Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:49 am UTC

More to the point: this class issue, while important, is beside the topic of race. If you face a new problem that there are more black people than white people trapped in the lower class because of barriers to reaching the middle class, and you then implement some solution that helps people trapped in the lower class reach the middle class (regardless of race), then you automatically help more black people than white people because there's more of them in the target population being helped, which was the problem to begin with, etc like before. Rinse and repeat with every new kind of structural racism that you find.
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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby Thesh » Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:52 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
Thesh wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:
Thesh wrote:The point is that policies that benefit the better off without benefiting the worse off does harm the worse off by increasing the barriers to leaving poverty (also, increasing income for the middle class can lead to decreased income for the poor due to price inflation).


But that's changing how you've defined helping the middle class.


How so? If you do something that ultimately increases the property prices of areas made up of people living in the $30-$100,000/yr range, without benefiting people making in the $0-$20,000/yr range, then the people who are living in the $0-$20,000 range are going to have trouble moving out of impoverished areas.



If you have inflation and the lower classes don't keep up, you have effectively harmed the lower class. I'm not denying this. The question I have is how, assuming the lower class has the same real, not nominal income, the lower class is harmed by the middle class improving.


So, just to be clear, you think there is no issue if racial inequality goes up, as long as people at the bottom don't lose real income?
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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:57 am UTC

slinches wrote:I think that adding institutional racism to counter institutional/structural racial inequality is a dangerous path. Using racially non-discriminatory policies may not be quite as direct, but that path doesn't risk breeding contempt for minorities among the poorer of the majority population when one gets help the other doesn't have access to.
I get what you're saying, but I think we're in a very weird place if we have to start worrying less about the effectiveness of our policies and more about whether or not they'll make people angry.

I also think that people who hold minorities in contempt over something like this are more or less looking for targets. Shaping policy around the hope of soothing their anger is probably not going to get us anywhere; better to try and figure out what they're really angry about (and if they're really just angry about affirmative action, we have a serious problem - because stuff like affirmative action does not justify the level of anger required to get a guy like Trump into office).

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby ObsessoMom » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:00 am UTC

I think class issues have a lot to do with race. The rich would rather keep the poor fighting each other for scraps of opportunity, based on race, than uniting against tax breaks for the rich.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby slinches » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:01 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:I think maybe slinches was suggesting something along the lines of: if the problem is that, even if we're already not explicitly discriminating based on race per se, we're still discriminating on things like income which in turn correlate with race and so indirectly discriminating based on race, then shouldn't solutions that address those correlates (rather than race directly) in turn benefit the correlated races proportionally more, and so constitute a solution indirectly addressing race, just like the problem is indirectly about race?

E.g. if the problem is that more black people than white people don't go to college because they can't afford it, and you implement a solution that helps people who otherwise couldn't afford it (regardless of race) to go to college anyway, then because of that correlation that is the very problem, you automatically end up helping black people more than white people (because there are more of them in the needy population being helped, which was the problem to begin with), in exact proportion to the problematic disadvantage they face, and only for so long as they continue to face it.

Yes, essentially this. Thanks for clarifying.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:14 am UTC

Thesh wrote:So, just to be clear, you think there is no issue if racial inequality goes up, as long as people at the bottom don't lose real income?


Is this "all middle and poor white people increase income by $10k and no inflation, everyone else unchanged" or "all middle class black people swap places with poor whites"?

Let's assume the first, because the second has only helped some at the expense of others. I'm only going to claim the first scenario is an improvement over the current world, not the best possible world. Are you familiar with the repugnant conclusion? Imagine if it worked a bit in reverse, but you were able to improve the utility of Group A without harming Group B.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby Thesh » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:20 am UTC

Neither, it's a cut taxes/spend money more for middle class than for the poor. Policies like college funding are a lot more likely to benefit the middle class and lower middle class than the poor.
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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:25 am UTC

I think I'm going to have to ask how this tax cut is financed. Future tax revenues and "laffer curve" wizardry, or a sales tax, or what?

But a policy like that would help the poor; you improve the middle class, and they have more money for nannies, gardeners, maids, etc. So you really aren't doing a good job on selling the whole "harming the middle class is beneficial to the poor" thing.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:29 am UTC

Trickle down is bullshit from the top, but totally feasible from the upper middle?
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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:32 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:But a policy like that would help the poor; you improve the middle class, and they have more money for nannies, gardeners, maids, etc. So you really aren't doing a good job on selling the whole "harming the middle class is beneficial to the poor" thing.
So, I'm completely lost regarding the whole economics sub-discussion (hence me staying the hell out of it), but I just have to ask: Since when does the middle-class have nannies, gardeners, and maids? Those are all semi-permanent positions, right?

I don't think most middle-class people could afford anything like that.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby Thesh » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:33 am UTC

Except your economy restructures itself over time to make use of your new college educated graduates, so demand for people without a college education drops and their wages fall even more (sticking at minimum until rich people finally get around to raising that - but of course, the longer we go without an increase the more well-off people will see a fair minimum wage increase as too much of a threat to their incomes).
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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:35 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Trickle down is bullshit from the top, but totally feasible from the upper middle?

I did ask how it was going to be financed. But in the hypothetical scenario where the wealth just poofs into existence...

...and if we are talking subsidies for college, it's the lower and middle- middle, not upper middle.
The Great Hippo wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:But a policy like that would help the poor; you improve the middle class, and they have more money for nannies, gardeners, maids, etc. So you really aren't doing a good job on selling the whole "harming the middle class is beneficial to the poor" thing.
So, I'm completely lost regarding the whole economics sub-discussion (hence me staying the hell out of it), but I just have to ask: Since when does the middle-class have nannies, gardeners, and maids? Those are all semi-permanent positions, right?

I don't think most middle-class people could afford anything like that.


They don't hire them full-time as live-in servants, but they do hire maid service, they hire carpet cleaners every couple of years, they hire the guys to mow lawns once every two weeks, they pay people to shovel the driveway in the winter, they hire tutors, they hire mechanics instead of learning to change their own oil, they go out to eat more often, they travel more, they hire taxi drivers, etc.

Thesh wrote:Except your economy restructures itself over time to make use of your new college educated graduates, so demand for people without a college education drops and their wages fall even more


No? The supply of unskilled and semi-skilled workers drops, so the janitors and cab drivers and truckers and so forth get a raise...

...unless the country allows in millions of unskilled workers.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby Thesh » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:48 am UTC

The supply of people able to do those jobs doesn't decline, and there will always be college graduates doing jobs that don't even require a high school education, and the number of jobs that will increase to accommodate them will not necessarily grow with the number of college graduates - it can be more profitable to wait to hire if the supply of college graduates is increasing.
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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:57 am UTC


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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby Thesh » Thu Sep 07, 2017 2:13 am UTC

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Sep 07, 2017 2:15 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:...and if we are talking subsidies for college, it's the lower and middle- middle, not upper middle.
But if we're talking people who hire nannies and gardeners in significant numbers, it's the upper middle.
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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Sep 07, 2017 2:25 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:...and if we are talking subsidies for college, it's the lower and middle- middle, not upper middle.
But if we're talking people who hire nannies and gardeners in significant numbers, it's the upper middle.


And something that massively benefits the middle and lower middle will push many of them into the upper and middle middle.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby morriswalters » Thu Sep 07, 2017 3:35 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:And something that massively benefits the middle and lower middle will push many of them into the upper and middle middle.
This is only true if the economy is growing. If the economy is flat it edges close to a zero sum game. Japan gets hammered by this. Low immigration and declining birth rates. In my dark moments I see what is happening in the streets as a function of that. If you restrict immigration you can't grow very fast.

If you have any sense of humor you should consider that the people who can afford to breed don't. We'd be better off if the wealthy had many babies. Economically a man like Buffet should have bred like a yeast. When he dies his heirs could destroy his wealth as it is redistributed to them. It would help to flatten the curve.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Sep 07, 2017 3:41 am UTC

We are arguing over a world where only a segment of society improves while everyone else remains the same, and I think we went way off topic. It was supposed to be something on the lines of "what if we helped the middle class (which is disproportionately white) while everyone else stayed the same, decreasing income inequality but increasing race inequality". I still stand by my answer that it's better than the current society, but not necessarily the best one given the finite amount of income we can just POOF! into society.

But anyway, if we are going to get sidetracked too much, well, that's going to get tedious.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby jewish_scientist » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:15 pm UTC

My sociology professor said that the idea of race is fundamentally flawed for two reasons. First, you end up with infinite subdivisions or arbitrary cut off points. Second, any definition of race breaks down after a couple generations when people marry outside of their race. That is pretty much my entire opinion on race.

It is worth pointing out though that ethnicity is a well defined concept. Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, there is a key difference between race and ethnicity. Race is (theoretically) based on biology; ethnicity is based on culture. The problems with race do not exist with culture, because sociologists have a rigorous definition of culture.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby Thesh » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:25 pm UTC

All classification systems will be more rigid than nature is willing to accommodate. What's important is that they are useful.
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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Sep 07, 2017 2:54 pm UTC

Race is a social construct, but that doesn't mean it isn't real or that it doesn't significantly affect people's lives.
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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:40 pm UTC

Right, and an element of race that tends to get lost in the "race isn't real" sub-discussion: Racism presumes race is real, and defines your race for you. For example: It doesn't really matter if you're not Arab; if you "look" Arab, you'll be exposed to anti-Arab racism.

I do think it's useful to remember that on a biological level, race is largely arbitrary and irrelevant, though. You can talk about heredity, but the things we associate with race (skin tone, self identity, ethnicity, etc) don't tell us much about your ancestors.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:51 pm UTC

Case in point: I once met a very white old lady born and raised in an old upper class white family from Mexico City, who was extremely racist against what Americans would think of as "Mexicans" (of the brownish variety), for which she had some other less-than-savory names. She identified very strongly with her Mexican nationality, but in America probably rarely if ever faced anti-"Mexican" racism because she doesn't fit what Americans think of as "Mexican", and she was a font of what we would call anti-Mexican racism herself though she wouldn't have framed it as such. (Racism maybe, but not against Mexicans per se, I think she'd say).
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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:09 pm UTC

So basically, we should replace the term Anti-Mexican with anti-Mestizo?

Wait had to look it up. "Pardo"

Mulatto: Black and white
Mestizo: native and white
Zambo: native and black (wait, is this one a slur? I think i heard it as a slur before)
Pardo: all

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby ObsessoMom » Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:54 pm UTC

Ah, yes, the delightful casta system of New Spain, in which almost everyone gets to feel superior to someone else.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby CorruptUser » Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:17 am UTC

Yes, the system that has words to describe a person for every combination of 4 grandparents of 3 possible ethnicities. Lazy if you ask me; how do you describe and rank someone who has 3 Spanish, 2 African, and 3 Amerindian great-grandparents, by their name and personality and contributions to society? Madness! And not differentiating based on whether it's the father or the mother that is one race or the other, the way we would for large cats; no wonder the US is able to steamroll right into their countries.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby ObsessoMom » Sat Sep 09, 2017 6:24 am UTC

Well, the United States' one-drop rule was far more efficient, but also very problematic, for a number of reasons. The terms quadroon, hexadecaroon, etc., were also pretty complicated.

I know you're being facetious, but I really don't think any cultural self-congratulation is in order.

BTW, my kids are bi-racial (half white and half Chinese). They attend two different universities, in the same California city. Each university defines their ethnicity differently, even though both kids have the same parents.

One school's application form asked students to pick only the one race or ethnicity with which they most closely identify. My daughter actually identifies as 50-50, but this was officially impossible according to the form. In her high school, some students who were 100% white or 100% Asian claimed that they had cleverly figured out how to avoid being considered a member of an overrepresented ethnicity--they would simply pick "Other" or "Decline to state" on ethnic data forms instead. My daughter thought that sort of scheming was ridiculous. Her surname is obviously Asian, so she figured she may as well pick "Asian."

The other school told students to pick "all applicable categories," so my second daughter checked both the "White" and "Asian" boxes. But it's not clear how the data from students who tick multiple boxes gets massaged into that institution's ethnic pie charts, since those pie charts don't have an obvious "Multiethnic" slice. Did my kid's data end up in that murky "Other" category, even though that's not what she actually checked? Did the university just split my kid's data into 50% Asian and 50% White? If so, that might be accurate in her case, but a student with, say, seven White great-grandparents and one Asian great-grandparent would have provided them exactly the same data, and the university would have presumably treated that data the same.

Basically, society still doesn't know how to make sense of non-binary situations. There are conflicting desires to either pigeonhole people as one thing and not another, or to claim that categories don't matter at all. Again, those approaches are two poles, and reality is somewhere in between.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat Sep 09, 2017 6:36 am UTC

Another case in point: Google Image Search my name and you will find some photos of me in the top results. (The guy with the long hair and mustache, in case I'm in a search filter bubble; those pics are old and the mustache is gone now, btw). But according to the one drop rule, I'm "black". Yeah, hahah, right? But my grandma's grandma's mom was black, so that's at least a drop right? (And actually, since that's direct matrilineal ancestry, I guess a mitochondrial DNA test would call me "black" too, but still... yeah, right).

ETA: Also, more than half of my ancestry is Italian and Irish, which of course aren't "really white" by some old standards, so between that and the "drop" of black five generations back, I should totally get me some of that sweet affirmative action reparations money that all the other minorities are draining from the hard-working white man, right?
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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby Angua » Sat Sep 09, 2017 7:22 am UTC

I've never seen a form that didn't have multiple 'mixed' options (including 'mixed - other' which is the one I normally go for).
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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby CorruptUser » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:52 pm UTC

The "one drop rule" is also ignored all the time, especially if money is involved. Because the master race has always been green.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby ObsessoMom » Sat Sep 09, 2017 6:27 pm UTC

Angua wrote:I've never seen a form that didn't have multiple 'mixed' options (including 'mixed - other' which is the one I normally go for).


Ah, but you're in the Caribbean, where racial miscegenation has been an undeniable reality for centuries.

In the United States, interracial marriage was still outlawed in some states until 1965(!!!). Not that miscegenation didn't happen, of course, especially since slaves often didn't have much choice in the matter; but when I was a kid in an all-White, rural town in the 1970s, I still heard conservative Christians railing against inter-racial relationships as "unnatural" and against God's intent. (Some conservative Christians still insist that God intended for the races to remain distinct, as when Noah's three sons left the Ark to found various varieties of humanity.) And I remember hearing occasional expressions of fear about other races wanting to impregnate White women, too, because of course White women are the most beautiful and desirable, and of course everyone wants them, and then the White race will disappear, and that's a form of genocide, blah blah blah.

I know that there is significant concern about erasure among those who self-identify as Black or Native American, but who have partial (or even sometimes predominant) White ancestry. If every self-identified Black or Native American person with some White ancestry were to indicate that proportionally, the non-White proportion of the population would shrink dramatically, at least from a statistical standpoint.

And statistical quantification is one thing, personal experience of racism quite another. I've never heard that someone who is 1/4 Black experiences only 1/4 the disadvantages of having inherited some physical features that society regards a certain way. And I strongly suspect that the racist vitriol flung at Barack Obama was NOT only 1/2 as bad as it would have been if both his parents had been Black.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby Angua » Sat Sep 09, 2017 7:34 pm UTC

Most of these forms that allow for mixed ethnicity have been in the UK.
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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby ObsessoMom » Sun Sep 10, 2017 3:57 am UTC

Whoops. Sorry for the assumption, Angua.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby jewish_scientist » Mon Sep 11, 2017 12:37 pm UTC

Thesh: Counter Example

Everyone else: My point is not that we can ignore racism and the very real impact it has on millions of people. My point is that people and organizations that honestly want to help encounter many problems (see ObsessoMom's post about schools) for this reason.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:00 pm UTC

slinches wrote:
Thesh wrote:I think the assumption being made is that all issues regarding structural and systematic racism can be solved purely through other means that also benefit everyone. For example, if you completely ended economic inequality between everyone, you would also completely end economic inequality between races, by definition. Which, of course, people generally argue that we can only due so much to reduce economic inequality without it being too much of a burden on other people (i.e. those that currently benefit from the systematic racism).

I think that adding institutional racism to counter institutional/structural racial inequality is a dangerous path. Using racially non-discriminatory policies may not be quite as direct, but that path doesn't risk breeding contempt for minorities among the poorer of the majority population when one gets help the other doesn't have access to.


As an aside, the majority population does get a rather significant amount of affirmative action in the case of college admissions, specifically in the form of legacy admissions, which overwhelming benefits people that are rich and white. In the case of Harvard, for example, nearly a third of the incoming freshman are legacy admissions. The effect of legacy admissions on the demographics of American universities is much stronger than the effects of affirmative action programs.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:33 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:As an aside, the majority population does get a rather significant amount of affirmative action in the case of college admissions, specifically in the form of legacy admissions, which overwhelming benefits people that are rich and white.


And the majority of white people are legacies at the Ivies or other top schools?

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby Angua » Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:32 pm UTC

The whole idea behind legacy admissions is monstrous. I'm glad I didn't have to worry about it when I was interviewing undergraduates.
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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby idonno » Tue Sep 12, 2017 5:50 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:As an aside, the majority population does get a rather significant amount of affirmative action in the case of college admissions, specifically in the form of legacy admissions, which overwhelming benefits people that are rich and white. In the case of Harvard, for example, nearly a third of the incoming freshman are legacy admissions. The effect of legacy admissions on the demographics of American universities is much stronger than the effects of affirmative action programs.

Most people who are against affirmative action have the stated issue that it should be the most qualified people who are admitted. Qualified non legacy white students suffer reduced admissions probabilities from this so it is a compounding force for them not a counter acting force.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:14 pm UTC

Interestingly, the only supreme court justice in 2003 during that case reaffirming affirmative action to come out against legacy admissions was Clarence Thomas, the only justice that grew up poor. Also black. The people at the top either got in through legacy or have kids they want to get in through legacy, so you can damn well bet the government ain't getting rid of it anytime soon.


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