Justice Dept. Sues SIU for Affirmative Action

Read all about it.

Words almost fail me.

Anyone who has ever been to a science or engineering graduate school will certainly tell you certain demographics are so underrepresented as to be virtually absent. You basically have two choices: Accept that this gross disparity between representation in these echelons of academia and the population at large is a result of systemic bias, or a result of some inferior trait of those demographics.

Clearly, the Justice Dept. and the Bush admin. feel the best way to deal with this difficult issue is to accuse a Universty seeking to spend a little over a million dollars on about 120 people of color of somehow violating the civil rights of white males.

The junior senator From IL puts it aptly:

“…start resorting to…wedge issues as a way of helping themselves politically.”

Gee, d’ya think?

Have these people no shame? At long last, have they no sense of decency? Is there no positive accomplishement of this society that they will not attempt to besmirch, trample on, or rend usunder to appeal to the most rabid and morally bereft elements of the radicalized right wing?

Could the rising star of a potentiall Democratic statesman also be the target of this hideous legal assault on the mission of higher learning? Why otherwise make IL the battleground in this new skirmish of the “culture wars”?

With anti-war churches getting selectively targeted for reprimand by the IRS, it seems only natural in retrospect Bush would set his sight on the Ivory Tower in his counterattack against those who question and challenge his malfeasance and warmongering idiocy.

And we have three more years of the fucking bastard pulling shit like this. Every time I think they can’t go any fucking lower, they outdo themselves yet again in spectacular fashion. I can only hope my esteem for Bush and his henchmen can’t get any lower, because I shudder to think what it would take to do so. I can only hope, but I wouldn’t be all that surprised. Fuck the lot of them.

Well this should make the new “Stupid Things You Shouldn’t Say When Facing Legal Action” book:

While this may be factually correct its not really relevent information. The fellowships in question are for professional and graduate studies both areas that women are underrepresented in.

This does smell like Rove doesn’t it?

Still, I’m dead set against these things when they involve government money. To say they don’t discriminate is laughable. It’s a feature, not a bug. I’m also really ticked off by capricious law enforcement, so I’m generally just pissed off at everyone involved. :slight_smile:

This part was kinda funny, though:

Not that I don’t belief you, but cite.

Affirmative action program such as this discriminate on the basis of race. As such, they should be illegal. It should absolutely be illegal for a publicly-funded school to offer an award that no white male is eligible for. If a similar award were closed to balck or Hispanic males, there would be no question of its illegality and no dearth of outrage from the left.

Loopydue: bite me.

Fuck you with a rusty chain saw, you malodorous piece of raw sewage.

What you describe is not a “positive accomplishment of this society.” It’s racism. It deserves to be extinguished.

And you deserve a diarrheatic pig’s excrement for your blind upholding of racial discrimination.


In the 1970’s when I was teaching in a school that was 98% African American, the Honor Society presented an award to the “Most Outstanding Black Student.” There was no corresponding award for “Most Outstanding Non-Black Student.”

The award was something drummed up by our guidance counselor and approved by the Executive Principal. I’m reasonably certain that it was against all National Honor Society rules.

Wank wank wank. I’m honestly not certain how I feel about Affirmative Action. It’s something that can obviously be well-intentioned and helpful, but which is built on something which is obviously grossly unfair. But can a gross unfairness combat another gross unfairness? Can two wrongs ever even come close to making a right?

I’m not sure. But it’s an issue that deserves serious debate among well-meaning and reasonable people, not the irrelevant and facile dismissal you’ve just given it.

Except it’s not an “irrevant and facile” dismissal. The programs are likely illegal.

From the OP’s link:

As opposed to the facile treatment offered by the OP?

Ah, yes. His characterization of opposition to affirmative action as coming only from the “…most rabid and morally bereft elements of the radicalized right wing…” is “serious debate.” My hyperbole is facile dismissal.


It’s a wonder you can even live with your dishonesty. How do you manage it?

And “facile” this: the programs, on their face, violate Supreme Court guidelines. They are illegal.

Oh please, fuck yourself, because my conscience is perfectly clear. There are practically none of the target minorities in science grad schools. You get out of grad school, and it’s worse. I’ve worked in three labs (including the present one) where there were none, nada, zero black or hispanics anywhere to be seen except amongst the housecleaning staff.

Nobody can tell me there isn’t something seriously fucking wrong with that picture. I’ve personally been involved in interviewing probably something like 50 candidates for various positions where I work and not a single one of them was black. The applicants just aren’t there. We sure as hell aren’t interviewing for String Theorists either, these are straightforward biotech jobs that sometimes only require a bachelor’s or master’s-level degree in some chemistry or biology field. Even if you were a big enough asshat to believe the sort of bullshit you’ll find in The Bell Curve, the enormity of the disparity is virtually impossible to explain except if one accepts that there are serious societal pressures that are keeping these minorities away, and limiting their potential.

It’s either that or you believe they’re predominanty so intellectually inferior to whites they can’t make it into even the entry levels of science in anywhere near a representative frequency. I know that’s not even remotely true.

I would never argue that “affirmative action” is an imperfect solution, but unless such a program were demonstrably harming someone like me, I think it’s a moral imperative for our society to somehow do whatever it can to undo the far greater evil that has been done, and is the legacy of our forefathers we must contend with. What better remedies do those who think setting aside some pitiful amount of cash to help a few-dozen underrepresented minorities pay for grad school is such a “racist” idea?

Color me completely unimpressed with the alternatives offered by so-called “compassionate conservatives” who speciously decry the supposed “soft bigotry of low expectations”. At this point I expect precisely nothing from the right in the way of a constructive solution to what is a patently unfair and unjust arrangement. You don’t want to pay for public schools, you don’t want to pay for social services, you refuse to acknowledge the corrosive effects of poverty, crime, and discrimination on youth, and won’t do enough, or anything at all, to help make sure kids get housed, fed, and taught according to some minimal standard before they apply to grad. school, so by the time they’re at that age, chances are they’re out of the running.

That is obviously the problem. Yeah, sure, you find exceptional minorities all over who beat the odds, Condi Rice, Colin Powell, kids should be like them, they’re not trying hard enough, yadda yadda. Bullshit. There’s nothing wrong with saying those individual’s achievements are doubly remarkable because of the adversity they overcame. I can’t fathom the lack of compassion shown by conservatives toward those who aren’t quite so spectacular or lucky. I have no difficulty recognizing a lot of white kids work half as hard and get twice as much as some of their minority peers simply because of who they are. This “reverse discrimination” canard is a crock of shit. As the right has been utterly worthless at coming up with a better solution, I say hooray for a measly million bucks that can be used to try to help make our science community representative of the society we live in.

I suppose these folks are a bunch of feces-eating racists too (I read the blog regularly, and it’s from them I got the link). I feel like I should be more offended by the accusation, but it’s such a fucking joke I realise what a waste of time it is to even worry about it.

Now, I haven’t gotten involved in affirmative action debates, so if this idea has been presented and confirmed or refuted, forgive me.

Arguement: If you accept that (for the most part and in aggregate) persons of different races have similar abilities and intelligence, and you observe that your school accepts enourmously more whites than other races, doesn’t it follow that your school is (perhaps unintentionally) biased against certain other races? Wouldn’t a program to increase representation of non-white be decreasing your school’s racism?

My feeling is that affirmative action doesn’t create bias. Rather, it compensates for the factors that lower grades and test scores (poverty, other people’s bias, poor inner-city school systems, fewer educational mentors) artificially in non-whites. Ideally, an affirmative action program shouldn’t function to accept non-whites who are dumber or less competent than whites accepted, but instead should normalize admissions such that whites and non-whites of equal intelligence and abilities are admitted despite differences in test scores.


Any program that definitively excludes people based on race is unconstitutional.

The Bush administration is enforcing that law.

Your paragraph above argues that such programs should be legal. That’s a far different cast on the issue than made in the OP, which castigates the enforcement of the law as arising from the “…most rabid and morally bereft elements of the radicalized right wing…”

See the difference?

The OP posits that such enforcement is per se racist. You now acknowledge that it’s an imperfect idea; presumably that means an acknowledgement that reasonable people may disagree, especiallt in light of the fact that the fucking law is not on the side of the program in question.

So now you’re not a racist. You’re reasonably trying to offer a solution to a problem that people may reasonably differ on. But a person who holds that reasonable view doesn’t write an OP like you did.

So are you lying now, or were you being dishonest when you write the OP?

That should have read “I would never argue affirmative action isn’t an imperfect solution”…

Oh, come on. For one, I’m not at all sure these programs are unconstitutional as the Michigan admissions were determined to be. These are not race-based quota systems for limited slots, as far as I can tell, but fellowships to be awarded to (predominantly) students of underrepresented minorities. They have been, however, according to the article, awarded to white women who have dealt with adversity as well. In other words, it might be argued that the basic criterion is societal disadvantage, which I think is blindingly obvious giving grad school demographics, and the programs are not exclusively meant to fund the education of certain races. We’ll see how the courts rule, though I’m not optimistic, or even if the University opts to challenges the accusations. I certainly hope this is not found to be unconstitutional, because if all of these programs are eliminated the results will be nothing short of a disaster for higher education, and, I think, a great injustice.

As for imperfection vs. illegality, I see nothing wrong or necessarily contradictory in imperfect-but-legal, especially when the alternatives are so awful.

I guess the left just has this magical ability to discern motivations and take those into account when making judgement calls. These fellowships aren’t geared towards minorities to keep those “crackers” out where as a scholarship closed to blacks and hispanics has keeping the “negroes” and “ethnics” as a prima facia motivation.

Fallacy of the excluded middle.

I can think of any number of causes for such discrepancy that range from similar to one of your choices to unrelated to either of your choices:

  • Community educational programs serving minority students suffer from financial disparities that are the result of well-intended and universally desired models originating nearly 150 years ago that have become a burden due to changes in demographics and are not imposed by “systemic bias” and do not reflect any inherent inferiority on the part of the students;*
  • Cultural biases among the students cause excessive numbers of them to avoid programs that would lead to particular academic disciplines whereby a reduction in applicants from a minority group disproportionately reduces their numbers even further;**
  • Simple lack of role models or parental encouragement to pursue particular educational opportunities.***
  • Local control (an almost universally desired characteristic) proceeds from local funding which has inadvertantly suffered in the social upheavals of the previous 40 years. While there are certainly biases that have contributed to these problems, it is a gross oversimplification to claim that all such problems are the result of “systemic bias.”
    ** Problems with accusations of “acting white” and similar issues have been documented, (if not yet quantified), and it is a bit of a stretch to claim that such phenomena are the result of “systemic bias” or reflect “inherent inferiority” in the groups affected.
    *** A student who knows no one with a career in the sciences or higher academia is unlikely to pursue a career in those fields himself or herself. At the same time, there was a strong pressure within several minority groups from the late 1960s through the early 1980s to enter fields in the Liberal Arts so as to discover more about one’s own group’s origins and contributions with a resulting lack of emphasis on the theoretical and applied sciences. This has led to a large number of scholars (and lawyers, and to a lesser extent, doctors) among various minority groups who provide inspiration and mentoring for younger individuals within those groups to emulate them, while providing fewer than representative percentages of those groups pursuing education in theoretical or applied (hard) sciences.

One of the things that stuck me about the recent riots in France, is that the French government has no affirmative action programs, and has no idea of the number of immigrant youths who are unemployed, since they don’t track such things on the basis of ethnicity.

It’s not at all clear to me how these all don’t amount to systemic bias. What, these other biases, inexplicable habits, or disadvantages just happened by accident, or otherwise can’t reasonably be assumed to be the result of entrenched racism? I see no excluded middle here, just a lot of consequences of systemic bias somehow being characterized as something else for some bizarre reason.

You will have to demonstrate to me, because I haven’t figured out where the “systemic bias” enters, just how a practice of funding schools that originated over 150 years ago for the purpose of providing local control to school systems, long before there were the current issues of ethnic bias, and which has been supported by people within those same communities (desiring local control) is an example of systemic bias.

I would really like to know how students rejecting education because it represents “acting white” is the result of outside forces (unless you are arguing that it is an inherent deficiency within the ethnic group).

I do not understand how the steering of college applicants by the minority communities into fields separate from the theoretical and applied sciences is an example of bias. Whose bias? Against what science were they biased?
I am not arguing that bias, discrimination, racism, and general xenophobia have played no role in the general situation of inferior education among minorities. They clearly have.

However, the point under discussion is the extreme lack of representation of minorities within particular fields of study, even when people from the same minority groups have succeeded in entering other fields (Law, Medicine) that require similar capabilities and investments of time, money, and energy.

The point is that within a particular group of technical fields, minority representation is abysmally lower than other fields requiring similar levels of education and commitment. Declaring that it must be due to only one of two possible factors without any evidence to support that conclusion and without demonstrating how that bias affected those disciplines and not (as badly) other disciplines is excluding the middle (and ignoring a lot of evidence).

Schools do not exist in order to display racial balance. They exist to educate. At the higher leveles, to educate people to enter specific professions. And the way they determine who to let in to their programs is based, in large part, on who the best candidates are. And that, in turn is based on previous academic achievement and test scores.

Precisely because any program should be fair is why they look mainly to objective criteria. Regarding you least sentence, how would you decide who was of equally worthy of admission without using test scores?