Racial preferences in South African universities and professional schools

There’s nothing new in this New York Times article,—not in the underlying facts, and not in the treatment of the facts—except that it’s about South Africa instead of the U.S.

Here is the concluding part of the piece, about a budding black medical student:

The most eloquent advocates for racial preferences are students from profoundly deprived backgrounds. Without affirmative action, Lwando Mpotulo, 23, would never have been admitted to study for a medical degree here. His mother died when he was 15 and his father was unemployed most of his childhood. He went to high school in Khayelitsha, a sprawling black township of half a million people, 15 miles and a world apart from the wealthy heart of Cape Town. Mr. Mpotulo lived there in a tiny, rundown house that often had no electricity.

His scores on the national high school exam—C’s in science, biology and English, a B in math and an A in Xhosa, his mother tongue—were much lower than the A’s white students are generally required to attain, but an extraordinary achievement in a township where very few qualify for university admission.

Mr. Mpotulo was in Cape Town when he got the news of his admission and, overjoyed, ran to the medical school campus. But his first two years were ones of humiliating failure. “I felt much more smaller,” he said sadly. He had never had a white teacher before and even his high school English teacher had often spoken Xhosa in class.

But the university provided him with extensive, specialized instruction tailored for struggling students and weekly counseling sessions. Mr. Mpotulo also dug deep into himself. He recently sketched the family tree of relatives depending on him.

“These are the people I worry about,” he said gravely. “I have to somehow find success. If I give up, there will literally be no one employed at home.”

Mr. Mpotulo is now confident he will graduate from medical school, though it will take eight years instead of the standard six. He is considering a career in public health. He believes his mother’s death, of a stroke in her 30s, could have been prevented if she had gotten decent medical care.

In his own difficult life experience, he said, the legacy of centuries of white domination lives on.

“I sympathize with a white student, doing very well, who can’t become a student here because of affirmative action,” he said, “but I think it’s an absolutely necessary evil.”

[end of article

- end of initial entry -

James P. writes:

“His scores on the national high school exam—C’s in science, biology and English, a B in math and an A in Xhosa, his mother tongue—were much lower than the A’s white students are generally required to attain, but an extraordinary achievement in a township where very few qualify for university admission.”

An “extraordinary achievement”—I am reminded of the scene in Bonfire of the Vanities in which the teacher of the black kid who got run over says,

“At Colonel Jacob Ruppert High School, an honor student is somebody who attends class, isn’t disruptive, tries to learn, and does all right at reading and arithmetic.”

LA replies:

I had forgotten that Wolfe had been that un-PC.

Jim C. writes:

I spent a year as a psych grad student at Harvard. Since some of my profs also taught at the medical school, I got to know what was happening over there. One topic that popped up frequently was the low performance of affirmative action blacks. To accommodate their inferior cognitive function, the powers-that-be decided to de-emphasize rigorous research, opting instead to focus on clinical concerns. It is incredible how much white society has to debase itself to accommodate blacks.

Peter H. writes:

So, whites build a society on the Dark Continent, establish cities and infrastructure, build schools and universities, and, after the end of apartheid, allow blacks into medical school with markedly lower academic credentials than those of whites. Once in medical school, whites coax, cajole, counsel, tutor, and grade-inflate him to the point that he passes after eight years instead of the usual six (even though it sounds as if there’s no guarantee he’ll actually finish), no doubt, again, with very poor grades.

Questions: Is there any sane person who would want to be cared for by an unsupervised Dr. Mpotulo, shorn of his ability to consult with white physicians? Does no one understand that training an increasing number of these “physicians” will degrade the overall competency of South Africa’s health care system? As our own population changes (and as is already happening), will we not see a similar decline in medical competency as more and more minorities are rammed through medical school?

LA replies:

As I have said numerous times, while mainstream conservatives weakly protest the injustice and anti-right-liberal individualism of minority race preferences, they NEVER NEVER NEVER say that minority race preferences are bad because they lead to the elevation of sub-competent people and thus drag down and endanger our whole society..

November 25

Kilroy M. writes from Australia:

It’s “an absolutely necessary evil” for a patient to be treated by a substandard doctor.

Really, what else does one need to say?

Philip M. writes from England:

I find articles like this rather frightening. South Africa will surely be destroyed by elevating blacks to positions they cannot attain by merit, yet the New York Times would rather see this happen—with all the appalling consequences for both whites and blacks—than admit the obvious truth that is staring them in the face.

Also, I’m sure I have heard left-wing Americans talking about how affirmative action is only a temporary measure, but if and when the demographics of America become like South Africa, and with the same problems of non-white under-representation in important areas, they will of course have no option but to keep demanding that the measures stay in place, just like they are in this article. How few white people does a country have to have, and how much anti-white legislation has to be passed, before “white privilege” is no longer an issue?

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 24, 2010 07:36 AM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):