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February 13, 2014

Slate Liberal: It's Time to End Affirmative Action

#slatepitches, as they say. Post something grabby for viral hits.

Ann Althouse writes about the article.

Per the Slate article's headline: "The Massive Liberal Failure on Race. Affirmative action doesn’t work. It never did. It’s time for a new solution."

The guy wrote a book called, "Some of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America."

Althouse comments:

Obviously, Slate's publishing the article boosts Colby's stature as an expert on this topic. It's why I'm reading Colby's piece. But I can see the reasons why Slate would publish this. It knows its readers are mostly white liberals, and it's easy to guess that they're susceptible to the narcissistic question: Where are my black friends? (Obama counts as one friend, but he's always so busy.) And Slate's headline is one of the most egregious pleas for traffic I have ever seen: "Massive Liberal Failure on Race: Affirmative action doesn’t work...." Massive! Liberal! Failure! Race! The righties will not be able not to link to this, I can hear them chuckling. And maybe, oozing in around their self-loving liberalism, they believe that plenty of their regular readers, the good liberals, feel secretly aggrieved about affirmative action.

The guy's point seems to be that affirmative action has created (or reinforced) a separation between the races... which I actually don't think is true, but okay. He then suggests a big government expansion (of course!) in exchange for getting rid of affirmative action.

He says everyone on the right is desperate to get rid of affirmative action. That's not really true. That position exists. But some of us have a moderate take on it, something like this:

I do not oppose special efforts to find minority candidates for a position. I think such efforts are advisable and wise.

I don't even oppose soft quotas, not hard ones, but soft ones. For example, if a company has always had 3% or less black workers, despite blacks making up 15% of the nearby job pool, I don't mind a fair inquiry into this situation, so long as the company is able to rebut any presumption or conclusion that they're hiring on a discriminatory basis. (Part of the problem, here, is that such inquiries frequently do not seem fair, the company is not allowed to fairly rebut the implicit charge, and the soft quota quickly becomes a hard quota.)

I don't even mind, and I'm just speaking for myself here, Chris Rock's claim that affirmative action is a good policy, because a tie should go to the runner, as in baseball. He says it's so hard to get on first base, just as it's been hard for blacks to get ahead in America, that if there's a tie as to qualifications between a black and white applicant, you should give the job to the black one.

I know many conservatives may disagree in principle. In principle, I wouldn't disagree, or perhaps I'd disagree too, but mutedly. But while I don't mind ties going to the runner, per Rock's analogy, I will object when the runner is clearly out (that is, that there is a clear reason to hire the white guy over him, based on nonracial factors), but the law or political pressure supports the hiring of the black guy anyway.

Our goal should be a color blind society. We're not there yet. I don't mind some efforts taking cognizance of this fact... but I do start to object when the state imposes a discriminatory regime based on race. I maybe can go along with a little bit of such discrimination. But only a little.

A tie, a near-tie, okay. I get that. I concede diversity is, all other things being equal, a laudable thing to strive for. I certainly would like racial problems in America to be past us, and when the races are at rough economic equality, they will be past us.

But you can't turn to actual racial discrimination in favor of this goal.

I mean, when it comes right down to it: Even ignoring such things as principle (that it's unfair to discriminate against any race based on race, including the white race or, frequently as it turns out, Asians, who are "overrepresented" in colleges), the fact is that I have a strong personal preference to not be discriminated against myself. It's not "racist" of me to prefer to not be discriminated against, even if someone can make a compelling case (in their opinion) as to why I ought to be.

At any rate, read Althouse, read this #slatepitch, decide what you think.

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posted by Ace at 06:20 PM

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