Friday, December 29, 2006

Race Hustlers Fight for Special Preferences for Blacks in Michigan, While Openly Endorsing White Supremacy


Michigan’s State Universities and it’s Governor Challenge the Will of the People of Michigan (their bosses) in Court!



The Michigan Citizen breathlessly reports, “Civil rights advocates are optimistic that the voter-approved affirmative action ban will eventually be completely rescinded. To delay the implementation of Proposal 2 at three major state universities is considered a win.

“I think this is a tremendous victory,” said George Washington, attorney for the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action By Any Means Necessary (BAMN). “Now we must mobilize to win a stay for the rest of the year and every year afterwards. We have an excellent chance of winning our lawsuit against this racist law.”


According to Mr. Washington, attorney for BAMN, “Proposal 2 created discrimination at the heart of the political process,” he said. “A veteran, a resident, an alumni, a son of a congressman or a university administrator can still get preferential treatment at the universities, but the only people who cannot are Blacks, Latinos and other minorities, and women.”

As John Rosenberg of Discriminations (http://www.discriminations.us/) points out, “By BAMN logic, a “veteran, a resident, an alumni, a son of a congressman or a university administrator” could all be excluded from or denied benefits of or be subject to discrimination under some educational program receiving federal assistance without running afoul of Title VI. Title VI, in this twisted view, affirmatively encourages discrimination against everyone except a small subset of people who are protected because of their specially protected “race, color, or national origin.” ”

There is nothing more "racist" (and I hate using that word) than presuming incompetence on the part of another.

Sadly, it is the essence of the white Liberal or "do-gooder." It's why those folks tend to see their ilk (Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry, etc) as "erudite elites" and Conservatives from Dan Quayle to G W Bush as stumbling, bumbling imbeciles, who aren't as "enlightened" as they are.

Of course, these folks are actually pseudo-elites. Al Gore, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry all did far worse in College than did G W Bush.

Carter was a bright man, with absolutely no common sense and Bill Clinton was another bright man, who'd come up from poverty, but never developed a conscience in his travels.

Still, Clinton, at least had the common sense to be a pragmatist. He headed the DLC that tried to move the Democratic Party t the Right (back toward the center) and he signed onto 7 of the 10 planks of Gingrich's "Contract With America."

But back to preferences and presumed incompetence - when I first got on the FDNY (back in March of 1986), I worked with a black Battalion Chief named Reggie Julius (a real great guy, who'd worked with my Dad in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn back in the "war years" - the late sixties and early seventies, when ONE THIRD of the buildings in NYC burned down).

Chief Julius was not only a very bright guy, but he was a real character as well and he had a real problem with race and gender based preferences.

At that time, I'd met few blacks who opposed such things and was curious, so one day I asked him about it, and his response was, "Every time I walk into a room, I KNOW most of the people in there think I was given these stars (Battalion Chiefs wear two gold stars, one on each collar) and it pisses me off cause I was never given nuthin and never asked to be given nuthin by anybody. I scored at the top of every exam list on every test I took and I resent people assuming I didn't, but that's the stigma that quotas put on us - people just assume every black person is unable to compete."

Chief Julius had real self pride, not "ethnic pride," nobody ever "earned" their ethnicity, he was rightfully proud of the person he forged himself into being.

I think the thing that Chief Julious and other blacks who oppose preferences really understand is that there is no more tacit an endorsement of white supremacy than accepting race/gender-based preferences as necessary, as it endorses black incompetence and thus white supremacy.

In that regard, the real "white supremacists" are those who support race/gender-based preferences and the blacks who support them are the ones who've accepted white supremacy/black incompetence as reality.

It's NOT reality.

It's a false reality, partially enhanced by the stigma that so-good whites have heaped on those they claim they want to help.

The problem with "helpers" is that you're always looking down to those you help and unless you do a lot of self reflection, you can easily slip into feeling "better than" others.

That's probably why so much harm has been done in the name of "good intentions."

Education is access to knowledge and knowledge is a form of wealth and like any form of wealth, you can only get out of it, what you are able to put in.

That's why there are people like Bill Gates and others who've used knowledge effectively even though they've dropped out of College and why so many Lottery winners quickly wind up bankrupt after a few years - they're not prepared to leverage that money to earn them even more money, or to "grow their assets."


Even the premise that ethnic diversity holds some sort of mythical positive value is flawed, to say the least. In point of fact, ethnic diversity is value-neutral - that is, it has neither a positive nor a negative value.

Japan and Iceland do incredibly well with their homogeneous (non-diverse) populations, and places like Britain and France are now suffering with increasing diversity, albeit the root cause of those nation's problem seems to be an increasing Muslim population, not mere ethnic diversity.

Self-segregation is a fact of life.

I dealt with it in College, where the bulk of both blacks & whites CHOSE to sit together in class and in the cafeteria. I was one of two white players on the basketball team and saw this first-hand - sometimes members of the team would sit together and other times, they went their own ways.

Again, the problem with the very premise of race/gender preferences is the presumed incompetence it is rooted in.

Given that there is no such thing as "test bias," (there isn't), as Thomas Sowell has shown that the area with the greatest ethnic variance on such standardized exams, isn't the verbal section, as most would think, but the math section and in math, as Dr. Sowell notes, "Numbers are the same in the inner city, as they are in the suburbs," so the ONLY rationalization for race/gender preferences is the presumed incompetence of those groups who are deemed to require such preferences.

Are "donor," "alumni" and "geographic" preferences equally wrong?

Of course, in my view they are, though for different reasons - donor & alumni preferences amount to an illicit quid pro quo that shouldn't exist in the admissions process, while geographic preferences are themselves rooted in the fallacy that "geographic diversity" holds some mythic value that it quantifiably does not, as it too, is value neutral.

The fact is that most blacks prefer to live among other blacks, most whites among other whites and Hispanics among Hispanics. It may well be a false comfort, but for many, it is a comforting factor none-the-less.

It is probably why some blacks vehemently opposed the gentrification of Harlem and Bill Clinton opening an office up there almost ten years ago. They saw Harlem as "their community," and didn't want it changed.

Since Harlem has been "gentrified" many blacks have moved out, though some would say "they were forced out due to rising rents, etc.," it's just as true that many of them reacted the same way that many whites do when a white area becomes predominantly black or Hispanic - there's a sense of "not belonging," that comes with that and that is what many of the blacks who've left Harlem have articulated.

Choice, even short-sighted choice doesn't necessarily make one a bigot, because while bigotry is malevolent, such personal choices usually aren't. For instance, to a white male who is attracted to black women, a black women asserting that she's only interested in dating black males, might seem "prejudicial," if only because it impacts him negatively, but that woman certainly and without question has a basic right to date whomever she pleases, doesn't she?

Indeed, I can't imagine anyone denying that she has a basic human right to be discriminating in her own tastes. We ALL do, and we exercise such "discrimination" when choosing the color of our car, or the walls of our home, or our favorite foods...and yes, often when we choose our friends.

In fact, that's why preferences on standardized exams are not only wrong, but patently absurd. So long as the same exam is given to everyone, the rim is the same 10' for us all.

Now, if one were to argue that the jobs that DON'T rely on any standardized criteria and rely entirely upon the subjective "interview process," then I'd agree that THAT system relies on too many subjective, non-standardized criteria to be considered "fair." An interviewer black or white, may subconcsciously have an aversion to a candidate of a different background. I've always felt that such interviews should be vocoded (so you couldn't tell if its a man or woman by voice) and in a sort of Confessional box, where you couldn't see anything bu the interviewee's silhouette, ideally, in my view, most jobs should be filled via some objective, quantifiable standards, ideally some form of standardized exam.

Bottom line, any and all race/gender preferences violate both equal access to opportunity, as well as equality before the law. Of that, there is no question, for to give a preference to one ethnic group or gender is to deny that same preference (access to opportunity) and indeed inflict a barrier upon another.

The very idea of ethnic preferences spits in the face of the most basic principles this country was founded upon.



UPDATE:

In a recent development U.S. District Court judge David Lawson has barred intervention in the case by Ward Connerly and Jennifer Gratz, as the 6th Circuit Court has ordered an expedited briefing on Judge Lawson’s order enjoining Proposition 2.

It’s astounding that a federal judge doesn’t understand that a Constitutional Amendment that passed with nearly 60% of the popular vote, that bars race based preferences would even delay that law’s implementation.

5 comments:

Crystal Simmons said...

Hello JMK,
I find myself reading your article for a college english class for a persuasive paper I have to write on Affirmative Action and I must include an opposing viewpoint. At first glance I can clearly see your point, but you have not taken into consideration our American History, the many years that African American were locked out of the American Dream. Whites, contary to popular beliefs, did not build America all by themselfs. Granted they definitely designed it, but others did the manual work. Writing a persuasive paper I know what the next arguement will be. "Two wrongs don't make a right" or how about, "It's a hand out" or even, "I was not the one that put or kept blacks in slavery". Here is the problem with all thoses arguements, African Americans didn't choose to be ancestors of slaves, and they definitely did not design the system that gave whites a hand out for being white for ALL of our history. I guess someone had to be on the losing end, SWITCH!!

JMK said...

I really appreciate your reading my article, if only for an opposing viewpoint.

Here's, in my view, just a few of the many problems with the "race preferences as payback" viewpoint;

(1) Preferences and set-asides only cripple the group they're intended to help. If they were a set number of Aisans and whites required to be on every NBA team the prospective players from those ethnic groups would soon realize they wouldn't have to compete against blacks, for whom basketball is their #1 sport, but only against other whites and Asians.

Those would have to effects in the NBA, it would shrink the number of black players, as some of those spots they now occupy would have to go to others, thus only the most skilled and ambitious black basketball players would be left.

The result would be that few whites and Asians would be starting ball-players or even effective players in such a league.

There'd almost certainly be no Steve Nash's, Yao Ming's, David Lee's or Dirk Nowitzki's.

(2) The underlying presumption of any such preferences ISN'T "payback," it's "presumed incompetence." The basic premise behind ethnic preferences is that the groups that are given prefeerences cannot compete on an equal level...and probably never will.

That is a most demeaning and insulting view of blacks.

My wife is black (born in Jamaica) and she is extremely bright. She takes rightful pride in her own accomplishments and doesn't want them tarnished by the taint of preference as though she didn't earn them straight up.

Now, I'm always concerned about people treating her fairly. The interview process is extremely subjective and open to so many possible abuses and yet she's never had reason to complain about any perceived overt discrimination in that venue.

She's a CPA (and she has a Chartered Accountancy in the English system) and had to take the same rigorous set of exams that every other CPA does - the CPA Exam is a grueling all day, 5-part exam that many do not pass. There were no preferences nor points given to her because of her race or gender and that's to the good, because she has to compete every day with the best of the best...and having passed that on her own merits, she knows with all her heart that she can compete with anyone.

So does everyone else, precisely because there are no preferences on such exams. Unlike Civil Service exams where some minorities have been passed with failing scores, thus carrying a stigma of "presumed incompetence," there's no such presumption for a black person who passes the Law Boards or CPA exam as there are no crutches or short-cuts (preferences) in those venues.

(3) Preferences set the recipients up for failure. One of the most pernicious things about racial preferences is that they've placed many very capable black students into schools their grades and test scores didn't justify. Therefore a black student whose grades and test scores may have placed him/her in the top 20% of UCLA's incoming freshman class, have him/her in the bottom 20% of Cal Tech's or Berkely's.

Many of those students wind up dropping out and some never finish their College educations due to that frustrating and disappointing first impression.

Dr Walter E Williams a nationally syndicated columnist and professor Emritus of Economics at George Mason University has said that once barriers are removed from a people there's nothing else that's needed.

Both the Irish & Jews were terrible discriminated against in employment during the early part of the 20th Century and before and once those overt barriers were lifted those groups were able to compete without any assistance.

Blacks are no different! The view that blacks "need" preferences is an idea that endorses that blacks cannot compete with whites and Asians on an equal level, when there is absolutely no evidence to support that.

In fact, there are now and have long been many, many exceptionally accomplished and talented blacks (like Walter E Williams, like Benjamin Banniker and S. B Fuller among many others), enough to say that the evidence clearly shows that that group can compete with any other group on their own merits.

Now I don't expect to convince you of anything, I can only hope that you may come to look at this issue in a different way down the line.

I'd honestly love to see your finsihed report, because there are so few convincing arguments around in favor of such preferences and I'd like to see yours, as you've obviously put a lot of thought into this.

If you'd like, you can email me at jmk444@earthlink.net

Jackson said...

I find it hard to believe that you truly do not see the wrong in your arguments; as they are well developed and determined in nature. By using people of color as examples of people whose pride does not allow them to take the "handouts" of affirmative action you effectively utilize the tool personified by Ward Connely.
Presumed incompetence is not the intention of Affirmative Action, nor what it effectively accomplishes. Quite the opposite in fact; the truth is it is not incompetence that will inhibit a person of color from continuing on in education but it is the socio-economic segregation of our nation that even the most brutally ignorant person could not ignore. The reason there are special scholarships for under represented minorities is the same reason there are those for first generation students, and this is the same reason for affirmative action. There needs to be balance, and this equilibrium cannot stand on its own until it has effectively been stabilized.
We would all love to already be at that point, but we are not. The truth is schools in lower class neighborhoods tend to have less qualified teachers, less motivated students, and less demanding parents. This happens often because these parents never had their educational potential realized, and never got to see what a gift it could be. And guess what these under resourced and less effective schools get for the lower standardized test scores... less funding. The implementation of the the No Child Left Behind Act coupled with the Connely tour to eradicate Affirmative Action will effectively cripple the under represented communities from the lower socio economic areas in our country; negating all the work that this nation has accomplished thus far.
It's already happening, I've watched Jefferson High School in Portland, OR, just blocks from my office as counselors recommend to their brightest students that they should switch schools before more is cut from their own- by doing what's best for their best they have doomed the rest- and the the school is on the verge of being shut down as federally funding has dropped to floor levels.
The fact is there are proud people from these communities who are insulted by the though of affirmative action, and this is natural; take into perspective that this is not the majority. The majority is not inspired to do the amazing, the majority does not have the resources to take the extra AP tests for college credits, and the majority does not have college educated parents who realize that for their sons and daughters to have the most successful lives possible that they need that extra education.
And I really don't have time to argue with you over a statement ridiculous enough to attack the importance of diversity. The audacity of something like that brings our nation back 50 years. It is a mindset that allows you to say that people have a right to let non-factors play into who they befriend that makes me glad that I work with the people I do and for the organizations I work for. Where we get to take the ignorant and educate them surrounding racial injustices, the importances of diversity and the necessity of a more educated population of color.
And in terms of of barriers of race there are a million without affirmative action; just an example is the fact that most schools in the country (by a heavy majority) would never recognize a second language such as Nimi'ipuutim't (the Nez Perce Language) or any other native american language which would in another instance (say a foreign international school) definitely be an applicable advantage. Schools under affirmative action definitely see these cultural enrichments as valuable to their respected colleges and universities.

For now I'm off, I must return to work. I've got to finish a proposal for the Black United Fund of Oregon to see if I can get a grant for the Oregon Students of Color Coalition Conference coming in the winter; so as I can make sure that less of the country is uneducated on the key component of diversity and the restoration, or at least implementation of equality.
-Jackson

JMK said...

There is absolutely no question that “diversity” itself is value neutral, Jackson. It's neither a negative, NOR a positive.

The best possible argument would be for some form of “ideological diversity,” whereby naïve, immature and less rational Liberal/”progressive” students might learn from more rational, logical and mature conservative/”traditionalist” students, but even that is based in wishful thinking. People don’t overcome naiveté, immaturity and a lack of logic by merely “coming in contact” with students who are all of those things, they must come to it, or not, on their own.

No, “diversity” is a completely value-neutral concept.

Japan and Iceland prove that out.

If, for some mythological reason, “diversity” was a net positive, then homogenuous cultures like that would be woefully behind, both economically and socially (ie. crime rates), more “diverse” nations like the U.S.A. and of course, they are not.

In fact, they are both 1st world economies with very high standards of living and culturally, they’re actually superior in some ways to America – BOTH Iceland and Japan have much lower crime rates than the U.S.

No, “diversity” is completely value-neutral, end of story.

Likewise, there is no effective argument in favor of either race or gender based preferences, because there are, quite simply, no reasons for those preferences.

Moreover, they are indeed rooted in the concept that blacks and Hispanics (though primarily blacks) CANNOT compete effectively with Asians and whites.

Now, it is true that tests do indeed bear this out. Even poorer whites tend to do better on almost all standardized exams than do even more well-off blacks, BUT that is merely a snapshot in time. It is NOT indicative of any innate superiority/inferiority between any races. There is no evidence of any form of racial superiority/inferiority when comparing any two races.

The idea that blacks warrant preferences because of poor schools is ludicrous!

In most major cities in the United States, inner city schools get MORE funding than their suburban counterparts not LESS.

That viewpoint would best argue in favor of some kind of preferences for rural schools, which are, for the most part, not nearly as well funded as most inner city schools and yet the Asian and white students who attend those schools don’t get any such preferences.

In fact, some of the least funded and academically underperforming schools in the country are in Appalachia, an overwhelmingly white area and again, there are no preferences for those students.

Race/gender-based preferences are a crutch which effectively handicap the recipients of those things.

One of the primary reasons that blacks have the highest drop out rates for higher education is due to the fact that many blacks are “bumped up,” that is, a black student who’d be in the middle 50% at Syracuse or Rutgers, will be “bumped up” through affirmative action to a Rensselaer or a MIT, where they are in the bottom 5% of applicants. Many such over-matched black students drop out and many never return to finish their degrees.

Jackson said...

Of course diversity going to be value neutral in a place that has remained stagnant; by thrusting a new culture and new concepts on a system already working you could effectively harm it as well as help it. That place is not the United States; when you encounter every kind of culture everyday on the streets an awareness is a necessity. Maybe not if we allow our schools to become those of white privilege as they have been in the past; but in the world we have attempted to create it will hold true. Awareness, be it in the form of sensitivity, spiritual growth, or new ideological concepts give students an advantage as they enter the workforce which through our work continues to grow in diversity as well. Solid abilities to understand and communicate through barriers is an advantage, especially in the business world. Why else would demographics be so key when marketeers look to spend their advertising dollars? (It is a key selling point, I also work in sales for a top 10 mid major market radio network).
It is imperative that people are able to identify our nations intersectionality; and I agree that you cannot do so simply through contact. Contact is not what we look for to occur in the learning environment; we're looking for understanding through discussion, debate, and as ridiculous as it may sound, "sharing".

In terms of funding for rural schools versus inner city; flawed. In most areas rural schools often receive more funding because there is a stronger sense of community versus the city where there are a lot of people who really don't care. They don't have children in school anymore, or yet, or will never; they don't care how nice the high school football stadium or gymnasium is because that's not what the city does on Wednesday and Friday nights; and they don't care if the school across the river has falling test scores and continually reduced funding. Meanwhile suburban and rural areas do have these focuses; their schools and facilities are newer and better kept because they are communities who have been together and not business people venturing through the area. Smaller communities are notoriously smoother at passing a small tax to fix the gym or keep a school program because there is a higher percentage directly affected.
Travel at least the Western states (because I have to admit I haven't done much past the Midwest in our country) and see the high schools in the inner city versus those in more displaced areas. Between my AAU basketball teams I played on and those I coached I've been to over 250 schools, and at least 50 more between high school basketball and football.
The problem with rural schools' ability to get their students out into the world is the mindset of their community; it's great to fund the school but parents are much less likely to do things like read to their children often and continuously as they grow up, or to tell their children how much more important school is at the end of the day then sports, or even that college is something they should seriously invest in.
That's why in Oregon through funding from Americore and recently won money from the legislature we are expanding a program we call ASPIRE which puts volunteer counselors in high schools (as we expand off the I-5 corridor we hope to be in as many as 189) who are trained to give students the resources they need to go to college. Those of privilege often can get help from their parents while the rest struggle with overworked regular counselors who are rarely trained or updated on college admissions and often serve 300+ students. That's why we are pushing to focus our efforts in rural schools and those of the inner city which historically have underperformed.

And as a note; most race and gender based preferences also take into account socio economic status as well as first generation student acknowledgment.

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