New-Fashioned Racism

“A deeply divided Supreme Court squared off Wednesday over the future of affirmative action in college admissions,” reports the Washington Post, covering the admissions policy of the University of Texas. The arguments for and against race-based admissions preferences were mostly old hat, but got weird when Justice Alito noted a policy of preferring the children of minority professionals over more-qualified, but poorer, non-minorities:

“I thought the whole purpose of affirmative action was to help the disadvantaged,” Alito said. He asked why a minority child of the “1 percent” should get a “leg up against, let’s say, an Asian or a white applicant whose parents are absolutely average in terms of education and income?”

State universities are allegedly all about equality of opportunity. Favoring the under-performing children of wealthy minority folks doesn’t exactly qualify. As a friend of mine put it, “If the elites have to choose between rubbing elbows with the poor or hanging out with the under-performing children of upper middle class professionals, there’s no contest: administrators much prefer racial diversity over a diversity of economic class and ideas.”

What we have here is a new classism using “anti-racism” as a wedge.

But it is itself racism. It’s just not “old-fashioned racism.”

Barack Obama, way back in 1994 — in the earliest recording of our current president arguing policy — used that phrase (“good old-fashioned racism”) to attack Charles Murray and defend reverse discrimination and massive increases in welfare programs. So, in keeping with his terminology, perhaps we should call today’s race-based “compensatory” policies “new-fashioned racism.”

After all, these policies favor some over others not based on their relevant qualifications — or on the “content of their character” — but, instead, based on their race.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

7 Comments so far ↓

  1. Oct
    12
    8:43
    AM
    Drik

    This year’s education benchmarks in the Florida public school systems set lower standards for African-Americans, native Americans, and Hispanics than for whites and Asian-Americans. Isn’t that racist?
    Perhaps I no longer understand what racist is.
    I thought it was the idea that one particular race could not function as well as another one.

  2. Oct
    12
    9:15
    AM
    Clay S. Conrad

    So is the fact that minorities use drugs and sell drugs at about the same rate as whites, but are thirteen times more likely to be incarcerated for doing so, new or old fashioned racism?

    Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow” is probably the most important libertarian work out so far this millenium — but few people realize how libertarian it is. The new racism is about finding new ways to permanently disempower minorities through felon disenfranchisement laws, lifetime bans on their voting, federal benefits eligibility bans, etc. The criminal justice system is being used as a means of social engineering and racial control, not social protection.

    THAT is REAL common sense…

  3. Oct
    12
    11:10
    AM
    MoreFreedom

    Democrats (historically the party of racism, slavery, segregation and Jim Crow) are still the party of government supported racism, to the detriment of minorities, but ironically they say for their benefit.

    Given that we can be sure that, on average, the most intelligent and best qualified entrants into degree programs are white males, when I look for a doctor, lawyer or other professional requiring a college degree, I now look for white males, something I wouldn’t be doing except because of the Democratic racism of affirmative action.

    Thus, I now discriminate against minorities thanks to Democrats’ affirmative action.

  4. Oct
    12
    1:22
    PM
    Paulina West

    “So, in keeping with his [B. Obama's] terminology, perhaps we should call today’s race-based “compensatory” policies “new-fashioned racism.””

    I think that is the rub. Obama’s defense of “advantages that minorities might enjoy,” such as highly targeted welfare programs and race-based admissions, is discrimination as well. It will be just as corrosive to society.

    In a free country, effort, energetic focus, and sincere interest on the part of any individual will bring success, and great advantage to society. To disrupt that process and to declare winners based on outward considerations brings deep cost to society. And I think Justice Roberts is right. Where does the practice end? How many race based admissions are needed to declare diversity?

    And once students are admitted based on race, to what lengths does the U go to retain this student?

  5. Oct
    12
    1:43
    PM
    Paul Jacob

    Clay — The outrageous drug laws that disproportionately criminalize minorities should go. But the real answer is to get rid of the drug war altogether. That beats making the ruining of people’s lives “more fair” — as I know you agree.

  6. Oct
    12
    1:44
    PM
    Paul Jacob

    Er, yes, those slanted, racist drug laws are, IMHO, “old racism.”

  7. Oct
    14
    12:12
    PM
    Drik

    A divided court is a partisan court. Instead of determining who is the better lawyer, an issue of such contention should go back to the states so that they may determine what laws they want to live under.

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