. We deserve to be punished for our skin color (or the form of our genitalia, for that matter).

    I’ve long thought that people with “white guilt” assume that all whites are racist because they are (but feel bad about it). I’m sure joe just loves a system that would accept the children of Michael Jordon over those of some poor Appalachians, even if the grades of the Appalachian kids are better.

    I love how social-leftists decry the collective punishment of Palestinian Arabs, but have no problem using collective punishment on Americans.

  52. Jennifer, can you give me an example of laws that say “X percent of given jobs MUST be held by members of a certain race or gender” ? And how about some details of that city symphony story you relate. I’m willing to bet your aren’t remembering the facts of the case accurately. I know the failure to hire minorities in sufficient numbers can give rise to the rebuttal presumption that employment discrimination is the cause, but I don’t know of any cases where there is an absolute requirement to have racial or gender balance in the workforce.

    Similarly, Jennifer, can you give me a real life example anywhere close to your situation?where Shaniqua with the 2.0 from Bumfuck Community College gets hired before James Whitebread Witherspoon IV with the 4.0 from Harvard because the company is required to ignore well-qualified candidates to fill their ranks with the less-qualified? You present it as not so much a hypothetical as a rough approximation of the current employment market.

    Stretch from the hoagie shop?who were the ?the affirmative action people? who hounded you? What form did the hounding take. And how far outside of Philly were you, that you never had minorities apply for job openings?

  53. Real Bill–

    The racism of collective white guilt is nothing compared to the racism of saying “When it comes to academics, black people can’t possibly compete with white people, so we’d better hold them to a much lower standard.”

  54. Jennifer,

    Agreed, but it’s crappy nonetheless.

    To bad people can’t get their heads out of their asses and realize that race is just a figment of their imaginations. Race doesn’t actually exist in the physical world; ask a geneticist.

  55. Jennifer: sorry I didn’t get back to you earlier. I wasn’t saying that quotas are a good idea; I suspect that they’re a very poor implementation, whatever you think of the underlying idea. But as for the requirement that “every company hire the most qualified person for the job”: first of all, a law stating that would be a total, unqualified disaster (does that mean I can sue if I think I’m the most qualified for a job and don’t get it? Can you imagine how many lawsuits that would spawn? And sometimes qualification has to do with mushy factors that are really hard to measure; so either we’d have a law with no teeth at all, or a law that basically forced the judiciary to make the majority of private sector hiring decisions).

    Second, the argument I made on my blog, and that I brought up here, is that people have subconscious (and often somewhat justified) biases: black people-and perhaps ones named “Shaniqa” or “Oranjello” more than others-tend to be less well educated than whites. In the absence of other information, I’d assume that James Whitebread Witherspoon is better educated than Ms Shaniqa, and most of the time I’d be right. OF course, once you know something about Mr Witherspoon’s and Ms Shaniqa’s records, those generalizations should be discarded; but people have trouble changing their initial judgments, so lots of people might unconsciously but consistently underestimate blacks’ ability, education, law-abidingness, etc. So it might be a rational strategy to try to artificially favor blakcs (and women, and gay, or whoever) consciously, to counteract the subconscious biases you can’t control.

    On the other hand, I don’t want these policies to be enforced by the government, and probably not used by the government in its own hiring decisions, because I expect almost any government foray into this field to be poorly constructed and just screw things up worse. Too many hiring and firing decisions are made in legal departments already.

  56. Parse –

    A few years back Al Sharpton stopped traffic on a major highway in St. Louis. The reason, because at least 35% of the workers on a major highway project weren’t minority (and 25% minority contractors).

    Missouri responded that they are in federal compliance by hiring more that the required 10%, but Al thinks the percentages should be based on population in St. Louis
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/1999/07/12/national/main53932.shtml
    ——
    I think SCOTUS has said “quotas” are unconstitutional. The only problem with this is that without “quotas” there’s no way to know when one’s in compliance.

    If the law states you must maintain a workforce constitent with the population, how does one know they are in compliance prior to counting?

    Hell – that’s how racial discrimination suits are proven. When Jesse says to Ford (or whomever), “You don’t have enough blacks in management” – how do you think he’s drawing that conclusion?

  57. there are a whole lotta people of many races and backgrounds who are wholly unprepared for college or graduate level work. private or public universities are bilking a subset of their students who are clearly unprepared to write on a university level.

    you should see some of the essays my wife has to help fix as a writing tutor. it’s insane. they’re taking students who do not have the language skills to write four page papers and essentially robbing them. it’s fucked.

  58. Jennifer, ‘The racism of collective white guilt is nothing compared to the racism of saying “When it comes to academics, black people can’t possibly compete with white people, so we’d better hold them to a much lower standard.”‘

    Bemoaning thet state of the world is all well and good, but it doesn’t get you off the hook.

    For a whole host of reasons, black students are underrepresented among high academic achievers, compared to their numbers in the overall population. This is changing, as O’Connor noted, but it is still the reality. (Boo hoo, joe’s a racist for noticing this – go fuck yourself, Real Bill.)

    Shriek racism, talk about your feelings, point out the horrible unfairness you JUST KNOW your valedictorian feels – you’re still not off the hook. At this point in history, the elimination of affirmative action in college admissions will result in a sharp drop in the numbers of black students at good schools. And given the importance of degrees and social networks from those schools in bringing people into the mainstream and top tiers of society, this reduction in college students will mean a “bleaching” of the middle class and of leadership positions in our society.

    That is not an acceptable outcome. Period. We have made a great deal of progress in this area, and people genuinely concerned about racial equality (Real Bill, did I mention you can go fuck yourself?) should not be willing to see that happen.

    Nor is waiving away the issue by pointing to Asiann students a solution. The point here is to get out of the rut – to eliminate what remains of the racial caste system that defined our country for most of its history. Shutting black people out of good colleges isn’t going to do that, even if Asian people, rather than white people, take their slots.

    And knowing what you do about the state of public education, particularly the “opportunities” available in schools that serve overwhelmingly black, overwhelmingly poor communities, do you really want to hang your hat on the assertion that laziness among black people explains the difference in academic qualifications between the black student population and the white?

  59. I am going to note, btw, that the retreat from logic and argument, and the dismissal of the oppositions arguments with an accusation of latent racism, came first (and second) from the anti-affirmative action side of the debate, while the pro-affirmative action side actually acknowledged that the opposition was motivated by the a desire for racial justice.

    And I’m going to be a little bit smug about that fact.

  60. You’re right, Joe. Whether due to laziness, a cultural anti-education bias or sheer stupidity, those poor dumb pickaninnies can’t be held to the same standards as white children, who in turn can’t be held to the same standards as Asians. Holding all people to the same standard is just not fair, so in order to reach the same goal, Asians must work much harder than white people, who in turn must work much harder than black people. Remember: what matters is not how much you learn, but how much melanin you have while you’re learning it.

    The point here is to get out of the rut – to eliminate what remains of the racial caste system that defined our country for most of its history.

    Which is why a new racial caste system has to be implemented in its place.

  61. George Wallace was right and Martin Luther King was wrong: you should be judged according to the color of your skin, not the content of your character. Or transcripts, as the case may be.

  62. Meanwhile, let’s talk about women. We’ve been allowed to vote for 86 years now, and STILL we are underrepresented in the halls of government. This must be the result of endemic sexism. But here’s a great way to solve that problem: Affirmative Voting Action! Until women make up 51 pecent of elected officials, to relect our percentage of the population, all woman-votes will count twice as much as man-votes. Remember, guys: ninety years ago I would not have been allowed to vote, and this is your fault. You owe me.

    Sexist bastards.

  63. Well, intelligent discourse was nice while it lasted.

    You have fun ranting about “pickaninnies.” I’m done.

  64. Now, now, Joe, is that any way to talk to someone who agrees with you? You’re right, as I have said–black people are simply not capable of meeting the same high academic standards as white people, and anyone who says they can is a racist.

  65. That’s funny, all I see on my screen is “Waah wah wah wah racist. Waah waah waah ractist wah wah.”

    Funny, it was working last night.

  66. You’re right, Joe. Black people cannot meet the same academic standards as white people. It has nothing to do with racism–it’s just that black people are inherently different from white people, and less capable of learning.

  67. I am right.

    But nothing you wrote bears any resemblance to what I wrote, or thought.

    In a few years, when you grow up, maybe you will learn to keep your head for more than four exchanges, and we can have an intelligent discussion about real – as opposed to imagined – ideas.

  68. I am right.

    I know–if black people are held to the same standards as white people then hardly any black person will ever make it into a decent school. They can’t. It’s like you said at 7:17 last night, if blacks are held to the same standards as white people then we end up with .5% or 1% of Ivy League students being black, and most of the rest going to state schools or community college.

    The other 99 percent of black people just aren’t cut out for higher academia, you see. And if they only go to state schools then forget it–state-school graduatews never, ever amount to anything.

  69. I could explain to you the idiotic failures in your self serving logic, but why bother?

    You’re clearly in high dudgeon, and experience tells us there’s no talking you down.

    I remember the exciting feeling of shrieking that my political opponents were racists. Outgrew it before I could buy a legal beer, though.

  70. I could explain to you the idiotic failures in your self serving logic

    How, pray tell, am I supposed to interpret comments like “[without affirmative action] we end up with .5% or 1% of Ivy League students being black”? You are the one who keeps insisting that black kids can’t meet the same standards as white kids.

  71. Also, Joe, if you are going to criticize “self-serving” logic, you might wish to avoid making “arguments” like, “I am right.”

  72. Jennifer asks, “How, pray tell, am I supposed to interpret comments like ‘[without affirmative action] we end up with .5% or 1% of Ivy League students being black’?”

    Here is a start: college admissions are almost never based on a strictly objective record of a student’s achievment. (Grand point average, for example, certainly does not qualify, since work that gets an “A” in one school might get a “C” in another.) There still exists sufficient racism in society such that, absent any countervailing force, prejudice against members of minorities groups will prevail in admissions systems claimed to treat all applicants objectively.

    Also, by the time a student applies for college, the results of racism and class difference will have already affected what is on their transcript. I remember being amazed when tutoring high school students to learn that now, since calculators are routinely allowed to students taking standardized tests, students who can afford those which store formulas can earn a signficant advantage over students who don’t. Ponder it for a moment and you can probably think of similar examples of your own.

  73. college admissions are almost never based on a strictly objective record of a student’s achievment. (Grand point average, for example, certainly does not qualify, since work that gets an “A” in one school might get a “C” in another.)

    Have you any evidence that primarily black schools give their students C’s for work that would merit an A in a white school? Or that when blacks and whites attend the same school, the black students are graded more harshly than the white students?

    There still exists sufficient racism in society such that, absent any countervailing force, prejudice against members of minorities groups will prevail in admissions systems claimed to treat all applicants objectively.

    Then here’s a suggestion: don’t ask for students to identify themselves as minorities on application forms. And if their parents were dumb enough to give them a name like Shakaleesha, let the student put her initials on the form instead.

    I remember being amazed when tutoring high school students to learn that now, since calculators are routinely allowed to students taking standardized tests, students who can afford those which store formulas can earn a signficant advantage over students who don’t.

    And, of course, all white kids can afford these calculators, but no black kids can.

    By the way–I used to make extra money proctoring SAT tests–calculators were allowed, but calculators with memory capacity weren’t. Any kid found with formulas in his calculator was immediately kicked out of the testing room.

  74. Jennifer, the statement “calculators with memory capacity aren’t allowed” is certainly untrue now. I know the TI-86, which can store games and has a built-in programming language, is useable on the SAT (or was two years ago); I think the TI-89, which can practically write your essays for you, was as well, but I’m not sure.

    Indeed, the college board says that “The tests are developed with the expectation that most students are using graphing calculators.” Graphing calculators typically have memory, and cost money.

    Not that I necessarily agree with Joe. As I said, I don’t want the government to mandate affirmative action, because I think it causes more problems than it solves. But there are good reasons to consider private AA a good thing, too.

  75. Christ, Jadagul, now I feel old.

    But even so–it’s always been the case that rich kids will have an easier time of it than poor kids. It sucks, and is unfair, but that is life. But having the government propose to fix this by adding new unfairness of its own is a cure worse than the disease.

    (For what it’s worth, I woudn’t be opposed to a type of affirmative action based on a kid’s financial situation. But race? No. Especially not when Bill Cosby’s kids are held to a lower standard than the kid of a white coal miner in West Virginia. Or me, the daughter of a rabidly anti-intellectual white bimbo.)

  76. Jennifer, I wasn’t trying to arguing that difference in grading standards from one school to another favored whites, just giving some evidence for my assertion that, absent affirmative action, college selection isn’t based on an objective standard. Affirmative action seems to me to be an attempt to address the fact that subjective standards apply, and they generally apply to the disadvantage of groups characterized by race, gender, ethnicity, class or sexual orientation. I think they are a clumsy means of addressing that problem and one I generally don’t support, but I find your reaction to it somewhat difficult to understand.

    Why is is that if affirmative action gives an advantage to black kids you seem to be absolutely enraged over the prospect, where when rich kids have an advantage over poor kids (which still means, more often than not, white kids have an advantage over black kids), you shrug your shoulders and say “it sucks, and is unfair, but that is life.”

    It’s like all the people who were outraged that O.J. got away with murder but thought it was kind of cool when John Gotti did.

  77. Why is is that if affirmative action gives an advantage to black kids you seem to be absolutely enraged over the prospect, where when rich kids have an advantage over poor kids (which still means, more often than not, white kids have an advantage over black kids), you shrug your shoulders and say “it sucks, and is unfair, but that is life.”

    Because it’s one thing to deal with unfairness that is a natural aspect of human existence, and another thing to deal with unfairness that is directly caused by government action. That’s also why I merely shrug and say “How sad” when a young person dies of natural causes, but get furious when a young person dies because somebody killed him.

    It’s like all the people who were outraged that O.J. got away with murder but thought it was kind of cool when John Gotti did.

    If you say so, but I’m not one of those people.

  78. Jennifer: “But it’s not a matter of “reducing the number of black people who go to college,” Joe; it’s a matter of “reducing the number of black people who are admitted to colleges for which they are not prepared.” It’s like I asked Phil already–if you’re not educated enough to get into a good college on your own merits, how well do you think you’ll do once you’re there?”

    joe: “The unprepared black student in college is, again, largely a myth. In reality, affirmative action means that a perfectly prepared (though not exceptional) black student is more likely to get into the school than a perfectly prepared (though not exceptional) white student.”

    Jennifer’s Conclusion: (“Paraphrasing” me) “The other 99 percent of black people just aren’t cut out for higher academia, you see.”

    There is one of us who thinks that students admitted to top tier schools through affirmative action are qualified to be there, and it’s me. There is one of us who doesn’t think they can make it at good schools, and it’s you. You’ve even offered to “protect” them from their own foolishness by denying the admissions that the Admissions Office wishes to give them. So the poor dears don’t fail out, you see.

    Even by the criteria you set up to judge whether I’m a racist, your charge is still bullshit.

  79. ‘How, pray tell, am I supposed to interpret comments like “[without affirmative action] we end up with .5% or 1% of Ivy League students being black”?’

    As a commentary on the inequality of opportunity that characterizes schools with poor, black student bodies.

    Is this the first time you’ve ever discussed this issue? This is not a terribly novel concept, you know.

  80. Jennifer’s Conclusion: (“Paraphrasing” me) “The other 99 percent of black people just aren’t cut out for higher academia, you see.”

    Joe’s descripton of what would happen if we got rid of affirmative action in education: we end up with .5% or 1% of Ivy League students being black, and most of the rest going to state schools or community college.

    Basic math: One hundred percent minus one percent equals ninety-nine percent.

    Conclusion: Joe thinks that without affirmative action, only about one percent or less of Ivy League students would be black, because all the other black people simply don’t have what it takes to get there on their own.

    There is one of us who thinks that students admitted to top tier schools through affirmative action are qualified to be there, and it’s me. There is one of us who doesn’t think they can make it at good schools, and it’s you.

    If they are qualified to be there, then why can’t they meet the same standards as everybody else?

  81. “Especially not when Bill Cosby’s kids are held to a lower standard than the kid of a white coal miner in West Virginia.”

    In the real world, white kids from underrepresented, poor communities who meet the criteria for admission are highly sought after by colleges. That kid from West Virginia would leave tire tracks on a kid with the same grades who comes from Long Island.

  82. To put it another way, Joe: why do you assume black people are incapable of meeting the same academic standards as white people?

  83. “If they are qualified to be there, then why can’t they meet the same standards as everybody else?”

    A wise man once wrote, “BTW, Jennifer, just for some perspective, Harvard gets roughly 30 applications for every available slot. Of those, 15-20 come from students who are perfectly prepared to attend Harvard.

    The unprepared black student in college is, again, largely a myth. In reality, affirmative action means that a perfectly prepared (though not exceptional) black student is more likely to get into the school than a perfectly prepared (though not exceptional) white student.”

    Students admitted through affirmative action are students who are perfectly qualified to be there. Most good schools deny admission to large numbers of students who are perfectly qualified to be there.

    Would you like me to explain this to you a third time before you acknowledge the argument, or would you just like to accuse me of racism again?

  84. Joe, you said earlier that without affirmative action, less than one percent of students in top-tier colleges would be black. How else am I to interpret that, if not “If blacks and whites are held to the same academic standard, the black people just won’t be able to measure up?”

  85. “To put it another way, Joe: why do you assume black people are incapable of meeting the same academic standards as white people?”

    I don’t assume this.

    Did you mean, “Joe, why do you think black people, in the aggregate, have lower academic achievement?” I’ll be happy to answer that question, if you manage to type it without accusing me of being a racist.

    Though at this point, it would be pretty repetitive, as I’ve answered it three or four times already.

  86. Would you like time references to the multiple occasions I’ve already answered that question?

  87. “Conclusion: Joe thinks that without affirmative action, only about one percent or less of Ivy League students would be black,”
    Yes, yes, promising start…

    “…because all the other black people simply don’t have what it takes to get there on their own.”

    Oooooh, she blows it again!

  88. Then tell me this, Joe: Asian people have traditionally been discriminated against in our country, too. Why should they be held to higher standards than members of the white majority?

  89. Jennifer,

    Because our country is not suffering from a broad, systemic failure to integrate Asian-Americans into the social and economic mainstream. We aren’t in that “rut” – we’re in (and increasingly, starting to pull out of) a completely different rut.

  90. So Asian students should be punished for this, by being held to higher standards than their white counterparts?

  91. Or is it, “White students should be held to lower standards than Asians because this country is suffering from a broad, systemic failure to integrate white students into the mainstream of society?”

  92. Appendix to the 5:45 post:

    The most significant manifestation of this failure being the concentration of black students in inferior schools, and in de facto segregated schools, that deny them quality academic experiences and a broad social network.

    We don’t have a similar problem with Asians being stuck in lousy schools, or segregated schools.

  93. Joe, that would explain why Asians were held to the SAME standards as whites. I’m asking why they should be held to HIGHER standards than whites.

  94. I’ve never heard of Asian students having trouble getting into good colleges, nor have I heard of any colleges working to keep up their white populations through lower admission standards (at least, not for several decades).

  95. I’ve never heard of Asian students having trouble getting into good colleges

    I didn’t say “Asians are having trouble getting into good colleges;” I said “Asians have to meet higher standards than whites to get into good colleges.” Why is this necessary?

  96. Jennifer,

    Now that you seem to have gathered your wits and returned to civil discourse, I’d like an apology.

    You called a racist. Repeatedly and emphatically. For no reason other than your own mistaken assumptions.

  97. Oh Lawd, have mercy,
    Ah got dem white-girl blues,
    the Asians all work harder den me
    Ah don’t know what to do!
    Ah know, Ah’ll ask the government
    to change the rules for me
    the Asians have to get straight A’s
    Ah only need a B.

  98. Oh. A minstrel act. That is funny.

  99. Joe, you still have not explained why white people should be held to lower standards than Asians to get into the same school.

  100. Is The Man keeping us down?

  101. Answer first: why are whites held to lower standards than Asians? Do we need help integrating into the socioeconomic mainstream?

  102. You called me a racist, for no good reason.

    Even you clearly realize at this point that you were mistaken. And there was never any good reason for you jump to the conclusion that consider black people intellectually inferior, other than to try to seize some high ground in a debate.

    Racism is a despicable personal flaw, and you recklessly hurled that charge at me, for no good reason.

    I think you should, at least, admit that you made a mistake in accusing me of being a racist.

  103. Even you clearly realize at this point that you were mistaken

    Not necessarily. But I ask again: if blacks should be held to lower standards than whites to help ease them into the mainstream, why should whites also be held to lower standards than Asians? Are we Caucasian-Americans that oppressed? That marginalized?

  104. Jennifer, I don’t have any problem saying it: Asians should not be held to higher standards than whites (or blacks) in questions of college admissions.

    Now, can you deal with my suggestion that college admissions have never been an objective process based solely on some reliable empirical data about the prospects of a potential student to succeed at the university level? And that affirmative action does not introduce questions of race, gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation into a process that would not include them otherwise, but attempts to re-dress longstanding and still powerful effects of prejudice that already permeate the selection process?

    You claim that the affirmative action demonstrates the result of direct government action while the advantage of rich over poor is just the working of a natural aspect of human existence. In the United States today, would you say the importance of “direct government action” in determining who is rich and who is poor is
    a) trivial
    b) limited but noteworthy
    c) substantial
    d) decisive

    Finally, ponder your advice for students whose “parents were dumb enough to give them a name like Shakaleesha”– “let the student put her initials on the form instead.” Why is it dumb for parents to give their daughter a name like Shakaleesha? Why because it means, unless she uses her initials, people will know she is black. But unless the effects of racism are persistent and pervasive, there’s no problem in making that clear. So your own advice demonstrates the need for some mechanism like affirmative action. We all know you don’t care for affirmative action as a remedy. What do you propose as an alternative?

  105. Why is it dumb for parents to give their daughter a name like Shakaleesha?

    For the same reason it was dumb for Penn Jillette of Penn and Teller fame to name his daughter Moxie Crimefighter–if you want to demonstrate creativity, don’t do it by saddling your kid with a stupid name guaranteed to shut her out of the mainstream. But at least Moxie Jillette is unlikely to ever face poverty due to an inability to find a regular job. Shaniqua and Shakaleesha aren’t so lucky.

    And that affirmative action does not introduce questions of race, gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation into a process that would not include them otherwise, but attempts to re-dress longstanding and still powerful effects of prejudice that already permeate the selection process?

    Affirmative action was supposed to ensure that people weren’t denied a job or a place in school because of their race or gender. Now it does exactly the opposite–your grades aren’t as important as your race is.

    We all know you don’t care for affirmative action as a remedy. What do you propose as an alternative?

    Get rid of legacy admissions and let the most qualified students take the available spots in colleges, regardless of their skin tone. Stop asking for racial status on application forms.

  106. “Not necessarily.”

    Screw you, then.

    Asshole.

  107. Do you really believe that race is more important than grade point average on the typical college admission? It seems for that to be the case, schools would have to admit every minority applicant, regardless of any other qualification, before they let potential white students in. I think you can make intelligent criticisms of the way affirmative action functions, but suggesting that race is the prevailing factor seems like a gross overstatement to me.

    By the way, you never did give me the details on that city symphony story you cited, or give me a real world example that approaches a student with a 2.0 average from a provincial community college beating an applicant with a 4.0 from Harvard. Care to try introducing some facts to back up your speculations?

  108. Since Joe won’t explain why Asians must be held to a higher standard than whites, I suppose I’ll have to do it.

    Affirmative action–at least in its present form, with its quotas and different standards for different groups–doesn’t view people as individuals, but as members of a group. And all individuals are assumed to be exactly the same as all the other members of their group.

    Now, when it comes to Asians, whites and blacks, there are of course many different individuals in each group, but in general, here are the basic cultural differences:

    Asians take education seriously. Very seriously. Certainly, there are individual Asians who are lazy or don’t give a rat’s ass about education–but overall, their culture views education as something very important.

    White people are more laid-back about education. The white view of education isn’t so much that you must succeed, just that you must not fail–it was white people who gave America the concept of the “gentleman’s C” and the “lady’s B.” Do well enough to avoid failure, yes, but don’t be some pointy-nosed intellectual, for God’s sake.

    Modern black culture is a mess, though. Bill Cosby was right about that. A lot of black kids don’t give a rat’s ass about learning, and a lot of black students who do well in school (and there ARE a lot of them) are accused by their fellow students of “acting white” (and the fellow students never think to realize that by associating intelligence with whiteness they’re in perfect agreement with the Ku Klux Klan).

    Of course there are many, many exceptions in all of these groups. People are individuals; some are workaholics, some are slackers, and most fall somewhere in between. But affirmative action won’t see that–it assumes that any individual member of a group is pretty much like any other.

    So of course you get the Asian 4.0, White 3.5, Black 3.0 breakdown. Why not hold Asians to higher standards than whites? After all, every single Asian kid is a workaholic who keeps her nose to the grindstone all the time, right? And why not hold black kids to lower standards than whites? After all, every single black person has a low opinion of education and we can’t expect them to “act white” by getting good grades, right?

    And that, more than anything else, is why I despise the current system–because it tells people of all races “Who you are as an individual doesn’t matter at all–what matters is the racial group you belong to.”

  109. Parse, Google “Detroit”, “Affirmative action” and “symphony orchestra.”

  110. I did the google search you recommended Jennifer, and the only relevant result on the first page reported a story whose details were different in significant ways from your report, as I suspected they might be. I don’t think you were mendacious, but remembered the story in a way that supported your preconceptions and desire to exaggerate what is done in the name of affirmative action.

    I see you’ve passed on the opportunity to defend your second example. And now this thread has dropped off Hit & Run’s main. You are probably safe.

  111. And now this thread has dropped off Hit & Run’s main.

    No, it hasn’t. But if you honestly believe, here in the year 2006, that there are no such things as hiring quotas (despite the examples other posters gave you above) and academic quotas, then there is absolutely no point in my trying to convince you otherwise.

  112. I have never said I don’t think there are any such things as hiring or academic quotas. I know there are, and I think they are unfair and unhelpful. I’m the guy who agreed a long time ago that Asians shouldn’t be held to a higher standard in admissions, remember?

    But as several folks here have suggested, the results of affirmative action are not generally that grossly unqualifed people are selected over those of spectacular abilities. It’s that in a pool of qualified people, people with certain attributes not directly related to the position in question are given advantages.

    I think you can criticize that process, and demand that people who defend affirmative action demonstrate that the benefits outweight the inherent unfairness of such a system. But your assertion that affirmative action has created a system where race trumps all other criteria and routinely results in the elevation of the sub-par at the expense of the superb is just not convincing.

  113. Well, well, joe called Jennifer and asshole and I’m supposed to fuck myself twice. Oh, well.

    joe,

    You are a racist. Not the evil kind; just the stupid kind.

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