Quantcast Hugh Murray "The Case against Affirmative Action"


Philosophy against Misosophy



Essays by Me

Essays by Others






A review of Gertrude Ezorsky, Racism and Justice: The Case for Affirmative Action, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991.  From Telos 93, Fall 1992, 145-158.  “Affirmative action’s defenders, the new liberals, have thus effectively rejected what has traditionally passed for liberalism to embrace a philosophy closer to Nazism.”  That is, the logic of “affirmative action” (AA) drives one to the conclusion that Jews were “over-represented” in Weimar Germany and so their “disproportional” representation evidenced oppression of non-Jews.  To my knowledge Murray is the first scholar to expose the tyrannical nature of AA with such almost unbearable sharpness. 

See also his Affirmative Action and the Nazis, Who’s to Blame for the Affirmative Action Fiasco? and Affirmative Action and the Elite War against White Males.

Anthony Flood 

March 5, 2007


The Case Against

Affirmative Action

Hugh Murray


Gertrude Ezorsky’s very first sentence is wrong—“The affirmative action programs begun in the 1960s have been diminished in the 1980s in response to a different political climate” (1).  Practices such as “race norming” of test scores on employment examinations—whereby the millions of Americans who took federal civil service examinations, most state civil service exams and many tests for the private sector, were graded according to race—were institutionalized only in 1981.  According to this practice, if a white, a black, and an Hispanic all answered every question the same way, the white would receive one score, the Hispanic would be given an additional 15 points, and the black about 28 points above the white.  No one was informed that the scores were skewed to discriminate against whites.  This expansion of the double- and triple-standard affirmative action concept took place under the Reagan Administration and continued afterwards.

Ezorsky’s erroneous beginning is typical of the whole book.  Her concept of affirmative action is shallow, her presentation of positions opposing hers caricaturish, her knowledge of history spotty, and her use of language—naturally—“politically correct.”  She focuses primarily on affirmative action (AA) for blacks.  A black may be denied a job because an employer is racist. Proving that is difficult, and if the case is won, it affects only one worker and one employer.  She argues that, as blacks in the 1960s were often denied positions, even when employers showed no evident racism, something else must have been occurring: “institutional racism.”  Thus, e.g., when blacks, as a group, fail to achieve the same scores on an objective examination as whites, this must be due to institutional racism.  This mechanism has an impact in hiring through various means: hiring through personal connections, seniority systems, or using “objective” qualification requirements.  The only certain method to counter this racist impact is to hire blacks as a percentage of the work force.  Furthermore, to achieve this, “basically” qualified blacks may have to be hired over better qualified whites.  Quotas, goals, and timetables are therefore necessary to guide the struggle for justice and against racism.

She dismisses possible backlash and white stereotyping of blacks hired through AA as an insignificant problem.  After all, better a “basically qualified” employed black than an unemployed one, who would simply reinforce the stereotype of the lazy, shiftless black.  Moreover, AA has helped many poorly educated as well as better educated blacks.  Of course, underclass blacks may not have been aided by AA but, on the other hand, no other program seems to have been particularly successful in helping them. She considers AA ethically correct because it compensates for past wrongs of slavery and segregation.  It fosters a future with a well-integrated work force, with blacks proportionally represented in all types of positions, high and low.  This would allegedly end a chain of stereotypes and racism would be finally overcome.  It is even ethically correct to give preference to wealthy blacks over poor whites because all blacks have experienced racism.  Similarly, she considers it just that wealthy veterans be given preferences over poor non-veterans.

Individual whites who have to pay a relatively high price for AA (by not obtaining a job, promotion, scholarship, etc.) might be compensated by a special fund of the Federal Government obtained from a new, “progressive” tax.  To those who object that AA violates the merit principle in hiring, Ezorsky responds that when hiring relatives, veterans, or through “old boy” networks, the merit principle is routinely violated, so why should anyone object when a black is hired under AA?  Moreover, the more blacks hired and promoted into higher positions, the more role models in good positions for young blacks.  Why would anyone object to this?   Ezorsky sees AA as the proper way to ensure that blacks receive their fair share in employ: AA is “aimed to diminish these effects [of institutional racism] by moving the black work force toward approximate statistical parity—that is, to achieve occupational integration throughout the hierarchy of employment” (32).  Where blacks fail to achieve statistical parity, AA assumes it is due to racism, something that can only be overcome by insuring proportional representation of blacks.  Along with most proponents of AA, Ezorsky argues that, if blacks are underrepresented in a given occupation, this is because blacks have been or are oppressed.  Indeed, the statistical gap between the black percentage of the population and their percentage employed in an occupation, or owning radio stations, reflects the extent of racist oppression.1

Another book, published shortly after Ezorskv’s, develops arguments similar to hers.  In The Constitutional Logic of Affirmative Action, Ronald J. Fiscus poses a choice: either justice through quotas, or racist injustice.2  His argument is simple: if children were born into a society devoid of racism, 80% white and 20% black, then some 20 years later the admissions to medical school would be 80-20, to law school 80-20, to the police department 80-20, and on the unemployment line 80-20. Any variation from the racial proportion is due either to genetics (the racist explanation) or to racism.  Either nature or nurture.  By instituting racial quotas so that only 80% of the doctors, lawyers, police, would be whites, the US would be merely legalizing the proportion that would occur naturally in a non-racist society.  Fiscus urges quotas, not in the name of compensatory justice, making amends for slavery and segregation, but in the name of distributive justice.  Since in a just, non-racist society only 80% of the doctors and lawyers would be white, it is unjust to permit more than 80% to be white in present day society.  Quotas are not “reverse discrimination,” for they do not take away from whites the places and occupations that they would have had to begin with in a non-racist, just society.  Fiscus concludes that whites should never receive more than their proportion of the population in employment, government, entertain-ment and other areas.3 

Fiscus goes beyond Ezorsky in maintaining that residence should also be proportionately distributed.  To the extent that it is not, racism must be the culprit.4  The situation must be changed.  Thus, universities in Idaho should have minority quotas set at 20%, the proportion of blacks and Hispanics who would have moved there had it not been for racism.5  Fiscus concedes that some people prefer to live in proximity to similar people—gays may prefer to reside among their own6–but he rejects the idea of people of the same race preferring to be among their own race because that would be racist.  Fiscus also opposes quotas for white ethnic groups because some ethnic groups have developed cultures fostering intellectual or athletic achievement, etc.  Hence, quotas for white ethnic groups would be unfair to those groups that strive the most.7  Furthermore, whites may change their ethnic identification.8  Blacks, on the other hand, have no ethnic identity: their culture is American.  Because races and ethnic groups are not comparable, racial quotas are fair but ethnic quotas are not.9 

Fiscus’ arguments are the worst kind of ideological dogmatism. To begin with, there are ethnic divisions among blacks.  Indeed, often West Indian blacks have succeeded so well in the US that they have faced hostility from American blacks.10  Moreover, this success of West Indians disproves the liberal contention that racism is the cause of black failure in the US.  At any rate, why do Haitians risk their lives to sail to America (and not to Cuba or the Dominican Republic) if racism were as powerful as Fiscus, Ezorsky, and various Black Nationalists maintain?  The black community, like the white one, has its divisions.  Also, blacks from Mississippi or the Carolinas are significantly different from those in New Orleans or Harlem.  And a black Roman Catholic might view things differently from a black Evangelical or a Black Muslim.  These differences in background, outlook, values etc. help detcrmine if one studies law or practices football or plays jazz or sells crack.  It varies among white individuals, among white ethnic groups and among blacks as individuals and as groups, among Asians, Hispanics, American Indians, etc. Why then should quotas be set on racial lines?

Jared Taylor notes that one factor is crucial in detcrmining if an American child will be raised in poverty, get into trouble as a teen and probably end in jail.  That factor is not race, but whether he has two parents.  The black family survived slavery, Reconstruction and segregation.  As late as 1959 only 2% of the black children were raised in households where the mother never married.  Now, in the era of diminished racism and liberalism, that figure is nearly 60%.11  Fiscus and Ezorsky are wrong; it is not racism, but liberalism and welfarism that are more likely to explain why Johnnv Jefferson can’t read well and sells crack.  If 60% of Chinese children in America were born to single mothers who never married, it is probable that Chinese would fill our prisons.  “Disparate racial impact” is caused less by racism and more by the consequences of liberalism and the welfare state.

In his study of the medical profession under the Nazis, Robert Proctor notes that in Berlin in 1933 Jews, less than 5% of the population in the German capital, constituted over 50% of the medical doctors.12  According to US advocates of AA, one can only surmise how German Jews oppressed gentile Germans!  Similarly, in 1930 the Jews must have also been oppressing the gentiles of Prague, Paris, Vienna, London and Rome!  It is ironic that it is often Jews, the most over-represented group in the media, academia, the legal profession, etc., who are among the most vehement in demanding that blacks and Hispanics receive their “fair share” of openings in those professions.  Ezorsky might find nothing wrong with a medical school student body composed of 12% blacks, 8% Hispanics, and 80% Jews, so long as 51% were female.  But what about the “fair share” for gentiles?  If AA would apply the same standard of “fair share” to Jews that it does to white males, there would not be another Jewish professor hired until the year 2010, not another Jewish lawyer licensed until 2015, not another Jewish doctor graduated until 2030.

Taking the racial gap as the test of racist oppression, as Ezorsky and other liberals do, has frightening implications.  Why research merely the “racist impact” in a specific job category, be it construction workers in Philadelphia or telephone operators at AT&T?  Why not view national statistics as a whole?   These reveal that the household income of blacks in America is a mere 68% of the national average.13  This should prove that oppressive racism costs blacks some 50% of what their incomes ought to be. Of course, those same statistics reveal that American Jews receive 155% of the average income and constitute the highest income group. Clearly then, gentiles as a group must be oppressed more by Jews than blacks by whites.

Along with most AA-supporters, Ezorsky claims that black students require role models in the form of black teachers, professors, and other professionals (88). In the 1920s Albert Einstein taught at a German university.  After Hitler came to power in 1933, Nazis began purging Jews from universities (and German life as a whole).  There was no longer a place in Germany for an Einstein to teach German students since Einstein was a Jew and could not be a proper “role model” to German gentiles.  But the professors who replaced Einstein in Germany, German gentiles to teach German gentiles, were lesser “role models” if for no other reason than that they knew less about physics than Einstein.  A black mathematics professor who does not understand algebra is probably a poor professor for both blacks and whites.  The most knowledgeable person will probably be the best teacher, independently of race, religion, gender, etc.  AA advocates reject merit and objective testing and, like Hitler demanding that only gentiles teach German gentiles, they also demand that blacks teach blacks, women teach women, Hispanics teach Hispanics, etc.  AA defenders, the new liberals, have thus effectively rejected what has traditionally passed for liberalism to embrace a philosophy closer to Nazism.

Other aspects of the question of “role models” deserve discussion.  Paul Piccone contends that “role model” psychology relegates all learning to pre-adolescent, particularistic modes precluding acquisition of more rational, universal, and objective forms that occur with the achievement of maturity.14  He regards the emphasis on role models a “form of paternalistic poison which perpetuates cognitive immaturity and a pathological relation of overdepen-dence on a now diffused authority”15 stunting learning and limiting many students to particularistic perspectives that inhibit acquisition of universal knowledge.  On the other hand, Piccone emphasizes that role-model pedagogy has been “a career bonanza for otherwise relatively mediocre New Class members [bureaucrats] of particular minority groups.”16 There is growing evidence for this and its broad, debilitating social implications.

Under a provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, James S. Coleman was appointed to direct a survey of race and education for the US Office of Education.  The researchers investigated many things, most of which did not appear to have a decisive effect on education.  “On the other hand, . . . one school resource [was] . . . more highly related to student achievement than others . . . we found that teachers’ scores on vocabulary tests were related to the verbal achievement of students in the school.  Other characteristics of teachers were not, including degrees, experiences, and salary; . . .”17 Coleman, years later, acknowledged the disturbing implications of the study: “One would be that a major source of inequality of educational opportunity for black students was the fact that they were being taught by black teachers.  Another, . . . would be that black and white children would have greater educational opportunity if they were not taught by these teachers.”18 But neither Coleman nor his colleagues nor the Johnson Administration desired to press further research on that topic or publicize the prepared findings because of the political implications.  Coleman reflected in 1990 that by not pursuing the results of the early research, “we aided in the sacrifice of educational opportunity for many children, most of whom were black, to protect the careers of black teachers.”19 In this context, the role model argument appears simply as an excuse by the bureaucracy and its defenders for controlling a “set aside” program for lesser qualified and unqualified minority teachers.

Returning to Ezorsky, she brands race-neutral, objective examinations for employment as “racist” because blacks (and Hispanics and sometimes women) perform less well as groups than other groups.  With AA they will be hired, promoted, given scholarships, contracts, etc., anyway.  According to her, there is nothing wrong with this violation of the merit principle.  Nepotism is also a violation of the merit principle.  So is hiring through “old boy” networks.  Giving preferences to veterans and alumni is also a violation of the merit principle.  As already indicated, she argues that, as the merit principle is so widely violated, why do people complain when blacks are given a preference, in violation of the oft-violated principle (90-92)?  Is it not racist to decry only violations that help blacks?

Nepotism and the “old boy” networks should be denounced, but they are part of life.  At any rate, blacks have also been guilty of nepotism and hiring friends, in violation of the merit principle.  Giving preference to veterans is a principle based on rewarding those who risked their lives to defend the country.  Most Americans approve of this preference.  But should blacks receive a preference just because they are black?  Mexican-Americans because they are Mexican-American? Chinese-Americans because they are Chinese-American?  Women because they are women?  Ezorsky says yes.  But is this not contrary to fundamental constitutional principles?  Should not merit be the determining ideal in hiring and promotion, rather than racial or sexual quotas?

Is this not what the civil rights movement was all about—the attempt to stop state (and to a lesser extent, the national) governments from treating races differently?  The ideal was clear.  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed to legalize this ideal of a color-blind society.  It explicitly outlawed quotas.  It explicitly permitted employment tests, even assuming that there might be a disparate racial impact.  It strove to provide all people with equal opportunity before that phrase was redefined by its opponents in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to mean the denial of equal opportunity to whites and to men.  The 1964 Civil Rights Act, which Ezorsky fails to include among her documents and whose history she omits, was intended to enshrine and formalize the ideal of the color-blind society.  Unfortunately, the commission established to administer the 1964 law conspired to subvert it.  Hugh Graham has detailed how a bureaucratic and judicial elite subverted the 1964 Civil Rights Act, replacing ideals of non-discrimination with racial, ethnic, and gender preferences: perverting the ideal of equal opportunity into the denial of such opportunity to white men: distorting affirmative action into inferior action—from outreach to qualified minorities into hiring those with infereior qualifications.20  In urging passage of the 1964 bill, liberal Senator Hubert Humphrey declared that nothing in the proposed law would result in a lesser qualified black being hired over a better qualified white.  Ezorsky not only acknowledges that hiring of lesser qualified blacks occurs, she also applauds it.  Along with a few elite judges and bureaucrats, she has turned Humphrey’s law on its head, so that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has become the reverse of what was intended.  But she is not concerned with the violation of democratic process whereby liberal administrators subverted American law.  She endorses the subversion by avoiding the topic and defending the results—AA.

The truth is that AA became a national policy under the Nixon Administration.21  It remained policy under the Ford Administration, and was expanded under President Carter.  Although Ronald Reagan ran in 1980 questioning some of the values of the double-standard Democrats on AA, and though he appointed some vocal opponents of AA to the Civil Rights Commission and other federal agencies, it was under Reagan that “race norming” of test scores was introduced, thus expanding AA discrimination to harm tens of thousands of white Americans who took employment tests during the decade.22 Though President Bush denounced quotas, he eventually signed the 1991 Civil Rights Act, which he had earlier labeled a quota bill.  Although polls consistently show that most Americans reject legalized racial preferences in hiring, etc., both major parties, whatever their public rhetoric, have privately supported and expanded the AA-quota system.  Both major parties have accepted the unethical (as well as un-Constitutional and illegal) view that government has the duty to discriminate against white men.  When white males object to such discrimination, they are dismissed as “racists.”  Meanwhile America’s only institutionalized racist agency, the AA bureaucracy, shows no sign of this being a temporary expedient.  After all, what bureaucracy has ever voluntarily contracted or abolished itself?23 For liberals such as Ezorsky, discrimination against white men is not “discrimination.”  She discusses AA goals and timetables as quotas, but she argues that they should not be called quotas because of negative connotations (38).  Interestingly, she never men-tions “equal opportunity” except when referring to an agency’s name.  She favors racial and sexual preferences, and she is honest enough to recognize that AA preferences contradict “equal opportunity.” 

Ezorsky relates that in the 1960s liberals challenged “race neutral” testing for jobs, arguing that a) many tests were unrelated to knowledge of the specific job, and b) blacks often performed poorly on such examinations.  Since there was a “disparate racial impact” in the results, such tests were really measuring only the degree of oppressive institutional racism.  But the 1964 Civil Rights Act specifically permitted firms to test potential or current employees with professionally developed tests like the General Aptitude Test.24  At any rate, what is wrong with a non-specific job test?  Is it not true that the duties of many jobs change, or can be changed, if people think about how to improve them?  A major general exam, i.e., a test less related to the specific job, might result in hiring better qualified workers to improve that job as it changes in the future.  The entire basis for a liberal education is just that—that a non-specific education in critical thinking will provide the best foundation for many types of employment.  However, since blacks did worse on such tests, the Supreme Court ruled them in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

After the 1971 ruling in Griggs v. Duke Power Co., tests for employment had to be job-specific, and disparate impact was considered to be a result of institutional racism.25 From the liberal viewpoint, the trouble with this ruling was that even with narrow, job-related exams, blacks still failed to perform well.  So even on job-related exams, liberals maintained there was a “racist” impact whereby whites and Asians outperformed blacks and Hispanics.  A glamorous refutation of this occurred in New York City. On exams for promotion in the police department, whites scored better than Hispanics and blacks.  Liberals challenged the tests in court.  A committee including blacks and Hispanics was created to design a new test.  When results at the next exam were announced, the exam developed by this special committee, blacks and Hispanics again performed poorly.  Some liberals then proposed ignoring the tests and hiring by quota.  A similar problem occurred concerning entrance into some of New York City’s special high schools which, though public, retain high entrance standards.  On entrance exams whites and Asians outperformed blacks and Hispanics.  New York’s liberal school board then voted to permit 200 blacks to enter one of the schools by lottery.26

According to liberals, objective tests are fair within racial, ethnic, or sexual groups, but unfair when each group is graded by the same standard.  Thus, liberals demand race norming, or some other process to ensure equal outcome of groups’ scores according to proportional representation.  However, if the tests are invalid among and between groups, how can liberals claim that they are valid within groups?  Ezorsky likes to play with words.  She states that AA does not entail hiring, promoting, or admitting the “unqualified.”  Rather, it is hiring the “basically qualified.”  She concedes that some “basically” qualified blacks will not be as well qualified as whites who are rejected under AA, but she defends this racial preference.  But hiring by lot, admitting by lot, promoting by quota, is not necessarily admitting the “basically qualified,” but probably the unqualified.  In any case, her demand to reject the best qualified amounts not to affirmative action, but inferior action.

I have taught at universities in three countries—black colleges in the American South, a university in Scotland, and two in Germany.  At the time only the German universities indulged in AA.  As a group (with individual exceptions, of course) German students were the dimmest I had ever encountered at the university level.

The German system of AA insured an atmosphere of unquestioning conformity which stifled creativity and resulted in academic indifference.  In the German Democratic Republic (the former East Germany) students were accepted in universities on the basis of three criteria.  First, high school grades.  This suggests that the East German universities would be filled with sharp, enthusiastic scholars.  However, there had been an ever-increasing grade inflation in the schools.  If everyone receives an A or a B, then theoretically everyone is “basically qualified” to attend university.  Therefore, the other two criteria weighed more heavily in the selective process.  The GDR, “the first socialist state on German soil,” demanded social-class quotas.  Children of teachers or newspaper editors were “bourgeois,” and had a more difficult time gaining admission than children of the working-class, children of miners, of policemen, of janitors, or directors of collective farms.  From 60% to 80% of the university places were set-aside for the children of proletarians.  In addition there were AA preferences for those of the Slavic-speaking Sorbic minority.

Because a smaller percentage of the population attends university in Europe, even with preferences, not all children of the working class could attend university in the GDR—even if most received A’s and B’s in high school.   How then could students be selected for admission?  By default, the most important criterion, the third, hinged on the student’s social attitudes.  The political criterion too often became the primary one for university entrance as well as everything else in the GDR.  As some of the “political” students were only “basically qualified,” by normal, academic standards, what would happen if they performed poorly at the university?  If a professor failed a student—and those most likely to fail were the recipients of AA preferences—this meant that the professor was attempting to alter the percentage of working-class or Sorbic students at the university, seeking to reduce the percentage determined by the nation’s leaders. Should a bourgeois professor have such power?  Professors quickly learned that to try to fail certain students would mean arranging after-hour consultations with the failing students, late meetings which the students might forget to attend, etc.  In effect, the professor would be punished for his audacity and arrogance in trying to sabotage the working-class university reform in communist East Germany.  And what was true of the university was true of society as a whole.  AA provided the communists with a leverage to wield power in the university and in other institutions.  But with it, the communists erected a society based on fraud and inefficiency. They deprived society of its intellectuals, of its industrious, creative and efficient types.  Outside sports, few besides the opportunist and the conformist could thrive.

If, in some ways, the supporters of AA have adopted ideas similar to the Nazis, in its bureaucratic form they have adopted methods similar to the communists.  The failed East German system seems to be the “role model” for many proponents of AA.  Already, in hiring at various universities, search committees are aware that they must hire a minority or they may lose the appropriation to hire anyone.  Sometimes, an AA officer sits in on the interviews of prospective candidates.  What if a candidate is asked about his views of AA?  The political censor—the AA officer—will be expected to act as a commissar for liberalism.  Wherever the AA officer wields power in the school, in the factory, in the office or in government, the seeds of tyranny are present.27 

Similarly, multicultural cheerleaders forget that in the old Soviet Union, people of various colors and disparate histories performed dances to many kinds of music played on heterogeneous instruments.  At the end of the program, they all praised Stalin.28 In Stalin’s Soviet Union there was enormous racial diversity, but never diversity of thought, politics or values.  In America today, multiculturalism and diversity are code words for a new, unitary tyranny.

Why do blacks, as a group, perform consistently worse on exams than whites?  Liberals respond: the tests are culturally biased in favor of whites.  Yet, recently arrived Asian and black Caribbean immigrants also outperform American blacks and Hispanics and, sometimes, whites.  Are the tests culturally biased in favor of Asians or immigrants?  Blacks and Hispanics, as groups, may do less well than whites and Asians for many reasons; from motivation, which is hard to measure, to intelligence, to crime and drugs.

But even more to the point, what proof does Ezorsky and other liberals have that all races, as groups, are equally intelligent?  Their assumption of equality is a matter of faith.  Yet, their whole notion of “fair share,” proportional representation at the work place, “disparate racist impact” due to the workings of oppressive institutional racism, etc., rests on the liberals’ article of faith that all races as groups are equally intelligent and capable in all fields.  Even if Ezorsky’s faith that all races as groups have the same percentage of equally intelligent and adept people in all fields, there are other problems with AA’s demand for proportional representation in the work place.  Some 25% of young black males are in prison, on parole, or somehow involved in the criminal system.  Should criminals be hired in the same percentage as honest people?  If so, is it not a slap in the face to those, especially blacks, who have refused to engage in crime?

The point is that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 permitted employment exams.  It was assumed by the sponsors of the amendments to the act that there might be a disparate racial impact as a consequence of the tests.  The legislators thought in terms of individuals taking the exams, not groups.  However, when blacks as a group did poorly on such exams, liberals sought to ban or rescore the tests so that there would be proportional representation in the results.  Ezorsky wants to ban all objective, race-neutral tests which are objectively scored.  The one exception, the one exam that Ezorsky allows—indeed, demands—is the test to determine what percentage of people hired, admitted, and promoted are blacks, Hispanics, women, etc.  Compare that percentage with the percentage of minorities and women in the field, and any disparate impact is proof of racism.  According to Ezorsky, this is the objective test, the measure of racism, and the measure by which racism is overcome.

When Creationists demand equal time to teach their view of the origins of the universe in public schools, liberals, academics, and presumably Ezorskv, object to teaching religion, “faith,” instead of science in the public schools.  Yet, in the name of the faith of the new liberals—that all groups of people are equally gifted in all fields—white men are denied equal opportunity.29

One aspect of AA not mentioned by Ezorsky is how this policy compounds its own problems.  For example, the government realized that in creating AA goals and timetables in the higher civil service categories and managerial positions in private business and industry, it could not use for measuring purposes the percentage of minorities or women in the general population. This was because many women might not be in the job market, or many minorities may not have even the simplest qualifications for such posts.  So, to determine the goals and timetables for higher job categories, the government used as its base population, not the general population, but the percentage of minorities enrolled in colleges and universities.  The problem is obvious.  Many blacks and Hispanics have been admitted to college and university only because of AA.  Though they attend college, they rarely meet the normal standards.  Yet, their very presence will be used by the government to determine the hiring quota for more minorities at higher levels in business and government.30

Finally, there is another problem with Ezorsky’s polemic.  Most of her book concerns AA for blacks, but when she quotes W. J. Wilson, who opposed AA because it only benefits a minority, Ezorsky retorts that AA programs “benefit not only blacks but other minorities and women, who are over 50 percent of the population” (72). But why should a Chinese immigrant receive preference?  Why should a Haitian just off the boat receive a preference over a native American white searching for a job in Miami?  Why should a West Indian born to privilege receive AA preference over native American whites seeking to teach English at a Midwestern university?31

Ezorsky defends all such AA preferences by maintaining that American blacks were so badly exploited in slavery and its aftermath that compensatory action through AA is ethically warranted.  When America declared its independence in 1776, slavery existed in most of the 13 colonies, North and South.  Americans voluntarily abolished slavery in most states by 1860.  In the American Civil War slavery became the crucial issue.  Americans paid for slavery, in the bloodiest war this nation has ever known.  More Americans, and more white Americans died in the war to free the slaves than in any other war in which the country fought.  The slaveholders also paid: they lost the war, some lost their lives, and all had much of their property (especially, slave “property”) confiscated.  Abolishing slavery was the largest confiscation of private “property” ever decreed in the US.  Moreover, recognizing that many former slaves were in need of help, the federal government created the Freedmen’s Bureau to aid blacks after the Civil War.  Northern private and religious groups, black and white, also contributed to help the former slaves adjust to freedom.  Slavery is now long past, and the debts of slavery have long been repaid.

Furthermore, though blacks suffered in American slavery before 1865 and under legalized segregation until the 1960s, they also flourished.  Moreover, blacks have multiplied in the America aplenty from 757,000 in 1790 to 30.7 million in 1990, a growth of 4,000%.  American blacks are now a more populous group than blacks in all but three sub-Saharan African countries.  As a group, Afro-Americans are certainly more prosperous than blacks in any sub-Saharan nation.  Obviously, for many African slaves who were bought in Africa and shipped to the New World, that change was a disaster.  But their progeny in the US have prospered as have blacks in no other land.  Indeed, if the ancestors of American blacks had not been bought in Africa and brought to the New World to flourish, those descendants might have remained in Africa and starved.32  Blacks have been slaves, and so have Jews, Greeks, English, Germans, Slavs, Arabs, American Indians.  What people has not endured some form of slavery?

The point is not to dwell upon slavery as an excuse for present failures, but to stand as equal.  As enunciated in the American Constitution, the Civil Rights Acts of 1866 and of 1964, the role of government is to treat its citizens equally, with preferences for none and equal opportunity for all.  Ezorsky and the defenders of AA reject that.  They favor preferences for this group, then that group, and the other.  Their objective is proportional representation in the work place, universities, boardrooms, and some even demand it in the US Senate.  Everyone is designated by group, and is to be rewarded preferences, or hindrances, according to the group he is assigned.  Though Ezorsky would probably oppose having Jews also classified and designated a “fair share,” her argument contains nothing against such a classification.  Indeed, already one New York City college has a 7.5% quota for Italian-Americans.

AA defenders see America not as one nation of individuals, but as an aggregation of contentious racial, ethnic, linguistic and even religious groups.  Their view is of a nation representing such different corporate groups, by quota, guaranteeing each its “fair share.”  Their view is not that of the traditional American nation but, instead, that of a corporate state such as fascist Italy.  AA is in the tradition of Nazism, Communism and Fascism.  At present, AA is America’s only legalized institutional racism and sexism.  Though today AA discriminates chiefly against white males, in the future it could be used to discriminate against members of other groups.  The only way to avoid the abyss of AA is to return to the ideals of a color-blind US Constitution.



1 One court case Ezorsky does not mention is Metro Broadcasting v. Federal Communications Commission of 1990, in which the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the FCC could continue to grant preferences to blacks seeking to purchase radio stations because, though blacks are about 12% of the population, they own only 3.5% of the radio stations.  In order that blacks may more readily achieve their “fair share” of stations and also diversify broadcasting, the federal government, through its agency, was allowed to continue granting preferences to black purchasers.  For most of the decades of network broadcasting, beginning in the 1920s until the 1980s, the three major radio, and then television networks, were Jewish-dominated.  Should a group composing 2% of the American population control 100% of its major networks?  Was that their fair share?  Yet, in 1985, when Jesse Helms, and then Ted Turner, both white, Southern gentiles, sought to purchase CBS Television, there was a storm of protest from liberals.  The same media outlets that praise “diversity” and endorse AA, including the Supreme Court’s ruling on black-owned stations, were the same ones opposed to having a white, Southern, gentile-dominated network.  Liberals suddenly forgot about diversity and fair shares and approximate statistical parity.

2 Ronald J. Fiscus, The Constitutional Logic of Affir-mative Action. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1992.

3 Ibid., pp. 15-20,24.

4 Ibid., pp. 21-22.

5 Ibid., p. 89.

6 Ibid., p. 23.

7 Ibid., pp. 59-61.

8 Ibid., p. 31.

9 Ibid., p. 60.

10 Jared Taylor, Paved with Good Intentions: The Fail-ure of Race Relations in Contemporary America. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 1992, p. 25.

11 Ibid., p. 295.

12 Robert Proctor, Racial Hygiene: Medicine under the Nazis Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988, p. 48.

13 Christopher Jencks, Rethinking Social Policy: Race, Poverty, and the Underclass.  Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992, p. 28.

14 Paul Piccone, “Artificial Negativity as a Bureau-cratic Tool?  Reply to Roe,” in Telos 86, Winter 1990-91, p. 135.

15 Ibid., p. 136.

16 Ibid., p. 137.

17 James S. Coleman, “The Sidney Hook Memorial Award Address: On the Self-Suppression of Academic Freedom,” in Academic Questions,  Winter 1990-91, p. 19.

18 Ibid., p. 20.

19 Ibid.

20 Hugh Davis Graham, The Civil Rights Era: Origins and Development of a National Policy, 1960-1972. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990, pp. 149-52.

21 Ibid., p. 150.

22 It would be impossible to determine the exact number of people whose careers have been thwarted because of race norming.  According to Taylor:  “By 1986 about forty US state governments and myriad private companies were race norming their test results.   Of the estimated sixteen million candidates whose scores have been adjusted this way, virtually none was ever told about it.”  See Taylor, Good Intentions, op. cit., p. 158.

23 Taylor reports some interesting aspects of the relation between big business and AA.  Under President Carter, the Chair of the EEOC, Eleanor Holmes Norton, demanded that private concerns hire a racially balanced work force or be sued by the EEOC.  See Taylor, Good Intentions, op. cit. p. 143.  Of course, at the same time Norton was firing white men in the EEOC so that her agency became 49% black.  Some of the whites sued EEOC for racial discrimination and won the case in court.  See Hugh Graham, Civil Rights Era. op. cit., pp. 459-60.  When, under Norton, the EEOC charged Sears-Roebuck with maintaining an unbalanced work force, the department store chain fought back in the courts.  Eventually, Sears won its case. However, Sears had to pay $20 million in legal fees to prove that it was not discriminating.  See Taylor, op. cit., p. 150.  Too many such victories could bankrupt a firm.  Of course, the EEOC could sue unconcerned about the cost of litigation or anything else.  (Norton, an attorney, was so unconcerned about the federal deficit that she “neglected” to pay her federal income taxes for several years.  She presently represents the District of Columbia in the US Congress.)  Major US corporations have been traditionally associated with the Republican Party.  Today, many large corporations consider it cheaper to accept quotas than to fight them, for even if they were to win in court, as did Sears, the victory would be too costly.  By 1985 the National Association of Manufacturers was lobbying to retain government-enforced minority “goals and timetables” (quotas).  Why?  Taylor writes:  “The elimination of a regulation would thus have forced companies to choose between two painful alternatives: either continue with affirmative action and face lawsuits from whites, or abandon affirmative action and provoke the wrath of non-whites.  The big business lobby prevailed, and its clients were spared this unpleasant choice.” See Taylor, op. cit., p. 157.  Big business also endorsed the proposed Civil Rights Act of 1990, at a time when President Bush was denouncing it as a quota bill.  A year later, Bush signed the slightly revised quota law as the Civil Rights Act of 1991.

24 Hugh Graham, Civil Rights Era. op. cit., pp. 149-52. 

25 Ibid., pp. 383-91. For a contrasting view, see the account of the Supreme Court’s Griggs decision in Ezorsky, pp. 111-21.  The Court even forbade use of a high school diploma as a job requirement at Duke Power. Co.

26 Though Ezorsky’s book dwells on AA for blacks, a similar case concerning objective examinations occurred when feminists complained about science examinations.  Feminists contend that girls receive grades in science equal to those of boys but, as a group, the girls perform poorly on objective tests in science.  Consequently, most state scholarships in science were awarded to boys.  Feminists pressured liberal New York State to award 50% of the scholarships in science to girls, even if they did poorly on exams.  See The New York Times, July 1, 1987, p. 3; Feb. 4, 1989, p. 1; Feb. 10, 1989, p.2.

27 For a disturbing analysis of the role of bureaucracy in tyranny, see Zygmunt Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1989.

28 For a similar point regarding AA’s artificial diversity, see David Pan, “Ivory Tower and Red Tape: Reply to Adler,” in Telos 86, Winter 1990-91, pp. 113-15.

29 For discussion of white victims of AA, see Frederick R. Lynch. Invisible Victims: White Males and the Crisis of Affirmative Action.  Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1989, and the chapters on AA in Taylor’s Good Intentions, op. cit.

30 J. Edward Kellough, Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Policy and Numerical Goals and Timetables: An Impact Assessment Westport, CT: Praeger, 1989, p. 5ff.  Cf. also my review of this book in Continuity, Fall-Winter 1991, pp. 124-29.

31 Baruch College in New York had its accreditation deferred after the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools ruled that Baruch did not have a sufficiently high proportion of minorities on its faculty. Cf. The New York Times, April 5, 1990. p. B1.  Then a West Indian professor teaching in the US, a member of the panel that had ruled against Baruch, applied to fill the opening he had helped to create (and thereby increase minority representation).  When this was discovered, he was criticized, for this was not only a violation of professional ethics but also a violation of the Middle States agency’s own rules.  He withdrew his application.  However, Baruch had to promise to hire more minorities to become re-accredited, and undoubtedly other West Indians, if they applied, were given preference over native American whites.  The New York Times, June 28, 1990, p. B2. See also Chronicle of Higher Education, August 15. 1990, p. 36, and Dec. 5, 1990, p. 37.

32 “CBC Sunday Morning” (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) produced an hour-long documentary on the Nova Scotians of Sierra Leone (broadcast on Wisconsin Public Radio, December 20, 1992).  The program emphasized the importance to Sierra Leone of the community of blacks who had returned to Africa from Nova Scotia.  One African related the story that had become a legend in the 19th century, about a young man, sold into slavery in West Africa and transported to the US to work on a plantation prior to the Civil War.  He escaped from his American slave-owner and fled to relative freedom in Canada.  But he, like other Nova Scotian blacks, decided to leave Canada for Sierra Leone.  Back in Africa, he was informed that the African who had sold him into slavery was still alive in a nearby village.  The Nova Scotian searched until he found the African slaver and spoke.  “I came to thank you. I know that when you sold me into slavery, there was evil in your heart.  But as a consequence of your deed, I am a new man.  I have been saved through the blood of Jesus.  Had you not sold me into slavery, I would not have been saved.”  Such a story is so politically incorrect, it is inconceivable that it could be broadcast on American network television. 

Hugh Murray page