Greedy Blog

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

There is still fallout over Graglia's guest column last week.

First, from today (Don't take Graglia's word for it):

Initially, his theories in opposition to affirmative action were based on the cultural inferiority of people of color. It's good to know that - like most anti-affirmative-actioners - he has changed his tune to just using numbers instead of insisting on his older theories, which should remind some that racism is alive and well. Most interesting to note is the evolution of his theories - all of which consistently concede that people of color are at the bottom of the ladder. He has yet to have a consistent theory as to why such social conditions continue to exist. The answer: de jure and de facto racism.

Since the letter itself is out of order, that's how I'll take it.
People of color are at the bottom of the ladder in terms of test scores. That's an indisputable fact. Even rich blacks score lower than dirt poor whites on the SAT. The same trend is seen on all standardized testing. What does this mean? Well, for one thing it is the starting point of all debate. If Mr. Durham doesn't agree that this is the case, then why do we need AA at all?
His "cultural inferiority" theory was simply a shot in the dark at explaining the lower performance. If not cultural, what is it? Biological? What else is there? I've yet to hear any other (non-"racism") explanation for the problem, nevertheless a viable solution. We've had 30-40 years of reverse discrimination and the gap in scores has only widened. How much more racist (err, non-racist) do we need to become before being non-racist?
Surely society doesn't value blacks less because of their lower scores. It just means that they shouldn't get special treatment in terms of university admission when the numbers don't pan out (e.g., the automatic admit score for blacks should not be lower than the automatic reject score for whites). In fact, I think the opposite is true. By saying that blacks need special preferences, it means that they will always be seen as needing special preferences. This is no way to solve the problem. Ney, it only makes it worse.
I wouldn't say Grags has changed his tune at all. This is quite clear from reading his articles from the 70's to the 00's. People thought he was crazy for opposing busing, too. There is no "hypocrisy" or "evolution" in his theories: the numbers are a starting point, cultural (he never said "inferiority" but instead said that their culture promotes other values above academic success - if Mr. Durham interprets this as "inferior" that is his perogotive) attempts to explain them, and AA is a failed solution.

Second, from yesterday (Graglia playing dangerous game):

For this letter, I've trimmed out all the hyperbole, which doesn't leave much. I've also chopped it because there is really no flow.

The law as it stands... is that no governmental entity can discriminate on the basis of race unless there is a compelling reason for doing so. To my mind, the figures that Graglia spouts - if true - make limited racial preferences all the more compelling.

The first sentence is true. Grags doesn't dispute this. However, he, like most Americans, doesn't think race should ever be used to discriminate. Wasn't that the holding of Brown? Isn't that the reason for the 1964 Civil Rights Act? Congress has never passed a law demanding race to be used as a factor for anything -- only the opposite. Then why is Mr. Lewis's sentence correct? Judge-made law.
I like the "To my mind" to begin the 2nd sentence because it is just an opinion. Grags has the opposite opinion. This is why we need democracy and majority rule. Sadly, here, the minority opinion wins.

Graglia states that the left's agenda would "find it difficult to see similarities between blacks and whites." This statement is shocking given Graglia's obsession with the statistical differences between blacks and whites, not to mention his realization that blacks and Mexican-Americans have a distinct enough culture so as to be labeled not encouraging of success.

The first sentence is a ridiculous mischaracterization. Grags was responding to a lefty who said that blacks are unable to see similarities in white leaders, so they need black leaders to follow. This "shocking" statement ripped a hole in the LBJ prof's argument, and indeed on AA in general.
To say Grags has an obsession with numbers is also a mischaracterization. Again, numbers are the starting point. If the numbers or wrong or don't matter, we don't need AA.
See above for a response to the "cultural" argument.

...I realize that Graglia used the word "difficult" so as to leave some room for him to find racial differences that could be used to further his political agenda. I only mean to suggest that even those who would interpret the Constitution to be color-blind themselves see important differences between black and white.

Would Mr. Lewis say that this problem is not difficult? Is it easy, and if so why haven't we done the easy thing? Have we solved it in the last 30-40 years, or simply made it worse?
The second sentence is kind of non-sensical: There are "important differences between black and white" but there are no "cultural" differences? What about all the similarities?

At first, I didn't realize how similar those two letters are. Today's is much better written, but equally wrong.

Posted by Gel 5:50 PM Post a Comment

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