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14th Amendment of the United States, Page 1.
As its ink dulls with time, so too does its true purpose, thanks to the Supreme Court
THE LAW: "Black Americans, rejoice! Racial Discrimination has now become illegal."

BLACK AMERICANS: "Great, we who have no jobs want them. We who have lousy jobs want better ones. We whose kids go to Black schools want to choose integrated schools if we think that would be better for our kids, or want enough money to make our own schools work. We want political power roughly proportionate to our population. And many of us want houses in the suburbs."

THE LAW: "You can't have any of those things. You can't assert your claim against society in general, but only against a named discriminator and you've got to show that you're an individual victim of that discrimination and that you were intentionally discriminated against. And be sure to demonstrate how that discrimination caused your problem, for any remedy must be coextensive with that violation. Be careful your claim does not impinge upon some other cherished American value, like local autonomy of the suburbs, or previously distributed vested rights, or selection on the basis of merit. Most important, do not demand any remedy involving racial balance or proportionality; to recognize such claims would be racist."

—Alan Freeman, Legitimizing Discrimination Through Antidiscrimination Law: A Review of Supreme Court Doctrine (1978)

There has been a lot written this week since Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action by Any Means Necessary (BAMN) was decided by the Supreme Court on Tuesday. For those few who don't know, Schuette upholds as constitutional the "Michigan Civil Rights Initiative", (Proposal 2) passed in 2006, which eliminated the power of institutions to take race or gender into account in higher education, contracting and other contexts.  Far better writers than I have parsed, analyzed and quoted the decision itself and, especially, the scathing dissent read from the bench by Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Thus, this essay isn't going to do much of that. It's going to, instead, focus on the meta-messaging underlying Schuette, and show that decisions such as Schuette are merely the end-game of a restructuring of the scope of the Fourteenth Amendment from a law protecting the rights of black people in America (and later, others) against efforts to keep them subjugated to a law protecting the rights of white people against black people (and other people of color) seeking to obtain the actual benefits of equality.

This end game was identified, and warned against, nearly 40 years ago.

The majority opinion in Schuette is comparatively short considering the nuclear impact of the decision, perhaps because it is grounded in one of the most obvious rewritings of history in recent SCOTUS memory.  Essentially, the plurality in Schuette is able to uphold Michigan's Proposal 2 only by pretending that its own decisions didn't mean what they said overtly they meant: the political majority (whites) cannot use the political process to limit the right of insular minorities to seek remedies for the effects of discrimination, whether or not race was affirmatively mentioned as the reason for the majority's political decision.  The Roberts court's dismissal of the overlapping and underlying facts that led to the Burger Court's decision in Washington v. Seattle School District #1 and the Warren Court's decision in Hunter v. Erickson—SCOTUS precedents which had each rejected the proposition that a ballot measure could be created to limit the availability of remedies designed to ameliorate racism and, in particular, segregation—was breathtaking.

The facts of each of these precedents made clear that they were squarely on point. For example:

In 1978, Seattle School District No. 1 (District) enacted the so-called Seattle Plan for desegregation of its schools. The plan makes extensive use of mandatory busing. Subsequently, a statewide initiative (Initiative 350) was drafted to terminate the use of mandatory busing for purposes of racial integration in the public schools of the State of Washington. The initiative prohibits school boards from requiring any student to attend a school other than the one geographically nearest or next nearest to his home. It sets out a number of broad exceptions to this requirement, however: a student may be assigned beyond his neighborhood school if he requires special educational programs, or if the nearest or next nearest school is overcrowded or unsafe, or if it lacks necessary physical facilities. These exceptions permit school boards to assign students away from their neighborhood schools for virtually all of the nonintegrative purposes required by their educational policies.
Similarly, in Hunter, the Court was faced with a city charter amendment passed by the voters in Akron, Ohio, overturning that city's fair housing ordinance and prohibiting adoption of any future law by the city council addressing racial, religious, or ancestral discrimination in housing without the approval of the majority of the voters of Akron.

SCOTUS both times recognized that the laws—although stated in racially neutral terms—were adopted to prevent minorities from achieving equality and struck them down. With feeling.

Given the firmness with which SCOTUS in Seattle and Hunter stated that the white majority could NOT use the political process to limit the rights of people of color to access remedies designed to ensure substantive equal protection, it is clear the Schuette majority is self-deluding or cruel or both for glibly saying, as it did, that the "democratic majority's decision about the need to take race into account in college admissions needs be respected."

But all of this is exactly as intended by Jennifer Gratz, the spoiled-fuckin'-brat whose failure to get into University of Michigan Ann Arbor's campus (ranked 28th per U.S. News and World Report was the driver behind Michigan's Proposal 2. For those who have forgotten her, Gratz was the successful plaintiff in the first case since Bakke v. Regents of the University of California which overtly stated that higher education affirmative action discriminated against whites, Gratz v. Bollinger.  In that case, Gratz led the charge to strike down the "points bonus" that students from historically oppressed racial minorities earned on their applications after she was rejected from UoM's flagship campus, Ann Arbor. SCOTUS gave Gratz her wish, and the points bonus provision was deemed unconstitutional.  

Ms. Gratz was not satisfied, however, because on the same day, in another case, Grutter v. Bollinger, SCOTUS upheld (although admittedly damned with not-too-faint praise) diversity as a compelling state interest and upheld the University of Michigan Law School's more "holistic" approach, which took race into account as a positive factor but did not assign it a fixed value in evaluating law school applications. Thus, immediately after Grutter, Gratz reached out to the self-hating-Negro-with-daddy-issues that was the father of California's Proposition 209, Ward Connerly, for his help in fashioning and selling to Michigan's majority Proposal 2, the law which was just upheld in Schuette.

At bottom, the assertion of Michigan's Proposal 2 (and its older sibling, Proposition 209 in California) as a bulwark by the white electoral majority against efforts to increase higher educational access for people of color (and thus, ultimately, access to financial and political power, which is still distributed in this country primarily to those with elite education credentials) is "unexplainable on grounds other than race."

Proposal 2, and Proposition 209, effectively legitimize the self-serving fallacy that merit is measured most accurately by test scores and grade point averages, the indicia upon which whites depend because they (and sadly Asians, who are increasingly joining the white majority in anti-affirmative action cases because they too excel at these indicia of so-called "merit") come out on top when they are used. Yet over and over again, it has been shown that test scores are weak indicia of college success . Similarly, high school GPA, while more predictive, nonetheless still demonstrates at best only a moderate correlation with first year college grades for Black and Latino students. Nothing, as of yet, has demonstrated a correlation between either of these two measures of high school success with graduation rates from elite colleges of the type that are always at issue in SCOTUS' affirmative action cases. Perhaps this is because stereotype threat is real, and has been shown to adversely impact the performance of minority students in all--not just standardized--testing situations.

No matter: decontextualized from the history of Black oppression in the United States, within a doctrinal framework that says there is no systemic racism, only individual instances of racism, it is easy to persuade whites that since those measures of "merit" "worked fine" before when there was overt racial animus against Blacks, there is no reason to beleive they don't work equally well now that folks have learned how to fool themselves about their racism grounded in American culture itself.

With the burden on the original beneficiaries of the Fourteenth Amendment to prove differently.  Which other SCOTUS decisions make clear is virtually impossible.

Schuette thus effectively guards from judicial intervention the will of the white majority against any affirmative attempt to ameliorate the still-lingering impacts of white supremacy, Jim Crow allocation of educational resources and racism—conscious or unconscious—on minorities. It is a wholesale endorsement of the conservative view of the "countermajoritian dilemma," which demands that courts defer to the will of the majority unless absolutely necessary.  And it epitomizes what historian Eric Foner has repeatedly noted about the disconnect between the reasons for the Fourteenth Amendment and SCOTUS jurisprudence interpreting the amendment within the context of affirmative action and other race equality cases:

So this question of what is slavery is really at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment. Another way of putting it is to say, "What further social changes are needed in a society that was resting on slavery to fulfill the promise of the abolition of slavery?". . .

I may be wrong about this but I believe it's true that no Supreme Court decision has ever stated that America is a racist society. In fact, they denigrate what are called by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor arguments based on "societal racism." You can have a remedy if there's individual discrimination. In fact, in a famous Richmond affirmative action case [City of Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co.] the Supreme Court overturned a Richmond city plan to give extra benefits to black construction companies. O'Connor's opinion said you know the fact that they didn't give contracts in the past to a lot of black contractors, none of them, doesn't prove discrimination. Maybe blacks just choose different occupations than whites.  Now, to say that in this country, as if the choice of occupation in American history has been totally free for everybody and equal and the distribution of people along the employment system is just a matter of individual choice, shows a shocking lack of understanding of the history of race in this country. But you find that all the time, and I can well understand why the Supreme Court doesn't want to rule "this is a racist society" because look at all the cases that would open up with people seeking remedies. . .

The Supreme Court's unwillingness to face up to the real history of racism in America skews the whole debate into this strange diversity area which to me is a minor little side note to the actual reasons for affirmative action.  Still, I found it interesting because on affirmative action, for example, the court rulings are absurd to any person who knows any history. Everybody knows the reason for affirmative action is because some people have had the country standing on their neck for three hundred years, and finally they took their foot off their neck and said, well, maybe we'll give you a little help. To most people that makes sense, but that is not the legal basis for affirmative action. As you all know, the legal basis is the educational value of diversity.

It is easy to conclude, when one reviews the entire arc of equal protection jurisprudence since the enactment of the Fourteenth Amendment, that Schuette and the plethora of race cases beginning in the 1980s with no end in sight further a unique, cherished, American value: the right to absurdly and ahistorically twist the substantive right to equality for the historically oppressed envisioned by that amendment into one the libertarian-based right in whites to avoid ceding the ongoing, collectively enjoyed, spoils of that historic oppression. What else explains the conclusion reached in a case like Schuette, effectively holding that a constitutional amendment that first and foremost was designed to ensure that the former slaves of this country were meaningfully protected against the impacts of white supremacy really was colorblind, thus leaving descendants of those slaves still suffering collectively today with no legal remedytoday if the proposed remedy might (not will, or has, but MIGHT) have an adverse impact on any individual white person as that white person defines "adverse impact?"

(It is very similar to the currently in-vogue contention that there is no such thing as anti-black racism and American white supremacy unless it is wearing a sheet and calling black folks "niggers" every day.)

Reading holistically the recent education decisions in Schuette, Fisher and Parents Involved makes clear that Professor Derrick Bell's interest convergence principle (which argued that cases like Brown v. Board of Education were decided favorably for minorities ONLY because the interests of whites as whites perceived them, particularly as it related to US standing during the Cold War, were equally or better furthered) was not far off the mark.  Alan Freeman summarized Bell's interest convergence theory thus:

[B]lacks are more likely to obtain relief for even acknowledged racial injustice when that relief also serves, directly or indirectly, to further ends which policymakers perceive are in the best interests of the country. Second, blacks as well as their white allies are likely to focus with gratitude on the relief obtained, usually after a long struggle. Little attention is paid to the self-interest factors without which no relief might have been gained. Moreover, the relief is viewed as proof that society is indeed just, and that eventually all racial injustices will be recognized and remedied. Third, the remedy for blacks appropriately viewed as a 'good deal' by policymaking whites often provides benefits for blacks that are more symbolic than substantive; but whether substantive or not, they are often perceived by working class whites as both an unearned gift to blacks and a betrayal of poor whites.
History, even outside the context of Schuette, demonstrates (much to the chagrin of those who reacted to Bell's thesis as if they had been branded by a cattle prod), that Bell had the right of it as it related to the real reasons that Brown v. Board of Education and other early protection cases enforced the "right to be free from discrimination". As Richard Delgado noted in summarizing the results of a systematic investigation into whether history supported or refuted Bell's interest convergence theory:
A trained legal historian, [Mary] Dudziak set out to investigate whether Bell's hypothesis was borne out by the historical facts. After perusing hundreds of official documents in the files of the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Justice, and thousands of pages of international press columns and releases, Dudziak succeeds in showing that Brown v. Board of Education and the softening of racial attitudes that it ushered in were largely prompted by Cold War considerations. Document after document and release after release inexorably converge on the same point--the United States needed to do something large scale, public and spectacular to reverse its declining fortunes on the world stage. . .

To an idealist, one who believed that Brown reflected a change in America's collective heart and conscience, her evidence must come as a rain of hammer blows.

In other words, this country was committed to righting the harms flowing from its anti-Black (and other) racism only when it was in its best interest to do and the costs were symbolic and inexpensive.  However, as we continue to stratify economically as a nation, and the white majority currently finds itself in increasing competition for "scarce" resources (such as quality public education, including higher education), the nation's solicitude is at an ebb for remedies which meaningfully address the ongoing discriminatory results caused by hundreds of years of de jure white supremacy and even more of de facto. Thus, SCOTUS jurisprudence continues to develop in a way that makes it harder, not easier, to make any "redistribution" of resources to address the ongoing harm of racism in America.

Professor Darren Hutchinson of University of Florida Law School summed up this current state of SCOTUS equal protection affairs in the area of race most cogently when he wrote:

A minority of commentators has criticized the suspect class doctrine by arguing that the Equal Protection Clause is framed in general terms and that a single standard of judicial review should apply to each individual claim of impermissible governmental discrimination.

Despite these critiques, which contest the granting of enhanced judicial solicitude exclusively to vulnerable classes, no scholar has argued that the Court should construe the Equal Protection Clause as guaranteeing judicial solicitude exclusively or primarily for the discrimination claims brought by powerful social classes and that the discrimination claims of vulnerable groups should normally enjoy a presumption of constitutionality. In fact, most scholars and jurists would likely dismiss this argument as utterly inconsistent with the historical context surrounding the Fourteenth Amendment, the intentions of the Framers of the Fourteenth Amendment, and the judicial elaboration of the meaning of equality.

Despite the seemingly indefensible nature of this proposition, this anomalous principle accurately describes the nature of contemporary equal protection jurisprudence: by design or effect, the Court’s equality doctrine reserves judicial solicitude primarily for historically privileged classes and commands traditionally disadvantaged groups to fend for themselves in the often-hostile majoritarian branches of government. In its equal protection decisions, the Court has effectively inverted the concepts of privilege and subordination; it treats advantaged classes as if they were vulnerable and in need of heightened judicial protection, and it views socially disadvantaged classes as privileged and unworthy of judicial solicitude. This paradoxical jurisprudence reinforces and sustains social subjugation and privilege.

The trouble is, of course, that those who followed SCOTUS equal protection jurisprudence—always knew this day was coming.  That we would return full circle to the narrowing to the point of uselessness the promise of equal protection for Black people and others.  As Justice Thurgood Marshall wrote, in his dissent in Bakke v. Regents 35 years ago:
I agree with the judgment of the Court only insofar as it permits a university to consider the race of an applicant in making admissions decisions. I do not agree that petitioner's admissions program violates the Constitution. For it must be remembered that, during most of the past 200 years, the Constitution, as interpreted by this Court, did not prohibit the most ingenious and pervasive forms of discrimination against the Negro. Now, when a State acts to remedy the effects of that legacy of discrimination, I cannot believe that this same Constitution stands as a barrier [...]. . .

I fear that we have come full circle. After the Civil War, our Government started several "affirmative action" programs. This Court, in the Civil Rights Cases and Plessy v. Ferguson, destroyed the movement toward complete equality. For almost a century, no action was taken, and this nonaction was with the tacit approval of the courts. Then we had Brown v. Board of Education and the Civil Rights Acts of Congress, followed by numerous affirmative action programs. Now, we have this Court again stepping in, this time to stop affirmative action programs of the type used by the University of California.

Justice Marshall's dissent in Bakke carefully traces the history of SCOTUS jurisprudence involving the Fourteenth Amendment and demonstrates, like Freeman, Bell and others do in their work, that equal protection has routinely been reconstrued, when convenient, to eliminate its substantive ability to help its intended beneficiaries all while remaining cloaked in Kumbaya language.  (It is therefore painfully ironic that Justice Clarence Thomas—future recipient of the uber-bolt-of-strike-down-from-hell-lightning when he has to meet his maker due to his utter hypocrisy in routinely voting to limit any semblance of affirmative action all the while sitting on the Court only because he has been one of its biggest beneficiaries—silently signed onto Scalia's full-frontal attack on the very idea that any theory of race discrimination law that wasn't grounded first and foremost in the intent of the actor was unconstitutional and that the decision in Schuette therefore didn't go far enough.)

The seeds of those who put forward Clarence Thomas—who the American Bar Association deemed "unqualified" to sit on the nation's highest Court—to replace the late Thurgood Marshall continue to bear their strange fruit.

Reading Schuette in light of the education cases that have most recently come before it—Fisher, Parents Involved, Grutter and Gratz-- it is impossible to conclude any differently than what Shanta Driver, executive director of BAMN and its lead attorney in the Schuette case, Schuette-v-bamn said following the decision:  

The decision of the Court today makes clear that this Court intends to do nothing to defend the right to equality in politics, opportunity, rights, hopes and aspirations of its Latina/o, black, Native American and other minority citizens.
Finally, just to put the retrenchment of equal protection for Black people into perspective, as if the many stories about racist college parties with folks in blackface and "ghetto" styling didn't already make clear where we are as a country when it comes to the majority's level of respect for blacks and other people of color in higher education, we have this story:  Ole Miss Frat Shuttered in Wake of Noose Incident. Because the title is misleading, it isn't clear at first what becomes crystal clear from the article: This fraternity—three of whose members tied a noose around the neck of the statue of James Meredith, the student who integrated the University of Mississippi—was NOT suspended because of their members' evocation of lynching one of the first icons of the civil rights movement. Nope. They were suspended because of rowdy parties and underage drinking.

In other words, nonverbally expressing hatred against an honored memorial to one of the most "uppity negroes" in that movement isn't punishable as long as you don't actually say you hate them. Partying too hard while you're at college is.

That type of reality about modern racism, in my opinion, tells you all you need to know about Schuette, Fisher, Gratz, Parents Involved and all the many other cases working their way through the lower courts that have systematically turned the Fourteenth Amendment into a bulwark protecting the spoils of white supremacy in America and those who continue collectively to benefit from it even though they would never admit it.

Professors Alan Freeman and Derrick Bell must be turning over in their graves, even as each also say: "I told you so." Or, as the late Audre Lorde would have put it:

For the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house. They may allow us to temporarily beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.
Truer words have rarely been spoken.

My only consolation following Schuette is that Justice Sotomayor clearly hit a nerve, and the smilin' lyin "umpire" of the Court, John Roberts, had as close to a stereotypical white whine as we're ever likely to see after she threw his disingenuous and cynical words from the majority decision in Parents Involved ("the only way to stop discriminating on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race") right back in his face. Roberts, for all his status and power, in writing his one-page concurrence in Schuette made clear that his fee-fees had been hurt by anyone even suggesting that he and his majority might not really give a damn about minorities just because his court continues relentlessly to tighten the screws against any possible remedy for the harms that ongoing white supremacy causes in America.

Poor baby.

Justice Sotomayor's passionate defense of the need for this country to do more than just spout kumbaya rhetoric when it comes to race and racism evoked the late Justice Marshall's equal passion in Bakke, and most importantly stripped the veneer of politeness off the conversation that is really being had in these cases. What is really needed now is to take into account Professor Freeman's prediction of this very situation in 1978 and Professor Bell's take on it in 1991, and all the cases that have systematically stripped away remedies for race discrimination all while still claiming to be against it.

Either this nation's courts and legislatures embrace a full-throated, nonapologetic defense of the ability of folks to right the wrongs, no matter what so-called-injured individual whites may think, or we as a nation should just shut up once and for all about wanting true equality. (As for what we as black people in particular should do, at least in terms of education I was pretty clear about that in the diary I wrote following Parents Involved If we don't, God help us.)

Because, as the sig line I have used ever since the Michael Dunn verdict came out says:  "I can handle American racism. I can't handle American denial."

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 10:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Support the Dream Defenders, White Privilege Working Group, Barriers and Bridges, Black Kos community, and RaceGender DiscrimiNATION.

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Comment Preferences

  •  A Suggested Reading List (59+ / 0-)

    No single diary, or even ten, can thoroughly discuss the course of the Fourteenth Amendment's transformation from its original intent to protect the substantive rights of Black Americans to what it is today, a bulwark of protection only for the majority and for corporations, as was made clear IMO by Schuette and the earlier education decisions in both Fisher and Parents Involved..  For a fuller understanding of the legal and sociological debate over structural racism which is at the heart of Schuette and other SCOTUS decisions, including two ideas I've touched upon in this diary (the perpetrator perspective's use to legitimize discrimination, and the countermajoritarian dilemma), one can seek out more information and analysis from law review articles and books such as those on this bibliography:

    Structural Racism:  Suggested Readings

    At this point, I just want America to admit that it still doesn't want its Black citizens to live in any state other than terror, subservience and inferiority, under pain of death. I can handle American racism, but I can't handle American denial.

    by shanikka on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 05:53:16 AM PDT

  •  Thank you - have been waiting for this all (25+ / 0-)

    morning - hotlisted, tipped, reced and republished

    "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition." Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon

    by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 10:06:44 AM PDT

  •  This Court hasn't been Supreme (14+ / 0-)

    since they crowned George Bush II. They've only gotten worse from that point, thanks to the addition of Roberts and Alito.

    Marx was an optimist.

    by psnyder on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 10:08:09 AM PDT

  •  Remember (9+ / 0-)

    That you specifically have to be harmed. That is, you have to spend time and money to go through the process and all its appeals and alternatives, and then be able to convincingly justify that your race (or other prohibited category) was used against you.

    And of course decisions involving individual applicants, students or employees remain confidential.

    Almost as bad as NSA vs. FOIA. You have to show you specifically were harmed by showing us the records. Oh, and by the way, obtaining those records is a federal crime.

    •  Somewhat Similar (12+ / 0-)

      I agree that the mechanisms behind what is going on in these Equal Protection race cases and what happens in privacy and spying cases is quite similar.  By coming up with high hurdles in terms of evidentiary burden, it makes it virtually impossible to assert the claim.

      But these situations are nonetheless different for two reasons.  First, no matter how much folks don't like it, privacy is an implied constitutional right.  A penumbra.  Second, the right to privacy did not expressly develop to protect a particular group against discrimination, and then get interpreted to protect the group doing the discriminating.  Moreover, in a spying case, if can actually show harm, you get a remedy.  In these cases, even when harm is shown it is presumed not to have existed unless you have an overt showing of racial animus.  Which few are stupid enough today to engage in, no matter what their unstated or unconscious feelings may be.  Indeed, most folks in America don't even acknowledge that unconsciously they still feel about the inferiority of Black people as this country has taught for hundreds of years.

      At this point, I just want America to admit that it still doesn't want its Black citizens to live in any state other than terror, subservience and inferiority, under pain of death. I can handle American racism, but I can't handle American denial.

      by shanikka on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 10:26:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

        •  Which Is Cause for Concern (8+ / 0-)

          Because that penumbra is being narrowed, between the abortion rights cases and the spying cases, in a similar fashion.  Admittedly not in as cynical and disingenuous a way as in the equal protection, but narrowed nonetheless.  It's history at SCOTUS is perhaps the logical juxtaposition to the Fourteenth Amendment cases, except that the latter deals with positive liberty (the right to be equal) and the former mostly with negative liberty (the right to be free from interference).

          Either way, the bottom line comes out the same, which is a narrowing of affirmative rights for those historically oppressed, IMO.

          At this point, I just want America to admit that it still doesn't want its Black citizens to live in any state other than terror, subservience and inferiority, under pain of death. I can handle American racism, but I can't handle American denial.

          by shanikka on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 11:05:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I keep trying to figure out (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ramara, poco, myboo, terrypinder, shanikka

        what the best way is to bring that unconscious feeling to the surface. Indeed, I realize now that I still experience it somewhat in myself, coming to surface in my examination just now as the recognition that I cheer on high-achieving Black, Latino, and and Native students because unconsciously I perceive them as exceptional, whereas I do so much less for white and Asian students because I perceive them as less exceptional and more expected. I would feel that way about a white or Asian student from a disadvantaged background, but I suspect I have an unspoken assumption that the students I called out earlier are more likely to come from disadvantaged backgrounds and just automatically feed that into my thinking without even realizing it.

        It is for those of us who have benefited from that anti-Black bias and who recognize it in ourselves and others to bring knowledge of this to the fore so it can be rooted out or at the very least, acknowledged and unendingly struggled against.

        I cannot say that feeling that high-achieving students of particular races or ethnicities are more exceptional than equally high-achieving students of other races is in any way benign. It's a form of semi-subtle racism that I had to sit and realize exists in my subconscious. I didn't even realize that existed in me until I thought about the stories of exceptional Black students that mallyroyal and others of my friends have been posting on Facebook. As soon as I codified it, I saw it as racism, and there is NO racism that is in any way benign.

        I hope you don't think I'm an asshole for having this form of racism within my subconscious, Sis. I have no doubt there are others. I'm a white American of a certain age and while my mother and my environment assured that I avoided taking in the more overt forms of racism, I know I undoubtedly have some I haven't discovered yet. I can now do work on this particular one but I'm sure there are others. I'm really sorry. I love and admire you.

        •  For me, one form came out (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kitsap River, shanikka, poco

          when I was in a relationship with a black man. He told me his mother liked me even though I was white - and I was surprised. White didn't equal value added. Then I was more surprised at my surprise than at the statement itself. And ashamed.

          These things are deep down. But we have to start by recognizing them. What distresses me is the amount of denial and defense of such attitudes in discussions here.

          Shanikka, it is the denial of the structure, or infrastructure, of racism in the Supreme Court that is so damning for me. The Fourteenth Amendment's purpose was to fight against that infrastructure. In school - public schools in NYC in the late 50's and early 60's - we were taught that amendments 13, 14, and 15 were the post-Civil War amendments, and had everything to do with race as a class.

          I ramble. Sorry.

          Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

          by ramara on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 05:40:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Of Course Not (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          poco, myboo, Kitsap River

          My view, and I know it is not shared, is that ALL of us are suffering from the disease known as unconscious racism in this country.  You, me, everyone.

          So why would I think less of you for recognizing it? I'd only think less of you if you refused to.

          At this point, I just want America to admit that it still doesn't want its Black citizens to live in any state other than terror, subservience and inferiority, under pain of death. I can handle American racism, but I can't handle American denial.

          by shanikka on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 06:26:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  You specifically have to be harmed (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poco, Skyye, shanikka, terrypinder

      unless you're a white girl in Texas, in which case you can get SCOTUS to agree that the law needs to be held to the very highest standard of scrutiny - unless Michigan's, in which case we're happy to let the majority of voters set the process for everyone, because we need to trust democracy here.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 12:05:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Bakke dissent was so crucial (17+ / 0-)

    to all of this - starting the slippery slope of undoing gains from the civil right movement in access to higher education.

    Thank you for the link.

    "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition." Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon

    by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 10:11:35 AM PDT

  •  "Sonia Sotomayor Is a National Treasure" (15+ / 0-)

    good article over at National Review

    http://www.newrepublic.com/...

    "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition." Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon

    by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 10:22:16 AM PDT

  •  Excellent thanks shanikka nt (9+ / 0-)

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 10:23:31 AM PDT

  •  A deadly irony inn the news this week... (15+ / 0-)

    In the same week that the Supreme Court hands down the decision in the Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action by Any Means Necessary (BAMN)  case, complete with Sotomayor's brilliant and impassioned dissent from the bench, we have the Bundy's and Sterling's of the world demonstrating that racial prejudice is alive and well, and dominating the airwaves in both the cable news and cable sports worlds. It is inescapable. Justice Roberts needed only to turn on his television to know that race matters in our society; that racism is pervasive and pernicious.  (comment cross-posted at >http://www.dailykos.com/... )

    “The aim of mankind should be to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.”--Edith Hamilton (1867-1963)

    by cinepost on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 10:28:11 AM PDT

  •  I was a little depreesed that so many could not (11+ / 0-)

    see the importance of this and the nasty doors being opened gradually.

    "I decided it is better to scream. Silence is the real crime against humanity." Nadezhda Mandelstam

    by LaFeminista on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 10:37:57 AM PDT

  •  Outstanding job... (10+ / 0-)

    the capture of the Supreme Court by the bigots is complete.

    So why are the neo-Confederates still grouchy.  Why are the disciples of Louise Day Hicks not celebrating in the streets of Boston?  Why are the whites in the suburban rings of the latter-day Ciceros not relieved?  Why does the culture war continue?

    Is Cliven Bundy really a vanguard media moment moving toward a reinstitution of slavery and indentured servitude?  Do the ever shrinking white middle class not get it that there never were and won't again be the folks in those plantation houses?

    Wake up.  The political culture of the US must change this year.  This decision is a bridge too far beyond a bridge too far.

    This Southern white boy says "Enough of this Jim Crow shit."  Enough of the Democratic pussyfooting around with Republican bigots in Congress.  Enough equanimity from the President and every other African-American public official who has to put up with this.

    After 400 years can't we get this settled and right?  And challenge the white parents who pull their precsiouses out of any school that has African-American or Hispanic students?  And challenge any real estate agent who dogwhistles that he's showing you the houses in a white neighborhood.  And watch your school board elections like a hawk for the presence of Koch money; Wake County NC got blindsided in 2010.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 10:38:31 AM PDT

  •  excellent, yes coming full circle, going backwards (8+ / 0-)

    schuette inverted privilege and subordination in such a blatant manner.

    the decision was predictable given composition of court, but still, as a lawyer, it  was a smack in your face whiplash to read a holding essentially that equal protection and political process doctrine nixed for race and women. but still on for legacy, sports students, geography, and study areas. yeah, there has been so MUCH discrimination against rich families and sports students! protect the rich, dominant culture and their interests.

    historically, just looking at opinions structurally, this transformation is so clear. Racism/discrimination never disappeared but there was a period of time that at least the laws/opinions were against racism/discrimination at least on their face if not in spirit and heart.

    Historically, the circle of no rights for Black Americans changed. we started with laws stated expressly that privileges for whites only and expressly on the face banned rights for poc. Then, laws changed to recognize some rights by finding cannot ban rights expressly.  But in that recognition of rights preventing discrimination on face of laws, the laws then discriminated against Black americans and Indians and other poc by coming thru the back door, such as banning music in parks when the people using the parks for weddings and music were poc. or the different sentences for crack and cocaine. and by using a slanted analysis or rejecting disparate impacts.  but now we are back to laws discriminating on their face again, back to a court issuing opinions that on their face give whiplash from their racism.

  •  We Are In the "Post-Racial Era" -- Just Ask the 5 (6+ / 0-)

    Cliven Bundys (Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas (yes, the silent black justus), and Kennedy) on the US supreme kangaroo kourt, the Roger Taney kourt of our time.

  •  Stunning detail (5+ / 0-)

    in this historical diary.  Thank you.  I will savor reading more closely later today.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 10:55:43 AM PDT

  •  Between this post of yours, Miss shanikka (8+ / 0-)

    and that fine post earlier by Miss Denise, it seems to me that I need to do my studying today.

    I love fact filled posts such as this.

    Thank you!

  •  thanks for this (7+ / 0-)

    I like the image you used and the caption below- As its ink dulls with time, so too does its true purpose, thanks to the Supreme Court.

    When two frat boys have a kerfuffle, it's a brohaha. Bubbanomics

    by raina on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 11:00:46 AM PDT

  •  My mother used a pressure cooker to cook beans. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka, Chi, Sylv, Cassandra Waites

    It had a pressure valve that was there to guard against the pot exploding if the fire was too high.

    The pressure at times got too high and the valve released excessive pressure.  It was loud and made one hell of  a mess on in the kitchen.

    But that is all that happened.  Without the pressure valve the aluminum pot would explode and become flying hot metal and boiling liquid.

    The SCOTUS and both political parties needs to be careful and leave a pressure valve to relieve social pressure.  I remember the racial unrest of the 50's and 60's and I hope that never happens again.

    To say that the invisible hand of capitalism will lead to social justice is naive.  

    Just saying.

    A government afraid of its citizens is a Democracy. Citizens afraid of government is tyranny! Thomas Jefferson

    by wbishop3 on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 11:18:36 AM PDT

    •  I Wish (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poco

      That I could ascribe only naivete to the idea that "To say that the invisible hand of capitalism will lead to social justice."  I don't believe that.

      I believe it is deliberate, that idea.

      At this point, I just want America to admit that it still doesn't want its Black citizens to live in any state other than terror, subservience and inferiority, under pain of death. I can handle American racism, but I can't handle American denial.

      by shanikka on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 12:31:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  schuette may be good for progressives (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka

    Given the Supremes have said you can't discriminate
    in any way based upon race, that's cool

    Have programs based upon poverty, income, Family education.

    Sen Byrd once said "The challenges faced by a poor kid
    from West Virginia's Hollows are no less fierce then the
    challenges faced by a black kid growing up in the ghetto".

    Having programs that are aimed at the working poor, the
    poor and the underpriveleged of all types may actually
    serve to create a little common cause between
    rural whites and urban blacks.

    I have little sympathy for the challenges faced by a
    Jesse Jackson Jr, who went top schools but i will
    sympathize with the challenges of any kid with 2 parents working minimum wage jobs and using food stamps to feed their kids.

    A white girl in a working poor outer exurb of chicago who has a mom who is a maid is just as poor as any black teen on the west side.

    So lets try and help both out.

    •  Respectfully (8+ / 0-)

      I am tired of folks pretending that if you just programs based on class and income will mitigate the separate and unique effects of anti-Black racism on African-American educational and professional achievement.  They don't.  And they won't.  

      Because as we all know (or you should know), the overwhelming majority of poor people in America are WHITE.

      These class suggestions are always advanced because the person advancing them cannot stand the idea that whites will have to yield some of their collective privilege.  They reflect a refusal to simply accept the truth of this country, where ongoing, unconscious institutional racism and white supremacy are concerned.

      So we will have to agree to disagree.

      At this point, I just want America to admit that it still doesn't want its Black citizens to live in any state other than terror, subservience and inferiority, under pain of death. I can handle American racism, but I can't handle American denial.

      by shanikka on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 12:19:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Respectfully (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shanikka, patbahn

        I do not think that all white folks advancing the idea of looking at class and income are refusing to yield white privilege.  That is an awfully broad brush. Perhaps instead they read the writing on the wall about racial preferences and are searching for other solutions until such time as white folks are not the majority!  Perhaps they are folks with a developed sense of class disparity which is also getting worse all the time.

        •  I Do Not Discount (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          poco, myboo, terrypinder, peregrine kate

          What is occurring to this country along its class dimension.  Not one bit.  Nor do I accuse "all whites" of refusing to yield white privilege.  (I don't think I said anything about "all whites"; perhaps because there are plenty of people of color who also feel that class is the correct approach.)

          But what the argument misses even if that class dimension were solved tomorrow, there would remain the sticky-wicket of this country's racism and how it plays out.  Slavery, for example, may have been motivated by economic reasons but the cultural idea necessary to sustain it--which lives today even though slavery is gone 150 years now--was the inferiority humanity of Black people (and, outside the context of slavery, other POC.)  That's why I object to this always being advanced as the solution whenever a remedy to right the wrongs of racial discrimination.  The solution needs to attack the actual, primary problem, that African Americans collectively face.

          At this point, I just want America to admit that it still doesn't want its Black citizens to live in any state other than terror, subservience and inferiority, under pain of death. I can handle American racism, but I can't handle American denial.

          by shanikka on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 04:08:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Whites are a declining majority, particulary white (0+ / 0-)

        men.

        The decline of white babies, the growth of hispanic
        babies and intermarriage is creating a more taupe
        america anyways.

    •  Never will happen (0+ / 0-)

      That is what ML King was aiming for when he was murdered.  But as long as the belief continues to hold sway that white skin is better than black skin class solidarity will not happen.  I remember reading during battle over ACA poor white West Virginians who opposed the bill, even though their children would benefit, because "Negro" children would benefit too.

      •  Dr. King (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        poco, Denise Oliver Velez

        Was clear right up until he died that his primary mission was fighting for the equality of Black people.  That he ultimately began the poor people's movement was directly tied to that as his mission.  NOT class.  Indeed, towards the end of his life he recognized very clearly that it was racism in the North that led to the day-to-day living conditions he was attacking.

        Equality in substance, regardless of whether others benefitted from it.

        If you have not read the works of his later years, in particular "Chaos or Community", I strongly recommend them.  Dr. King was clear about his primary motivation, and the primary objective of his work, right up until he was killed.

        At this point, I just want America to admit that it still doesn't want its Black citizens to live in any state other than terror, subservience and inferiority, under pain of death. I can handle American racism, but I can't handle American denial.

        by shanikka on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 04:10:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I disagree. (0+ / 0-)

          You seem too dismissive of King's concern over class.  But I have read King's late work, and it seems evident to me that King's mission - and his message - underwent an important shift in 1967 (the same year that saw publication of Chaos or Community).  He was pretty explicit about it in his Riverside Church speech, 'Beyond Vietnam', insisting that the problems of race, class, and militarism (imperialism) were deeply intertwined, and that there was no solving one apart from solving the others.

          King was of course vilified by the (white) press for yoking the cause of civil rights to opposition to the Vietnam War (he was also vilified by NAACP head Roy Wilkins). But his call there for a "revolution of values" went far beyond merely ending the war in Vietnam: King challenged the system, adopting the language and concepts of the radicals in SNCC, SDS, and the Panthers.  In short, no, it was not all about race for King, not after 1967.

          Great diary nonetheless, with a trenchant, informative, and well documented critique of Schuette.

          •  Beyond Vietnam (0+ / 0-)

            Is the speech most people cite who take your position, but nothing in Beyond Vietnam belies the truth of what I said: Dr. King's primary mission remained the liberation of his own people.  (I never said "all" - that is something you projected onto what I wrote.)  What he was clear about in Chaos and Community was that all the other issues relating to class were a vehicle to accomplish this because he needed the support of whites, who were demonstrably unresponsive to racial appeals particularly in the North.  

            He also was clear that he was moving more and more towards acceptance of ideas held by Malcolm X before he was killed in '65, particularly as it related to taking the cause of African Americans to the United Nations.

            Folks simply can't handle that until the day he died, Dr. King was fighting for his own people as his primary work, no matter what methods involving other causes and folks he adopted.  I'm not sure why, yet it's a common problem.

            At this point, I just want America to admit that it still doesn't want its Black citizens to live in any state other than terror, subservience and inferiority, under pain of death. I can handle American racism, but I can't handle American denial.

            by shanikka on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 02:18:45 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I did not 'project' anything (0+ / 0-)

              I was merely drawing an inference from your assertion, in which you insisted the poor people's movement was "NOT [about] class". I think it most certainly was about class, as well as race.  

              And I made no argument about what King thought was 'primary': you did that.  What I read in the first comment I replied to was the same point you reiterated in your second, above: you seem to want to say that King's class concern was nothing but a means to achieve victory on the thing that "really" mattered ("was primary" - your words), which was race. Perhaps I misunderstand, but this seems to me to denigrate King's concerns about class and imperialism to nothing but a 'tactic' - as if decrying the wrong of the Vietnam War and the Cold War in general was actually going to lift his popularity with white audiences.  Of course it did no such thing - but predictably did just the opposite.

              I am suggesting there is room for a different interpretation than yours: I think King genuinely saw the issues of race and class as intertwined. He did not address class merely because he was downcast by his reception in Chicago - or because he was ignored and belittled by the people of Watts, though I think both events caused him some serious soul-searching.  King addressed class, I think, because he came to realize it was a fundamental injustice of American life, inseparable in its historical and ideological operation from racial injustice.  This was a point that Malcolm X had already made ("the economic philosophy of black nationalism"), and which the Panthers never ceased to make.

              As I read the history - not only of King, but of the reform movements of the 60s generally - the realization of the close historical connections and ideological function of racism, capitalism, and imperialism was something that activists became increasingly aware of over the course of the decade. This was true of (mostly white) antiwar activists in groups like SDS as well as of (mostly non-white) civil rights groups.  In both cases the result was a radicalization of their ideology - a demand for deep systemic change to strike the roots and not only the symptoms of the problems of American society.  When King hitched the SCLC to the antiwar cause and to anti-imperialism and critique of capitalism in 1967, he was travelling a path down which others were already moving.

              Personally, I think King believed himself to be fighting for more than "just his own people".  By his own account, the future he looked forward to was an integrated future, not a black future.  Which is a big part of the reason for the tactic of non-violent civil disobedience and eschewing of the 'by any means necessary' slogan of X and Stokely/Rap Brown.  Not to mention his rejection of the separatism of the "cultural nationalist" (Black Power) crowd.

              Please do not accuse me of "projecting" anything: you have no power to read my soul.  As for "the argument most people cite who take your position" - that is nothing but a cheap debater's trick - inappropriate for polite conversation.  If you want to convince me, give me substance - give me quotation, citation, anything I can look at. I am happy to learn. But I won't accept your point merely because you insist.

              •  I Never Said (0+ / 0-)

                Anything about the poor people's movement and what it was, or was not, about.

                YOU DID.

                I merely asserted an undeniable truth, if you go by Dr. King's own writing, about what his primary mission was, until the day he died.  No matter what coalitions he entered into, campaigns that emphasized class, nothing.

                As I said:  I said nothing about "all."  I said nothing about the poor people's movement.  

                YOU DID.

                And that's the height of projection, dude.   Neither of my comments were so long as you couldn't have actually read my words.  If you still disagree that I said neither thing, then do us both a favor:

                Quote me.  Don't interpret me - quote me.

                At this point, I just want America to admit that it still doesn't want its Black citizens to live in any state other than terror, subservience and inferiority, under pain of death. I can handle American racism, but I can't handle American denial.

                by shanikka on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 09:42:51 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Typo (0+ / 0-)

                  Either, not neither.

                  At this point, I just want America to admit that it still doesn't want its Black citizens to live in any state other than terror, subservience and inferiority, under pain of death. I can handle American racism, but I can't handle American denial.

                  by shanikka on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 09:43:19 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Goddamnit (0+ / 0-)

                    Here's the trouble when I respond to folks like you, which is why I should just walk away when I get impatient:  I end up responding in shorthand and thus tripping over my own words.

                    Going back to the original quote that began this entire thing:

                    Dr. King  (2+ / 0-)

                    Was clear right up until he died that his primary mission was fighting for the equality of Black people.  That he ultimately began the poor people's movement was directly tied to that as his mission.  NOT class. Indeed, towards the end of his life he recognized very clearly that it was racism in the North that led to the day-to-day living conditions he was attacking.

                    Your response to that statement, which said what Dr. King's motivation was for forming the poor people's movement, was to say the following (citing Beyond Vietnam)
                    But I have read King's late work, and it seems evident to me that King's mission - and his message - underwent an important shift in 1967. . .In short, no, it was not all about race for King, not after 1967.
                    To which I responded:
                    Beyond Vietnam

                    Is the speech most people cite who take your position, but nothing in Beyond Vietnam belies the truth of what I said: Dr. King's primary mission remained the liberation of his own people.  (I never said "all" - that is something you projected onto what I wrote.). .

                    Instead of acknowledging that no, I never said it was all about race, and admitting I was talking about Dr. King's primary motivation based upon his own writing, you then responded with the lengthy comment above in which you then contended:
                    I was merely drawing an inference from your assertion, in which you insisted the poor people's movement was "NOT [about] class". I think it most certainly was about class, as well as race.
                    Now, as you can see, you accused me of insisting that "the poor people's movement was NOT [about] class.  But I never said that.  What I said is that it was primarily about race, not class; substantive equality for Black people in America remained Dr. King's primary motivation right until his death, despite strategies to unify working class whites with the cause of Blacks in their own self-interest, because his previous appeal to morality was not working in the North.  His own writings in 1967 and 1968, and most notably his famous speech at Stanford University given after his speech Beyond Vietnam, make that crystal clear.

                    But as you admit that you merely inferred that I was saying that Dr. King was not concerned about class, rather than actually said it, I'm not sure why you would object about me identifying you projecting.

                    Since in this comment I've now shown you both times you did it.

                    At this point, I just want America to admit that it still doesn't want its Black citizens to live in any state other than terror, subservience and inferiority, under pain of death. I can handle American racism, but I can't handle American denial.

                    by shanikka on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 10:04:55 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I read the Stanford speech (0+ / 0-)

                      along with half a dozen others King gave between Riverside and the Mountaintop.  He repeats the same themes in all, often in the same language, with the same metaphors (not a criticism, an observation) - "bootstraps", e.g. and he repeats in most the solutions to poverty he proposed in Chaos: jobs and guaranteed income.

                      I agree with you that, judging from the emphasis of his speeches, King's "primary" concern remained that of "substantive equality for blacks".  Absolutely.  But it seems equally clear to me from the speeches that King's concerns about poverty were not only a tactic or "strategy" to stem the growing backlash, "to unify working class whites with the cause of blacks in their own self-interest".  This is what you wrote:

                      ...all the other issues relating to class were a vehicle to accomplish this [primary mission] because he needed the support of whites
                      I have no doubt that King and his circle fully recognized the tactical value of the focus on poverty.  Nevertheless, it seems apparent to me that King has come in these speeches to reckon with class as a dimension of American life, to a degree far beyond what he had done before 1966.  His integration of explicit critiques of poverty and imperialism into his speeches - apparently all of them between Riverside and the Mountaintop - seems demonstrative of his growing recognition that the problem of racism in American society cannot be solved apart from resolving the problems of class and imperialism.  To put it another way: I do not think that in 1967/68 King imagined that the condition of black Americans was a product of racism alone, though he certainly understood how racism compounded the problems of class and vice-versa.

                      I also note from my reading that the Riverside speech offered King's most detailed elaboration in a speech of the problems of class and empire.  There is one exception I can see to this, which is his "Where Do We Go From Here?" speech (to annual SCLC convention, 16 Aug 1967), which offers a detailed critique of capitalism and reiterates a key line from Riverside about the necessity of changing the system:

                      Now, when I say questioning the whole society, it means ultimately coming to see that the problem of racism, the problem of economic exploitation, and the problem of war are all tied together. (All right) These are the triple evils that are interrelated.
                      .  But in all the other instances I see (plus the Stanford speech), King's address of the problems of capitalism and imperialism is much briefer, more direct, less nuanced. Even in the Convention speech, his stand against Vietnam is reduced to the insistence that the money spent on the war could be better spent addressing poverty at home - which seems to be his standard refrain on Vietnam after Riverside.  I wonder about the difference; but absent any good reason for doing otherwise, I would be inclined to see the more detailed speeches as a more definitive statement of his own thinking.
  •  THe irony in CA is that Asians now (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka

    comprise the largest minority at those colleges, so much so that they want to keep other ethnic groups from getting any kind of affirmative action preference.
       http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/...

    Nearly 20 years after California became the first state to ban the use of race and ethnicity in college admissions, a proposal to reinstate affirmative action has sparked a backlash that is forging a new divide in the state's powerful Democratic Party and creating opportunity for conservatives.
    {snip}
    The California proposal would allow voters to rescind their state's affirmative action ban, but unexpected pushback from families of Asian descent who mobilized through Chinese-language media, staged rallies and organized letter-writing campaigns has all but killed the measure this year.

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 11:56:15 AM PDT

    •  It is Sad (4+ / 0-)

      But, since they are benefitting from the status quo, it is no more surprising that Asians would seek to keep it than it is whites, despite originally opposing it during the initial fight to eliminate affirmative action here in California with Proposition 209.

      Of course, if you go by what Asians themselves appear to think about "merit" or whether they are "more qualified" in terms of intellectual heft because of their grades or test scores, at least some, fortunately, appear to know better.  Asians that they are not being rewarded because Asians are "better qualified" in terms of intellectual heft, but because their culture has them working themselves to death for the objective of scoring high many years before they otherwise would.

      But as is often the case, these days Asian Americans are just the latest pawn in someone else's political game. Their collective pushback against righting the wrong created by Proposition 209 is just another example of that.

      At this point, I just want America to admit that it still doesn't want its Black citizens to live in any state other than terror, subservience and inferiority, under pain of death. I can handle American racism, but I can't handle American denial.

      by shanikka on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 12:15:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They ought to study history too (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shanikka

        Perhaps Asians need to study the Chinese exclusionary laws from the 19th century to remember that they were not "white" when they got here and suffered dreadful discrimination as well.

        •  I think some get it. (4+ / 0-)

          Like this young man, for example.

          The trick is getting people to see the links between discrimination against their particular group and discrimination against other groups.  Otherwise, we all fall prey to the next divide and conquer strategy cooked up by the white power structure.

          I think the coming years will see the creation of a new specialty in right-wing political consultancy -- devising wedge issues to sow discord among minority groups.  We're going to see increasingly sophisticated campaigns to keep Latinos and Asians from making common cause with either African-Americans or each other.  As white people lose their majority status, the white power structure will need some other way of maintaining the historically privileged position of white Americans.

          "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

          by FogCityJohn on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 02:11:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The White Supremacists tighten their fists (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka, a2nite, poco

    with this corrupted Supreme Court decision.
    The white supremacists are scared of losing control, and are tightening their firm grasp for control of America.  This is the result of a paranoid delusional society dominated by white supremacists.
    The native American Indian has first claim to injury, followed by the Black Americans, and many others.
    Watch for military rule next!  
    It is time for America to grow up, and repudiate the immature bigots and racists that hold positions of power in our society.

  •  I LOVE your characterization of Ward Connerly (4+ / 0-)

    I hope this gets fixed within your lifetime because I'm beginning to despair that it will be fixed within mine. This will become part of my US since 1865 course THIS semester.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall

    by Dave in Northridge on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 12:20:21 PM PDT

  •  Wow, thought-provoking diary, thanks. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka

    whew, white people have a lot to answer for.

    "To live in a world where truth matters and justice, however late, really happens, that world would be heaven enough for us all." - Rubin "Hurricane" Carter

    by blueoregon on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 12:52:31 PM PDT

  •  Where does Breyer concurring in judgment fit in? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka

    Breyer tends to be the justice whose reasoning is most similar to mine.  I've always been fascinated with the extended Breyer-Scalia philosophical war over balancing tests vs. bright lines.  Breyer's opinion concurring in the outcome but not the reasoning seems like an exercise in pointing out how Scalia is wrong.

    •  I Wrote a Comment re: Breyer's Concurrence (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poco, Denise Oliver Velez

      Within the context of responding to someone defending him in response to Denise Oliver Velez' piece about the right wing attack on civil rights law, so I will just link to it here.

      It may have been an exercise in pointing out how Scalia is wrong, but it also facilitated a greater wrong.  Since, after all, Scalia's opinion was clearly in the minority and thus, of no possible harm to anyone.  Breyer's? Had the effect of legitimizing the full-scale gutting of the political process doctrine by the majority, even as he insisted that it wasn't what they really meant.

      At this point, I just want America to admit that it still doesn't want its Black citizens to live in any state other than terror, subservience and inferiority, under pain of death. I can handle American racism, but I can't handle American denial.

      by shanikka on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 01:01:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Alan Freeman was my conlaw professor (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka, poco, peregrine kate

    at SUNY Buffalo law school only a handful of years before he died.  His wife, Betty Mensch was my contracts professor.  He was an awesome critical legal thinker and has inspired me each step of the way in my journey as a plaintiff's litigator in this crazy world of individualized discrimination claims.  He was spot on regarding this, and so many other predictions regarding social change and the law.

    •  It Would be Great (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poco, peregrine kate

      If you wrote a diary about the process of trying to advance a discrimination claim.  Especially if you practice in the area of employment.  The weeds of analysis are so depressingly in that field, legally, in terms of SCOTUS doctrine, that it would be good for an expert to explain them.  I know the bottom line and the major cases which (like the education arena increasingly) establish the narrow sliver of cases for which there will be a remedy, and equally constrain remedies, but someone practicing in this area can do it far more justice than I can discussing it here.

      At this point, I just want America to admit that it still doesn't want its Black citizens to live in any state other than terror, subservience and inferiority, under pain of death. I can handle American racism, but I can't handle American denial.

      by shanikka on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 04:22:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  For your reading list: Ackerman, We the People, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka, poco

    the Civil Rights Revolution explaining that constitutional revolutions are led by the elected branches, not the Court. Also Charles Sumner's Works. Sumner is still the leading political philospher in this country, having fought most of the battles relevant to today, e..g. challenged Boston school segregation in court in 1849, survived an assassination attempt on the senate floor to lead emancipation, reconstruction and civil rights. It was his posthumous 1875 civil rights act that was struck down in 1883.

    That defeat by the plutocratic Court drew a line that while freedmen might not be property, they did not have civil rights. Sumner knew landmark legislation was necessary to get a breakthrough, a principle followed by FDR and LBJ. Still the battle line.

    As MLK said, the giant triplets are militarism, extreme materialism and race- they come together. The plutocratic court represents the extreme materialist wing, sees things, from the point of view of capital, and almost always has. Except for the non-humiliation holdings in Brown and progeny, the now plutocratic Court sees in civil rights only claims against capital which it has been hired to defeat.

    No one should expect the Court to make sense. These university cases are cherry picked for capitalist ideology, the central myth of which is merit, not to be confused with a Confucian system, rather merit like the assymetry at My Lai or Wounded Knee, or of J.P. Morgan and Henry Ford, or of a Supremacist Court in the tradition of Dred Scott and Plessy.

    The economic reality, Piketty reminds, is that the US white elite proves its merit in new growth and also returns on investment as an old money rentier aristocracy.  Marx came to the insight that merit is a shell game. To each according to their need is not the same as Justice Thomas selected by affirmative action to defend a ruling class. Also some of this is white on white family feud, going back to the old country, Charles I, the  Constitution from a Puritan based revolution, the current court led by Cavaliers out to repudiate it.        

  •  This is the problem (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka

    " that merit is measured most accurately by test scores".
     The court can play this game but the schools don't have to.

    They can devise a different criteria for admissions.
    This is how they should do it.
    -1750 on the SAT becomes the cut off.
    -Do not use race but any applicant white or black that can prove that their ancestors were ever forcibly enslaved in the last 5 generations gets extra points.
    -Any applicant  that can prove that their ancestors were forcibly removed from their lands and placed on reservation gets extra points.
    and so forth.

    Or come up with a different non multiple choice test that actually tests content of subject matter the way the rest of the industrialized world does.

    •  Part of the Problem (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peregrine kate, moviemeister76

      Is that all of these cases rest on a demonstrable fiction: that any college, particularly the elite ones, is admitting ANYONE based solely upon test scores and GPA.  They don't.  Never have, never will.

      All the test scores and GPA indicate, by all accounts, is what grades an applicant is likely to obtain in their first year of college.  That's it.  So, no school relies upon that alone to create their class.  Because both have been shown not only to be correlates of, at best, moderate strength in the one area they claim to measure (first year grades) they have shown to be extremely poor indicators of ultimate college success in terms of graduation rates, etc.

      Schools have always looked at a student's entire jacket.  And significantly, in each of these cases white students with lower scores and GPA were admitted.  These admissions were never challenged by the plaintiffs.  In Fisher, the university even demonstrated that Ms. Fisher herself would not have been admitted even if race planed NO role in the scoring of student applications, and that as usual whites with less stellar credentials had gained admission.  It did not matter, those white students.  The only ones that mattered were those of people of color.  By ignoring these facts in the record, these cases reinforce the unconscious cultural assumption that it is simply not possible for a Black or Latino student to ever be better than a white student unless they prove themselves unquestionably on metrics that play only a part of the admissions decision.  

      At this point, I just want America to admit that it still doesn't want its Black citizens to live in any state other than terror, subservience and inferiority, under pain of death. I can handle American racism, but I can't handle American denial.

      by shanikka on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 06:40:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I haven't seen it spoken of much here (0+ / 0-)

        But the thing that really burns me up about the Fisher case is that, historically, affirmative action has helped more white women than pretty much any other group. And yet the most outspoken people I've ever met in real life when it comes to wanting to end it are white women who think that black people don't need it anymore. So damn ignorant and selfish.

        Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

        by moviemeister76 on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 02:12:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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