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Why Did He Steal? Well, Partly Because He's Black:

That, I kid you not, is precisely what an L.A. Times op-ed from last week says. Black conservatives are bad, the theory goes; also, being conservative is spiritually bad for blacks; and that helps explain why White House adviser Claude Allen committed fraud: "It's hard to imagine that such compromises and cognitive dissonance don't exact a psychological toll at some point, and Allen's alleged dabbling in crime might have been that point for him."

Oh, and quite a charming little reference to "house Negro[es]" a couple of paragraphs before, as well — plus the old traitor-to-his-race line of "I don't support conservatism in its current iteration, and I support black conservatives even less." (I take this to mean "traitor to his race," since otherwise it makes no sense: Why would holding any view be worse if you're black, unless the theory is that somehow blacks ought not hold that view because it's supposedly bad for blacks?) When whites are called traitors to their race for supporting policies that are supposedly bad for whites, that's pretty roundly condemned as racism, and rightly so. Yet somehow condemning blacks as traitors to their race is seen by many as just fine.

Read the whole piece, if you have a high tolerance for bile and schadenfreude. And ask yourself how "progressive" it is to condemn people differently for the same views based on their race, and how progressive or factually plausible it is to argue that someone has committed fraud partly because he's black.

Thanks to Paul Geary (The New Editor) for the pointer.

Mr L:
Ah, the 'classic' epithet race traitor. I remember that term was very popular among the hardcore racist set in the early days of the internet, and was very unpleasantly surprised to find the term being used by the left without irony a few years back. Disgusting.
3.20.2006 6:07pm
Grand CRU (mail):
The real story is that he might be a leftist in secret if he was stealing from Wal-Mart. If he were a real race-traitor, he would have been stealing from other black people.
3.20.2006 6:13pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Eugene
RE: Bile &Schadenfreude

What was that old adage?

"Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad."

Looks like that's going on at the LA Times, as well as the NYT and the Washington Post.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. I gave up on the so-called major media YEARS ago.
3.20.2006 6:23pm
nn (mail):
Sadly, this sort of expose has no more bite, since the Left accepts this double standard without any dissonance.

I met a black woman claiming to be "somewhat libertarian" who nonetheless thought Clarence Thomas was evil. Somewhat taken aback, I asked why. "Because he's a traitor to his race, that's why."

Move on. Nothing to see here.
3.20.2006 6:25pm
Silicon Valley Jim:
I'm not a regular reader of the LAT (now, there's an understatement!) I have two questions for those who are regular readers: Does the LAT regularly publish columns by Ms. Kaplan? Is she on their payroll?
3.20.2006 6:31pm
Justin (mail):
While the author's piece is chock full of bad arguments, and I don't want to defend it on the merits, the non "house negro" portion of her argument seems to be that these are the kinds of things that black people get caught and punished for and white people get away with, and Claude Allen probably forgot he was a black man in a racist society.

Which may or may not be correct, but given how weak her whole piece is, deserves to be torn down on the merits.
3.20.2006 6:34pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
Liberals are the biggest racists going. It is obvious they know that they can slander blacks as long as their liberal bona fides are established.

And, take a look at affirmative action and the fight to keep it. White liberals always say that without it, no blacks would get jobs or accepted to universities. If you ever hear one say that, ask them why is that? You will put them in a corner they can't get out of. Affirmative action is liberal speak for "you can't do it without our help and pity."
3.20.2006 6:45pm
tsotha:
Justin,

I don't know if you're black, but if you're not I suggest you try a little experiment: Go to your local WalMart and pull the same stunt. See if security says "It's a good thing you're not black, sir, otherwise we'd have to call the cops." Let us know how it went and how much bail is.
3.20.2006 6:47pm
Jaime non-Lawyer:
Here's her biography from the LA Times.


Erin Aubry Kaplan began working full-time as a journalist in 1992 for The Times and, for a short time, for a section called City Times, where she continued covering the Crenshaw district, South Central and events affecting L.A.'s disparate black communities. She also worked for New Times Los Angeles and LA Weekly, where she wrote a column, "Cakewalk." A widely anthologized author, Kaplan's articles have appeared in the London Independent, the Guardian, Salon.com, The Crisis, Newsday, Contemporary Art Magazine, the Utne Reader and Black Enterprise. She has completed a first book, an essay collection entitled, "Views and Blues from the Edge: Dispatches from a Black Journalista.".
3.20.2006 6:48pm
JohnAnnArbor:
her argument seems to be that these are the kinds of things that black people get caught and punished for and white people get away with,

I've heard that repeatedly for years with regard to all manner of subjects. My personal favorite was reading an essay from a black UMich student that claimed that only the student ID's of black students were checked for people entering a certain campus building (the Union) after dark on weekends. I found that amusing, since my ID was ALWAYS checked, even though I'm of German/Scottish heritage. (The same essayist printed 25 copies from the shared laser printer in the dorm, using a ream of paper, because he didn't want to pay to make copies. But pointing that out would be "racist," of course; doubtless, I'd just let any white guy do that!)
3.20.2006 6:50pm
Bruce Wilder (www):
The Republican Party has championed the redistribution of income from the poor and middle class to the very rich, without apology, for at least a generation. The Republican Party has allied itself with Southern white racists, to create an electoral majority, nationally. The Republican Party regularly opposes all manner of laws and policies aimed at reducing or remedying racial discrimination.

Being a black Republican is only slightly more sensible than being a Gay Republican. It is allying yourself with a political organization out to screw a social group, of which you are a member, by virtue of a personal characteristic.

One can, as Professor Volokh does, deny the nature of Republican politics, or the validity of adopting a personal identity based in part on race in a society, which, theoretically, is committed to idea that race should not matter, to an individual's legal, social or economic prospects, and, from that point of view, label as racism and hypocrisy, what is, in fact, simply realism. All that Volokh establishes, though, is the bankruptcy of his point of view.
3.20.2006 7:03pm
Steve White (mail) (www):
One of the things that threw me in this op-ed piece was the reference to 'so many Republicans are being handcuffed these days for scams of one kind or another that it's hard to keep the names and charges straight'. I've heard about Mr. Libby (how could I not?), and I'm sure there are one or two other low-level miscreants who have been jugged, hounded or cashiered, but the reference to 'so many Republicans' caught me by surprise.

Is there a count of Republicans jugged, hounded or cashiered, and if so, how does this compare to other two-term administrations, both Republican and Democratic (this leaves out Pres. Carter and Pres. GHW Bush as they were both one-termers)? I do recall that Pres. Clinton had a few Cabinet and sub-Cabinet people who were indicted, convicted and/or resigned, as did Pres. Reagan. But if there is a comparison out there, it would help put Ms. Kaplan's assertion into context -- Goddess knows context would help.
3.20.2006 7:05pm
JohnAnnArbor:
The Republican Party has championed the redistribution of income from the poor and middle class to the very rich, without apology, for at least a generation.

Really? Then how come rich people are paying a higher percentage of the total taxes than ever before?
3.20.2006 7:10pm
Brian G. (mail):
I'm confused. Did Bruce Wilder just say it makes perfect sense to call someone a "race traitor?" Honestly. What's he trying to say?
3.20.2006 7:13pm
Brian G. (mail):
Woah! Now I've gone and done it. How'd I put my name on comment 7?
3.20.2006 7:16pm
Brian G. (mail):
Never mind. I'm pretty sure it was just a weird coincidence. The first "Brian G" had no period whereas mine did. And please let me emphasize: that's a very weird coincidence.
3.20.2006 7:23pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
If I'm not mistaken, Wilder, we actually have a progressive tax rate, where taxpayers shoulder a burden relative to their ability to shoulder it. Not only do the rich initially pay more out of each dollar than the poor, but many of the deductions available to the latter are phased out with respect to the former. This remains the case under Bush, who NEVER was heard to suggest that we introduce a flat tax rate, or a consumption tax, or anything other than what we have now - a progressive tax. Seriously, have you ever paid taxes in this country?
3.20.2006 7:26pm
Ivan (mail) (www):
It's a disgusting article, made more so by the obligatory reference to Clarence Thomas, because you can't have an article on "race traitors" and leave him out. But the effort to pin on all liberals the blame for this kind of rhetoric is similarly wrong. This isn't the place to get into a debate about affirmative action, but the "argument" put forth above does not reflect anything I've heard in support of it.

People like Kaplan are out of line when they criticize black people for being Republicans for (at least) two reasons--first, it does smack of racism, because they criticize black people for something they tolerate in white people; second, it can only be a reflection of progress in racial relations that we're getting two parties to which black people can belong. People like Kaplan should be criticized for being wrong and racist, not because their ideas reflect liberalism generally--they don't.

Despite being a Democrat, I would be pleased if more black people joined the Republican Party. Black people shouldn't have to vote Democrat because we're the only party really working toward racial equality--I'd be thrilled if the Republicans did as well. Then black people who opposed abortion and gay rights or were more interested in tax cuts than balanced budgets, inter alia, could go to the party that reflects those views and white supremacists would be out in the cold without a major political party's cloak supporting them. Real liberals should cheer that two successive black people were appointed Secretary of State; questioning motives only casts aspersions on the qualifications of two eminently qualified people. Racial diversity (and gender diversity) in political appointments is what Democrats should follow Bush's example in when we retake the White House in 2008. The rest, we can toss out with the bathwater.
3.20.2006 7:26pm
Jeff R.:
I'm confused. Did Bruce Wilder just say it makes perfect sense to call someone a "race traitor?" Honestly. What's he trying to say?

He manages the fairly impressive feat of managing to both condemn and apologize for racism (sorry, 'realism') in the space of three paragraphs.

And is stealing at least one base in the 'logic' by assuming that there cannot exist any other issue or combination of issues more important than racial identity and wealth distribution-policy, something which even one so intellectually bankrupt as to buy into the evil that is identity politics would presumably have to do in order to avoid the conclusion that no rational white person should ever vote for anything other than the most David-Duke-like right-wing politician on every occasion.
3.20.2006 7:28pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
Wilder:

"The Republican Party regularly opposes all manner of laws and policies aimed at reducing or remedying racial discrimination."


If they do it "regularly," surely you will have no trouble coming up with just one example.

The problem with Wilder is that he sincerely believes that Republicans, and presumably anyone else who holds a viewpoint that he does not agree with, is actually "evil," motivated by bad faith of one sort or another.

Is it not self-evident, that people who oppose, say, AA, do so because it (1) ostensibly gives one racial group an unfair advantage; and (2) sometimes with results disastrous for the intended beneficiary. No one, save for a handful of skinheads, opposes AA out of a desire to entrench the racist status quo, or something like that.
3.20.2006 7:44pm
Justin (mail):
I should point out that Mike and John are empirically wrong. The rich are paying the lowest relative percentage to wages and capital income of the government's overall revenue which is tied to individual wages and capital income since the era preceding the first Reagan tax cuts. The reason they either believe or feel they could make a colorable arguments is by excluding payroll taxes from their analysis. Also, once you exclude payroll taxes and include capital income into the equation, it turns out that the United States taxation system is slightly REgressive, not progressive. That is, the rich pay LESS a share of their income, on average, than other Americans.
3.20.2006 7:47pm
Justin (mail):
Tsotha, I wasn't defending her point, and I overall considered her column weak (though I suspect the specific portion of the column you address is not as weak as you make it out to be). I was simply pointing out what her weak point exactly was, which, while stupid, was not the racist point that Professor Volokh ascribed to her.
3.20.2006 7:49pm
Justin (mail):
No one, save for a handful of skinheads, opposes AA out of a desire to entrench the racist status quo, or something like that.

Republicans don't believe there's anything racist with the current status quo, and definitely do want to entrench it. If one believes the current situation does have racist (if unintentionally so) outcomes (as I do), then one can be excused for making the inference you have. That doesn't make you a skinhead, though, as the GOP likes to put the terrorists and liberals in one group, it does make you "objectively pro-skinhead."

Conservatives also oppose all welfare programs (which, unfortunately, are more relied upon by minorities due to the current economic distribution), equalized overall funding for inner city and rural schools, a Conressionally enacted override of the San Antonio Schools case, effective funding of Medicaid, attorney fee rights for civil discrimination claims, a Congressionally enacted override of the Sandoval and Garrett cases, etc.

(Note: I oppose AA because I believe in the unintended consequences argument, which I think is functionally correct for the most part - but I've never heard a Republican rely on it as a primary argument, and have never heard a Republican consider an alternative. It's always a "poor whitey" argument that is their go to attack on AA)
3.20.2006 7:56pm
Brett Bellmore (mail):
Justin, in order for the tax system to actually be transfering money from the poor to the wealthy, rather than simply not transfering it the other way as fast as you'd like, it would take quite a bit more than the wealthy paying a smaller percentage, of their incomes in taxes, because they still pay much larger absolute sums.

Calling it "regressive" to levy ever larger amounts of taxation from people, if the percentage fails to increase as the income rises, has to be one of the biggest rhetorical coups socialists ever scored in this country.
3.20.2006 8:06pm
Bezuhov (mail):
Justin, you need to get your hearing checked. Repeatedly.
3.20.2006 8:12pm
spastic immortal:
"(Note: I oppose AA because I believe in the unintended consequences argument, which I think is functionally correct for the most part - but I've never heard a Republican rely on it as a primary argument, and have never heard a Republican consider an alternative. It's always a "poor whitey" argument that is their go to attack on AA)"

Interesting, so you admit that the negative consequences that AA policy has on black people concern you, but the negative consequences for innocent whites do not. That sounds like racism to me.

The very crux of identity politics is racism because it pushes everyone into categories for collective guilt or collective greviance without consideration for the individual. As someone famous once said, "I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." But I guess I must be twisting those words.
3.20.2006 8:18pm
KeithK (mail):
Also, once you exclude payroll taxes and include capital income into the equation, it turns out that the United States taxation system is slightly REgressive, not progressive. That is, the rich pay LESS a share of their income, on average, than other Americans.Do you mean the reverse? If you don't include payroll taxes then many poor Americans don't pay a dime of federal income tax and in fact many pay negative tax due to things like the EIC.

As for the payroll tax, in theory SocSec contributions were intended to be a different animal than regular income taxes. The regressive nature is by design and you can blame FDR for that.
3.20.2006 8:24pm
Perseus:
I'd be more than happy to get rid of payroll taxes, but I don't think that many "progressives" would like the idea since payroll taxes fund "social insurance" programs such as SS and Medicare (which means that many "progressives" support regressive taxation).
3.20.2006 8:28pm
Justin (mail):
KeithK, no I do not mean the reverse. I'm not trying to place blame, but yes, FDR was shortsighted (the projects the payroll taxes intended to fund were nothing less than a money grab by government to fund the recovery, as people tended to live shorter lives).

Spas, the effect on white people due to affirmative action is de minimis, and certainly significantly less than the aggregate arbitrary advantage of being born into better circumstances. White people's disadvantage under affirmative action is miles smaller than their advantage of several centuries of apartheid and slavery.

Brett, I'm working under technical definitions of regressive and progressive, which is based on a very easy to understand formula of whether those who make more pay more of a share of their income. Also, it seems the government is redistributing income to the poor much slower than the economy is redistributing it away, since icnome and wealth inequality are both at their highest levels since at least the 1930s.

Bez, if this message board utilizes any sort of communication via sound, then you may be right.
3.20.2006 8:32pm
Justin (mail):
Perseus, I think the point was getting rid of the CAP on payroll taxes, or funding the things we fund with payroll taxes via regular income teaxes.

Or put it this way: if you have a flat tax with capital gains taxed at the same rate, with no payroll taxes and this is the whole of taxes derived from income, on aggregate those in the bottom 90% do much better relatively than under the current system.
3.20.2006 8:34pm
Q the Enchanter (mail) (www):
The term 'traitor' is rarely in order in any context, but Eugene is writing here as if there is something inherently racist in claiming that so-and-so is a "traitor to his race." That can't be the case, can it? Were (and please note the counterfactual mood) Republican policies effectively as anti-black as, say, your garden-variety KKK by-laws, couldn't a black person who voted Republican properly be called a "traitor to his race"? (Besides being a traitor to humanity at large, of course.)
3.20.2006 8:36pm
BU2L (mail):
"
Spas, the effect on white people due to affirmative action is de minimis
"
You want to tell that to every person rejected from a top tier law school so they could make room for a black candidate with substantially inferior credentials?

"
certainly significantly less than the aggregate arbitrary advantage of being born into better circumstances.
"
Forgive me, but I will not embrace this fiction, having myself been on welfare, and attended a predominantly black junior high school. The opportunities are there, no matter what the starting point. White immigrants (such as myself) have had at least as bad a socio-economic start in this country, yet somehow we manage to succeed at very high rates. Anyone who doesn't buy into their destiny of failure doesn't have to live it, and anyone who does buy into it, deserves it.
3.20.2006 8:38pm
Jeff R.:
Although the effect of AA on white people is fairly minimal, yes, other than it's general offence to the morality of any decent person of any race, the negative effects of the policy on Asians and Jewish people is not at all so. And neither can one claim that those groups were never victims of "traditional" racism, even accepting 'arguments' based on corruption of blood like the "benefiting from prior generations" canard.
3.20.2006 8:39pm
Q the Enchanter (mail) (www):
BTW, it seems to me that when a white person calls another white a traitor to his race, something else entirely is at work, viz., the concern that (1) the "traitor" is helping the "black race" at the expense of the "white race" when (2) it should (by the lights of the white racist) be the other way around. Clearly this has little to do with the case of someone who believes a vote for a racist party is a form of perfidy.
3.20.2006 8:42pm
Brett Bellmore (mail):
The effects of AA on a particular white applicant who doesn't get the job or admission is scarcely "de minimis". That's the precise moral failure here, Justin: Treating people as interchangable members of a class, instead of as individuals with their own particular merits. 25 whites getting into the school doesn't do anything to erase the injustice you do to the one guy who doesn't get in because room had to be made for somebody of lesser qualifications. Because he is HIMSELF, not those 25 other people.

Oh, and yes, a very easy to understand formula, with very loaded words attached to it.
3.20.2006 8:55pm
Vovan:
You want to tell that to every person rejected from a top tier law school so they could make room for a black candidate with substantially inferior credentials?

Mike,

A white person rejected from a top-tier law school, will most of the time will be accepted into another top-tier law school, god knows we have how many? 14 of those?, provided his LSAT is good enough.

As to your second argument, if you have finished at least 5 classes back in the USSR, you had a starting jump off point at least 3 grades higher than the other kids in your class, especially in math and science.
Finally the success stories of white immigrants are subjective, it also depends on your upbringing, and the education of your parents, I highly doubt that they were uneducated farm workers, back where you came from.
3.20.2006 8:56pm
Bubba (mail):
i aint never seen me no white person cept johnny winter and he aint plumb white.
3.20.2006 8:56pm
Tom Maguire (mail):
FWIW - the wildest Claude Allen theory I have seen is this: Mr. Allen has a twin brother with two convictions in a three-strike state. So (goes the theory), Claude is taking the fall for his bro.

The truth is out there.
3.20.2006 8:58pm
BU2L (mail):
Vovan,

the fact that another law school will accept the rejected white applicant is no excuse. it's akin to saying - if this black job applicant gets rejected by a racist employer, that's ok, because someone will come along who will accept him.

And you are right about the USSR. I finished 6 grades there, and didnt have to learn a thing in math until 10th grade - precalc.
3.20.2006 9:02pm
Vovan:
Tthe fact that another law school will accept the rejected white applicant is no excuse. it's akin to saying - if this black job applicant gets rejected by a racist employer, that's ok, because someone will come along who will accept him.

Thats where we differ, the black job applicant got rejected explicitly because of the color of his skin.
The prospective law school student did not get accepted not because he was white, but because he was not able to contribute to the cultural and social atmosphere of the law school, as well as the black student.

However, the white student who got rejected because of "soft factors" has a number of possibilities to continue his education at other similarly qualified institutions. Accordingly, he is not "severly" disadvantaged by the AA - the arguement that you were making previously.
3.20.2006 9:14pm
BU2L (mail):
"
but because he was not able to contribute to the cultural and social atmosphere of the law school, as well as the black student.
"

This is why I think, frankly, that diversity is a racist crock of s$$t. It presumes 100% of the time that a black student will be more ablt to contribute to "the cultural and social atmosphere," than a white student with similar credentials. I call that racism.

It also presumes that "the cultural and social atmosphere" under some circumstances, trumps excellence. It, in my opinion, does not.

Third, I believe that the argument for diversity is, at any rate, not made in good faith. We may very well differ on this, but I firmly believe that people who push the diversity agenda do so not because of a serious belief that a black kid with bad grades makes the learning environment better than a white kid with good ones, but because they are liberals who are embarassed by the results of LSAT's, and fall over backwards to indulge their white guilt.
"
However, the white student who got rejected because of "soft factors" has a number of possibilities to continue his education at other similarly qualified institutions. Accordingly, he is not "severly" disadvantaged by the AA - the arguement that you were making previously.
"

To an extent, the market will mitigate the racist effects of AA, BUT, (1) That may be a defense of private racism, created in the market. It is hardly a defense of a racist policy that can easily be rectified by removing the artificial conditions that are put in place as a means of advancing it. (2) It is mighty paternalistic of you to tell someone when they've been "severely disadvantaged." I am of the opinion that any actual disadvantage suffered as a result of AA by a white applicant is severe, if only because it's racism perpretrated knowingly, with government support.
3.20.2006 9:27pm
Perseus:
Since SS &Medicare are "social insurance" programs with caps on both the amount of tax and benefits, there's no reason to get rid of the cap except to turn these programs into welfare programs.

Now it's certainly true that SS payroll taxes are paying for non-SS current expenses, but if you were trying to determine how progressive/regressive the current tax system is, you'd only include the SS surplus merged into the current budget, not the entire amount of SS payroll taxes (unless, once again, SS is regarded as a welfare program rather than an insurance program).
3.20.2006 9:32pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
The prospective law school student did not get accepted not because he was white, but because he was not able to contribute to the cultural and social atmosphere of the law school, as well as the black student.

I have heard some arguments for AA that had weight--I've never had time enough to think them through. But it seems this one isn't very weighty. The judgment of how much the student could contribute to culture and society isn't made by considering ... how much he could contribute ... but by his skin. In my experience, black law students and black attorneys have about the same cultural and social background as anyone else.
3.20.2006 9:38pm
Commenterlein (mail):
Here is an interesting thought experiment for the many commenters here who oppose AA because it is "unfair" to whites: Imagine two young men, same age, same level of academic achievment, same level of credentials, same level of parental wealth, with one gentleman black and the other one white. Who you think is more likely to succeed economically going forward? Who do you think is more likely to get invited to a job interview? Who do you think is more likely to get promoted in their job?

Hint: There has been a fair bit of research on these questions, and the results suggest that it's not you to whom the system is being "unfair".
3.20.2006 9:49pm
tsotha:
Justin,

I should point out that Mike and John are empirically wrong. The rich are paying the lowest relative percentage to wages and capital income of the government's overall revenue which is tied to individual wages and capital income since the era preceding the first Reagan tax cuts.

I would like to see some documentation for this assertion. As I understand the situation, while it's true the rich have a lower tax rate than they did before Reagan, the percentage of actual dollars they pay relative to the rest of us is much higher than it was prior to 1980. The U.S. tax system is the most progressive it's been since the second world war based on what people actually pay (AMT, anyone?). Perhaps you are referring to marginal tax rates as opposed to actual tax receipts?
3.20.2006 9:50pm
Justin (mail):
Calling something a "moral failure" because it doesn't comport with your point doesn't eviscerate the other person's point. Aggregates are what happens in society, what happens to "individuals" are called "anecdotal" for a reason.
3.20.2006 9:54pm
Andy:
The question I raised when the article came out was: Can you picture the LA Times running the following:

"I don't support liberalism in its current iteration, and I support black liberals even less."
3.20.2006 10:05pm
Andy:
What's all this about Alcoholics Anonymous being racist?

-Emily Litella
3.20.2006 10:06pm
tsotha:
Another point to consider is whether blacks are well-served by a system of enforced ideological purity, i.e. characterization of conservative blacks as "house slaves", "oreos", or "race traitors" by white liberals and other blacks.

As blacks vote Democratic en masse, the Democratic party is under no particular pressure to do more than pay them lip service. I am mindful of the treatment gays received during the Clinton administration when the president abandoned his only progressive pro-gay position (i.e. open homosexuality for gay service members) immediately following his inauguration.

The Republicans have no reason to pay attention to black voters at all, since every effort to garner support from blacks in the last few decades has met with abject failure. Bush attempted to woo black voters in 2000 by abandoning any serious effort to end affirmative action and by appointing blacks to the most powerful positions in his cabinet. By 2004 it was obviously deemed a waste of effort. He certainly paid no political penalty for spurning the NAACP in that election cycle.

Look for a vigorous attack on affirmative action by the Republican candidate for president in 2008. There is little downside in opposing programs that are popular only with people who won't vote for him under any circumstances.

By making Democratic-Party-only voting patterns part of "blackness", blacks have set up a situation where they have little power when the Democrats are in office and none when the Republicans are running things.
3.20.2006 11:00pm
David M. Nieporent (www):

Spas, the effect on white people due to affirmative action is de minimis, and certainly significantly less than the aggregate arbitrary advantage of being born into better circumstances. White people's disadvantage under affirmative action is miles smaller than their advantage of several centuries of apartheid and slavery.

The problem is that this buys into the race-based approach of viewing people via the lens of group membership, rather than as individuals. "White people" don't have an "advantage of several centuries of apartheid and slavery." An individual white person might, but "white people" don't. As for AA, the issue is not the effect on "white people," but the effect on the white _person_ who is discriminated against. It's not "de minimis" to be denied entrance to a particular college or job.

It doesn't do me any good if I miss out on acceptance to a university that some other white guy has a really good life.

Brett, I'm working under technical definitions of regressive and progressive, which is based on a very easy to understand formula of whether those who make more pay more of a share of their income.

A very technical definition which seems to both ignore the earned income tax credit and to assume the legal fiction that corporations -- rather than their rich shareholders -- pay the "corporate income tax." Factor those in properly, and the conclusion changes drastically.
3.20.2006 11:29pm
Faith+1 (mail):
Nothing liberals hate more than a black slave person who doesn't know his name is "Toby". They will whip him until he gets back in line with his white masters on the left.
3.20.2006 11:38pm
Happy4LA (mail) (www):
The message to black conservatives, "We're watching you, and when you slip up we'll make you pay!"
3.20.2006 11:43pm
Vovan:
Dave

"I have heard some arguments for AA that had weight--I've never had time enough to think them through. But it seems this one isn't very weighty. The judgment of how much the student could contribute to culture and society isn't made by considering ... how much he could contribute ... but by his skin."


I believe that the argument that I made was part of the Supreme Court argument in the Michigan cases, regarding minority quota's, but I could be wrong.

Mike

"It is mighty paternalistic of you to tell someone when they've been "severely disadvantaged." I am of the opinion that any actual disadvantage suffered as a result of AA by a white applicant is severe, if only because it's racism perpretrated knowingly, with government support."

No paternalism was meant.

I think its pretty harsh to call the policy racist - the policy is made to counterbalance the interaction between poverty and race, and in theory to break the cycle. I think it is too early to tell whether or not the policy is a success or failure, but it is understandable if you disagree with me.
3.20.2006 11:52pm
John Richardson (mail):
I have been following this story on Claude Allen with disbelief since it broke. Unlike virtually everyone in the media and esp. that twit from the LA Times, I knew Claude when he was an undergraduate at UNC-CH working as a work-study student for the Latin American Studies Program. He was conservative then and was about a normal an undergraduate as they come. He got into Carolina on the basis of his brains - not affirmative action.
3.21.2006 12:00am
JG:
Re: blacks voting for Democrats -- The highly significant correlation between the states that voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004 and those that once belonged to the Confederacy creates a presumption that Bush's vision for the country is bad for black people. It's a rebuttable presumption, to be sure, but I'm just not seeing much of a rebuttal. Colin Powell and Condi Rice look suspiciously like window dressing.

(And this is not, a course, a defense of Kaplan, whose ridiculous piece is undeserving of further commentary.)
3.21.2006 12:11am
Scrapiron (mail):
Why do those that scream that the Republican party is against blacks. That's only Je$$ie Jack$on hype to con money from other poor blacks. Who held up and tried to kill every bill in congress that proposed to help the poor, including most important the civil rights bill. I seem to remember it was KKK Byrd and his fellow clan members, uh, democrats.
Wilder has his math wrong also. He's all hype hoping someone is stupid enough to believe him.(maybe he's a graduate of a liberal arts college) The top 50% of wage earners pay 96.54 % of the federal tax burden. That don't sound like us poor folks are paying too much and maybe we're not even paying our fair share. I don't hate the rich nor pity the poor. Every person in the U.S. can make what they want of themselves, it's all up to the individual. Anyone can become a millionaire if they dedicate their life to that only.
3.21.2006 12:22am
James Lindgren (mail):
JG wrote:

Colin Powell and Condi Rice look suspiciously like window dressing.


One thing you can't fault Bush for is not putting African Americans in the most important positions in his administration--and listening to them.

Dick Morris has said that in his time in the Clinton administration there were no African Americans in the high-level strategy meetings that he participated in. (Ron Brown at Commerce was the closest to the center of policymaking, which wasn't very close.) In GW Bush's first term, there were two African Americans at the high-level meetings, both of whom were among the half dozen most important players (along with Cheney, Rumsfeld, and perhaps Rove).

Neither Howard Dean nor John Kerry had the kind of high-level African Am. advisors that Bush had.

Bush has many weaknesses, but the one you hint at isn't one of them.
3.21.2006 12:52am
tsotha:
JG,

I like how you create a presumption without taking ownership. I'm guessing that's because you know it doesn't hold up to scrutiny. Granted, it's been awhile since I took a history class, but I don't remember reading about Sherman's march through Alaska. Perhaps you can refresh my memory.

The correlation between one-time-Confederate states and electoral votes is a by-product of a much stronger correlation, one that Steve Sailer likes to call "affordable family formation." This is pretty clear if you look at the county-by-county election results. Bush won pretty much anywhere a middle-class couple can raise a family without working three jobs.

Oh, and I'm surprised to learn Secretary of State is one of those do-nothing "window dressing" patronage positions, like, say, Surgeon General or Commerce. I guess you learn something new every day.
3.21.2006 12:52am
Brian G (mail) (www):
Vovan said:

"Thats where we differ, the black job applicant got rejected explicitly because of the color of his skin.
The prospective law school student did not get accepted not because he was white, but because he was not able to contribute to the cultural and social atmosphere of the law school, as well as the black student."


That is absolutely brilliant!! All that when you could have just said, "He was rejected because he was white." I just love liberal logic. Just love it. How do you know he could not contribute to the cultural and social atmosphere? How do you know he didn't go to high schools in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Laos like my white law school classmate did? You don't consider that because he is white.

One more thing: I have heard Clarence Thomas called an affirmative action pick at least 10 times in my 2 years in law school. And each time it was a white liberal. Why are they so for affirmative action if they disparage anyone who benefits from it?
3.21.2006 12:54am
Jordan (mail):
The prospective law school student did not get accepted not because he was white, but because he was not able to contribute to the cultural and social atmosphere of the law school, as well as the black student.

Did I really just read that? So tell me, how do you know that a black student is better able to contribute to the cultural and social atmosphere of the law school? And if both applicants left the "race" field on their applications blank, would you still know that? Yeah, nothing racist here.
3.21.2006 12:55am
Brian G (mail) (www):
Condi Rice as window dressing? You obviously have ZERO clue of her power and her relationship to President Bush.

The highest ranking black in the First Black President's (tm) administration was his secretary.
3.21.2006 12:56am
Vovan:
That is absolutely brilliant!! All that when you could have just said, "He was rejected because he was white." I just love liberal logic. Just love it. How do you know he could not contribute to the cultural and social atmosphere? How do you know he didn't go to high schools in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Laos like my white law school classmate did? You don't consider that because he is white.

Wow, just wow.

Again we are talking about admissions process to law school - the selection criteria is grades, LSAT, and "soft factors", if your friends went to high school in such wondorous places I am sure that the admissions committee will take them into account, just as they will take into account the race of the individual for the purposes of determining the suficient "critical mass" of minority studens necessary for successfull legal education - you are in law school I am sure you've heard that argument before - it is there - you might disagree with it, sure - you have every right to - but it is far from a "liberal" argument - I do believe that O'Connor wrote the opinion.
3.21.2006 1:07am
Sifl:
Whites rejected from colleges and graduate programs "because of affirmative action" have to start taking responsibility for their own slack. I'm white, neither of my parents went to college, but they put me into top private schools since I was little. I'm sure that I had much better qualifications than many minority applicants who beat me out from some seats. But I know that because of the everyday social disadvantages the minority candidates faced, they worked a lot harder than I did to get their qualifications.

That is to say, to white applicants feeling all victimized about affirmative action: grow up. You weren't really the best candidate.
3.21.2006 1:12am
Jordan (mail):
But I know that because of the everyday social disadvantages the minority candidates faced, they worked a lot harder than I did to get their qualifications.

Oh really? The only reason I have a college degree is because I earned a full ride to college based on merit. My parents certainly couldn't afford to send me. So, do tell what prevented my black peers from doing the same? Blacks were overrepresented at my high school. They went through the same education system I did. Maybe the PSAT is racist?
3.21.2006 1:31am
jgshapiro (mail):
Calling something a "moral failure" because it doesn't comport with your point doesn't eviscerate the other person's point. Aggregates are what happens in society, what happens to "individuals" are called "anecdotal" for a reason.

Did he really just say that? Sounds like something I would expect to read in Mao's Red Book. Who cares what happens to an individual if in the aggregate we achieve aggregate 'justice'? So if an innocent man goes to prison for life, no problem, because most of the accused are guilty and the outlier is just 'anecdotal'.

That's a hell of a moral code you've got there, Justin. Good luck with that.
3.21.2006 1:39am
TDPerkins (mail):
"That's a hell of a moral code you've got there, Justin. Good luck with that."

As I've seen before and wholeheartedly endorse, "Leftism delenda est."

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
3.21.2006 12:15pm
Gekkobear (mail):
Ok, so if a Black person votes "R" they're a "race traitor".

What if a white person votes "D", especially if they're froma good family? Aren't they also a traitor to their race/class?

Can I call my co-workers "race traitors" for having a nice office job &voting against the better interest of their race as a whole?

Can you imagine the looks I'd get if I tried (for however long I might keep my job afterwards)? So why is it that my comment would be unacceptable in polite society, but this drivel gets published?
3.21.2006 1:42pm
SouthernLawyer (mail):
They went through the same education system I did.

Justin, I'm sure you realize that just because someone is in the "same education system" as you does not mean they are receiving the same education, guidance, and competition you receive.
3.21.2006 1:47pm
SouthernLawyer (mail):
Jordan. not Justin. too many sodas today.
3.21.2006 1:48pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
Vovan,

O'Connor was a liberal, plain and simple. Nice to know, thanks to her, that the need for affirmative action will end around 2028.

Oh, and nice non-response to what I said. Thanks for that "critical mass" statement. I just love that. How much is a critical mass? How many blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans do I need to have a successful education. I need to know to make sure that I am getting a successful education. Oh, and do Asians count in this "critical mass?" I notice that they are discriminated against given their hard work and academic success, so since they are successful I don't need them for a successful law school education, right?

By the way, I am not white, I am Hispanic. So, tell me how many of each other race to ensure I have a good legal education. I really need to know.
3.21.2006 2:06pm
Jordan (mail):
Justin, I'm sure you realize that just because someone is in the "same education system" as you does not mean they are receiving the same education, guidance, and competition you receive.

That makes no sense whatsoever. They went to the same freakin schools as me (elementary through high school). Or could it be that their family life is the problem, rather than big bad whitey holding them down?
3.21.2006 2:55pm
SouthernLawyer (mail):
Jordan:

They went to the "same freakin schools" as you. You're repeating yourself. I had black peers who went to school with me, but none of them were in my classes, they weren't pressed academically (by classmates) the same way I was. Couple that with guidance counselors and some teachers who often directed these average students to the military or community college and small surprise that a large majority of my peers were unprepared and/or uninterested in standardized exams, college, etc.

I'd certainly acknowledge the role of family in one's academic success or lack thereof, but how did "big bad Whitey" come into the mix?
3.21.2006 3:55pm
Vovan:
Brian G.

O'Connor and Rehnquist voted together 90% of the time so she is not exactly a "liberal", although she does have liberal tendencies. She is most of all a pragmatist - you cannot dismantle affrimative action in one fell swoop, no matter how much you are against it. O'Connor realized that, if you cannot - then its your own choice.


As to whether you are Hispanic or White or Martian, it does not make a difference. Due to the social constructions, you cannot remove affirmative action from the admissions process - partly because the admission process itself is so dependent on the LSAT - the prep course for which a lot of minorities cannot afford.


Thus, if you remove AA, you will be left in a relativly homogenous environment - not condusive to legal education - since there is more to law school than just memorizing black letter law, you also need interaction of various contrasting ideas.

For better of worse, the admissions officers believe that minority students will be able to bring another perspective to the homogeneous law school environment - you are more than welcome to disagree with their view and wait until 2028 when the things change.
3.21.2006 4:45pm
Jb:
People always seem to forget that it was Abolitionists who started the Republican party, it was Republicans who pushed for full integration and equal rights for freed slaves, it was Republicans who pushed for Civil Rights, and that it waws Democrats doing the opposite (Dems started the KKK to terrorize Blacks and Republicans so that they couldn't enact equal-rights laws, keeping the South firmly Democratic for 100 years; it was Democrats who largely opposed civil rights--Woodrow Wilson, the "great Progressive" segregated the gov't and armed services--and promoted eugenics and other such socially Darwinist ideas to get rid of the poor and the ethinc minorities; it was Democrats who instituted Jim Crow laws). I am amazed at the success the Democrat's propaganda have achieved, with people believing that the Dems have the answer to all the race-relations problems...
3.21.2006 5:41pm
Mikeyes (mail):
I'm still not sure why Clarence Thomas keeps getting brought up as the poster child for Affirmative Action. If I remember correctly, he went to Holy Cross, a Jesuit school noted for getting people into Ivy League law schools and medical schools but also noted for being somewhat conservative, especially in the early 70's.

He got good grades there in spite of being a "rebel" (which at Holy Cross meant he protested while wearing a coat and tie) and was accepted at Yale. From that time on he got his jobs the old fashioned way, he knew somebody and had the requisite diplomas. He was vetted by the Senate and in spite of a rocky road, became a Supreme Court Justice. So what if he was not the next Learned Hand? His credentials were good enough for all involved.

I guess it comes down to politics.

(Disclaimer: I am a graduate of Holy Cross too, several years ahead of Clarence Thomas. This is a pet peeve of mine because I know what his teachers were like and how he was treated, basically just like everyone else. If you did not cut it academically, they did not give you a pass, even the football players had to study.)
3.21.2006 5:46pm
Jordan (mail):
I had black peers who went to school with me, but none of them were in my classes, they weren't pressed academically (by classmates) the same way I was. Couple that with guidance counselors and some teachers who often directed these average students to the military or community college and small surprise that a large majority of my peers were unprepared and/or uninterested in standardized exams, college, etc.

Ah, I see. So I should have to pay because they weren't pressed by their classmates? And I'd bet those counselors and teachers offered the same advice to underachieving white students too.
3.21.2006 7:25pm
JG:
Just to set the record straight for tsotha, et al., when I said Colin Powell and Condi Rice look like window dressing, I did not mean they had no power or influence, which is obviously untrue of Rice and probably untrue of Powell. I meant that the fact that they (or anyone else) are in the administration is not itself an argument that Bush policies are good for black people (unless those black people are Powell and Rice). I have yet to hear a persuasive argument to this effect, though my ears are open.

As for the correlation between the Confederacy and pro-Bush states, it's only fair, I'd think, to restrict the data to states that existed during the Confederacy, so no Alaskas (which was purchased for oil during the Civil War, if I'm not mistaken). Unless I'm missing one, every Confederate state went Republican in 2000 and 2004. The vast majority of these states were Jim Crow states into the 1960s. The majority of Union states went Democrat both years and very few of them ever had Jim Crow laws. These are disturbing correlations that would give any black voter pause (at least) before pulling the lever for a Republican. My only point is that it is not difficult to figure out why even conservative blacks tend to support Democrats. The friend (Republicans) of your enemy (white supremacists) is your enemy.
3.21.2006 10:03pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
Vovan,

Oh, it's the "they can't afford the LSAT prep course now." Guess what, neither could I. And I got a 165. All I did was use what the library had to offer to prepare, and I did just fine. Plus, you can find a lot of prep material online for free, just by looking. I did.

Affirmative Action is a cheap shortcut, and I think it is racist to think that minorities cannot get to law school without it. Nothing wrong with making people work to get what they want. Call me out of touch, but I think minorities would do just fine without it, and bar passage rates would be higher amongst minorities without AA. I can't wait until the "bar exam is racist" meme gets big. I'm sure that you will be front and center on that one too.
3.21.2006 11:45pm
Rick G (mail):
As a 54 year old black man, reading the Kaplan piece I found myself nodding in agreement. Reading Mr. Volokh's comments, I found myself wondering who is this idiot?
3.22.2006 12:27pm
Weyoun (mail):
Vovan said:"Thus, if you remove AA, you will be left in a relativly homogenous environment - not condusive to legal education - since there is more to law school than just memorizing black letter law, you also need interaction of various contrasting ideas. "

If AA gives exposure to "various contrasting ideas," then you must mean all people of a race think alike. Why else would achieving a diverse atmosphere promote exposure to different ideas?
3.22.2006 3:26pm