You’re on, Geena!
Indeed, be very, very afraid.
Next term, the Supreme Court will hear two high-profile cases challenging affirmative action policies at the University of North Carolina and Harvard College. The court just barely upheld affirmative action in 2016, but it seems likely that the current Court’s composition is unlikely to allow it to continue. This is a good thing, though those who benefit from racial discrimination not surprisingly are horrified by the prospect. John Roberts mysteriously shocking quote the last time around— “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race”—is pretty much indisputable. As in a growing number of areas, the American Left simply does not like the U.S. Constitution. In the area of colleges and grad school admissions, this is because the document requires that all races be treated equally under the law.Apple, GE, Google, and Intel are among the more than 60 major American businesses urging the Supreme Court to keep allowing colleges and universities, and, they realize, the companies themselves, to discriminate against whites and Asians. “Amici — some of the largest companies in America — now reiterate to this Court that the government’s interest in promoting student-body diversity on university campuses remains compelling from a business perspective,” the companies argued in a joint brief filed at the court on Monday. “Attaining a student body that is both highly qualified and broadly diverse remains a compelling constitutional interest,” the brief goes on to state. “An essential aspect of that diversity is racial and ethnic diversity. That interest has not faded since this Court decided Grutter in 2003. If anything, it has grown stronger, as Amici know from first-hand experience…Prohibiting universities nationwide from considering race among other factors in composing student bodies would undermine businesses’ efforts to build diverse workforces,”
The argument is, to be kind, disingenuous. There is no reliable evidence that diversity in work forces for its own sake confers any benefits to productivity, creativity or success, though a lot of dubious studies make that claim. Indeed, since Barack Obama started the process of breaking down the nation’s progress in race relations, diversity, now greatly accelerated by the George Floyd Freakout and the curse of “diversity/equity/inclusion” cant by ideologues whose response to dissent is to cray “Racism!”, racially diverse work forces are increasingly adversarial and stressful. What the companies are really expressing in their amicus brief is the woke culture that has infected management.
No doubt about it: persistent imbalance in the relative achievements, success and financial security of the races is a serious problem in a democracy. The current mindset among progressives, unfortunately, is to demand equality of outcomes–the cover-word is “equity”— rather than finding solutions to some groups’ failure to succeed even after every conceivable bias has been removed or substantially reduced. Affirmative action, which is a nice way of saying “racial and ethnic quotas,” has always been a zero sum game: deserving and qualified individuals are punished because of their race and ethnicity while other individuals reap advantages by virtue of their race and diversity. As I have mentioned here before, my entire career path was altered because I was deemed the wrong color to fill an open Assistant US Attorney slot. I don’t regret it: I knew I would be OK. I even supported the discrimination at the time as defensible as a utilitarian policy. It was, however, reverse discrimination. The strategy of affirmative action advocates, disturbingly successful, has been to convince as many individuals in the groups discriminated against by these policies as possible that they deserve to be disadvantaged by their color alone, that this is “social justice.”
If some groups persistently fail to be competitive enough in a competitive society–those mean, old capitalism and democracy systems!—then society and the groups themselves are obligated to do the hard work of addressing the reasons for that persistent failure. The remedy embraced by wokism is intellectually bankrupt and ethically intolerable: just impose standards that favor races and ethnic groups that keep lagging behind, and voila! Problem solved!
But of course the problem is not solved, and aspects of the problem will be exacerbated. Human beings resent double standards, and in a democracy, they must. Eventually, the current effort to declare such standards fair and consistent, and race-blind standards unfair will be rejected, and the ideological indoctrination and intimidation currently motivating these lock-step companies will fail, leaving more division and rancor in its wake.
Affirmative action is going down, at last. I am willing to accept–I guess— that this obviously anti-Equal Protection policy could be justified as a short-term course correction, but it is now clear that those who benefit from the “good” racial discrimination will never voluntarily say, “It’s time to start following the Constitution and the civil rights laws. It’s been more than half a century.” Affirmative action has become a crutch, a way to avoid tough realities and difficult measures. This Court will finally kill it.
And, of course, progressives and Democrats will scream, march and riot, while condemning the Supreme Court for doing what the Supreme Court is supposed to do: follow the Constitution. Those 60 plus companies are now run by individuals who do not like the Constitution, They do not like the Bill of Rights. The same people chanting “equity, diversity, inclusion” want to ban “hurtful and dangerous speech,” meaning speech their favorite activists find upsetting.
A just-released Gallup poll indicates that while public approval of the Supreme Court rose 3% after the recent spate of controversial decisions to 43%, only 13% of Democrats approve of the Court, an all time low for any party affiliation. What offended the Left so grievously was that the Court properly upheld the Second Amendment and finally, after almost 50 years of avoiding it, declared that courts shouldn’t make up rights that aren’t in the Constitution just because vocal or powerful groups wish that they were.
The greater problem that will not be solved by the end of affirmative action is that the nation is losing a consensus regarding the centrality of liberty and individual responsibility to American values. This is occurring because of anti-Constitution indoctrination in our educational institutions, relentless propaganda by unethical journalists, and the decline in civic literacy. The Supreme Court cannot fix these serious and destructive developments. That task is the responsibility of the rest of us.
One place to start is to persuade corporations that opposing the Constitution will be bad for business.