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Affirmative Action

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From the New York Times:

Even With Affirmative Action, Blacks and Hispanics Are More Underrepresented at Top Colleges Than 35 Years Ago

Even after decades of affirmative action, black and Hispanic students are more underrepresented at the nation’s top colleges and universities than they were 35 years ago, according to a New York Times analysis.

- It’s almost as if 45 to 50 years of affirmative action haven’t succeeded in making blacks and Hispanics smarter …

Here’s the 1996-2011 trends in SAT Math scores from Unsilenced Science:

Not much is happening other than Asians are scoring higher.

Similarly, here’s Unsilenced Science’s graph of trends on the composite SAT and ACT college admission test scores:

Asians are pulling away from pack, while blacks are lagging. (The number of blacks taking these tests has been going up, so that performance isn’t all that bad.)

- And it’s almost as if the massive increase in Asian-American and foreign Asian enrollment in colleges had to hurt other groups’ numbers due to simple arithmetic.

The share of black freshmen at elite schools is virtually unchanged since 1980.

When, by the way, affirmative action was roaring strong. You may recall the famous Bakke lawsuit over racial quotas at the University of California reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 1978, when Judge Powell’s one-man decision somehow wound up being decisive. Powell’s baby slicing brilliance: racial quotas are illegal if you call then “quotas” but not if you call them “goals.”

Part of what the NYT is doing is playing off their readers’ lack of historical sense. Subscribers are constantly told that America was a racist hell-hole until approximately the day before yesterday, so “1980″ sounds like the Dark Ages to them. In reality of course, it was well past the social revolution of the 1960s, with affirmative action going full blast.

Black students are just 6 percent of freshmen but 15 percent of college-age Americans, as the chart below shows.

Screenshot 2017-08-24 17.47.08

The NYT won’t tell us what the actual numbers were in 1980 (which turns out to be a bigger problem below with the Hispanic graph), but it looks like 1980 numbers were something like blacks being 13% of the college-age population and 6% of elite college freshmen.

It would be interesting to see what % blacks made up in the 90th percentile or higher on the SAT and ACT test in 1980 versus 2015. My guess would be it was a small percentage in 1980 and an even smaller percentage in 2015 due to the flood of high scoring Asians.

Here’s a recent Brookings Institution graph:

Screenshot 2017-08-24 17.56.56

Blacks make up only 2% of those scoring on the math SAT 650 to 700, 2% of 700 to 750, and 2% of 750 to 800. In contrast Asians make up 27% of 650 to 700, 39% of 700 to 750, and 60% of 750 to 800.

A 650 on math is a good score, but not amazing: it’s at the 86th percentile of those who take the SAT and the 90th percentile of a nationally representative sample (including those who missed out on taking the SAT because they were in Juvy Hall). So blacks make up 6% of elite college freshmen but only 2% among those scoring at the 86th percentile or higher on the Math SAT. Of course, blacks don’t benefit from White Privilege.

Here’s the Brookings article on how test score gaps aren’t closing much.

I don’t know what this graph would have looked like in 1980, but the immense Asian numbers at the high end wouldn’t have been so big, thus increasing the other groups’ representation proportionately.

More Hispanics are attending elite schools, but the increase has not kept up with the huge growth of young Hispanics in the United States, so the gap between students and the college-age population has widened.

Screenshot 2017-08-24 17.52.38

Now here’s where the NYT’s methodology becomes intentionally misleading. They won’t tell us what the actual numbers were in 1980, but it looks like back then Hispanics were about 7% of the population and 4% of the elite freshmen, compared to 22% and 13% in 2015. Those proportions are roughly the same, so not much has really happened. For example 4/7 = 0.57 and 13/22 = 0.59, suggesting a slight increase in favor of Hispanics over the years. But of course these are guesstimates from eyeballing the graph.

But the NYT can claim that The Gap has gotten … three … times … larger!

The Times analysis includes 100 schools ranging from public flagship universities to the Ivy League. For both blacks and Hispanics, the trend extends back to at least 1980, the earliest year that fall enrollment data was available from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Blacks and Hispanics have gained ground at less selective colleges and universities but not at the highly selective institutions, said Terry Hartle, a senior vice president at the American Council on Education, which represents more than 1,700 colleges and universities.

The 1985 book Choosing Elites by social scientist Robert Klitgaard, who went on to be president of Claremont McKenna college, reveals much about Harvard’s 1970s internal studies of just how much affirmative action Harvard could afford. This turned out to be some, but not as much as they had hoped when they got started with quotas in the late 1960s. In particular, inner city black males were not a good bet.

Here’s the NYT’s graph of the racial trends at the alpha dog of academia, Harvard:

Screenshot 2017-08-24 19.15.47

Although this is just speculation, it sure looks like Harvard decided during the 1990s that allowing the white percentage to continue to fall sharply, as it had in the 1980s, would eventually prove Bad for the Brand.

- One other thing that’s going on is that white parents and students have tended to become much more ambitious and/or fatalistic about attending elite national private colleges since I was in high school. For example, it was standard for my friends from our Catholic school to attend cheap U. of California campuses, but the NYT graphs show whites barely showing up at many UC colleges anymore. For example, here is UC Irvine in Orange County where whites make up only 15% of the freshmen:

Screenshot 2017-08-24 18.16.27

Today it seems as if a huge fraction of white parents are just convinced that of course they will have to spend an extra $125k to send their kids to a private college in another state instead of to a public college that they’ve been supporting with their tax dollars their whole lives. That’s what you have to do if you are white.

By the way, if you are wondering why the expensive Claremont colleges in Southern California are having so many hissy fits, as frequently reported here and more recently reported in the NYT (“More Diversity Means More Demands,” here’s a graph of Claremont’s STEM college Harvey Mudd’s trajectory:

Screenshot 2017-08-24 20.38.02

Harvey Mudd recently got woke and decided to let in lots of Non-Asian Minorities and girls, because obviously things like test scores must be biased, with the results that you or I would expect:

An elite California college canceled 2 days of classes amid tension over workload and racial issues on campus
Inside Higher Ed

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From the NYT op-ed page:

The Truth About New York City’s Elite High Schools

This month, a select group of eighth graders in New York City found out that they were being offered a spot at some of the nation’s best high schools, the eight “specialized” city public high schools that include Stuyvesant High School, Brooklyn Tech and Bronx Science. About 28,000 students took the multiple-choice test required for admission, and 5,078 did well enough to secure a place.

This system, while it might seem meritocratic, in fact leads to a shocking inequity. Even though black and Latino students make up nearly 70 percent of public high school students in the city, they routinely represent only 10 percent of those offered admission to the specialized high schools. This year the city offered admission to only 524 black and Latino students.

The numbers are even lower at some of the most desired schools, such as Stuyvesant, which has space for nearly 1,000 freshmen and offered admission to only 13 black students. And while some of the specialized schools do have a high percentage of Asian-American students, many low-income students from lesser-represented ethnic communities are also left out.

I don’t know what that last sentence means.

In case, you are wondering, here is the latest data:

So, at Stuyvesant (the famous STEM public high school), 598 Asians were accepted, 204 whites, 67 unknowns, 28 Latinos, 13 blacks, 10 multiracials, and 6 Native Americans.

Back to the NYT oped:

The problem, which has grown worse in recent years, has to do with the way students are selected for these schools. The sole criterion is a student’s score on the multiple-choice admissions test.

The traditional hallmarks of a great student — consistently excellent grades, critical analysis skills, leadership and even performance on other state-mandated tests — are all irrelevant under the admissions policy. The test has many quirks that experts have said make it inappropriate for use as a sole criterion for admission.

Which is why Stuyvesant has collapsed in reputation in the 40+ years it has had an exam-only admission system and that’s why nobody writes op-eds complaining about how their race doesn’t get in enough.

Wait, that has happened, right?

For example, the material on the test is not taught in the city’s middle school classrooms; so it’s not as if students are being assessed on what they have learned in school over the years. It’s all about what they learn in test prep programs.

Perhaps what Hewitt is trying to do with the term “test prep” is to dogwhistle to New York City’s shrinking but still immensely wealthy and influential white community that they should support his demand for a fuzzier, more “holistic” admission system so that their white children will have a better chance of getting admitted to Stuyvesant instead of all these products of the Asian test prep juggernaut.

After all, Harvard U. keeps down the number of Asian students it lets in by keeping the admission process subjective by giving a lot of arbitrary power to admissions staffers to let in People Like Us.

Similarly, Harvard-Westlake, the top academic high school in Los Angeles, was discriminating against high-scoring Asian applicants way back in 1981. That year I had lunch with one of my old high school teachers, a scholar with a Harvard U. doctorate, who had moved on to teach at Harvard-Westlake. And he said Harvard-Westlake didn’t take the high test scores of Asian applicants all that seriously because they didn’t contribute as much to classroom discussions.

Amusingly, when the hit TV show “Mad Men” wrapped up a few years ago, its creator Matthew Weiner gave a series of interviews on the Meaning of It All, much of which seemed to do, in his mind, with the anti-Semitism he had suffered in 1981 as one of the few (in his mind) Jews at Harvard-Westlake. After all these years, Weiner was still angry that a local newspaper in 1981 had mentioned that Jews made up 40% of the student body at Harvard-Westlake. Weiner was convinced that this 40% figure was an anti-Semitic hoax to cover up the rampant anti-Semitism at Harvard-Westlake.

Since then, I’ve wondered if in 1981 I’d pressed my old teacher for more details about admissions and class participation at Harvard-Westlake, perhaps he would have expanded on the topic something like this:

“For example, one of my white students at Harvard prep is Little Matty Weiner. He’s touchy, paranoid, perhaps mad, but what he has to say in class is really interesting. You’ll hear a lot in the future from that little mad man!”

So perhaps Hewitt is trying to signal to New York’s white people to join him in his lawsuit to make Stuyvesant admissions more subjective and arbitrary so their kids would have a better chance. Why pay $175,000 to send your kid to private high school for four years when he could go to Stuyvesant for free … if he could only get in?

But does our society have any vocabulary for blacks like Hewitt to signal to white New York Times readers that they should team up against Asians? Will any white person reading this notice?

Back to the NYT op-ed

This is pure arbitrariness.

Or not arbitrary enough.

The flawed admissions policy, and the discriminatory results it yields, are the subject of a pending civil rights complaint my former colleagues at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and I filed with the United States Department of Education on behalf of a coalition of organizations representing black, Latino and Asian students.

Asian students?

Why not white students? White students only get 35% as many acceptances into Stuyvesant as Asian students. Surely that would be prima facie evidence of disparate impact?

But Hewitt seems to lack any framework for making the notion of a black-white alliance against Asian grinds noticeable by all but his most discerning readers.

I see more and more evidence that the Current Year’s prime directive is understood not to be pro-black, but to be anti-white, even if being anti-white objectively works out to be anti-black in effect. Immigration policy is only the most obvious example.

Why is this happening in the largest and most diverse school district in the country? Part of this phenomenon has to do with a powerful narrative that has been woven — not about the test, but about the merit of black and Latino students.

So it’s all Charles Murray’s fault. If only Murray had been punched in the head more, this narrative wouldn’t have reduced black and Latino students’ test scores via Stereotype Threat.

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With the Supreme Court gearing up for oral arguments over affirmative action, I’m reminded for the umpty-umpth time that everybody loves to debate whether African-Americans deserve quotas. Personally, having been following these debates for 40 years, I know all the arguments on both sides and understand that both sides have their points.

What’s fascinating / snooze-inducing is that almost nobody on either side of the quota issue is interested in arguing whether immigrant groups should continue to be eligible, even though they are rapidly becoming vastly more numerous than blacks and American Indians.

To quantify this, I took a look at the Census Bureau’s 2008 projection of the makeup of the population in 2050. (In 2009, the Bureau followed up with multiple projections based on varying assumptions, but for simplicity’s sake I’ll just use the 2008 projections as the federal government’s last attempt at a single best guess.)

Assume that whites and Asians are not eligible for preferences (and of course Asian businesspersons are eligible for a lot of obscure minority privileges, but let’s ignore that for the moment.) Assume that all Hispanics remain a protected class, as well as all non-Hispanic blacks, American Indians, and Pacific Islanders, and half of non-Hispanic multi-racials (i.e., half will be white-Asians and thus ineligible, half something else and thus eligible).

I come up with just under 196,000,000 people in 2050 who will be eligible for race/ethnic preferences, with the great majority of the beneficiaries neither black nor American Indian. 

Shouldn’t we be having a discussion of how the country is going to function under those circumstances?

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Affirmative Action 
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Matthew Yglesias points out that the top 12 executives are all white men at Apple (which, in less than a decade and a half, has gone from down-and-out to the world’s highest stock market valuation). He goes on to suggest how to begin fixing Apple’s problem.

Thank God I sold all my Apple stock in 1999 and used the money to buy Hewlett-Packard stock because HP had appointed Carly Fiorina CEO. As we all know, white men cannot begin to grasp the diverse needs of women and people of color, so how can they sell them computers?

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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You constantly hear that it’s silly to worry your pretty head about the existence of race/ethnic quotas because, everybody knows, they will wither away of their own accord, kind of like the state after a Marxist revolution. 

The disappearance of quotas will happen either because there won’t be any need for them anymore as our country is flooded with African-American theoretical physicists real soon now; or because practically everybody will be a little bit white through the collapse of America’s One Drop Rule, so of course they will claim the enormous Privileges of Whiteness, thus making themselves ineligible for affirmative action. 

Perhaps …

On the other hand, in the real world, there seems to be slow movement in the opposite direction. For example, Brazil didn’t have a One Drop Rule and liked to brag about how it was a Racial Democracy much more sophisticated than those racist American. But mostly it meant that everybody was cool with Pele having a blonde girlfriend, not that Brazilian blacks were becoming surgeons..

So, these days, Brazil is getting more and more racial preferences:

The New York Times reports:

Brazil’s government has enacted one of the Western Hemisphere’s most sweeping affirmative action laws, requiring public universities to reserve half of their admission spots for the largely poor students in the nation’s public schools and vastly increase the number of university students of African descent across the country. 

The law, signed Wednesday by President Dilma Rousseff, seeks to reverse the racial and income inequality that has long characterized Brazil, a country with more people of African heritage than any nation outside of Africa. … 

But while affirmative action has come under threat in the United States, it is taking deeper root in Brazil, Latin America’s largest country. Though the new legislation, called the Law of Social Quotas, is expected to face legal challenges, it drew broad support among lawmakers. 

Of Brazil’s 81 senators, only one voted against the law this month. Other spheres of government here have also supported affirmative action measures. In a closely watched decision in April, the Supreme Court unanimously upheld the racial quotas enacted in 2004 by the University of Brasília, which reserved 20 percent of its spots for black and mixed-race students. 

Dozens of other Brazilian universities, both public and private, have also adopted their own affirmative action policies in recent years, trying to curb the dominance of such institutions by middle- and upper-middle-class students who were educated at private elementary and secondary schools. Public universities in Brazil are largely free of charge and generally of better quality, with some exceptions, than private universities. 

Still, some education experts are already predicting a shift to the better private universities among some students. “With these quotas, these rich Brazilians who took up their spots will not be abandoned,” argued Frei David Santos, 60, a Franciscan friar in São Paulo who directs Educafro, an organization preparing black and low-income students for university entrance exams. “Their parents who had money saved will spend it” on elite private universities. 

The Law of Social Quotas takes the previous affirmative action policies to another level, giving Brazil’s 59 federal universities just four years to ensure that half of the entering class comes from public schools. Luiza Bairros, the minister in charge of Brazil’s Secretariat for Policies to Promote Racial Equality, said officials expected the number of black students admitted to these universities to climb to 56,000 from 8,700. 

The law obligates public universities to assign their spots in accordance with the racial makeup of each of Brazil’s 26 states and the capital, Brasília. In states with large black or mixed-race populations, like Bahia in the northeast, that could lead to a surge in black university students, while states in southern Brazil, which are largely white, could still have relatively few black students in public universities. 

… Brazil’s former president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, said in an interview that he was “completely in favor” of the quotas. “Try finding a black doctor, a black dentist, a black bank manager, and you will encounter great difficulty,” Mr. da Silva said. “It’s important, at least for a span of time, to guarantee that the blacks in Brazilian society can make up for lost time.”

How long is this “span of time” going to be? Christopher Caldwell noted in 2009:

“One moves swiftly and imperceptibly from a world in which affirmative action can’t be ended because its beneficiaries are too weak to a world in which it can’t be ended because its beneficiaries are too strong.” 

The NYT continues:

Brazil’s 2010 census showed that a slight majority of this nation’s 196 million people defined themselves as black or mixed-race, a shift from previous decades during which most Brazilians called themselves white.

You get more of what you pay for. The BBC reported last year on the 2010 Brazil Census:

Out of around 191m Brazilians, 91 million identified themselves as white, 82m as mixed race and 15m as black. 

Whites fell from 53.7% of the population in 2000 to 47.7% last year.

I suspect that as the benefits from affirmative action increase, the number declaring themselves eligible will continue to increase. 
Brazil differs from the United States in that eligibility isn’t simply based on self-declaration. They have panels to eyeball applicants, famously once putting identical twins in different categories. As I’ve mentioned before, it would make a good Brazilian reality TV show in which people try to look black enough to get into college and white enough to get past the velvet rope into an exclusive night club. It would be like a Brazilian version of Kipling’s If come to life.
(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Affirmative Action 
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It’s often argued that in the future, as white racism slowly loses influence, more people will be allowed to declare themselves white, just like, as everybody knows, the Irish weren’t white back in the days of John L. Sullivan, but now they are.

In reality, however, the trend appears to be in the opposite direction. For example, the federal government is currently pondering whether to declare Arabs to be a minority for the purpose of receiving minority business development goodies.

The decision to enlist members of the Arab American business community as socially or economically disadvantaged has been postponed by a business development agency hearing the case.  

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the largest grassroots civil rights organizations in the United States for Arab Americans, was expecting the U.S. Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) to make a final verdict on whether Arab American business people can be categorized as a minority on Wednesday, but the decision was postponed.  

“The date has been moved up 30 days to late July,” said Abed Ayoub, Legislative Director of ADC, in an email to Al Arabiya. 

Groups that are eligible for MBDA services included Hasidic Jews, Asian Pacific Americans and Asian Indians who have eligible for assistance from the MBDA.
If ADC’s petition passes through, more grants and funding will be funneled to the Arab American business community.  

There will also be more contracts for the community that can be applied on the federal, local and state levels, Fay Beydoun, Executive Director of Arab American Chamber of Commerce, told Al Arabiya. … 

ADC’s petition is full of details and descriptions on how the Arab community is as a distinct one whether in their skin color, food habits and music, and how the group has had faced discrimination ever since their migration to the U.S. in the 19th century. …  

It brought up a case by Dr. H. el-Kouri, a Syrian physician in Birmingham, who defended Arabs against derogatory public comments made by congressman John L Burnet in 1907.


The federal government is requesting comments on this proposal here.

Here’s Wikipedia’s list of famous Arab-Americans, which looks like a list of random famous white people.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Affirmative Action 
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From Charles C. Johnson in City Journal on what we know now about the mostly hushed-up scandal at one of the Claremont Colleges, where the Admissions department fabricated statistics submitted to USNW&R and other guidebooks to keep its Top Ten liberal arts college rating:

From the start, [Claremont McKenna College or CMC] officials played down the scope of Vos’s fabrications. College president Pamela Gann said that [admissions boss Richard] Vos had manipulated only the school’s average SAT scores, and then not by much. But a day after Gann made that claim, the Claremont Port Side, a left-wing student publication, revealed a wider system of manipulation by the admissions office; in some years, some individual SAT scores were simply made up. A report released last month by O’Melveny & Myers, the college’s outside counsel, shows still more deception. Evidently, Vos didn’t merely fake SAT scores; he faked ACT scores, the percentage of students admitted from the top 10 percent of their high school classes, and the college’s overall acceptance rate. Everywhere the investigators from O’Melveny & Myers looked, they uncovered evidence of fraud and manipulation. So after just 18 hours of interviews, they stopped looking. 

It’s probably no coincidence that Vos’s manipulations began soon after the college received a $700,000 grant to expand racial preferences in its admissions. In March 2002, the admissions office changed its policies in accord with a “Campus Diversity Initiative” grant that it received from the James Irvine Foundation. The grant’s conditions called for a 2 percent yearly increase in nonwhite enrollment for three years. CMC also promised to deliver a student body that would be 37 percent nonwhite at the end of the grant’s term. The college went to great lengths to achieve these quotas, preparing “minority brochures” and flying in nonwhite students from around the country to visit. These efforts reached their apex at the same time that the college boosted its minority-outreach efforts through two new programs, QuestBridge and Posse, which continue to grant full scholarships to low-income—mostly black and Hispanic—students at top colleges across the nation. 

Vos was an enthusiastic supporter of racial preferences and a vocal critic of California’s Proposition 209, which in 1996 banned state colleges from admitting students on the basis of race, ethnicity, or sex. During his tenure, CMC’s admissions policies led to higher acceptance rates for blacks and Latinos and lower ones for whites and Asians. According to the Claremont Independent in 2006, “statistics provided by the admissions office show that it admitted roughly 45 percent of both black and Hispanic applicants, [versus] 22 percent of the white applicants and 17 percent of Asian applicants.” Given this history, it’s probable that Vos’s preferential policies resulted in lower average SAT scores than he would have liked and led him to make his disastrous fabrications. 

Here’s my 2004 American Conservative article “Claremont Hate Hoax.”

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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Matthew Yglesias writes in Slate:

It’s rare that a Census Bureau press release dominates the front pages, but last week’s headline “Most Children Younger Than 1 Are Minorities, Census Reports” was the thrilling exception. The shortage of white Anglo babies, the press was eager to tell us, was a glimpse of things to come, of America’s future as a majority-minority nation. 

I have my doubts. “A minority,” the census release clarified, “is anyone who is not single-race white and not Hispanic.” It’s not that the census is counting the wrong thing. Rather, I suspect an awful lot of these “minority” babies are going to be white when they grow up. 

When I filled out my 2010 census form I was, like many Americans with Spanish surnames, a bit puzzled. Prompted to ask if I am “of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin” I said that I was. But it seems like a bit of a fraud.

Was somebody holding a gun to his head? Or, despite it’s moral fraudulence, did it seem like the rationally self-interested thing to do, career-wise? If a media organization wants to put Matthew Yglesias in the Diverse box on their federal reports, it could be embarrassing if he admitted he didn’t check Hispanic on the 2010 Census. Or is it just being cooperative? The federal government (which, by the way, has nuclear weapons) goes to an enormous amount of trouble to have people identify themselves as Hispanic (unless, of course, they’ve just committed a crime), so it might seem like a waste of the taxpayers dollars not to oblige.

My grandfather is José Yglesias, and his parents immigrated to the United States from Cuba. He grew up speaking Spanish at home in the Spanish-dominant community of Ybor City in Tampa, Fla. His books are published (in English) by Arte Público Press as part of their Pioneers of Modern U.S. Hispanic Literature series. It’s right there on the cover. And I am, obviously, a descendant of my own grandfather. So if he’s a pioneer of Hispanic literature, then clearly I am of Hispanic origin.

Back in the real world, though, I’m just another white dude. My three other grandparents are all of Eastern European Jewish extraction. I grew up speaking English at home, though I once took a summer Spanish class at NYU. … 

As books like How The Irish Became White and How Jews Became White Folks: And What That Says About Race in America make clear, whiteness in America has always been a somewhat elastic concept. 

As you’ll recall, heavyweight champion John L. Sullivan, whose parents were born in Ireland, was wildly unpopular in the 1880s-1890s because he wasn’t considered white, so there was a huge cultural frenzy among American whites to find the Great White Hope title contender who could beat Sullivan and wrest the title back from this nonwhite. Oh, wait … I seem to be getting John L. Sullivan confused with Jack Johnson. In reality, it says in Wikipedia’s bio of Sullivan:

He was the first American sports hero to become a national celebrity and the first American athlete to earn over one million dollars.

Gee, think how much more money he would have made if he were white! Or, perhaps Noel Ignatiev’s ideological framework isn’t ideal for helping one remember the actual facts of American history.

It’s conceivable that 40 years from now nobody will care about race at all. But if they do still care, it will still be the case that—by definition—whiteness is the racial definition of the sociocultural majority. If the only way for that to happen is to recruit large swathes of the Hispanic and fractionally Asian population into whiteness, then surely it will happen. Indeed, while the Census Bureau has always been very clear that some people are white, others black, and yet others Native American or Indian, the federal government has frequently changed its mind about the rest.

If you examine your history critically, you’ll see that the trend before during the liberal mid-20th Century, before the invention of affirmative action in 1969, was toward more people being defined as white by the government. For example, there was no Hispanic or Latino or Mexican or whatever category at all in 1950 and 1960 because LULAC just wanted people descended from a Spanish-speaking cultural background to be considered part of the white majority.

The trend after 1969 was toward fewer being white: e.g., the creation of Hispanic Ethnicity as entitled to preferences and the the transfer of South Asians in 1982 from Caucasian to Asian. I’m not aware of any group switching to non-Hispanic white since the beginning of racial/ethnic preferences over 40 years ago.

Why would they give up these preferences to be just legally unpreferred non-Hispanic whites? The only way that marginal nonwhites will give up the legal privileges of nonwhiteness is for a Republican administration to push through massive changes in government policy that deprive Hispanics and Asians of their legally preferred status. In particular, abolish the entire legal category of Ethnicity, which only currently benefits Hispanics. But, of course, that would be racist, so nobody ever evens mentions the faintest notion of trying to do this. In the Yglesian worldview, all these legally nonwhite people are just supposed to give up their legal privileges on their own accord, so there’s no need to worry about, you know, policy.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Affirmative Action 
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I’ve read a lot about the controversy over Massachusetts Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren having apparently been listed as a minority in university reports to the federal government on the grounds that she believes she is 1/32nd Cherokee. 

For example, here’s an NYT op-ed “Elizabeth Warren’s Birther Moment” by a law school professor who says he too is Native American, but, otherwise, I can’t quite make out what he’s trying to say other than that Republicans are evil. 

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I was under the impression that, legally, a person either is recognized as a member of a Native American tribe or is not. It’s not like being Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, it’s a legal matter of whether or not one is on the tribe’s rolls. It’s not even like being black or Hispanic where there is a presumption in favor of self-identification. Legally, being an American Indian is not a matter of asserting one’s American Indianishness, it’s a matter of being accepted by a federally recognized Indian tribe as an official member.

Each tribe defines membership for itself. It’s not a question of whether you think you qualify under those membership rules but whether the tribe agrees that you qualify. You are free to apply for membership, but many who apply are not accepted. Indeed, many one-time tribe members get cast out during periodic purges.

This is hardly a trivial or obscure point, because who gets shares of casino profits depend upon it. Moreover, Indian tribes frequently get in the news for holding Cypress Point-style membership drives in which they drive out members. One Cherokee tribe recently expelled a few thousand blackish members for not being Cherokee enough.

I would expect law professors like Warren and Maillard to understand that. This op-ed never addresses whether or not Warren is an enrolled member of one of the Cherokee Nations. If Elizabeth Warren is an enrolled member of one of the Cherokee Nations then she is legally entitled to claim minority status. If she is not on the membership roll of the Cherokee Nation, she should not have claimed to be Cherokee for purposes of her academic legal career. We’re not talking about a romantic schoolgirl or an elderly genealogy enthusiast here, we’re talking about a Harvard law professor. It’s not a really complicated legal question for a Harvard law professor to get right.

As usual, Republican commentators appear to be exceptionally ignorant about the mechanics of how affirmative action categories work. This is a topic that demands vastly more attention than it gets from Republicans. As a notorious raving extremist, I’m always counseling that we should attempt to understand where all sides are coming from in the major long-term arguments. For example, is race a biological phenomenon or a social construct? Well, it’s both, and it’s important to grasp the precise reasons for it being both and how they apply to each group.

In determining the future of the country, the usual issues of the day, such as the estate tax or whatever, aren’t really that important. The real drivers of the future will be how many people are in America, who they are, and who they think they are. Only the last of the three questions is considered at all proper to bring up in Republican circles, and even then it’s kept on this woozy level of how people ought to feel, with little discussion of how government policy influences how people feel about who they are. And the notion that government policies could be adjusted for the long-term benefit of the Republican Party is almost wholly alien to Republicans.

When Republicans do talk about how the government defines race and ethnicity, the level of insight is low, typically based on wishful moralizing about blacks. You’ll see assertions that black people only feel black because the government gives them affirmative action for saying they are black. Most people recognize that as a pretty stupid argument, and since few whites care about anybody other than whites and blacks, the fact that this line of thought is less stupid when applied to Hispanics or to South Asians being counted in with Chinese never ever dawns on Republican “strategists.”

Hence, almost no Republican critics of Warren fathom what exactly she did wrong.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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Since, as we all know, Race Does Not Exist, that, at least in theory, ought to create problems for the government in allocating benefits and protections according to race. Yet, the system seems to roll onward without too much trouble at a good-enough-for government-work level.

A question often asked is: What prevents Thurston Howell III from self-identifying as black and thus acquiring all the legal entitlements accruing thereto?

A reader has kindly sent me a number of bureaucratic forms that explain the “visual survey and/or other available information” enforcement clause. For example, from the state of Oregon, here are some key excerpts:

If you choose not to self-identify your race/ethnicity at this time, the federal government requires the  state to determine this information by visual survey and/or other available information.   

Then, down in the small print at the bottom:

For agency HR use only:  

_ AV (Asian or Pac. Islander –Visual assessment)  

_ BV (African American – Visual assessment) 

_ HV (Hispanic – Visual assessment) 

_ IV (Native Amer. or Alaskan Native – Visual assessment) 

_ WV (Caucasian – Visual assessment)

As I picture this working, if you self-identify in some self-serving but flagrantly dubious manner, you run the risk of being passed non-committaly along the bureaucratic chain by people who don’t want to deal with this tricky problem, until you eventually run into the Person in Charge of Visual Surveillance, who, inevitably, will be a large, self-assured black woman who glares at you briefly, listens to a few of your feeble attempts to sound black, and then replies, “Oh, no, you isn’t” and checks the “WV” box and stamps your paperwork “Rejected, with Extreme Prejudice.”

I think this would make a pretty good sketch comedy running joke — L’qisjha Jones, Affirmative Action Arbiter — as various people try to bluff their way past L’qisjha, each rejected with the same punchline. You could have celebrity guests, like Vanilla Ice trying to be accepted as black, Bjork trying to be Alaskan Native, or Cliff Curtis trying to be upgraded from Pacific Islander to Hispanic. In the final episode, Dirk Nowitzki would narrate for L’qisjha in his Teutonibonics accent his highlight reel from the 2011 NBA Finals of him schooling LeBron James. He’d then put forward the metaphysical argument that since white men can’t jump, and since he can jump, he must be black, which L’qisjha decides is inarguable, and stamps “Accepted” on his papers.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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In the NYT, author Thomas Chatterton Williams opines:

As Black As We Wish to Be

MY first encounter with my own blackness occurred in the checkout line at the grocery store. I was horsing around with my older brother, as bored children sometimes do. My blond-haired, blue-eyed mother, exasperated and trying hard to count out her cash and coupons in peace, wheeled around furiously and commanded us both to be still. When she finished scolding us, an older white woman standing nearby leaned over and whispered sympathetically: “It must be so tough adopting those kids from the ghetto.”…. 

Mixed-race blacks have an ethical obligation to identify as black — and interracial couples share a similar moral imperative to inculcate certain ideas of black heritage and racial identity in their mixed-race children, regardless of how they look. 

… Maybe that’s why we live now in a culture in which many of us would prefer to break clean from what we perceive as the racist logic of previous eras — specifically the idea that the purity and value of whiteness can be tainted by even “one drop” of black blood. And yet, however offensive those one-drop policies may appear today, that offensiveness alone doesn’t strip the reasoning behind them of all descriptive truth. 

In fleeing from this familiar way of thinking about race, we sidestep the reality that a new multiracial community could flourish and evolve at black America’s expense. …. 

That shift is expected to change the way test scores are categorized, altering racial disparities and affecting funding for education programs. For this reason and others, the N.A.A.C.P. and some black members of Congress have expressed concern that African-Americans are at risk of being undercounted as blacks compete more than ever with other minorities and immigrants for limited resources and influence. 

Scholars have long maintained that race is merely a social construct, not something fixed into our nature, yet this insight hasn’t made it any less of a factor in our lives. If we no longer participate in a society in which the presence of black blood renders a person black, then racial self-identification becomes a matter of individual will. 

And where the will is involved, the question of ethics arises. At a moment when prominent, upwardly mobile African-Americans are experimenting with terms like “post-black,” and outwardly mobile ones peel off at the margins and disappear into the multiracial ether, what happens to that core of black people who cannot or do not want to do either? 

Could this new racial gerrymandering result in that historically stigmatized group’s further stigmatization? Do a million innocuous personal decisions end up having one destructive cumulative effect? 

LAST year, I married a white woman from France; the only thing that shocked people was that she is French. This stands in stark contrast to my parents’ fraught experience less than 10 years after the landmark 1967 case Loving v. Virginia overturned anti-miscegenation laws. It is no longer radical for people like my wife and me to come together. 

According to the Pew report, while 9 percent of white newlyweds in 2010 took nonwhite spouses, some 17 percent of black newlyweds, and nearly one-quarter of black males in particular, married outside the race. Numbers like these have made multiracial Americans the fastest-growing demographic in the country. Exhortations to stick with one’s own, however well intentioned, won’t be able to change that. 

When I think about what my parents endured — the stares, the comments, the little things that really do take a toll — I am grateful for a society in which I may marry whomever I please and that decision is treated as mundane. Still, as I envision rearing my own kids with my blond-haired, blue-eyed wife, I’m afraid that when my future children — who may very well look white — contemplate themselves in the mirror, this same society, for the first time in its history, will encourage them not to recognize their grandfather’s face. 

For this fear and many others, science and sociology are powerless to console me — nor can they delineate a clear line in the sand beyond which identifying as black becomes absurd. 

Whenever I ask myself what blackness means to me, I am struck by the parallels that exist between my predicament and that of many Western Jews, who struggle with questions of assimilation at a time when marrying outside the faith is common. In an essay on being Jewish, Tony Judt observed that “We acknowledge readily enough our duties to our contemporaries; but what of our obligations to those who came before us?” For Judt, it was his debt to the past alone that established his identity. …

And so I will teach my children that they, too, are black — regardless of what anyone else may say — so long as they remember and wish to be.

This is all very eloquent, but what’s left out are two highly relevant facts:
1. Of course he will encourage his children to check the black box: the bennies from affirmative action and being eligible for payoffs in disparate impact discrimination lawsuits are golden. 
2. There’s no cost to the black community in terms of lower population numbers to be used in disparate impact lawsuit denominators from people checking both black and something else because the Clinton Administration decided right before the 2000 Census to count everybody who checks black and white as fully black for the purposes of making sure quotas are as big as possible.
In contrast, American Indian tribes get finite benefits — e.g., one casino, mineral rights to tribal land, and so forth — so they are constantly kicking out members who fall below the “blood quantum” in order to maximize the payout to the inner circle. But blacks and Hispanics don’t do that because there are no theoretical limits on the payouts for being black or Hispanic.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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From WCBS in New York:

There were hurt feelings and racial tensions as white applicants were left standing outside a prep class on Wednesday night, reports CBS 2’s Lou Young. 

“Whoever’s name is not on the list is not getting in, so were just following orders. That’s just the way it is,” the applicants were told. 

Joseph Basile was one of those who didn’t get in. 

“It wasn’t a good feeling. It felt like it was discrimination,” Basile said. 

The class was conducted by the Vulcan Society, a group of African American firefighters in an overwhelmingly white department. Many applicants who were turned away preregistered online on forms that did not ask for their race, which made for testy moment. … 

Wednesday night’s class was the third in a series of prep exams given by the Vulcan Society. The previous two were integrated. The one Wednesday was the only one from which people were barred from attending.

To the ranks of Tiger Mothers and Eagle Fathers, we can add the Dalmatian Dads of the Fire Department of New York, who encourage their sons and nephews to study hard the family trade of saving people from burning buildings. 

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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Via Roger Clegg and Discriminations, I see this interesting interview by the president of Columbia U., Lee Bollinger, who was the named defendant in the Grutter and Gratz affirmative action cases of 2003, of Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. As you’ll recall, Sandra Day O’Connor’s majority opinion seemed to put some sort of 25-year timeline on affirmative action, but the Attorney General is having none of that:

One of Bollinger’s questions concerned the United States Supreme Court’s decision earlier this week to reconsider affirmative action. Bollinger was involved in defending affirmative action when the court declared it constitutional in a landmark 2003 case, and he said on Thursday that the court’s decision to revisit the issue is “ominous.” 

Holder expressed support for affirmative action, saying that he “can’t actually imagine a time in which the need for more diversity would ever cease.” 

“Affirmative action has been an issue since segregation practices,” Holder said. “The question is not when does it end, but when does it begin … When do people of color truly get the benefits to which they are entitled?”

As you’ll also recall, the justification given for affirmative action in the majority opinion was not compensation for the historic effects of slavery and Jim Crow, but the benefits that white students gain from “diversity,” from the free-wheeling, wide-open, politically incorrect intellectual atmosphere fostered on campus by letting in some students because of their racial/ethnic backgrounds. But, in the Attorney General’s view, diversity is about people of color getting benefits. And we have not yet begun to fight! 

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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George Will has a column on some new research supporting the mismatch theory that racial quotas in education hurt their beneficiaries by putting them into overly elite schools:

A second brief, submitted by three members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Gail Heriot, Peter Kirsanow and Todd Gaziano), argues that racial preferences in law school admissions mean fewer black lawyers than there would be without preferences that bring law students into elite academic settings where their credentials put them in the bottom of their classes. A similar dynamic is reducing the number of minority scientists and engineers than there would be under race-neutral admissions policies. 

There are fewer minorities entering high-prestige careers than there would be if preferences were not placing many talented minority students in inappropriate, and discouraging, academic situations: “Many would be honor students elsewhere. But they are subtly being made to feel as if they are less talented than they really are.” This is particularly so regarding science and engineering, which are, as Heriot, Kirsanow and Gaziano say, “ruthlessly cumulative”: Students who struggle in entry-level classes will find their difficulties cascading as the academic ascent becomes steeper. Hence the high attrition rates. 

I used to think this was true, but I now have doubts. You know whose perspective I’d like to get on this issue?: A widowed black lady named Marian Robinson. See, she repeatedly saw her daughter go to elite schools on racial quotas — Whitney Young HS, Princeton, Harvard Law, and then off to a Big Law firm — But her daughter was in over her head at most of these places, felt like her peers were looking down upon her, struggled with spelling and with passing the bar exam, and quickly gave up practicing law for lower brow jobs in the fixer industry in Chicago. So, the question I’d ask Mrs. Robinson is how did  affirmative action work out for your daughter?
But I probably won’t be able to go over to her house and knock on the door and ask Mrs. Robinson, because she and her daughter, two granddaughters, and her son-in-law, live in the White House. So, I’m just going to guess that, despite some rough patches, overall it worked out pretty doggone good for Michelle Robinson Obama.
Say I’m a black high school student with a 700 SAT math score and my options are:
1) Without affirmative action, go to Purdue and become an engineer.
2) With affirmative action, go to Penn, major in economics or finance, maybe get an MBA, and go into corporate management
Why would I choose what’s behind door #1? My dad was an engineer. A friend of his designed the fastest airplane of all time. But, he was never that kind of genius, so he spent 40 years worrying about whether or not the wings were going to snap off the planes designed by the geniuses.

There are a lot of worse jobs than engineer, but there are better jobs, too.

To compare this topic to my next blog post below, I’d say that getting into a college a little over your head is likely to be a lot less disastrous than getting into a financial transaction a little over your head. Not for profit colleges, especially the elite ones, are pretty coddling places, at least outside of sci-eng departments. If you don’t graduate, that will look bad on their USNWRs, so they will help you find a Plan B.

In contrast, you don’t want to get into a for-profit educational institution to study something above your brainpower. You’ll just wind up with a lot of inescapable debt and nothing to show for it.  

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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In VDARE, I review the new book on Obama by a leading black expert on Obama’s professional specialty (discrimination law), Randall Kennedy of Harvard Law School, The Persistence of the Color Line: Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency. As usual, I do a close reading of the footnotes, parenthetical clauses, and other obscure parts of the text, in which Kennedy, a strong supporter of Obama, reveals his opinions of Obama’s claim to have been shocked to find out what Rev. Wright had been saying, to be a Christian, to have delivered a great speech on race in response to the Wright revelations, and much else. I add in from other sources why Obama dropped Kennedy’s class on affirmative action at HLS after one day, how I met Oprah, and my theory of why Obama persisted in smoking long after it became hugely unfashionable. Read the whole thing there.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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I’m sometimes told, “Look, everybody knows that what you say is right and they all operate on that knowledge. They just don’t want to be impolite and mention it in public.” And I think that’s true to a large extent for personal decisions like where to buy a home and where to send the kids to school. But, I don’t see much evidence that private awareness impacts public policy. To have sensible public policies, you need open discussion of how the world works. 
Instead, you get stuff like this big article in today’s Washington Post (there’s also a quite similar 936 word article in the New York Times today, so this WaPo article isn’t an anomaly; it reflects the conventional wisdom):

Blacks less likely than whites to get NIH grants, study finds 

By Rob Stein, Thursday, August 18, 9:17 PM 

Black scientists are significantly less likely than white researchers to win grants from the National Institutes of Health, according to an audit released Thursday that confirmed disturbing suspicions inside the agency about a lingering bias against African Americans.
The analysis of data from more than 40,000 researchers who submitted more than 80,000 grant applications to NIH between 2000 and 2006 found that only about 16 percent of those from black applicants were approved, compared with about 29 percent of those from white scientists. 

Even after the researchers accounted for other factors that could help explain the discrepancy, such as differences in scientists’ education and training, black applicants were still about 10 percentage points less likely than whites to get NIH funding, the researchers reported. About 27 percent of white applicants’ requests were successful, compared with only about 17 percent of blacks’. 

Affirmative action always peters out at some point. There’s affirmative action all the way up the line through education … until research proposals are submitted to the NIH. At that point, race information is stripped off the application.

Asians applying for money appeared to be slightly less likely than whites to get grants, but that gap disappeared when the researchers matched equally qualified white and AsianU.S. citizens. Hispanics were about as successful as whites. 

The findings are troubling because they indicate that race remains a significant factor in who gets funding for research into diabetes, cancer, heart disease and other health problems from the premier funder of biomedical research, the researchers said. 

“We have a very serious issue,” said Donna K. Ginther, director of the University of Kansas Center of Science Technology and Economic Policy, who led the study published in the journal Science. “Science needs to reflect the diversity and power and potential of the population.” 

NIH’s own internal auditing had indicated that there might be a problem with bias in its scientific review process. The agency initiated and helped fund the study to investigate those concerns. Officials agreed the new findings were alarming and outlined steps the $31 billion agency will take to try to address the problem. 

“This situation is not acceptable,” NIH Director Francis S. Collins told reporters during a telephone briefing. “This data is deeply troubling.” … 

Only 1.4 percent of applications came from black scientists, even though they account for about 12 percent of the U.S. population, the researchers found.

So, obviously, we are dealing with a problem huge in scale: Blacks make 1.4% of all applications and get 0.8% of approvals, so we are talking about a shortfall of 0.6% of all approvals. If there is a discrepancy of 0.6 percentage points disadvantaging blacks, then, apparently, it’s a big story and everybody better worry about it.

Moreover, the applications from black scientists tended to receive poorer scores than those from whites, resulting in bleaker chances of getting funded.

Seriously, that’s how normal probability distributions (a.k.a., bell curves) work. Among all the people in America who are at least 5’9″, say, most are men, but a significant minority are women. Among six footers, the percentage of women drops a lot compared to 5’9″. Among people over 6’3″, the percentage of women is very, very low.

But, you aren’t supposed to understand bell curves. Being stupid about probability distributions shows your heart is pure.

Something else that even fewer people understand is how diversity programs steal from other diversity programs. You can see it more easily with sports. Say that the U.S. government announced a far-reaching program to dominate women’s volleyball in the Olympics by 2024 by getting more 6’3″ women to specialize in volleyball from a young age. American volleyball should spare no expense making extremely tall, extremely athletic girls into volleyball players. Well, the obvious side effect would be that spending a lot of money on volleyball would just raid other sports that want extremely tall, extremely athletic girls like basketball, soccer goalies, swimming, and water polo.

Same thing with racial diversity programs, especially ones at super-elite levels like this upcoming one. The issue here isn’t even getting more blacks to become qualified medical researchers. The issue is getting more blacks to be really good medical researchers. How do you do that? Mostly, you raid very smart blacks off other career tracks, like, say, Goldman Sachs.

“Our research says, ‘If you hold everything else constant and the only thing different between these two investigators is the color of their skin, that person is less likely to get funded,’ ” Ginther said. 

Ginther and her colleagues tried several methods to explain the discrepancy, including analyzing whether differences in the topics being proposed for study by blacks or the types of studies they hoped to conduct might be playing a role, but they did not identify any clear explanation. The researchers speculated, however, that several factors could be playing a role. Black scientists, for example, might not be as plugged into professional “peer-review” networks that judge scientific proposals as white researchers. They might also tend to work at institutions that offer less support. 

“I don’t think it’s overt racism. I’m not thinking someone is going through the applications and saying: ‘Black, do not fund,’” Ginther said. “But it could be a matter of networks — that these investigators are not as well connected as others. Or it could be the resources of their home institutions in preparing the applications.” 

NIH officials agreed and said they were taking steps to boost the number of black scientists on NIH committees that review grant proposals. Having served on such a committee appears to increase the chances of a researcher later getting a grant, the study found. 

“It is a very valuable learning experience in terms of figuring out what works and what doesn’t work in your own application,” Collins said. 

Collins said he has also asked two “high-level” NIH advisory groups to investigate: the NIH Diversity Task Force and the newly formed external Diversity in Biomedical Research Working Group, which will report back to him by ne
xt June.

What this kind of brouhaha ends up being about is providing a few easy jobs for members of the protesting group.

In addition, the agency planned to conduct more research to try to determine whether NIH reviewers are biased against blacks. Although an applicant’s race is removed before reviewers see applications, evaluators might be able to figure it out through a scientist’s name, where they work or simply because they know who they are. 

For example, the NIH plans to conduct experiments in which all information that might indicate the race of the applicants, such as their names and where they work, are hidden to see whether that affects how applicants are evaluated. Another study might assess the ability of reviewers to infer the race of applicants. Reviewers might also receive sensitivity training. 

“I would like not to believe that is intentional bias, but I can’t exclude, after talking to lots of colleagues, the possibility that even today in 2011 in our society there is still an unconscious, insidious form bias that subtly influences opinions of people,” Collins said. 

“That may be very disturbing for people in the scientific community to contemplate, but I think we have to think that’s one of the possibilities.” 

NIH officials said they had shared their findings with other federal agencies, such as the National Science Foundation, to alert them to the possibility that a similar bias might be affecting their grant-making systems.

Now, the good news is that, likely, nothing gigantically disastrous will happen due to this self-evidently dopey application of the conventional wisdom. Instead, a little bit more medical research funding will be bled off into diversity efforts. Patients will die a little earlier on average in the future than they would have without the new Diversity Programs, but not so much that anybody will notice. For the new Chief Diversity Officers and others involved, it’s a living.
But, this kind of thing adds up. Cumulatively, it takes a sizable toll on the country.
As I’ve said many times, if Obama wants to stimulate the economy by removing a long-term impediment and boost his chances of winning re-election, he could declare victory in the War on Discrimination and call the federal troops home. But, you’ll notice, nobody else is pointing that out. It’s simply not on the conceptual radar.

Instead, we get the following Executive Order issued today by the Obama White House: “Establishing a Coordinated Government-wide Initiative to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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Company: Obama 2012 Presidential Campaign
Location: Chicago, IL

The Obama for America Analytics Department analyzes the campaign’s data to guide election strategy and develop quantitative, actionable insights that drive our decision-making. Our team’s products help direct work on the ground, online and on the air. 

We are looking for Predictive Modeling/Data Mining Scientists and Analysts, at both the senior and junior level, to join our department through November 2012 at our Chicago Headquarters. We are a multi-disciplinary team of statisticians, predictive modelers, data mining experts, mathematicians, software developers, general analysts and organizers – all striving for a single goal: re-electing President Obama. 

Using statistical predictive modeling, the Democratic Party’s comprehensive political database, and publicly available data, modeling analysts are charged with predicting the behavior of the American electorate. These models will be instrumental in helping the campaign determine which voters to target for turnout and persuasion efforts, where to buy advertising and how to best approach digital media. 

Our Modeling Analysts will dive head-first into our massive data to solve some of our most critical online and offline challenges. We will analyze millions of interactions a day, learning from terabytes of historical data, running thousands of experiments, to inform campaign strategy and critical decisions.

If the Obama for America Analytics Department doesn’t hire at least four-fifths as many Hispanic females as Asian males, then Eric Holder is going to want to know why!

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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From the LA Times:

Gov. Jerry Brown in Friday added his voice in support of a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of California’s ban on racial affirmative action in public university admissions. 

In a legal brief, Brown said that minorities face too high a barrier in efforts to overturn Proposition 209, which voters approved in 1996, because it is part of the state Constitution and not just a law or university policy. In addition, he noted a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said race could be considered in state college admissions if it did not involve quotas or carry predetermined weight in decisions. 

Last week, a federal appeals court struck down Michigan’s ban on considering race and gender in college admissions, but that matter is expected to continue up the court ladder and does not affect California. A similar case seeking to overturn California’s Prop. 209 is in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the ban in 1997. 

George Washington, a Detroit-based attorney arguing against the affirmative action bans in both states, said Friday that he was heartened by Brown’s opinion and that it would help the case. “It is very, very important,” he said of the governor’s action.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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On the Friday before the long weekend, a three federal judge panel released a 2-1 decision to override the landslide majority Ward Connerly won in his 2006 initiative in Michigan banning racial preferences.
None of the handful of news reports that I saw mentioned that the lawsuit was brought by the group By Any Means Necessary. There’s a reason for not mentioning that this is a huge triumph for BAMN.
My new VDARE column begins with a 2005 video of BAMN trying to intimidate the Michigan Board of State Canvassers into not letting Connerly’s initiative on the ballot.    

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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Here’s the abstract of a new law review article:

Disparate Impact Realism 

Amy L. Wax
University of Pennsylvania Law School
William & Mary Law Review, Forthcoming  


In Ricci v. DeStefano, 129 S. Ct. 2658 (2009), the Supreme Court recently reaffirmed the doctrine, first articulated by the Court in Griggs v. Duke Power Company, 401 U.S. 424 (1971), that employers can be held liable under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act for neutral personnel practices with a disparate impact on minority workers. The Griggs Court further held that employers can escape liability by showing that their staffing practices are job related or consistent with business necessity. 

In the interim since Griggs, social scientists have generated evidence undermining two key assumptions behind that decision and its progeny. First, the Court in Griggs noted the absence of evidence that the selection criteria in that case (a high school diploma and an aptitude test) were related to subsequent performance of the service jobs at issue, and expressed doubt about the existence of such a link. But research in industrial and organization psychology (IOP) has repeatedly documented that tests and criteria such as those at issue in Griggs (which are heavily “g”-loaded and thus dependent on cognitive ability) remain the best predictors of performance for jobs at all levels of complexity. Second, Griggs and its progeny rest on the implicit assumption, reflected in the so-called 4/5 rule, that fair and valid hiring criteria will result in a workplace that roughly reflects the representation of each group in the background population. Work in psychometrics and labor economics shows that this assumption is unjustified. Because blacks lag significantly behind whites on measures of cognitive ability, most valid job selection criteria will have a substantial adverse impact on this group. The combination of well-documented racial differences in cognitive ability and the consistent link between ability and job performance generates a pattern that experts term “the validity-diversity tradeoff”: job selection devices that best predict future job performance generate the smallest number of minority hires in a broad range of positions. Indeed, the evidence indicates that most valid screening devices will have a significant adverse impact on blacks and will also violate the 4/5 rule under the law of disparate impact.  

Because legitimately meritocratic (that is, job-related) job selection practices will routinely trigger prima facie violations of the disparate impact rule, employers who adopt such practices run the risk of being required to justify them – a costly and difficult task that encourages undesirable, self-protective behaviors and may result in unwarranted liability. To alleviate this burden, the article proposes to adopt a new regime of “disparate impact realism” that abandons the 4/5 rule in favor of sliding scale ratios pegged to measured disparities in group performance and the selectivity of particular positions. Alternatively, the disparate impact rule should be repealed altogether. The data indicate that pronounced differences in the background distribution of skill and human capital, not arbitrary hurdles imposed by employers, are the principle factor behind racial imbalances in most jobs. Moreover, blacks lag behind whites in actual on-the-job performance, which indicates that employers are not unfairly excluding minorities from the workforce but rather bending over backwards to include them. Disparate impact litigation, which does nothing to correct existing disparities and distracts from the task of addressing them, represents a cumbersome, misplaced effort that could better be directed at the root causes of workforce racial imbalance.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.

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