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Justice Thomas and Affirmative Action November 20, 2006

Posted by betweennaps in Black People.

One of my pet causes is racial injustice in the United States, particularly for Black people.  When I entered law school, I was a strong supporter of affirmative action.  Basically, I thought that Black people don’t have the same resources that white people or Asians have, so affirmative action makes up for them being disadvantaged from the start.

Since I began identifying as a conservative, my attitude towards black empowerment has not changed, but my view of affirmative action has.  I’m not completely against it, but I’m on the fence and leaning towards it being a bad idea.  I’m just not sure that it works in the long run.

In my constitutional law class, we recently read the affirmative action case Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena 515 U.S. 200 (1995).  In Justice Thomas’ dissent, he writes out exactly why I’m so wary of affirmative action even though I support its goals:

“[T]here can be no doubt that racial paternalism and its unintended consequences can be as poisonous and pericious as any other form of discrimination.  So-called ‘benign’ discrimination teaches many that because of chronic and apparently immutable handicaps, minorities cannot compete with them without their patrnizing indulgence.  Inevitably, such programs engender attitudes of superiority or, alternatively, provoke resentment among those who believe that they have been wronged by the goverment’s use of race.  These programs stamp minorities with a badge of inferiority and may cause them to develop dependencies or to adopt an attitude that they are ‘entitled’ to preferences.”

This is also what makes me concerned about the influx of illegal Hispanic immigrants.  I’m not convinced that illegal immigration will cause our society to collapse economically.  I think that Hispanics enter the U.S. with the same hardworking mindset as many Asian Americans.  In fact, my paternal grandfather was a “paper son.”  My concern is that liberal establishments will work to corrode this hardworking mindset, so that Hispanics in America will fare more closely to the Black population than to the Asian population.



1. Stephen Gaselee - July 8, 2007


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