Looking back on AA

Some useful background on affirmative action and related issues: Affirmative action’s evolution. One point the article makes that hadn’t occurred to me is that the trigger for the switch from the rhetoric of justice to the rhetoric of diversity was Justice Powell’s tie-breaking opinion in Bakke.

I think the switch would have come anyway. “Diversity” is a perfect concept for what is in substance a movement to abolish all social structures except formal bureaucratic and market institutions that are fully transparent to liberal rationality. If any social setting features common understandings and informal authorities that are not explicable by liberal individualism and hedonism, it’s obviously too monocultural. It has to be reformed and made more diverse (i.e., morally and culturally incoherent).

The other interesting feature of the article is the table at the end. After 35 years of affirmative action and ever-growing PC hysteria about racism, the net effect is that a comparatively small number of middle-class blacks get unearned goodies. It’s done nothing at all for the basic problems of black America.

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