I’m late to the party, but it looks like we are doing the affirmative action debate again in Virginia. Yuck. Ground zero is the prestigious Thomas Jefferson School of Science and Technology (TJSST) in Fairfax County. A column by George Will indicates the story is going national. Once again, in the guise of a defense of merit, we have a renewed attack on policies aimed at addressing historic racial oppression. This time the prizes are coveted admissions to TJSST.
"While majorities across racial and ethnic groups agree that race should not be a factor in college admissions, white adults are particularly likely to hold this view: 78% say this, compared with 65% of Hispanics, 62% of blacks and 58% of Asians."
"The black respondents strongly endorsed all eight of the items. The average endorsement of the positive response was 78.7 percent. The range was from 59.6 percent to 91.3 percent (see Table 1). Item five, which elicited the weakest response, asked the respondents if they thought there would be "reverse discrimination against white men." This ia a perceptual item that elicits other reactions than just support for affirmative action. Nevertheless, it still contributed to the overall scale. Items three, seven, and eight, which simply asked how strongly they supported affirmative action programs, received the strongest responses. Roughly 90 percent of the respondents supported these items and only about four percent opposed them. Clearly there is strong support in the black community for affirmative action programs."
---The great critical race scholar Derrick Bell, for example, argued that African Americans can advance on issues of race only when whites also benefit. One way to secure this “interest convergence,” he observed, is to ally with lower-class whites "who, except for the disadvantages imposed on blacks because of color, are in the same economic and political boat." Unfortunately, however, white workers have rarely acted on these shared interests. They stood with white planters against slave revolts, for example, "even though the existence of slavery condemned white workers to a life of economic privation," and they excluded black workers from their unions, thereby "allowing plant owners to break strikes with black scab labor." To Bell, such choices reflect a form of racism so virulent and deeply rooted that it overrides economic rationality and blocks any hope of genuine racial equality or class solidarity. In apparent despair, he warns that black Americans face permanent and irrevocable subordination because of “the unstated understanding by the mass of whites that they will accept large disparities in economic opportunity in respect to other whites as long as they have a priority over blacks and other people of color for access to the few opportunities available.”---
---Democrats fear they are losing white swing voters over racial politics. Three studies suggest that the party’s elite culture may be the real problem.
What Barefoot found is that while the women agreed with Democrats on policy, they just didn’t connect with them. When asked which party had better policy proposals, the group members overwhelmingly said Democrats. But when asked which party had cultural values closer to theirs, they cited Republicans.
The biggest disconnect came on education. Barefoot found that school closures were likely a big part of their votes for Youngkin and that frustration at school leadership over those closures bled into the controversy, pushed by Republicans, around the injection of “critical race theory” into the public school setting, along with the question of what say parents should have in schools. One Latina woman talked about how remote school foisted so much work on parents, yet later Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic nominee and former governor, would insist that parents should have no input in their children’s education. (That’s not exactly what he said, but that’s how it played.) As she put it: “They asked us to do all this work for months and then he says it’s none of our business now.”---