Ethics Quote of the Week: Justice Sonia Sotamayor

Sonia_Sotomayor

“Race matters. Race matters in part because of the long history of racial minorities’ being denied access to the political process…Race also matters because of persistent racial inequality in society…And race matters for reasons that really are only skin deep, that cannot be discussed any other way, and that cannot be wished away. Race matters to a young man’s view of society when he spends his teenage years watching others tense up as he passes, no matter the neighborhood where he grew up. Race matters to a young woman’s sense of self when she states her hometown, and then is pressed, “No, where are you really from?”, regardless of how many generations her family has been in the country. Race matters to a young person addressed by a stranger in a foreign language, which he does not understand because only English was spoken at home. Race matters because of the slights, the snickers, the silent judgments that reinforce that most crippling of thoughts: “I do not belong here.” In my colleagues’ view, examining the racial impact of legislation only perpetuates racial discrimination. This refusal to accept the stark reality that race matters is regrettable.”

—-Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotamayor, dissenting in the case of Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative, Integration and Immigration and Fight for Equality by Any Means Necessary, in which a 6-2 majority ruled that Michigan voters could ban race-based preferences at universities without violating the Constitution.

This screed was remarkably unprofessional for a Supreme Court Justice, an emotional recitation of unsupported assertions, perceptions and complaints with no constitutional relevance. Sotamayor, you may recall, was nominated by the President in the midst of a public debate regarding the importance of “empathy” on the bench, code for “we need more women.” But the Constitution is supposed to be interpreted by principles of law and legal reasoning, not from “the heart.” Well, we clearly got the empathetic Justice he wanted, for better or worse.

Yes, race matters. And gender matters, as girls become acculturated at an early age to be submissive and to see themselves as defined by how males regard them. Being gay matters, certainly, as children feel isolated and out of place. Religion certainly matters, as it can make you seem different, or dangerous, or weak. Not having a father matters, or being an orphan, or growing up in a foster home, or being poor. Being small, or short, or fat, or unattractive matters. Yes, and stupidity matters too, as does being clumsy, and socially awkward, or having a speech impediment, or other, more serious physical handicaps. It matters when you are poor at making friends, and when your parents are drunks or criminals, or when they rape, abuse or beat you.

I agree that race can be a significant burden in America; I also know that a lot of African-Americans and Hispanic Americans and others have compensating advantages, including strength of character and a solid upbringing, that allows them to succeed despite any disadvantages conferred by their race. I also know that there are many, many white Americans who labor under other disadvantages of birth, family or circumstance that make the plight of typical black Americans look very manageable by comparison.

What Sotomayor calls “stark reality” is her own bias, allowing her to isolate the very real problems of some groups and justify placing them above the rights of their fellow citizens, guaranteed in the founding documents, the Declaration and the Constitution. The decision she derides doesn’t deny that race matters, but that it matters more than that  guarantee.

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Pointer and Source: Althouse

91 thoughts on “Ethics Quote of the Week: Justice Sonia Sotamayor

  1. Jack, I know you’re not being willfully obtuse, but the result is the same.

    Read Sotomayor’s money quote above, from your own citation: “In my colleagues’ view, examining the racial impact of legislation only perpetuates racial discrimination.”

    That’s what this case is about.

    It’s no more about affirmative action in colleges than Marbury vs. Madison was about document delivery. This case is about whether or not the highest court of the land will even choose to look at the racial impact of legislation.

    The majority said no – we will not even consider it. Don’t give us statistical data about arrest rates, incarceration levels, admissions levels, sentencing lengths, or any of that stuff – the only thing that matters is whether someone had overtly racist intentions. If nobody meant things to turn out badly, then we don’t want to hear about it – even if things DID turn out badly.

    Imagine applying that logic to pollution. Chemical companies could pollute like crazy, but as along as they could plausibly claim they didn’t mean any harm by it, then evidence of particulate counts or parts per million would be impermissible in debates about pollution.

    Imagine applying that logic to education. Teachers could do whatever they pleased, and as long as they could plausibly claim they didn’t intend their students to be uneducated and fail tests, then evidence of such failures would be inadmissible in debates about educational effectiveness.

    Imagine applying that logic to matters of automobile safety. As long as GM could claim that they never intended people to die from faulty parts, then any pattern of deaths from faulty parts would be inadmissible in court hearings about deaths from negligence.

    But here, in matters of race, the highest court is saying, flat out, that no evidence of systematic racial bias is admissible in court, unless you can find a conscious motive behind it. And Sotomayor is saying – that’s ridiculous.

    She’s totally right. The majority opinion is chilling in its refusal to even allow facts into the courtroom, much less face them.

    Don’t confuse the narrow case at hand with the legal precedent that’s being chiseled out of our legal system. It’s not about affirmative action – it’s about whether the legal system will even tolerate a fact-based discussion about race.

    • It’s really quite simple, Charles. In a free society, it should be up to individuals to decide who to associate with and why. It is not the business of any government to force relationships on people based on any criteria. Nor is it ethical to pigeonhole people into categories and grant special status to one or the other based on perceived “needs”. When you do that, you give government the ability to “divide & conquer” to forward a political agenda. I think we’ve seen quite enough of that in recent days.

      Common concerns and values bring the citizens of a nation together. Politics-based demographical strategies work to keep them separate. The American concept of E Pluribus Unum needs a chance to work. The Supreme Court finally got one right.

      • I agree. I mean, for example, what’s wrong with letting employers discriminate against women or black people? They can just go get a job with OTHER women or OTHER black people. No need to force association — they can associate with their own kind, Plessy style.

        I know …. I know …. there are several amendments in the Constitution dealing with race/gender AND over 100 years of Constitutional law painfully pulling us to the point where we have hideous desegregated schools and the horror of two working parent households. But dammit — the framers wanted us to treat blacks and women as second class citizens. If you claim to be a strict constructionist, you better get with the program.

        • You really have a nasty chip on your shoulder, don’t you, Beth? You apparently hate whites, men, the framers, the Constitution and, one must assume, America in general. You’ve really got a problem, haven’t you? Your attempt to blame bad schools and two parent working families on what you hate (instead of those of your own political persuasion… who made it happen) merely illustrates your moral myopia.

          • 1. I don’t hate whites. I am white. I like myself — and I like my white friends.
            2. I am married to a white man — I don’t hate him either. (Well, you know, there ARE days.)
            3. I neither like nor dislike the Framers — I never met them and their ghosts don’t talk to me. I hope that’s true for you too. I think many of them had great and forward-thinking ideas and I respect them for that. But if I had to speculate, I would guess that several of them were assholes — even for their time.
            4. I don’t hate the Constitution. In fact, I have studied it at length, practiced Constitutional law, and have taken more than one oath involving the Constitution. How about you?
            5. I obviously don’t hate America. I wouldn’t live here if that was the case. I will admit that I think any pep- school-assembly-mob-style-chanting about loving any country is rather ridiculous though. I love many of the things that our government has done over the years and I believe other acts were quite despicable.
            6. I don’t even understand your last statement truthfully. I wasn’t blaming bad schools or two parent families about anything. In fact, I went to a bad primary and secondary school and turned out just fine (well, you might disagree). And I enjoyed being in a two parent family — and I am raising my children in a two parent family.

            • I was only going by your words, Beth. As for your #4 comments, like me say this. In the wake of the Obama regime, claiming to be a “constitutional scholar” sends up a red flag just about as quick as any statement you could make! And- as to oaths taken on the Constitution- I took my first of those on August 31, 1971 when I joined the Army. I have taken numerous repeats since. And MY oath was before God and a pledge to defend America and its way of life with my own life, if necessary. That oath is still binding. How about you?

              • Re No. 4 — I was actually paid for practicing law, but I will acknowledge that I haven’t practiced Constitutional law in several years. And “scholar” usually suggests a professor — I’ve never been a Constitutional law professor. Who brought God into this? And what on earth does a deity have to do with the Constitutional discussion at play here? And how does military service have any relevance on one’s ability to INTERPRET the Constitution?

                I do thank you for your service though. I wasn’t alive at the time but many of my family members served in Vietnam.

                • It MEANS, Beth, that just because you’ve studied the Constitution and practiced law it doesn’t necessarily follow that you’re dedicated to its principles. I’m not accusing you of this, mind you, but that has been the case in far too many situations in modern times.

                  BTW: You’re splitting hairs about “constitutional scholar”. If you studied constitution law, then you’re one; whether you were a professor or not.

                  Also: You specifically referred to taking an oath involving the Constitution. I merely responded to that. Now, with the question you raise concerning the INTERPRETATION of the Constitution (something completely different) I can merely point out a little copy of it I keep handy on my desk. Beth: The Constitution is not long, nor is it complicated. Any question that might exist as to its wording can swiftly be satisfied merely by accessing what the framers themselves had to say about it.

                  “On every question of construction, let us carry ourselves back into time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates and instead of trying what meaning can be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one which was passed.”- Thomas Jefferson

                  • Steven — Constitutional interpretation is extremely complicated. We have 200 years of jurisprudence demonstrating that fact.

                    • No, Beth. It’s only complicated when certain persons make it that way in order to justify a career for themselves. All you really need to correctly interpret the Constitution is a knowledge of that short document and a little background into its making.

                    • Steven, you’re kidding, right? All those constitutional law scholars are just making stuff up, justifying a career for themselves? Let’s hope you’re not a physician.

                    • Charles: If you think I’m accusing a lot of “constitutional attorneys” (or whatever you want to call them) as a bunch of racketeers, liars, political activists, Constitution haters, leeches on society and overall nogudniks… you’re right. Now… what does being a medical doctor have to do with it??

                    • “The principal cause of racial antagonism today is people…thinking of themselves as victims…”

                      You can’t make this stuff up. People like you actually write it.

                      Wow. .

                    • But Charles, you can’t be surprised that the racism diagnosis has lost substantial public credibility after six years of Democrats absurdly attributing to racism all principled opposition to Obama policies that were always going to be controversial, and the leadership failures on an epic and near unprecedented scale. Laughable claims that “no President has been treated this way” after the non-stop crucifixion in the media and by Democrats of the President who came immediately before, after the humiliation of Clinton, the contempt for Carter and the hatred toward LBJ and Nixon. After a wretched and unethically political AG whines that he, only because he is black, has been treated with more disrespect than any other Attorney General, as if Ashcroft, Gonzalez and Mitchell were figments of our imagination. That well is not infinite, and Democrats went to it far, far too often to avoid accountability.

                    • Jack, many of your points about Democratic excess are quite true, and well taken. And any “surprise” on my part is on me, there’s no good excuse for being naive.

                      At the same time, I’m sure there’s an ethical principle that relegates “he did it first” to the lower levels of debate.

                      Further, much (most?) of the increase in racial disparity in the past few decades took place not under Obama, but under Reagan, both Bushes, and Clinton. I’m talking about huge increases in prison population, disparate drug sentencing, and Supreme Court decisions that increased police range of discretion while decreasing legal grounds for review. And that, I would argue, is both the manifestation of and the cause of greater racism.

                      None of these had anything to do with the Obama administration – they largely predated it. To my mind, Obama’s to be faulted for not doing enough to walk back those atrocious trends.

                    • My point is that racism, which is a stubborn and legitimate factor in many social problems and should be discussed openly and honestly as Justice Sotomayor argues (except that she regards “open and honest” as meaning “in the manner in which I have decreed”), has been so shamelessly abused as a phenomenon and become an all-purpose dodge in the administration of a President who desperately needs one. His election was a form of historical affirmative action,as he lacked even minimal experience and aptitude for the job; then he was awarded a Nobel Prize he had done nothing to earn. The culture is full of high profile examples of the same thing: “12 Years a Slave” won the Oscar not because it was anyone’s favorite movie, but because Hollywood decided that it was “time.” It’s rather hard to argue for legitimate uses of a policy when manipulative, invalid, cynical uses of the philosophy undergirding the same policy has become so obvious and common.

                    • Jack,

                      We see eye to eye on the value of dialogue about racism; thanks for articulating that.

                      We may have very little common ground on your view that the present administration has used “the race card” in the ways you mention. From my perspective, it looks entirely different.

                      The President has been astonishingly reluctant and circumspect, it seems to me, in talking about race, despite blatant provocations (e.g. Congressman jerk-face’s “You lie!” outburst during the State of the Union speech). Jackie Robinson’s restraint had nothing on Obama, as I see it.

                      These are very basic differences in perspective, I suspect. We can each cite myriad examples to justify our viewpoints, and they’ll do almost nothing to convince each other. It’s a real conundrum, to which I do not have an answer – how can we all get to a common viewpoint on what we both acknowledge is an important social issue?

                      The only answer I know is more mixing of people, and the more casual and intimate the better. Integrated social lives, up to and including intermarriage, seem to me to offer the best hope for a common perspective on race relations. And that’s hard stuff to do, and it takes much time.

                    • Charles, this has nothing to do with Obama’s actions. Obama has degraded the presidency with many issues, but has not personally played the race card. Well except for “if I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.” And… Well… No.

                      My point was going to be that it doesn’t matter if Obama himself is a race baiter, people do it on his behalf, and he doesn’t dissent. If he truly wanted to remove race from the discussion, he needs to call out people on his own side who say the only reason people don’t like his policy is because of his race. But he doesn’t. Because if he did, he would have to admit that those issues were for other reasons, and that might be uncomfortable.

                    • Of course. He’s smart enough not to stoop THAT low, although he’s stooped incredibly low. If the President didn’t want his surrogates, Holder, MSNBC and the Congressional Black Congress to scream racism, he could stop it..easily.

                    • Dial back the hyperbole. Where did Holder “scream racism?” I’m not going to defend MSNBC any more than you have to defend Fox, but cabinet appointees are fair game – show your cards.

          • This is why political sarcasm rarely works when “preaching to the heathens”; speaking as someone closer to Beth’s political/social views (and age as well) her reference to desegregated schools and two parent working families as bad was in jest.

                • They’re bad. They may be necessary, but they’re bad. They put the kids into the hands of strangers, and stress on marriages. I came home about 17 tears ago and said to my wife: “This sucks. We are tired all the time; we get home late; we never see Grant until late, and it starts up all over again the next morning. I think our au pere is a crook, and I want my son to hear English and not Bolivian all day. So here’s the deal: You have five minutes. You can quit, or I will. Your choice. Clock is ticking.”

                  She took it, until we started our own business. Best damn thing we ever did, or close to it.

                  • That’s great for you and your family. My husband and I manage our schedules so that our kids are only in after care for 2 hours each day — which involves all sports/recess time. They love it and frankly are getting more exercise/sunshine than they would with me for those two hours each day. On top of that, our careers permit us to provide for our children (the best schools, music, dance, vacations, etc.) in a way that our parents never were able to do for us. And, both of us have careers that we enjoy which make us happier, healthier adults and, in turn, better, happier, healthier parents because of it.

                    Your statement is so broad that I am embarrassed for you. Obviously, many two parent working families hate the strain and wish that one parent could stay home. I also know of many stay-at-home dads and moms who can’t handle the day-to-day taking care of the kids/house but it doesn’t make a lot of sense to work outside the home when day care costs are taken into account.

                    At the end of the day, there are a variety of arrangements that result in happy, thriving home environments and many that do not. But claiming that two parent working families are bad just because it didn’t work for YOU is ridiculous.

                    • But I didn’t say any of that. I’m glad you think your kids are happier and better off without you, but I doubt you believe it. “It” worked fine for us—we had more money, and things were organized. We still decided it was objectively a bad trade-off, and again, I think most of the time, it is. Families don’t eat together; they don’t socialize, vacations are harder to organize, and the kids aren’t educated at home as well, because there’s less contact with the parents. That’s how families were set up to work and did work, well,and the decline of two parent families can be traced directly to the breakdown in that model. Yes, it’s healthier for the woman to have the option of a career. Yes, the man benefits from sharing in more child care than the old “wait until daddy gets home” model. But for the family itself, and the kids, it’s not good. We should be able to recognize that the older model worked better for families without asserting that it would make sense to return to conditions that we have decided were inequitable, whatever their benefits.

                    • You “doubt I believe it?” You are incredibly arrogant. If I could change one thing about my life growing up, it would have been to get my mom out of the house. Our family could have used the money, she could have used the outlet, and there does reach a point where kids don’t need mommy or daddy 24/7. I would have LOVED it. It’s not like she was helping me with my Physics homework after school. She was running errands, taking care of the house, or watching TV — like the majority of stay-at-home parents. I do all of those things after my kids go to bed. They get just as much quality time with me — if not more — than I did with my mom. The only thing that is sacrificed is my own personal time, and I consider my children to be well worth that sacrifice.

                      “For the family itself, it IS good.” It teaches the children that the family works together as a unit, and that certain chores/jobs aren’t relegated to specific gender roles. And again, we’re talking 2 extra hours a day here where they get to run around and be kids. The same 2 hours that most kids growing up in my time did the same thing — it was just in our neighborhood instead of a school yard. So what is the difference? Oh right — I know the answer! The difference is that my kids will not suffer under a huge college/grad school debt load like me and the rest of my friends who were fortunate enough to have a parent stay at home.

                      The only difference that I can see is with home schooled children — and the success there (or lack thereof) is family-specific. I have friends who do it and we considered it, but we ultimately decided that private school was the way to go.

                    • “If I could change one thing about my life growing up, it would have been to get my mom out of the house.”
                      I stand corrected in your case. It is still true that “Oh, no, the kids are just as well off in day care” is, in most cases, a huge rationalization.

                      I do think your attitude about your mother has to be a minority opinion, however. And I also wonder, if she had not been around, if you would have felt the same way. “Home Alone,” you know.

                      “The difference is that my kids will not suffer under a huge college/grad school debt load like me and the rest of my friends who were fortunate enough to have a parent stay at home.” Please recall my previous comment. Two-earner families may be necessary; necessary does not equal ” a good thing.” Is having money in the bank more beneficial in the long term than having more contact with one’s parents growing up? A lot of people, a majority I guess, think so today. (And I’m sure being illuminated on gender roles is much more appreciated by 6 year olds than spending the day with a parent rather than an illegal immigrant.) My parents didn’t, and I don’t. Ultimately, the proof is in the pudding.

                    • I’m glad you think your kids are happier and better off without you,

                      Why do you people tempt me with these gently-lobbed softballs?

                      Must fight… Snarky… Comment…

        • Now Beth, I just know you understand the difference between “I’m a woman and didn’t get the job because the employer chose a qualified man that he thought was better” and “Because I’m a woman and didn’t get the job, I must have been discriminated against, because I’m qualified.”

          • Just reacting to all the emotion being thrown around on both sides today re this case. I think that this case requires a more nuanced analysis than you have given it — and the same goes for the uninformed comments clogging up the blogasphere here and elsewhere.

            • Did I analyze the case in this post? I believe I analyzed Sotamayor un-benchly rant following the cues of a race-obsessed administration and party. The decision itself was a no-brainer, which is why only the most knee-jerk of the knee-jerks on the Court could toss aside their judicial duty and vote the other way. Seriously, would you want SCOTUS to rule that a document the forbids racial prejudice would ban citizens from voting down racial preferences? And what’s nuanced about Sotamayor’s “It’s tough being a minority, so we should tilt the board so more rolls their way” logic?

              • You had a previous post on this case earlier today. I was lumping the two together. It’s too late for me to jump into a thorough analysis.

    • The case embodies the self-evident principle that you can’t address the problem of racial prejudice by discriminating on the basis of race.
      That is the realism that Sotomayor refuses to acknowledge. The majority opinion clearly explains why there is no negative racial impact from this law at all. Meanwhile, the plaintiffs unequivocally and without apparent embarrassment assert that sub-average minority students must be admitted to college as a matter of right. That attitude hurts minorities, and policies supporting it make the race divide worse. It could’t be clearer.

      • Exactly right. When government takes sides there will always be inequity. We should be able to depend on governments to treat all citizens as equal under the law. That this did not happen in the past is regrettable.
        We should bend ourselves to the effort of assuring that every citizen is treated fairly under the law, that each person has equal access to opportunity and that each person has the right to be free from government interference in their lives. The right to not feel hurt is not written into the Constitution for a good reason. If feelings are given weight as rights ultimately no one has rights because every person can feel that every other person is oppressing them. That gives government the opportunity to interfere in every aspect of every person’s life.
        Even charlesgreen and Beth probably don’t want to be controlled by a government that decides they’re the offenders. Times change and rights given to government are never taken back. What happens when the pendulum swings and conservatives or anarchists, or anyone that doesn’t have their same agenda get to decide whose feelings get to be considered more important?

      • The case embodies the self-evident principle that you can’t address the problem of racial prejudice by discriminating on the basis of race.

        The Supreme Court held that race-based affirmative action may be a required remedy for past unlawful racial discrimination. See e.g. United States v. Paradise , 480 U.S. 149 (1987) However, the programs in question in Schuette did not have the purpose of remediating past unlawful racial discrimination by the universities Instead, the purpose was to promote diversity.

        (It is unclear if Michigan proposal 2 permits affirmative action as a remedy for violations of Proposal 2. It, of course, does not restrict what remedies are permissible or mandatory for violations of federal law.)

  2. Read up on two prior Supreme Court cases; this fits right in the trend. They are McCleskey v. Kemp, and Purkett v. Elm. All of them have the effect of denying statistical data as evidence in racial cases.

    In McCleskey v. Kemp, a statistical analysis showing that black convicts in Georgia were 5 times more likely to be executed than white convicts, after allowing for everything but race, was disallowed – on the grounds that statistics didn’t prove intent.

    Former Justice Powell said it was the one decision he would do differently, had he to do it over again. The effect has been chilling – it has disallowed the discussion of data in race cases, allowing absurd (that’s the Purkett v. Elm case) pretenses to masquerade as non-racial intent.

    This case continues the trend – we will not look at the racial effects of legislation, the court is saying.

    All this hoo-ra about affirmative action is smokescreen – the court chose the weakest link in the chain, namely affirmative action at the college level, one of the most difficult claims to support. The effect was just as they desired – everyone’s blathering on about SAT scores and fairness, and completely missing the fact that Justice Roberts blew a high hard one past the public – basically excluding social data from the legal consideration of one of the more pressing social issues of our time.

    • This makes no sense. The case was about what it was about: how is that a smoke screen? Read the opinion: it distinguished the cases where there is evidence of negative impact as well as motive.

    • If it’s really about whether the legal system will accept fact-based discussions about race, why didn’t either of the dissenting justices come out and say so?

      • “In my colleagues’ view, examining the racial impact of legislation only perpetuates racial discrimination.”
        -Sotomayor

          • You mean racists are the ones who talk about racism? How is that not like blaming the victim?
            This is a pernicious, evil lie – that the victims of racism are in fact the cause of racism because they have this nasty habit of pointing out the unpleasant fact of racism’s existence.
            Suppose we treated medicine that way – claiming that it’s “those people” who are perpetuating cancer by making it an issue in the first place.
            I am dumbfounded that people can make this argument.

            • Dumbfounded? Doubtless you are. When you live in a world where big government is the only remedy for what you perceive as injustice- here, there or anywhere- then you likely believe that people are all either greedy bloodsuckers or victims. The principle cause of racial antagonism today is that of people being educated or encouraged to think of themselves as victims of some other group because they (as a group) lack some of the physical resources of that other defined group. This is exactly how political criminals manipulate populations for their own benefit, if allowed. A better stance might be to encourage people to come together on their own by emphasizing their commonality as Americans with common values. Of course, if they did that, you and your cronies might be out of a job, huh?

    • What I can’t get over is your assertion that statistical data should be submitted as evidence.

      Every case should be heard on it’s merits, and anything that is not based on fact is noise. If someone commits a murder, they commit a murder, if someone’s SAT scores are not high enough, they are not high enough. That their demographic underperforms is tragic, but irrelevant. Society is not served by putting under qualified people on a pedestal. It may not be fair that if you’re black you have an uphill battle, but it definitely isn’t fair to get preferential treatment because you’re black either. SCOTUS isn’t the place for this discussion, and the government in general is ill-equipped to handle it.

      • This is the disparate outcome theory, which has some validity, but not much. It is the reason everyone agreed that IDs at the voting booth was a good idea, until someone decided that it was more inconvenient for minorities. Then it was suddenly a racist idea, designed to restrict voting rights. As long as the Left plays games like that, “disparate impact” is untrustworthy.

        • Jack, I think you know better on this one. If not, do some reading on the history of Jim Crow. Voting qualifications – IDs, reading exams, records of various types – were invented in the 19th century post Civil War, and absolutely with the intent of disenfranchising newly freed slaves.

          To claim that “everyone agreed that IDs at the voting booth was a good idea, until someone decided it was more inconvenient for minorities” is just fiction.

          • Jack, I think you know better on this one. If not, do some reading on the history of Jim Crow. Voting qualifications – IDs, reading exams, records of various types – were invented in the 19th century post Civil War, and absolutely with the intent of disenfranchising newly freed slaves.

            Similar laws were also passed to suppress the freedmen’s Second amendment rights.

            the problem is that these race baiters do not even believe the bullshit they are peddling. If they did, they would attack New York City’s handgun permit requirements as racist, for it certainly is more stringent than the proposed voter ID laws. (It includes “proof of residence, a proof of citizenship or permanent residency, and a Social Security card; to pay $431.50 plus the cost of two color photographs; to wait an average of eight months for the application to be processed, and then attend a lengthy in-person interview“. I am just so sure that in-person interviews would never be used as a pretext for racial discrimination.) And yet, not only does the NAACP not protest NYC’s policy (which, according to their logic, is racist), they actually supported a lawsuit against gun manufacturers.

            • Michael,

              Does it occur to you that the NAACP might have an interest in fighting FOR voting rights and AGAINST the proliferation of handguns? Many people hold those two views at the same time, and don’t view them as opposing; gosh I resemble that remark myself.

              • Michael’s point is that the viewpoints do not maintain consistency if the premise of disparate outcomes is a valid premise to base logical arguments from.

                If the NAACP argues against voter ID laws because our evil racist American system can prey on and manipulate disparate outcomes so that voter ID laws are meant to disenfranchise blacks, THEN the NAACP also should argue against the way the firearm laws are designed…because those disproportionately hinder blacks from exercising the most ancient of rights… self-defense.

                But they don’t. And it’s because the NAACP doesn’t give a fig about disparate outcome. The NAACP cares about maintaining its power over a huge voting demographic and knows it must pander to the democrat party platform to do so. Hence, no consistency.

                  • Completely fallacious argument. You might as well criticize the NRA for not supporting the 1st Amendment as vociferously as they do the 2nd, and claiming that somehow they’re therefore inconsistent regarding defending the constitutional. It’s not inconsistent, it’s just a matter of subject matter relevance and interest to the organization in question, be it the NAACP or the NRA.

                    • That analogy fails.

                      The NRA specifically advocates for the 2nd Amendment, based on its role as basically a big firearm enthusiast club. It has NO implied business specifically advancing causes relevant to the 1st Amendment.

                      The NAACP, however, and here’s where your analogy fails, has a much broader goal than the NRA. In its very name, it implies to advance for the rights — that is ALL OF THEM, not any one particular right, such as voting.

                      So no, it is not a fallacious argument.

                    • I think you’re forgetting the CP part of NAACP? It’s a bounded constituency. So is the NRA.
                      There’s no inconsistency on tactics if the overall mission and constituency is rightly seen. There WOULD be inconsistency if they used the same argument on opposite sides, e.g. If the NAACP argued for exclusionary voting tests for Indians but not for black people–but consistency doesn’t require they extend their constituency to the world at large based on a tactic or action.

                    • Don’t be dense.

                      The NAACP would be for advancing ALL the rights of the “CP”. Not just voting rights.

                      Your analogy still fails.

                      The inconsistency is still present as Michael described it above.

                    • The NRA has no involvement with the First Amendment. The NAACP’s mission is to ensure that blacks are not unfairly and unjustly impeded by prejudice in their quest to enjoy the rights of life, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Its template must be consistent and applicable to all situations. The argument that a policy measure designed to benefit society as a whole must be avoided because it creates an unintended burden on blacks is only legitimate if the NAACP is willing to give it general application. Thus, no prison sentences for any of the crimes disproportionate in the black community. No paternal child support, since over 75% of black fathers have to pay them. Not a fallacious argument at all. The voter Id protest is cynical because it applies an unreasonable test that the organization wouldn’t dare use elsewhere.

                    • The NAACP’s mission is to ensure that blacks are not unfairly and unjustly impeded by prejudice in their quest to enjoy the rights of life, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Its template must be consistent and applicable to all situations.

                      To expand on this, people who believe government may not discriminate on the basis of race may disagree with the proper scope of government policy on keeping and bearing arms, and may disagree on the criteria by which disparate impact is equal to racial discrimination, but they all agree that government policy on guns or voting- whatever it is- should apply equally on the basis of race.

                      Comparing NYC’s handgun laws with NC’s voter ID laws, it is clear that NYC placing a heavier burden on the right to keep and bear arms than NC does on the right to vote. It is plausible to believe that NC’s laws do not have enough disparate impact to be racist, while NYC’s laws are racist due to the greater disparate impact. Believing the reverse defies common sense- unless one really does not oppose racial discrimination, but promotes some ulterior agenda.

  3. I have said this before, and doubtlessly will say it again…”The only way to stop discrimination is to STOP DISCRIMINATING”. I would love to be able to attribute this quote to someone, but I cannot, because I do not remember where I first heard it. What I can do is ask you to re-read it, then, instead of writing it off as just another platitude, THINK about it. Like it or not, discrimination will be with us until and unless we are somehow able to stop taking race into account…not just white people, but ALL of us. And I mean stop taking race into account, PERIOD. I can’t tell you, at this point, how to do it but I can tell you that it must be done.

    • Justice Roberts, ending his opinion in the 2007 school-desegretation case Parents Involved: “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”

      Believe it or not, this statement is considered subversive and controversial in some quarters, like in Justice Sotamayor’s chambers.

      • Dial back the hyperbole. Where did Holder “scream racism?” I’m not going to defend MSNBC any more than you have to defend Fox, but cabinet appointees are fair game – show your cards.

        • I have been debating whether to post on Holder’s disgraceful comments in front of Sharpton’s group, and his more disgraceful Jumbo that he wasn’t referring to race. Talk about Code. I guess one can’t really scream in code, though, so I’ll cop to mixed metaphors.

  4. I am not a lawyer. do not play one on TV, nor did I spend the night in a Holiday Inn Express last night. BUT, my understanding of the decision was that the SCOTUS would not overrule the will of the electorate, who, after reasoned debate on the issue, voted to amend its state constitution to state unequivocally that no person shall be granted a preference based on some genetic characteristic, belief, religion, etc. Isn’t that what we are striving toward? They did not strike down nor address the merits of affirmative action.

    I get Jack’s point that Justice Sotamayor’s dissent was not based on Constitutional law and was reflecting her own biases regarding race and gender.

    Outside of this decision, there is no doubt that some people in this country have an cultural aversion to people of other races, nationalities, genders, lifestyles, Such aversions apply equally to all genders, races, nationalities etc. on a global scale. In the US. such personal aversions must not be a criterion for employment decisions, educational, or other economic opportunities.

    To Mr. Green’s assertion, “You mean racists are the ones who talk about racism? How is that not like blaming the victim? This is a pernicious, evil lie – that the victims of racism are in fact the cause of racism because they have this nasty habit of pointing out the unpleasant fact of racism’s existence,”

    The evil lie is that racism and gender discrimination remains an institution perpetrated by white males such that all benefits inure to them within the economy of the US. Therefore, such institutional racism must continue to be addressed through the very means that created unequal opportunities in the first place. I have stated in earlier posts that any group that demands perpetual preferential treatment by virtue of race, ethnicity, gender or some other factor is guilty of the same institutional bias that we seek to overcome.

    In Justice Sotamayor’s words ” Race also matters because of persistent racial inequality in society…

    What does this mean? Does it mean that every race be identical in population size? Does it mean that income distribution within the racial sub-segment reflect the income distribution in the majority demographic? Or, does it mean that everyone has an equal chance based on persistence, education and intellect?

    This is same Justice that said ““I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life,”

    Blatant racism if we switched the nouns, And why just white men?

    Later she said “Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences,” she said, for jurists who are women and nonwhite, “our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.”

    To this I do not disagree. However, the difference does not mean that better decisions will be made just different decisions. If we accept the premise that physiological or cultural differences are acceptable biases in judicial rulings then no culture, race, or national origin is inherently racist. She cannot say that white European physiology or culture is inferior for is she does then the logical conclusion is that all others are cultures and genders are superior to the white European culture which is a racist statement.

    She continues, “And race matters for reasons that really are only skin deep, that cannot be discussed any other way, and that cannot be wished away. Race matters to a young man’s view of society when he spends his teenage years watching others tense up as he passes, no matter the neighborhood where he grew up.”

    To that I say, Why can’t they be discussed in any other way? I cannot wish away what others think, I can only think for myself. Why do you feel the need to tell me how I think and feel? Why does the young man sense the tension of others when he walks by? Are the passerby’s truly in a state of tension or has such hypersensitivity been planted within him through the rhetoric of those “leaders” who amass great wealth and power rationalizing every perceived slight as evidence of racism. We need to tell children that they can be anything they want provided they work hard in school and apply themselves. If we continually tell them the majority is against them and they have no chance without government protections then they will simply fail to strive for greatness, reinforcing within them the sense that majority society is against them. This is exactly what the self described champions of racially equality seem to want. If it is not then I challenge them to try alternative tactics to get my support.

    However, because there has been past injustice and we feel that we must compensate those affected by such injustice, we must ask who should pay the price for past injustice and for how long. Is evidence of economic disparity the only means to determine evidence of racism; I think not. It takes individual effort and if that effort is not forthcoming then failure to achieve is not evidence of racism. For those that advocate for affirmative action, should only the sons of whites who had the misfortune of being born into lower and middle income American families bear the burden of reparations? I don’t think that the sons of well connected whites suffer from being denied employment in favor of an greater, equally, or lesser qualified women or minority candidate as a result of ensuring affirmative action plan goals. Nor do I think that the daughters of many well to do citizens have ever faced any form of discrimination in their lives.

    • Chris,

      You ask, about “race matters”What does this mean? Does it mean that every race be identical in population size? Does it mean that income distribution within the racial sub-segment reflect the income distribution in the majority demographic? Or, does it mean that everyone has an equal chance based on persistence, education and intellect?”

      Of course it doesn’t mean any of those things. What it does mean is that race in the US subtly a great deal of perceptions – many of which we are unconscious of, but which nonetheless can be detected. And those perceptions have consequences. The point is to notice the consequences and correct for the perceptions in some socially appropriate way.

      Very few people, me included, want to defend racial quotas in college admissions. As I and many others have noted, the game is well over by the time you get to 18 anyway: the real question to all those who’d like to believe we live in a post racial society is, what are you doing about K-12 education, where it makes a difference?

      The trouble with statements like Justice Roberts’ “the only way to stop discrimination is to stop discriminating” is that it presumes that all discrimination is conscious. If only it were that simple!

      We already live in a very PC world, where hardly anyone confesses to being an outright bigot, and very few people even consider themselves to be bigots or racists, even in the quiet of their own minds. I’m sure nobody on this thread thinks they are racist, for example.

      And so we go on thinking that racism is fixed. Well, that’s demonstrably false: there are tons of studies that show systematic, ongoing, pervasive, statistically significant racial discrimination, right here in 2014, in areas of life like housing access, mortgage lending rates, arrest rates, incarceration rates, sentencing penalties, stop-and-frisk rates, and grading in schools. The data are simply undeniable.

      So here’s my challenge to all those fans of John Roberts and “just don’t discriminate” – do you or do you not believe that racism can be unconscious? If you don’t believe it, then how do you explain all the anomalies in life? And if you do believe it, why aren’t you advocating for better early childhood experiences in institutions like public schools?

      • Which gets back to the point I made in the original post. If the point is subconscious bias, why is subconscious race bias necessarily and obviously more pernicious than similar biases against fat, short, Jewish or ugly people…or Republicans? And how is the law supposed to fairly and effectively counteract theoretical subconscious bias, real or not? Sure it exists. Where? How much? All guesswork. And on the basis of that, we’re going to allow the government to play favorites?

        • It’s not, and until Charles can prove why it’s the government’s business to level the playing field in the terms you just described, all other arguments from him are assumed invalid.

      • Roberts’ statement presumes no such thing. Regardless of the reasoning behind discrimination, changing the direction of discrimination is undeniably not the same thing as ending discrimination. It’s a self evidently true statement which some people can’t accept because they don’t like where logic takes them after acknowledging it. If your ideology is incompatible with objective reality, it’s not reality that has a problem.

        I do believe that racism can be unconscious. I do advocate for better public schooling, primarily through enabling school choice, but also through altering public school funding so that there isn’t an incentive for schools to keep dysfunctional kids in school where they can mess everyone else up, and for that matter allowing schools to recognize that the appropriate place for some kids is somewhere other than public schools. The law that says if a kid has an IEP, you can’t every expel them is toxic to the ability to teach students. I also generally support some forms of testing for students as a gauge for teacher effectiveness. It’s flawed, but it’s still a better measure of their worth than years worked + degree earned, which is the only form of merit their unions like. I think teachers for hard to fill subjects like math and science should be paid more than teachers for easier to fill subjects like English. I think the assertion that a good teacher can teach a subject well that they don’t understand is nonsense.

        You probably disagree with me on most of those points. You need to realize that if my response to a stated assertion doesn’t match your response to it, that does NOT indicate that i don’t really agree with the assertion. Perhaps you personally wouldn’t go there, but having seen exactly that sort of accusation in the past I’d rather head it off.

        Acknowledging unconscious racism doesn’t require me to support overt counter racism to overcome it. In part because racism is not a one way street, but also because statistical evidence can reveal a general pattern but CANNOT identify racism in any specific case. Opposing overt counter racism does NOT require me to believe racism is dead and we’re all fine now, only to believe that it is a poor solution.

        The statistical arguments you refer to about racism are not nearly as convincing as they are portrayed. In my opinion, anyone who doesn’t understand Simpson’s paradox, even if they aren’t familiar with the name, is not qualified to make any arguments based on statistics. Further, if you can’t construct an example, you don’t really understand it. Watching lay people argue based on averages is nearly as painful as watching politicians argue about computers. People choose the wrong denominators, group several different crimes with different punishments together (drug related crimes for instance), generally ignore confounding variables, and ignore statistics which don’t fit with their ideology.

        • Phlinn, we probably agree on more than you think we do regarding education; at least that’s my guess reading your comments.

          Re statistics and Simpson’s paradox, since you don’t even know what studies I’m citing (and I’m not a statistician) and this is a blogpost commentary – probably not a good place to debate stats.

          I will make one suggestion however: Robert’s “the best way to stop discrimination is to stop discriminating” is, as you say, self-evidently true. That’s the problem.

          In math and philosophy there are two kinds of self-evidently true statements: one is analytically true, like 2+2=4 or “a cat is a feline.” Known also as trivially true. Then there are a priori statements, which Roberts’ probably falls into.

          The trouble with them is they are so abstract as to be either profoundly absurd, or absurdly profound, take your pick. The question begged in his case is “How?” HOW are you going to stop discriminating? He makes it sound like discrimination is a simple matter of etiquette, or a lower grade moral failing, and the solution is as simple as JUST DON”T DO THAT. Don’t smoke that joint. Don’t eat that cupcake. Don’t say bad words. Don’t discriminate.

          The problem is, and I’m glad we agree on this, it doesn’t speak to unconscious racism. You can’t fix something you’re not aware of as a problem. If I don’t think I’m a racist, good luck convincing me I need to do anything about it!

          When the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court mouths that nonsense, it’s serious. It says, basically, “We don’t need your stinkin’ data. Who cares about results, patterns, numbers, statistics. All that matters is, did they mean badly. And unless they did, throw the case out of court.”

          This rejection of data has already happened with respect to racially disparate prison sentencing, and the implication is clear: it doesn’t matter whether there’s a pattern of discrimination, as long as it wasn’t intended to be discriminatory. We now have, thanks to Roberts, extended that same principle to higher education. If an entire race ends up scoring far less on scores, or admissions, or grades, or whatever, by this logic – it’s of no legal concern. Go look elsewhere for solutions. Whether your sympathies are left or right, that’s a pretty big walk back from the decades of civil rights progress led by the Supreme Court since JFK first proposed affirmative action and LBJ passed civil rights legislation.

          Now I’m not going to defend “leveling the playing field” by quotas for colleges, that ship has sailed and was always too late in the game anyway. But I’m concerned that we now have one more nail in the coffin as to the law as recourse for injustice. The new law of the land, increasingly, is “if you can prove a consistent pattern of racial injustice, tough luck – it’s not a legal problem. Go solve it through the legislatures. There’s nothing illegal about systematic discrimination, as long as it wasn’t enacted by bigots with the overt intent of bigotry.”

          I think that should concern all people. My view.

          • You initially claimed that Robert’s statement required the presumption that all racism is overt. I’m glad you are willing to concede that it’s a trivially true statement, but your previous comment was not compatible with it. I think I see a couple of issues with your new response as well. Among other things, his statement doesn’t dispute the data, only the remedies, unless I’m badly misremembering the context.

            Some things are simple, but hard. The way to stop smoking is to stop smoking. Complications can be added to make the process easier (nicotine gum, e cigarettes, etc.) but fundamentally you just need to stop inhaling smoke from burning tobacco. You can’t decide to switch to smoking a pipe from smoking cigarettes, pretend that only cigarettes are bad, and claim you are no longer a smoker. Similarly, you can’t establish pro-black racist policies to counteract effects of previous pro-white and claim those policies don’t qualify as racism because they aren’t pro-white, although certain people have tried to redefine the word in exactly that way.

            TL;DR version of the following: Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

            Regarding the stats, it’s true I don’t know what stats you are using. Given media reporting, I have good reason to not trust the stats without seeing them. To give an example of a bad statistic, consider http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/17/racial-disparity-drug-use_n_3941346.html in which we see “black adults represent one-quarter of all felony drug arrests in California, despite comprising just 5 percent of the state population.” That tells us nothing, because the proper denominator is NOT racial makeup. It’s not even the relative commission numbers for just drug crimes. If white users are simultaneously committing other crimes at a lower rate, and those other crimes are what leads to the blacks being caught, you wouldn’t expect the drug arrests to precisely match only the drug usage rate. Correcting for all the confounding variables, such as jurisdiction, economic status, criminal history, sex, and details of the actual cases has not been done to the best of my knowledge. It’s difficult, and may not be achievable. It’s mathematically possible (although I consider it unlikely) for blacks to be treated kinder by the system in cases where all other details are equal, but for the patterns of commission to be such that the overall average appears to treat them worse.

            If you’d like, I will construct a relatively simple example of one group being treated better in every jurisdiction but getting worse overall treatment with made up numbers to illuminate the issue. All it takes is for jurisdictions with higher proportions of one group to also be areas with harsher judges.

            Note that this is an argument that the use of averages is commonplace in complaints about racial disparities. Using those averages as proof without considering the alternate variables is simply wrong, because collecting individuals into groups can reduce, magnify, or hide the effects of a real issue. They can also create the illusion of a problem where there is none. I am not claiming to have evidence that there is no actual problem, only that the statistical evidence I have actually seen is far less robust then the people relying on it seem to realize. It’s also practically guaranteed that media reporting on any given study overstates its actual claims.

      • do you or do you not believe that racism can be unconscious? If you don’t believe it, then how do you explain all the anomalies in life? And if you do believe it, why aren’t you advocating for better early childhood experiences in institutions like public schools?
        *********
        Please before you go any further into the responsibility of society to eradicate racism read Black Rednecks and White Liberals by Thomas Sowell.

        • WYO with a title like that, I have to read it. And I will read it, thank you.
          And if you’re so inclined, you might want to read my recommendation, The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander. Then we can compare notes.

              • I completely agree with your math; it is sloppy to just use a simple denominator, without correcting for various other factors. I check the same stuff you do for the same sloppy mistakes. Agree with you.

                The book I’ve found that does the best job of working through that (not that it doesn’t have a few play-for-the-headlines moments itself) is Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow. Not only does she get the data right on many of those items, but she provides behavioral reasons behind the data.

                • The above was intended to be replying to Phinn. Sorry if i got lost in the threads.
                  WYO I’m reading Rednecks etc. and enjoying it thoroughly, at least so far

      • Charles:
        Simply because perception is in the eye of the beholder does not make it fact . At the extremes we have the paranoid and the naive. I grew up in Baltimore City and lived through the riots in 68. I was 11 at the time and had no understanding of what was transpiring. As a result, I never perceived any danger to me until I was attacked by a dozen members of our local community who I used to play with. Explain to me how the son of two public school teachers and teachers union official -who taught in predominantly black schools – would have no clue as to the systemic racism you speak of. Where did these other 11 and 12 year olds who precipitated the attack learn I was somehow responsible for the assassination of MLK. I submit it was a learned response.

        Despite the beating I took, I have never assumed that every minority was out to beat me up. Granted, I avoided and never played with those kids again. Does that make me a racist?

        I acknowledged that everyone has a bias toward something. It is a learned trait. You said: . . . ” it does mean is that race in the US subtly a great deal of perceptions – many of which we are unconscious of, but which nonetheless can be detected. And those perceptions have consequences. The point is to notice the consequences and correct for the perceptions in some socially appropriate way”.

        I am particularly intrigued by your use of the statement that we must notice the consequences and correct for the perceptions in some socially appropriate way” . By using the word “for” in that statement my interpretation is that you suggest that one demographic group bears an obligation to address another group’s perceptions. What if that perception is a false perception, and exists only because someone they trust (simply because they look like them) tells them that they should perceive an action a given way. You do not address why the perception exists in the first place. More importantly, no matter what the majority does to “correct for the perception”, as long as others who profit from maintaining the illusion of victimization send self reinforcing statements – some demonstrably false, will we be able to overcome what someone else perceives. If we in fact send unconscious messages that have unintended consequences, your argument actually reinforces the argument that preferential treatment in employment and other economic opportunities could lead the beneficiaries of such preference to perceive that they are somehow less capable human beings and thus need protective support.

        I know much of the perceptions of those in prison having worked as a teacher, tutor and coordinator of academic programs in that setting. To every inmate, the perception was that the world was against them – it was not their fault – they got a bad deal handed them. I spent years in that environment conveying to them that their condition was a function of the choices each of them made and that they all had the ability and capability to add societal value if they chose to. Many of them cited similar statistical evidence of injustice that you used but when pressed whether they were actually guilty of the crime they acknowledged that they were willing participants in the behavior. Over time, global perceptions changed in that population because of the time my staff and I took with them. Some of them still contact me on Linked In from time to time to thank me for helping them get out of the trap of negative thinking.

        Furthermore, let me point out that statistically, criminal behavior is more often that not perpetrated against a member of one’s own race and not on other races. Therefore, increases in incarceration rates and disparate sentences among minorities could reflect a greater desire to protect innocent minorities from increased victimization equally as likely as some racially motivated attempt to lock up minorities simply by virtue of their race. From an economics point of view, racial motivation for longer sentences makes no sense, as the consequence of locking them up costs taxpayers $25-30K per year. The racist would say who cares if they are killing and robbing each other as long as it is not me. We could easily reduce arrest and incarceration rates simply by reallocating police resources to higher income neighborhoods. Is that a socially appropriate method to achieve parity?

        Cherry picking statistics to demonstrate racial inequality is suspect. I would suggest you compare the statistics of public dollars spent on shock trauma costs of minority GSW victims in major urban areas relative to white GSW victims in the same locations. If society did not care we would not pay, they would be left to bleed out.

        Perceptions are a function of the narrative played out on the political stage. Change the narrative and you change perceptions

      • Charles: Just who is to be mandated to decide whether this or that person or group- by word or by deed- is “racist”? What, indeed, is the definition of the word and who decides THAT? If Joe Blow- the white guy down the block- has no close black friends, is he racist? If an Amish church service has no latinos present, are they racist? How about no blacks or whites at a Raza Unida rally? Who decides? SHOULD anyone have the power to do so and enforce authority on such persons? I’d maintain that this sort of power inherently constitutes a greater danger to all people- regardless of any ethnic affiliation- by the exercise of totalitarian dominance. Unless someone openly advocates violence against others (for whatever reason) or otherwise incites to riot, legalisms should hold no sway. Free association is inherent in the 1st Amendment. You have the right to choose them and they you. Forced association is not only self-defeating, but an act of tyranny over all.

  5. This screed was remarkably unprofessional for a Supreme Court Justice, an emotional recitation of unsupported assertions, perceptions and complaints with no constitutional relevance.
    ************
    Thank goodness you added this comment.
    I was starting to think you might jump the shark.
    I’m still trying to unhear a remark on CNN and my head is dangerously close to exploding.

  6. Race matters in part because of the long history of racial minorities’ being denied access to the political process

    the 14th Amendment severely restricts what areas of law race can matter.

    The rationale for affirmative action was to guarantee that minorities can have equal opportunities. However, I point out that this same rationale could have been used to justify racial segregation in public schools. After all, when minorities had their own schools, that meant there was a guarantee of a minority being a valedictorian or cheerleading captain. It could have been further argued that segregating minorities in their own schools protected them from racial discrimination. After all, as the argument would go, if there were no white students, then there is zero possibility of a minority being passed over for cheerleading captain for a less-qualified white candidate. If schools were integrated, the racist administrators would make sure that the valedictorians and cheerleading captains were white, even if they were not the most qualified. In fact, i would not be surprised if such arguments were used by the Brown v. Board of Education appellees and supporting amici.

    And yet, even though segregation guaranteed that minorities have a chance at being valedictorians, cheerleading captains, and other high status positions in schools, on the basis that there would be zero possibility that a less-qualified white person would be given these honors and stati, somehow the Supreme Court found that segregation stamps a badge of inferiority.

    I wonder why they thought that.

  7. This is perhaps not a particularly original thought, but her position as an authority figure gives her statement so much undo credibility, that others who have not studied or considered the issue will naturally believe hers is a reasonable and ethical position to hold.

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