Affirmative action, age 45, is dead

Thus begins Juan Williams’ column today. Williams is a voice of sanity on the (center) left, and for that reason his words should be heeded. According to him, Ricci v. DeStefano has dealt a death blow to affirmative action.

Affirmative action attempts to right a wrong with another wrong: discrimination in the past against blacks is undeniable. So, affirmative action’s supporters say, “Turnabout is fair play. Let’s discriminate against whites.” Well, they don’t actually say that, of course. That would be honest. But, from where I sit as an over-educated white guy, this is exactly what has happened.

Oh, the discrimination is not usually so blatant as in the Ricci V. DeStafano case. It isn’t the wrong-headed “one black for one white” in United Steelworkers v. Weber case cited by Williams. Oh, no. It’s much more subtle. It’s knowing that a less-qualified minority will get the job ahead of you, unless you cheat (recognizing that there’s a whites old-boys club).

It’s the cottage industry of race relations, of having huge affirmative action bureaucracies in government and the private sector, staffed by folks who don’t seem to be able to find gainful employment. It’s the utter nonsense of pretending that all applicants for any job, brain surgeon, nuclear scientist,you name it, are the same. And that any filter, be it a test or other measure of capability, is, on its face, wrong and racist unless blacks score at least as well as whites.

The major side effect for me is that whenever I see a black in a position that requires skills other than physical, or entails years of training, I see someone who has benefited from affirmative action. I know that this is hardly true for all blacks, but that is my perception.

How many white Americans share my perception, but for reasons of political correctness (or personal safety) can’t express it? Let’s give a hearty thanks to affirmative action, which has cast a shadow on the legitimate achievements of all black people.

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