Thursday, December 10, 2015

Response to Affirmative Inaction

(See: Just Above Sunset: Affirmative Inaction)

Remember the Bakke case, back in the late 1970s? That was the beginning of what we're seeing today:
Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265 (1978) was a landmark decision by the Supreme Court of the United States. It upheld affirmative action, allowing race to be one of several factors in college admission policy. However, the court ruled that specific quotas, such as the 16 out of 100 seats set aside for minority students by the University of California, Davis School of Medicine, were impermissible. 
Although the Supreme Court had outlawed segregation in schools, and had even ordered school districts to take steps to assure integration, the question of the legality of voluntary affirmative action programs initiated by universities was unresolved. Proponents deemed such programs necessary to make up for past discrimination, while opponents believed they were illegal and a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. ... 
Allan P. Bakke, an engineer and former Marine officer, sought admission to medical school, but was rejected for admission by several, in part because, in his early thirties, he was considered too old. After twice being rejected by U.C.-Davis, he brought suit in state court. The California Supreme Court struck down the program as violative of the rights of white applicants and ordered Bakke admitted.

But the Supreme Court back then still bought the argument about affirmative action, that "such programs [are] necessary to make up for past discrimination", so rather than ruling it unconstitutional, it just started watering it down a bit.

Fast-forward to today, to a case which one might make the mistake of jumping to the conclusion that those who think society picks on white people too much may have jumped the shark. Scott Lemieux explains in the Guardian:
Early in the arguments, [Justice Antonin] Scalia asserted that “there are­­ there are those who contend that it does not benefit African­ Americans to get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well.” Scalia’s apparent assumption, albeit one that he attributed to others, that African Americans admitted under affirmative action programs must be unqualified is offensive in itself – and particularly offensive given how marginal the qualifications of the plaintiff, Abigail Fisher, were. 
As the 5th circuit court of appeals observed in its opinion upholding the UT affirmative action program, Fisher almost certainly would not have been admitted even if UT used strictly race-neutral admissions criteria. The argument that colleges should not even consider the racial diversity of its student body in order to give white applicants with poor qualifications a very slightly better chance doesn’t strike me as a very compelling one. 
And I must have missed Scalia condescendingly suggesting that Fisher would have been better off at a less-demanding school.
Boy, our country really must be going down the toilet, so much so that the concept of so-called "reverse discrimination" has seemingly made so much headway that mediocre white people are now arguing that they deserve to be given advantages over mediocre black people -- since not to be given them is just a form of racial prejudice. Incredible logic!

Two can play that game: The Court could take heed of Fisher's argument, that we shouldn't take one's race into consideration, by simply throwing the case out of court -- since with absolutely no consideration of her race, there goes her claim of being discriminated on the basis of her race, and she's got absolutely no case!

But considering the regressive zeitgeist of 2015, a legal decision like that would surely be seen as a huge leap forward, and might be just enough to start a revolution in this country -- that is, if Republican voters could only tear themselves away from all that other stuff that always seems to have their shorts in a bunch.

But speaking of the country? I want my country back.

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