Creative Destruction

December 9, 2006

Watch the hands, people

Filed under: Ethics,Race and Racism — Tuomas @ 10:30 pm

There has been lot of back and forth on affirmative action in this site. As an outside observer, I have noted something:

Affirmative action is supported from the premises of:

1) Whites (or white men) are historically privileged

2) Blacks are historically and currently oppressed [added the word currently as an edit]

3) In addition, other groups are sometimes supported with the point 1 while replacing “Black” with something else

4) Whites, and the government, are responsible for fixing points 1 and 2.

Okay. Let’s assume this is true (to some extent, I think it is). Now, the government, and thus whites via proxy are going to compensate this to Blacks.

This compensations is called “affirmative action”, or “positive discrimination”. It is argued that it doesn’t hurt Whites as a group. This is strictly speaking true, depending on how one defines group.

Let me demonstrate this with an example (names via this (pardon the male-centredness, for the sake of example).

Now that the audience is led to believe that whites and the government are going to give something to blacks to compensate for past and present injustices, and this is exactly what the audience thinks they are seeing. Watch the process:

***

Jake, Connor, Tanner, Wyatt and Cody decide that they feel bad for treating DeShawn like crap , and decide to compensate this to DeShawn.

As a result, Fred who was in the closest competition with DeShawn loses his place to DeShawn.

DeShawn is happy, Jake, Connor, Tanner, Wyatt and Cody are happy, having shown their generous nature to each other and DeShawn. Only Fred is not happy.

Even if Fred agrees that DeShawn should be helped, but wonders what exactly Jake, Connor, Tanner, Wyatt and Cody gave up, and why should he be the only one who suffers, they can answer:

“Sorry Fred, we already did our part. We decided that DeShawn should get your place. Now shut up and don’t be so darn entitled.”

***

The fact that neither the government, Jake, Connor, Tanner, Wyatt or Cody haven’t actually given anything of their own is obscured in this process. The collective moral responsiblity — that is established in premises 1 and 2 — is externalized to inviduals who are then scapegoated for the whole process should they dare to complain.

The system is perfect. Only a tiny minority of whites have to actually give up something, while the vast majority of whites get to feel moral about it. And they also get to feel morally superior to the tiny minority who actually have to do something if they are not being “team players” about it.

Or, in leftspeak:

Anti-affirmative action lawsuits are not put forward by whites who would have gotten in to a selective college if only affirmative action didn’t exist. They’re put forward by whites who have such a strong sense of entitlement that they can’t admit they failed to gain admission because, on the merits, they didn’t deserve admission.

Add to this the fact that the cost is also externalized to Asians.

Added: In the surface, Affirmative Action is is about giving “points”. This is a smokescreen, the points can be adjusted just as needed. They are the acraba dabra of a magician. The only thing that changes hands in the real world are the college admissions of Fred (or Ling) and DeShawn.

[edited to make the thing clearer and addendums]

[fixed the allegory]

46 Comments »

  1. The problem lies in the reasoning for me:

    1) Only SOME white men are historically priveleged, MOST are not.
    2) While true, the operative word is “historically.” No one I know currently has owned a slave, nor has any black person I know ever been one. While discrimination is more than likely still present, AA amounts to collective punishment, which is always wrong.
    3)Yep
    4)Neither whites nor the government are responsible for fixing anything. The government is only responsible for penalizing discriminatory acts and, thereby, guaranteeing that the pursuit of happiness is equal in opporunity for all people. It is not, however, responsible for equality of the result of that pursuit. Neither of course are whites.

    Comment by ebbtide — December 10, 2006 @ 12:33 pm | Reply

  2. ebbtide: The purpose of this is to show that even if premises 1, 2 and 4 are accepted, what is done in affirmative action is something completely different.

    Comment by Tuomas — December 10, 2006 @ 12:46 pm | Reply

  3. I should also say that proponents of AA argue that blacks are currently oppressed, too.

    Comment by Tuomas — December 10, 2006 @ 12:51 pm | Reply

  4. 1) Only SOME white men are historically priveleged, MOST are not.
    2) While true, the operative word is “historically.” No one I know currently has owned a slave, nor has any black person I know ever been one. While discrimination is more than likely still present, AA amounts to collective punishment, which is always wrong.
    3)Yep
    4)Neither whites nor the government are responsible for fixing anything. The government is only responsible for penalizing discriminatory acts and, thereby, guaranteeing that the pursuit of happiness is equal in opporunity for all people. It is not, however, responsible for equality of the result of that pursuit. Neither of course are whites.

    A fine position to which I agree, but unfortunately the premises that I presented originally for the sake of argument are the ones that are commonly held and used to justify AA.

    Comment by Tuomas — December 10, 2006 @ 1:05 pm | Reply

  5. “ebbtide: The purpose of this is to show that even if premises 1, 2 and 4 are accepted, what is done in affirmative action is something completely different.”

    Yeah, I know. My purpose, poorly conveyed in my original comment, was to say that however AA is administered and whatever the result, the entire rationale is flawed (and therefore wrong no matter the end result).

    Comment by ebbtide — December 10, 2006 @ 1:08 pm | Reply

  6. A fine allegory as well Tuomas, but you could have added that “Fred then becomes a skinhead and perpetuates the racism that his former friends’ action was intended to mitigate.”

    Comment by ebbtide — December 10, 2006 @ 1:12 pm | Reply

  7. Heh, I wanted to give Fred the benefit of doubt here.

    Comment by Tuomas — December 10, 2006 @ 1:17 pm | Reply

  8. One point that I should clarify — for future arguers — is that I don’t want this thread to become an argument about how oppressed blacks currently are or how much of historical oppression is relevant today — if I had to take a position on that I would say that currently blacks can be considered disadvantaged and the historical oppression can easily translate to the fact that there are less black ‘aristocratic’ families who have built their wealth across the generations.

    But I’m no expert on that nor does it bear relevance to the point of this thread. (contradicting slightly what I said #4).

    Comment by Tuomas — December 10, 2006 @ 3:29 pm | Reply

  9. The biggest problem with affirmative action is that if we keep importing unskilled non-white and Hispanics immigrants who qualify for it, eventually it will become an extreme burden for whites. We can take AA when it is just for a relaitvely small minority (i.e. blacks). If non-Hispanic whites become a minority in the country and we start having the various non-white groups demanding more affirmative action, we’re in trouble.

    Unless, of course, one just hates whites and wants to see them as disempowered as possible (and let’s face it, most American leftists, even white ones, sorta hate white people as a group).

    Comment by Glaivester — December 11, 2006 @ 8:29 am | Reply

  10. Moderator hat on.

    Glaivester,

    You’re very welcome to make substantive points here on CD. You make colourable factual claims in your first paragraph. I would hope that supporters of AA will (try to) respond with a fact-based rebuttal. That way lies a meaningful debate.

    Your second paragraph is a generalised ad hom. I have seen no evidence that American leftists “hate white people”. Their motivation appears to be to assist those who are (or whom they perceive to be) disadvantaged.

    Even if you had evidence that American leftists “hate white people” it would still be an ad hom. Kindly refrain.

    To other participants: Please confine your response to Glaivester’s first paragraph. If you wish to debate whether “American leftists hate white people” do so in a thread devoted to that topic. Thank you.

    Moderator hat off.

    Comment by Daran — December 11, 2006 @ 9:36 am | Reply

  11. what if instead of adding points, we handicapped college applicants based on unearned advantages like parents’ wealth and educational achievements.

    on the same principle, you could add points for undeserved disadvantage; a family history of internment, refugee status, wrongful imprisonment, lynching, employment discrimination, disability, involvement in the foster care system, evidence that an applicant substantially contributed financially to their household as a minor, parent in prison.

    If you dont think race is an acceptable marker forunearned advantage and disadvantage, this might make more sense ( I think its a good point that whiteness isnt a good aproximation for unearned advantage given the range within the category, while blackness is a pretty good indicator of unearned disadvantage)

    Of course it wouldn’t work; if George Bush and John Kerry couldn’t get into their college of choice, thier families have the resources to build develop and legitimize institutions designed to transmit exactly those unearned advantages to their offspring.

    Comment by curiousgyrl — December 11, 2006 @ 1:26 pm | Reply

  12. Glaivester:

    I think your second point fails in this instance.

    The point here is that leftists are being once again generous with someone elses stuff, in this case with other people’s college admissions, who may just as well be white, asian etc.

    It doesn’t cost anything for a white leftist to rave and rant about white privilege, when he ends up making some “Fred” pay for the moral superiority of the leftist in question. Or, if the leftist is a politician, they also get non-white votes.

    Which is exactly what is being done here.

    if George Bush and John Kerry couldn’t get into their college of choice, thier families have the resources to build develop and legitimize institutions designed to transmit exactly those unearned advantages to their offspring.

    So do you support AA? I think a good argument against it is that giving those in power — whoever they may be — tools to give up that power to the disempowered group is wishful thinking.

    I think the legacies (you didn’t mention them directly, but they are a mechanism of transmitting unearned privileges) are a red herring in talk of AA.

    and Daran, I don’t think we should moderate each others threads so lightly.

    [For example, strict adherence against ad homs is IMO unrealistic, when it gets to the poin that one can not make them even without evidence]

    Comment by Tuomas — December 11, 2006 @ 4:43 pm | Reply

  13. I don’t think we should moderate each others threads so lightly.

    As written that means that I should have moderated more firmly. But I think you really meant that I should hesitate to moderate another’s thread. I accept the criticism.

    I also agree that we should be able to introduce reasonable ad homs in evidence. Your own ad homs in this thread are by definition reasonable, because I agree with them. 🙂

    Comment by Daran — December 11, 2006 @ 5:07 pm | Reply

  14. In retrospect, I think your moderation was fine — you simply asked.

    Btw, I think strict adherence to ad homs etc. can at some point make discussion between competing viewpoints difficult.

    I wonder if there is a name of meta-logical fallacy, or the logical fallacy of applying logical fallacies too easily (no offense intended).

    Comment by Tuomas — December 11, 2006 @ 5:12 pm | Reply

  15. Me:

    I also agree that we should be able to introduce reasonable ad homs in evidence. Your own ad homs in this thread are by definition reasonable, because I agree with them.

    I should add that I’m not endorsing the “rant and rave” rhetoric, but it’s not so over-the-top that I would want to moderate it. (But again, if I didn’t agree with the underlying claim, I’d probably be less tolerant of it.)

    Tuomas:

    Btw, I think strict adherence to ad homs etc. can at some point make discussion between competing viewpoints difficult.

    Do you mean the rule against ad homs can make discussion difficult?

    Ad homs are generally admissible to impeach another’s testimony. For example:

    You claim X (where X is a factual claim) but you’re a proven liar.

    I also think it’s OK to use an ad hom to impeach a person’s motive for their reasoning in addition to refuting the reasoning directly. The problem with Glaivester’s ad hom is that he has no evidence that lefties hate whites, or that this motivates their support for AA.

    I wonder if there is a name of meta-logical fallacy, or the logical fallacy of applying logical fallacies too easily (no offense intended).

    There is the “fallacy fallacy”:

    Person A makes claim X.
    Person A’s reasoning in support of X is fallacious.

    Therefore, claim X is false.

    Edited to add: I seem to have derailed your thread. 🙂

    Comment by Daran — December 11, 2006 @ 5:33 pm | Reply

  16. Continuing to derail your thread…

    If it had been you, I would have said “Cool it please, Tuomas”. I tend to go very formal when I don’t know the person concerned. The intention is to avoid causing antagonism, but I’m not sure that this is the best way.

    Comment by Daran — December 11, 2006 @ 5:52 pm | Reply

  17. Edited to add: I seem to have derailed your thread.🙂

    Yeah, but I consented. Derailment isn’t that hard to put under the lid if one doesn’t use the “x derailed the thread” as a derailment strategy.

    Do you mean the rule against ad homs can make discussion difficult?

    No, I don’t mean that. I mean that overly strict adherence to rules of logical argumentation overall tend to make ordinary discussions difficult or impossible.

    You may note this is vague, but it is hard to put in more specific terms. I don’t like the rant and rave that much either (usually).

    /end derail

    Comment by Tuomas — December 11, 2006 @ 5:59 pm | Reply

  18. The problem with Glaivester’s ad hom is that he has no evidence that lefties hate whites, or that this motivates their support for AA.

    Correction: He offered no evidence.

    In my opinion, like one of the points of this post is: “Whites” are smokescreen. Altough it might be accurate to say that proponents of AA use anti-white sentiments to support AA.

    Comment by Tuomas — December 11, 2006 @ 6:11 pm | Reply

  19. I would argue that your premise is flawed from the outset. AA is not about “giving” blacks anything, it is about returning the equal opportunities which have been robbed from them. In theory, at least, it is about restitution, not charity. To the extent that some white are unfairly using the opportunities that would’ve gone to black people under a race-neutral system, they must surrender it, just as you might have to surrender a stolen car you bought for $500.

    Therefore it is a mischaracterization to say that “whites… are responsible for fixing” injustices. If a person in a wheelchair gets on a bus, to make room, an able-bodied person may have to stand. So, according to the skewed logic of your observations, we can conclude that able-bodied people are being held guilty for disabilities they did not cause, and are being punished by the expropriation of their own hard-won seats. But in the real world, there is no blame imputed to able-bodied people. The right of the disabled to equal seating (even if it means an able-bodied person must stand) is something agreed to by all for the sake of equity. Affirmative action is based on the same principle, except of course for the “agreed to by all” provision. I suspect that fewer people would object to it if there were not an erroneous widespread perception that it is meant as punishment for being white. As a remedy it is a blunt instrument, marginally effective and morally ambiguous. But it is not anti-white in intent.

    Comment by Xigxag — December 15, 2006 @ 2:53 pm | Reply

  20. Hey Daran, have you read “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting In the Cafeteria?” by Dr. B.D. Tatum?

    She does the best explanation of an affirmative action justification that I (a white person raised by a somewhat anti-affirmative-action white mother and a neutral white father) have ever heard.

    It’s a relatively fast read.

    I would LOVE to hear your re-analysis after reading it, if you’d let me know if you ever do. Please!

    Comment by Katie — December 15, 2006 @ 3:35 pm | Reply

  21. I suspect that fewer people would object to it if there were not an erroneous widespread perception that it is meant as punishment for being white.

    I know of no one who believes this. I do know of people who correctly observe that AA is, in practice, a punishment for being white. It is an even more severe one for being Asian.

    Your handicapped-person-on-the-bus analogy is flawed because the intent is to compare whites to the able-bodied and blacks to the handicapped. I guess if you were to include me in your analogy, I would be a handicapped white guy who has to ride on the roof or be dragged? I grew up poor and white in a crappy school and I missed out on several opportunities due to my poverty. These were opportunities that some of my black peers got to take advantage of, simply because they were black.

    If you can form a cogent argument as to how this is even remotely fair, I will change my mind. Good luck with that.

    Comment by ebbtide — December 15, 2006 @ 6:46 pm | Reply

  22. Tuomas:

    Yeah, but I consented. Derailment isn’t that hard to put under the lid if one doesn’t use the “x derailed the thread” as a derailment strategy.

    Heh. I’m still developing my approach to moderating, but basically I allow topic drift, but then declare specific drifts off-topic, in order to keep the discussion interesting. Think of it as “artificial selection for topics”.

    There are some really interesting conversations going on in the comments here. I don’t think I can declare my approach a success based on just one sample, but I’m highly encouraged.

    …I mean that overly strict adherence to rules of logical argumentation overall tend to make ordinary discussions difficult or impossible.

    Can you justify that claim logically? 🙂

    Seriously, I find people who can argue logically and support their positions with evidence to be much more interesting that people who just want to offer their opinions.

    Comment by Daran — December 15, 2006 @ 7:02 pm | Reply

  23. Me:

    The problem with Glaivester’s ad hom is that he has no evidence that lefties hate whites, or that this motivates their support for AA.

    Tuomas:

    Correction: He offered no evidence.

    “He has no evidence” is an open invitation to rebut. Because it falls under the rubric of “you can’t prove a negative”, (that’s not generally true, but in this case it is), the burden is upon him to show that he does.

    In my opinion, like one of the points of this post is: “Whites” are smokescreen. Altough it might be accurate to say that proponents of AA use anti-white sentiments to support AA.

    And your evidence for this is?

    Comment by Daran — December 15, 2006 @ 7:08 pm | Reply

  24. Hey Daran, have you read “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting In the Cafeteria?” by Dr. B.D. Tatum?

    She does the best explanation of an affirmative action justification that I (a white person raised by a somewhat anti-affirmative-action white mother and a neutral white father) have ever heard.

    It’s a relatively fast read.

    I would LOVE to hear your re-analysis after reading it, if you’d let me know if you ever do. Please!

    I am unworthy of such praise. (But do carry on praising anyway.)

    I’ve not read it, no, and to be honest I’m unlikely to. AA isn’t a particular interest to me (one has to choose one’s focusses.) And there are so many books, so little money to buy them, and so little time to read them.

    Comment by Daran — December 15, 2006 @ 7:12 pm | Reply

  25. You seem to have misunderstood completely the point of the post, Xig.

    The “premises” of the post are written in plain English and even numbered for clarity, and none of them is “AA is about giving something to blacks (as charity).”

    Let’s take another look at them: 1.Blacks are oppressed 2. Whites are privileged 3. They are not the only privileged and oppressed groups 4. Whites are responsible for fixing things. (=creating a just society, obviously)

    After it is established that whites have responsibility, words “compensate” and “compensation” are used both in the beginning of the post and in the “allegory”.

    So, how is “(AA) is about restitution, not charity. etc.” supposed to contradict anything said here?
    Because of the premises one can not claim that whites are necessarily unjustly “punished” if AA costs something to them. This is why the post actually says that AA does not stricly speaking hurt whites as a group while not making any claims about “punishment for being white”.

    So, because of real discrimination there is responsibility, and therefore moral justification for compensation. Yet what is actually done with this responsibility is where the “watch the hands” comes in.
    Why not actually read the original post without preconceptions about “white whining about AA” and find out what is actually claimed here.
    (And feel welcome to comment)

    As for the “bus-analogy”, it fails to represent AA in multiple levels. For starters:
    1. Healthy inviduals are not responsible for the disabilities of the minority.
    2. White majority is responsible for the historical and present opression of the black minority.

    1. Having to stand in a bus while able, insignificant.
    2. Getting or not getting to college regardless of race, not insignificant.

    No need to go on, I hope? And seriously, comparing blacks in Academia among Whites and Asians to disabled people among able-bodied ones in a bus?
    If you are going to argue for AA, you need better comparisons.

    Comment by anonymous — December 15, 2006 @ 10:12 pm | Reply

  26. Slight correction:
    Whites have responsibility for creating a just society, not whites are responsible…
    -As obviously this is not something that can be done unilaterally.

    Comment by anonymous — December 15, 2006 @ 10:40 pm | Reply

  27. Great comment, anonymous.

    Have you chosen the name ‘anonymous’? Or is it a default name given by wordpress to those who don’t fill in one of their own?

    I ask because it can get quite confusing telling one ‘anonymous’ poster from another. It would be better if you could choose a nom de guerre, which doesn’t have to link either to your real-world identity, or to any you use elsewhere on the net.

    Comment by Daran — December 16, 2006 @ 12:52 am | Reply

  28. Thanks, Daran.
    Never mind my nom de guarre, thought. I’m just a member of the audience, one of those omnipresent invisible moderates looking for a good fierce debate to judge.

    Thus, my comment was not meant to be like an actual comment, rather it is something like an angry rant overheard from the audience.
    -Perhaps an early warning that the audience is going to demand their money back unless the “Pro-AA” side of the fight stops circling around and decisively engages the points made in the original post.

    Nevertheless, I promise to think of something distinctive to identify with in the future.

    Comment by anonymous — December 16, 2006 @ 3:20 am | Reply

  29. I dub thee “Random Anonymous Moderate”. You can go by Ram, for short.

    Comment by bobhayes — December 16, 2006 @ 3:32 am | Reply

  30. Never mind my nom de guarre, thought. I’m just a member of the audience, one of those omnipresent invisible moderates looking for a good fierce debate to judge.

    We have another regular commenter (though he hasn’t posted recently) called nobody.really. The non-name suggests a similar self-effacement.

    Hey, aren’t these good days for CD? We’ve seem to be on a roll with great commenters popping up left right and centre.

    It reminds me of when I used to play Sid Meier’s Civilization II, when I reached the point in the game where I could declare a general WLTPD under a representative government, resulting in runaway growth. 🙂

    Comment by Daran — December 16, 2006 @ 4:03 am | Reply

  31. I noticed that in all of the hub-bub over my comment about “leftists hating whites,” and despite Daran’s instructions on the matter, no one has bothered to address the factual point I made that affirmative action cannot be sustained in a society with massive non-white immigration [particularly when the immigrants are unskilled workers] without seriously burdening whites.

    What happens when > 50% of the country is eligible for race-based affirmative action? does anyone think that the groups that are advantaged by these programs will have any qualms about squeezing as much out of them as possible, or making them stronger?

    Comment by Glaivester — December 16, 2006 @ 5:21 am | Reply

  32. affirmative action cannot be sustained in a society with massive non-white immigration [particularly when the immigrants are unskilled workers] without seriously burdening whites

    I don’t think that whites are impacted from an AA standpoint by the influx of unskilled labor as I don’t think unskilled laborers are very likely to take advantage of the programs. Certainly, whites are impacted to some extent by this influx by the strain on social services it creates. But then again, so are American citizens of all races.

    I see what you’re saying about the shift in demographics though. I agree, it will be difficult to justify AA when the majority population benefits the most from it in a couple generations from this one. In fact, it would be interesting to see a data comparison between current Hispanic enrollment in schools with and without race-based preferences. Anybody know of any?

    Comment by ebbtide — December 16, 2006 @ 12:46 pm | Reply

  33. Hey, aren’t these good days for CD?

    A worthier group of gents I cannot fathom.

    Comment by ebbtide — December 16, 2006 @ 12:48 pm | Reply

  34. I see what you’re saying about the shift in demographics though. I agree, it will be difficult to justify AA when the majority population benefits the most from it in a couple generations from this one.

    It will not need to be justified. If a large, politically relevant portion of the population population benefits from it, they will likely keep voting it in because they want the benefit. The idea that affirmative action will not continue to be applied to populations when and if the moral justification for it disappears is naive. I do not think that large Latino populations (because that is the demographic shift we are talking about), when faced with the possibility of benefiting their own at the expense of the gringos, will feel any concenr about whether or not it is justified.

    Plus, resentment of the wealth of non-Mexican North Americans and of lighter-skinned South Americans plays a large role in Latin American politics (the lighter-skinned* own most of the stuff down there). Definitely the majority would not have any qualms about blaming white Americans for any problems they have and would feel totally justified in viewing whites as owing them affirmative action.

    So your apparent assumption that affirmative action will be discontinued in cases where it loses its justification is naive. As long as you have a politically relevant ethnic group that is less successful than another group, there will be a push for affirmative action. They will create a justification.

    I don’t think that whites are impacted from an AA standpoint by the influx of unskilled labor as I don’t think unskilled laborers are very likely to take advantage of the programs.

    There will be an increased demand for de facto hiring quotas, and increased efforts at recruting people to colleges, training for skilled jobs, etc., aand increased efforts to pass them or hire them regardless of their ability to master the skills.

    *The color line is less distinct in South America; lighter skin is still associated with wealth and social dominance, but there is less of the black/white one-drop ruloe dichotomy than there is here.

    Comment by Glaivester — December 16, 2006 @ 2:53 pm | Reply

  35. So your apparent assumption that affirmative action will be discontinued in cases where it loses its justification is naive.

    I can’t recall making this statement, nor do I see where in my comment this “apparent assumption” could be reasonably derived.

    There will be an increased demand for de facto hiring quotas

    Could you elaborate?

    increased efforts at recruting people to colleges, training for skilled jobs, etc., aand increased efforts to pass them or hire them regardless of their ability to master the skills.

    Increased efforts in college recruiting and job-training is nothing new, and is certainly not limited to non-white immigrants. The third statement is very speculative and not supportable.

    It sounds like you believe that increased efforts in college recruiting and job-training is a bad thing if it applies to non-white immigrants. I hope that’s not the case. The issue here is not at all what different ethnic groups do to improve their own standing, but what the government does to improve their standing.

    Comment by ebbtide — December 16, 2006 @ 3:03 pm | Reply

  36. It sounds like you believe that increased efforts in college recruiting and job-training is a bad thing if it applies to non-white immigrants.

    Well, I wouldn’t say “a bad thing” – I would just say not a morally appropriate use of the limited preference resource.

    Immigrants from (say) Zaire are not in the same moral position as the native-born descendants of 19th century slaves. We (=white people in general) didn’t kill the Zairean immigrants’ great-grandfather for looking at a white woman funny. We didn’t stop his family from accumulating social or economic capital through discriminatory laws, and so forth.

    The moral justification for racial preference comes from the history of oppression against the particular group in question; voluntary modern-day immigrants are not, by and large, members of those groups.

    I have a close friend whose family comes from the West Indies; his mother (now in her 80s) came over as a young girl. He is the product of intact families as far back as they can track it, had a middle-class upbringing, and claims (plausibly, in my view) not to have experienced racial discrimination in any way that he’s ever noticed – even though he’s also a contemptible liberal Democrat, so you’d think he’d be whining about it if he’d ever had some. After a military career, he’s now an analyst-consultant for Booz Allen. His life path is not atypical for West Indian immigrant families. Ethnically, he’s “black”. Why on EARTH should anybody cut him or his offspring any slack on admissions or hiring? He doesn’t deserve it, and he doesn’t need it. (Nor does he ask for it, I’m just using him as an example.)

    Comment by bobhayes — December 16, 2006 @ 5:02 pm | Reply

  37. Why on EARTH should anybody cut him or his offspring any slack on admissions or hiring? He doesn’t deserve it, and he doesn’t need it. (Nor does he ask for it, I’m just using him as an example.)

    No need to convince me. I already agree with you. I was objecting to Glaivester’s rant about how unskilled labor will lead to increased efforts in job-training and college recruitment. I have no problem with increases in either activity, provided the source of the increase is not the government.

    Comment by ebbtide — December 16, 2006 @ 6:14 pm | Reply

  38. Well?

    Does anyone who supports AA want to actually argue about it this post?

    [edited to add: I am currently starting to assume from the silence and misreadings that the supporters agree with me, but are shrugging their shoulders and accepting the externalization of responsibility that goes with AA, yet not willing to modify their premises accordingly.]

    Comment by Tuomas — December 17, 2006 @ 3:29 pm | Reply

  39. AA isn’t a particular interest to me (one has to choose one’s focusses.) And there are so many books, so little money to buy them, and so little time to read them.

    I don’t think it’s very fair to, well, people in this world–especially ones who are impacted by the sum of opinions on AA–for you to write an opinion post in a public and read place but then claim that you don’t care about it when someone tells you that your opinions seem to come from having gotten an incomplete view of the issue yourself.

    If you’re that little interested in making your own opinion on the subject as well-informed as possible, why the heck would you write out your opinion on the subject on a decently-read journal? Doesn’t it seem morally responsible to either keep your thoughts to yourself or to, after deciding to write about it, take on a little more interest in the subject?

    Comment by Katie — December 18, 2006 @ 11:10 am | Reply

  40. Ahem, Katie. This post wasn’t written by Daran — he’s just piping in as a moderator.

    As for the Dr. Tatum (my local library doesn’t have the book and I’m not that rich, so I’ll go with review summary) : From Amazon editorial review:

    Anyone who’s been to a high school or college has noted how students of the same race seem to stick together. Beverly Daniel Tatum has noticed it too, and she doesn’t think it’s so bad. As she explains in this provocative, though not-altogether-convincing book, these students are in the process of establishing and affirming their racial identity. As Tatum sees it, blacks must secure a racial identity free of negative stereotypes. The challenge to whites, on which she expounds, is to give up the privilege that their skin color affords and to work actively to combat injustice in society.

    Which (the bolded part), I believe, was pretty much what I wrote. In the post. About the premises.

    DID ANY OF THE AA SUPPORTERS HERE READ THE POST?

    Please read it. It’s relatively fast read.

    It isn’t attacking the premises of AA. Bringing up the premises over and over again — that for the sake of argument are agreed on for now, amount to a thread hijack.

    The post shows, that EVEN IF the premises are accepted (I think reasonable people can accept them), what is done in the real world is not “whites” giving up privilege collectively.

    [edited]

    Comment by Tuomas — December 18, 2006 @ 11:35 am | Reply

  41. Ahem, Katie. This post wasn’t written by Daran — he’s just piping in as a moderator.

    I blogroll her, and this is how she repays me. The youth of today…

    Comment by Daran — December 18, 2006 @ 12:48 pm | Reply

  42. Whoops!
    *blush*
    Thanks for pointing that out.

    Comment by Katie — December 18, 2006 @ 2:11 pm | Reply

  43. That’s okay. Pardon the yelling.

    Comment by Tuomas — December 19, 2006 @ 12:57 am | Reply

  44. ebbtide:

    I’m sorry. I thought that the implication of “it will be difficult to justify affirmative action” was that it will disappear due to the inability to justify it.

    As for the de facto hiring quotas, currently the EEOC policy is that if the demographics of a company’s workforce does not mirror the demographics of the area, this can be considered evidence of discrimination. Essentially, the businesse are encouraged to follow a de facto quota in order to aoid EEOC scrutiny, and if they cannot find enough qualified minority applicants, they are automatically suspected of discrimination. Certain means of determining qualifications (e.g. IQ tests) are all but banend because they have “disparate impact” on blacks and Latinos (read: they don’t score as well on the tests on average). The pressure to overlook other factors in order to achieve “racial parity” can only increase as the population of lower-performing ethnic groups increases (“lower performing” = blacks and Latinos. It would not be as much of a problem if the majority of immigrants were from, say Japan).

    I was objecting to Glaivester’s rant about how unskilled labor will lead to increased efforts in job-training and college recruitment. I have no problem with increases in either activity, provided the source of the increase is not the government.

    Neither do I. My point was not that an increased minority population would cause businesses to try to recruit more minorities, but that as they became more numerous, they would increasingly pressure government to coerce businesses into hiring more people, regardless fo qualification.

    It sounds like you believe that increased efforts in college recruiting and job-training is a bad thing if it applies to non-white immigrants. I hope that’s not the case. The issue here is not at all what different ethnic groups do to improve their own standing, but what the government does to improve their standing

    The issue is what different ethnic groups will pressure the government into doing to improve their standing. My concern is that a larger population of underperforming ethnic groups will beceome a powerful political bloc that will need to appeased with constant favors from the government.

    The reason I specifically mentioned unskilled labor is that I think that the immigrants we are taking in are mostly from the working classes rather than the middle class or executive/investor class. They will likely be the ones who have the hardest time mastering the skills required for college or for skilled jobs, and so will be the most likely to demand that government help them get jobs, and the most likely to be unsatisfied with their lot in life and to feel that someone must have shafted them.

    Comment by Glaivester — December 19, 2006 @ 5:27 pm | Reply

  45. Good analysis, Glaivester.

    I agree with you. The important thing to realize here is that AA is not about idealism in the real world, but once more a realpolitik solution for appeasing certain voting blocs.

    This, IMO, is supported by analyzing how AA actually works, who supports it, and who has to pay for it.

    Comment by Tuomas — December 20, 2006 @ 8:29 am | Reply

  46. As far as leftists “hating” whites, I think I have found two postings that explains part of what I am talking about:

    The sentencing in Long Beach—and America’s sentence on itself by Lawrence Auster

    Or look at this piece about the total indifference of the media to the racial dimensions of prison rape.

    Comment by Glaivester — February 4, 2007 @ 9:02 pm | Reply


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