The President might ask himself,
April 1, 2003 11:51 PM   Subscribe

How Affirmative Action Helped George W. Bush...
President might ask himself, "Wait a minute. How did I get into Yale?" It wasn't because of any academic achievement, It wasn't because of his life experience— prosperous family, fancy prep school —
George W. Bush, in fact, may be the most spectacular affirmative-action success story of all time...
posted by bureaustyle (50 comments total)
 
Well, at least he went to university.

You'd be surprised at the positions of some politicians that haven't even completed high school (like education minister!).
posted by shepd at 11:57 PM on April 1, 2003


on the reals yo'
posted by Satapher at 12:27 AM on April 2, 2003


I think that was supposed to an article in favor of affirmative action, but it does a spectacular job of proving the case against it. Why is the focus on giving more sub-groups preferential treatment, rather than trying to prevent preferential treatment of the wealthy elite?
posted by 4easypayments at 1:20 AM on April 2, 2003


One thing that this article failed to point out is that Yale (and Harvard) are private schools and can create whatever rules they want. Technically they could say that only while males in a certain age group are allowed. It would be stupid, but nevertheless their right. As for a public university, the rules are a lot different - the University doesn't have the last say because they are ultimately governed by the people. I think the overall analogy here is a bad one.

One more note on Yale - I think I read somewhere (though don't have a link) they now give a one-point bonus to alumni at least on the record.

If I were a minority (married white guy with kids isn't yet a minority, though we're working on it ;) I wouldn't want the "special" treatment. All it does is gives fodder to others to say "you got in (or got the job) because you're _____" I really think it's just another point of contention that should be removed if we're all really trying to get to a transparent society. Granted, I'm not a minority so it's easy to say what I think I'd say if I were.
posted by stormy at 2:27 AM on April 2, 2003


Youre telling us theres no public funding at Yale? Not one penny. Suuure.
posted by skallas at 2:45 AM on April 2, 2003


Doesn't that just prove how asinine the concept is?
posted by HTuttle at 3:19 AM on April 2, 2003


Skin color quotas are baloney, and so is "diversity", which is just racism for the feeble minded. American culture, and western culture is doing just fine without them.

I wonder what this author would say about the pro-quota absurdly wealthy Kennedy clan?

Oh right, just another occasion to call Bush a dummy. How quaint.
posted by hama7 at 3:26 AM on April 2, 2003


The point--probably ignored by most Metafilter posters because it's been repeated until we don't notice it any more--is the hypocrisy of arguing against one form of favoritism while being the lifelong recipient of another form of favoritism. The first kind is visible and open and public, while the second is "natural" because so many other social institutions take it for granted.

And, yes, the Kennedys and others received the same benefits--but they aren't the ones sitting in the White House and they aren't the ones bringing suit on behalf of the United States to protect the second set of privileges by arguing against the first.
posted by palancik at 3:47 AM on April 2, 2003


I'm down with palancik. I remember watching Dinesh Dsouza make the same argument: affirmative action should be eliminated, not just in terms of race, but in terms of alumni status and all other favoritisms not based on merit. I don't agree much with Dsouza (though I do here), but at least he understands what it means to be consistently conservative, rather than that sort of elitist conservative stance where what is good for the goose is never really appropriate for the gander.
posted by hank_14 at 4:07 AM on April 2, 2003


But lumping all white folks with Bushs and Kennedys is as hypocritical as anything you're railing at.
posted by HTuttle at 4:18 AM on April 2, 2003


Youre telling us theres no public funding at Yale? Not one penny. Suuure.

Are you going to actually point to some or just insinuate? Beyond research grants, what other public funding do they receive?
posted by yerfatma at 4:37 AM on April 2, 2003


It's kind of ironic that out of everything Bush has done, this is the only thing I agree with him on. Affirmative action is flat out discrimination, and so are other systems including alumni-relation and preferential treatment for the rich... get rid of them all and then spend more money on the school systems.
posted by banished at 4:43 AM on April 2, 2003


"How did George W. get into Yale?

It wasn't his SAT scores: 566 verbal and 640 math."

Oh my God. I scored higher than this when our 8th grade (gifted) class took the SAT.
posted by four panels at 5:48 AM on April 2, 2003


President might ask himself, "Wait a minute. How did I get into Yale?" It wasn't because of any academic achievement, It wasn't because of his life experience— prosperous family, fancy prep school —

This message has been brought to you by Professor NoKidding from the Department of the Incredibly Obvious at No Fucking Shit University.

On preview:

I only got 650 verbal and 430 math. But then again I didn't study and I may have been hungover. I'm still a bit worried, now just the same.
posted by jonmc at 5:50 AM on April 2, 2003


When people get pissed off at affirmative action, it makes me think that people really mean that they think the majority of the minorities who are supposedly helped by it are dumb and don't deserve to get in to nice schools to fill quotas. If they were smart and deserving, people probably wouldn't give a crap. If Bush was a genius, this article wouldn't have been written.
posted by dopamine at 5:56 AM on April 2, 2003


hama7: "Skin color quotas are baloney, and so is 'diversity', which is just racism for the feeble minded."

Pretty wide swath your painting there.

Your statement would have merit if women, people of color, homosexuals, Jews, Arabs, Catholics and a slew of others weren't being discriminated against. Affirmative action and encouraging diversity can only be construed as racist (God, how I hate the way that word is slung around) in the absence of prejudice.

Despite the strides that have been made we ain't quite there yet.
posted by cedar at 6:34 AM on April 2, 2003


Despite the strides that have been made we ain't quite there yet.

And we won't get there by continuing to discriminate. Affirmative action does not need to be race-based. Remove race from affirmative action and it will help all people from low-income families and bad educational environments, not just those with the 'correct' skin color.
posted by jsonic at 6:43 AM on April 2, 2003


I'm sure this won't be a popular statement, but the difference between race-based affirmative action and legacy or athletic preferences goes to the very heart of the matter. The fact is that our Constitution and federal laws have long been interpreted to say that a public institution cannot discriminate on the basis of race barring a "compelling governmental interest." There is no equivalent prohibition against athletic or legacy preferences. This is an apples-and-oranges comparison; a red herring.

Many people opposed to affirmative action take that stand solely based on the fact that they truly believe any and all discrimination on the basis of race is wrong, and that racial discrimination of any sort should simply not be part of the equation. Here's another way to think about this situation: What if U of M subtracted 20 points from all white applicants? Would you feel differently? If so, why? It's the same result.

One other thought: The University of Michigan (and other schools) could quite easily reach the same minority population percentage that they're going for without adding points -- they would simply have to change their entry criteria (either lowering the existing criteria or coming up with other -- non race-based -- criteria). That they choose not to do so is telling indeed.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:54 AM on April 2, 2003


Eliminating any type of affirmative action, whether it be based on cultural selection or family connections, and admitting only those that are best "qualified" (with dubious measuring sticks to boot) does not necessarily create the best learning environment or a strong university with the greatest potential. Diversity at universities is often requested by those involved (students and faculty) because it creates a stronger educational experience for everyone.

That being said...I went to Yale for graduate school. (I was also accepted to Harvard and Penn.) My SAT's were not impressive (so close to W's that it's scary) and my GRE's were worse. My portfolio was acceptable and my resume was no more exciting than the side of a cereal box. I did attend a well regarded undergraduate program and hope that I had good recommendations.I am a white male with a generic name of Scottish origin. I don't recall being asked about my race in the admission process. I did well in grad school (receiving an honor at graduation) and thought I contributed positively to the educational experience of my classmates. I have often wondered what jumped out on my application that garnered my admission, knowing others who I considered "better qualified" were not admitted.

Oh, I did have one interesting thing on my resume: I taught for one year at Hampton University, a historical black college.

posted by Dick Paris at 7:04 AM on April 2, 2003


There's been a big row here in the UK about Bristol University accepting lower grades from state school pupils than from private school pupils.

But there is evidence to suggest that private school pupils have better grades simply because they get better teaching (you don't say) and that state school pupils out-perform them when they get to the level playing field of university. So, universities are justified in picking state school pupils with lower grades, in terms of their own self interest.
posted by Summer at 7:12 AM on April 2, 2003


The point ... is the hypocrisy of arguing against one form of favoritism while being the lifelong recipient of another form of favoritism.

I think that might be exactly the point. And even though I'm against affirmative action on principle its still sort of nasty to see this sort of hypocrisy. Bush hasn't gotten anywhere in life without the help of his wealthy, upper-crust, political family, and he's concerned about minorities getting an unfair "advantage"? Well then.

I'm a woman, lower-end socioeconomic status, and a non-visible minority (yes, there's Irish too, hence the surname). I don't want any job that is given to me because of those reasons. I don't care if its my dream career, I would be immensely offended if I was given a position for some reason other than my being the best person for that position. I realize that doesn't happen in real life, that employers are not race-blind or any other factor-blind so maybe affirmative action is the only viable option in our "modern" society.

But I can't help but feel in the end any system like this serves only to re-enforce stereotypes and discrimination ("minorities are stupid and need us to give them a helping hand by saving job slots for them") rather than the other way around.

Just my $0.02
posted by nelleish at 7:28 AM on April 2, 2003


I wonder what this author would say about the pro-quota absurdly wealthy Kennedy clan?

My stated viwpoints on Mefi are probably considered "liberal," but I'll say this without reservation:

Bush(s), Clinton(s), Kennedy(s)... they're all scum.
posted by Shane at 8:01 AM on April 2, 2003


Favoritism is favoritism. Every admissions board has their reasons for accepting such and such a candidate over another, whether they are for reasons of student body diversity or for financial reasons. It might not be fair, but that's the way it is. As I understand it, Al Gore and JFK, Jr. didn't have spectacular academic records either, but they were both able to have their pick of schools in which to enroll (respectively, Harvard and Brown).

What's more offensive about this story is that he received every educational advantage you can possibly imagine despite his abysmal academic record, and worse than squandering it, he bragged about squandering it.

In 2000 when he was running for president, and he said that he didn't like book-larning so much, the folks from all the major news outlets (and not just Fox) ate it up: "See? He's one of us! He's common folk like one of us! He speaks to the American people because he's an ordinary joe like most of them."

To me, that was about as un-American as you can get. Can you imagine getting free ride after free ride through fantastic institutions like Philips Andover and Yale, and not trying your damnedest to improve yourself?

By way of example, can you imagine Joe Lunchpail in middle America whose kid, against all the odds, gets accepted with a full ride to Yale? Do you think that guy would look very fondly on that same kid then spending all his time in college drinking beer and getting C's and D's? I don't think so.
posted by psmealey at 8:02 AM on April 2, 2003


A certain class of people in this country have enjoyed generations of advantage at the expense of others, and racism still runs rampant in this society. We hear tantrum piled atop tantrum from those that fear competing when their historical advantage is negated. Hardly surprising. Think of the outcry that accompanied emancipation and suffrage.

Skin color quotas are baloney, and so is "diversity", which is just racism for the feeble minded

"'Diversity'" is racism. Well, there you have it folks. Unbelievable.

Oh, and freedom is slavery too. War is peace. You know. It all makes sense, from a certain dumb perspective, one supposes.

Apparently hama7 and his/her ilk won't be happy unless and until the glory days of a pale, homogenized Amerikkka returns. Absolutely despicable.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 8:34 AM on April 2, 2003


If I were a minority (married white guy with kids isn't yet a minority, though we're working on it ;) I wouldn't want the "special" treatment. All it does is gives fodder to others to say "you got in (or got the job) because you're _____"

Okay, so you don't want that "special" treatment. So what's your position on the "special" treatment you may receive as a white heterosexual male -- do you want that? For example, do you have trouble catching a cab? Getting a loan for a house? Have many baseless encounters with the police? Just sayin'.

If we could all start equal, and be treated equally by our social institutions, there would be no need for affirmative action programs. I just don't think we're there yet.

I admire palancik and psmealey's excellent points.
posted by onlyconnect at 8:49 AM on April 2, 2003


... if I may cut in briefly:

Beyond research grants, what other public funding do they receive?
Any institution at which students pay their tuition with the help of federal student loans is receiving federal funding. ok, back to the argument.

posted by whatnot at 9:24 AM on April 2, 2003


"'Diversity'" is racism. Well, there you have it folks. Unbelievable.

It's not diversity that's racism, it's the process that favors people by the color of their skin rather the content of their character. If I were a qualified African-American student applying to U of M, I would have a nearly 100% chance of being admitted. If I were a qualified white student applying to U of M, I would have about a 20% chance of getting in.

It seems like the appropriate form of affrimative action would be give focus and funding to elementary, middle, and high schools in minority areas. Giving out extra points once a student gets ready to go to college while ignoring them the remainder of their lives seems like a major societal cop-out.
posted by 4easypayments at 9:31 AM on April 2, 2003


4easy: It's not diversity that's racism, it's the process that favors people by the color of their skin rather the content of their character.

And therein lies the unfortunate rub. If the content of their character is an measureable factor in their application... how to explain it... the sometimes blind speed and scale of the admission process may benefit from trying to create a culturally diverse student body (which I would argue is desirable) with a checkbox for "race". Perhaps, sometime in the future, this can be replaced with a checkbox for "musical taste". Crappy example but it's all I have at the moment.
posted by Dick Paris at 10:11 AM on April 2, 2003


Affirmative action in college admissions doesn't guarantee success in school for minorities, only a chance to participate they haven't had for centuries.

Duhbya's brand of affirmative action, however, guarantees success for any drunken frat boy if their parents pony up enough cash.
I believe it's called "failing upward."

This makes the privilege of the wealthy the most pernicious kind of affirmative action in existence.

If we must end affirmative action then it must apply to athletic ability (try putting that through UM) as well as any other trait that separates or idstinguishes us. No more preferences for scholastic aptitude!!
Anyone want that?

The suggestion I like best is to provide funding based on economic need and family educational history.

There has always been and will probably always be some form of "affirmative action," the only question is whom will benefit. I say it's time those who have been discriminated against and are often still discriminated against got a break instead of a drunken, rich, white frat boy!
posted by nofundy at 10:13 AM on April 2, 2003


We must understand the cynicism that exists in the black community. The kind of cynicism that is created when, for example, some in our party miss no opportunity to roundly and loudly condemn affirmative action that helped a few thousand black kids get an education, but you hardly heard a whimper from them over affirmative action for lobbyists who load our federal tax codes with preferences for special interests.

Colin Powell at 2000 Republican Convention
(they booed him)
Colin Powell Defends Affirmative Action

With the nation at war in Iraq, it may seem far-fetched to suggest that the preservation of affirmative action at home is vital to long-term national security. But that is precisely what a distinguished group of former military leaders say in a remarkable friend-of-the-court brief supporting the University of Michigan's affirmative-action programs in landmark cases to be heard by the Supreme Court Tuesday. Their message is clear: "Compelling considerations of national security and military mission justify consideration of race in selecting military officers....

"In the 1960s and 1970s, the stark disparity between the racial composition of the rank and file and that of the officer corps fueled a breakdown of order that endangered the military's ability to fulfill its missions." Among those who signed the brief were: three former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, (Gen. John Shalikashvili, Gen. Henry Shelton, and Adm. William Crowe), former superintendents of the US military and Air Force academies, and 11 retired four-star generals (including Norman Schwarzkopf and Anthony Zinni).

They witnessed the effect that an overwhelmingly white officer corpshas on rank-and-file morale - and they consider it a threat to the military's ability to defend the nation. Because of the success of affirmative action in the military, it is easy to forget just how segregated the officer corps once was. In 1968, African-American enrollment at West Point and Annapolis was less than 1 percent; as late as 1973, just 2.8 percent of all military officers were African-American. By contrast, during that period, African-Americans constituted as much as 17 percent of the rank and file. In Vietnam, the consequences of this de facto segregation were devastating. Affirmative action was the only solution.


Why do you pro-white privilege people hate America?
Why aren't you supporting the troops on this one?

Condoleeza Rice on Affirmative Action

And Colin Powell would not have had the chance for the advancement that led to his eventual post as secretary of state. At one point in the late 1970s, Powell had been overlooked for a promotion to brigadier general. Clifford Alexander, then secretary of the Army, held up the promotions list, ordering the General Officer Board to take a second look for black officers who were unfairly passed over. The second time, the list included Powell's name, as well as other black colonels.
posted by y2karl at 10:24 AM on April 2, 2003


The military is not simply the beneficiary of affirmative action practiced by others. It is also the best example of its success.

The military is the only institution where whites routinely take orders from blacks.

...A military with whites on top and minorities on the bottom will not serve America well. The generals know this. Hopefully, the justices will, as well.

posted by y2karl at 10:38 AM on April 2, 2003


It sounds like we’re all agreeing that racial disparities exist today among the quality of students’ college applications. This can be judged in terms of SAT, grades, K-12 preparation, wealth, athletic and artistic ability, life experiences, writing ability, recommendations, and what have you. Certainly there are piles of evidence that minority college applicants, as a group, are disadvantaged in terms of SAT scores, grades, and wealth. (By odd coincidence, some of the strongest supporters of “color-blindness” in admissions are comparatively advantaged in one or more of these three ways. Hm. But moving on …)

4easypayments suggested: It seems like the appropriate form of affirmative action would be give focus and funding to elementary, middle, and high schools in minority areas. Giving out extra points once a student gets ready to go to college while ignoring them the remainder of their lives seems like a major societal cop-out.

Well, hold on a second. How will that help today’s college senior, waiting for her acceptance? Moreover, how will it address the racial disparities in inherited wealth, education of the mother, and other factors that also influence student performance?

But more to the point, which problem is easier to fix, quality of K-12 education or access to colleges? I would argue that access to colleges is FAR easier to fix, and has been being fixed by affirmative action for decades. A wonderful illustration of the success of affirmative action at selective colleges is in The Shape the River. Two former Ivy League university presidents reviewed the admissions, college, and post-graduation data from thousands of students and found several interesting things. One, because of the high volume of qualified applicants to selective schools, the differences between who gets in and who does not are small. As Justice O’Connor pointed out yesterday, one might not even know that a white student missed a spot for reasons of race, rather than her comparative lack of lacrosse ability or something else.

Two, while minority applicants accepted to selective schools may start with comparatively less-impressive SATs and grades than their peers, Bowen & Bok show that affirmative action considerably magnifies minority chances of success, both in school and afterward: higher graduation rates, higher eventual salaries, more leadership positions, etc. compared to students who attend non-selective schools. Nofundy’s comment about affirmative action not guaranteeing success is true only in the most technical sense. Affirmative action does improve minority success.
posted by win_k at 10:46 AM on April 2, 2003


Affirmative action breeds resentment not just in whites, but also in other non-favored minorities. It's telling people like me, an Asian-American, that you've been too successful. It tells me that because I am not a favored minority, somehow I wasn't discriminated against as much as the favored minorities. Nevermind that people like me were put into internment camps, not allowed to become citizens, and generally are not thought to be "real" Americans. Affirmative action uses race as a proxy for diversity and low social-economic status. The university administrators do not care about diversity at all. They're merely using it to justify their discriminatory behavior. If they were truly interested in diversity, would they not start to recruit more conservative students and professors? If they were truly interested in helping people that might not have had the same opportunities as rich whites, why do they give a blanket boost to all people of one preferred skin color, instead of evaluating each applicant separately? If they truly belived in helping minorities over come stereotypes and past effects of discrimination, why do they limit the minorities they help to the select few, who happen to wield so much political power?
posted by gyc at 12:29 PM on April 2, 2003


Nevermind that people like me were put into internment camps, not allowed to become citizens, and generally are not thought to be "real" Americans.

But did your ancestors come upon their own volition, full of hopes and fears, because of economic reasons ranging from necessity to opportunity?

And were they forcibly enslaved, carried across the ocean in chains and at great loss of life, treated as beasts of burden, did they have a civil war fought over their enslavement which 140 years later still has the greatest toll of combat casualties of any war this nation has fought; was this great war followed by a halted Reconstruction--a failed attempt to raise their station in life; and was that followed by an era of brutal punitive laws of racial separation and oppression, of being deprived of the vote and most civl rights, and was this effected by political assassination and bestial acts of mob violence on the scale and the length of that of the lynching era?

Seattle, where I live, had an anti-Chinese that came close to being an all out pogrom in its early days and Japanese living here were sent to interment camps in World War II. 19th century mobs and 20th century internment camps are still rather pretty weak tea compared to the six decades of lynch law.

Affirmative action is about a level playing field--if we did not have it, colleges would be all whites and asians--not all blacks and hispanics. Asians have been treated harshly in the past but, for a fact, as far as economic and educational opportunites, they are on a par with whites.

That said, this gives me the opportunity to offer It's Time to Break Up the College Color Cartel, from Atlantic Online. You may find his argument interesting.
posted by y2karl at 2:27 PM on April 2, 2003


I'm down with palancik. I remember watching Dinesh Dsouza make the same argument: affirmative action should be eliminated, not just in terms of race, but in terms of alumni status and all other favoritisms not based on merit.

The only problem is that it doesn't have anything to do with being a consistent conservative -- it has to do with the law.

As Scalia indirectly pointed out in the oral arguments of the Michigan case(s), considering legacies, etc. for admission is not banned by the Contitution, considering race is.
posted by alethe at 2:33 PM on April 2, 2003


I think f_&_m really is Jello Biafra.

The only problem is that it doesn't have anything to do with being a consistent conservative -- it has to do with the law.

Well said. Simple as that.
posted by hama7 at 4:13 PM on April 2, 2003




private colleges ARE regulated almost as much as universities, and they're told they can't get around this as long as their students receive financial aid from the government...
posted by dagnyscott at 5:21 PM on April 2, 2003


Affirmative action is about a level playing field

A "level playing field" based on skin color is racist, and illegal.
posted by hama7 at 6:46 PM on April 2, 2003


The bane of ideology, is that it exalts abstractions over human beings. It impoverishes our sense of reality, and it impoverishes our imagination, too.

Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.
The Cycles of American History
posted by y2karl at 7:28 PM on April 2, 2003


it exalts abstractions over human beings

Except that the abstractions and idealogies here are skin color and race based quota systems, rather than individual achievement and excellence.
posted by hama7 at 7:38 PM on April 2, 2003


The hagridden 'multi-culturalism' straw man is a dead horse argument, a fantasy of the far far right. Playing the race card by trotting out Walter Williams is as persuasive as trotting out Noel Ignatiev of Race Traitor to argue for diversity from way over on the other side. Neither one holds opinions typical of a person of their race and class. Wow, you can find a black columinst or two who agrees with you. Colin Powell's opinion, it goes without saying, is far more resonant with most black people. As well it should be:

Two, while minority applicants accepted to selective schools may start with comparatively less-impressive SATs and grades than their peers, Bowen & Bok show that affirmative action considerably magnifies minority chances of success, both in school and afterward: higher graduation rates, higher eventual salaries, more leadership positions, etc. compared to students who attend non-selective schools. Nofundy’s comment about affirmative action not guaranteeing success is true only in the most technical sense. Affirmative action does improve minority success.

Once more, win_k cuts to the heart of the matter: it works.
posted by y2karl at 7:57 PM on April 2, 2003


As for George W. Bush, Molly Ivins said it best:

Born on third base, thinks he hit a triple.
posted by y2karl at 8:15 PM on April 2, 2003


I know none of you care, but this is for all you out there who invoke Martin Luther King's name in attacking affirmative action policies. I'm not saying you have to agree with him, and I know you won't, but you do need to stop selectively looking at the man's beliefs.

"A society that has done something special against the Negro for hundreds of years must now do something special for the Negro"

The Forgotten Teachings of Martin Luther King Jr.

And I know this will get dismissed in no time, by a lot of people who won't even read it, but here's something I more or less agree with: Whites Swim in Racial Preference, by Tim Wise.

Can't wait to hear all your scoffing and dismissing!
posted by Slimemonster at 10:15 PM on April 2, 2003


You are a little over the top there, and the second link is broken for me, so here's Swimming in Racial Preference from Tolerance.Org. I don't recall anyone mentioning Martin Luther King in this thread but I appreciate the article, myself.
posted by y2karl at 11:11 PM on April 2, 2003


Sorry to rain on the race parade, but race-based quotas and misguided skin color related policies affect people of all pigmentation illegally.

Just read the Constitution.
posted by hama7 at 1:35 AM on April 3, 2003


Tony Auth on the matter
posted by Dick Paris at 5:26 AM on April 3, 2003


Just read the Constitution.

The Constitution is roughly 220 years old. It was less than 40 years ago that black people were "allowed" to sit in any bus seat they wanted; or to drink from any water fountain they wanted. Won't even mention how difficult it was to vote.

Imagine you were running a race, you are a white male, and your opponent--a black woman--is required to wait until you are near the finish line before she is even allowed to start. Then imagine that she is required to run backwards. This is how I imagine minorities feel. They spent 180 odd years with nearly no rights (and in fact were considered property!) while white folks took everything they could get their hands on (ask the Native Americans).

Saying that these people who have been shat on for 200+ years want "special treatment" is a load of crap. Pretty much the argument conservatives make about gays and marriage/familial rights. Instead of focusing on the fact that a portion of the population has been denied their rights they start harping about how gays (or blacks, or latinos, or asians, etc, etc, ad nauseam) want "special treatment." It isn't special treatment if they weren't receiving the treatment they deserved in the first place.

Where were the people calling on folks to just read the Constitution while this country practiced slavery? Suuuure, every MAN is created equal. Some are just more equal than others, right?
posted by terrapin at 8:14 AM on April 3, 2003 [1 favorite]


Affirmative action does improve minority success.

I would guess anytime one group is given preference over another that the favored group has a higher chance of success -- what the success is really based on, however, should not be favorable to anyone.
posted by alethe at 9:59 AM on April 3, 2003


Sorry to rain on the race parade, but race-based quotas and misguided skin color related policies affect people of all pigmentation illegally.

One can be opposed to affirmative action from consistent conservatism but one must note there is still a strain of thinking on the Right, an embedded nostalgia for the days of white separatism--only explicitly advocated by wackos like Jared Taylor of American Renaissance-- who are embittered because current social conventions frown upon open expressions like the quote below:

In fact, the National Review of the 1950s, 60s and even 70s spoke up for white people far more vigorously than Pat Buchanan would ever dare to today. The early National Review heaped criticism on the civil rights movement, Brown v. Board of Education, and people like Adam Clayton Powell and Martin Luther King, whom it considered race hustlers. Some of the greatest names in American conservatism–Russell Kirk, Willmore Kendall, James Kilpatrick, Richard Weaver, and a young Bill Buckley–wrote articles defending the white South and white South Africans in the days of segregation and apartheid. NR attacked the 1965 immigration bill that opened America up to Third-World immigration, and wrote frankly about racial differences in IQ. There were always hints of compromise, but passages from some back issues could have been lifted right out of American Renaissance. Not so today. NR still supports immigration reform and is not afraid of the IQ debate, but Mr. Ponnuru’s article is just one example of its complete abandonment of the interests of whites as a group. What used to be an important part of the NR message it now dismissed as illegitimate “white identity politics.”

Sentiments like those expressed in the quote are rarely spoken so openly anymore because by far most Americans find them abhorrent. This is not due to any conspiracy theory brainwashing of the public by any straw man Frankfurt School. It is simply the common sense of Americans who have outgrown such racist tripe. Some people resent affirmative action--but very, very few still resent Brown vs. The Board of Education. We've outgrown that--even consistent conservatives. You don't see Bill Buckley defending segregation anymore and that's a good thing.
posted by y2karl at 10:58 AM on April 3, 2003


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