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Hey there everyone: here is my latest essay, published earlier today on my site,, and which I thought might be of interest here. My site has been acting up thanks to the botnet attack on Wordpress sites for the past two days, so even those of you who read my stuff pretty regularly might have been unable to access it.

Anyway, it's a reply to those white folks in your life (don't we all have some??) who act like affirmative action has made them victims of some pernicious, Jim Crow-like reverse racism…sadly, a mentality that never seems to go away. I've written about this many times before, but figured it was time to revisit, especially given how much I've been hearing the same tired arguments lately…

Anyway, beneath the squiggle is the piece...

But what about us?

It's a question of which white folks seem never to tire when discussing subjects like affirmative action, or other diversity initiatives intended to expand opportunity and access for people of color in higher education and the job market.

Whenever these matters are broached, the vast majority of us rush to protest: How dare schools or employers consider race in hiring or admissions. They should be colorblind, we insist, merely admitting or hiring the most qualified! And more to the point, we proclaim, targeting folks of color for opportunities, by definition, means discrimination against us. Such efforts make us the victims, even, on some accounts, treating white people "exactly" like blacks were treated under Jim Crow segregation (1).

So, yes, it remains the case that even when black folks have college degrees they're nearly twice as likely as comparable whites to be out of work; and Latinos with degrees are about 50 percent more likely than comparable whites to be out of work; and Asian Americans with degrees are about 40 percent more likely than comparable whites to be out of work (2). And yes, even whites who claim to have criminal records are more likely to be hired than equally qualified blacks without records, but still, can anti-white lynchings be far behind?

And yes, blacks and Latinos combined only represent about 13 percent of students at the most selective colleges and universities -- the only ones that actually practice any kind of real affirmative action for admissions -- and there are twice as many whites admitted to elite schools with less-than-average qualifications as there are people of color so admitted, but still, can any rational person doubt that whites will soon be limited to mere token representation at the nation's best educational institutions?

That such hand-wringing about so-called reverse discrimination reeks of intellectual mendacity should be obvious by now. Despite years of so-called reverse racism, whites remain atop every indicator of social and economic well-being when compared to the African Americans and Latinos who, it is claimed, are displacing us from our perch: employment data, income, net worth; you name it, and we are the ones in better shape without exception.

Indeed, in some regards the gaps between whites and folks of color have grown in recent years, as with wealth gaps, which have actually tripled since the 1980s, now leaving the typical white family with over 20 times the net worth of the typical black family and 18 times that of the typical Latino family. Even when comparing families of middle-class income and occupational status, whites possess 3-5 times the net worth of middle class blacks, suggesting that even African Americans who have procured good careers and obtained college degrees lag well behind their white counterparts, due in large measure to the inherited disadvantages of past generations, affirmative action efforts notwithstanding.

This is why, despite affirmative action -- which may well be eradicated (at least so far as higher ed is concerned) by the Supreme Court within the month -- white racial advantage remains a real and persistent phenomena in American life, and one with which fair-minded persons should still be prepared to grapple.

To claim that affirmative action not only disproves white privilege, but indeed suggests its opposite -- black and brown privilege -- as many have argued to me via email exchanges, is to ignore the entire social context within which affirmative action occurs.

It's like protesting that sick people are privileged, relative to the healthy, because there are no hospitals for the latter.

It's like complaining that the poor are privileged, relative to the well-off, because no one sets up soup kitchens to serve the affluent; nor does Habitat for Humanity ever show up to build mansions for the rich.

It's like insisting that the disabled are privileged because they get bigger bathroom stalls, or because of all those special parking spaces, and that the able-bodied are oppressed because we have to walk a bit further when we go shopping at the mall or for groceries

It's like complaining that women are privileged and men oppressed because of half-price Ladies Night specials at the local pub, or because of Breast Cancer Awareness wristbands that say "Save the Boobies" -- after all, there are no "I love Prostate" wristbands -- or because female porn stars and strippers make more than their male counterparts, or because hospitals don't have paternity wards. Yeah, think about that one for a minute!

It's like whining about how the LGBT community is privileged and we straight folks oppressed, since, after all, "the gays" have their own parades and bars that cater to their needs. Where's our parade? Where's our bar?

It's like inveighing against the privileges enjoyed by Jews or Muslims, what with that Kosher or Halal certification you can find on grocery items nowadays. Obviously, going out of the way to make sure observant Jews and Muslims know what food is OK for them to eat is nothing less than naked favoritism! After all, where's the little Jesus cross to let Christians know what food is holy for them?

It's like rich people, who make millions or even billions (and as such, likely pay a pretty hefty tax bill annually) complaining about how working class folks who earn only $15,000 or so not only don't pay income taxes, they actually get a refund in the form of the Earned Income Tax Credit! As such, it's obvious that the working poor are the truly advantaged in society! And this is especially true when you think about all the thrift shops and discount stores that are established to serve them, and those check-cashing outlets and pawn shops! An entire infrastructure just for low-income people. Where are our food stamps? Where's our government cheese?

For that matter, one might ask (and some, with no sense of irony do), where's our White Entertainment Television? Because when one is white one has the luxury of ignoring that the entire cable broadcast spectrum represents whiteness: from Donald Trump to Honey Boo-Boo and everything inbetween.

Or, as others insist, where's our National Association for the Advancement of White People? Because likewise, we don't have to notice how there are several of these, implicitly, throughout the culture: the Fortune 500, the Chamber of Commerce, or your friendly neighborhood police force among the most obvious.

Or, where's our White History Month? Which is the kind of imbecilic query that could only emanate from the lips of one who has had the luxury of glibly ignoring that we have several, though they go by the tricky names of May, June, July, and so on, and in which months white people's historical narratives are given quite a bit more than a momentary consideration.

In other words, when whites critique affirmative action, we typically ignore everything that came before such efforts -- and which unjustly skewed the historical balance of power and access in our favor -- and even that which continues to favor us now, from funding and other advantages in the schools that mostly serve our children, to preferential treatment in the housing market, to ongoing advantages in employment.

For instance, with black and Latino students far more likely than whites to attend concentrated poverty schools, and with the typical black or Latino student attending school with twice as many low income students as the typical white student, and being twice as likely to be taught by the least experienced teachers and half as likely to be taught by the most experienced, it is more than a bit disingenuous to suggest that it's black and brown kids receiving "preferential treatment" in education.

With companies filling up to half of their new jobs by way of recommendations made by pre-existing employees -- a practice that benefits those persons connected to others already in the pipeline, who will disproportionately be white -- and with informal, typically white-dominated networks providing the keys to the best jobs in the modern economy, and with research indicating that employers are more likely to hire people they'd like to "hang out with," than those who are necessarily the most qualified (which will tend to replicate race and class homogeneity), and with blacks significantly underrepresented in management positions, even and especially in work settings that include large numbers of blacks, it stands as uniquely craven to complain about how persons of color are receiving unjust head starts in the labor market. That even middle class blacks, relatively protected by their economic and educational status from overt mistreatment, still suffer disparate rates of job dismissal (even when their performance indicators are comparable to those of whites), lower mobility when compared to similar whites, and regular harassment on the job, makes such arguments all the more repugnant.

With people of color significantly more likely than whites to be steered to subprime mortgage loans -- even when their credit scores and incomes are comparable to (or better) than their white counterparts -- makes it downright indecent to argue that it's whites who are getting the shaft and people of color who are reaping the benefits of some iniquitous system of preference.

And yet, that's what one can hear, over and again, from the very white Americans who regularly bemoan what they call the "victim" mentality of black folks and other "racial minorities."

As in, "If I were just black, I'd have gotten into Harvard!" Or, "If my buddy John had been named Juan, he'd have gotten that construction contract," which arguments brazenly ignore that whites still far outnumber blacks at places like Harvard and white owned businesses continue to receive over 90 percent of government contracts (3). Oh, and such idiocy also, and conveniently, ignores one more not-so-minor matter: namely, that if one had been black, or if one's friend had been Latino, one's life and that of said friend would have been completely different, and not only on that day that you or he applied to Harvard or for that particular contract, but every day before that.

Which is to say that long before you sent in your college application, you'd have been a black child, born in a country where black children are twice as likely to die in infancy as the white child you actually were.

You'd have been a black teenager, in a country where black teens who are actively seeking jobs have unemployment rates that regularly hover around 40 percent, and are 2.5 times the rates for white teens, like the one you actually were (4).

You'd have been living in a black family, whose parent or parents would have been twice as likely to be out of work and three times as likely to be poor as the white parents you actually grew up with.

And if you had committed a crime as a youth, you'd have been six times as likely to be incarcerated for that crime than your actual white self, even if the crime details and your prior record were no different than they had been in your actual, white world.

In short, claims of white victimhood only make sense if one has so imbibed a mentality of entitlement that one actually believes whites earned all that extra stuff, that we earned our better health, or the relative wealth status we merely inherited from our families (which inherited it from theirs), or preferential treatment from cops. Which is to say, it's the kind of thing that can only make sense to those lacking the most basic capacity for critical thought, and anything remotely resembling that which we might call, perspective.

Sadly, this is precisely the mentality adopted by several members -- and now perhaps the majority -- of the Supreme Court: persons who lash out at any effort to balance out opportunities for people of color, as evidence of unlawful and unfair preference, but ignore the persistent and institutionalized advantages of whiteness, referring dismissively to such things as "societal discrimination," against which they claim to be powerless.

Such is the face of white privilege in the twenty-first century: a systematized reality so normalized and taken for granted by the majority of whites, that any deviation from its totalizing script becomes cause for alarm in the eyes of millions.

That such a weak, hypersensitive and over-indulged group as this should wield such power would be funny were it not so dangerous.


(1) Yes, I realize that there are more sophisticated arguments against affirmative action than this kind of white victimhood argument, and I have responded to them elsewhere. First and foremost in my 2005 book, Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White, but also in numerous essays. To wit, here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here.

(2) See Table 6, pages 14-16. Note, the white unemployment figures are artificially inflated because roughly 93 percent of Latinos are racially classified as white in Labor Department data, as noted on page 1 of the report. Because Latinos and Latinas tend to have higher unemployment rates than non-Hispanic whites, including them in the white totals skews white unemployment upwards at higher levels of education. While Latino/as with little education actually tend to fare slightly better than comparable whites (likely because they are hired specifically by employers who seek to take advantage of their limited language skills or immigration vulnerability, and thus, inability to complain about bad work conditions, low pay, and no benefits), among Latinos with high school diplomas or college educations, employment status is worse than for comparable whites. Once Latino males are extracted from the white totals for persons with college degrees, Latino unemployment for degree holders is 44 percent above that for whites, while unemployment rates for Latina females with degrees is 59 percent above the rate for comparable white women. For Asian Americans, in the aggregate, unemployment among degree holders is 37 percent higher than for comparable whites, including a whopping 68 percent higher for Asian American women, relative to white women with degrees.

(3) According to the data in this article, black- and Latino-owned small businesses received about $15 billion, combined, in government contract dollars in 2011, out of approximately $433 billion in overall contracts granted by the government that year, for a percentage of only about 3.5 percent of all contract dollars. This more comprehensive analysis indicates a total of about $36 billion overall in contract dollars for minority-owned businesses that year (including other persons of color, not black or Hispanic), out of $537 billion in overall contract dollars, for a percentage of about 6 percent. Either way, it is safe to say that over 90 percent of contract dollars continue to flow to businesses owned by whites.

(4) According to Table 3 (pp 7-9) of this report, black teen unemployment rates in 2011 averaged 41.2 percent, compared to 19.5 percent for white teens, once Latinos classified in the data as white are removed from the white totals. It was important to remove Latinos from the white totals, because Latino teens are about 60 percent more likely than white teens to be unemployed, thus, keeping them in the larger category of whites (and as noted on page 1 of the report, about 93 percent of Latinos are found there), artificially inflates the "real white" unemployment numbers, whether for teens or adults. For an explanation of how I extracted Latinos from the data, here and in note 2 above, write for details at The procedure isn't complicated but is too lengthy to explain here.

Originally posted to tim wise on Tue May 14, 2013 at 01:37 PM PDT.

Also republished by RaceGender DiscrimiNATION.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (17+ / 0-)

    Guilt is what you feel because of the kinds of things you've done. Responsibility is what you take because of the kind of person you are...

    by tim wise on Tue May 14, 2013 at 01:37:38 PM PDT

  •  As always, worth the read. (5+ / 0-)

    PS My son got to hear you speak  his college not long ago and  was blown away.

    We view "The Handmaid's Tale" as cautionary. The GOP views it as an instruction book.

    by Vita Brevis on Tue May 14, 2013 at 01:50:17 PM PDT

  •  It's a bizarre form of privilage and entitlement.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...that leads folks, even here on Daily Kos, to rec comments (and yes, I know that it's a typo likely caused by some stupid spell checker on a so-called smart phone) that call for the first African American President to have a bullet put in the back of his head.

    The original typo is an entirely understandable result of runaway and unthinking technology, but the recs are an example of runaway and unthinking white privilege, to my mind.

    •  And yes, I do fully expect to get HR'd into... (0+ / 0-)

      ...oblivion for bringing up what is still an open wound here at Daily Kos.

      But I still call for the site admins to delete that comment from its servers.

      Its continued existence, especially with 3 uprates by Kossacks in good standing, serves absolutely no purpose here.

    •  You know very well (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Those were not recs endorsing the concept of assassination, but misplaced attempts to counter the runaway HRs the comment was getting before raters could be calmed down enough to recognize it as a typo. And no, I won't HR you, but it is a dirty thing you are doing to put that poster (or those recommending) back in the spotlight as an exemplar of unthinking white privilege. Most unfair, and it tells me something ugly about you.

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Tue May 14, 2013 at 02:59:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Who needed to be calmed down? (0+ / 0-)

        I was perfectly calm when I HR'd the comment, and I still am. (We rate the comments, not the commenters.)

        But there is no excuse for uprating such a comment, typo or no, and given that it garners 3 uprates, it really ought to be deleted from the servers.

        What purpose does the continued existence of such a comment with 3 uprates serve?

        •  It only needed two to hide (0+ / 0-)

          And people were piling on into the double digits. While I don't agree with the uprates, and many discouraged folks from doing that, the way those could help "calm things down" is it alerted others coming newly to the comment to be aware there was some controversy or confusion, and to perhaps read the comments regarding the probabilityof a typo before they knee jerked to add their own HR

          As to deleting it, I'm sure the poster would like to have it obliterated too. However, I gather there are technical issues that may prevent it. I'm sure if you have submitted your point to the help desk that if site mgmt felt it was an appropriate thing to do, and it was technically feasable, they would have done it.

          “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

          by Catte Nappe on Tue May 14, 2013 at 04:03:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The comment is still not hidden, as you can... (0+ / 0-)

            ...easily verify by clicking on the link that I posted above.

            So-called "hidden comments" is simply a fiction that we tell ourselves when we close our eyes and pretend that we can't see the comment.

            The comment is quite visible, with some HRs and some uprates, to all but the most casual of viewers, indicating a mixed measure of censure and support.

            Let's not pretend that the convenient fictions that we tell ourselves via official dkos terminology has any basis in reality.

            That comment should have been buried under a pile of HR's with no dissent. That would have indicated a unanimous viewpoint on the part of Daily Kos users.

            That there were 3 dissenting uprates, and that those dissenting uprates came from Daily Kos users in good standing, is a disgrace to this blog.

            •  What "hidden" means (0+ / 0-)

              As you probably know.

              It can only be seen by "trusted users" of DKos. Granted, it's a fairly large group, but it is a group limited to those who are
              1. registered users of the site and
              2. regular enough participants to have "earned" the TU status.
              Consequently, the offending comment is not going to be visible to lurkers or casual readers - and in fact that is by far the larger number of readers here.

              Beyond that, those who can see the comment can also see the entire thread beneath it and gain an understanding of what was going on and why both teh HRs and the Recs.

              “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

              by Catte Nappe on Tue May 14, 2013 at 05:51:34 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, I've read all 3 comments beneith it. (0+ / 0-)
                Beyond that, those who can see the comment can also see the entire thread beneath it and gain an understanding of what was going on and why both teh HRs and the Recs.
                Have you?

                If you read them, you will see that HR's are justified, and that the uprates are not.

                The HR's were not some "knee-jerk" response, as you indicate above.

      •  Incidentally, if somebody really felt that folks.. (0+ / 0-)

        ...needed to be "calmed down" for some reason, in what universe would uprating a comment calling for a bullet to the head of the President of the United States of America cause folks to calm down?

        That doesn't even make any sense.

        Those of us who were posting in that diary at the time and who HR'd it had already moved on.

        What caused the entire controversy was the fact that some folks suddenly started to uprate the comment right out of the blue.

        That's what caused the outrage. It was the uprates.

        Otherwise, the comment likely would likely have gone pretty much unnoticed.

  •  The disconnect is: (0+ / 0-)

    Some people look at this as an individual thing and others look at it as a group thing.

    Until a bridge is built, the opposite premises assumed by each philosophy will prevent any more progress.

    In other words to convince the skeptics you will first have to attack and cause them to re-examine and materially readjust their root premise of the primacy of individual rights.

    Absent that, your well-intentioned arguments could go on forever in infinite frustration.

    Boehner Just Wants Wife To Listen, Not Come Up With Alternative Debt-Reduction Ideas

    by dov12348 on Tue May 14, 2013 at 02:14:07 PM PDT

  •  Dammit, give me a bigger bathroom stall too! (3+ / 0-)

    At least give Larry Craig one to accommodate his wide stance.

    A humorous, yet serious and very able diary, thank you.

    I think one of the reasons for this myth is that, given the numbers, it is white people who implement or carry out affirmative action programs, and do so in a manner that makes it out to be something it's not.

    Case in point: I went for a job once during the 1991 recession. The HR manager said she got over 300 applications, then did phone interviews with 20 people, had 10 in for interviews, 5 back for interviews with the site manager, and 2 in for interviews with the president of the company (who was HQ in another city).

    I was one of the 2 and didn't get it. They left me a voice mail while I was still in the area, so I went back over, thanked the HR person for the opportunity and asked, since I'd invested so much time and would like to land an opportunity like this one, if she could let me know whether something was missing in my education, a skill that perhaps the other person had, etc.

    Hell, if she didn't want to, or was concerned about legal implications, she could have just said the president liked the other guy better and left it at that. Instead, she began to stammer, wouldn't look at me, and said that they hadn't done anything wrong, they can hire anyone they want.  Hmmm. Then, I'm leaving out the door and the plant manager sees me and asks why I'm back. I give him the same question - he pulls me in the stairwell and says "I never said this, but we had to hire the black guy".

    So here's the question: was I a victim? Or did the "black guy" also go thru resume screen, phone screen, 2 interviews and final with the president, and thus was just as qualified as me, so they took the opportunity to hire some diversity into management, as everyone in management was white while most of the floor workers were not.

    I believe it was the latter, but not that you'd know it from the 2 idiots I talked with, who only served to perpetuate the myth of reverse discrimination.  

    Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

    by absdoggy on Tue May 14, 2013 at 02:14:17 PM PDT

    •  actually... (2+ / 0-)

      what likely happened, was they lied to you. Either because telling someone they didn't get the job because they HAD to hire x,y, or z allows them to save face with you in their office (and studies have actually documented this very thing happening), or because they don't know the law…because, of course, AA has NEVER required anyone to hire "the black guy" because of race. Not only that, but such laws prohibit that kind of decision…either way, you were almost surely misled by them

      Guilt is what you feel because of the kinds of things you've done. Responsibility is what you take because of the kind of person you are...

      by tim wise on Tue May 14, 2013 at 02:37:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't know (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        leftist vegetarian patriot

        I kind of like the conclusion the commenter came to. Because I will admit there have been times when the "skill" I wanted in some instances was someone of a race other than the dominant one.  If I'm putting together a team of 8 I don't want 8 white women. I will be actively seeking, among candidates with the education and experience I need, some people of color, some men, etc.

        “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

        by Catte Nappe on Tue May 14, 2013 at 03:05:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well, yes, that was part of my point (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        leftist vegetarian patriot

        I don't think they deliberately lied or were trying to save face - I think it was just utter fail on the part of the plant manager and incompetence on the part of the HR manager.  And, I think this happens a lot, which creates an impression that reverse discrimination is happening when it's not.

        What I was trying to get at is that part of the reason for the myth of white victimhood is that you have people like these 2 idiots who manage to turn a perfectly legitimate need for diversity and a perfectly above-board hiring process into sounding like it was a case of reverse discrimination.

        Excuse my lack of humility, but I think other people, having gotten those responses from the HR and plant manager, might not put any thought into it and would come away feeling like they had been discriminated against.

        It's one thing that there's outright bigots out there who will blame not getting a job on reverse discrimination no matter what the facts are - hell, they'll even say it when no minorities even applied or were considered! We can easily point out and dismiss these cases.

        But it's even worse when hiring managers, through their own incompetence or bigotry, create the impression that reverse discrimination did happen - this makes defense of affirmative action all the more difficult.

        Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

        by absdoggy on Wed May 15, 2013 at 06:15:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent diary!! (3+ / 0-)

    Both informative and ironic, it was very well done.

    Thanks for all your efforts to heal the deep wounds that still exist within our society.

    Here's my take on it - the revolution will not be blogged, it has to be slogged. - Deoliver47

    by OIL GUY on Tue May 14, 2013 at 02:16:52 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for a great diary. (0+ / 0-)

    SOS - Save Our Sigs!

    by blueoregon on Tue May 14, 2013 at 02:37:41 PM PDT

  •  you argue statistics, not individuals (0+ / 0-)

    It may well be that the average white person does better.

    But that doesn't help the individual who actually gets discriminated against.

    Your disregard for the individual person in favor of the big statistical numbers is arrogant and shows general contempt for your fellow citizens.

    •  hmmm... (5+ / 0-)

      but in making social policy we always deal with numbers and generalities…because you can't fashion 300 million individual policies (re: taxes, education, crime policy, etc)…the fact is, a) white people are not the victims of systemic injustice, and if we were, it would be reflected in data. So, for instance, during the history of racism against people of color, notice: it actually produced RESULTS favoring whites and disfavoring people of color. That whites are still overwhelmingly better off in every area, with NO exceptions, indicates this victim bullshit is just that and b) the inequities that benefit whites amount to group privilege…by your ass-backwards logic, we could not argue that there was such thing as able bodied privilege, since SOME disabled people are affluent and lots of able bodied people are poor, or miserable, or unemployed, etc…i.e., looking at everyone as simply individuals, abstracted from social context makes them not actual people anymore…we don't exist absent our social context

      Guilt is what you feel because of the kinds of things you've done. Responsibility is what you take because of the kind of person you are...

      by tim wise on Tue May 14, 2013 at 02:45:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  obviously…btw (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fe Bongolan, Ginny in CO

        individuals who ARE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST, regardless of color, should be made whole. But those whites who claim to have ben victims -- including, especially those for whom all the big name aff action cases before the courts have been filed, and named (Bakke, Weber, Hopwood, Gratz, and now Fischer) were NOT truly victimized if you know their stories. And if those are the best cases of reverse discrimination out there (and they likely are, since they are the ones the lawyers pursued and too thru to the SCt, then that pretty well demonstrates the absurdity of the argument. My book on AA explains in detail, btw why Hopwood, Gratz, were not truly discriminated against, so I'm not going to repeat the argument here. If you really care about this, you'll read the book. But you don't, so you won't, natch...

        Guilt is what you feel because of the kinds of things you've done. Responsibility is what you take because of the kind of person you are...

        by tim wise on Tue May 14, 2013 at 02:49:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  thank you for this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fe Bongolan, Ginny in CO

    yep the RW must convince the masses that it is in the masses' interest to have 1% control 99% of the wealth and many of the masses have bought into this, draped as it was with a Confederate flag.

    However minorities are not biting the bait ALEC is dangling as I note the GOP FL Hispanic Outreach director has jumped a leaky ship.  Somehow, the GOP message just does not sell as well as it did to the racists.  Now wonder why the minorities are able to resist the siren call of racism?  

  •  class vs race (0+ / 0-)

    I's also like to share some hard truths with you. The political backbone of every stable democracy is the middle class.  Kill us and you kill the whole society. Middle class participates in the political process and exerts massive influence via votes.

    Another truth is that part of what defines the middle class is that somebody is below you on the social ladder.  We can't all be middle class.

    Since the middle class can and does not cement its place in society by wealth, jobs and education are its main assets. Middle class persons strive to ensure their social status not only for themselves but for their offspring as well.  They go to great lengths to give their offspring as much education and job opportunities as possible to maintain their status, too.

    If you want to achieve random social mobility (i.e. everyone has the exactly same chance) you will have to destroy the middle classes' ability to preserve status for its children. And since they have the ability to boost their kid's educational abilities, you will need to massively handicap those.

    If you do that, the middle class will politically crush you like a bug.

    Only communist dictatorship ever managed to do that on a sustained base (e.g. in Communist East Germany you needed to be a laborer's child to get into most university programs) and it didn't do them any good, either.

    Middle class accepts some social mobility, but all in moderation and to limited extent.

    I don't buy your diary's suggestion that its all about white privilege. Much of the described effects are just middle class adhesiveness. And insofar as this is the case, affirmative action is anti-middle-class action. And, as such, it is a perfect recruiting tool for the GOP.

    Affirmative action is one of the tarpit reason Democrats never seem to get off the ground.

    •  there was no middle class (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fe Bongolan, Ginny in CO, jdsnebraska

      in this country until the government created it for WHITES via racially preferential housing policies and land programs (FHA. VA loans) and the racially-skewed GI BIll. In other words, the middle class was govt created and sustained for white people due to whites only AA type programs…to deny that that privileged white people over the POC who were denied those programs is a-historic and ignorant.

      AA is not the problem: white people's ignorance over it, stoked by the right, is the problem. By your logic, we could say "progressive taxation" is why Dems never get anywhere, rather than realizing it's the rights LIES about it that are the problem. This country has always done AA for whites, and still does. It's only when we try and val;acne it for POC that folks like you lose your mind and cry foul…convenient...

      Guilt is what you feel because of the kinds of things you've done. Responsibility is what you take because of the kind of person you are...

      by tim wise on Tue May 14, 2013 at 02:54:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  lol (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dr Swig Mcjigger

        "there was no middle class"

        Oh, yes, there was. It was mostly rural, it was the land owning farmers, but also merchants and the usual educated classes in cities.

        Yes, the US came close to destroying its middle class in the gilded age and early 20thg century, but it quite surely had one.

      •  Also speaking for my 88 & 87 year old parents, (0+ / 0-)

        who were in the Civil Rights movement by '49. Dad especially for the equal housing amendment in Evanston, and in Habitat for Humanity since he retired. Thanks for all your leadership and efforts in keeping the progress going forward instead of slipping back.  

        At the family celebration, my oldest sister made a comment about the mix in the 2013 Colorado School of Mines graduating class. My daughter had told us there are a lot of foreign students, especially sons and daughters of wealthy royal oil families. What was clearly below equivalent stats was the darkest skinned folks.

        Given how conservative it is (Lauren's degree in Mech Eng to design wheelchairs and adapt sports equipment for the disabled was a tad unique) and how obviously low the numbers are when you get on campus, I can see potential students choosing a more diverse school. Friendship support can make a significant difference in how well you do.

        Being an RN, I also have an issue with the fundamental difference in stress levels. Granted the whole country has a problem, it sure is clear from the health stats that stress coping is less the lower your income.

        But let's just cut all those government programs that do make the difference on social mobility, cuz if more of them get up...shhh, some of us will fall down.

        "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

        by Ginny in CO on Tue May 14, 2013 at 03:56:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Apparently "middle class" = "white" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      At least in your mind.  

      Perhaps you hadn't realized it, but "middle class" generally refers to a socioeconomic category.  If you have the income, assets, and perhaps education, you're part of the middle class.  There are plenty of nonwhite people who qualify as middle class.

      What you're really referring to is the "white middle class," whom, you claim, will "crush . . . like a bug" anyone who seeks to achieve a more equitable distribution educational opportunity.  Your argument is really nothing more than a version of the Republican playbook.  You know, the one where they gin up outrage among white suburbanites by convincing them (wrongly) that underserving colored people are going to keep their precious little Jasons and Jennifers out of the colleges of their choice.  It's horseshit, but lots of "low information" white voters fall for it.

      And it would appear that we have some of those on this site.

      "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

      by FogCityJohn on Tue May 14, 2013 at 05:46:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  proportions... (0+ / 0-)

        "Perhaps you hadn't realized it, but "middle class" generally refers to a socioeconomic category.(...)  There are plenty of nonwhite people who qualify as middle class."

        Definitely. But its racial markup is statistically so vastly diffferent from the lower class that most claims the diarist makes about "white privilege" can be equally explained as middle class privilege.

        Which kinda eviscerates his whole argument.  He tries to salvage his theory by claiming that middle class is a government created racist construct, but I don't think this claim has merit.

        The weakness of diarist's argument is that it is all based on a meager set of statistics. And with statistics, correlation effects and alternative causes need to be looked at.

        •  You're not disputing his facts on this: (0+ / 0-)
          Which kinda eviscerates his whole argument.  He tries to salvage his theory by claiming that middle class is a government created racist construct, but I don't think this claim has merit.
          What he says about the government programs he mentions is true.  So whether you personally think his claim has merit or not, you've done absolutely nothing to challenge the factual basis for it.

          "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

          by FogCityJohn on Wed May 15, 2013 at 09:10:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent as usual. (0+ / 0-)

    I'm in the middle of reading Dear White America.  It's great so far--I'm learning bunches!

  •  Ann Richards nailed it, may she rest in peace: (0+ / 0-)

    Her description of George HW Bush is the absolute perfect description of privilege:

    "He was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple."

    You know what kind of white people whine about affirmative action? Mediocre, lazy, slacker white people. C-students. They're furious that they can no longer get away with the bare minimum of effort and get all the college slots / good jobs just by showing up with the white skin.

    And before anyone recommences swooning over the Good Ole Dayz when White Guys had everything (oh exCUSE me, "the middle class"), I could tell you a thing or two about how Good those Ole Dayz were for white WOMEN - even though we still had it better than most POC and especially women of color. I'm old enough to remember when want ads had separate sections for "Dead-End Shit-Paying Jobs" and "Good-Paying Careers" (cunningly disguised as "Jobs for Women" / "Jobs for Men"); the days when it was legal to pay women half the measly salary a man got for the same dead-end jobs she could apply for in the first place; it was legal to fire women for getting married / getting pregnant / "being a lesbian" (i.e., never getting married or pregnant); it was legal to deny birth control to women who didn't have their husband's permission; the days when credit cards had no female names on them (the closest they came was one of a pair for a married couple on the husband's account, and stamped "Mrs John Smith"); the days when sexual harassment in the workplace was practically a sacrament; when rape wasn't even considered a crime if it was done by the woman's husband; and abortion was illegal, viciously expensive and so deadly that entire hospital wings were dedicated to cases of septic uteri.

    And those are the times you get all misty-eyed for. Gee, maybe the reason it was so good for white men was because POC and women of every color were being artificially deprived of money and opportunity so the pale males could get it all with half the effort.

    Thank God, the Bob Fosse Kid is here! - Colin Mochrie

    by gardnerhill on Tue May 14, 2013 at 08:29:40 PM PDT

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