The amazing 1969 prophecy that racial preferences would cause the exact grievances of protesters today
. . . and their capacity to destroy what they seek to achieve.
More below the fold!
Hat tip: Instapundit
"Universities are among the most progressive and anti-racist institutions in American society. Many Americans therefore found it confusing to see dozens of our top universities racked by racial protests since last September. To add to the puzzle, many of the most high-profile actions occurred at universities widely perceived to be the most devoted to social justice and racial equality -– schools such as Brown, Yale, Amherst, Wesleyan, and Oberlin. (Every one of these schools earned a red or yellow light from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, indicating schools that are not recommended for conservative students.) What is going on?"
What is going on is the Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today's Students Paperback – April 3, 2012 by Allan Bloom.
A closing which has resulted in great harm for all students but particularly great harm for students subjected to the malignant racial preferences, and quotas.
"A simple resolution of the puzzle is the hypothesis that the anti-racist policies these schools pursue give rise, indirectly, to experiences of marginalization for black students. Lee Jussim and I suggested this hypothesis in an essay last Saturday in the Wall Street Journal. We noted that we support affirmative action in general – taking vigorous steps to increase the recruitment, training, retention, and ultimate success of black students. But we raised concerns about the most controversial element of affirmative action: the use of racial preferences in admissions. Here is the key passage:
'But as practiced in most of the top American universities, affirmative action also involves using different admissions standards for applicants of different races, which automatically creates differences in academic readiness and achievement. Although these gaps vary from college to college, studies have found that Asian students enter with combined math/verbal SAT scores on the order of 80 points higher than white students and 200 points higher than black students. A similar pattern occurs for high-school grades. These differences are large, and they matter: High-school grades and SAT scores predict later success as measured by college grades and graduation rates.
As a result of these disparate admissions standards, many students spend four years in a social environment where race conveys useful information about the academic capacity of their peers. People notice useful social cues, and one of the strongest causes of stereotypes is exposure to real group differences. If a school commits to doubling the number of black students, it will have to reach deeper into its pool of black applicants, admitting those with weaker qualifications, particularly if most other schools are doing the same thing. This is likely to make racial gaps larger, which would strengthen the negative stereotypes that students of color find when they arrive on campus.'"
This is the modern analysis. But by no means a new analysis. In fact, a similar analysis had been performed 47 years earlier in 1969.
"As that essay was going to press, Heterodox Academy member Amy Wax sent us the text of an astonishing letter written in 1969, at the dawn of racial preferences, from Macklin Fleming, Justice of the California Court of Appeal. Judge Fleming had written a personal letter to Louis Pollack, the dean of Yale Law School. Fleming was concerned about the plan Dean Pollack had recently announced under which Yale would essentially implement a racial quota – 10% of each entering class would be composed of black students. To achieve this goal, Yale had just admitted 43 black students, only five of whom had qualified under their normal standards. (The exchange of letters was later made public with the consent of both parties; you can read the full text of both letters here.)
Judge Fleming explained why he believed this new policy was a dangerous experiment that was likely to cause harmful stereotypes, rather than reduce them. His argument is essentially the one that Jussim and I made 47 years later. Here is what he wrote:
'The immediate damage to the standards of Yale Law School needs no elaboration. But beyond this, it seems to me the admission policy adopted by the Law School faculty will serve to perpetuate the very ideas and prejudices it is designed to combat. If in a given class the great majority of the black students are at the bottom of the class, this factor is bound to instill, unconsciously at least, some sense of intellectual superiority among the white students and some sense of intellectual inferiority among the black students. Such a pairing in the same school of the brightest white students in the country with black students of mediocre academic qualifications is social experiment with loaded dice and a stacked deck. The faculty can talk around the clock about disadvantaged background, and it can excuse inferior performance because of poverty, environment, inadequate cultural tradition, lack of educational opportunity, etc. The fact remains that black and white students will be exposed to each other under circumstances in which demonstrated intellectual superiority rests with the whites.'
But Judge Fleming went much further. He made specific predictions about what the new policy would do to black students over the years, and how they would react. Here is his prophecy:
'No one can be expected to accept an inferior status willingly. The black students, unable to compete on even terms in the study of law, inevitably will seek other means to achieve recognition and self-expression. This is likely to take two forms. First, agitation to change the environment from one in which they are unable to compete to one in which they can. Demands will be made for elimination of competition, reduction in standards of performance, adoption of courses of study which do not require intensive legal analysis, and recognition for academic credit of sociological activities which have only an indirect relationship to legal training. Second, it seems probable that this group will seek personal satisfaction and public recognition by aggressive conduct, which, although ostensibly directed at external injustices and problems, will in fact be primarily motivated by the psychological needs of the members of the group to overcome feelings of inferiority caused by lack of success in their studies. Since the common denominator of the group of students with lower qualifications is one of race this aggressive expression will undoubtedly take the form of racial demands–the employment of faculty on the basis of race, a marking system based on race, the establishment of a black curriculum and a black law journal, an increase in black financial aid, and a rule against expulsion of black students who fail to satisfy minimum academic standards.'
* * *
I close with two short excerpts from Judge Fleming’s extraordinary letter:
The American creed, one that Yale has proudly espoused, holds that an American should be judged as an individual and not as a member of a group. To me it seems axiomatic that a system which ignores this creed and introduces the factor of race in the selection of students for a professional school is inherently malignant, no matter how high-minded the purpose nor how benign the motives of those making the selection….
The present policy of admitting students on two bases and thereafter purporting to judge their performance on one basis is a highly explosive sociological experiment almost certain to achieve undesirable results.'"
Here is a link to the demands of the various student groups over the past many months, they are incredibly close to Judge Fleming's analysis:
Yale halloween email demands
The solution to this problem is quite simple but politically the progressives who run the Academe will fight it tooth and nail. We need to immediately eliminate all racial preferences. Step two would be to eliminate all federal involvement in the teaching aspect of universities, segregate the teaching component of the university from the research component, and require each pay it own way, and then eliminate all federal tuition assistance, loans, guidelines, and any other involvement with the higher educational process. The federal government has created two separate but related malignancies here, racial preferences, and tuition assistance. The former created a nonexistent racial divide, the later drove the price of tuition to near infinity.
Racial preferences have created a serious and wholly manufactured racial divide at university. A divide where asians, and whites are considered more intelligent, and where other coloreds are considered less intelligent, and inferior. This is so damaging to all who attend these universities that the depth of damage is incalculable. Black students who would otherwise be capable students at state schools become significantly inferior students at an elite university. After decades of this, progressives have begun to actually believe the problem is black inferiority, and the need for racial preferences is permanent.
If, on the other hand, these students were allowed to attend universities where their abilities more closely match the abilities of others, they would have better outcomes, and far less emotional disturbance.
There is no evidence that blacks are not sufficiently intelligent to gain access to elite universities on merit. With the bar raised, it is likely that intelligent, competitive blacks would increasingly vie for positions in these elite universities and over time begin filling slots, and participating and competing with peers, not others of superior capabilities. Merited achievement develops positive self worth, and value. Unmerited achievement does the opposite, and further creates hatred, anger, and frustration.
Our choice today is to either maintain a failed system which injures the students we most wish to help and support, or reform this failed system and recreate it as a system which can actually achieve the outcomes we desire.
The progressive system is in collapse, it has not achieved the goals we desire since the early 1970s, reform is long past due, yet we are too conservative to allow the changes necessary, and so we continue to destroy lives, and damage individuals on an altar of failure.
Sadly, these students cannot understand the origin of the problem, nor can they understand the proper course of action, instead they see a great prize which they disparately want. Failing to understand the consequences, they accept the prize, and in the end are undone. We need to stop this now, today.