“Equity” And The Harvard/UNC Affirmative Action Case

The Supreme Court has just granted cert to the challenges against affirmative action at Harvard and the University of North Carolina. No way, of course, to predict what the outcome will be, but it’s safe to say that at the moment progressives are nervous and conservatives are hopeful.

My nominee for the most interesting fact in the case: Harvard’s repeated assertion, most recently in its Brief in Opposition to the Supreme’s granting cert, that, although it doesn’t discriminate in favor of or against any group, “If Harvard were to abandon race-conscious admissions, African-American and Hispanic representation would decline by nearly half.”

In other words — actually, pretty much the same words — half the blacks and Hispanics at Harvard were admitted because they were black or Hispanic … unless one thinks saying they would not have been admitted if they were not black or Hispanic says something different.

Also moderately interesting: Harvard announced last April that 18% of its recently admitted class of 2025 is black. Since blacks are 13% of the US population (July 2021), that means they are significantly “overrepresented.” That article did not report what percentage of the new class is white. Adding up all the percentages Harvard did report (Asian, Hispanic, Native American, Hawaiian, etc.), whites make up about 40% of the class, meaning they are drastically “underrepresented” since non-Hispanics whites are 60% of the US population.

Since “equity” as it has come to be understood and demanded by progressives regards any deviation from proportional representation as discrimination, can we expect progressives to demand that the 18% admission rate of blacks be reduced by about 30% and the 40% admission rate of white increased by about 30% to match their share of the population?

Don’t hold your breath. But if anyone should spot such a demand in any of the flood of equity-demanding amicus briefs that will soon start appearing, or any re-thinking of equity itself in those briefs, please let me know.

Fighting “Systemic Racism,” Promoting “Equity”

This year Seattle, like many cities, has seen a dramatic increase in shootings, “up 61% over the past four-year average.” Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz said in July that “We’ve seen more than a 100% increase in drive-by shootings this year alone.”

But not to worry. Here come some Washington state Democrats to the rescue (of whom?). Three of them have just introduced House Bill 1692 “Promoting racial equity in the criminal legal system by eliminating drive-by shooting as a basis for elevating murder in the first degree to aggravated murder in the first degree.”

You read that right. If this bill becomes law, it will promote “equity” by preventing prosecutors from seeking and courts from imposing enhanced sentences for murders committed by drive-by shooters. And not only that; it would apply retroactively, requiring re-evaluating the sentences in many past convictions.

PJ Media reports that one of HB 1692’s co-sponsors, woke ex-con state Rep. Tarra Simmons,

told KTTH Radio host Jason Rantz that because most of the drive-bys are done by gangs, and since gang members are overwhelmingly black and brown, adding it as a prosecution enhancement is racist because “it’s clear that [this aggravated classification] was targeted at gangs that were predominantly young and Black.” She calls it “systemic racism.”

My suggestion for a Republican campaign ad: “Defund Police! Defend Drive-by Shooters! Vote Democratic!

Meanwhile, down the coast in Portland Acting US Attorney for the District of Oregon, Scott Erik Asphaug, has dismissed all charges against a serial Antifa rioter (three arrests) who took part in the fire-bomb attack on a Portland police station and was convicted for that as well as directing a powerful green laser into the eyes of numerous officers attempting to disperse the Antifa riot.

Warner faced a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for the crimes. The transgender individual appeared in federal court where a US magistrate released the defendant pending further court proceedings.

Now the federal government is dismissing all charges “with prejudice” after Warner merely completed 30 hours of community service.

By contrast, back in what J. Edgar Hoover always referred to as the Seat of Government (Washington, D.C.), Reuters reports that the Department of Justice — the same Department of Justice that employs Acting U.S. Attorney Asphaug — has secured a 41 month prison sentence for a January 6 rioter who pled guilty to punching a U.S. Capitol policeman.

Being Raised By A Gifted Child

Long-time readers of this blog (at least those of you with still serviceable memory) will recall seeing an embarrassingly large number of posts over the years charting daughter Jessie’s rather dramatic academic progress (if I do say so myself, which I do …) — skipping high school; graduating from Bryn Mawr at 17; Caltech Ph.D in […]

Now We Know What “Equitable” Means

Thanks to the Progressive Republic of Oregon, we now know what “equitable” means. A few days ago Governor Kate Brown (D, of course) signed Senate Bill 744 eliminating proficiency requirements for high school graduation. As a result, the Oregonian reports, “For the next five years, an Oregon high school diploma will be no guarantee that […]

[Le]Manning The Barricades For Affirmative Action

On Minding The Campus I have a new, longish article criticizing an unpersuasive defense of affirmative action in the New Yorker by Nicholas Lemann, former dean of the Columbia School of Journalism. Anyone who happened to read it last night (such as the always vigilant Roger Clegg) will have to read it again since a long insert […]

Patriotism? The TENTH Recycling Of July 4

Following is a recycling of a much-recycled post that was last posted here July 4, 2019. Things have gotten worse since then. …. 17 years ago, for the first time, here, I recycled an old, short piece I’d written on “Patriotism” published in The Nation, July 15, 1991. Yes, that Nation, with which in a […]

Affirmative Action: R.I.P. Or Release 3.0?

I have a new article in the Summer 2021 issue of the National Association of Scholars journal, Academic Questions. It argues, among other things, that the new emphasis on “equity” threatens affirmative action as much as it does the increasingly old-fashioned principle prohibiting the state from benefitting or burdening individuals based on their race.

“Equity” For Whites?

Ad For Ohio State Diversity Officer

A History Assignment For President Biden

How Bad Is Cancel Culture?

The End Of Civil Rights?

Cancel Culture, Eugene Debs, And Free Speech

Glenn Loury, Shelby Steele: Calling A Spade A Spade

Inequitable Choices?