Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Affirmative Action When Diversity is Racism

Intellectual dishonesty pervades AA debate

Read an article from the Baltimore Sun that is very disturbing.

Allow me to summarize. Vanderbilt Law School uses affirmative action in its admissions, and as a result it admits many minority students who compete rather poorly with their white counterparts. First year grades for black students are consistently lower than for the rest of the student body, clearly a result of lower admissions standards.

The Vanderbilt Law Review, however, is purely merit-based, and so it should come as no surprise that it has no minority members. The acceptance process for Law Review is completely anonymous (i.e. colorblind) and so there is absolutely no basis to any charges of racism. This hasn't kept some of the more irrational and paranoid element on campus from claiming racial bias, but the facts speak for themselves: minority students are simply less qualified.

Alas, not everyone has common sense. Critics are claiming that the Law Review needs to give preference to minorities because they clearly cannot succeed on their own. They are again invoking the most intellectually dishonest argument I have ever seen employed in political debate; that affirmative action is needed to ensure 'diversity,' which is to the benefit of everyone.

I've come to realize that the 'diversity' argument is a racist one itself. It essentially argues that minorities, especially blacks, have an innate qualification by virtue of their skin color. This makes them, the logic goes, superior to white applicants. White applicants, it must therefore be argued, are less unique and have less valuable perspectives than minorities solely due to the color of their skin. No further analysis is necessary to draw this conclusion. Whites are ruled inferior.

This argument is, of course, a load of racist horseshit. A black person could have roughly the same perspective on legal issues as a white applicant. In fact, your average white applicant from New England probably agrees more with your average black applicant on legal and political issues than he would with your average white applicant from Utah. Race, then, is a terrible proxy for diversity of opinion and personal background. Religion, political affiliation, and state of origin track an individual's perspective far better than race, and they aren't even considered.

I've never come across a truly good justification for affirmative action. They all seem to be working backwards from the same sentiment, while putting up decoys behind them to cover up their own true motivations. That's dishonest, and I'm not distracted one bit.