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This post was edited by Transhumanist at 2012-2-7 03:34|
The Case Against Affirmative Action
Its lies laid bare.
Steven Farron, The Affirmative Action Hoax: Diversity, the Importance of Character and Other Lies, New Century Books, 2010, 349 pp., $24.95 (soft cover).
reviewed by Raymond Wolters
Steven Farron, author of this relentless critique of racial preferences, was a professor of Classics at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, until 2001. That year he resigned his academic position in order to study American affirmative action and other policies that grew out of the unequal success of different groups. Prof. Farron is a man of strong views; this is reflected in the title of his book: The Affirmative Action Hoax.
There is much debate about the real motives for reverse racial discrimination. In his book Equality Transformed, one of the best-informed observers, historian Herman Belz, has written that during the 1970s, against a background of race riots in many American cities and the “fragging” of white Army officers in Vietnam, American elites redefined “discrimination” as “disparate impact.” They then implemented affirmative discrimination as “the price society had to pay to prevent further violence in the black community.” Rather than explain their rationale candidly, however, America’s leaders proffered one falsehood after another. The Affirmative Action Hoax relentlessly exposes these falsehoods, and Prof. Farron argues that dissembling has been so extensive it amounts to a deliberate hoax.
Prof. Farron concentrates on affirmative action in American higher education, and does not hesitate to name the guilty. He demonstrates, for example, that an article by Eugene Garcia, the dean of Berkeley’s School of Education, was full of “blatant lies.” He shows that one of the best known defenses of affirmative action, The Shape of the River (1998), by Derek Bok and William Bowen, was filled with so many falsehoods that the distinguished authors — one a former president of Harvard and the other a former president of Princeton — deserve the appellation Prof. Farron bestows on them: “liars.” Prof. Farron also shows that justices of the US Supreme Court have endorsed egregious sophistries.
Prof. Farron takes particular pains to expose the pioneering misrepresentations about “diversity” that Justice Lewis H. Powell included in a concurring opinion in an especially important case, University of California v. Bakke (1978). Justice Powell wrote that the US Constitution prohibits government agencies and the recipients of government grants from discriminating on the basis of race. However, he added that the Constitution allows colleges and universities to foster intellectual debate by seeking a “diverse” student body and faculty that include “a wide variety of interests, talents, backgrounds, and career goals.”
Justice Powell took the unusual step of discussing and applauding what he called Harvard’s “illuminating example.” He accepted that Harvard was in good faith when it claimed it considered each student as an individual, adding that “the race of an applicant may tip the balance in his favor just as geographic origin or a life spent on a farm may tip the balance in other candidates’ cases ... [but] the [Admissions] Committee does not set target-quotas.” “Tipping the balance” suggested only a slight edge for individuals from underrepresented groups. In fact, race was a tremendous advantage for black and Hispanic applicants, and the consistent admission, year after year, of approximately the same number of poorly qualified minorities showed that Harvard was clearly filling quotas.
Justice Powell’s comments on “diversity” served as the rationale for many universities and for the majority of the Supreme Court, in Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) in justifying affirmative racial preferences in academe.
Jews and gentiles
Prof. Farron provides an especially interesting account of the origins of “diversity” and other non-academic considerations for university admissions. He writes that before 1920, Ivy League institutions “admitted students almost entirely on the basis of academic criteria.” By 1919, however, “the proportion of Jews at elite American colleges was several times the proportion of Jews in the American population: for example, 20 percent at Brown and Harvard, nearly 25 percent at the University of Pennsylvania, and 40 percent at Columbia” (in 1920, Jews were 3.4 percent of the US population).
In response, Ivy League schools began to use scholarships to attract gentile students, even if they did not have the most outstanding academic qualifications. To boost the proportion of gentiles further, the elite colleges also considered applicants’ participation in music, athletics, debating, school publications, and student government. Some schools proposed a new goal: creating a “student body [that] will be properly representative of all groups in our national life” by “building up a new group of men from the West and South and, in general, from good high schools in towns and small cities.” Other schools emphasized the importance of “character” and “personality.” In the 1930s, Stanford assigned a 40 percent weighting to these attributes.
Prof. Farron shows that the purpose of promoting “diversity” — as an alternative to strict academic qualifications — was to limit the enrollment of Jews. At Columbia, administrators wanted Jews to be no more than 20 percent; at Harvard, 15 percent; at Yale 10 percent; at Stanford, 3 percent. The leaders of these institutions, however, came to recognize that quotas were at odds with widespread opposition to explicit discrimination. “My [original] plan [quotas] was crude, and its method ... unwise,” the president of Harvard wrote to the president of Amherst in 1923. In 1945, an administrator at Yale confided, “[T]he Jewish problem continues to call for the utmost care and tact.” The solution was indirect discrimination under the guise of “diversity” or “character” rather than open quotas.
Transtopia.org,Eugenics.net,Amren.com,Vdare.com, Lef.org,Neoeugenics.com,Mankindquarterly.org, Gfactor.blogspot.com,Psychology.uwo.ca/faculty/rushton_pubs.htm,www.udel.edu/educ/gottfredson/reprints