Wednesday, April 27, 2016

How We Got Affirmative Action

Originally published in 1998, we just found an essay by one Hugh Murray about how “affirmative action” (a euphemism for discrimination against white males, as well as against other successful groups like Asians and Jews) came about. Murray first explains that, when it was passed, the 1964 Civil Rights Act not only did not require affirmative action, it actually outlawed it.
Conservatives Roberts and Stratton and remind us that the debate about the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the debate over quotas; it would never have been enacted without a series of amendments to ensure that quotas would not result. Democrat Emmanuel Celler amended the proposal so that the EEOC could make no substantial interpretations of regulations. Sen. Everett Dirksen amended it so that discrimination must be “intentional” and seniority systems protected. Sen. John Tower amended it to protect continued use of aptitude tests in which whites invariably scored higher than blacks. All the supporters of the bill assured the nation that there would be no quotas—and Roberts and Stratton quote Senators Hubert Humphrey, Clifford Case, Thomas Kuchel, Harrison Williams, and even the Leadership Committee on Civil Rights to that effect.
Murray goes through the transformation of a law requiring equal treatment into a law used to promote discrimination, and discusses what might seem to be a paradox: conservative and Republican-voting business executives have supported affirmative action. Murray explains:
Why? “While AA may be one of the costs of doing business for the big fellows— ... it is no threat to their existence and can even be viewed as raising the entry barrier to potential competitors, the little guys.” To put it bluntly, IBM and Proctor and Gamble can afford to hire dummies, druggies, and violent criminals. Smaller companies cannot. Meanwhile, the large corporations gain an image of compassion and fairness. Better qualified whites who are not promoted or hired are poor or working class whites. But with AA, those poor whites are labeled “privileged,” and therefore deserving of being denied employment or promotion. Meanwhile, the wealthy, privileged, CEO’s receive humanitarian awards. Clearly what is most needed is a class analysis of the monstrosity called affirmative action
The rhetoric about “dummies, druggies, and violent criminals” might seem overwrought, but in fact any qualification that produces “disparate outcomes” for blacks versus whites is considered suspect. Failing to hire because of criminal convictions, poor aptitude test scores, and drug use are quite explicitly named among those things.

Liberal Protection Racket

What business is subjected to is, quite simply, a protection racket. Just as, early in the 20th century in many American cities, it was rational for any business to pay “protection” to the mafia, today it is rational to have and advertise initiatives for “diversity” and “inclusion” and “sustainability.”

If you talk loudly enough about such things, and fund some liberal interest groups, and hire some bureaucrats promoting those things, you will be allowed to go ahead and do what you need to do — produce a good or service that people value and sell it for a profit.

To acquiesce in this system is a rational choice for any executive. The the collective effect is to screw over a lot of innocent victims.  But they are the poor and working class whites that the affluent liberals view as the “other” and demean and deride.

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