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Affirmative Action in India:

Taipei Times:

Enraged mobs from one of India's myriad lower castes blocked roads with fiery barricades, stoned police and battled rival castes across a wide swath of northern India for a week to make a single, simple point: They want to be even lower.

With 25 people dead, the unrest spread to the fringes of the capital before the Gujjars — a class of farmers and shepherds — called off their protests.

They did so only after officials agreed to consider their demand to be officially shunted to the lowest rung of India's complex hereditary caste system, so they can get government jobs and university spots reserved for such groups....

Discrimination under the system was outlawed soon after independence from Britain in 1947, but its influence remains powerful and the government has sought to redress discrimination against those on the lower rungs by setting up quotas for government jobs and university spots.

But instead of weakening caste affiliations, the result has been a fracturing of politics along caste lines, with each of the lower groups vying for its share of the quotas....

"Nowhere in the world do castes queue up to be branded as backward," [the Indian Supreme Court] said. "Nowhere in the world is there a competition to become backward."

Affirmative action has its good points and bad points, but I think it's undeniable that when government distributes benefits based on particular characteristics, lots of people will want to be identified as having those characteristics, there will be lobbying to ensure that the relevant characteristics become legally immutable at a minimum ,or broadened, and people will organize and lobby around their common claim to the relevant characteristic. This all makes it a lot less likely that the relevant societal distinctions that led to the need for the affirmative action policies to begin with will wither away.

Query: If the Irish, Scandinavians, and Italians in the United States--all groups that were once suffered a great deal of discrimination and were relatively disadvantaged compared to the Anglo-Saxon/German majority (plurality?)--had been offered government benefits based on their ancestry one hundred years ago, would these groups be as integrated into American life as they are today? If not, then this is a cost to such policies that must be weighed against the benefits.

Thanks to my colleague Lloyd Cohen for the pointer.

UPDATE: The Comments function seems to be malfunctioning, at least for now. Sorry.

FantasiaWHT:
That's a good question! I could make a fairly good argument that I'm part of a discrete and insular minority that has suffered past discrimination deserving redress. I'm 1/8th Irish, would that be enough?
6.7.2007 10:04pm
Tom R:
"... reservation [of offices] is possible only after boundaries have been drawn between members and strangers. In American society today, there are no such boundaries. Individuals move freely across the vaguely- and informally-drawn between ethnic or religious identification...; the line is in no way policed; the movements are not even recorded... In principle, India has abolished the caste system, but the Untouchables can only be helped if they can be recognised, and proportionality in office holding can only be established if they can be counted. Hence the category 'Untouchable' had to be reintroduced in the 1961 census, and procedures had to be established by which individuals seeking reserved offices could prove their status. The result... is a hardening of caste lines..."

- Michael Walzer, Spheres of Justice (Blackwell, 1983), pp 150-51.

But don't US jurisdictions have to identify voters by race to police the Voting Rights Act?
6.7.2007 11:14pm
Armen (mail) (www):
"There ain't no white man in this room that will change places with me...and I'm rich. That's how good it is to be white. There's a one-legged busboy in here right now that's going: 'I don't want to change. I'm gonna ride this white thing out and see where it takes me.'"
6.7.2007 11:49pm
Armen (mail) (www):
Oops, forgot to attribute that to Chris Rock.
6.7.2007 11:50pm
Bob from Tenn (mail):
Thomas Sowell has been eloquently making this point for years. See in particular his book, Preferential Policies: An International Perspective (1990). Anyone who has read that would not be surprised by this kind of "news."
6.8.2007 12:05am
Joshua:
A certain Dr. Seuss poem comes to mind. It seems that now in India, as in America, "the best kind of sneetches are sneetches without."
6.8.2007 12:21am
Tom R:
I think Chris Rock is exaggerating. This white boy for one would gladly change places with a famous Black millionaire entertainer. It seems to me that money and fame can buy you a lot of respect even if skin colour starts you off with a deficit: exhibit A being OJ Simpson.

Of course,, maybe if I'd been born African American I wouldn't say that... Where's Tireisias (or John Howard Griffin) when you really need him.
6.8.2007 2:20am
George Weiss (mail):
is it possible the court will overturn grutter entirely in the expected upcoming 14th amendment racial/school decison PARENTS INVOLVED V. SEATTLE SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 1
and
MEREDITH V. JEFFERSON COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION

i wish the VC authors would specualte more
6.8.2007 4:22am
Rattan (mail):
It is the human capacity to think in abstract terms that does disservice at times. Compensating for the wrongs due to discrimination is possible in the abstract. When concrete (politically viable) solutions are reviewed, it seems the wrong players get compenstated a lot more. This apparently is true in India and elsewhere as Thomas Sowell has argued so well.

The real challenge is of devising a proper remedy for a now recognized wrong inflicted in the past. Even a couple of generations make this a vexing problem. Afterall, an overwhelming majority of Nazis did get away after abetting one of the largest extermination exercises in the known history of the world (I am ignoring the boasts of slaughter of those lacking a covenant in the Bible).

As far as I can see, if Nazism were to be ingrained in the form of a religion, and hence qualify for Constitutional protection beyond mere free speech, it would be impossible to stamp out the destructive teachings. This is not a law school hypothetical, but a real world problem.

India has such a problem, as does much of South Asia, Middle East and many other places in the world. Religions are not easily suppressed, hence legally requiring their teachings be modified is not a viable solution in most situations.

Requiring of strongly encouraging intermarriage to provide a common vested interest is also a rather coercive remedy. Changing property ownership rules to grant inheritances to former slaves and their descendants, the untouchables and other oppressed of India and the like are politically infeasible strategies. Thus, one is left with the Quixotic attempts to provide remedies that are really election campaigns masquerading as remedies. Not surprisingly, the protection offered to the injured classes by the remedies in vogue in India is minimal as is the case in the US.

I do not know of any democratically enforceable solution to this problem of finding an enforceable remedy.

Thus, the prudent course may be to focus on the future and ignore the past injustice. To this end, providing universal education to all, or providing universal healthcare, pensions, or some other entitlement to all may be the best bet. While it does not compensate only the injured, it guards against continuing future injury, which otherwise is the most likely outcome.
6.8.2007 4:50am
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
Rattan-

It is the human capacity to think in abstract terms that does disservice at times. Compensating for the wrongs due to discrimination is possible in the abstract. When concrete (politically viable) solutions are reviewed, it seems the wrong players get compenstated a lot more. This apparently is true in India and elsewhere as Thomas Sowell has argued so well.

It depends on the situation. Take the Holocaust, there were basically two kinds of compensation in that situation - (1) return of stolen property that could be traced and recovered; and (2) compensation that was due to the whole group of victims. The first kind isn't that hard - the property is taken and given to the rightful owner. The second kind is more difficult to determine. The way the abolition of slavery was handled might be instructive. The people who were enslaved received a direct payment of compensation, their ancestors have access to various programs.

The real challenge is of devising a proper remedy for a now recognized wrong inflicted in the past. Even a couple of generations make this a vexing problem. Afterall, an overwhelming majority of Nazis did get away after abetting one of the largest extermination exercises in the known history of the world (I am ignoring the boasts of slaughter of those lacking a covenant in the Bible).

It is more difficult when multiple generations are involved, although obviously someone that was tortured, raped, slavetraded, assaulted, and had their property stolen is going to receive more compensation than someone that wasn't.

Incidently, do you know what passage of the Bible refers to those without a "covenant"?

Requiring of strongly encouraging intermarriage to provide a common vested interest is also a rather coercive remedy.

That could actually operate as a vehicle of future oppression.

Thus, the prudent course may be to focus on the future and ignore the past injustice. To this end, providing universal education to all, or providing universal healthcare, pensions, or some other entitlement to all may be the best bet. While it does not compensate only the injured, it guards against continuing future injury, which otherwise is the most likely outcome.

Things like education aren't a magic bullet. Some of the african americans before the civil rights movement have stated that it didn't matter how much education they acquired, they wouldn't have been hired anyway.
6.8.2007 8:40am
Justin (mail):
"I think Chris Rock is exaggerating."

X gets the square, Johnny!
6.8.2007 9:46am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
In the Midwest, and likely elsewhere, various Native American groups adamantly insist they do not sell certificates of Native Americanness. Nevertheless, there are more of the NAs than ever before.
Happened on a book about the Eastern Pequots and got it for my father because he grew up near their rez in Connecticut.
At one point, there were about five left.
Then a sharp attorney connected them to federal laws about NA gaming regs. They are now infinitely wealthy and...there are lots of them.
In our state--perhaps it's federal but I haven't checked--anybody one-quarter or more NA gets free tuition at state universities. Of course somebody who's three-quarters cauc and from an average family isn't exactly suffering, and seeing a freckled blonde getting the goodies doesn't punch up the sympathy.
So, yeah, it pays to be one of the downtrodden, as long at it's only formal and not actual.
6.8.2007 10:21am
A.C.:
I've made similar observations about people of Germanic or Italian ancestry who qualify for affirmative action simply because their families stopped off in Buenos Aires for a generation before moving on to the US. This sort of thing makes affirmative action look ridiculous, and it should be stopped.

I thought the Irish in particular DID use the government to advance, especially through machine politics. The stereotype of the Irish cop exists for a reason too. What's different now is that the FEDERAL government gets involved and we debate the subject nationally. It used to be more of a local matter, but it was still plenty contentious.
6.8.2007 10:32am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
A.C. How come bingo is legal when other forms of gambling weren't?

Answer: It wasn't. But Officer O'Malley could never find it when he went to Mass.
6.8.2007 10:36am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Bernstein. . .Hmm, I wonder how many Country Clubs that last name would have excluded you from fifty years ago, or even today. I sure wouldn't have wanted to have been in your shoes in Europe 65 years ago. Also, it seems to me that you are a staunch supporter of a country that was founded on the concept of Affirmative Action, the name escapes me know.
6.8.2007 10:42am
Taeyoung (mail):
If the Irish, Scandinavians, and Italians in the United States--all groups that were once suffered a great deal of discrimination
I hadn't been awawre that Scandanavians suffered the same kind of abuse as the Irish and Italians (indeed, for that matter, my understanding is that the Irish have historically been even more abused than the Italians, since some of them had actually come over as slaves). Where would I find out more about that?

Bernstein. . .Hmm, I wonder how many Country Clubs that last name would have excluded you from fifty years ago, or even today.
Hah-- I can beat that! My Great-Uncle's club in New York wouldn't even have let me in the door fifty years ago. Probably not even thirty or forty years ago. But, um . . . So? I don't need Affirmative Action if I want to join now; I just need a pile of cash and an introduction from my uncle. Or something like that. I have only the vaguest understanding of how these institutions work. Maybe there's a background check.

In any event, removing an outright ban (antidiscrimination) and adding a plus factor for certain people (affirmative action) are two distinct things.
6.8.2007 10:58am
BGates (www):
JF, is your comment supposed to mean something besides, "yeah, well, you're a Jew"?
6.8.2007 10:59am
Jake L (mail):
If the Irish, Italians, Scandinavians etc. had been offered preferential treatment on the basis of their ethnicities, I can only imagine that they'd be far less integrated today. In addition, they would probably spend far more time obsessing over their victimhood, and trying to convince others just how bad they have it, to make sure that no one tries to take away those preferences.
6.8.2007 11:24am
Houston Lawyer:
Affirmative action always involves rent seeking activity. My law school prof Lino Graglia pointed out that New York was one of the few jurisdictions in the country with enough Italians that they voted themselves eligible for affirmative action preferences.

Sowell's book is an eye opener. It discusses how US racial grievance mongering has been imported into other societies, much to their detriment.
6.8.2007 11:34am
Anon1ms (mail):
In point of fact, those of Anglo-Saxon/German heritage were the recepients of affirmative action for hundreds of years of our colonial and national history.

Or do you disagree that they were given special preference in regard to participation in government, housing, education, etc?
6.8.2007 12:03pm
Gordo:
I remember an incident back in the early 1980's at UCLA where students of Filipino ancestry were protesting because they had been removed from the "academically disadvantaged" group by reason of higher incomes and test scores. They would thus lose victim status and affirmative action benefits.
6.8.2007 12:24pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
JF, is your comment supposed to mean something besides, "yeah, well, you're a Jew"?

What it is meant to point out is that past discrimination in this country and others was extremely destructive and that affirmative action for the dominant group was the norm. Also, David has absolutely no problem, and in fact is a staunch supporter, of the state of Israel, a state founded precisely to address past wrongs and maintained specifically to advance affirmative action for the Jewish people. It seems more than a little hypocritical that he worries about affirmative action in other countries, especially one where discrimination based on caste has had a long and tragic history.
6.8.2007 12:54pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
JF, I don't understand what bizarre definition of "affirmative action" you are using. By your definition, the existence of Germany is an example of affirmative action for Germans, and the existence of Poland is an example of affirmative action for Poles.

And, anon, I would certainly deny that there were any official government preferences for Anglo-Saxons or Germans. If there had been, it would have been a lot more difficult to abolish their privileged position, or to prevent it from spreading officially to other groups with political power which is the point. (I.e., not that there is no discrimination and no ethnic cleavages without affirmative action, but that when government officially provides privileges based on ethnicity or other characteristics, that tends to create lobbying groups to preserve these privileges, encourages individuals to organize themselves around these criteria, encourages group conflict, etc.) So, if you want to turn around the question to, "if Anglo-Saxons and Germans had been the beneficiaries of privileges granted by law based on their ancestry one hundred years ago, would the progress the U.S. has made toward an ethnically egalitarian country have been more or less likely to have occurred," I'll accept that as additional good question.
6.8.2007 1:21pm
JBL:

Every racial, cultural, religious, etc. group has their own history and situation. That means that any particular treatment based on those sorts of distinctions isn't going to result in a good general solution, especially when you're attempting to address historical wrongs. Of course, that doesn't mean we can just ignore the issues.

To the extent that the groups are distinguishable, advocating particular policies in reference to one group but not another is not necessarily blatant hypocrisy. The modern state of Israel involves a lot of historical particulars that don't really apply to Mongolians or Krishnas, and vice versa.

It is certainly possible to argue against abolishing Native American reservations without arguing in favor of establishing reservations for African Americans.
6.8.2007 1:48pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Armen, that's a good line from Rock, but one thing that should be kept in mind is that African Americans are a minority of those who benefit from current AA policies. For federal purposes, for example, AA typically includes blacks, hispanics, Asians, pacific islanders, native americans, and for some programs women, the disabled, and Hasidic Jews. Even at universities where preferences are often limited to blacks, hispanics, and native americans, that puts blacks in the minority of those eligible.
6.8.2007 2:04pm
Smokey:
Affirmative Action = Affirmative Racism.

Any questions?
6.8.2007 3:07pm
Elliot123 (mail):
I've always wondered if affimative action is a justification for rational discrimination. For example, if a person needs affrimative action to enter school, we might ask why. We are told they need help because their ancestors suffered wrongs. Well, what is the real effect on the person today? What does he lack that everyone else has? What makes him (not his ancestor)different from the rest of society?

If he actually lacks some skill or ability due to treatment of his ancestor, then is it rational for me to discriminate against him in favor of someone who does not lack the ability or skill? This would say there is a real difference between the minority person and the non-minority. If there were no difference, then the affirmative action would not be necesary.
6.8.2007 4:55pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
By your definition, the existence of Germany is an example of affirmative action for Germans

Actually it is, since to obtain German citizenship you have to demonstrate German heritage. At least you did, the rules might have changed.

I would certainly deny that there were any official government preferences for Anglo-Saxons or Germans.

There most certainly were. immigration policy in this country was blatantly and deliberately based on preferences for Anglo Saxons and Germans from the mid '20s until 1965. And what about legally enforceable covenants that kept neighborhoods free of blacks and Jews and any other undesirable elements that a person cared to put in the deed? What about Jim Crow? Are you also forgetting all the anti-miscegnation laws that were written to protect the purity of the white race?

Also, I don't know why it isn't affirmative action just because it happens to benefit the group in power. Do you think that the State Department or CIA hired many Jews or Blacks, or heck even many people who didn't go to Ivy League schools, until the 1960s? What else could legacy admissions to Ivy League schools be described as other than affirmative action for rich WASPs?
6.8.2007 6:10pm
martin (mail):
I can't supply hard data but I'd always heard that a big part of the story of the economic and social advancement of the Irish in America 100 years ago is that they gained control of many city governments and gave their fellow Irish-Americans preferential hiring treatment for government positions, at least in some specialties, most famously police work.
6.8.2007 6:12pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
I don't understand what bizarre definition of "affirmative action" you are using.

I don't exactly understand what bizarre definition of "affirmative action" you are using if you don't think that Israel, carved out of the desert by non-residents, born of a horrible and tragic genocide, that preferentially considers Jews for citizenship, is not a state founded upon and perpetuating affirmative action for Jews.
6.8.2007 6:17pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
I can't supply hard data but I'd always heard that a big part of the story of the economic and social advancement of the Irish in America 100 years ago is that they gained control of many city governments and gave their fellow Irish-Americans preferential hiring treatment for government positions, at least in some specialties, most famously police work.

Chicago (can anyone say Daly), New York, Boston, Kansas City to a lesser extent/
6.8.2007 6:18pm
JBL:
JFT, there's a distinction between a policy that is designed to create or maintain an advantage for a particular group and a policy that is designed to eliminate disadvantages caused by a historical injustice.

The difference isn't whether the policies involve discrimination, it's in the stated purpose and evaluation. The pro-Anglo-Saxon policies you mention were certainly discriminatory, but their reasoning wouldn't fall under the concept of Affirmative Action. The Jim Crow laws were enacted to retain the existing disparity between racial groups, and for a while they were largely effective. Affirmative Action programs were enacted in order to reduce the economic and social differences between groups, and so far they have been largely ineffective.
6.8.2007 6:46pm
Dan Hamilton:
There are vast differences between 'Being in the Majority', Affirmative Action, and Jim Crow Laws.

'Being in the Majority' People always have and always will prefer people LIKE themselves. That can be defined with or without race. Based on Culture, education, NASCAR, whatever. Being in the Majority doesn't mean you put others down, don't like them, or discriminate against them. It just means that you belong to a group.

'Affirmative Action' The Government is FOR some group. Doesn't matter what distinguishes that group. As anybody with a brain knows whatever the Government is FOR insures that people will want IN. You will get More of whatever the government is FOR.

'Jim Crow Laws' The opposite of 'Affirmative Action'. Prime example under 'Jim Crow Laws' you have Black People 'Passing' as White. Under 'Affirmative Action' you can have Whites 'Passing' as NA. Few people want to be IN a group that the Government is againist.

Words have MEANINGS. Why is it that those who want to yell discrimination, call people racist, and in general support the left seem to want to blur or change the meanings of words?

'Affirmative Action' is just as BAD as 'Jim Crow Laws'. They both insure that racism will never go away and keep everybody's nose rubbed in it. But those who WANT to keep group priviledge alive and well support 'Affirmative Action'. By the very definition if someone needs 'Affirmative Action' they LACK something that those in the Majority have. And since the Left believes that 'Affirmative Action' will always be needed and since the Left believes that they are in the Majority, they believe that they will always have something that THOSE people LACK. What could be more racist then that?

If someone says that you need 'Affirmative Action' you should feel INSULTED.

Chris Rock's kids don't need 'Affirmative Action'. If they LACK something it isn't anything that can be fixed by 'Affirmative Action'.
6.8.2007 7:51pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Being in the Majority' People always have and always will prefer people LIKE themselves.

And preferring people like themselves is different from discriminating against people unlike themselves how?
6.8.2007 8:37pm
Atlantic06 (mail):
"I would certainly deny that there were any official government preferences for Anglo-Saxons or Germans."

And certainly you would be wrong. Amazingly and profoundly wrong.
6.8.2007 10:53pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Neither Atlantic nor Thomas have come up with any official government policies favoring Anglo-Saxons or Germans, because there weren't any. The immigration laws aren't relevant, because we're talking about policies that related to Americans, not to potential immigrants, but even then the policies favored northwestern Europeans, not Germans and Anglo-Saxons per se. And until 1921, immigration was open to all whites.

And, Thomas, it's simply an abuse of language to refer to something like Israel's law of return as "affirmative action." If you want to say that Israeli law has ethnic preferences, that's true. Part of the point of these preferences is to demarcate and encourage ethno-religious identification, even at the expense of potential inter-communal conflict with the Arab minority(though it also provides Jews from very different parts of the world with a common identity). Anyway, that is a GOAL of the Israeli system. But Israel was founded to be a Jewish state, while hte U.S. is the "first universal nation," in Ben Wattenberg's term. If the goal is to demarcate and encourage ethnic identification, then having a political system that grants or withholds favors based on such identification is surely a good way to do it.
6.8.2007 11:53pm
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
JBL-

Every racial, cultural, religious, etc. group has their own history and situation. That means that any particular treatment based on those sorts of distinctions isn't going to result in a good general solution, especially when you're attempting to address historical wrongs. Of course, that doesn't mean we can just ignore the issues.

That's the thing - the groups that got over on a particular group would love to ignore it. They would come up with dozens of excuses why certain crimes and atrocities "weren't so bad". And also a number of reasons why what is their is theirs and why what is yours should still be theirs too.
6.9.2007 3:29am
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
Dan Hamilton-

By the very definition if someone needs 'Affirmative Action' they LACK something that those in the Majority have.

You have to be careful with reasoning like this. There have been groups that use reasoning like this and certain tactics to discriminate against people that actually have merit. For example if a particular individual is "uppity" sometimes they'll bait and provoke them until they respond angrily, then claim the person is "lacking" something - that they're "boorish", "arrogant", "have no manners", etc. Of course it is all organized smearing and fraud. And by your logic, if these groups themselves had any merit they wouldn't need to resort to cowardly and deceptive bullshit to get ahead and keep ahead - they would be able to do it on their own - honestly and directly.
6.9.2007 3:37am
Elliot123 (mail):
American Psik,

OK. Let's consider that. Why do blacks need affirmative action in college admissions? What do they lack that demands affirmative action? What is it about the average black applicant that warrants special treatment? How does this applicant differ from the rest of the applicants? I am asking about the average applicant, not his ancestors.

Is there a difference? If so, we should be able to say what it is. Does he lack the knowledge, ability, or skills of the other applicants? If that's the problem we are trying to fix, we should know about it and acknowledge it. If that's a problem we are trying to ignore, then we should know that, too.

If there is no difference, then we should be able to use applications which do not mention race.

If the average 18-year-old black lacks the knowledge, skills, or abilities of the rest of the population, then is it rational to prefer hiring a non-black?

(Substitute any affirmative action group for blacks in the above, and the same questions apply.)
6.9.2007 2:37pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
but even then the policies favored northwestern Europeans, not Germans and Anglo-Saxons per se.

Can you please explain to me what ethnic groups populate northwestern Europe besides Germans and what would be broadly classified as "Anglo-Saxons". And I realize that you can get hyper technical and break it down into Celts, nordic groups, Normans and so on, but generally when people say "Anglo-Saxon", the mean generically the the people of Northwestern Europe (granted the other unstated assumption used to be "not Roman Catholic", but even that has fallen by the wayside).

Excuse me, when you stated that there was never a government policy that favored Anglo-Saxons or Germans, I didn't realize you were referring only to those Anglo-Saxons or Germans who were already U.S. citizens. You really should be more precise. My parents and I (who immigrated from Great Britain in 1963 under the old per country quota system--where the quotas were deliberately chosen based on the proportionally highest year of immigration from Great Britain) were certainly the beneficiaries of such favorable government policies.
6.9.2007 5:08pm
Atlantic06 (mail):
"Neither Atlantic nor Thomas have come up with any official government policies favoring Anglo-Saxons or Germans, because there weren't any."

Have you never heard of the Jim Crow laws in the South (and to a lesser extent, elswhere)? Now, I suppose if you discount laws regarding education, housing, voting, dating and marriage, transportation, and a whole bunch more, I guess you are correct.

Or maybe you are of the opinion that whites (Anglo-Saxons and Germans, if you will) were not the beneficiaries of these laws?
6.9.2007 9:34pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Anglo-Saxons and Germans as opposed to other whites, which is what we are talking about. One hundred years ago, a very large fraction of the white population was of Irish, Southern, Scandinavian or Eastern European descent, and there were no laws that granted Americans of Anglo-Saxon or German descent favorable treatment relative to other whites.
6.9.2007 10:29pm
jb9054 (mail):
Any number of ethnic groups have come to this country and been treated poorly, yet "made it" economically. Irish, Jews, Chinese, Italians, ad nauseam. The only 2 groups that remain "disadvantaged" for generations are blacks and Indians (native Americans). These 2 groups have in common explicit programs by the government to "help" them. There was no affirmative action for Jews. There was no Bureau of Italian/Irish/Polish Affairs. Somehow folks from these groups prospered and thrived. The government doesn't throw you a life raft, it throws an anchor.
6.10.2007 10:55pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Japanese-Americans have made it, despite internment. Friend of mine who is JA opined that internment broke up the JA community and forced them into the mainstream, which is the place to be if you're going to make it.
6.10.2007 11:44pm
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
Richard Aubrey-

Japanese-Americans have made it, despite internment. Friend of mine who is JA opined that internment broke up the JA community and forced them into the mainstream, which is the place to be if you're going to make it.

Yet other groups succeeded and thrived through networks, diasporas, etc. It seems there's no magic formula, each group has its own unique situation. I can tell you that if it were a case of me being enslaved and/or my property being taken I would make sure that compensation followed. Someone without property rights is no better than a slave, and you will never succeed if you let people steal from you.
6.11.2007 12:28pm