Saturday, July 16, 2016

Affirmative Action

As I shake my head in confusion at the policy decisions being made in the name of equality I tend to make predictions. I often wonder if my predictions will be accurate.

Men in the ladies' room? An obviously terrible idea fraught with entirely predictable danger.

ObamaCare? An idea so bad it is impossible to understand how anyone with a brain could think it a good idea.

Abandoning, for whatever high-minded set of ideals, the incredibly successful criminal law and policing regimes of the past twenty-five years, is an astonishingly stupid idea. Crime rates are a fraction of what they were in the 1990's. No, we have not accomplished this by incarcerating an entire race of people. Any guesses as to what happens now?
Treating college students like precious snowflakes in order to cushion them from the devastating blow of hearing something they find insulting.

The list goes on and on. Most of them are so obviously wrongheaded to me because they defy human nature. I described my thoughts on human nature here (scroll to the 2nd post).

I often wonder whether my analyses are correct and look for evidence that they are, or not, in an effort to stay honest and avoid confirmation bias.

I am joined by multitudes in concluding that Affirmative Action programs in higher education were always a bad idea. Some people knew just how counter-productive they
would be from the start. One man predicted, in 1969, exactly where we would find ourselves as a result of installing Affirmative Action programs. His name was Macklin Fleming and at the time he wrote his incredibly prescient letter he was a Justice on the California Court of Appeals.

He was writing the Dean of Yale Law School (his alma mater) about the school's announced intention to admit 38 black students who could not qualify under the school's normal standards.

The letters between the Dean and Fleming, as well as analysis can be found here .

I will share some excerpts taken from the link.

"If in a given class the great majority of the black students are at the bottom of the class, this factor is bound to instill, unconsciously at least, some sense of intellectual superiority among the white students and some sense of intellectual inferiority among the black students... The fact remains that black and white students will be exposed to each other under circumstances in which demonstrated intellectual superiority rests with the whites.

...No one can be expected to accept an inferior status willingly. The black students, unable to compete on even terms in the study of law, inevitably will seek other means to achieve recognition and self-expression. This is likely to take two forms. First, agitation to change the environment from one in which they are unable to compete to one in which they can. Demands will be made for elimination of competition, reduction in standards of performance, adoption of courses of study which do not require intensive legal analysis, and recognition for academic credit of sociological activities which have only an indirect relationship to legal training. Second, it seems probable that this group will seek personal satisfaction and public recognition by aggressive conduct, which, although ostensibly directed at external injustices and problems, will in fact be primarily motivated by the psychological needs of the members of the group to overcome feelings of inferiority caused by lack of success in their studies. Since the common denominator of the group of students with lower qualifications is one of race this aggressive expression will undoubtedly take the form of racial demands–the employment of faculty on the basis of race, a marking system based on race, the establishment of a black curriculum and a black law journal, an increase in black financial aid, and a rule against expulsion of black students who fail to satisfy minimum academic standards."

Exactly what has occurred. Re-segregation. It is inconceivable to me that a large number of people, including those promoting the policy, were not able to see its short comings and pitfalls. They subscribed to it anyway.

Their complacency was probably a combination of fear of being judged racist and the "hope" that their good intentions would usher in their desired result. "Hope" as we all know, is not a strategy. Human nature, while ameliorable, in my opinion, simply cannot be ignored. Ignoring it is just a short-cut to ensuring its assertion and the failure of the  preferred policy.

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