Nashville Post Politics: The End Of Affirmative Action

Nashville Post Politics

The End Of Affirmative Action

Could Barack Obama usher it in:

That was “a huge admission,” said Linda Chavez, the chairwoman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and another anti-affirmative action crusader.

Chavez is also supporting McCain, but she said Obama is more likely than her candidate to shift the debate on race in her direction, and possibly even end race-based affirmative action policies.

“He certainly would be the perfect candidate to do it,” she said. “It would be sort of like a Nixon-goes-to-China moment.”

Partisans of both sides of the bitter, long-running wars over affirmative action say Obama’s position on the subject is ambiguous, and scarcely articulated. His campaign did not respond to repeated requests to make a policy adviser available to discuss the issue.

Booker Rising: Thomas Sowell: on Affirmative Action & Gay Marriage

Booker Rising

Thomas Sowell: on Affirmative Action & Gay Marriage

The conservative commentator sure is a busy man, with two op-ed pieces today. He argues that affirmative action and gay marriage are special privileges, not rights: “Equality of rights does not mean equality of results. I can have all the equal treatment in the world on a golf course and I will not finish within shouting distance of Tiger Woods. When arbitrary numerical ‘goals’ or ‘quotas’ under affirmative action are not met, the burden of proof is put on the employer to prove that he did not discriminate against minorities or women. No burden of proof whatever is put on the advocates of ‘goals’ or ‘quotas’ to show that people would be equally represented in jobs, colleges, or anywhere else in the absence of discrimination.”

He adds: “The question is not whether gays should be permitted to marry. Many gays have already married people of the opposite sex. Conversely, heterosexuals who might want to marry someone of the same sex in order to make some point will be forbidden to do so, just as gays are. The real issue is whether marriage should be redefined — and, if for gays, why not for polygamists? Why not for pedophiles? Despite heavy television advertising in California for ‘gay marriage,’ showing blacks being set upon by police dogs during civil-rights marches, and implying that homosexuals face the same discrimination today, the analogy is completely false. Blacks had to sit in the back of the bus because they were black. They were doing exactly what white people were doing — riding a bus. That is what made it racial discrimination. Marriage is not a right but a set of legal obligations imposed because the government has a vested interest in unions that, among other things, have the potential to produce children, which is to say, the future population of the nation.”

My response: I concur with Mr. Sowell on affirmative action. However, I tackle the issue from the standpoint of black competence and self-esteem – my black nationalist side raises an eyebrow when it is explicitly or implicitly argued that standards have to be lowered for blacks – while Mr. Sowell is concerned about color-blind merit. I disagree with him on gay marriage though. And yes, the law should also allow polygamy. If a man wants to marry a woman, a man, two women, two men, or a man and a woman, how is that the business of government or other people if everyone consents to the arrangement? Pedophilia involves children, so consenting adults are not the issue there.

Politico: Affirmative action change under Obama?

Politico

Affirmative action change under Obama?

Among the California voters suffused with hope at the prospect of the election of Barack Obama is one Ward Connerly. 

He supports Senator John McCain out of small-government principle, but on the cause for which Connerly is best known—the drive to end the programs referred to by most as “affirmative action” and by him as “race preferences”—he says of a potential Obama administration: “I’m hopeful.” 

“[Obama] is a very, very bright man who thinks through the nuances of issues and I cannot help believe he realizes the inherent flaw in race preferences,” Connerly, 69, said in a telephone interview last week. “If you listen to him carefully, you cannot help but think he is really torn by this issue, and that he is leaning in the direction of socio-economic affirmative action instead of race preferences.” 

The election of the first black president would inevitably alter views of race in America. The campaign itself, in which Obama has played better in lily-white Montana than in diverse South Carolina, has revealed a complex picture. Should Obama move into the White House, it would further change the country’s conversation about race, though not necessarily in predictable ways. 

A black president from a troubled big city could turn new attention to the problem of race or make the political choice to take his black support for granted; his own race may convince some of the benefits of diversity while others would take it as proof that racism is so far in the past as to no longer needs remedies. 

Affirmative action has not been on the agenda of either presidential campaign, and while it’s been a hot issue at times on the national stage, it’s not a necessary feature of the White House agenda.

Educational policy is conducted largely at the state and local level, and broader economic woes have pushed the battle, and most other socially charged issues, into the background. 

But experts say that President Bush’s additions to the Supreme Court could come down harder against race-based affirmative action then previous courts had, and a conservative group’s recent lawsuit against the University of Texas could force that question during the next president’s term. 

And Connerly is one of several opponents of race-based affirmative action who say they think Obama is far more likely than Senator John McCain to abolish, or profoundly alter, that system. Their hopes are founded on Obama’s remarks that well-off black children don’t need the program—something that he, unlike most Democrats with a national profile, could say without rebuke, because he was referring to his own daughters. 

Blog for our Future: Mandate Watch – Bellwether Races/Initiatives To Watch Below The Presidential Contest

Blog for our Future

Mandate Watch – Bellwether Races/Initiatives To Watch Below The Presidential Contest

So how will we know the shape, size and depth of whatever mandate comes out of this, the most ideologically polarized election since 1980? Top-line numbers from the presidential contest are only going to give us a snapshot of what really happened. We’re going to have to look at specific bellweather races and ballot initiatives to really know what happened at a structural level. Here are the bellweathers I’ll be watching, beyond the state-by-state results in the presidential race:

COLORADO

– Amendment 46: Sponsored by the infamous Ward Connerly, this disgusting initiative aims to stoke the old Angry White Man backlash against minorities and women with a measure to essentially ban affirmative action and equal opportunity programs. The latest Denver Post poll suggests this is going to be a close one – if progressives defeat it, they will show that even here in the heart of the Mountain West, we can defeat race/gender-based wedge politics.

GEORGIA, NORTH CAROLINA & MISSISSIPPI

– African American Turnout: Will African American turnout be significantly higher in these southern states in 2008, and will that increased turnout be enough to swing both contested presidential and key down-ballot races blue? If yes, it will dent political scientist Tom Schaller’s theory that progressive efforts to compete in the South are futile.

 

Volokh Conspiracy: Obama in 1990 on Affirmative Action

Volokh Conspiracy

Obama in 1990 on Affirmative Action

 

No surprise: he’s for it. And just to be clear, when Obama defends affirmative action, he is defending, specifically, decisions that rely on race as the decisive factor, what some call “racial preferences”:

The [Harvard Law Review] Selection Committee first identifies the group of candidates whose excellent performance, either in the classroom or on the writing competition, sets them apart…. The Selection Committee must then choose the remaining editors from a pool of qualified candidates whose grades or writing competition scores do not significantly [whatever that means-ed.] differ. It is at this stage that the Law Review as for several years instituted an affirmative action policy for historically underrepresented groups: out of this pool, the Selection Committee may take race or physical handicap into account in making their final decision.

Again, no surprise, given that it’s been reported that at rally for faculty “diversity,” Obama compared Prof. Derrick Bell, who was pressing the law school to immediately hire an African-American woman, to Rosa Parks (because being subjected to brutal racism in Alabama in the 1950s is just like being a tenured Harvard Law School professor in 1990?). Still, interesting to see Obama’s own words.

Obama also notes that he was likely a beneficiary of affirmative action preferences during his academic career. I know some Obama-haters are inclined to use this against him, but, in fact, given his successes ever since, Obama would more likely be the poster child in favor of affirmative action.

Media Matters: Savage on Obama: “America’s first affirmative action candidate about to become president”

Media Matters

Savage on Obama: “America’s first affirmative action candidate about to become president”

Summary: Michael Savage said Sen. Barack Obama “benefited from affirmative action, stepping over more qualified white men, I actually lost as a result of affirmative action, many times in my life. … [W]e have America’s first affirmative action candidate about to become president.”

Colorado Independent: Colorado coaches speak out against Amendment 46

Colorado Independent

Colorado coaches speak out against Amendment 46

Three Division I basketball coaches in Colorado publicly opposed Amendment 46 on Wednesday, saying that the so-called Colorado Civil Rights Initiative would diminish diversity at their institutions.

University of Colorado coach Jeff Bzdelik, Colorado State University coach Tim Miles and University of Northern Colorado coach Tad Boyle decried the measure, which will banish public affirmative action programs across the state.

 

“Rather than eliminate opportunities for minority students attacked by this initiative, we should figure out strategies to improve college opportunities for all low-income kids,” said Bzdelik in a press release. “We don’t want to see our university weakened by Amendment 46. Diversity makes CU strong — we need more of it, not less.”

Amendment 46 and a similar measure in Nebraska are being promoted by Ward Connerly, a California businessman who wants to dismantle affirmative action nationwide. The initiative has also been denounced by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and the Black Coaches and Administrators.