Sunday, March 23, 2014

Support for affirmative action by race

At the battle of Pharsalus, with time on his side and fresh off a modest victory at Dyrracium, Pompey Magnus, under pressure from his confrontational supporters, took the fight to a Caesarian side that was battle-hardened but also weary, heavily outnumbered, and precariously low on provisions. The resulting victory Julius Caesar enjoyed was the turning point in the Roman civil war.

It would be outrageous to compare the sheathing of swords drawn to shred Proposition 209 with the battle that broke Pompey the Great (though one can still search through Pandora's stuff for a ray or two). It's a minor setback for affirmative action as well as evidence of budding discord in the ranks of the leftist coalition. However, it's confined to the most Asian state in the contiguous US and it was ceded on an issue--higher education--that rank-and-file NAMs don't care that much about.

Part of the reason for my pessimism comes from the realization that as the white population in the US declines proportionally, antagonism towards it is likely to increase rather than attenuate (see Latin America). It also comes from the fact that affirmative action is about as unpopular as having open borders is among the electorate, yet both are foisted upon a docile public by the savvy, engaged high priests of the Cathedral.

The GSS regularly asks respondents about affirmative with regards to two specific designated 'victim' classes; blacks and women. The first table shows support for preferential treatment for blacks, by race. Additionally, whites are further separated by political orientation. For contemporary relevance, all responses are from 2000 onward:

% support forblack AA
All whites11.6
Liberal whites23.3
Conservative whites6.5

Asian sentiment towards affirmative action is comparable to that of liberal whites. Well, when it comes to blacks, anyway. They're considerably more favorably disposed towards giving women preferential treatment than even SWPLs are:

% support forfemale AA
All whites24.5
Liberal whites29.1
Conservative whites18.2

Until affirmative action is seen as blatantly coming at the expense of Asians rather than only at the expense of heterosexual white gentiles, I wouldn't bet on it causing serious fracturing of the leftist coalition. As long as Democratic pols are astute enough to keep it from coming to that--as assembly speaker John Perez was in California last week--the tide isn't going to turn.

GSS variables used: AFFRMACT(1-2), FEJOBAFF(1-2), RACECEN1(1)(2)(4-10)(15-16), POLVIEWS(1-2)(6-7), YEAR(2000-2012)


Anonymous said...

Affirmative action mostly hurts white males in the bottom of the top ten percent. They are the ones who have the scores that are better than the AA admits but not high enough to guarantee a spot in a good school despite being white males.

Anonymous said...

When you lose your balls someone is going to take advantage of you, in our case everyone.

Why do we care how much support it has if it's wrong for us?


Anonymous said...

I don't see any of those breaking 50%, except for support for affirmative action supporting women among Blacks.

I mean, this is astounding from a non-redpilled perpective. Perhaps the most intrusive government program, does not have popular support in any demographic shown. Does it have support among Whites in the 16-26 age range? Does it have support among White women in the 38-52 age range?

Audacious Epigone said...


Right, it's not that popular. That doesn't surprise me--apolitical people default to "everyone should be treated equally". But 'comprehensive immigration reform' isn't popular among the electorate either, yet the net result the establishment is trying to formalize is pretty much what is happening de facto anyway.

Support among nH whites aged 18-26 (the GSS only interviews legal adults) for black preferences is only 15.0%. It's 11.0% for white women 38-52.

Female preferential treatment among young whites is 27.0% and among white women aged 38-52 is 23.7%.

It's worth noting, also, that there is no middle ground on these questions. The options are "strongly support", "support", "oppose", and "strongly oppose". It's not popular. If the GOP wasn't perpetually trying to maintain the "stupid party" motto, it would focus on things like this instead of on bear-baiting in Ukraine.

BehindTheLines said...

Speaking of race, here is the latest from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The author of the article clearly wishes that all of the new genomic data didn't exist. The clear tone of the article is, "Maybe there is such a thing after all. I guess we have to deal with it. But let's not forget everything important is still cultural."

The truth seeps in, slowly but surely: "This awareness that DNA can be so sorted has prompted a crisis in the social sciences, however, where it’s a truism that race is entirely a social construct."

MM said...


I've been watching this issue play out in my own backyard, as I attended UC right around Y2K. When Mayor Lee of San Francisco blasts attempts to amend Prop. 209, I suppose the headline could read "When Identity Politicians Collide."

What's interesting about AA as an outcome-based policy is, what's actually happened after it was largely repealed.

I remember coming across this UCLA study from a few years ago which examined admission statistics at large universities in CA, FL, and TX from 1990-2005. They specifically looked at that period because all 3 states abolished race, gender, and ethnic preferences in the mid-to-late 90s in favor of merit-based alternatives:

- Black college attendance declined as a % of the student population, for men more than women, but less so in FL and TX.
- Hispanic college attendance declined as a % of the student population, though not as much as black attendance, again men more than women. Male admissions rose again after 2003.
- White male college attendance declined as a % of student population and hasn't rebounded. OTOH white female college attendance continued to rise as it has been doing since the 1980s.
- Asian college attendance jumped as a % of student population, except in TX, for men more than women.

The results for whites seem counterintuitive. Why would males do worse in the absence of AA? And any return to gender-based AA would probably only increase the already lopsided sex ratio on campus, which has existed for 20 years. Doesn't seem to jive with administrations' stated goal of diversity. Ah, the best laid plans of social engineers...

Audacious Epigone said...


Very encouraging, actually. More and more elites are going to come to the realization that behavioral, physiological, psychological, etc etc traits are correlated with actual, identifiable genetic sequences, and that those sequences cluster by race and ethnicity. Like an army sensing an oncoming rout, they may abruptly start dispersing in every direction. Suddenly, the blank slate dogma that seemed so unbreakable might shatter. One hopes, anyway.


Re: lower male enrollment, how much of that is part of the nationwide shift in the sex ratio in higher education. Women comprise nearly 60% of college freshman now. The same trend, I assume, goes part of the way in explaining why white enrollment declined. It looks like it dropped about in line with the corresponding high school graduation percentages from eyeballing the graphs.

MM said...


Good point. Undoubtedly, the trend of more girls than boys applying to and getting into 4-year universities is stronger than the presence or absence of AA policies. You can see that with the overall white % staying steady but the white male % going down. However, with Hispanics and Asians, both the % and number of male admissions went up over the whole 15 year period. Merit at work? Probably to a certain degree.