The academic and policy worlds have been roiled by last week’s announcement that a Heritage Foundation study on the cost of immigration reform was co-authored by Jason Richwine, who wrote a dissertation on the purported low I.Q. of immigrants. It beyond belief that, in the year 2013, there are still some that want to posit that there is a genetic basis for race. Even more surprisingly, these arguments come endorsed with a seal of approval by some of the nation’s top universities, like Harvard in this case. As an alumnus of the Kennedy School and a scholar of race and Hispanic identity, I feel obliged to provide a response.
This, from YouGov, tells you everything you need to know about contemporary race relations in a single, compact chart:
For 66 percent of white Americans to agree with this statement—“Irish, Italian, Jewish, and many other minorities overcame prejudice and worked their way up. Blacks should do the same without any special favors”—there needs to be either large scale amnesia or willful ignorance about what happened in the previous 150 years of this country’s history.
As my colleague Jamelle Bouie noted yesterday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear Fisher v. UT Austin, a challenge to the use of affirmative action for undergraduate admissions at the University of Texas. I wish I could make a case for more optimism, but I have to agree with the conventional wisdom that Grutter v.
(“It’s His Fault,” political cartoon, 2003, from Washington Post Writers Group.)
In almost every argument I’ve had about affirmative action in college admissions, someone eventually trots out the idea that the beneficaries of affirmative action are somehow “stealing” spots that rightfully belong to more “deserving” students. Ignoring, for a moment, the implicit assumption—that minority students are somehow less deserving—it’s simply a fact that college admissions don’t work that way. In open-admission pools where no one has a guaranteed spot, universites use a large number of factors to determine whom they accept and whom they deny. Sometimes, it turns on race and ethnicity, and sometimes it doesn’t.
A recent report from the Greenlining Institute -- which focuses on issues of racial and economic justice -- uses the "racial resentment" scale to measure the racial dimensions of opposition to health-care reform. For those unfamiliar with the concept, here's a quick description:
In a new working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Harvard economist Roland Fryer finds that discrimination isn't as nearly as important to explaining racial inequality as it once was. He writes:
There's a way to care about and address poverty in every community where it manifests itself without positing that poor whites in America suffer with no help while poor blacks, Latinos, and new immigrants benefit from a slew of government programs. Unfortunately, that's not the kind of writing Sen.
After passing a draconian immigration law based on a crime wave that doesn't exist and banning ethnic studies on the grounds that they breed "resentment" against white people, it's really hard to be surprised that Steve Blair, a city councilman in the town of Prescott is angry that a school mural depicts children of color instead of white children:
The response to the election of Barack Obama was a deliberate effort on the part of Republicans to stoke and benefit from an escalation in racial tensions. We saw this play out during the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor, where Republicans made a deliberate effort to make the United States look like the kind of country where qualified white men are denied promotions and uppity affirmative action babies get nominated to the Supreme Court.
Kai Wrightlooks at the Center for American Progress' new report on how the recession is affecting people of color and points to this relevant excerpt:
African Americans and Hispanics have lost more economic ground and done so more quickly than their white counterparts from the end of 2007 to the summer of 2009, and the economic fortunes of minorities have fallen from lower levels than those of whites to begin with. This means that the gap in the economic security between minorities and whites is widening in this recession, as it has in previous ones.
You'd think that National Review would be trying to put things like its proud advocacy of white supremacy during the Civil Rights Movement to rest, but Fred Schwartz wants you to know that William F. Buckley was right, dammit: