I posted in the New York Times in response to Gary Gutting’s oped defending affirmative action as justified by the historical burdens of slavery my old suggestion that this logic implies that affirmative action should be preserved for American Indians and descendants of American slaves (e.g., Michelle Obama), but not for immigrants just off the plane from Buenos Aires or Barack Obama. Some of the replies are interesting:
Saint LouisDec. 11
@Steve Sailer How about East/South Asians? They might not have a history of discrimination in this country but yet they are denied their dreams of elite universities because the quota has been met for their race/ethnicity. I’m not saying I’m against Affirmative Action but there has to be a better way to ensure equality.
@A.G. Alias The reason your proposal won’t resolve our country’s issues with race is because even a recent immigrant from Buenos Aires, Argentina, or Accra, Ghana, will almost immediately feel the weight of our society’s institutionalized, systemic racism, simply because of the color of their skin and/or their accent, etc.
Ewing, NJDec. 11
If you or I had met Barack Obama on the street before he became well known, we would not have known his ancestry. This is why the residue effect of slavery affects African Americans who are not descended directly from slaves in exactly the same way as those who are.
Grand Rapids, MichiganDec. 11
I think you should ask Barack Obama if he ever found that he was treated as if he descended from American slaves. The unfortunate fact is that people are judged in this country by the color of the skin, not by their actual lineage, let alone the content of their character.
Clifton Springs, NY11h ago
@Steve Sailer, I think that your compromise would be sensible if we could see that the brown-skinned student off a plane from Buenos Aires, or a brown skinned man named Barack Hussein Obama, were treated fairly in our country when they apply for loans, put their names on applications for jobs, run for high office ( or engage in any of the other activities that all people need to do) without discernible racist responses. The images of lynching of Obama mannequins, the hatred spewed across the internet, and the psychological research on unconscious bias regarding skin tone all vitiate against your suggestion.When recent immigrants are not categorized negatively by the sound of their names, the color of their skin, or the accent they have, then we can revisit your suggestion.
I’m fascinated how many people bring up Barack Obama as proof of the huge burdens inevitably suffered by a black man in America.