A Novel Justification For Racial Preference

As we’ve seen, the “compelling interest” in “diversity” is the justification du jour for the racial discrimination necessary to produce it. But we’ve also seen an intense resistance to acknowledging that this discrimination is actually discrimination.

This resistance has required some contorted efforts to redefine equality, equality of opportunity, etc., in such a way that, by definition, their pre-requisites can’t be called discrimination. The fact thay they are so contorted, however, has tended to limit their appeal.

Now, thanks to alert reader Fred Ray, we learn of a new, frank, and forthright justification in the title of a speech NAACP board chairman Julian Bond recently gave in Asheville, N.C.: “Affirmative Action: The Just Spoils of a Righteous War.”


In his speech, Bond made it clear that he believes equality is a zero sum contest between black and white (Link thanks, again, to Fred Ray):

Civil rights legend Julian Bond wants you to look at opposition to affirmative action this way:

It is the fourth quarter of a football game between the white team and the African-American team. The white team is ahead 145 to 3. They have been cheating since the game began. The white team owns the ball, the uniforms, the field and the referees.

All of a sudden the white quarterback, who suddenly feels badly about things that happened before he entered the game, turns to the African-American team and says: “Hey fellows, can’t we just play fair?”

“Of course, playing fair is double-speak for freezing the status quo in place, permanently fixing inequality as part of the American scene,”

I find this a rather disturbing way to think of equality, but let’s stick with it a moment. Since Legend Bond beleives “playing fair” is unfair, what does he propose? If the rules were thrown out, presumably the team that “owns the ball, the uniforms, the field and the referees” and, one can only surmise, 88% of the spectators would demolish the other team in short order.

It’s not clear, in short, what Bond would substitute for “playing fair.” He does make one comment that vaguely suggests he favors a level playing field — “Affirmative action is about removing the preferences that white people have enjoyed for centuries” — but it appears that this doesn’t quite mean what it sounds like. That’s because he also said the following:

American slavery was a human horror of staggering dimensions. The profits it produced endowed great fortunes and enriched generations.

If “removing the preferences that white people have enjoyed for centuries” mean removing from “white people” (not even the descendants of former slaveholders, presumably since slavery enriched the whole country) all the ill-gotten gains of slavery, then we’re going to be in for quite a struggle, at least if the Indians don’t take back the ill-gotten gains taken from them first.

But if affirmative action doesn’t mean [re-]confiscation and it doesn’t mean “playing fair,” i.e., non-discriminatory equal treatment, what does it mean? I suppose it just means that racial preferences will be necessary until the last dog dies. Still, we should note and appreciate the recognition that preferences aren’t “fair.”

Say What?