Is there a legitimate need for minority racial preferences in some instances?

Jeff C. writes:

You seek to “eliminate all minority racial preferences.” Are there no principled exceptions to this?

Consider police work. Black perception of unfairness by police is strong, as in the reaction to the OJ trial. I doubt the perception is based only on an ideology of victimhood, but is also based on a lived experience. You are unlikely to counter the dynamic with an all-white force.

This once happened to me: a black teenager came to the door of my garden apartment, selling magazine subscriptions. I said, “No,” and he began to talk about white folks not wanting blacks to succeed. I was pretty angry, and got a neighbor—a black policeman—to bounce the kid from the neighborhood. The kid needed firmness, but with tenderness and concern, too: he needed a father. The kid’s issue was racial, so I was especially glad to involve a black man.

Another example is a domestic dispute turned violent in a black family. If I were a police dispatcher, I’d want to find a black officer.

Also, if I might state the obvious: ending affirmative action would be the equivalent of locking a door that people expect to walk through easily. There would be a lot of angry nob turning and door pushing and violence. The wish to avoid those results is a big reason that the affirmative-action regime will be hard to reverse. And the business wish to attract minority-group customers is not going away in any case: would you make the AA programs in Fortune 500 companies illegal?

Thanks for your work.

LA replies:

Yes, there are exceptions where race-conscious selection is needed as a practical matter, as in the examples you give. I meant to mention that in the entry.

As for blacks’ vested interest in race preferences, let’s leave aside private businesses and private schools and let them hire and admit whom they will. Let’s focus on race-preferences in state university admissions and faculty hiring. Such preferences were, are, and will remain totally unacceptable.

Also, as I’ve argued, race preferential admissions in state universities violate not just the present, distorted 14th Amendment, but the original 14th Amendment.

- end of initial entry -

Daniel R. writes:

I don’t think Jeff C.’s examples are principled exceptions. Countering black perceptions of unfairness isn’t the point of the police. Regarding his story, I agree with your sentiment and I bet the kid benefitted from having a black officer handle the situation. But the point of the police isn’t to be father figures for troubled youth. Too many black kids grow up without fathers. It’s a problem. The principled approach is to solve the problem, not corrupt the police’s remit.

However, police work is precisely where true principled exceptions to the elimination of racial preferences exist. The obvious case is undercover work. I’m white. I could try to infiltrate a black gang, but it probably wouldn’t be convincing. Black people know total vitiligo universalis is rare. Also, I don’t like menthols or grape soda. They’d get suspicious eventually.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 09, 2011 09:20 AM | Send

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