Sir Xsarus wrote:
I'll also point out that the dictionary definition of racism still fits the motivation behind liberal policies far more than conservative ones. The argument for AA revolves around the assumption that "inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement". The whole point of AA is to counteract this, right? Ergo, it's based on a racist assumption that success is determined by race.
No, the point is to recognize current problems and address them.
Recognizing that there are statistical outcome differences within society aligned with race? Sure. Concluding that these outcome differences are "because" of race is where you slip into racism. My issue is with the implication that absent some kind of benefit/crutch/handicap/whatever that blacks can't
perform as well as whites within say the job or education markets. To me, that's a pretty stock form of racism.
Affirmative action correctly recognizes the fact that for a variety of historical reasons currently the black population is disproportionately under represented in certain areas. It recognizes long standing problems in society that we are slowly fixing and tries to help address them faster.
And I already talked about this. You address this by finding cases of racial discrimination (I'll use the longer and more correct term for the Joph's in the audience) and eliminate them. What you *don't* do is create your own racial discrimination to act as some kind of counter. IMO, all that does is institutionalize racial discrimination and lead to more racism down the line. Intended or not, the resulting implication is that which I mentioned above. That somehow people of color are inferior to white people and can only compete if they have an advantage. To me, that's an incredibly harmful message to send. It helps white racists continue to maintain their own racist views *and* instills in people of color a constant doubt as to whether they can succeed without the "help" of AA type programs and policies.
There is nothing in this policy that has anything to do with any inherent superiority of either race, and as such it is not in any way racist. You can argue it doesn't solve the problem, but arguing it's racist is simply incorrect.
I was originally responding to claims that the GOP engages in policy positions which are either based on or encourage racist views. I'd say that AA programs fit that bill far better than any GOP policy. They may not "be racism", but they do come from and potentially encourage racist assumptions and viewpoints. Belief in the inherent superiority of one race must be coupled with a belief in the inherent inferiority of another. AA has some serious undertones of racial inferiority because it grants that "help" to every member of a race regardless of their actual condition or background.
If such "help" were targeted based on need and not race, it wouldn't be such an issue. But by targeting them based on race, the assumption is that by the mere fact of "being black" (for example) one has a disadvantage. I've brought this point up before. Statistically, there's no difference in the outcomes of a black child adopted by a white middle class family and the white children raised by the same family. It's not actually about people's skin color, yet we target assistance based on skin color in the case of AA. I think that just serves to perpetuate the belief among some people that black people are inferior to white people. How can it not? You're out and out saying that black people need this extra help, not just to offset a condition of poverty, not just to offset a single parent home, not just to offset growing up in a bad neighborhood, not just to offset attending a crappy public school, but purely because they are black
It's the wrong message to send. It's absolutely the wrong way to address statistical differences in outcomes that align by race within our society. Because the first step to addressing that issue is to first recognize that those differences are not caused by race
. They are caused by other aspects of our society which just happen to also be aligned by race. But by focusing on race, we're distracting attention from those other factors. And to me, that's counter productive.
And at the very least, it's totally wrong to point to the group of people saying "we shouldn't be using AA to try to solve racial inequalities in society" and calling them racists.
We believe that a black man can be just as successful as a white man
But in your society this is clearly not the case. It's clear that there are challenges that a black man would face that a white man won't. Saying you believe something does not make you correct.
Those challenges aren't there because he's black
though. This is what I'm trying to get people to grasp. They exist because he was raised by a single mom, in a poor neighborhood, with crappy schools, and with gangs, and whatever other negative social effects you choose to lump in there. "Society" isn't causing him to fail because he's black. Black outcomes are statistically lower than white outcomes because they are statistically more likely to be afflicted by those negative social factors. That's it. Focus on those factors and the statistics will change.
By focusing on race, you give people excuses for those factors. Black people can blame failure on white racism instead of addressing whatever choices they might be making which affects their own success and the odds of success for their children. White people will pat themselves on the back for "doing something to help", when in fact they're just perpetuating the problem.
And by the way, I'm not trying to argue that being a liberal makes you racist or anything. It's not about motivation in this case, but how an action ends out affecting other people's views and actions going forward. This actually fits a larger pattern of differences in approach to social issues based on liberal versus conservative ideology. Liberals tend to be very direct and try to fix problems by eliminating the symptoms. People don't have money for food? Give them food stamps. People can't afford health care? Give them health care. People can't afford <whatever>? Give it to them. Black people don't get admitted to universities at the same rate as whites? Adjust the admissions requirements. Black people don't get hired in certain fields as much as white people? Provide incentives to hiring a more "balanced" workforce. It's very direct.
Conservatives tend to try to fix the underlying problem itself. People don't have money for food? Let's find out why they can't and try to fix that instead. We can make free food available, but trying to mask the symptoms themselves is counterproductive to our way of thinking. Ditto with health care and a host of other issues. We believe that problems become worse if all you do is address the symptoms. It's like taking pain medicine to address back pain. Sure. It'll work today, but pain is what tells us we're doing something harmful. Over time, in the absence of that pain, we'll continue to make our back worse. Similarly, not being able to afford things, or living in a bad neighborhood, or whatever, are all things that tell us we're doing something wrong. We should work hard to change the things in our lives that cause those outcomes. Just masking the symptoms of poverty doesn't fix poverty. It just makes it more comfortable, and reduces the incentive to avoid it. In the same way that just taking pain medication for a bad back doesn't fix the bad back, it just makes it more comfortable, and reduces the incentive to avoid aggravating and further injuring it (cause you don't feel the pain when you twist or bend the wrong way, right?).
It's a different way of looking at social issues. I happen to think it's a better way. And yes, it certainly can easily be demonized as being uncaring, but I really do believe that in the long run someone is better off if we don't tilt the playing field in order to account for some disadvantage they're currently suffering. Because while that may seem like a nice thing to do for that person today
, it's not going to help him in the long run. Edited, Jul 7th 2014 6:47pm by gbaji