Affirmative Action:

Why the ACLU Doesn't Have A-Clu


By John "Birdman" Bryant


In the "American Civil Liberties Union Briefing Paper #17: Affirmative Action", which I found on the ACLU website on June 20, 1998, the ACLU states that

"A well-financed, politically powerful movement ... [has] launched an all- out attack on one of the fairest, most effective tools for ending discrimination. Their attack is based on two demonstrably false premises: that affirmative action is no longer needed, and that it is in all its forms unfair. ... The evidence [cited below] clearly proves that the playing field isn't level yet [and thus that affirmative action is still needed]:

"* A majority of white Americans still believe that African- and Latino Americans are less intelligent, less hard working and less patriotic than whites.

"* Government public education spending is clearly linked to race. Schools serving mostly minority, inner city children receive about one half the money per student that schools in surrounding white suburbs receive.

"* In 1990, the average black male worker earned $731 for every $1,000 earned by a white male worker. Latino men earned $810 for every $1,000 earned by similarly educated white men.

"* Although white males make up only 43% of the workforce, they occupy 97% of the top executive positions at America's 1,500 largest corporations."

In fact, however, the above "evidence" not only does not "prove" that affirmative action is "still necessary", but is in fact laughable as an argument for anything other than the proposition that the liberal ACLU has its collective head up its collective unsunny alimentary my dear Watson canal. Here's why:

** The fact that white Americans believe that our little black and brown brothers are less intelligent, dynamic or patriotic has absolutely no relevance to whether whites should be discriminated against in favor of blacks and browns (Affirmative action, despite the usual denials by its proponents, is precisely anti-white discrimination). The argument which the ACLU presents seems to be that the belief that blacks and browns are less intelligent is wrong, and not only wrong, but immoral; and immoral behavior makes it right for whites to be discriminated against. But this argument fails on several accounts:

(a) To believe wrongly is not to commit an immoral act, for belief is involuntary, and an act can only be immoral if it is voluntary.

(b) Just because one person acts immorally does not give another the moral right to act immorally.

(c) The belief that blacks and browns are less intelligent, etc, happens to be true.

** While it may or may not be true in many instances that suburban schools get more money than inner city schools, the relation of educational spending to educational achievement is actually a negative one. For example, according to nationally-syndicated black columnist Walter Williams, Washington DC has the highest per-pupil expenditures in the nation ($7550), but lowest achievement of all the states as ranked by SAT scores, while the highest-ranking state in the SAT -- Iowa -- spends only half as much per pupil as what DC spends ($4334) ("Government education's a rip-off", Southern Libertarian Messenger, Oct 1992: 2). More to the point, however, is that the DC school system is virtually all-black, while the Iowa system is virtually all-white, two situations in which racial discrimination simply cannot exist, and thus cannot be used to "blame whitey".

** While black and brown men may earn less than white men on average, this may be explained by numerous factors. For example, blacks are generally less educated, and in addition are far more likely to have been in prison - - two factors which could far better explain the black-white difference in salary than "discrimination".

** The fact that whites are only 43% of the workforce but make up 97% of top executives may be explained in the same way as salary differentials. Besides boosting affirmative discrimination in favor of blacks and browns, the ACLU does the same thing for women since, in their view, "many barriers to full equality [between men and women] remain". This is "proved" by citing the following points:

* Men are still 99% of all auto mechanics and carpenters; 98% of all firefighters; 97% of all pilots and 95% of all welders.

* Overall, American women earn only 72% of what men make for comparable work.

* Women hold only 3-5% of senior positions in the private sector. Here again, however, the "proof" cited for the need for affirmative action is only proof of ACLU adherence to mindless liberal equalitarian orthodoxy. In particular,

** The fact that women do not become auto mechanics, welders, etc is much more likely to be because women simply do not care to engage in such occupations, rather than because of some conspiracy on the part of live white males to keep them from getting their petticoats dirty. Lefties like the ACLUers, of course, love to make fun of "right-wing conspiracy theories", but here is a left-wing conspiracy theory which differs from the right-wing variety only in being totally insane.

** As Hoover Institute scholar and conservative black columnist Thomas Sowell has extensively documented, the difference in men's and women's salaries is actually because women have a tendency to drop out of the work force and have children; but once work experience is held constant, women's salaries are essentially equal to men's (and in the case of black women, actually better).

** Women's "underrepresentation" in private sector management can far more credibly be explained by such observations as Sowell's just cited plus the fact that women tend to be less aggressive and risk-taking than men. This, however, could never be accepted by the loony left which prefers white male conspiracy theory over facts and logic.

But if the above is not sufficiently crazy to have the officers and supporters of the ACLU permanently committed to St Elizabeth's, we are next treated to the assertion that

"Opponents claim affirmative action forces employers to "give preference" to less qualified minorities. Equating affirmative action with quotas, they argue that color-blind laws are fairer than those that take race into account. But affirmative action is not a quota system or a form of reverse discrimination. Nor does it give preferential treatment to unqualified minorities and women.

"Goals and timetables found in affirmative action plans are not the same thing as quotas. They are a nondiscriminatory way of making sure that those who were previously excluded are finally brought into the workplace, and a way of measuring whether discrimination is being reduced. Without them, employers with a history of discriminatory practices would continue "business as usual"; With them, employers must make efforts to recruit and hire qualified women and/or minorities for vacant positions from which they were previously excluded. This is the opposite of discrimination."

The claim here, then, is that the only thing employers are required to do under affirmative action is to "reach out" and make sure that qualified minorities are given an "opportunity". The reality, however, is far different; for unless an employer in fact has fulfilled quotas, he is inviting endless investigation and litigation from the EEOC and other minority-driven "missions", with the risk of huge fines and "settlements". And since minorities are often poorly qualified due to lower intelligence and inferior education, the result is not only quotas, but lower standards.

In a further weak attempt to justify affirmative discrimination, the ACLU claims that discrimination is widely practiced anyway, as by colleges giving preference to offspring of alumni, or company owners giving preference to relatives in hiring, or veterans being given preferences over non-veterans. The weakness of this argument, however, is that it attempts to use the right of private individuals and private companies to discriminate in order to justify the government taking away this right by substituting government-preferred discrimination for private discrimination. This of course the logical equivalent of saying that, because people own money and have the right to spend it as they please, this justifies the government in telling them how to spend it. Another way to make the point is that the inherent nature of private property is the right to choose how it is used (ie, the right to "discriminate" in favor of some uses over others); but affirmative action aficionados such as the ACLU want to take away the right of private owners of capital to spend it on the employees they want to spend it on, and instead spend it on the chaff, riffraff and don't-make-me-laugh known as "minorities". For myself, I say, spend your own money and leave others' alone.

While there are various other points in the ACLU black-and-brown toilet paper on which I could comment, it should be clear from the above remarks that the ACLU is a collection of ignorant and arrogant leftists who are determined to ram a program of race-mixing down the throat of the American people in spite of the fact that most Americans find such a program as repugnant as the mangy minorities which affirmative discrimination seeks to boost. For this reason I say, if we are going to take Shakespeare's advice to "kill all the lawyers", let's start with those from the American Communist Liberties Union.


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