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March 06, 2003

Legacy of Affirmative Action- For Dubya

Bush's Yale Transcript

Just remember all the black students he wants to knock out of Michigan Law School got better grades than he did.

From American Politics Journal.

Posted by Nathan at March 6, 2003 05:12 PM

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Comments

This isn't about Bush. It's about an idiotic policy that would give 20 points to a child of middle-class black parents while denying it to a poor Asian or poor white kid. There must be a better way.

Posted by: drs at March 6, 2003 05:37 PM

Bush's highest grade is for an anthropology class. Margaret Mead was the (visiting) instructor that term. Mead apparently hated grading, and simply gave everyone in the class an A.

Posted by: Abraham at March 6, 2003 05:42 PM

Bush was in college before grade inflation (a result of affirmative action) took root in America's universities.

Posted by: Hakeem at March 6, 2003 06:14 PM

Michigan Law School is one of the most racist schools in the country. Not opressing blacks, but elevating the African American race to a position which unfairly selects blacks over the white population for no just reason. Does anyone know how difficult it is to get a perfect score in a SAT test? Near impossible, but if achieved the "Tally System of Admission" of Michigan Law School would award you 7 points. Now, with that in mind just being of African descent you are awarded with 30 points. 30 points for "being black". This policy is unfair and Bush is taking action against it. Michigan Law School and every bound student is hurt by this ignorant policy by handing prestigious positions in the school to undeserving, Africans. African Americans judge equality on posessing more rights than the white man. Who's racist now???

Posted by: Richard Delis at March 6, 2003 06:51 PM

Why tell an outright lie, Delis? The points at issue, for any underprivileged minority student, not only African-Americans, are a maximum of 20. They all need not be awarded. Legacies and atheletes are also eligible for points.

Furthermore, what is it with "undeserving Africans' when it is a white man's complete mediocrity we're discussing?

Posted by: Mac Diva at March 6, 2003 07:59 PM

I'm sorry Mac, but you are misrepresenting the issue as well. The 20 points is for blacks, hispanics, and native americans only. It excludes Asians. Since when are they not a minority? Furthermore, the 20 points is given without regard to a person's status as "underpriviledged." It is given only with regard to being a member of the groups mentioned above. By the way, the maximum amount given to "legacies" is 4 points. How come you only responded to the inaccurate post? Could it be that your argument doesn't hold water?

Posted by: Tommy at March 6, 2003 08:44 PM

Why should blacks or other groups discriminated against based on their race have to also prove they were disadvantaged because of income? Poor whites should also be helped no doubt, but racism is a double and independent burden.

Countless studies, many that I have cited on this blog, show that black people with the same income as whites, are discriminated against in jobs, in how they are treated in primary school, in tracking, and in a host of other ways.

Being poor hurts you in our society. Being black or another discriminated against minority also hurts you. They are not the same thing, so accounting for the first does not cover the harms of the second.

Posted by: Nathan Newman at March 6, 2003 08:55 PM

Nathan, if you honestly think that discrimination is the primary force holding blacks (or hipanics and native americans) back in this society, you are obviously out of touch with reality. For example, why do recently immigrated blacks from the Caribbean and Africa consistently outperform American blacks even when they are attending the same school? Why should the son of someone like Jesse Jackson receive 20 points when the son of a "boat person" from Cambodia does not? Surely somebody on the pro-affirmative action side can come up with better arguments than either Mac or Nathan. Then again....

Posted by: Bob at March 6, 2003 09:18 PM

Bob, do you even know that at many universities, Cambodian immigrants are given affirmative action points over other applicants?

And if you don't think racism is an active force in society, you are the one out of touch, when study after study shows that blacks with the same qualifications consistently are offered fewer jobs, worse loan offers, and higher prices, while they receive poorer health care even when carrying the same insurance as whites.

How is that not an overwhelming force?

Posted by: Nathan Newman at March 6, 2003 09:33 PM

I have to agree with Bob on this one. Everyone interested in this issue should read an essay called "what's Holding Blacks Back?" by John McWhorter. It can be viewed at: http://www.city-journal.org/html/11_1_whats_holding_blacks.html

Posted by: Geno at March 6, 2003 09:35 PM

It is worth mentioning that the 7 points quoted for a perfect SAT is very misleading: It doesn't indicate that Michigan attaches a great deal of weight to race, but that it attaches very little weight to the SAT. The high school GPA is worth many more points than either SAT scores or the non-academic factors.

(Oh, and I'm fairly certain that the points we are discussing are used for undergraduate admissions, not for the Law School as Richard Delis would have it.)

Posted by: Jesse at March 6, 2003 11:05 PM

Lynching, affirmative action. I'm colorblind, both are equally bad. But we got rid of lynching long ago, while affirmative action is still with us, with hundreds of white and Cambodian students hanging from the trees, their lives destroyed, their families distraught, their lifeless bodies twisting in the wind, and there is no help in sight because of the racist bigots in the Democratic party.

Irony alert, for those on this thread who need it.

Back to the anger-management class, where Mr. Bill will hit me again, I'm sure of it.

There aren't a lot of fleas out there, but they're like the energizer bunny.


Posted by: zizka at March 6, 2003 11:19 PM

Syl Jones makes an interesting counter-argument in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune today, in an article entitled "Affirmative action? No, what I want is my money." Basically he argues that affirmative action is a pale recompense for centuries of slavery and Jim Crow, for lives and property and opportunities lost or stolen.

If you look at it that way, well, it is quite a bargain.

http://www.startribune.com/stories/1519/3737754.html

Posted by: Ruth at March 7, 2003 02:31 AM

Oh, and Hakeem? Grade inflation is *not* a result of affirmative action. Quite the reverse: it's the result of middle-class or better students who got As in high school and refuse to get anything less in college, whether or not those grades are deserved, because lower grades could have a material effect on their future employment.

The students suing professors for higher grades and damages are generally neither poor not of color.

Posted by: Ruth at March 7, 2003 02:35 AM

Ruthie, dear. How wrong you are. Students have always wanted better grades than they deserved. Of course. That's human nature. But they didn't start getting them (or regularly expecting and demanding them) until after affirmative action became standard in American universities. Lowering standards for some leads to lowered standards for all. Let's face it. Policies such as those of Michigan's are unconstitutional and will be struck down as soon as the Supreme court finds its backbone. As an American who happens to be black , I understand that discrimination in all its forms is wrong and must be identified as such. The party's over. Deal with it. While you're at it, take some free time to mentor and tutor some of these young kids you care so much about so they will be prepared to compete on an even level with the rest of their peers.
P.S.:Geno, that is an excellent article by Mr. McWorter. It takes the words right from my mouth. The black community has many untapped resources. If we spent half as much time preparing our kids for the real world as we do fighting battles about the Confederate flag and other purely symbolic issues, then this whole discussion would be moot. Not "Power to the People," but "Power from the People."

Posted by: Tyrone at March 7, 2003 12:03 PM

Ruthie, dear. How wrong you are. Students have always wanted better grades than they deserved. Of course. That's human nature. But they didn't start getting them (or regularly expecting and demanding them) until after affirmative action became standard in American universities. Lowering standards for some leads to lowered standards for all. Let's face it. Policies such as those of Michigan's are unconstitutional and will be struck down as soon as the Supreme court finds its backbone. As an American who happens to be black , I understand that discrimination in all its forms is wrong and must be identified as such. The party's over. Deal with it. While you're at it, take some free time to mentor and tutor some of these young kids you care so much about so they will be prepared to compete on an even level with the rest of their peers.
P.S.:Geno, that is an excellent article by Mr. McWorter. It takes the words right from my mouth. The black community has many untapped resources. If we spent half as much time preparing our kids for the real world as we do fighting battles about the Confederate flag and other purely symbolic issues, then this whole discussion would be moot. Not "Power to the People," but "Power from the People."

Posted by: Tyrone at March 7, 2003 12:04 PM

Dear Ruth. How wrong you are. Students have always wanted better grades than they deserved. Of course. That's human nature. But they didn't start getting them (or regularly expecting and demanding them) until after affirmative action became standard in American universities. Lowering standards for some leads to lowered standards for all. Let's face it. Policies such as those of Michigan's are unconstitutional and will be struck down as soon as the Supreme court finds its backbone. As an American who happens to be black , I understand that discrimination in all its forms is wrong and must be identified as such. The party's over. Deal with it. While you're at it, take some free time to mentor and tutor some of these young kids you care so much about so they will be prepared to compete on an even level with the rest of their peers.
P.S.:Geno, that is an excellent article by Mr. McWorter. It takes the words right from my mouth. The black community has many untapped resources. If we spent half as much time preparing our kids for the real world as we do fighting battles about the Confederate flag and other purely symbolic issues, then this whole discussion would be moot. Not "Power to the People," but "Power from the People."

Posted by: Tyrone at March 7, 2003 12:12 PM

Sorry about the multiple posts. Had trouble connecting.

Posted by: Tyrone at March 7, 2003 12:14 PM

"Tyrone' is not only an idiot who can't even post to a forum properly, but probably a white idiot masquerading as African-American. Sort of amusing. But more pathetic.

Posted by: Mac Diva at March 7, 2003 04:12 PM

Please, Mac. If you can't mount a decent argument, don't resort to insulting someone else. That's so childish.

Posted by: Tyrone at March 7, 2003 05:35 PM

"The University uses a variety of factors in determine whether a student should be admitted:

High school grade point average, which is recalculated to emphasize courses considered important to preparation for a college education.

The rigor of the curriculum in the high school the student attended, especially the number of advanced placement and international baccalaureate courses that are offered, and the proportion of students from that school who go on to college.

The rigor of the courses actually taken by the student--how challenging or competitive they are--also is an important factor.

Standardized test scores, such as SAT and ACT.

Geography. Michigan residency, underrepresented counties in Michigan, underrepresented regions in the United States.

Alumni relationships (parent, sibling or grandparent).

Essay quality. In reviewing the essays, admissions counselors look for high-quality, articulate, original writing that is not simply a rehash of cliches. Also important is the content of the essay and what it reveals about the applicant that is not apparent in other admissions materials.

Personal achievement at the state, regional and national level.

Leadership and service activities at the state, regional and national level.

Whether the student is socioeconomically disadvantaged or comes from an educational environment that is socioeconomically disadvantaged.

Whether the student is a member of an underrepresented racial or ethnic community or comes from a school that serves those communities.

Athletic ability."

From http://www.umich.edu/~urecord/9798/Oct22_97/fight.htm

So, out of all these criteria, people want to pick on the few extra points avoided to minorities. Why not complain about the alumni points. Or about the points given for the high school you attended (which is heavily dependent on the neighborhood your parents could afford to buy a house in). Or points given to make up for the fact that your parents bought a house in an 'underrepresented' region. What about athletic ability? After all, this is a law school, and why should muscular jocks of any flavor get in with an advantage over 98lb weaklings who spend their weekends power-studying?

This is a ridiculous discussion. People who oppose this who can't outright be dismissed as racist are seeing it solely in terms of ideology. In an ideal world, laws would be colorblind. But we don't live there, and the people who make up our society aren't colorblind.

A bias in law and policy exists to move against the tide of what would otherwise be even more persistent inequality. Minorities who are demonstrably restricted in their opportunities should be given an advantage, which in practical terms only succeeds in bringing them near or at the level of their more socially favored counterparts.

Should affirmative action go away? Yes. When it can be demonstrated that simply being born into a certain group of people no longer counts against you for life.

It should go away when, to mangle a phrase, a black or hispanic schlemiel can get promoted as far and as fast as a white schlemiel. IOW, if GWB was black, I'd still be terrified for the country, but satisfied that we as a group no longer had race issues. But the truth at present is that anyone now classed as a disadvantaged minority by the UM would have a hard time getting half as far as that tosser, even with twice the brains.

Posted by: natasha at March 7, 2003 07:27 PM

Natasha:
People are highlighting the points awarded for being a member of CERTAIN (not all) minorities because that happens to be the one instance that is prohibited by the Constitution. Do you want to overturn that part of the Constitution? Good luck getting the votes for that amendment.

Posted by: Remo at March 7, 2003 08:25 PM

Without idealists like Remo, Tyrone and the others, this country would be in quite a different place than it is in today. Thank got that they've zeroed in on the biggest problem facing the American people, other than bilingual education I mean.

Posted by: zizka at March 7, 2003 08:59 PM

I still have a feeling our reactionary posters are all one or two guys or at least guys from the same racist group or site. And, that the guy (or guys) is not African-American. When people have to present themselves falsely or produce a straw man (the poor, discriminated against Asian) to try to make their case, I can't find them anything but pathetic.

Posted by: Mac Diva at March 7, 2003 10:26 PM

Hmm. I think if Armstrong Williams had written Tyrone's post, it would have read slightly differently. Plus, I'm Jimbob and I'm from the South. So I lean a little Mac Diva's way. Kind of an interesting epistemological question. A violation of netiquette to ask, a bigger violation to do... maybe we can grill him on old Supremes songs? You see the problem? Or on Curtis Mayfield?
My own position: I think I'd prefer affirmative action for the poor, they're the ones with crappy schools. Equally unconstitutional, and yes, racism stiffs blacks and Hispanics. My girlfriend, who is Chinese-American, prefers affirmative action. But not for Asians. Who would have thunk it? And you guys missed affirmative action for Jews, they did that one on CNN.
One reason many Africans here do better: they're middle class. Not too many Caribbeans, you'd think. But I think Jamaica has tougher high schools.

Posted by: John Isbell at March 7, 2003 10:50 PM

John, 'Hakeem/Tyrone' is pretty amateurish, so he will probably return to declare he's got rhythm.

But, not just his phony persona is the problem. He lies and doesn't support his claims with any evidence. Again, pa--. Well, you know.

My position on affirmative active is that it is better than what will occur in its absence -- nothing. Nixon's "benign neglect" will become the societal standard again. People trapped at the bottom of economic, education and health ladder by years of societal abuse of their ancestors and themselves will continue to be trapped. That is as unjust as much of the behavior Americans criticize other countries for.

Posted by: Mac Diva at March 7, 2003 11:58 PM

If I might weigh in again...

The aspect of this debate that I think doesn't get covered enough is that it's the wrong debate entirely. And so let me refer back to Nathan's original post, the report card that documents what the real problem is.

Wealth in this country is consolidating with obscene rapidity. And as we can see from GW Bush's example, and plenty of others, wealth guarantees opportunity. Through private schools (or extra funding for elite public schools), networking, clubs, gated neighborhoods, SAT training, tutors, travel, access to internships, and, if all else fails outright purchase (ie, legacy).

In the mean time, there is a large group of middle-class people whose kids need access to get ahead, who don't have those guarantees. And while the number of kids aiming for those slots increases, the number of slots doesn't (especially not in elite schools) and the price gets more prohibitive (due in part to conservative moves to skimp on higher ed spending).

But the kids have a huge amount of pressure to secure those slots, and they (and their families) resent the hell out of anyone they perceive to have unfair advantage. Cue the evil minorities who have it so easy. And the Limbaughs play this up like crazy, making folks even angrier, and-- cue the vicious circle.

Which is eerily similar to the way terrorism and fascism are fomented: the wealthy squeeze the hell out of the middle class, and then blame it on The Other.

So take a page from Nathan's book, and if you're getting shat on, look up, not down.

Posted by: Ruth at March 8, 2003 01:58 AM

Perhaps this thread should be nudged back on topic: Bush is a moron.

Posted by: Mark at March 10, 2003 07:31 PM

I think the larger issue ably brought up by Ruth is that there simply aren't enough college slots for all the able people who want them. One question that isn't answered, (well, money will be that answer) is why Michigan has to choose between the black applicants and the qualified whites? It would seem having the capacity to educate all of them would be a win/win.

People recognize today that a college education is a growing necessity to success. A high school education doesn't prepare a student for the job market the way it did in the 50s for the manufacturing sector. 71% of high school graduates did not go on to college last year, and what are we to do with them in the modern economy? It is clear that we need a either a fundamental change in high school to prepare students for good paying jobs or to greatly increase the capacity for post secondary vocational and university education.

Posted by: Norman at March 10, 2003 08:10 PM

Nobody cares about Bush's grades any more than they cared about his national guard service. Way to hit the crucial issues HARD!

Posted by: Joe Zingher at March 20, 2004 10:36 AM

This issue involves reparations for slavery and the north american conquest, in an attempt to undo the centuries-long legacy of oppression against stolen Africans and slaughtered natives, and the damage it continues to cause.

Posted by: Brian H. at August 11, 2004 01:08 PM

"This issue involves reparations for slavery and the north american conquest, in an attempt to undo the centuries-long legacy of oppression against stolen Africans and slaughtered natives, and the damage it continues to cause." - Brian H.

Would that be some kind of racial memory thing? My feet don't hurt and I'm not hungry because of my Cherokee greatgrandmother's struggles, I don't have scars on my wrists and ankles or welts on my back from my african greatgrandfather's shakles and beatings, I don't have feelings of rejection, isolation and nightmares of suffering from my jewish greatgrandfathers from Germany and Hungary .... why should I?

Posted by: Phantom at October 11, 2004 06:32 AM

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