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Friday Ephemera

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If I can borrow from The Onion… 

It just goes to show you that, in this country, a black man still can’t catch a break.

Whatever the political preferences of readers, this is a moment in history, and questions come to mind. With the first black president soon to take office in the most powerful nation on Earth, where does that leave calls for affirmative action? Is it still possible to defend policies that extend privilege on the basis of pigmentation rather than character and talent? Will “colour-blind” attitudes, which echo the sentiments of Martin Luther King Jr, still be denounced as “racist” and “rightwing” – and as an attack on civil rights, rather than an affirmation of them? What of racially segregated student orientations conducted in the name of “diversity”? Will Professor Noel Ignatiev continue to insist that “whiteness is a form of racial oppression” and should therefore be “abolished”? Will students still be told that “the term [racist] applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States”?

And I wonder what Obama’s election, and much of what it symbolises, says about William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn’s forthcoming book, Race Course Against White Supremacy, the premise of which is that,

White supremacy has been the dominant political system in the United States since its earliest days - and that it is still very much with us.

Will it be as insightful as earlier efforts by this “veteran political activist”?

Update via the comments:

The justifications for PC racial discrimination have never been entirely convincing or morally palatable. Treating people not as individuals but as generic representatives of some designated victim group is condescending and unfair, and seems likely to perpetuate racial hang-ups and give license to opportunist role-play. Unsurprisingly, the negative fallout of such policies has all too often been ignored by those who favour them. See, for instance, this article by Heather MacDonald:

In 2004, a groundbreaking study of affirmative action in law schools blew away every rationale for racial double standards ever put forth. UCLA law professor Richard Sander found that law schools that admit black students with lower GPAs and Law School Admissions Test scores than their nonblack peers - almost all law schools, in other words - actually lowered those students’ chances of passing the bar. Because of the ‘mismatch’ between their academic preparedness and the academic sophistication of the school that has bootstrapped them in, the preference beneficiaries learn less of what they need to pass the bar than they would in a school that matched their capabilities. Far from increasing the supply of black lawyers, affirmative action actually decreases the diversity of the bar.

And this, by Gail Herriot:

It didn't seem to matter that… students admitted with lower academic credentials would end up incurring heavy debt but never graduate.

Both of the articles are worth reading in full. And note how proponents of “diversity” often reacted to contrary data with glib dismissal or disingenuous boilerplate. I’m therefore inclined to wonder how much reality it will take to alter the convictions of people who seem quite proud of their fashionable prejudice and are willing to lie about how well that prejudice works. As Heather MacDonald argues in the piece above:

Yet for the [racial] preference lobby, a failing diversity student is better than no diversity student — because the game is not about the students but about the self-image of the institution that so beneficently extends its largesse to them. 

(h/t, sk60)