I don't much like talking about Affirmative Action, mostly because I don't actually know what it is. Like a lot of people, I thought the Ricci case was Affirmative Action. It actually isn't--it's an Equal Protection case. (I think) More than that, I have no sense of its scope. What is its scale? How many blacks actually benefit from Affirmative Action? How many whites suffer? How large of public policy is this?
Lastly, and maybe most damningly, I am human, and black too. I am plush with my own prejudices. My sympathies are, rightly or wrongly, not so much with the kid who can't get into Harvard, and must settle for Brown, or even Maryland, but with the kids I went to middle school with. The ones who, I hope, made it into community college.
That said, you can't really escape the debate. It's all around us. Ross is interested in, not really debating whether we should have Affirmative Action now, but whether we should have it two decades from now:
But the senators are yesterday's men. The America of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III is swiftly giving way to the America of Sonia Maria Sotomayor and Barack Hussein Obama.
The nation's largest states, Texas and California, already have "minority" majorities. By 2023, if current demographic trends continue, nonwhites -- black, Hispanic and Asian -- will constitute a majority of Americans under 18.By 2042, they'll constitute a national majority. As Hua Hsu noted earlier this year in The Atlantic, "every child born in the United States from here on out will belong to the first post-white generation."
As this generation rises, race-based discrimination needs to go. The explicit scale-tipping in college admissions should give way to class-based affirmative action; the de facto racial preferences required of employers by anti-discrimination law should disappear.
A system designed to ensure the advancement of minorities will tend toward corruption if it persists for generations, even after the minorities have become a majority. If affirmative action exists in the America of 2028, it will be as a spoils system for the already-successful, a patronage machine for politicians -- and a source of permanent grievance among America's shrinking white population.
I think a few things.