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Jun 29th 2004

black harvard grads upset: affirmative action helping too many people

an interesting nytimes story claims affirmative action isn’t working as it should, but you might be surprised with their conclusion:

'how dare they let other blacks into harvard before us!  we truly earned it' shouts one affirmative action recipient, harvard class of 1973

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — At the most recent reunion of Harvard University’s black alumni, there was lots of pleased talk about the increase in the number of black students at Harvard.

But the celebratory mood was broken in one forum, when some speakers brought up the thorny issue of exactly who those black students were.

While about 8 percent, or about 530, of Harvard’s undergraduates were black, Lani Guinier, a Harvard law professor, and Henry Louis Gates Jr., the chairman of Harvard’s African and African-American studies department, pointed out that the majority of them — perhaps as many as two-thirds — were West Indian and African immigrants or their children, or to a lesser extent, children of biracial couples. [link]

affirmative action isn’t for children of legal, minority immigrants? affirmative action isn’t for children of biracial couples? gag me with a spoon.

don’t get me wrong, i believe affirmative action is deplorable. what i find funny is that those who cry discrimination don’t want to extend the payoffs from their programs to other groups making similar claims–and ones that are equally eligible according to the strictest interpretation of executive order 11246.

this is exactly the problem with affirmative action’s quest for equity: it chooses some inequalities, but ignores others. perhaps the harvard black alumni intended nothing sinister with their forum, but nevertheless, they’ve completely misread WHO the intended recipients of affirmative action should be. this is the wording of president johnson’s executive order 11246, where the phrase, “affirmative action” first appeared:

“take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin.”

and two years later, johnson added “gender” to that list. so, let’s review the list again–the harvard speakers who are whining about the “failings” of affirmative action obviously haven’t.

*race
*creed
*color
*national origin
*gender

hmmm. these harvard elites DO want us to consider the color and national origin of students considered for admission to their alma mater. presumably, biracial kids are too white, and the children of immigrants from africa and the caribbean are too black. also, they’re dirty foreigners. sigh.

honestly, i couldn’t care less about this. i just think it’s hilarious.

'yeah...um, i was totally looking for the britney spears club...oh, whatever!  power to the, like, people!'

in those (above) categories, our government felt minorities were under-represented in american institutions 40 years ago. harvard’s crack team of researchers seems to think affirmative action is about some specific circumstances. but if it’s about circumstances, let’s talk circumstances. i’m not entirely up on african history, but i know the slave trade was initiated there, by portuguese and muslim traders, nearly 200 years before the first permanent colony was established in america. [link] and i have a hunch that the slave trade continued, locally, long after demand in europe and north america disappeared. so, why do american blacks seek to keep those who don’t fit their mold away from the government’s affirmative action handouts?

and this from liberals who tout their status as “citizens of the world” (instead of citizens of america). can we add poor white trailer trash to the list of those deserving affirmative action, if they can document exploitation by the white man by producing the tape of the jerry springer episode on which they appeared? must we ask the children of african immigrants to provide “proof of a grandparent’s enslavement” before being eligible for admission to american colleges?

or if we’re going by the levels of discrimination and racism a person has endured, why are the kids of biracial couples not eligible for affirmative action? they are more likely to have felt rejection from both blacks and whites, and are definitely a smaller minority than those with the affirmative action-sanctioned brown skin.

affirmative action has always been about normalizing the presence of minority races, religions, colors, and nationalities in american institutions and professions. but these pompous harvard types seem to see it as something closer to reparations.

i oppose affirmative action. i think whatever inequality exists should be remedied earlier (with better primary schools and more two-parent families, specifically) than with such things as unearned admission to college or unqualified hirings to jobs. i am not opposed to the participation of people of different genders, races, colors, creeds, nationalities in my society. i am opposed to the stigma that affirmative action programs create for these capable people, and for the racism inherent in these programs.

the speakers at the controversial harvard forum are wrong because they define affirmative action as protecting those disadvantaged because of “Jim Crow laws, segregation and decades of racism, poverty and inferior schools”. however, executive order 11246 and the 1964 civil rights act define affirmative action as protecting those of minority “race, color, religion, sex, [and] national origin”. in this instance, i find the hypocrisy of the harvard forum speakers amusing. they discriminate against others (like biracial kids and children of black immigrants) despite enjoying their current status as harvard graduates perhaps because of the very affirmative action they seek to limit.

unbelievably, it’s gotten to the point that i have to educate liberals about how to use their own social programs.

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check out the harvard black alumni society page and browse the pictures. this is probably just a wacky coincidence, but everybody looks so distinguished until you get to the one picture of a lone white guy down in the bottom right corner. he looks like he’s having a seizure or something. [link]

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