Affirmative Action Comes Home to Roost

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There are some people — a lot of them, in fact — who simply can’t abide the truth:

Professors at Smith College in Northampton, Mass. are being denounced as white supremacists after private messages were leaked in which they claim affirmative action sets up students for academic failure at the school.

The controversy in question concerns two letters sent by faculty in Smith’s School for Social Work to school administrators….

The first letter, sent by professor Dennis Miehls, warns that the school was failing in its “gatekeeper” function by admitting too many academically unprepared applicants….

A separate letter, signed only “Concerned Adjuncts,” isn’t as explicit about race, but voices similar concerns that lowered standards for certain groups were setting them up for failure.

“There is clearly something terribly faulty with the admission policy when scores of students develop, from the very start, serious problems in both their academic performance and their field experience,” the letter said. “What many people are thinking but afraid to say is that when students are admitted who do not have the academic qualifications to do well enough in a rigorous, demanding, stressful program … these students are being set up for failure….

The claims in the letters reflect prior research that suggests affirmative action may hurt beneficiaries by sending them to schools they are underqualified for, where they are then outclassed by other students.

Both letters appear to have been well-intentioned, but since being leaked, they have caused a firestorm at Smith. The unknown person who leaked them said the letters demonstrated the existence of “white supremacist systems” at the school.

Hundreds of students held a public protest Tuesday, denouncing the alleged racism within the School for Social Work.

“We bear witness to the violence of racialized, differential treatment of students of color,” student Katherine Roubos said at the protest, according to the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

Ironically, though, the protesters seem to share many facts with the complaining letters. Christopher Watkins, a protest leader, complained that a “disproportionate amount” of black and Hispanic students at the school have been placed under academic review, which seems to reflect the situation the letters complained about. The protesting students, though, believe their poorer performance reflects systemic racism in the school, rather than lower overall readiness.

Which doesn’t compute. It’s a reasonable surmise that the faculty of Smith College, like that of most colleges (especially the elite ones of the Northeast), is dominated by leftists. And we know that leftists, by self-definition, are anti-racists in the nth degree. So, either Smith’s faculty is riddled with crypto-racist hypocrites (not a remote possibility) or Smith (like almost all colleges in the U.S.) eagerly admits unqualified students in the name of “diversity,” etc., etc., etc.

But the victims of affirmative action — the unqualified students — don’t want to hear that. So their plight is the result of racism. What else is new?

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Related posts:
Race and Reason: The Victims of Affirmative Action
Race and Reason: The Achievement Gap — Causes and Implications
“Conversing” about Race
Evolution and Race
“Wading” into Race, Culture, and IQ
Evolution, Culture, and “Diversity”
The Harmful Myth of Inherent Equality
Let’s Have That “Conversation” about Race

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Unintended Consequences

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Now comes this unsurprising revelation from The Economist:

Forcing job applicants to declare they have a criminal record—whether or not it is relevant to the post—allows employers to filter out ex-convicts, it is argued, and prevents them finding the sort of work that would help them stay out of prison. So activists across the world have called for “ban-the-box” laws, which prohibit employers from inquiring about criminal histories prior to job interviews or offers.

Some 24 states and many municipalities in America have now introduced laws along those lines….

A paper by Jennifer Doleac of the University of Virginia and Benjamin Hansen of the University of Oregon, published on August 1st, looked at the impact of introducing ban-the-box policies on labour-market data from America’s population census. It found that withholding criminal-record data from employers encouraged them to treat certain minority groups as if they were more likely to have criminal pasts. In areas where ban-the-box laws have taken effect, the study found, the probability of being employed has fallen by 5.1% for young, low-skilled African-American men, and by 2.9% for young, low-skilled Hispanic men….

Other research backs up this conclusion. Amanda Agan of Princeton University and Sonja Starr of the University of Michigan sent 15,000 fictitious job applications to employers in New York and New Jersey. Before ban-the-box was introduced in these states, white applicants received around 7% more callbacks than similar black applicants. But when the policy took effect the gap increased to 45%.

How do you think a lot of employers cope with racial hiring quotas affirmative action? They use names and other clues to identify those applicants for employment who are black. They then weed out all but those black candidates who seem exceptionally well-qualified, and obviously better-qualified than the white or Asian candidates — which is often none. Why? Because once a black person shows up for an interview, he or she becomes a potential liability — a prospective employee who, if not hired, can file a racial discrimination claim. And it costs a lot of money to defend racial discrimination claims.

Result: Racial hiring quotas affirmative action means that fewer blacks are hired than would otherwise be the case.

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Related posts:

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Race and Reason: The Victims of Affirmative Action

“Fairness”

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“Fairness” usually is invoked when a person or group seeks special treatment — unfairness, in other words. Here’s what’s unfair:

Making Johnny share his toys with Billy when Johnny is having a perfectly good time playing by himself.

If Billy wants to be treated fairly, he should bring his own toys and refuse to share them with Johnny. Then they can bargain about which toys to play with jointly and which toys to trade, either temporarily or permanently.

Refusing to let Abby into college because a less-qualified candidate happens to have darker skin than Abby, and there aren’t “enough” darker-skinned students.

If only there were more darker-skinned students, college authorities say, they would feel more secure and mingle with white students, thus giving the white students a broader “life experience.” How many more darker-skinned students? Well, there’s no magic number, the college must continue to prefer less-qualified darker-skinned students over white ones until mingling magically occurs. In any event, mingling is unlikely to be fostered by raising the dark-to-white ratio, though when the ratio gets large enough a certain kind of mingling will occur: Mobs of dark students will start to give the white ones some “life experience” by attacking them.

Taking money from Jack and giving it to Joe because Joe doesn’t earn “enough.”

Joe doesn’t earn much money, relative to Jack, for one or more of several reasons: Joe is dumber, lazier, less well-educated, less well-connected, or less lucky. But Jack didn’t cause Joe’s dumbness, laziness, lack of education, lack of connections, or unluckiness. Why is it “fair” to penalize Jack for things that aren’t his fault? Because everyone “deserves” a certain minimum standard of living? Who says so, a bunch of politicians who know that there are a lot of votes to be gained by spreading Jack’s money around? Jesus Christ was big on charity, but when government takes money from Jack and gives it to Joe, it’s not charity — it’s legalized theft.

Changing the definition of marriage because homosexuals want to be “married.”

For thousands of years it has been understood that marriage is a bonding of male to female. This definition seldom was so well understood and accepted that it was unnecessary to make it explicit until it came under attack. The attackers then claimed that it was “hateful” to make the definition explicit, and that persons of the same sex ought to be able to wed each other. So it’s “hateful” to defend a principle? Isn’t it therefore hateful to call someone hateful in defense of the principle that same-sex couples should be able to wed, even though the idea is relatively new and defies an understood definition of marriage that’s thousands of years old? In fact, it’s fair to call the shrill proponents of same-sex marriage hateful.

Allowing anyone who claims to “be” a female to use restrooms designated for women.

Do you know how to tell a female from a male? You don’t? Then you’d better ask your Mommy or Daddy to explain it to you — again. Do you claim to believe that a person’s sex is what that person says it is, even if the outward evidence contradicts that person’s claim? Perhaps, then, you will believe me when I say that I am God and will smite you for being such a ninny. Oh, you don’t believe me? Then why should you believe the tall, bearded fellow with a deep voice who barges into the “ladies” room and insists that he’s really a woman? Why does your judgment fail you in such cases? Because it’s only “fair” to the bearded guy to believe his story? But what if it isn’t “fair” to the real females who want privacy from prying male-like persons when they go into the “ladies” room? You’re not being fair, you’re just sticking it to “the system” because it gives you a thrill. As fads go, swallowing the transgender line makes as much sense as swallowing goldfish.

Not advising the prosecution of Hillary Clinton because “no reasonable prosecutor” would purse the case, after describing clear violations by Mrs. Clinton of an unambiguous statute.

That is unfair because, as the Director of the FBI admitted, almost anyone other than Mrs. Clinton (or another highly placed politician) would be prosecuted.