Monday, December 14, 2015

How Pitiful Is It That Willis Hart Doesn't Understand What The Purpose Of Affirmative Action Is?

The Libertarian blogger Willis Hart hates Affirmative Action and wishes it was abolished. Even though he clearly does not understand what it's purpose is.

Willis Hart: On the Fact that Not a Single Affirmative Action Program in All of Human History Has Ever Ended Because of Success... So, either affirmative action programs don't work (as Thomas Sowell, Stuart Taylor, and Richard Sander have asserted) or the government is so incompetent that they can't administer them (well, that and the fact that government programs never seem to go away in that the bureaucrats and special interests which benefit from them will never in a million years willingly relinquish their power). How pitiful. (12/11/2015 AT 4:08pm).

There would no longer be a need for AA programs if/when all racism is abolished. But getting rid of racism is NOT a goal of Affirmative Action! AA programs are meant to alleviate some of the inequality created by racism - and that should lead to some lessening of racism - but the problem of racism is a LOT bigger problem than AA can address.

AA can't do the job by itself. So this "success" that Willis speaks of (eliminating racism and therefore the need for AA programs) is NOT a success AA will ever achieve. Not by itself. Yet Willis puts forth this strawman in order to "discredit" Affirmative Action. How pitiful.

Apparently Willis believes government is "so incompetent" because giving African Americans opportunities hasn't magically eliminated all racism. And he (apparently) believes that encouraging/mandating diversity somehow gives "bureaucrats" power.

Also, Affirmative Action programs DO work. As Derek Bok and William Bowen have asserted in their book The Shape of the River (Far Reaching Study Documents Success of Affirmative Action).

The Shape of the River: Long-Term Consequences of Considering Race in College and University Admissions [is] the book that has forever changed the debate on affirmative action in America. [This book represents] the most far-reaching and comprehensive study of its kind. It brings a wealth of empirical evidence to bear on how race-sensitive admissions policies actually work and clearly defines the effects they have had on over 45k students of different races... [An LA Times review says that] "...the authors prove with facts, not anecdotes, that affirmative action works". (Princeton University Press).

According to Debra Humphreys (Vice President, Office of Communications, Policy and Public Engagement, Association of American Colleges & Universities), "Bok and Bowen's study demonstrates conclusively that race-sensitive admissions policies have dramatic benefits for the African American students admitted under them".

Affirmative Action programs work... in giving opportunities to deserving African Americans. The research show this to be the case. As for Thomas Sowell, Stuart Taylor, and Richard Sander (the individuals Willis cites who say Affirmative Action doesn't work)? The reason they give, a theory known as "mismatch", has been debunked (more on that with my next commentary).

The bottom line here is that the "success" that Willis Hart says we should see if Affirmative Action programs worked - eliminating racism - is NOT a problem that AA can solve. Not be itself, at least. That AA programs can eliminate racism is a strawman invention being put forward by Libertarian (and Conservative) racists like the Hartster.

As opposed to failing because racism still exists (racism that makes it harder for African Americans to succeed), the data shows that AA programs work.

OST #88


  1. Will views affirmative action as government policy tilting the playing field so as to give African Americans and other minorities an unfair advantage. In other words a government policy that mandates qoutas in hiring. And perhaps there is some evidence of this although I have not personally done the research.

    What AS was designed to do, I think, was to level the playing field so as to insure equal oppoutunity was given to minorities based on capabilities and merit. Obviously criteria was to be objective rather than subjective.

    Please correct me if I am incorrect in my understanding and point out where. I am confident Will is interested in your response as well.

  2. Will views affirmative action as government policy tilting the playing field so as to give African Americans and other minorities an unfair advantage.

    If it worked (which it does) it might do something like that. Not an "unfair" advantage, but a slightly fairer one. But Willis says it doesn't work.

    I am confident Will is interested in your response as well.

    Ha, ha, ha, ha. I am confident he will not be.

  3. Oh, I think he checks in frequently. Looking for material for post snippets at Contra O'Reilly.

  4. Doubtful, IMO. He has never referenced anything I've written here on his blog, while - back when he commented on your blog - he did reference things I said there. Point is we know that when he does read anything by me - he can't help but "rebutt" it on his blog. Yet zero "rebuttals" on his blog to anything I've ever written here.

  5. He doesn't directly but there have been times he as made remarks that probably a slight to you. He has done the same directed at me.

    But since he banned me for pointing out some BS he tried to fly his site is essentially an echo chamber now.


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