Weekend Read
Race, Democracy, and the Constitution

Granting preferential admissions to universities on the basis of race is impermissible if not unconstitutional. That is the correct decision the Supreme Court made this week. That does not mean, of course, that we shouldn’t try to address both racial and class discrimination in higher education.

Published on: April 26, 2014
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  • Pete

    But what if the premise of the Bell Curve is correct, then what do you suggest, ignore the reality and smoother it with political correctness?

  • lehnne

    Race, discrimination and lack of opportunity are real issues but are often used as distracting energy sinks to deflect attention to the state’s relentless drive towards total power.This is why authoritarian governance always control education. If the state can indoctrinate via higher education or warehousing in primary and secondary schools it is a win/win situation as both produce revenue streams, indebtedness (material and financial) and compliance. .” If the population lacks the ability to see their material situation in context to the past they are all the more disadvantaged For example,compare the standard of living of the middle class form 50 years a ago to the services and technology available to a modern unskilled uneducated. Engaging in such comparisons enables one to separate ideology from facts on the ground evidence. Another example is defining poverty sans the dollar value of social services rendered and the infrastructure the delivers it also reflects ideology not reality.

    • Corlyss

      I want the government to start coming clean about the amount of transfer payments that go to the alleged poor. Until there is transparency on that issue, there will be no serious discussions about poverty because nobody knows what it means in context of anyone’s current situation.

      • stanbrown

        Government spending on poverty programs equals over 21,000 per year for every person living in households under the poverty line. Obama says the number is going up to 25,000.

        • Corlyss

          Where did you get the numbers? I’ve never seen them in my readings.

  • Anthony

    As Professor Mead has stated many times, the left should spend more time thinking about why college is so darn expensive with a view towards rectifying the abysmal status quo. Higher tuition fees are more likely to deter poor people from attending a college than racial discrimination is. And by the way, the cheapest educational options tend to be available in red states.

  • Ghosts of Benghazi

    Good God get over the race discussion already. It is a construct of greedy, liberal politicians. I do not even think about race until it is constantly thrown in my face……

    • Corlyss

      Remember the Grand Inquisitor in one of those tiresome Russian novels? As his Church can do without Christ but not without Satan, the Church of Minority Grievances can exist quite nicely without any of the habits the majority pines hopelessly for their development in minorities, but it can’t exist without the Satan of perpetual racism.

      People should stop waiting for minorities to be satisfied with improvements in society that all others can see; it will never happen as long as there’s a single race-baiter whose livelihood depends on the existence of racism. As long as minority individuals are relieved of the responsibility for themselves, they will gladly take the entitlements and demand more.

  • Corlyss

    “That does not mean, of course, that we shouldn’t try to address both racial and class discrimination in higher education.”
    Regrettably, that can’t be done without doing exactly what was just declared unconstitutional. Why? Because minorities have chosen entitlements over equality in their political activism. The system might just as well give the minorities college degrees and pretend they mean something . . . . oh, wait, that’s what’s happening to everyone these days . . . . never mind.

    • mgoodfel

      Just do affirmative action based on income. You’ll get most of the blacks and Hispanics that you are getting now. You will also get a few low-income conservative whites, and lose some high-income Asians, but oh well.

      • qet

        Yeah, well, this is Berkowitz’ recommended “class-based” approach. And I for one fail to understand how a class-based approach will survive the reasoning of Schuette where race didn’t.

  • Anthony

    As a simple and present example to Justice Sotomayor’s point (race matters) review TAI commentary and some of its most vehement displays when theme lends itself to be colored by genetic pigmentation allusions. On to more serious matter, essay emphasizes wrong argument: “both individual freedom and political freedom are important.” Rarely will literate American disagree with aforementioned but that uses constitutional covering to evade crux of our ongoing American Dilemma. I think Justice Sotomayor use of Race Sensitivity instead of Affirmative Action if carefully weighed provides another dimension by which our historical avoidance may be honestly faced and perhaps race, democracy, and the constitution conjoined.

    As has been noted “poverty trumps race as the true scourge of our public life”, well that may depend on where you sit. By way of example, “class centric approaches to diversity are already making headway at US colleges, but they’re not the substitute for race that income – or wealth – focused proponents imagine. Even the most fervent supporters of class-based admisions are quick to acknowledge the dilemma: the sudden ascendance of socioeconomic affirmative action has been made possible by American courts with a waning appetite for racial remedies to racial discrimination – not because it’s the best solution…. So, yes, class and race are in many ways inextricably linked. but its folly to focus solely on socioeconomic factors if you’re looking for diversity in college admissions – they’ll never serve as a magic proxy for race.”

  • qet

    The issue here is not nearly as complicated as various media reviewers and commentators are making it out to be. Whatever one’s feeling on the “problem of race” in US society–its history, its economics, its politics–there is simply no warrant for the US Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution according to a standard of “the integrity of the political process” (or, in Sotomayor, J’s own words, “the right. . .to participate meaningfully and equally in the political process”).

    Such a standard goes well beyond the authority appropriated by the Court in Marbury, and even if it is not unreasonable for a scholar or legal commentator to describe, in a law review article or the like, the upshot of certain of the Court’s various Equal Protection decisions as amounting to a concern with “the integrity of the political process,” that does not legitimately pave the way to openly declare such a standard the measure of the conformity to the Constitution of legislation.
    And as for the policy recommendtions of Berkowitz, well, they are unoriginal in the extreme, and must in any case be evaluated against an analysis of how it is that all of these exact same policies which have been implemented to some degree or other for the last 40 years have so far failed to deliver what Berkowitz and others expect they will deliver if continued and intensified.

    • Anthony

      I agree and parallel standard (integrity of the political process) was dismissed in Roe.

  • circleglider

    Should President Obama’s children benefit from race-based preference programs? Clearly the answer is no. But note, this does not mean that his children will not suffer from racism. Mead knows this and says so. Indeed, it is likely they will, over the course of their lives, find themselves in situations where they are looked at askance, avoided, singled out, discriminated against, and also privileged on account of their races…

    This is perhaps the silliest statement ever made. Ever.President Obama’s daughters will never suffer in American society because of their race. Instead, they are and will continue to live lives of privilege and celebrity. Their race and their heritage have already secured for them positions in the upper 0.1% of American society.To suggest that the Obama daughters may someday be “looked at askance, avoided, singled out, discriminated against… on account of their races” indicates a perspective that is completely out-of-touch with contemporary America. And it invalidates everything else Berkowitz says.

  • Fat_Man

    “that most crippling of thoughts: “I do not belong here.'”

    She is correct, she is a political hack who doesn’t belong on the Supreme Court

  • Anthony

    Supreme Court has not during illustrious American history been void of political hacks operating as jurists (dating from 1789). Statement not intended as defense of any jurist but attempt to provide context to 3rd political branch established by Founding Fathers – Fukuyama: Decaying of American Political Institutions.

  • stanbrown

    Just because people in society should be aware of race and history does not mean that government programs are the best way to approach the issue.

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