Friday, June 09, 2006

Supreme Court to tackle race-based school standards

One of the few areas for optimism for conservatives with regards to the performance of the Bush Presidency has been in the arena of judicial appointments. The US Supreme Court, currently electing to hear an historically small number of cases, has agreed to hear the first big test involving affirmative action in the Roberts' era:
The Supreme Court agreed Monday to take up two cases that could spell the end of official efforts to maintain racial integration in U.S. public schools.

The justices said they would hear appeals from parents in Seattle and Louisville, Ky., who say it is unconstitutional for officials to consider a student's race when making school assignments. Both cities adopted voluntary integration programs in recent years that put limits on how many white or black students may be enrolled in some schools.
At first glance that excerpt seems as though it came from newsprint in the fifties, pre-Brown vs. Board of Education. Listening to the Laura Ingraham radio show on my way home from work a couple of days ago I heard a caller from Seattle tell of how he and his wife lived within spitting distance of the elementary school they both went to and wanted their children to attend. Because the school had already reached its white threshold, his oldest child was denied access and is being bused twenty minutes away to a school that can take her. Compare the similarities to the story of Linda Brown:
In Topeka, Kansas, a black third-grader named Linda Brown had to walk one mile through a railroad switchyard to get to her black elementary school, even though a white elementary school was only seven blocks away. Linda's father, Oliver Brown, tried to enroll her in the white elementary school, but the principal of the school refused.
Race is important. Regular readers are aware I'm cognizant of that. But explicitly race-based policies are almost always toxic (prisons excepted). Better to create standards that roughly proxy for it but allow for the numerous exceptions that are bound to exist. The societal regression is stunning.

The issue of race as a determining factor in education was most recently tackled by the Court in Grutter v. Bolinger et al, where now-retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote for the majority in favor of the use of "soft variables" like race in school acceptance decisions:
The policy makes clear, however, that even the highest possible score does not guarantee admission to the Law School. Id., at 113. Nor does a low score automatically disqualify an applicant. [Kafka's spinning in his grave] Ibid. Rather, the policy requires admissions officials to look beyond grades and test scores to other criteria that are important to the Law School's educational objectives. Id., at 114. So-called "'soft' variables" such as "the enthusiasm of recommenders, the quality of the undergraduate institution, the quality of the applicant's essay, and the areas and difficulty of undergraduate course selection" are all brought to bear in assessing an "applicant's likely contributions to the intellectual and social life of the institution."
But she's out, and Alito and Roberts are in. The fourteenth amendment's equal protection clause will probably be the basis for an overturn if one occurs.

Considerations of legality aside, it should be overturned. Diversity makes people unhappy (For those who must live immersed in it, as opposed to promoting it theoretically or even working to impose it on others, which tends to give many supercilious intellectual-types pleasure). Broad differences lead to resentment and jealousy, and foment an 'us versus them' attitude.

During adolescence this is especially true. Kids want to fit in. Individuality really only starts seminating in high school. Being a basket case is devastating. There exists a plethora of tragic stories about misfits. Urchins seek out differences among their peers and are brutal in cruelly pointing them out.

Race is salient, and kids are not blithely unaware of it. To the contrary, political correctness has trouble saddling children. Two of my thirteen year-old brother's three best friends are Indian and the other one is Korean. They are crassly candid. Recently I listened to them talk about the end-of-the-year awards ceremony at school and how the black kids got all the attendance and sports awards and that Indians won both the spelling and geography bees. Recently one of the Indians jocularly said "You're black to me", intended as an insult. Do we want to force more of this sort of situation by fiat?

Also, what precedent will this potentially set? Will it expand to encompass the workplace? Imagine the EEOC regulating business hiring decisions this explicitly.

Paraenthetically, privatization would do a better job in minimizing racial tensions than Seattle or Louisville will. Some schools would set rigorous testing standards for acceptance, others would focus on vocational training, others still would act as babysitters for less endowed kids, and so on. Young white students at the bright schools wouldn't see as many blacks or Hispanics as they might in public school, but their brown peers would be of similar intellectual ability. The cities are actually doing the opposite, by forcing geographical dispersement, putting poorer, disadvantaged children alongside the more capable offspring of more successful parents.

A working assumption I subscribe to in thinking about social questions is that 'natural' equality is good, that inequality is bad, and that forced equality is worse. This case merits an update in that maxim. I hereby add "and that forced inequality is worse still."



JSBolton said...

This issue of racial quotas is very important; and all the more so, in proportion as the media, officialdom and professoriate want to maintain an omerta on it.
In the context of mass immigration of quota eligibles, it should be obvious to all, that every year such policies continue, is guaranteed to cause increasing interracial and interethnic hostility, each year.
The predictable result is civil war on such a basis. If every year, such conflicts increase, and never decrease; only war can be at the end of such a progression.
There is also the great danger to the advancement of civilization; when merit standards are randomized to accomodate racial goals.

JSBolton said...

In the UMichigan cases, the SCOTUS prostrately deferred to official discretion on racial quotas. They accepted some retired military officers brief describing quotas as a national security necessity.
They could just as easily, by such reasoning, or, rather, abject servility, have decided that it would be correct to accept a total exclusion of blacks from officer ranks, if they had described that as 'mission critical'.
Whatever the government wants, in terms of racial quotas, the government gets, on this precedent.
No principles or rights are invoved, only the convenience of administration of the racial state.
But towards what objective is this racial state heading; that is the question.

JSBolton said...

Here is something to show how serious the quota situation has become, from the Naval Submarine School’s website:
Submariners today are becoming a more diverse lot.

Among recruits 10 years ago who attended the Basic Enlisted Submarine School at the naval base here, about 80 percent were white, 8 percent black, 7 percent Hispanic and 4 percent Asian.
In the past year, the percentage of white students dropped to 70 percent, while black recruits increased to 14 percent, and Asian recruits doubled to 8 percent. The percentage of Hispanic students remained about the same.
The minority representation in the submarine forces is still less than the Navy’s total enlisted force, which is 42 percent minority.
...the black % of the total population having scarcely changed during the period, this looks like a prima facie case of quota usage.
They’re using sensitive military services for grossly corrupt programs of racial patronage in wartime, and the people are all but silent on these points!

whysegregate said...

Would you rather have it that kids were insulated from racial diversity in school so that they'll be unprepared for it in the real world? Half of young children are non-white in the US. Thats reality everyone has got to live with, not hide from.

whysegregate said...

jsbolton ignorantly says:

"No principles or rights are invoved, only the convenience of administration of the racial state.
But towards what objective is this racial state heading; that is the question."

The rights involved are of equal representation. The objective is to adjust the imbalances imbedded in a patriarchal, white-dominated society for the benefit of all.

crush41 said...


Quite the opposite is happening. People are associating less with those outside their social sphere. The economy of the future is based on knowledge (and the ability to alacritously acquire more of it). As the world becomes smaller, people will continue to be able to cluster more with people they have lots of things in common with. The internet greatly facilitates this.

I'm more interested in maximizing student potential than in forcing balkanization and the sad but predictable consequences that will follow.

And equal representation? I thought the military's primary purpose was the protection of the American citizenry, not the aggrandizement of affirmative action race hustlers.

JSBolton said...

Not only that, but there is certainly no right to 'equal representation' in schools, or any resultant of recruitment.
If there could be, how is that non-Jews don't have a right to 'equal representation' in the Ivy league?
And, if so, how can non-Asians be justly deprived of their right to 'equal representation' in science and engineering programs?

savage said...

We're missing a piece.

It's equal or GREATER representation of all others whence compared to heterosexual male WASPs. That is what the defiler of the dead and living white male meant.

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