We believe that racial discrimination is unethical, illegal, and unconstitutional. We support a number of public polices that disproportionately benefit African Americans without being race based. These include subsidies for effective elementary and secondary education, financial support for low income students seeking post-secondary education, and subsidized health care insurance. We oppose all race based eligibility requirements or preferences for admissions, employment, contracting or government benefits.
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We understand the original motivation behind affirmative action and support it. As we understand it, affirmative action was originally intended to seek out minority candidates for applicant pools so that established networks would not extend prior patterns of segregation and discrimination long after segregation and discrimination had become illegal. We continue to support these programs.
We oppose, however, the way affirmative action has often come to be practiced: as racial preferences for admissions, hiring, contracting and, most recently, eligibility for government benefits.
We reject the justification of race-based admissions on the basis of adding diversity on college campuses or in the work place. Absent affirmative action, most colleges and places of employment would still have significant numbers of minority students and employees. In addition, there is evidence that the process harms minorities in a number of ways including: placing them in situations for which they are inadequately prepared and likely to fail; encouraging them to take less competitive and less employable majors; and, degrading the credentials of all minorities.
For many of the same reasons, we would oppose converting affirmative action from a race-based to an income-based program.
Despite opposing race-based preferences, we are conscious of the fact that the history of slavery and racial discrimination has left a deep scar on America. We think the fairest way to deal with that history, and the thousands of other uniquely personal events that may handicap individuals of any race who are starting out in life, is through government support for effective elementary and secondary education and financial support for low income students seeking post-secondary education.
Some argue that America needs to establish a program of reparations for the descendants of enslaved people. We think that the chances of this actually happening are near zero. But even if it was politically realistic, we feel that aggressive support for public subsidized education is a better and fairer solution. Such programs disproportionately favor African-Americans without being race-based programs. We also favor other programs like subsidized health care insurance and subsidized pre-school programs which will disproportionately benefit African Americans, without needing to be race based.
These programs offer the promise of more sustainably equal outcomes in terms of income and wealth than a one-time lump-sum payment.
Critical Race Theory
In the last few years, Critical Race Theory has become a hot political issue. We think the term has become too toxic to use in discussion since it is defined so differently by its advocates and detractors. Instead, we would like to set out a nuanced point of view on putting race relations in context in American history.
There is no question that slavery and decades of legal segregation imposed a heavy burden on Blacks in America. That burden did not magically end with the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act in the 1960’s.
Our feeling is that the best way of dealing with that legacy is to pursue policies that, while racially blind, are good public policy and disproportionately benefit African Americans. This list includes, but is not limited to: effective subsidies for k-12 education; subsidized post-secondary education for low income students; and, subsidized health insurance. We reject the notion that all current White Americans bear collective responsibility for slavery or for past or current acts of discrimination by some Whites. To accept this notion would mean that it is reasonable to hold all African Americans responsible for the misdeeds of some African Americans, eg. profiling.
We also reject the view that it is useful to divide America into competing groups of oppressors and oppressed (marginalized) people. This idea, deeply rooted in the Marxist origins of “Critical Theory” and its offshoot Critical Race Theory, seems to us to be a overly simplistic view of society. It is also a recipe for converting potential political allies into enemies.
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