Sunday, February 26, 2017

Affirmative action takes from the poor (Ice people) and gives to the rich (Sun people)

Affirmative action in education benefits wealthy black and Hispanics at the expense of poor whites and Asians.

I've had a few conversations about the subject recently where that didn't seem to be intuitive to the people I was talking with so it's worth stating explicitly here even though it's hardly a novel observation on my part.

For simplification, just think about whites and blacks. In both cases, the wealthier a person (or the family he grows up in) is, the better his academic performance tends to be. Whites outperform blacks at every level of socio-economic status (SES), but in the cases of both whites and blacks as SES increases so does academic performance.

So if some number of whites who would otherwise be accepted to a school have to be cut out to make room for a corresponding number of blacks, it tends to be low SES whites who get the cutting. The blacks who get in are those who (relatively) narrowly missed getting in before the racial handicapping. These tend to be high SES blacks.

In the subsequent graph, it's the area inside the red circle that gets cut out by affirmative action and the area inside the green circle that benefits from it:

Comprehending this dynamic would go a long way in helping affluent SWPLs who still don't understand Trump's appeal to working-class whites understand that appeal better.

We continue to have an opportunity with frustrated Bernie Bro-types who keep getting spit on by the Democrat party, most recently with the victory of Perez over Ellison as DNC chair. Sanders started out his campaign shying away from race and making it about social class disparities. He was forced into racial grievance mongering and victimization posturing by the Clinton campaign, but he didn't want to go there initially.

This isn't a novel observation on my part, either. Trump certainly gets it:


Random Dude on the Internet said...

Interesting that the black community's "talented tenth" performs roughly the same as the poorest whites. Even though I am aware of media conditioning, I'm still surprised at how effective the media is when it comes to portraying these communities (ie the Deliverance crowd vs. the Huxtables for example).

Feryl said...

It gets worse. The "talented tenth" kept some semblance of order among blacks back in the segregation days. With such policies being struck down, elite blacks of course high-tailed it the hell away from MOR and lower blacks. Result? The total disintegration of nearly every primarily black area with the exception of a handful of elite black neighborhoods most of which are on the East Coast and subsidized by the AA gov. beast.

And these elite blacks almost totally buy into the idea that whites are responsible for terrible ghettos. Even though the full implementation of civil rights in the late 60's enabled elite blacks to chase the whites who had no choice but to decamp to the suburbs. The level of terror inflicted by blacks on whites in Eastern urban areas in the late 60's/early 70's is why white and elite black flight happened.

Liberals are funny. When law and order prevailed via segregation, it was much easier for whites and blacks to inhabit the same general area because both sides mostly left each other alone out of fear of violating taboos. As soon as people were told to do as they pleased, black behavior swiftly collapsed and whites were essentially the victims of ethnic cleansing. But this isn't the "history" you hear in PC world; instead it's blacks are victims all the time propaganda.

On the cognitive dissonance front, both elite blacks and Leftists are incapable of reconciling their ideology with the fact that blacks as a whole are the BIGGEST victims of the civil rights era.

namae nanka said...

The whole reality is upside down from the narrative, White kids with parents with less than high school education have comparable scores to kids of college educated blacks,

In defending against environmentalists, the hereditarians don't get to point out that whites with similar ability as blacks are at a huge environmental disadvantage and don't go on the offense.

Audacious Epigone said...

Random Dude/namae nanka,

On the one hand, nurture "loses" here because we see that SES isn't determinative (poor whites do as well as rich blacks). On the other hand an environmental explanation redounds to the benefit of the most 'vulnerable' whites, but it's an argument almost no one wants to make. Explicitly, no one makes it all. Just by implicitly making it--even though he said multiple times that he support affirmative action policies--Trump found an electoral gold mine.


We're experiencing the same thing to a lesser degree with 2nd and 3rd generation Hispanics. 1st generation immigrants live in totally separate ghettoes, interacting with Core America in low-end service industry jobs and some retail and even then only formally (and often without even being able to communicate verbally). These 1st generation immigrants don't cause obvious, immediate problems, but the long-term consequences are terrible, as we see in subsequent generations who assimilate towards black norms of behavior and do interact with Core America in a much more substantial way than their parents did.

Dan said...

To me, affirmative action is definitive proof that the system is rigged. It is by definition discrimination on the basis of race, which is supposed to be illegal. There is no way that passes constitutional muster.

Not to mention, race supposedly doesn't exist.

That said, blacks rioted and burned 100 cities in the 1960s so I can see why society may have been blackmailed into offering some sinecures. But it is dumb to give affirmative action to Hispanics who: (1) never were slaves, (2) never were subject to Jim Crow laws, and (3) are unlikely to riot on a large scale.

Anonymous said...

The label is Orwellian. It IS discrimination on the basis of race but racism can only hit non whites. Affirmative action with who? whom? reversed is racism.

Anonymous said...

I work with poor people of all races and it was startling when I realized that the poorest white people were light years ahead of the poorest blacks in intelligence. Not just verbal skills, but abstract thinking, comprehension, everything.

Much starker difference than between the richest blacks and whites.

Audacious Epigone said...


The "PoCs" who are raise the biggest fuss on campuses probably tend to be from this cream-of-the-crap green area in the graph. Many of them probably realize that they're not cut out for what's placed in front of them but don't want to just quietly fail, so they play to win from a different angle. The MU protests, specifically the guy who led them who was the son of a multi-millionaire CEO, is the perfect archetype.

Feryl said...

In terms of troublemakers at college, let's examine what college kids were like from one era to another.

1960's/early 70's: very privileged early Boomers, the striver generation (and a big cohort in general), growth of radical Left-wing politics. G.I.s and Silents encourage restive Boomers to go school because, after all, who wants to be stuck in a factory their whole life? I remember a Boomer saying that his parents warned him to not "settle" for working with his hands.

Late 1980's/early 1990's: Hard Left politics now de riguer in academia and experiencing a surge in trendiness, but Gen X is much more detached and apolitical mainly because sell-out Boomers ruined activism. Go watch teen/very young adult interviews from this period; young X-ers have an insouciance that's basically the opposite of the rage of young early Boomers. Not too many of them either (birth rates are low, immigration into the U.S. was quite low in the 60's and 70's.

2010's: Another revival of Leftist activism centered around later Millennials. 30-40 something Boomer professors and professional activists who couldn't pierce the armor of X-ers in the 90's have aged into elders worshipped by their grandchildren. To make matters worse, the 1990's born cohort is quite big especially because of massive immigration into 1990's America.

The key to this is that whether they were 60's teenagers or 2010's elders, Boomers have consistently refused to demonstrate quality leadership and maturity. For those who push the "kids aren't developed" meme, that's a cop-out. Like I say, when X-ers went to college in the late 80's-very early 2000's (Gen X being defined as those born from 1966-1984 with '65 and '85 being toss-ups), they didn't fall for the horsecrap being sold by the generation of narcissism and naive utopianism).

The campuses won't be cleaned-up until they're (mostly) de-Boomered by ornery X-ers, similar to how the Lost Generation grit their teeth while mopping up the excesses and destructive idealism of the Missionary Generation in the early 1900's.

Audacious Epigone said...


Generally speaking are the directional shifts the same for whites and non-whites? My sense is that they are.

Feryl said...

Joel Kotkin observed that many white "early Millennials" voted for Trump. Thing is, those born in the earlier 80's can be twits but they still tend to find the very late 80's/1990's Mily Cyrus cohort that's now throwing a tantrum insufferable.

What do you mean by directional? Do you mean the changes in fashion/behavior within a generation regardless of ethnicity?

What the Boomer high priest class doesn't get is that Millennials of all races are agitating BECAUSE they've been awash in diversity and status striving their whole lives, whether Millennials realize it or not (and the later ones mostly don't). Clueless Boomers assume it's because "they're enthusiastic about fighting to continue the fight we started in the 60's"). Millennials are not confident or certain at all about what they're doing; in fact a source of angst is that deep down inside they don't necessarily believe the PC platitudes but aren't allowed to say so as the result of 50 years of giving ever greater sanctity to Diversity.

Current young hell-raisers are trying to stake a claim to a particular territory. Intelligent (relatively speaking) Leftists and strivers want every metro area and campus for people like themselves. Young Mexicans have been marching with Mexican flags in America since the 2000's because they want the Southwestern US to be Mexican in both culture and racial demos rather than American culture being upheld there with Anglos and blacks and Americanized Latinos .Quite the change from the 60's when young Boomers became unmoored from ancestral/traditional culture and hungered to experience greater diversity of all kinds, hence the free speech movement, the multi-racial Boomer rock/pop groups, psychedelic culture, and so on. The mission was clear: we can't be as boring or soulless as our parents and grandparents were. Or as bigoted. So out went any semblance of order, or rules. Anything went.

It's quite rich for Boomers to blame Millennials for PC, when in reality Silents and Boomers placed such ever growing importance on the guarding of diversity and various victim classes that it led to the current environment in which the only apparent rule is that you can never be racist/sexist/whatever.

Feryl said...

Has anybody else considered this? That the reason campuses are flaring up again is because of cognitive dissonance and gullibility? On the one hand, you've got academia that still has plenty of aging Sixties Generation people (as well as mostly on the same page X-ers who follow the established culture) pushing an ideology that's grossly obsolete and basically toxic in all eras anyway. On the other hand, a student base that's been punished by diversity and excess wishes to pare down and simplify things. Problem is, they dutifully obey the commands of elders feeding them the opposite of what they need.

No wonder younger people feel so crazy and stressed out.

Feryl said...

Remember the APA stress report? X-ers never fully bought into Left-wing activism or utopianism. So now that Trump threatens Sixties Gen. ideology, it just bounces off the psychological armor of X-ers. But Boomers and brainwashed Leftist Millennials feel like their cherished shrine to the 60's has been smote.

Audacious Epigone said...


What do you mean by directional? Do you mean the changes in fashion/behavior within a generation regardless of ethnicity?

Yes. Do levels of political engagement, campus ructions, etc move in the same direction for the entire generational cohort? I've not done my due diligence (obviously) looking at things through a generational lens. That's missing out, as Peter Turchin, Agnostic, and you have helped me realize.

Millennials are not confident or certain at all about what they're doing; in fact a source of angst is that deep down inside they don't necessarily believe the PC platitudes but aren't allowed to say so as the result of 50 years of giving ever greater sanctity to Diversity.

Exactly my experience. Many of the millennials who work for me will laugh at things that have people ten years older than me clutching their skirts. They're agreeable but despite (or because!) of all the social media navel-gazing, they're insecure about everything, even their own opinions on things.

Anonymous said...

Application rates are super low among low SES Whites though (lower than equivalently SAT performing Blacks IRC). So I'm not sure that group is necessarily getting cut (because they don't apply).

Seldon said...

For an interesting explanation of why affirmative action works the it does, favoring rich blacks and Hispanics, look at this article.