Convergence of racial history with modern reality yields plenty of irony

Published: October 3, 2013
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“You cannot work a man who must have beef and bread, and would prefer beer, alongside of a man who can live on rice,” Blaine proclaimed. In a letter to the New York Tribune, Blaine said, “If as a nation we have the right to exclude the criminal classes from coming to us, we surely have the right to exclude that immigration which reeks with impurity and which cannot come to us without plenteously sowing the seeds of moral and physical disease, destitution, and death.”

Yet when Stuart Taylor and Richard Sander researched affirmative action, they concluded it had become “a force for economic inequality” that reduced opportunity for academically well-prepared working class and poor Asian students, among others. Ward Connerly, who has led the charge against affirmative action policies nationally, notes the percentage of Asian college students at the University of California increased from 22 percent to 42 percent after racial preferences were ended.

So a modern policy to make amends for past discrimination is in fact discriminating against modern students whose ancestors were the target of past discrimination. Some might see that as self-defeating.

We all bleed red. Efforts to pretend otherwise, past and present, keep leading people through the looking glass into an upside-down world of racial polarization with increasingly bizarre outcomes.

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