Sunday, August 06, 2017

Surprise, Surprise: Racist Pots Are In Search Of Imaginary Kettles

As the DOJ prepares to mount an attack on "reverse racism," the blog provides a double-barreled reply to this specious nonsense. Real racists abound among the Traitors who voted Traitor-Trump into office and the HQ for this nonsense is in the biggest office at 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, DC. Is this a (fair & balanced) double-pronged attack on the camouflaged color line, so be it.

PS: Look at the Directory below and click on the [bracketed number] to go to that essay; click on "Back To Directory" to return to the top of the page.

Vannevar Bush hypertextBracketed numericsDirectory]
[1] Professor Carol Anderson On White Resentment
[2] Van Newkirk II On The Myth Of Reverse Racism

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[x NY Fishwrap]
The Policies Of White Resentment
By Carol Anderson

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White resentment put Donald Trump in the White House. And there is every indication that it will keep him there, especially as he continues to transform that seething, irrational fear about an increasingly diverse America into policies that feed his supporters’ worst racial anxieties.

If there is one consistent thread through Mr. Trump’s political career, it is his overt connection to white resentment and white nationalism. Mr. Trump’s fixation on Barack Obama’s birth certificate gave him the white nationalist street cred that no other Republican candidate could match, and that credibility has sustained him in office — no amount of scandal or evidence of incompetence will undermine his followers’ belief that he, and he alone, could Make America White [emphasis supplied] Again.

The guiding principle in Mr. Trump’s government is to turn the politics of white resentment into the policies of white rage — that calculated mechanism of executive orders, laws and agency directives that undermines and punishes minority achievement and aspiration. No wonder that, even while his White House sinks deeper into chaos, scandal and legislative mismanagement, Mr. Trump’s approval rating among whites (and only whites) has remained unnaturally high. Washington may obsess over Obamacare repeal, Russian sanctions and the debt ceiling, but Mr. Trump’s base sees something different — and, to them, inspiring.

Like on Christmas morning, every day brings his supporters presents: travel bans against Muslims, Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids in Hispanic communities and brutal, family-gutting deportations, a crackdown on sanctuary cities, an Election Integrity Commission stacked with notorious vote suppressors, announcements of a ban on transgender personnel in the military, approval of police brutality against “thugs,” a denial of citizenship to immigrants who serve in the armed forces and a renewed war on drugs that, if it is anything like the last one, will single out African-Americans and Latinos although they are not the primary drug users in this country. Last week, Mr. Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions put the latest package under the tree: a staffing call for a case on reverse discrimination in college admissions, likely the first step in a federal assault on affirmative action and a determination to hunt for colleges and universities that discriminate against white applicants.

That so many of these policies are based on perception and lies rather than reality is nothing new. White resentment has long thrived on the fantasy of being under siege and having to fight back, as the mass lynchings and destruction of thriving, politically active black communities in Colfax, LA (1873), Wilmington, NC (1898), Ocoee, FL (1920), and Tulsa, OK (1921), attest. White resentment needs the boogeyman of job-taking, maiden-ravaging, tax-evading, criminally inclined others to justify the policies that thwart the upward mobility and success of people of color.

The last half-century hasn’t changed that. The war on drugs, for example, branded African-Americans and Latinos as felons, which stripped them of voting rights and access to housing and education just when the civil rights movement had pushed open the doors to those opportunities in the United States.

Similarly, the intensified war on immigrants comes, not coincidentally, at the moment when Latinos have gained visible political power, asserted their place in American society and achieved greater access to schools and colleges. The ICE raids have terrorized these communities, led to attendance drop-offs in schools and silenced many from even seeking their legal rights when abused.

The so-called Election Integrity Commission falls in the same category. It is a direct response to the election of Mr. Obama as president. Despite the howls from Mr. Trump and the Republicans, there was no widespread voter fraud then or now. Instead, what happened was that millions of new voters, overwhelmingly African-American, Hispanic and Asian, cast the ballots that put a black man in the White House. The punishment for participating in democracy has been a rash of voter ID laws, the purging of names from the voter rolls, redrawn district boundaries and closed and moved polling places.

Affirmative action is no different. It, too, requires a narrative of white legitimate grievance, a sense of being wronged by the presence of blacks, Latinos and Asians in positions that had once been whites only. Lawsuit after lawsuit, most recently Abigail Fisher’s suit against the University of Texas, feed the myth of unqualified minorities taking a valuable resource — a college education — away from deserving whites.

In order to make that plausible, Ms. Fisher and her lawyers had to ignore the large number of whites who were admitted to the university with scores lower than hers. And they had to ignore the sizable number of blacks and Latinos who were denied admission although their SAT scores and grade point averages were higher than hers. They also had to ignore Texas’ unsavory racial history and its impact. The Brown decision came down in 1954, yet the Dallas public school system remained under a federal desegregation order from 1971 to 2003.

The university was slow to end its whites-only admissions policy, and its practice of automatically admitting the top 10 percent of each Texas public high school’s graduating class has actually led to an overrepresentation of whites. Meanwhile, African-Americans represent only 4 percent of the University of Texas student body, despite making up about 14 percent of the state’s graduating high school students.

Although you will never hear this from Mr. Sessions, men are the greatest beneficiaries of affirmative action in college admissions: Their combination of test scores, grades and achievements is simply no match for that of women, whose academic profiles are much stronger. Yet to provide some semblance of gender balance on campuses, admissions directors have to dig down deep into the applicant pool to cobble together enough males to form an incoming class.

Part of what has been essential in this narrative of affirmative action as theft of white resources — my college acceptance, my job — is the notion of “merit,” where whites have it but others don’t. When California banned affirmative action in college admissions and relied solely on standardized test scores and grades as the definition of “qualified,” black and Latino enrollments plummeted. Whites, however, were not the beneficiaries of this “merit-based” system. Instead, Asian enrollments soared and with that came white resentment at both “the hordes of Asians” at places like the University of California at Los Angeles, and an admissions process that stressed grades over other criteria.

That white resentment simply found a new target for its ire is no coincidence; white identity is often defined by its sense of being ever under attack, with the system stacked against it. That’s why Mr. Trump’s policies are not aimed at ameliorating white resentment, but deepening it. His agenda is not, fundamentally, about creating jobs or protecting programs that benefit everyone, including whites; it’s about creating purported enemies and then attacking them.

In the end, white resentment is so myopic and selfish that it cannot see that when the larger nation is thriving, whites are, too. Instead, it favors policies and politicians that may make America white again, but also hobbled and weakened, a nation that has squandered its greatest assets — its people and its democracy. # # #

[Carol Anderson is the Charles Howard Candler Professor and Chair of African American Studies at Emory University (GA). She is the author of Eyes Off the Prize: The United Nations and the African-American Struggle for Human Rights, 1944-1955 (2003), Bourgeois Radicals: The NAACP and the Struggle for Colonial Liberation, 1941-1960 (2014) and her most recent work is White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Nation's Divide (2016). Anderson received both a BA and MA (history) from Miami University (OH) and a PhD (history) from The Ohio State University.]

Copyright © 2017 The New York Times Company

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The Myth Of Reverse Racism
By Van Newkirk II

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Contrary to initial indications, the civil-rights division of the Department of Justice won’t be dismantling affirmative action after all. At least, that’s the current word from Trump administration officials, after a New York Times article claimed the department would be using the broad powers of justice to take on universities that it decided had discriminated against white people. The DOJ since clarified that it was gearing up to investigate complaints from dozens of organizations alleging that certain universities used quotas—which are illegal—to limit the number of Asian American enrollees.

Still, the beacons have been lit, and America’s annual heated argument about affirmative action has begun anew, this time against the background of racial tensions that have helped define the early goings of the Trump presidency. As always, those tensions and long-held beliefs about racial advantages rule the debate.

As my colleague Alia Wong notes, that debate is still hamstrung by a number of misconceptions about affirmative action, including the tendency to flatten issues pertaining to Asian Americans. These misconceptions are often exploited to serve the interests of white resentment that’s surrounded the use of race in job and university-application processes since the 1960s. To quote a 1995 Boston College Third World Law Journal article: “The deployment of Asian Americans as an exemplary group in race relations is nothing new. The model minority myth of Asian Americans has been used since the Sixties to denigrate other nonwhites.”

The Times article jumped immediately to that white resentment. It identified “affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants” as the key target for the Justice Department. It also cited the former Reagan administration and Bush administration official Roger Clegg, who claimed that “it is frequently the case that not only are whites discriminated against now, but frequently Asian Americans are as well.”

While the Times’s focus on “reverse racism” may not have entirely captured the actual policy issue in front of the DOJ, the connection was understandable. White animus against affirmative action is a driving force in the debate over race-conscious admissions.

The usage of “reverse racism” and “reverse discrimination” arose in direct response to affirmative and race-based policies in the 1970s. Even as outright quotas and more open attempts to equalize the numbers of minority enrollees were defeated, the term stuck. A 1979 California Law Review article defines reverse discrimination as a phenomenon where “individual blacks and members of other minority groups began to be given benefits at the expense of whites who, apart from race, would have had a superior claim to enjoy them.”

Reverse racism—or any race-conscious policy—became a common grievance, one that helped shape a certain post-civil-rights-movement view of America where black people were the favored children of the state, and deserving white people were cast aside.

A recent Twitter thread from the Refinery29 writer Ashley Ford illustrates an example of just how common and extreme that grievance has become. She recounted personal anecdotes about acquaintances who assumed that black people could simply attend college for free:

Do you know how many white people truly and genuinely believe that black people get to go to college for free?
8:29 PM - Aug 1, 2017

In a follow-up story, Ford describes two prevailing responses to the thread. “There were many people who were shocked to hear anyone could believe Black people got to go to college for free,” she writes, “and others who insisted we actually do.”

It’s difficult to quantify the extent to which this distorted fear of “reverse racism” actually animates opposition to race-conscious admissions, but there are clues as to its ubiquity. Every few years, donors use those kinds of grievances as a rationale for creating white-only scholarships, such as the $250 Caucasian Achievement and Recognition Scholarship offered by Boston University’s chapter of College Republications. Op-eds and lawsuits from individuals who believe they faced discrimination in admissions processes often rely on claims of reverse racism. The controversial Fisher v. University of Texas lawsuit was one such case that spawned columns alleging extensive reverse racism. (In that case, the Supreme Court upheld UT Austin’s affirmative-action program, which allows the consideration of race for certain applicants, on the condition that the school regularly assess the program’s merits and ensure all other methods fail to produce adequate student diversity.)

Data show that many Americans do perceive reverse racism to be a significant societal problem. A 2016 Public Religion Research Institute poll indicates that half of all Americans, 57 percent of all white people, and 66 percent of the white working-class believe that discrimination against white people is as big a problem in America as discrimination against black people.

Other studies take that claim further, suggesting that white belief in reverse racism has steadily increased since the civil-rights movement and in their view has become the dominant racial bias in America. This trend appears to parallel the rise of Donald Trump, as a 2016 HuffPost/YouGov poll found that Trump voters think anti-white discrimination is a much more prevalent problem than is discrimination against any minority group.

With respect to higher education in particular, a 2005 Gallup Poll found that, given a scenario with equally qualified applicants, white people were more likely to believe a black candidate would have a higher chance of getting into a given school than a white candidate of equal caliber. White people are generally much more likely to oppose affirmative action than they were two decades ago, and several polls indicate that the majority of white people do oppose it now.

Fears of reverse racism fly in the face of data. White students still make up almost three-quarters of all private external scholarship recipients in four-year bachelor’s programs [PDF], almost two-thirds of all institutional grants and scholarship recipients, and over three-quarters of all merit-based grants and scholarships, although white people only make up about 62 percent of the college student population and about half of all people under 19. White students are more likely than black, Latino, and Asian students to receive scholarships.

Also, existing data suggest that race-conscious admissions policies are the main factors keeping overall enrollment roughly representative of America’s racial demographics. A FiveThirtyEight analysis from 2015 found that colleges in states with affirmative-action bans are less representative of the state’s demographics than colleges that are still allowed to consider race. Other simulations [PDF] suggest that replacing race-conscious policies with colorblind policies that take into account applicants’ socioeconomic status yields less racial diversity on college campuses.

Still, in today’s political climate, sentiment is probably more important than reality. And that’s why the move by the DOJ matters, even though it’s limited to an investigation on behalf of Asian-American plaintiffs. Asian Americans have often been treated as “a racial wedge to disenfranchise other communities of color.” In short, achievement by Asian Americans is used by people decrying reverse racism as the grounding logic to assail race-based programs. Those attacks are useful to white grievance only insofar as they remedy widespread perceptions of white disadvantage. For example, white support for a perceived “meritocracy” without affirmative action plummets amid overrepresentation of and competition from Asian American students, according to one 2013 study [PDF].

A 1993 article in this magazine by Stanley Fish perhaps best describes the paradox of that grievance. “Reverse racism is a cogent description of affirmative action,” Fish wrote, “only if one considers the cancer of racism to be morally and medically indistinguishable from the therapy we apply to it.” The current debate provides a showcase on just how—despite all evidence—the cancer and remedy have converged. # # #

[Van Newkirk II is a Staff Writer at The Atlantic (online). In addition to earlier freelance writing, he was a policy analyst at the Kaiser Family Foundation. Newkirk received a BS (biology) from Morehouse College (GA) and an MS (public health) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.]

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