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Today we are fortunate to have a guest post by Roger Clegg, president of the Center for Equal Opportunity.

“THE GREAT EVIL IN THIS COUNTRY”

by Roger Clegg

A few months ago, The New York Times ran a front-page story about the demise of racially exclusive programs at universities all over the country. I was happy with the article, in part because it recognized the role that my organization, the Center for Equal Opportunity, has played in persuading schools–and civil-rights enforcement agencies in the federal government–to open up these programs to students of all colors.

But I was also happy that the best rejoinder the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund’s president, Theodore M. Shaw, could come up with was: “How is it that they conclude that the great evil in this country is discrimination against white people? Can I put the question any more pointedly? I struggle to find the words to do it because it’s so stunning.” I could almost hear him sputtering.

So, is discrimination against white people “the great evil”?

Well, it is certainly an evil. There are worse things in the world, I admit, but I’ve never understood the complaint that we shouldn’t be fighting this particular evil when there are worse things out there. Cancer is worse than crooked teeth, but no one rails against orthodontists. We don’t all have to fight whatever the one great evil is.

Perhaps Mr. Shaw’s subtext is that discrimination against white people is necessary to fight discrimination against black people, and that the latter discrimination is a bigger problem than the former, and so the Center for Equal Opportunity’s efforts are actually keeping Mr. Shaw from winning his nobler crusade. Looked at this way, discrimination against white people really isn’t an evil at all.

I will note in passing that racially exclusive programs typically hurt Asians as well as whites, and frequently Latinos and Native Americans as well. We’ve even found–and successfully opposed–racially exclusive programs that excluded African Americans.

More fundamentally, though, I reject the claim that a good way to fight discrimination against blacks is to discriminate against whites. It’s a lousy way, unlikely to benefit actual victims of discrimination and certain to create new ones. Much better to enforce the laws we have against racial discrimination; much better to have programs that help the disadvantaged of all colors (who will be disproportionately black, after all).

I do think that discrimination–even against white people, Mr. Shaw–is an evil. It’s unfair. It’s divisive. It creates resentment. It sets a bad precedent. And so forth. Add it all up and, yes, I think it is “a great evil.”

But there is something else, too, Mr. Shaw, and you won’t like to hear this.

Racial preference for African Americans sends the message that they are entitled to such preference because the reason they are disproportionately failing–and thus need the preference–is no fault of their own: That it is discrimination that is holding them back, not illegitimacy or not studying hard enough or anything that they are doing or not doing.

This message is false, and it may ultimately be the most damaging consequence to society of racial preference. Discrimination still exists, of course–will always exist to some degree–but it is not the problem it was a generation ago. As the Manhattan Institute’s John McWhorter writes in his new book Winning the Race, racism is “an occasional nuisance that need not impede the black success that we wish.”

Really, Mr. Shaw, it is your Civil Rights Establishment that is misallocating resources, not your opponents. Why don’t you take the time and money you spend defending racial preference, and use them instead to figure out how to bring down the illegitimacy rate among African Americans? Seven out of ten African Americans are today born out of wedlock, Mr. Shaw, and that is the pipeline problem. It’s triple the rate for non-Hispanic whites, way higher than that of Latinos, and seven times or more the rate for some Asian groups.

And growing up in a home without a father correlates closely with just about any social pathology you can name, including educational failure. Solving that problem is what the African American community needs, not discriminatory scholarships. Solve that problem, and every other disparity will take care of itself.

Say What? (7)

  1. Cobra July 10, 2006 at 11:47 pm | | Reply

    Roger Clegg writes:

    >>>”Really, Mr. Shaw, it is your Civil Rights Establishment that is misallocating resources, not your opponents. Why don’t you take the time and money you spend defending racial preference, and use them instead to figure out how to bring down the illegitimacy rate among African Americans? Seven out of ten African Americans are today born out of wedlock, Mr. Shaw, and that is the pipeline problem. It’s triple the rate for non-Hispanic whites, way higher than that of Latinos, and seven times or more the rate for some Asian groups.

    And growing up in a home without a father correlates closely with just about any social pathology you can name, including educational failure. Solving that problem is what the African American community needs, not discriminatory scholarships. Solve that problem, and every other disparity will take care of itself.”

    Based upon what calculation, when more than 50% of marriages end in divorce? Are you making the claim that a government document is the “magic wand” that will eliminate all the problems of society?

    “Marriage” doesn’t produce the industrial/manufacturing base that allowed generations of poor, immigrant whites to raise large families on one unskilled labor job.

    Two poor people who get married are two poor people who now can share the same last name.

    This is the sort of right winged obfuscation I enjoy the most…

    The humorous kind.

    –Cobra

  2. John S Bolton July 11, 2006 at 3:47 am | | Reply

    I like it that Mr. Clegg is gripping several baneful growths here, which, too often, get obfuscated. Anticaucasianism is widespread and official, and needs to be disestablished. The use of aggression to establish state religions of anticaucasianism, should be seen by everyone as wrong.

    Discrimination in general though, is not the great evil, official aggression is.

  3. John S Bolton July 11, 2006 at 4:20 am | | Reply

    Further, the US constitution is not a charter for experimentation in the equalization of races.

    It’s an attempt to win freedom from aggression.

    Equivocation between private and public discrimination, allows for concealment of the use of aggression by officials; which is supposedly justified by the wish to uplift the black man on a racial basis.

    Already, traitorous use of quotas is handicapping our military in wartime; as officer promotions require ‘special permission for promotion of all white men without disabilities’. This affects recruitment, and causes a large part of the use of the national guard where it is disadvantageous to do so.

  4. even if marriages end in divorce, the fact that people marry before having offspring matters. a society where people do what we do, have kids without marriage, without all the significance of marriage is not going to be successful. blacks do not feel the effect of what we do so much because everyone is not doing it. we are a small group in a larger group. any culture where people just mate, without the marriage ceremony, without the agreement of families, without the child belonging to both families formally, is doomed to poverty and insignificance. Cobra’s attitude signifies what is wrong with much liberal thinking, that marriage means nothing. Marriage is not just about love, it’s about civilization, continuing civilization and culture. it’s about how children have fathers, because without marriage there are no fathers. not even the most heroic efforts and the best will in the world (which people do not have anyway) can make a father out of an man who was not married to the mother. it’s very difficult. marriage is the easy way to do it. also cobra raises another liberal introduction, which is that marriage is not perfect and does not lead to perfect solutions. Of course not. But marriage leads to better solutions. It reduces the chances of poverty. two poor people who marry are going to behave better and have bette values than those who do not. the attitude that people should have everything made wonderful for them and then they will be civilized is a great liberal misconception. first they have to be civilized and behave in certain ways, the prosperity results from the behavior. if the values are not there, no one can give them.

  5. sharon July 11, 2006 at 12:18 pm | | Reply

    “Based upon what calculation, when more than 50% of marriages end in divorce? Are you making the claim that a government document is the “magic wand” that will eliminate all the problems of society?”

    First of all, your statistic for the number of marriages that end in divorce is spurious. 50% of all marriages (which includes 2d marriages, 3d marriages, etc.) end in divorce. For 1st marriages, the number is something closer to 30%, which means far more kiddoes end up raised with both their parents. This IS a big determinant in what kind of person a child grows up to be, because divorce is devastating for children. Being raised in a single-parent home is even more so because the child is deprived of the influence of 2 people working together for that child’s greatest good.

    “”Marriage” doesn’t produce the industrial/manufacturing base that allowed generations of poor, immigrant whites to raise large families on one unskilled labor job.”

    While it is true that marriage doesn’t produce low-skilled jobs, high wage jobs, it provides a stability that makes it easier to ascend the wage ladder. Here’s an example, Cobra:

    Married poor couple, 1 child, 2 low-skill, minimum wage jobs. The couple is more likely to be able to keep both jobs because they can trade off taking care of the child and don’t necessarily need childcare (and its expense).

    On the flip side, single mother, 1 child, 1 low-skill, minimum wage job. Now the family has had its income cut in half AND childcare expenses must come out of the wage that is left. Plus, if the child is sick, the mother now must stay home and potentially lose the only income available. Do you see the difference now?

    “Two poor people who get married are two poor people who now can share the same last name.”

    They also can share income, insurance, and other benefits from employers and the govt. Plus, they can support each other in other ways not monetary, which will help them have a better life.

  6. David Nieporent July 12, 2006 at 4:36 am | | Reply

    Two poor people who get married are two poor people who now can share the same last name.

    True. They also share the same residence, the same bank accounts, the same assets, the same expenses, and the same children. Which makes them two much less poor people, and makes their children much less poor, and makes their children more parented.

    It’s astonishing how many poor people — of all races — just don’t get the concept that one household is cheaper to run than two.

  7. Cobra July 12, 2006 at 8:48 pm | | Reply

    Many topics here to address, and though I’m accused of making vague non-sequitors, I’ll try to address what was posted.

    John S. Bolton writes:

    >>>”Anticaucasianism is widespread and official, and needs to be disestablished. The use of aggression to establish state religions of anticaucasianism, should be seen by everyone as wrong.

    Discrimination in general though, is not the great evil, official aggression is.”

    Can you please illuminate how this “anticaucasianism” manifests itself in an American society that is OVERWHELMINGLY DOMINATED by caucasians? In an America where the vast majority of wealth, political power, and corporate leadership are controlled by caucasians?

    Sharon writes:

    >>>”First of all, your statistic for the number of marriages that end in divorce is spurious. 50% of all marriages (which includes 2d marriages, 3d marriages, etc.) end in divorce.”

    How is my statistic “spurious” when you agree with me in the next sentence? I made no distinction between first or multiple marriages. Heck, Rush Limbaugh loved the institution so much he did it three times. Brittney Spears? Rudy Giuliani? Don’t get me started.

    Sharon writes:

    >>>”Married poor couple, 1 child, 2 low-skill, minimum wage jobs. The couple is more likely to be able to keep both jobs because they can trade off taking care of the child and don’t necessarily need childcare (and its expense).

    On the flip side, single mother, 1 child, 1 low-skill, minimum wage job. Now the family has had its income cut in half AND childcare expenses must come out of the wage that is left. Plus, if the child is sick, the mother now must stay home and potentially lose the only income available. Do you see the difference now?”

    If you’re dealing with a single parent earning a large salary, this argument may make sense. If you’re dealing with the first example you present–low skill, minimum wage job, more than likely, without help from her family, that single parent would probably resort to those programs conservatives seem to hate so much–AFDC, Public housing, Medicare, Food Stamps, etc.

    >>>”They also can share income, insurance, and other benefits from employers and the govt. ”

    I concur. Even military families with active duty spouses in Iraq may partake in Food Stamps.

    Anita writes:

    >>>”Cobra’s attitude signifies what is wrong with much liberal thinking, that marriage means nothing. Marriage is not just about love, it’s about civilization, continuing civilization and culture.”

    When did I ever declare that “marriage means nothing?” Of course it means something, but let’s be a little realistic about this. There are many reasons people cite for getting married, but I doubt “to continue civilization” is high in the polling data.

    David writes:

    >>>”It’s astonishing how many poor people — of all races — just don’t get the concept that one household is cheaper to run than two.”

    That’s why the pre-nup was invented.

    –Cobra