How affirmative action hurts underrepresented minorities

Photo courtesy Cecil Stoughton/White House Press Office

Photo courtesy Cecil Stoughton/White House Press Office

Thanks, Pozhal, for posting this excellent article from Salon: The Massive Liberal Failure on Race. It’s a great article that lays out the history behind Nixon’s affirmative action and how it was originally designed to keep blacks in their place by appeasing their anger while denying them full ownership of their achievements. As we’ve seen throughout the years, it has been a smashing success in this regard. Affirmative action has become the biggest weapon in the Willie Lynch toolbox. Plus, it lets people take a swipe at Asians at the same time!

The writer of the article, Tanner Colby, has some great quotes:

Affirmative action’s real purpose was to neutralize black demands for equality, not fulfill them.

Thanks to affirmative action, the black middle class was now vested in the very system the civil rights revolution had sought to overthrow.

The government claims it can regulate the racial composition of our professional lives, but too much of what we call “work” is actually rooted in the messy, socially segregated realm of our personal lives. How many affirmative action compliance officers were stationed in Steve Jobs’ garage while he and his buddy Steve Wozniak assembled the first Apple? Zero. It’s possible to track what goes on in the human resources department and in the minutes of corporate board meetings, but too much of the economic life of this country transpires in the spaces in between. Racial preferences can provide just enough jobs and material support to keep up the illusion that we’re moving toward equality, but no program can give black Americans real, sustained access to the places where the prerogatives of wealth and power are exercised. Only social and cultural integration can do that—the kind of integration Nixon opposed while he was advancing affirmative action.

Colby talks at length about how the world really works, specifically focusing on the tech industry and how ground floor opportunities usually arise from social networks and friends, not hiring practices. He also makes a good point about how no one will complain about helping out and giving preferences to a disadvantaged five-year-old child, but that the practice becomes demeaning when the same preference is applied to a 30-year-old woman.

This has been one of the better articles I’ve seen on the topic. Check it out. Colby also has a book that sounds interesting: Some of My Best Friends Are Black. Here’s how he describes it:

I knew it wasn’t just me. I started randomly polling friends and associates—most of them enlightened, open-minded, well-traveled, left-leaning white folks like me—asking them how many black friends they had. The answers were pretty pathetic.

 

“Um, I work with a black guy.”

 

“I had a biracial friend in high school.”

 

“I’ve got . . . one—wait . . . no, two! I’ve got two.”

 

Real black friends? You mean ones that aren’t on television?”

 

By the time election season was done, it was pretty clear to anyone who was paying attention that there were black people supporting Obama and there were white people supporting Obama, but we were doing it the same way black people and white people do just about everything: in different zip codes. Even inside the big arenas, how many of those people cheered their candidate on only to return at the end of the night to separate homes, neighborhoods, and lives? Obama’s election was astonishing, unprecedented. But what did it really prove other than that it’s easier to vote for a black man than to sit and have a beer with one?

Interesting stuff, and I believe that these are real questions that dig at the heart of racial segregation and discrimination. It’s a lot more incisive than setting aside resources backed by quotas (which is really what affirmative action is, despite claims to the contrary), but it’s the key the achieving better integration. Anything else is just window-dressing that distracts us from the real issues.

60 thoughts on “How affirmative action hurts underrepresented minorities

  1. Well, the friend thing certainly rings true when it come to Affirmative Action. Let me repeat an experience I think I’ve brought up before:

    I remember my very first time working at a big Advertising Agency as an intern. I was there for about six months, and while I was there, the receptionist quit to move on to a better job at another agency. So every few weeks there would be an “All Hands” meeting where everybody in Creative got together to be briefed by the Creative Director, Client Reps., and Business Manager.

    So after reviewing various projects, awards, and changes in accounts, they brought up that receptionist had given notice (she wasn’t even at the meeting). So right then and there, they started going around the room asking if anyone knew of a good candidate for the position. I thought, why don’t they just take out an ad? But of course I didn’t say anything (as a lowly intern!). So finally one of the senior copy writers said she thought she knew a neighbor’s kid or niece or something who would be good for the job. And to my surprise, within a week, she was sitting out front as the receptionist!

    So, let me demonstrate in retrospect what was so wrong about that. Except for me, and a two other people, everyone in that meeting was White or European Jewish. So guess what? All of the people who they were suggesting for the job just happened to be White, including the person who ended up getting the job. They didn’t know any Blacks or Latinos as friends or neighbors.

    Secondly, they had fallen into a certain expectation of what their receptionist would look like. They had a “Type” in mind that fit their office. The type was female, young, cute, bright, and White… they probably would not have added the “White” part, but it was certainly part of the type (all of their past receptionists had been White women).

    Thirdly, the job was not even a high-skilled job. A total newby could be brought in off the street and was doing the job within a few days. It wasn’t as if they needed a special skill set, or educational background. This was the perfect job to bring in a person who was willing to learn. And besides, their profile of young, cute, bright, White girls was not the best choice because those kind of people never stayed for too long. They always had options, offers, or rich boyfriends or whatever… so they never seemed to stay much longer than a year.

    But effectively, everyone else was excluded from that job because the “friends network” that they were drawing from was Lilly White. By the way, the entire group there considered themselves s to be Liberals, and not prejudiced. I myself was there on a “Minority Advertising” scholarship, so they felt they were extremely progressive and open minded!

    This was one of the first time that I realized why Affirmative Action is actually needed sometimes. In some environments, nobody even questions the fact that everybody at the table is White.

  2. The second Affirmative Action revelation come to me much later when I was out of Advertising and into Marketing, client side. So now, I was a part of the fortune 500 companies that I had serviced when I was on the Agency side.

    So, some time had passed, and American thinking became warmer to diversity (at least in large urban centers). There were “diversity concerns” everywhere! I couldn’t even put together a simple ad without someone demanding that I have one person from every race and both genders represented. (I tried to argue that this was just FAKE diversity, bit to no avail).

    But one of the things that became clear was that diversity only went so far. Most of the large and powerful corporations that I have worked for were still White-owned, and/or White-controlled, at the Board of Directors and Executive Officer level. You see, they were still pulling from a large pool of “friends and neighbors” just of a higher class, and this pool was even more Lilly White than the old receptionist pool at the agency.

    And lest you think that these appointments are made based on pure business acumen and talent, let me assure you that this in not the case. Yes, there are positions where you need a very talented executive, but there are many more positions where no truly special skills are required other than a few good suits and the right connections.

    Corporate America is swimming with brother’s-in-law, nephews, son’s who need a good resume starter, fraternity members, alumni between jobs, and members of the same clubs, lodges, or church. Most of these jobs are granted without interview or much scrutiny. Of course they all went to college, but there is no guarantee that they didn’t cheat their way even through that with their money and connections.

    If became clear to me that if it weren’t for the requirements of Affirmative Action, that many of these companies would not have one person of color hired above a certain rank, and never would.

  3. And finally, on my current job, I began to understand history itself is a kind of de facto Affirmative Action for White people.

    If you look at most (but not all) of the major international corporations today, most of them started back in the segregation era. Another way to frame that is to say that they started out with a distinct advantage because they benefitted from all non-White competition being suppressed. They were able to grow and strengthen for decades, to become worldwide institutions, while Asian-American, African-American, Native American, and Latino-American businesses were held out.

    These businesses became synonymous with normalcy, quality, and value, based on years of brand placement and relentless advertising. So, as the world slowly changed, and more opportunities opened up for minority businesses to grow, these White megaliths where so unassailable that it was nearly impossible to displace their primacy.

    Imagine a consortium of Black businessmen trying to displace Maytag, Xerox, Coca Cola, or Harley Davidson with their new product. There remains no level playing field when one side has been give a couple of centuries head start over all the others. I’m not saying its impossible, but it is very slanted in one direction.

    It is because of this huge and irreversible comparative advantages that minority business set-asides are necessary – which is another form of Affirmative Action. Minority businesses can not overtake centuries of advertising and brand building. It is difficult to become a major bank or financial institution, or a civil or military contractor, or a top 100 Insurance company, or media company or… you name it.

    Therefore, if there is to be any path up, it must be accomplished by trying to redress some of the historically imposed disadvantages imposed upon minority business.

  4. Great points, King!

    So as most of you know, when I say I’m against affirmative action, I’m speaking mostly about college admissions. If you were to ask me about work, I’d say that I’m mostly against it. “Mostly,” because I thought it was a great idea to bring a “wise Latina” to the Supreme Court, and I did vote for Barack Obama partly because he’s black. “Mostly,” also because I think that affirmative action was a necessary first step in diversifying the workforce and remains a necessary step in some areas. “Mostly,” because, like King, I think there are certain areas where transitions need to be made slowly. Minority contracts from government, which King mentions, are one of those areas–it would be a total failure if that were to go away overnight.

    On the pro-affirmative action side with regular private-sector work, I agree 100% with what King said about receptionists. I actually know of an older Asian woman who was fired because the firing manager actually told someone that he was looking for a young blonde. Because he said it outright, there was the threat of a lawsuit followed by some kind of settlement. For whatever reason, people in some businesses, like advertising and consulting and banking, think of the receptionist as a young white woman, and that’s what they often hire. Now some might say, “Oh, but it’s only a receptionist position.” But I don’t think that’s really a good way of looking at it, since the receptionist is often the first person a client sees when he or she opens the door. That prejudice is a big problem because it rests on the idea that the image of the company ought to be white.

    On the anti-affirmative action side, I’ve seen the other side as well–big companies hiring minority people as window dressing. These minority people get hired to meet quotas or targets, and then they get sidelined into positions where they have no say in what goes on. This is better than not having any minority people at all, but it’s a short-term fix. Interestingly enough, I’ve seen lots of Asians hired for this reason. They get hired as big company “diversity consultants,” and then they get sidelined to positions where they spend all their time talking about diversity. I’ve been in on some of these meetings, and man, they make government look as efficient as a Prius.

    The best way of fixing this problem is the friend network. I’m currently reading Tanner Colby’s book. I’ll let you know if there is something worth saying about the idea.

    Now a point about brands:

    I truly believe that it is possible for a minority business or minority-owned business or minority-controlled business to create a brand. I agree that it is nearly impossible to displace a brand. Maytag will always own washing machines, Xerox will always be Xerox, and there’s no substitute for Coke. These brands were built over years, and they’re not going anywhere. When you’re first in the industry, you tend to dominate it. It’s no wonder that Harvard is also the oldest college in the United States.

    But three points to this issue.

    First, it’s possible for a non-white-owned company to compete alongside a brand as a solid #2 or #3. Haier sells lots of washing machines even as it competes against Maytag, Kawasaki sells lots of motorcycles against Harley, and Brother does well in copiers. Toyota outsells Ford. Computer Associates was long a success story in the computer industry, until it ran into those accounting issues.

    Second, it’s possible for a non-white-owned company to ACQUIRE a leader. Lenovo is now #1 after buying the personal computer division of IBM. The Fangs bought the San Francisco Examiner. An Asian guy didn’t buy the UFC, but it was bought by the Fertittas for only $2 million. Rupert bought the WSJ for only $5 billion, which is cheap if you think about how influential that paper is.

    But I think the biggest opportunities lie in new fields. We’ve mentioned that An Wang may have dominated the computer industry if he foresaw the future in workstations. Google, YouTube (part of Google), Yahoo, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are all well-known brands that have only come up in recent years, mostly because their industries didn’t exist before. There are also lesser-known brands that still dominate their fields, brands such as Pandora and Kickstarter.

    I think we need to redress the issues, but maybe the “friend network” is a good place to start, especially since “new fields” tend to be created when people get together. If you have friends–not acquaintances, but good friends–who are of different colors, perhaps that truly is the best way to diversify a workforce.

  5. I forgot to mention–it’s also possible to overtake a leader if a leader isn’t keeping up with the times. Look at how Apple iPods and iPhones have replaced the Sony Walkman (and look at how short the shelf-life was for the DiscMan). Eastman Kodak dominated cameras before film went out of style. I don’t think copiers are going anywhere, but even big companies have weaknesses.

  6. Agree with WOWO

    First let me quickly restate my views of Academic Affirmative Action, because I have not done so in a while.

    I believe in Academic Affirmative Action, I just don’t believe in controlling the outcome rather than the opportunity.

    Displacing higher-scoring more academically viable applicants for those who score lower and are less competitive, because of race, is a MISTAKE in my opinion. The control should be applied at the opportunity end of the equation. So, what would that look like?

    I think that truly improving early student learning and academic development programs to things that actually work, instead of the usual liberal kumbaya programs would be the kind of “Affirmative Action” that I could get behind. If the program does not improve results, then it should be ruthlessly cut out. If it does improve results then it should be preserved and propagated. It’s a question of putting the money in on the early end and continuing with those who choose to take advantage of the help being offered, not wasting it on programs that just give jobs to pet voting groups like teachers and ed staff who are not improving student academic outcomes.

    In the end, these students must compete with everybody else, test with everybody else, and place with everybody else. In other words, they should earn their places in the Academy based on their test scores and academic record, not on some racial percentage formula.

  7. Agreed, King.

    Sorry for piecemealing all these ideas, but I was thinking of the UFC and Khan Academy. In both cases, people used their social connections to jumpstart their businesses. As the story goes (and I can’t find it right now), Dana White’s mom wasn’t rich, but she made sacrifices to get Dana into a top private grade school. He became friends with the Fertitta brothers, whose parents were casino magnates in Las Vegas. Years later, when he wanted to buy the UFC, he contacted them. They had the money, and they had trust in him from their friendship.

    Salman Khan, in his book, talks about how he needed an executive to help make Khan Academy work. He partnered with his childhood friend, another South Asian guy who was raised by a single mother, to help him. He had competed with his friend throughout childhood for academic prizes, and so he knew that his friend was capable and trustworthy.

    In both of these cases, it made sense for these guys to make use of their personal sphere, and in both cases, the trust (trust in values AND trust in abilities) came from a shared history. I don’t know what Dana and the Fertittas did during their spare time, but I’m sure Salman and his friend had a shared history of learning, knowledge, and making sense of the world. This doesn’t only apply to the founders; it probably applies as well to the initial hires and people who got in the door. It goes back to that old question about how people make friends, especially when they are young:

    http://www.bigwowo.com/2012/07/making-friends-over-30/

    The question, I think, is how to better integrate kids when they’re young. This helps in many ways:

    1. Shared resources
    2. Shared values
    3. Mutual reliance
    4. Shared experiences

    There are probably a lot more that belong on this list. I’ll probably add more thoughts later.

  8. @King,

    “I believe in Academic Affirmative Action, I just don’t believe in controlling the outcome rather than the opportunity. ”

    I have said more less the exact same thing. But thats not going to happen as it will cost more money … including paying more to teachers … we had a long discussion on that a while back.

    This is one place where I don’t hear anything from the conservative politicians. They want to throw away the baby with the bath water. Conservatives talk about stopping Affirmative Action but I don’t hear how they are going to address the underlying problem.

    My problem with affirmative action is that its done in a crude way, cutting corners to cut costs. Like a band-aid. The conservatives would be up-in arms about paying more taxes to fix K-12 education, and providing better opportunities to everyone. The amount of tax I pay is a joke. Before someone jumps on that, it would hardly matter if I personally pay more tax.

    What you said about employment is spot on. I had learned that before affirmative action in academia, university professor jobs were not open searches. Folks would just call up their buddies to find someone in the network. This fits in with what was said by the Chinese math professor from Indiana in that blog about the seminal work by the un-tenured math lecturer from New Hampshire.

    Conservatives show me the tax dollars, and we can talk.

  9. The line was met with thunderous applause. At the time, this didn’t really stand out to me, because, like a lot of well-intentioned but minimally informed white liberals, I believed in affirmative action. I didn’t have terribly strong convictions about it, but given America’s history it generally seemed like “the right thing to do.” That was five years ago.

    Given America’s past, it generally seemed like the “right thing to do.” Therefore, what liberal Asian-Americans have fuck-all to do with sharing the sentiments of White Liberal Guilt is beyond me. We did not bring the Africans to the New World on slave ships.

    “You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and say, ‘You are now free to compete with all the others,’ and still justly believe that you have been completely fair.”

    Some people in the world, subjected to similar oppression, were driven to succeed precisely because of the oppression and a burning desire to rise above their former masters. Why Blacks have to be an exception is beyond me.

    Silicon Valley’s racial diversity is pretty terrible, the kind of gross imbalance that inspires special reports on CNN.

    The NBA and NFL’s racial diversity is pretty terrible too, when it comes to Asian Americans. How come no special reports on CNN?

    Of course, at first blush, the case against workplace affirmative action would seem to make the case for collegiate affirmative action: Admit black students to majority white colleges, and maybe a black student ends up in Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm room when he starts Facebook.

    Better question can be why is there no black Mark Zuckerberg?

    on a program set up by a president whose racial philosophy was based on the idea that blacks make great athletes and Asians are good at math.

    Holy crap so that’s where that came from! It’s that bastard Nixon’s fault!

    It’s a dismal state of affairs, but how could it really be otherwise? Silicon Valley isn’t just an industry; it’s a social and cultural ecosystem that grew out of a very specific social and cultural setting: mostly West Coast, upper-middle-class white guys who liked to tinker with motherboards and microchips. If you were around that culture, you became a part of it. If you weren’t, you didn’t. And because of the social segregation that pervades our society, very few black people were around to be a part of it.

    It’s a dismal state of affairs, but how could it really be otherwise? Hip-hop isn’t just an industry; it’s a social and cultural ecosystem that grew out of a very specific social and cultural setting: mostly black guys in the Bronx during the 80s who liked to tinker with turntables and fast, rhythmic lyrics. If you were around that culture, you became a part of it. If you weren’t, you didn’t. And because of the social segregation that pervades our society, very few non-black were around to be a part of it.

    Because of the thorny politics and stigmas that inevitably come with race-conscious remedies, those remedies should start aggressively at a very young age and then, for everyone’s good, taper off over time. If a 5-year-old from a disadvantaged background is given a leg-up to get into a good elementary school, that is not likely to be a stigma he will carry around as an adult—and you really have to try hard to begrudge helping out a 5-year-old. By contrast, for the thirtysomething black professional forced to walk in the door with whispers of “diversity hire” trailing her down the hallway, affirmative action can be a real problem. It serves as a diminishment of her talent and hard work. As much as affirmative action might help her get a foot in the door, it becomes a burden she has to carry from that day forward.

    Starting young would also likely increase the effectiveness of affirmative action. Thanks to structural inequality in access to resources, the statistical gaps between black and white Americans start the day we’re born, with disparities in birth outcomes and infant mortality rates. Those gaps get wider with each passing year, as privileged kids get greater access to pre-K and extra tutoring until, come college application time, the gaps have become chasms. You’ve got a legion of helicopter-parented white kids, their resumes crammed full with every AP course and extracurricular whatnot under the sun—up against black students from working- and low-income backgrounds whose resumes are more likely to show a lot of unrealized potential, because AP physics and summer language camps in Vermont simply weren’t available to them. We’re asking a hell of a lot of college admissions officers if we expect them to close that gap with nothing more than a weighted point system for processing applications. In the end, most colleges end up cherry-picking the black kids with the best SAT scores in order to show their “commitment to diversity,” while the real problems of inequality go unaddressed. That hardly seems like a solution.

    Affirmative action becomes more contentious, more stigmatizing, harder to enforce, and less effective the older its purported beneficiaries are. Which means we’re investing a lot of time and energy at the end of the pipeline that should be invested at the front of the pipeline.

    This is the smartest thing I’ve read ever about re-thinking Affirmative Action. So here in NYC, we have a brand new mayor, aprogressive by the name of Bill deBlasio who is pushing to make pre-K education universal. He plans on paying for this by taxing the rich. The governor of NY Andrew Cuomo is opposed to this, do deBlasio has a real uphill battle on his hands. Whether this plan becomes a reality will be a test of deBlasio’s power as a political operator.

  10. “Why do we not talk about affirmative action for Asian-Americans in the NFL and NBA?”

    Because economically the NBA is a statistical non-issue.

    “The number of players in the NBA varies each year. Each team can carry a maximum of 15 players. But, they can carry as few as 12. So, each year the number of players range anywhere from 360 to 450 since there are 30 teams in the league.

    You see, the 450 players in the NBA don’t have any significant financial effect on society. NBA players are well-compensated, but there are very few of them in a country of 30 million people. Unless you’re talking about the fame rather than the fortune.

  11. Kobukson

    Didn’t you used to have a blog? I don’t agree with everything you say, but you are always posting thought-provoking comments some of which echo my own thoughts. START A BLOG!!!!!!

  12. I agree with King–it’s the economic issues that give the most weight to the question of why there is no talk of affirmative action in the NBA. Unless, of course, you’re talking about the screen time, in which case there could be some kind of argument there.

  13. Kobu,

    I agree with you on the article and the idea of starting young. Let’s see how it works in New York; I hope it does work.

    I know your son isn’t yet of school age, but I’d like to see how things develop once he does go to school. I’m wondering if things are the same in New York. It’s funny because I thought I’d just drop my kid off, and he’d learn everything in school. But the teachers in my son’s school actually put a lot of pressure on the parents to make sure kids study, do homework, and learn. My son doesn’t just have homework; WE have homework. WE have homework every single day. WE are in one of the better schools in the state, but the onus is on US to make sure we maintain that standing.

    This tells me that somewhere along the way, if it’s the same in other school districts, there is mandatory family involvement in educating kids. I think our culture definitely changed along the way, and I wonder how other families will make the adjustment. This could be a battle in the future as well.

  14. “I agree with King–it’s the economic issues that give the most weight to the question of why there is no talk of affirmative action in the NBA.”

    The NBA players very few people. That’s what I tell any young person who thinks they are going to make a living playing basketball. Even if you’re talented, the odds are, by sheer numbers, you will not get drafted. You need to be not only talented but also very lucky.

    But besides that, the average salary number in the NBA are sharply skewed by maybe 40 of 50 players who have very high salaries. But most NBA players out of the 450 don’t have multi-million dollar contracts. Half of them almost never get off the bench.

    And lastly, most NBA careers last about a decade or less. Unless you are a superstar, it is not likely that you will be rich all your life simply from playing in the NBA. You should definitely make some good investments, and live rather normally, if you are planning on living off your NBA salary—again, UNLESS you happen to be a superstar which is rare, in a very select group.

  15. Kobukson,

    The spirit of affirmative action is that there are qualified candidates who are being excluded because of race. If the case could be made that there are Asian LeBrons and Megatrons out there who are getting cut/unsigned/undrafted just because of their race, then there should be affirmative action in the NBA and NFL.

    However, sports metrics are seen to be largely objective and unbiased. It also helps that in sports, it’s usually very easy to see if someone is good or bad. No amount of “Old Boy Networking” can cover for a baller who just has no game whatsoever.

    Of course, the Jeremy Lin story shows how racial biases can hold back a player starting at the collegiate level.

  16. Everyone contributed a good point here.

    Based on the personal experience of King’s stint as an intern, on hiring receptionist, I’d say that practice is everywhere. Not in the United States, it applies in almost any country I’ve been to. Some countries I visited and learned from close friends of mine and some I stayed there for quite a while.

    Here’s my observation on such an issue. There is definitely a spectrum where “ad for vacancy” falls in the middle. Low wages labor, unskilled labor, they don’t fall into “ads” unless they’re really required by law. The same goes for highest level of professionals, highly trained, well rounded CEO, CCO, they don’t do ad for filling Steve Jobs’s position, neither is Bill Gate’s.

    So “Affirmative Action” in this case mostly applies to technicians, mid level tier jobs position. Overall, I’m fine with AA as long as it meets its purpose. As blurry as it becomes, AA starts to create its side-effect; social stigma, free-riders. My impression on Affirmative Action is only as good as opening the door to the club.

    Whether or not one could mingle in the social settings and make a small area of pocket where he or she could influence, is another question.

    ————
    Regarding the friends connection, it’s also an interesting topic to discuss.

    When was the last time if any of you here deeply discussed with a White person on racial issue, discrimination, affirmative action, voting Obama on friendly basis?

    I have none. Sometimes lunch together, sometimes get together for farewell, welcome party, it’s always been minor issue. The most I come across is “Yea, Bush is an idiot.” Unless you have the same racial background, it’s rarely a common theme to talk about discrimination and social issues. It’s not only for White people. It all includes all people of diverse racial backgrounds.

    Affirmative Action won’t help in this case. Even setting up the dormitory or shared housing with different races, it’s not always the case all roommates become overnight friends and brotherhood. That brings to the question of How people connect each other? How do they build friendship from the beginning?”

    What’s the common topic when guys meet each other? girls, sex, politics, societal problems and such. The older you are, the most likely you like to talk about the politics and social issues. This is one of the trigger points that I still maintain in my mental faculty when it comes to building social bonds with a total stranger.

    So in a white dominant country where majority of institutions have been run by white people, it becomes mandatory or inevitable that one must know the “stuff” of theirs. Why is that?
    –> Start talking about how good is the “Steven Yuen” in walking dead, they lose interest.
    –> Dare to introduce the topic of “Ashely Wanger and Mirai Nagusu”, they have no freaking idea how it happened.
    –> When talking about “Big Bang Theory”, Raj is a token actor, with no immediate mention of admiration.

    The bottom line is when it comes to building up close friendship with someone of non-identical racial background, the topics become less and less variable unless you two hold the common enemy on sight.

    I have come across white people from different origins. They all seem inseparable from their looks. But it always become more and more obvious that they all hate Germans. Not that viscerally hating, but it seems their tacit agreement between europeans that they will hate Germans. Not that they won’t ostracize Germans, but will hate them.

    The same goes for Chinese, Koreans as well against Japan. They all need each other for trading, but it’s always a mutual understanding that they will hate Japanese for their foreseeable future.

    So it’s rarely the case we see Asian guys, Black guys, White guys hanging out all the time together based on the friendship, brotherly connection.

    But we’d most likely bump into Asian girls, White girls hanging out together. Because?

    They don’t talk politics, they talk about shoes. As they grow older, they talk about their back pains and their lazy husbands. So the bonding is there.

  17. Bint,

    You make great points about the big picture goals of affirmative action, which also highlight the weakness of merely admitting/hiring a certain quota of a certain race. If the ultimate goal is greater empathy and understanding, simply putting people physically together won’t solve everything. Social groups are still quite racially segregated, and bureaucratic affirmative action won’t fix that. Yet the flipside is that completely scrapping affirmative action and going to a “merit” (aka let’s devise a metric that maximizes White presence) system won’t help either.

    I’m an Asian guy and I hang out with Black and White guys all the time. But I know what you mean. It’s much more common to see Asian girls intermingling with diverse friend groups than Asian guys for whatever reason. Asian guys love sports and love talking about girls, so it’s not as if we have nothing to bond over with other guys.

    Rather, I think it’s a social value thing. Asian girls are valued as friends because they stereotypically possess the female traits that give one social value: ability to attract (White) guys, mainstream fashion sense, intelligence (up to a point), non-confrontational personalities (especially when it comes to race), etc.

    In contrast, Asian guys are stereotypically social deadweight who don’t bring any pluses to a group, unless he gives them “access” to Asian girls (which they don’t need him for anyway thanks to the imbalanced social playing field). If guys bond over going to bars and clubs in the hopes of meeting girls, they will likely think that the Asian guy brings nothing to the table and will only hurt them. Unless he’s exceptional in some way, of course.

  18. The same goes for Chinese, Koreans as well against Japan. They all need each other for trading, but it’s always a mutual understanding that they will hate Japanese for their foreseeable future.

    A statement such as this makes a couple of mistakes:
    – make a sweeping generalization (Chinese/Koreans hate Japanese)
    – presents the former group of people (Chinese/Koreans) as an undifferentiated mass

    Such a statement muddles the discussion, obfuscates clear thought, and provides zero insight.

    That Asians “hate” Japanese is well-known. Here’s what’s not well-known:

    You need to separate Asians into at least three different generations when discussing this topic:
    1. the generation that actually lived under Japanese rule (grandparents generation)
    2. the generation that followed immediately after independence (parents generation)
    3. the present generation (the young people in their teens and twenties)

    My paternal grandfather lived under Japanese occupation. He was a banker. By all accounts he succeeded and prospered. I can go to the city of Incheon in Korea today and still see the building he worked in. It was built by the Japanese in Western style architecture. It is a now landmark and maintained by the government. My maternal grandmother, an ethnic Korean, was born in Japan. When she “emigrated” to Korea as a teen, Korean was her second language. They all spoke Japanese very fluently and had nothing bad to say about Japanese.

    This old generation is equivalent to the pre-Civil Rights era old-school black people who worked hard and managed their affairs well and some even got ahead despite living under “oppression”. Think Morgan Freeman character in Driving Miss Daisy.

    Then you have the generation who came of age during the post-independence era. This was a time of great tension and a highly charged political atmosphere. Students were indoctrinated in fervent nationalism in history classes. The Japanese were demonized and national heroes who resisted the Japanese were idolized. Propaganda was everywhere. My parents were in University during this time.

    Former collaborators were persecuted. This is one of the reasons why you have violence in countries during the years following independence. Think Rwanda; why were the Tutsi’s and Hutsi’s killing each other?

    This generation is roughly equivalent to US blacks who came of age in the post Civil Rights era, highly militarized by race-based activism and political correctness.

    Then you have the young generation. To them, they are vaguely aware, if at all, that the Japanese did something bad in the old days. All this history stuff is boring and irrelevant to current realities. They are much more concerned with Facebook, online chatting, school pressures, hooking up, and so forth.

  19. I know your son isn’t yet of school age, but I’d like to see how things develop once he does go to school.

    We need to discard the notion that learning or education only happens in school. It’s happening right now. My son is developing already right now. Sometimes when I touch his head, I ‘m reminded of the feel of an overheated cell battery after you’ve been using your smartphone for a little too long. There is intense brain development happening that we are only dimly aware of at this age

    I am informed by words said by Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist who is Director of Hayden Planetarium and a public spokesman for the sciences. Incidently, I later found out he was a graduate of the same high school I attended, but I digress. Tyson was asked what can we do as a nation to improve the state of STEM education and grow innovation. He gets asked this question a lot by the media.

    Tyson says that it starts with the way we handle children at an early age. He says that parents and institutions simply need to allow young children to do their thing which is to daydream, have fun, play, make a mess, etc. A young child is a natural scientist. But too often, we adults do a great job of suppressing this natural urge to explore and experiment by saying no. Because we don’t want the kids making a mess in the house. Tyson says that if the child wants to squash an egg in his hands until it bursts, let him do so. He is doing an important science experiment (for a two year old). Tyson is normally a jovial, easy-going person. But when he talks about this particular topic, he goes into the “angry Black preacher” mode. It is clear that he is rather passionate about this matter.

    So my wife and I let Luther do his thing, as long as it is within the bounds of his physical safety. For example, if he decides to spill pasta all over the kitchen floor, by all means. But this is often a tough balancing act for parents because our natural tendency is to intervene in the heat of the moment. Especially for mothers, whose prime directive is safety über alles. But she’s fine with it because, as she always says “daddy will clean up the mess”.

    I’m wondering if things are the same in New York. It’s funny because I thought I’d just drop my kid off, and he’d learn everything in school. But the teachers in my son’s school actually put a lot of pressure on the parents to make sure kids study, do homework, and learn. My son doesn’t just have homework; WE have homework. WE have homework every single day. WE are in one of the better schools in the state, but the onus is on US to make sure we maintain that standing.

    Let me tell you a story. When I was in junior high school, my father was horrified to discover that I, a fine product of the Bronx public education system, could not do complex fractions and algebra. So he took matters into his own hands. He decided that he will be a Marine Corp style drill-master sargeant of math. Being a hard-boiled demanding disciplinarian was already something he was good at co this new role came to naturally. I did hundreds of math problems like a grunt in boot camp does push-ups. For each problem that I got wrong, there was some type of corporal punishment.

    One of the criticisms I hear often these days is that parents push back at teachers, coddle their kids and generally spoil them. So things may have swung into the opposite extreme from the way our parents generation might have handled things. There has to be a happy solution in the middle. If my father’s way is like a blunt instrument, then we need to come up with the fine scalpel. The job of the parent is figuring out what that is. Who would know their own kids better than parents? Who has more vested interest in their kids than the parents?

    My son is not in school yet so obviously I don’t deal with homework. But I would try hard to avoid being the helicopter parent of homework. It takes a toll on your time, energy and patience. And your kids will find it overbearing. Teach them general methodology. How to find the answers instead of giving them the answers. Teach them how to think about homework, how to devise a plan of attack when encountering difficult assignments, how to break a large complex problem into a series of smaller, easier problems, etc. Point them in the right direction instead of spoon-feeding a ready made solution. Employ a suitable blend of carrots and sticks to keep the whole affair moving. The idea is to train them on how to problem solve, independently research topics, and essentially teach themselves lest they become too dependent on you as a homework coach.

  20. A statement such as this makes a couple of mistakes:
    – make a sweeping generalization (Chinese/Koreans hate Japanese)
    – presents the former group of people (Chinese/Koreans) as an undifferentiated mass

    Such a statement muddles the discussion, obfuscates clear thought, and provides zero insight.

    As if the person who once labeled everyone who thinks good work of Amy Chua, is a total idiot is now shining the lights on how not to muddle the discussion, obfuscate clear thought and provide zero insight. What a revelation.

    Does my statement serve as a sweeping generalization?

    Of course, thousands times. It purposely serves as a generalization when it comes to choosing the topics between non-identical racial groups. For WWII atrocity, comfort women, Nanjing massacre for which I have not witnessed in my life except my grandparents, I’m not deliberately seeking any Japanese for that matter to take revenge or always fuming over what they have done.

    But the past events of some racial groups somehow affects the process of building up the relationship between their respective racial groups in later generations. Yea, some people with better education and well-rounded experience*, they will reflect the current situation and will behave to their best to take advantage of the existing circumstances.
    *When I say well-rounded, I mean they have to be well aware of both sides of the story, travel to the place in question, and learn by themselves, instead of receiving spoon-fed from the older generations or media brainwashing snippets.

    Do Koreans hate Japanese? viscerally? Of course not. But when it comes to choosing the topic, Sea of Japan, Dokdo islands are off topic. You can strike a conversation when you stand on this side and Koreans stand on the other side. So in this case, being ethnically Chinese myself, have no trouble talking about those topics with Koreans personally. That’s what I mean by selection of topics between non-identical racial groups.

    And believe me, when I say this, I have had personal experience with your group 2 and 3.

    Again, this is not a foolproof to build up the friendship between strangers, but what I take on my personal experience is the selection of the topics is paramount when talking with a total stranger.

    ——–
    So you listed 3 groups of generations at least required for discussing this topic.

    I had lived with my grandparents from both sides (father and mother), and I lived with my parents, and I’m ethnically 100% Chinese. So I don’t need to categorize 3 freaking groups to talk about the sentiment towards Japan. And I also maintain a fairly large amount of Chinese or ABCs in this case in my personal life.

    Majority of us don’t hate Japanese. We even enjoy their products, highly regard of their products and skills in details. But when it comes to talking about Nanjing massacre, there’s no Chinese in my knowledge in any of your categories relatively easy on Japanese action during WWII like having a mother Teresa’s understanding “Of course, they will need women to release their libido. That’s understandable.” But believe me, they’re all driving Nissan, Toyota Prius, Mazda (which I drive).

    And that sentiment is also reflected on small pockets of Koreans from Korea I become friends as well.

    So when it comes to talking with Koreans, “Nanjing” and “Comfort women” is one of the variables that I can put in my selection of the topics. That’s what I mean by my previous statement of

    Bint:The same goes for Chinese, Koreans as well against Japan. They all need each other for trading, but it’s always a mutual understanding that they will hate Japanese for their foreseeable future.

  21. The spirit of affirmative action is that there are qualified candidates who are being excluded because of race. If the case could be made that there are Asian LeBrons and Megatrons out there who are getting cut/unsigned/undrafted just because of their race, then there should be affirmative action in the NBA and NFL.

    However, sports metrics are seen to be largely objective and unbiased. It also helps that in sports, it’s usually very easy to see if someone is good or bad. No amount of “Old Boy Networking” can cover for a baller who just has no game whatsoever.

    My purpose in presenting the question of “why no affirmative action for Asian-Americans in pro sports” was mainly satirical. I wanted to turn the tables a bit and view Affirmative Action from a different angle. Here you are making the case that qualification and merit matters above all else. Well then let’s apply that standard across the board to everything, especially for college admissions, which also involves objective metrics. Why the double standards?

    The article you found highlights the highly flawed beginnings of Affirmative Action. The basic assumption of Affirmative Action is deeply racist at its core. It says that some groups of people do not possess the wherewithal to succeed because of their race, so state intervention is necessary. Black people should be offended by Affirmative Action, not supporting it. The implementation of Affirmative Action is also deeply flawed. A forceful case can be made that it is breeding a whole fresh new set of resentments among otherwise well-intentional people. To reiterate an oft-repeated cliche, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

    Affirmative Action is the re-distribution of social goods from those who would have qualified based upon merit to those who belong to a group with a special victim status based upon historical grievances, enforced by state mandated quotas. It’s decision-making apparatus is based upon criteria that neither group have any real control over. Affirmative Action is a very bad idea for the same reason why Communism is a bad idea. The fall of the Soviet Union proved the failure of Communism, did it not? If Communism is Marxist theory applied to economics then Affirmative Action (and most Liberal policies, quite frankly) is the same Marxist theory applied to social engineering. The ideas and dynamics about class struggle is the same, except just replace the word “class” with “race”. It’s not a coincidence that the Black Panther Party and many of the early militant activists were avowed Marxists. I would also submit that everyone should read Das Kapital so that they can have a fleshed-out understanding of the term “Marxism”, which has now been reduced to a Fox News soundbite.

    Now let’s revisit the case of Asian-Americans and pro sports in the US. Does discrimination against Asian-Americans exist in sports? Most assuredly it does. Is affirmative action is the answer? No. But it is precisely because of discrimination that heroes are born. Discrimination does the opposite of Affirmative Action. It acts like a very tall bar for entry. Was anyone amazed that Jeremy Lin, Asian American, was a Harvard graduate? No. They were amazed that he brought victory to the Knicks. Is anyone amazed by Shaquille O’Neal bringing victory to the LA Lakers? Not really. Now would anyone be amazed if Shaq decided to go back to school and later emerged as a distinguished Harvard graduate? The spectacular Jeremy Lin story was possible precisely because of discrimination.

    We Asian-American men need to develop a deeper, fuller understanding of discrimination, not in the least because it is real in our lives in various ways. We need to put on our Socrates caps and Aristotle robe and ask “what is discrimination?”. One can argue that it is a form of struggle or even suffering.

    Struggle and suffering helps us to understand better our own humanity. There is a hidden beauty in suffering, if we have the right understanding of it and allow it to happen. It gives us the opportunity for heroism that we would not have otherwise, stories, traditions, rituals, songs, literature, poetry, weaved into a unique narrative that we can call our own but yet speaks to the universal human condition. It is precisely because of the suffering that Black have a deep and rich culture and a strong identity. American rock and roll was possible because of the Black slave experience. Hip-hop was born because of urban black impoverishment, disenfranchisement, and alienation.

    Now in contrast let’s look at Asian-Americans as a people. We are largely a bland, boring, and unremarkable people. Most of us came after 1965, after Civil Rights. We do not have a long, established history of suffering and struggle within the context of Western civilization. Hence, no Asian-American equivalent of Rock and Roll or Hip Hop. When we bemoan our lack of identity as a community we are oft comparing ourselves to Black people are we not? The Blacks have been spoken for. Don’t even get me started on the Jews…

    At yet even while we are the Model Minority and largely enjoy unfettered access to the American Dream, we have identified some specific areas of real discrimination against us. But Asian-America’s biggest mistake is copying the same style of identity politics and liberal activism that has worked for Blacks and others and trying to apply it to our own situations. America has enough aggrieved minorities and is fed up. For us, late-comers to the scene, to act like yet ANOTHER angry colored people with a list of grievances, saying the same stupid things that other angry groups are saying, is a stupid, retarded joke.

    We have to deal with discrimination. But things like Affirmative Action, Feminism, and other liberal dogma is the wrong approach.

  22. “Affirmative Action is the re-distribution of social goods from those who would have qualified based upon merit to those who belong to a group with a special victim status based upon historical grievances, enforced by state mandated quotas. It’s decision-making apparatus is based upon criteria that neither group have any real control over. “

    Actually no. Not saying that this can’t happen in the worst case, scenario but it is neither the goal of Affirmative Action nor the fact in practice in most cases.

    Affirmative Action is the guarantee that 100% of the jobs can no longer be awarded based on nepotism, friendship, county club connections, or cultural comfort. If you doubt that this has been the criterion in many cases, then I will produce for you a reading list of books to disabuse you of your error.

    So now a company MUST hire a given percentage of women, and a percentage of ethnic minorities—not a huge percentage, mind you—a rather small one. So what must a company do? Must they now hire inferior women and inferior minorities to do these jobs? Or will they simply attempt to hire the highest-rated, best educated, highly-recommended women and minorities? I leave you to answer that question yourself.

    But the real, unadulterated truth is… it hardly matters. The vast majority of higher-paying “managerial jobs” do not require “a best person” in the first place. In fact. many don’t require any person—its just a make work job for a well-connected White man. I come to this from actual observation and experience having now worked at five Fortune 500 Companies and having had many friends within many others.

    Now, of course I’m not talking about every position. The CFO, for example, is not a make work job, and neither are most of the accounting positions or sales for that matter. In fact, there are many Key Positions that are quite real. But those positions are not really effected by Affirmative Action targets. There are plenty of ‘softer’ positions that can be used for that or for the more traditional OBN (Old Boys Network – or White Affirmative Action).

    The fact is that it is a myth that there are all these highly-trained, type A people who are being displaced by an army brown-skinned layabouts because companies are now forced to hire second-class employees to do the work once done by hard-working White geniuses. Such an assertion should fall on it’s face without argument.
    There are just as high a percentage of unqualified White people in the workforce due to their Whiteness and proximity as their are minorities and women due to Affirmative Action—probably more.

  23. @Kobukson

    “things like Affirmative Action, Feminism, and other liberal dogma is the wrong approach.”

    What do you recommend?

  24. King, you consistently contribute commentary that is of a high caliber and value which I enjoy reading, in contrast to the gibberish that gets spewed often around here. For that I am grateful. But I could not help but detect a defensive tone in your last comment directed at me. So let me see if I can address that.

    While I was mostly thinking about college admissions, I did call for dismantling affirmative action across the board, didn’t I? So I suppose that would include work as well, wouldn’t it?

    So let’s talk about work, shall we? I sense that we’re both experienced working stiffs, hardened veterans of the Real World.

    I like your characterization of middle management positions as “make-work jobs for well connected white guys”. I never quite saw it that way but it makes sense. I also understand that middle managers are especially vulnerable to layoffs when jobs need to be eliminated to trim the fat.

    I too was employed by a Fortune-something MegaCorp in my previous position. It was here that I understood why big corporations have so many layers of management. First of all, they’re big. Secondly, upper management wants as many layers as possible between themselves and the rank-and-file employees, who do all the real work. My last managerial boss was a West Indian Black. While I liked him as a person (he was always upbeat and smiling), I did not regard him highly as a manager. We had a nickname for him behind his back, the Traffic-Cop. His main functional role was delegating tasks. Ours was a technical department but he understood little about the technology we worked with. But he was the type of animal who knew how to survive in a corporate environment filled with office politic perils. He was promoted to his position because he was a Yes man for the higher ups. If they said “jump” he said “how high”. The former manager, a white Cuban, was not a Yes man so he got eliminated. But I worked for him many years also. He was a very competent manager. But one of the supervisors under him, a Puerto-Rican/Cuban who had previously worked in jewelry and sang vocal in a salsa band as a side gig, was his “boy” from when they were teenagers. Clearly a nepotism hire. The supervisor was most definitely not a competent man. His main method of dealing with a complicated technical issue was to broadcast it to as many people as possible in the hopes that somebody somewhere will do something about it. Our reputation as a department suffered a lot because of him. But the manager kept him, not because he was great at his work, but because he was highly loyal and easy to control. So you are right, King, often managerial roles are not filled with the best people. I’ve seen it and felt it firsthand.

    My experience working under minority managers has taught me to be wary of working for minority managers. Why? Well I already mentioned the West Indian manager of my previous job. I also worked for a Chinese-American manager in the Navy. Minority managers are more anxious and ill at ease than white managers in white dominated corporate environments. They feel that they have more to prove. Women are the same way. The consequence is that they are more prone to throw their subordinates under the bus when shit hits the fan. If upper management lays down a directive, even if its a ridiculous order that makes no logical sense, the manager will not push back. He’ll just simply bend over. But that shit rolls downhill.

    To be quite honest with you, I do not desire managerial roles or envy it, no matter how much money it may pay. There’s a ton of bullshit that you have to deal with once you are in that kind of position.

    The fact that hires are made due to “nepotism, friendship, county club connections, or cultural comfort” does not negate the fact that Affirmative Action is a deeply flawed policy, both in theory and practice. Who doesn’t do that, including I may add, black people? Are you going to tell me that Dr Dre and other Black hip hop media moguls do not place people in certain positions within their empire based on “nepotism, friendship, county club connections, or cultural comfort”? If an Asian-American guy wanted to climb the ladder as a skilled rap music artist, do you think he will be accepted with open arms by the hip-hop establishment? Or is it more likely he will treated as an outsider with skepticism or even hostility by incredulous blacks out to “protect their turf”? Come on man be real now.

    Before Affirmative Action did blacks really have so much trouble finding employment? The economist Thomas Sowell tells us that the data shows prior to Civil Rights Era, blacks enjoyed a higher rate of employment and a higher rate of marriage. Unemployment and single motherhood/illegitimacy rose after the 1960s.

    But I have an even better example. How is it possible that Asian-American men manage to find employment in the corporate world? We are not considered a minority in the same sense that a black, latino, or Asian-American woman is considered a minority. We are not the poster child for any kind of diversity PR-making. We are like white guys, but without the white privilege, and definitely not white, trying to survive just like anyone else in a white dominated world, subject to all kinds of subtle discrimination. And yet somehow we manage to find jobs and succeed…without affirmative action.

    And I find it ironic and tragic that minorities will squabble over corporate management positions, most of which are truly soul-sucking miserable jobs. Any minority person who comes to me wanting these management positions or any feminist women who lust after C-level executive titles, hell you can have them!

    Intense global competition and the free market will achieve what affirmative action tries to accomplish clumsily. The companies who do a better job of hiring the best people based on merit will prosper in the Brave New World. The companies who fail to evolve and still cling on to nepotism and discriminatory hiring practices will die a slow death. Microsoft is a perfect example of this. Steve Balmer was Bill Gates’s buddy from college, and his appointment as CEO of Microsoft after Gates’s departure screams nepotism. He was also the worst thing that happened to Microsoft in recent years and their stock prices confirm this. The new guy, Sateya Nadella, is not much hope as far as I can tell. Because he’s a 22 year veteran of Microsoft, meaning he’s been long marinated in the same group-think, echo-chamber bubble that Balmer presided over. So basically Nadella looks to be like a kinder, gentler version of Balmer, not the new sheriff in town who will shake things up and reverse Microsoft’s fortunes. So again, skin color doesn’t mean a damn thing, it’s what’s in your head that really matters.

    So what this means that companies will be forced to hire only the best people in order to survive. The more enlightened companies already realize this. The ones that don’t, well you wouldn’t really want to work there in the first place anyway, wouldn’t you? So what this also means is that the Black community really need to get their ass in gear when it comes to education. The disrespect for learning and disrespect for teachers must and this perverse attitude among black teens that “studying is a thing that white people do” has got to go. As long as the state of education in black inner city schools resembles a decrepit Third World shithole, we’ve got a problem, houston. This is the real reason why blacks do not succeed and no amount of Affirmative Action will fix that. In fact, affirmative action is just a “fig leaf” to cover up the real issues and you know it, I know it, everyone knows it. I’m just not afraid to say it because I waste no opportunity to flip a big fat middle finger to Political Correctness.

  25. The objective of a sports team is pretty clear: win games and contend for a championships. Anybody who detracts from this should be let go, and anybody who helps you towards these goals should be let go. Even when teams are purposefully doing the opposite of this objective (aka “tanking”), the big picture is to one day win games and contend.

    What’s the objective of a college education? Is it to train people for the job market? Expand young people’s minds for the love of learning? Socialize people to operate happily within our country? Crank out the next generation of scientists and mathematicians?

    The problem with college education is that there’s no clear answer as to what the objective is. If you think the objective is to admit the highest SAT scores to maximize the number of MacArthur Genius Grants your alumni may receive, then affirmative action would seem as a hindering factor. But if your goal is, say, greater socialization and cohesion in our society, then affirmative action has a better case.

  26. ^

    Oops, I meant to say that whoever on a sports team helps you win games and contend for championships should be KEPT, not let go.

  27. And I consistently enjoy your commentary as well, as you know because we go way back. But I think everybody else does as well.

    “While I was mostly thinking about college admissions, I did call for dismantling affirmative action across the board…

    I agree, the way that affirmative action is applied to college admissions is deplorable and should be replaced immediately, as I have describes above.

    “I like your characterization of middle management positions as “make-work jobs for well connected white guys”. I never quite saw it that way but it makes sense. I also understand that middle managers are especially vulnerable to layoffs when jobs need to be eliminated to trim the fat”

    I think that the very fact that these jobs are clearly so expendable should give some telling insight into how “make work” these positions really are.

    “First of all, they’re big. Secondly, upper management wants as many layers as possible between themselves and the rank-and-file employees, who do all the real work.”

    Yes, you clearly have worked for a fortune 500 🙂

    “He was promoted to his position because he was a Yes man for the higher ups. If they said “jump” he said “how high”. The former manager, a white Cuban, was not a Yes man so he got eliminated.”

    This is exactly how MOST middle managers are. In fact, it can be successfully argued that this is the role that they are meant to fill. Most of them do not have to be brilliant or super creative, they just have to say “YES” and keep saying it. That is why it’s nonsense to argue that these jobs are being filled by better or inferior people. That has NO bearing on the real job. If you can say “YES” then it doesn’t matter if you’re a White guy from Princeton or a Black alma mater of Affirmative Action University. I totally agree.

    “My experience working under minority managers has taught me to be wary of working for minority managers… Minority managers are more anxious and ill at ease than white managers in white dominated corporate environments. They feel that they have more to prove.

    True, but you may also be so used to the downside of working under White managers that you no longer notice their particular weaknesses. Remeber that in the american workforce White = normal. So you may see White idiosyncrasies as just being “what mangers do” while minority idiosyncrasies stand out as something special to avoid. But clearly, the more ethnically balanced the workforce becomes the less minorities will feel the need to prove themselves due to their minority status.

    “To be quite honest with you, I do not desire managerial roles or envy it, no matter how much money it may pay. There’s a ton of bullshit that you have to deal with once you are in that kind of position.”

    To be honest, me neither. I’d rather be happy that be miserable with a bit of extra money. Most people don’t see that until it’s too late.

    “The fact that hires are made due to “nepotism, friendship, county club connections, or cultural comfort” does not negate the fact that Affirmative Action is a deeply flawed policy”

    Good, because I was hoping I’d get the chance to say this. Affirmative Action is indeed a flawed policy, yes. It should not be seen as a permanent solution. Everything should be done to make it transitional and to limit any abuses or unfairness caused by it while it is enacted.

    “Who doesn’t do that, including I may add, black people? Are you going to tell me that Dr Dre and other Black hip hop media moguls do not place people in certain positions within their empire based on “nepotism, friendship, county club connections, or cultural comfort”?”

    That is not the point. If Dr, Dre could effect the nationwide job market and the fate of millions of people through his hiring policies then I would be just as adamant that he should hire more diversely, but he does not.

    The problem is to realize that when one ethnic demographics runs all the major banks, media, insurance, entertainment, infrastructure, military contractors, technology, and medical companies, it is INCUMBENT upon them to hire differently than Dr, Dre, Because they basically are effecting the way that everyone else can live and prosper. That is the difference.

    Before Affirmative Action did blacks really have so much trouble finding employment? The economist Thomas Sowell tells us that the data shows prior to Civil Rights Era, blacks enjoyed a higher rate of employment and a higher rate of marriage.

    Yes, but you fail to address what kind of jobs. Sure, there were more Black street sweepers, garbage men, bellboys, waiters, janitors and doormen. But look to the corporate world and you will see that the number of Blacks working directly for big name corporations (above being a janitor) was abysmally low. Blacks were almost unheard of as managers, especially over Whites. Surely that reality cannot have escaped your attention? The numbers of Blacks laboring as SKILLED workers has improved exponentially since the adoption of Affirmative Action and they have brought all other minorities and women up with them.

    “But I have an even better example. How is it possible that Asian-American men manage to find employment in the corporate world? We are not considered a minority in the same sense that a black, latino, or Asian-American woman is considered a minority. We are not the poster child for any kind of diversity PR-making. We are like white guys, but without the white privilege, and definitely not white, trying to survive just like anyone else in a white dominated world, subject to all kinds of subtle discrimination. And yet somehow we manage to find jobs and succeed…without affirmative action.”

    Well, I think you’ve kind of answered your own question. Whites see Asians as useful but not equal. If you look at any fortune 500 corporate structure you will find that above a certain ceiling, all but a few Asians seem to disappear. You simply have a different stereotype imposed upon you, as being compliant malleable hive-workers who will do nothing rock the boat too much. I’m not saying it’s true, but it is an imposed stereotype (Model Minority) which is generally believed.

    And yet somehow we manage to find jobs and succeed…without affirmative action.

    Yes, but that’s complicated, because sometimes Asians actually are counted as minorities to fill AA targets. But to be more to the point, your population of highly-motivated recent immigrants is smaller, more select, and does not have the same long-term baggage as Blacks or Latinos, and you are perceived differently. This isn’t as simple as a “If we can do it then you can do it” scenario.

    These are the facts as I see them:

    1) To begin with Affirmative Action in the workplace doesn’t have a huge effect on businesses in the first place. There are no true quotas, only “targets” and if a good faith effort to make outreach to traditionally disenfranchised groups can be shown, there is no penalty for not meeting the targets. AA is really most stringently enforced when working directly with Federal or State branches of government. It does not dramatically effect the makeup of any business

    2) There is nothing to stop businesses from applying the same stringent standards to Affirmative Action hires as any other hire. The targets are both low and flexible enough to find both women and/or minorities of the highest caliber to fill most positions, if the effort is made to do so.

    3) Key corporate positions are almost never effected by Affirmative Action. The thought leaders and innovators are always hired based on perception of talent because the very survival of the company depends on it. No CEO, CFO or CTO (or other Key position) is hired because of their ethnicity.

    4) Affirmative Action in basically just a counter to nepotism, friendship, county club connections, and cultural comfort hires. The standard is already decidedly not about “BEST PERSONS,” it is about favored persons. Highly-placed fraternities brothers regularly hire fellow inductees who are, borderline drug addicts, have low regard for women, drink way too much, and who are far too immature for the job. College alumni hire fellow graduates whether they are the “BEST PERSON” for the job or not. People get hired because they go to the same church. People get hired because the boss thinks they are hot looking.

    The standard in MOST JOBS is not really based on finding THE BEST POSSIBLE PERSON. It’s based on favoritism, contacts, and appearance. So why is it that when a small percentage of jobs are allotted to people who don’t have the social connections that White people do, that it suddenly becomes an issue about how the company will lose out getting the BEST PEOPLE?

    Fishy, no??

  28. To even better clarify what I’ve asserted above, Affirmative Action opponents often paint a picture as if most jobs are “grade-by-the-curve” jobs. So that no matter how high applicants score, what it needed is to select applicants distributed near the vertex of the curve, representing the very BEST PERSON for the job.

    But in actual fact, most jobs are much closer to a “pass/fail” grading model. Therefore, as long as the applicant passes the requirements to perform the job, there really is not much room for the job to be done decisively better by a higher-scoring applicant. In fact, an overly qualified person may be an worse choice for many jobs.

    A simple example just to make appoint is that the fry cook at a small restaurant does is not better prepared for the job if he has had 6 years of french culinary school under his belt. He is not the BEST PERSON for that particular job, because the job does not require that kind of skill. All that is needed is a person who can follow rather simple instructions routinely and consistently – not a 4-star chef.

    Yes, there certainly are jobs for 4-star chefs out there, but those are not most jobs. There are far more more jobs in the United States for fry cooks than there are for culinary geniuses. In the same way, most corporate cubicle jobs, most managerial positions, most compliance jobs, most quality assurance, most human resources, most bookkeeping jobs, simply require a person who can meet a given competence requirement, not a genius. Being a genius simply does not help in eery job position.

    So when people argue that Affirmative Action will not allow THE BEST PERSON to be hired because the company will now be forced to hire a minority instead of “the best candidate,” remember that in most cases they are not even talking about a job that requires “best candidate” status—only a competent and reliable worker. Treating every job as if it calls for a highly-competitive Master Chef simply belies the facts of how 85% of the job market works.

  29. King,

    Great point about why people zero in on race-based affirmative action while being okay with all the other sorts of affirmative action (which are often based on race in that they favour Whites) that have been going on since forever?

    When I see Asians attacking affirmative action, I get the sense that they know that there are blatant pro-White policies in place. But since that would be too difficult or socially risky to attack, they’d rather fight for scraps with other minorities.

  30. King,

    I agree with what you said.

    One point that I’d expand on is that affirmative action in schools and in the workplace are completely different, both in terms of the admissions process and how we judge success and failure.

    In the schools, as we saw in Fisher, the pro-affirmative action side gave up on arguing that underrepresented minorities faced discrimination in the admissions process. There was no evidence to support that there was any racial discrimination against underrepresented minorities, so they instead made the argument that they needed underrepresented minorities in order to have a pool for future business and community leaders. It’s different in the workplace, where white managers hire their white friends and acquaintances, and where having a black-sounding name might hurt one’s chances of a callback. The two environments are different: there’s no discrimination in one; there’s probably quite a bit of discrimination in the other.

    On the other hand, school success tends to be easier to track than success in work. “Success” in school is basically a number. If you have a 1.5 GPA, most people would not consider that a success. “Success” in most jobs is much harder to track since lots of people aren’t very competent to begin with. Certain jobs do have good metrics. Sales, for example, is a number. If you have the top numbers at your company, you’re a good salesman. If you get lots of patents, you’re a good inventor. But most jobs are just very hard to track. A job that goes to an incompetent black person because of affirmative action probably would’ve likely gone to an incompetent white person otherwise.

    Pozhal,

    “When I see Asians attacking affirmative action, I get the sense that they know that there are blatant pro-White policies in place. But since that would be too difficult or socially risky to attack, they’d rather fight for scraps with other minorities. – See more at: http://www.bigwowo.com/2014/02/how-affirmative-action-hurts-underrepresented-minorities/#comment-252566

    When I see people make comments like this, I sense that they’ve been drinking so much liberal Kool-Aid that they’ve completely lost touch with reality. In terms of work, there isn’t that much of a resistance to the idea. In terms of college admissions, let’s ignore, for the sake of argument, the fact that legacies don’t get all that big of a boost in test scores. Let’s also ignore the issues related to financial development and family participation.

    The fact is that one policy codifies race, actually puts racism into practice. The other doesn’t. Which is worse?

  31. Also, I should clarify my statement and say that I meant to say that when I see Asians opposing affirmative action YET saying absolutely nothing about legacies or developments, then my suspicion goes up that they’re just too scared to take on the White establishment.

    If you’re against both, then at least you have a credible argument.

  32. Pozhal,

    I hope we can agree that 160 is a much smaller number than the 450 point racial difference mentioned here.

    I’m not pro-legacies or against legacies, but I think we need to get rid of some more of this liberal propaganda. Legacies have very little to do with race–they apply to everyone, regardless of your race. Most of the time, they have to do with money–lots of college funding comes from alumni, who have kids who they hope will follow in their footsteps. Sure, many of these people are white, but there has never ever, to the best of my knowledge, been any evidence that people in this day and age are using legacies to racially engineer a school’s entering class. None.

    I also think we need to clear another liberal smokescreen, and this is really important: There’s no such thing as a singular “White Establishment.” White conservatives oppose affirmative action, while White liberals support it. White conservatives tend to be against environmentalism, while White liberals support it. Not all White people are the same, and there are actually probably more White Liberals than White conservatives, although the numbers are close. White attitudes towards legacies tend to go all over the board, both among conservatives AND liberals.

    Plus, legacies are a structure common to many organizations. Again, it has nothing to do with race. In the Portland area, for example, there’s one public school that is really hard to get into. You have to go through a lottery to get in, unless you have a sibling who attended. The school is over 50% Asian, so that should give you an idea of who is benefiting from this kind of affirmative action.

  33. In any case (and I know you probably won’t jump on board with this idea), one of these “affirmative action” policies codifies race and racism. It’s troubling to me that so few people in the media see a problem with this. The one-sided biased media arguments are actually much, much worse than the still-racist-but-more-nuanced legal arguments.

  34. BigWowo,

    I agree that college affirmative action as-is is problematic, and many liberals (including Black liberals) agree with me. Anecdotally, many of my Black friends think that way too, that while racial inequality exists, the old style affirmative action should be remodeled for a new age.

    You place too much emphasis on the meaningless distinction between policies that that are de jure and de facto racially discriminatory. American history is littered with laws that were supposedly facially neutral but had the convenient effect of preserving racial privileges for Whites while impeding the progress of minorities.

    I’d also like to know what your standards are for an unfair boost in SAT scores, as opposed to a fair boost in SAT scores. You’d also have to factor in the strong likelihood that legacy candidates have received a lot of coaching in not only standardized tests but also essays. And let’s not forget the wide availability of AP classes that are available at feeder schools, as opposed to poor urban schools.

    Some people who recognize the inherent unfairness of legacy admits try to justify it by using arguments such as “school spirit” or “funding” or “loyalty.” If you’re going to use those kinds of big picture justifications, then you’d have to allow for similar arguments for race-based affirmative action improving “diversity” and “social cohesion.” If it’s just a value judgment in the end, then you’re just saying that while you’re okay with rich (White) people gaming the system, you’re not okay with Blacks/Latinos.

  35. And all three Asian democratic state senators supported this resolution. I really don’t understand why can’t Asian politicians protect Asian Americans’ interests.

  36. Anecdotally, many of my Black friends think that way too, that while racial inequality exists, the old style affirmative action should be remodeled for a new age. – See more at: http://www.bigwowo.com/2014/02/how-affirmative-action-hurts-underrepresented-minorities/#comment-252576

    Oh, some of your best friends are black? You should read the book with me. I’m halfway done. It’s actually very good.

    http://www.amazon.com/Some-Best-Friends-Are-Black/dp/0143123637

    You place too much emphasis on the meaningless distinction between policies that that are de jure and de facto racially discriminatory. American history is littered with laws that were supposedly facially neutral but had the convenient effect of preserving racial privileges for Whites while impeding the progress of minorities.

    You’re subscribing to the liberal myths rather than the de facto world in which we currently live. I hate to point this out, but unless there’s a time travel difference between you and the bigWOWO server, we’re currently living in 2014, not 1960. The world you describe no longer exists. It’s very interesting how so many liberals born after the 1960’s are still living in that decade. It would be comical if it weren’t so destructive.

    I’ll go ahead and answer your question about fair vs. unfair test boosts. Legacies, if you talk to school development officers, are necessary for fundraising. It’s an economic necessity if they want to have world class universities, according to them.

    Interestingly enough, one hedge fund guy just pledged $150 million to Harvard. I’ll give you one guess where he came from.

    http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/02/19/hedge-fund-manager-griffin-to-donate-150-million-to-harvard/?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20140220

    The dude is a hedge fund manager. If you told him that his kids would be treated like the rest, he might not be as generous with his money. Some people question this statement, but if you’ve been around people, you know that this is often the case. People like to think of it as a club. Not always, but more often than not.

    If legacies are given preference, then yes, you’d expect a difference in test scores. 160 points is not that that big. One would expect, a person with, say, a 1560 (by the traditional SAT grading system) to be somewhat on par academically with a 1400 or even a 1300. It’s a bit different if we’re talking 1100. I took the SAT in seventh grade without any kind of prep courses at all, although to be fair, I had studied a lot in general, and I scored close to 1000. Giving admissions preferences to a 1400 in order to subsidize everyone else might not be the end of the world, especially if it means the difference between having a great school and having a mediocre underfunded school.

    Now that’s not to say that 1100’s aren’t smart. It’s just to say that they’re not ready. If there’s a time for intervention, it should be much earlier.

    If it’s just a value judgment in the end, then you’re just saying that while you’re okay with rich (White) people gaming the system, you’re not okay with Blacks/Latinos.

    So last time, when you made statements on paying for humanities educations, I had to apologize for saying something that was obvious to people who were middle class and above, but might not be so obvious to poorer people. This is a similar situation with education.

    I don’t know where you live, but if there’s a good university near you, you should drop by and take a look at what the student population actually looks like. Don’t just go into one class–there are certain classes that have clear racial majorities–but visit the student union or look at the main hangouts. If you think the students today who may someday be “gaming the system” with their kids are all rich and white, you’d be mistaken. If you’ve stepped foot on a big elite university campus anytime in the last thirty years or so, you know that they are almost ALL quite diverse, in large part because of affirmative action over the last fifty years.

    This racial thing is a non-factor in the legacy debate. You can make that argument when you’re talking about corporate boardrooms, but not here. It’s just not a factor anymore.

  37. Here, again I tread lightly and apologize in advance if anything I say comes out wrong and may reflect privilege. But I still think it makes sense to focus on the facts. Here’s an example of the people entering the system to become future alumni:

    http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2006/04.06/03-admissions.html

    A record 51.8 percent of those admitted are women, compared to 49.5 percent last year. Records were also set for Latinos (9.8 percent), Native Americans (1.4 percent), and African Americans (tying last year’s record of 10.5 percent). Asian Americans increased their numbers slightly compared to last year, comprising 17.7 percent of the admitted students.

  38. Thanks for that article Blah, it’s very good! Part of it reminds me of another thing I wanted to restate about Academic Affirmative Action.

    It would do for all minorities to remember that the “elite education” system is already rigged ad artificial. Most parents and college applicants simply accept the system as it is—as if it were a force of nature, or an inescapable law. But it is not. In a nation of 300 million people there are only 8 Ivy league schools who’s COMBINED undergraduate admission slots are about about 60,000 total.

    Each school accepts only about 6 or 7 percent of those who apply. But most people get the idea that those who are accepted are the very best, but this is not true. There are simply far more qualified applicants than there are positions available, so every year the Ivy League turns away hundreds of thousands of qualified applicants, simply because there is not enough room for them all. Many of those are accepted are academically no better than those who are turned away. But the illusion of an elite meritocracy must be upheld, and so the perception that those who were accepted are, by some means, more deserving, more balanced, and more impressive is always encouraged.

    So ask yourself, why is it that in 1940 the total U.S. population was 132,000,000 and there were 8 Ivy League colleges in the country. And now in 2014 the U.S. total population is over 300,000,000 and we still have 8 Ivy League colleges. Wouldn’t it make sense that when the population is this large that we ave more Ivy League schools? Or else. shouldn’t the schools admit many more students?

    A big part of why everyone is at each other’s throats about elite education admission is because EVEN WITHOUT Affirmative Action, the system is arbitrary and unfair to the many who qualify. Why not also advocate for expanding and enlarging elite education so that there is more room for EVERYBODY?

  39. So ask yourself, why is it that in 1940 the total U.S. population was 132,000,000 and there were 8 Ivy League colleges in the country. And now in 2014 the U.S. total population is over 300,000,000 and we still have 8 Ivy League colleges. Wouldn’t it make sense that when the population is this large that we ave more Ivy League schools? Or else. shouldn’t the schools admit many more students?

    King, this is interesting and I’d like to chime in my thoughts on that.

    They don’t call them Ivy Leagues anymore. Those late-comer to the world top rankings stand on their own. Asked any day of the light if one wants to go to Darmouth/Brown for engineering program rather than go to Stanford/MIT/Caltech, some of the Ivies do not fare well with those universities in their respective strong programs. Even in 8 of the Ivies, HYP (Harvard, Yale, Princeton) stood out among them in overall reputation and recognition. UPenn is oftentimes mistaken with Penn State and don’t even garner Ivy’s sense of belongings sometimes.

    I agree with the fact that not all admitted are super genius and smart. Some just happen to be in the right place at the right time. The most simple fact: Bush Vs Obama, one can’t even finish the simple sentence without stuttering, while the other snags the most well-spoken, articulate POTUS with mellifluous cadences. And both went to Harvard.

    As hard as it is difficult to digest sometimes, the name of Ivy itself carries the weight as per historical reputation and achievements. No further lookout for such an example. Why and how Facebook becomes the built-in apps these days while its predecessors like Friendster, MySpace, Hi5, and others got whisked away like they never existed before? Media and Name. And this curly hair, telltale nose guy publicly declared Friendster was the model for his debut Facebook.

    The only thought I came across upon reading his storyline is IF AND ONLY IF An Asian guy created such a social networking website, would he have garnered lots of media attention in the Western part of the globe?

    Although I have my musings on Language — English being the International language, this is not the topic to derail from the Affirmative Action here, I presume.

  40. Blah

    Have read the article long time ago. Ron Unz has written several good articles to deeply reflect upon. Oftentimes he came up with solid stats, historical facts, to make his case. But sometimes he tends to oversimplify (or he needs to do so), to make his case stand out. But I do enjoy his articles a lot.

    I remember his piece of writings that struck my cord till today,

    “Media influences the public perception of the realities. The general public lives in a thinly veiled cover of the media. Once the truth comes out, the reality get the last laugh.” that sort of piece.

  41. @ Bint

    “They don’t call them Ivy Leagues anymore. Those late-comers to the world’s top rankings schools stand on their own.”

    True. But the Ivies still carry SO much universal prestige that many still aim for them and are disappointed if they are not accepted. Now, I grant you, in pure science, M.I.T. and Caltech take the cake, but ask the man on the street, and Harvard, Princeton, and Yale, will command immediate respect even from even the most mindless dishwasher.

    “As hard as it is difficult to digest sometimes, the name of Ivy itself carries the weight as per historical reputation and achievements.”

    The Elite are strongly invested in the concept of Elite universities that deliver an Elite educational experience.

    EXACTLY!

  42. This is exactly how MOST middle managers are. In fact, it can be successfully argued that this is the role that they are meant to fill. Most of them do not have to be brilliant or super creative, they just have to say “YES” and keep saying it. That is why it’s nonsense to argue that these jobs are being filled by better or inferior people. That has NO bearing on the real job. If you can say “YES” then it doesn’t matter if you’re a White guy from Princeton or a Black alma mater of Affirmative Action University. I totally agree.

    I’m not sure how a discussion of the pros and cons of affirmative action became a squabble over inferior middle management jobs…but, OK, I’ll run with this.

    True, but you may also be so used to the downside of working under White managers that you no longer notice their particular weaknesses. Remember that in the american workforce White = normal. So you may see White idiosyncrasies as just being “what mangers do” while minority idiosyncrasies stand out as something special to avoid. But clearly, the more ethnically balanced the workforce becomes the less minorities will feel the need to prove themselves due to their minority status.

    This is excuse-making for weak characters with no backbone. No one forced them to be a minority manager in a mostly white environment. There are certain, sure perils that come with that territory. If one does not have the character strength to be a Manager and Manage, rather than ending up as a feckless, sycophant of whites, they should not be in that role in the first place. Yeah…easier said than done. That’s why you won’t see me gunning for one of these positions.

    Good, because I was hoping I’d get the chance to say this. Affirmative Action is indeed a flawed policy, yes. It should not be seen as a permanent solution. Everything should be done to make it transitional and to limit any abuses or unfairness caused by it while it is enacted.

    You know, I actually read the Tanner Colby article. I was surprised to read the bit about the Office of Federal Contracts Compliance Program. I’ll just copy and paste the money quote:

    To police affirmative action in the largest economy in the world, the OFCCP has about 600 staffers.

    So not only is it flawed, its poorly implemented as well. I’ll be damned if we had yet another vast, sprawling federal bureaucracy, that I’d be paying for with my tax dollars, whose purpose was to enforce affirmative action, which NOT ONLY is a FLAWED policy, but does not serve the interests of people like me.

    But you’ve been talking mostly about private companies. What about the state and federal government? Affirmative Action is rigorously enforced in the government , isn’t it? How we doing with that? Does the government loom large in the public imagination as a shining example of organizational competence? Or are they viewed as parasitical, inefficient, and wasteful entities? There are entire agencies and departments within the Federal government that are effectively “make-work” jobs for Blacks and other minorities, done so in the name of Affirmative Action. The difference between that and the middle-management make-work jobs for whites in the corporate world is that my tax dollars is not paying for the latter.

    That is not the point. If Dr, Dre could effect the nationwide job market and the fate of millions of people through his hiring policies then I would be just as adamant that he should hire more diversely, but he does not.

    The problem is to realize that when one ethnic demographics runs all the major banks, media, insurance, entertainment, infrastructure, military contractors, technology, and medical companies, it is INCUMBENT upon them to hire differently than Dr, Dre, Because they basically are effecting the way that everyone else can live and prosper. That is the difference.

    Oh, I see…one set of standard for one people and another set of standard for other people. I believe this is what they call a “double standard”. You’re heading down a rather slippery slope with this one, King. That is a weak argument riddled with holes, But for the sake of brevity, I would simply argue that if Blacks are so adamant about diversity in the workplace, that THEY should set the example and show the world how it’s done by enforcing the same policies of Affirmative Action in Black owned enterprises. What’s good for the goose is also good for the gander. But we all know that’s not the case. In fact, an Asian-American rapper would have a tough time making it in the hip hop world. Yet one can argue that hip-hop is a cultural force that impacts millions of lives and has a fan base not just of blacks but whites, asians and everything in between, not just in America but all over the world. But do we have any Blacks or liberals arguing that hip-hop enterprises or artists should reflect the diversity of its fan base? Of course not. So basically what we have here is a small but highly vocal minority saying the we all need to follow a flawed policy, but only if it works in their interest.

    The standard in MOST JOBS is not really based on finding THE BEST POSSIBLE PERSON. It’s based on favoritism, contacts, and appearance. So why is it that when a small percentage of jobs are allotted to people who don’t have the social connections that White people do, that it suddenly becomes an issue about how the company will lose out getting the BEST PEOPLE?

    Are we talking about jobs or careers? There is a difference between the two, isn’t there?

    Today, I was reading an op-ed written by Thomas Friedman entitled “How to get a job at Google”. If you are working for Google, chances are you’d be doing something highly technical, requiring lots of intellectual ability as well as other talents. And chances are, whatever it is you’re doing, it’ll be more of a career than simply a job. A shift fry-cook is a job. A four-star chef is a career.

    I also read the comments. One of the comments was someone who lives in a place where Google buses let off employees going home. I had no idea Google provides such transportation for its people, but I digress. Anyway, this person said something to the effect of “why do Google employees all seem to be white or asian? why aren’t there more blacks or latinos? Something must be done about it”.

    Such remarks irritate me to no end. Oh excuse me? I had absolutely no clue that there were scores of black and hispanic students interested in O-complexity notation, sorting algorithms, and hashing theory who dream of working for Google.

  43. Pozhal,

    What do you think SCA5 that just passed California senate?
    http://capoliticalnews.com/2014/02/02/most-racist-bill-in-california-history-sca-5-by-democrat-senator-hernandez-forces-racism-as-criteria-to-entrance-to-uc-schools-limit-womens-enrollment-as-well/

    Chinesemom, if you are interested in supporting organized AsianAmerican political action against legalized race-based discrimination policies against Asian-Americans and our children, you should check out the 80-20 Initiative.

    http://www.80-20initiative.net/

  44. So when people argue that Affirmative Action will not allow THE BEST PERSON to be hired because the company will now be forced to hire a minority instead of “the best candidate,” remember that in most cases they are not even talking about a job that requires “best candidate” status—only a competent and reliable worker. Treating every job as if it calls for a highly-competitive Master Chef simply belies the facts of how 85% of the job market works.

    Here is something that Dr Martin Luther King Jr said:

    If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.

    He was talking about meritocracy, not race-based legalized discrimination.

    When I see Asians attacking affirmative action, I get the sense that they know that there are blatant pro-White policies in place. But since that would be too difficult or socially risky to attack, they’d rather fight for scraps with other minorities.

    Uhhhh no, 바보야…It ain’t all that difficult to or “socially risky” to bash whitey. What is difficult or socially risky is to offend the scared cows and holy liberal peities of political correctness, wherein you’d have everyone, even whitey himself ready to jump you. Judging from all the ejaculations you’ve strewn all over this comment board from your mental masturbation, you’ve done gone drunk all the liberal hogwash kool-aid, as B says.

    I am against Affirmative Action not because I hate Blacks or love Whites but because it hurts Asian-Americans. LOGIC, motherfucker…look into it.

    This racial thing is a non-factor in the legacy debate. You can make that argument when you’re talking about corporate boardrooms, but not here. It’s just not a factor anymore.

    Byron, the people who bring up the legacy thing in discussions of Affirmative Action have not learned a very basic rule that everyone should have learned in kindergarten. In fact, it is an easy litmus test to determine who is an idiot. In Kindergarten, if one kid pushes another child, and then pushes back, it is not justifiable to say “well I did because he did it too!”. We teach our children that this is wrong. In other words, two wrongs don’t make a right. In rhetoric, it is referred to as the tu quoque fallacy, or the appeal to hypocrisy.

    One can also make the argument that in legacy cases, everyone benefits. At Columbia University, there is huge lettering on one of the school buildings that says ‘The Fu School of Engineering”. You know, I am so glad my last name is not Fu. mean, invariably someone is going to ask me how to spell my last name. What I am going to say? F-U? But I digress. If some rich somebody contributes $500 million to his alma mater, and as a result they have a new library or a high tech research center, everyone benefits. Whereas if a student is admitted via Affirmative Action, only he or she benefits.

    But here is the best reason why we need to uphold Meritocracy. Even white people are beholden to it. As King constantly points out, as if its some kind of justification for affirmative action, whites are incompetent too. No doubt. In fact the worst kinds of government bureaucracies are the ones mainly staffed by Affirmative Action minority hires at the bottom and middle ranks with corrupt incompetent whites at the top. And we are paying for this with our taxes!

  45. This is excuse-making for weak characters with no backbone. No one forced them to be a minority manager in a mostly white environment. There are certain, sure perils that come with that territory. If one does not have the character strength to be a Manager and Manage, rather than ending up as a feckless, sycophant of whites, they should not be in that role in the first place.”

    I’m not justifying or excusing any actions one way or another, I’m simply pointing out that most middle manager have weak backbones. Middle managers are essentially “Yes Men.” When they are not, they get fired. This matches your own experience with your Cuban manager.

    To police affirmative action in the largest economy in the world, the OFCCP has about 600 staffers.

    So not only is it flawed, its poorly implemented as well. I’ll be damned if we had yet another vast, sprawling federal bureaucracy, that I’d be paying for with my tax dollars, whose purpose was to enforce affirmative action, which NOT ONLY is a FLAWED policy, but does not serve the interests of people like me.

    Are you complaining because a federal bureaucracy which you don’t like does not have the staff necessary to implement the policies that you disagree with? Would you rather then that they had 50,000 staffers nationwide instead of 600? (paid for, of course, with your tax money)

    “What about the state and federal government? Affirmative Action is rigorously enforced in the government , isn’t it? How we doing with that? Does the government loom large in the public imagination as a shining example of organizational competence? Or are they viewed as parasitical, inefficient, and wasteful entities? There are entire agencies and departments within the Federal government that are effectively “make-work” jobs for Blacks and other minorities”

    Yes, you’re right about that. I’d say that the one place where Affirmative Action is actually paid real attention to is within state and federal government (and related agencies.) The problem is however, that most governments tend to be sloppy, lazy, painfully slow and process illogical regardless of who is running them. Governments tend to be behind the curve of the private sector and always have been. So it’s difficult to make a case that the hold up is caused by Affirmative Action policies. After all, if you look at the governments of Western Europe you will find even greater bureaucratic dysfunction, inefficiency and waste, and those are run almost exclusively by native White Europeans. So it’s probably not AA after all.

    “There are entire agencies and departments within the Federal government that are effectively “make-work” jobs for Blacks and other minorities, done so in the name of Affirmative Action.”

    Really? Exactly which agencies are those? I’d like to check them out for myself

    “The difference between that and the middle-management make-work jobs for whites in the corporate world is that my tax dollars is not paying for the latter.”

    – For one thing, many corporations do a lot of work directly for the government (which means that they are being paid for by tax dollars).

    – Also many companies receive incentives, stimulus payments, and tax breaks, that all amounts to tax money.

    – Also, remember that governments is sometimes involved in guaranteeing pensions and benefits, disability, social security, and now health care.

    So you see you have ben misled if you believe that your tax dollars are never involved in paying costs for “make work” jobs in the private sector. But then, what is so sacred about your tax money versus your non tax money? Would it be somehow preferable for businesses to pass on the costs of their inefficiency through higher prices for products and services? I mean it’s still being taken out of your wallet, so what’s the difference?

    “Oh, I see…one set of standard for one people and another set of standard for other people. I believe this is what they call a “double standard”

    No not really. It’s just seems obvious that the rules have to change with volume. I mean, we don’t apply the same anti-trust and monopoly laws to businesses who only capture a small segment of the overall market share do we? It wouldn’t make sense, because anti trust laws are meant to stop total dominance and control of a market. Whites have had, and to a great degree, still do have a dominant grip on nearly every segment of the market. No one is punishing them for that, it just makes sense that if you are in the dominant position that the rules may need to be adjusted to insure fairness since you can effect so many people.

    You don’t need Affirmative Action for Dr. Dre’s studio, for one thing, most of the people who he works with or contracting. They get paid for doing work for him as needed, They are not year round employees. But even so, it’s gout to under 100 people, and you don’t really know who is doing the accounting, or the scheduling, who is doing the board engineering, who is buying and maintaining the equipment, etc etc. Do you KNOW that Dre is only hiring Black people to do all this or is it just an assumption?

    “In fact, an Asian-American rapper would have a tough time making it in the hip hop world. Yet one can argue that hip-hop is a cultural force that impacts millions of lives and has a fan base not just of blacks but whites, asians and everything in between, not just in America but all over the world.”

    Well, it’s certainly not that there have been no Asian-American rappers. There have been a few but they haven’t been huge… some have done OK. But again, you are missing a few pretty big points.

    #1 You are assuming that Black people run hip-hop. That is not actually the case. The industry shot callers at the top of the pyramid are still White and have always been White at the Executive Level. I’m not saying that Dre (in the old days) or Jay-Z or others have no influence at all. But when it comes to Worldwide hip hop trends, who gets radio time, who gets critical acclaim, who get’s pushed the hardest, that is still not being controlled by rappers and ex-rappers. The INDUSTRY is not controlled by Black people.

    #2 You forget that the success of rappers is based in large part upon the stereotypical roles that rappers play into. The reason Blacks are easily accepted as “Rappers” is because they fit into the image of street, rough, uneducated, wild, drugs, misogyny, rebellion, anti-social, criminal, killers, oversexed, vicious. The “street credibility” of rappers is based largely upon a preconceived stereotype about what blackness is. So even when relatively middle-class Black guys like Kanye, Ice Cube, or Ja Rule become rappers, they must pretend to be hardened criminals. The reason why Asians are not as successful as rappers is because they do not fit this stereotype. A model minority just does not fit as a rapper. And Blacks are not the ones who created either one of these restricting stereotypes.

    #3. And, of course, there are far fewer Asians even trying to be rappers in the first place. Does anyone know how many Asians have attempted to become commercial rap artists? How does that number compare to Blacks who have gone in that direction?

    Your assumption that it must the prejudice of Dr. Dre that is the cause seems like simple tit for tat reasoning. It’s great if you’re just looking for anything to use as an example of “See, you do it too!” but once you really look at it more closely, it becomes apparent that its much more complicated than that.

    [Jobs and the standard of Favoritism vs. “Best person”]
    Are we talking about jobs or careers? There is a difference between the two, isn’t there?

    Both. There are key jobs where this is not the case, but many many jobs only need a person who can do a particular thing properly. Those jobs aren’t in sales, or in getting new clients, of business development, of cutting edge technology design, but there are PLENTY of jobs (most) that don’t require hiring people on the bell curve. Also there are way more jobs than careers in any case.

    I also read the comments. One of the comments was someone who lives in a place where Google buses let off employees going home. I had no idea Google provides such transportation for its people, but I digress. Anyway, this person said something to the effect of “why do Google employees all seem to be white or asian? why aren’t there more blacks or latinos? Something must be done about it”

    Yes, its a true California conundrum. Google sends a bus so that their employees will carpool and save the environment. But poorer people are mostly angry about the nice luxury busses they bought which are sharing city bus stops. The people resent those nice busses!!

  46. Here is something that Dr Martin Luther King Jr said:

    If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.

    He was talking about meritocracy, not race-based legalized discrimination.

    Was he? Because I thought that he was just giving sound advice as to how people should work to do their best—not making commentary on the legal remedies to workplace discrimination. Did he also object to “race-based legalized discrimination” in forcing Whites to stop excluding Blacks from renting and buying in previously all White areas? After all, there isn’t a law forcing Blacks to allow Whites to move into their neighborhoods! Maybe the Blacks should be the example by better integrating Baltimore, Harlem, and Watts if they want anyone to take them seriously about housing discrimination.

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  51. Very interesting comments.

    King’s comment about how white hegemony helps white folk a lot and hurts everybody else is very accurate.

    Modern firms are certainly not merit-based and in fact they are bureaucracies and they serve the interests of the dominant coalition. The dispersion of ownership with the invention of the stock market enables a dominant coalition of management and financial institutions to controll the firm against the profit interest of small shareholders.

    But Affirmative Action does not destroy the effect of white hegemony and transform the system towards a meritocracy. This consequence only happen in markets with perfect competition where no firms are price takers. Contemporary markets are almost always oligopoly. The hiring of the most competent human capital does not help you outperform competitors in most market environments, because competiveness does not depend on human skillset alone. The IT sector is highly dependent on human capital and equity capital provision. But many industry sectors need provision of average people for functioning. A modern bureaucratic company take average people in and put them to work. The injustice is that API folk have to outperform average white folk to get in. That is inherently unfair from a perspective of racial justice. The fairness arguments even applies to Blacks and Latinos and white women if you think of fairness within a nation state. If we frame the perspective towards global justice, then we should distinguish transnational folk and inner minorities like blacks and Latinos and within the realm of Coporate America white women are certainly a minority above certain level of the hierarchy. No doubt about this observations.

    Transnational workforce like API have a proven record to generate spillover of technology. Bangalore IT high tech industry is a spin-off Indian/Indian American Silicon Valley IT folks. Taiwan has specialized venture capitalists who target Chinese engineers ventures. Ireland have a 400 Mio. Euro expensive Global Irish Diaspora program to mobilize the business contacts of sucessful Irish descendents to invest in Ireland. Israel highly innovative start-up scene is capitalized with US capital and transnational ties between Israel and Jewish America.

    The political model of black civil right movement and the Asian American spin-off tis style of politics are wrong in their political content, but they develop some useful tactical non-violent tactics. kobukson is right that the black civil right movement is not the right role model for the Pacific century. But we should be grateful that they abolish the Jim Crow law. But nowadays they are our worst political adversary on several issues Affirmative Action, immigration, naturalization,…because all ethnic groups among the API’s umbrella identity are transnational Pacific minorities who need to bond together to develop a coherent domestic and foreign policy towards the Pacific Asian nations.

    We must become like the Irish American, Taiwanese and Jewish American and implement their approaches in transnational entrepreneurship, capital movements across the ocean and the eveloping of trade relationships.

    We must lobby the Pacific Asian nations to give us double citizenship or at least econonimic preference with special property protections, tax incentives and preferential trade rules and access to government credit.

    Domestically we should start to take control over our shares of capital and develop capital collection schemes e.g. life insurance companies, group insurance schemes, pension funds and housing finance institutions who can provide the necessary capital to build a diaspora venture capital ecology above it to take control over our human capital stock in Silicon Valley and other technology hubs in the USA. We need the altering of capital transfer rules in our country of origin to broaden the client base of our transnational financial institutions. The patent data are public and it is not very difficult to target the inventors and train them as transnational entrepreneurs to get high return of investment of our financial institutions. The problem is that these finanicial instituions are not necessarily more profitable than their white controlled competitors unless the government of Pacific Asian nations give us a preferential treatment. We must lobby the government of Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and other Pacific Asian nations to develop similar venture capitalist ecologies like Israel and Taiwan to target our life scientists, engineers and IT folk to start ventures and provide equity capital. Our role in this ecology is to provide the necessary service firms like lawyers, accountants, advertisers, management consulting and business engineers and entrepreneurship professors. We need own entrepreneurship competition at the universities and schools to bond with white and Chinese elites who come as international students and get enough companies to coach them to screen talents.

    Our traders on the side of the shores should get preferantial treatment of the export-import credit schemes of Pacific Asian nations. In fact we need most favored status clause for all API’ traders who engage in export and import. We need an own department in the UNCTAD to lobby for it.

    With our own strength we are not strong enough. So we should expand our search for allies and bond with all Pacific Asian diasporas who belongs to our shore of the free trade zone and develop common professional associations, trade associations and internship programs.

    We should look at Affirmative Action as an issue of macroeconomics for the Pacific century and the rivalry with Red China. Affirmative Action should provide enough API professionals who are bi-cultured and able to work for American and Pacific Asian companies on both shores to make the TPP free trade zone vibrant. So we need alter the labour market regulations and make usage of the matching mechanism with contracts and add the rule that candidates have to bid the number of years they are willing to work for the company on the shores of Pacific Asia. The payment scheme must be altered towards the practice of Google who pay their employees with stock shares. This practice enables Google employees to fund their own ventures with the selling of Google stocks. We should partner with white women on the issue of a complete digitalization of advanced job training funded by the tax payer to enable us to further level up our qualifications even during the years in Pacific Asia.

    We must get into the sub-contracting business of US military bases who wants to develop less adverse relationships with the local populations. We must lobby the US government to get rid of the barriers and allow bidders from API’s in the contract award. Pacific Asian allies of the USa should have a say to prefer their corresponding Pacific Asian diasporas in the USA who has double citizenship as contractor.

    API’s students should have in every school and universities soccer teams to get skilled in an international popular sport and not focussed at football and baseball or even basketball alone. Learn to create company associated soccer teams (or basketball) to bond with your associates, because these are international popular sports.

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