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Richard D. Kahlenberg, a fellow of the Center for National Policy, has been a visiting associate professor of law at George Washington University and a legislative assistant to Senator Charles S. Robb of Virginia.
...and I suppose, for some, that automatically means that we should not want it now. Such persons may also be of the view that "all black folk need to do, is change their culture and get jobs". For the rest of us living in the real USA, it is patently clear that race, poverty, and government (specifically public policies dealing with these issues) will always be with us, whether we like it or not. It is against this background, that THE REMEDY is offered. Its very name is offered as a portent of what is possible if we could dispense with the ideologues and polemicists. The book is actually quite moderate, thoughtful and most importantly - egalitarian. Some of the points that that the book develops on are: (1) Martin Luther King, Jr and Robert Kennedy never endorsed racial preferences; the arguments supporting affirmative action were always couched in terms of it being a compensatory program that would benefit the disadvantaged of all races. (2) Only an affirmative action based on class will provide genuine individual equal opportunity; this for both poor blacks and poor whites. (3) Mr Kahlenberg says that after King and Kennedy, a shift took place in the 1970's; from compensation to diversity - "from racial preferences as a temporary bridge to color-blindness, to racial preferences as a permanent way of life." Mr Kahlenberg is considerate of conservative sensibilities by not pointing out that it was under a Republican that affirmative action first bacame race based. John David Skretny in THE IRONIES OF AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, and others, have pointed out that it was used as part of a brilliant wedge strategy by Nixon to drive working class unionized white males, and southern whites, out of the Democratic Party and to the Republicans. It worked.Read more ›
I will begin this review with a disclaimer. Because of my political libertarian leanings, I do not support governmental policies that attempt any sort of social engineering. However, given that it is highly unlikely that the civil government will get out of the social engineering business any time soon, it is better that those policies that are more sensible win the day.
Richard Kahlenberg's proposal in favor of class-based rather than race-based affirmative action is a genuine attempt to level the playing field where it truly needs to be leveled, namely, along class lines rather than racial lines. While it is true that a disproportionate number of ethnic and racial minorities are also members of the lowest socioeconomic class, the main barriers they face are due to poverty rather than race. If the civil government must be involved in seeking to rectify the disparities in a way that provides equal opportunity for all, its programs ought to be designed to provide the poor a way to escape poverty. Although education is not a magic elixir (however, neither is anything else), it is an important step toward economic stability. Class-based affirmative action programs could be an important step in leveling the playing field for the poor, who often face a barrier to both education and stable employment precisely because they are poor. In this, Kahlenberg is spot on.
Whether you favor some form of affirmative action or not, the proposal Kahlenberg offers in "The Remedy" deserves a hearing. Whatever your position on the issue may be, this book is a worthwhile read and one the deserves serious consideration.
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I no have to write or speak engrlish. I fill your prescription. My teachers no care if I can counsel. I want to do mail order. My family can pay all tuition. The big universities like us who have $$. They not care if we talk English.
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In order to alievate tensions between working-class whites on one side and African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans on the other, Kahlenberg calls for replacing race-based programs with class-based programs. His assumption: it'll bring the white working class into a liberal coalition, and disproportionately help African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans because they're disproportionately poor. The problem is that 1.) Kahlenberg fails to understand the dynamics of race and class in America and 2.) Kahlenberg assumes that conservatives will support his ideas. Regarding 1), Kahlenberg doesn't realize that people of color are concentrated among the poorest of the poor. He constantly pulls out the hackneyed argument that "it's unfair to give the preference to the kid of the black doctor over the kid of the white garbage collector" argument, as if these two constantly find themselves competing for admission to Berkeley or Yale - it's usually the white doctor's kid vs. the black doctor's kid. He fails to acknowledge that SAT scores for the children of black college graduates are lower than that of white high school graduates. He constantly praises people like Ward Connerly and bashes black leaders for criticizing black conservatives. Despite the fact that less than 20% of all high-scoring low-income SAT scorers are Black or Latino, he still assumes that beneficiaries of his plan will be at least 25% Black. As for 2.), he assumes that people like Newt Gingrich and Clarence Thomas SUPPORT his ideas, since they mention the "unfairness" of affirmative action to the white working class. They have no such plan in the making. In conclusion, no matter what your views are on AA, this book is too poorly thought-out to be of use for anyone.