Saturday, April 26, 2014

Racism: The Exceptions That Prove the Rule

Chief Justice John Roberts: fingers
in the ears doesn't end racism.
Oh boy. Just when Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts was convinced it was safe to go back into the water because, hell, everyone knows that racism is dead, elements in the country that were ABOUT AS FAR AWAY AS YOUR NEAREST NBA OWNER OR SOME BUMFUCK NEVADA RANCHER go and jump in the deep end.

Who knew? Everybody, that's who, and as far as I'm concerned that includes members of the Supreme Court who, like Roberts, probably waited half their lives to put out a series of rulings that make them look pretty moronic now.

To describe opinions held by members of the Supreme Court as moronic might be sophomoric, all the more so because I don't think those opinions come out of thin air. They come out of extremely cold, sophisticated calculations: The act of deciding that we're finished with race in America has the double effect of never again making a decision that is in support of minorities. In other words, racism may rear its ugly head -- and racism may not in fact be behind us -- but we can decide that it's just too fucking bad. We're done here.

Thanks, Supremes.

By the way, I guess Sonia Sotomayor told the boss that he was sticking his head in the sand. He was not impressed with what she said or how she said it.

LA Clippers owner Don Sterling: Couldn't you
have noticed that blacks are the stars of your show?
I feel if racism blocks or inhibits minority rights to due process or equal protection under the law, then remedies are needed to return those rights to minorities. That's not only a rationale for affirmative action, but it's also a justification for ruling racial profiling illegal, as well, and it certainly makes the Supreme Court's conservative wing look heartless when they gutted the Voting Rights Act. Minorities' right to vote is continually being denied equal protection under the law. If it takes a remedy beyond neutrality to provide minorities the right to vote, then so be it. Wishing shit was better is not a strategy, it's a cop-out, one that, yes, I believe Roberts and other conservatives on the Court are guilty of.

Emily Bazelon makes a good point in her discussion of the implications of recent Supreme decisions, especially the one that upheld Michigan's right to ban affirmative action:
For liberals as well as conservatives, there’s an upside to that outcome, despite the expected denunciation by groups like the NAACP and the ACLU. According to Richard Kahlenberg of the Century Foundation, who has studied affirmative action for years, in seven of the states that have banned it, leading and other public universities have maintained black and Latino enrollment and admitted more low-income students. As I explained in October, “Some of the schools have taken income and wealth and neighborhood into account. Some have plans that admit the top 10 percent of high school graduates statewide. Three have banned legacy preferences.” Those are strategies for achieving racial diversity that also improve socioeconomic diversity, which at many selective schools is sorely lacking. A year ago, a new study resoundingly showed that there is a “hidden supply” of high-achieving low-income students that most schools don’t do enough to recruit. Many of these kids don’t even apply to top colleges: The schools are too unfamiliar and seem unattainable. But if the students have better information, and universities make a bigger effort to reach them, they will come. If ruling out explicitly race-based preferences pushes the schools to do more on this front, that’s a real silver lining.
She goes on to point out, however, that this does little to advance diversity, with schools in states that have banned affirmative action in public-university admissions seeing a sharp decline in minority students on campus.

Cliven Bundy: yapping
his way to isolation.
America isn't over race, not by a long shot. Those who want to pretend that it isn't still in almost all corners of American life are just deluding themselves. It's as American as apple pie and will be for quite some time to come. If you don't believe that, then the Don Sterlings and Cliven Bundys will continue to pop up to remind us.

I hate to say it, but you can take that to the bank. If you don't believe me, you might want to look at the Confederate flags waving in front of the South Carolina and Mississippi statehouses. They're there for a reason, and it isn't to reassure blacks that they're welcome to a fair deal.

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