Reparations are the new affirmative action — and even more racist and divisive

POLITICS: Reparations are the new affirmative action — and even more racist and divisive



Is affirmative action dead?

Gallup poll results this month show a significant majority — 68% — of Americans agree with the Supreme Court’s ruling to abolish affirmative action in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, the racial-discrimination case brought by Asian Americans.

Not only has aggregate favorability shot up since right after the summer decision, when it was 52%, but a majority of blacks now approve of SFFA; among younger blacks, the favorability is a stunning 62%, almost matching the 63% among Asian Americans!

Hispanic Americans came in even higher, 68%.

Perhaps after watching in amazement the stark contrast between how campus administrators handled recent pro-Hamas riots and how they handled non-progressive events for years, Americans of all races have awakened to the fact that much-touted campus diversity has been a total sham.

The court’s 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger decision said it was exactly because the “robust exchange of ideas” “diversity” brings to universities was a “compelling state interest” that affirmative action, with its inherent racial preferences, was provisionally spared from being illegal under the 14th Amendment and the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which guarantee equal rights under the law regardless of race.

“Provisionally” because under Grutter, affirmative action was to be practiced under highly limiting guidelines and with specific intent to end it, perhaps in 25 years — both of which universities ignored.

The SFFA decision found this “diversity rationale” to permit a little bit of racism for a little while in the name of educational benefits was incoherent; as we saw, it was also bogus.

SFFA did not end affirmative action. Diehards are busy reassembling affirmative action underground.

But worse, there’s an ascendant affirmative action that couldn’t care less about “diversity” or “educational benefits.”

This new variant is brazenly racist: Affirmative action is reparations for the so-called “legacy of slavery.”

As Thomas SowellJason Riley and others have shown, the “legacy” is not of slavery but of 1960s liberalism.

Regardless, there’s money and Democratic votes in Ibram Kendi’s toxic hucksterism of “the only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination.”

So reparations commissions are sprouting in Democratic strongholds around the country — 17 and counting, with Gov. Hochul signing one into New York law just last month — and Democrats are pushing a federal commission.

In the reparations regimen, “affirmative action” is reincarnated under “integration” to justify racial quotas under the “legacy of slavery” narrative.

Thus, in the California Reparations Report’s education chapter — only the Golden State’s commission has completed its report — cognates of “integration,” “segregation” or “desegregation” occur 199 times, against seven for “diversity” and zero for “proficiency” or “excellence.”

Significantly, reparations also underlie Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s dissenting SFFA opinion.

This was intentional: Jackson was laying groundwork for a Supreme Court fight on reparations, perhaps in a future court with more justices on her side.

Jackson’s dissent starts with a long — but “not exhaustive” — compilation of black suffering in America since slavery.

After suffering comes justification for reparations’ central demand, that of forever-legacy, but since facts and logic don’t support that, she resorts to dreamy storytelling: “History speaks. In some form, it can be heard forever. The race-based gaps that first developed centuries ago are echoes from the past that still exist today.”

She concludes with a recitation of black ills straight from the reparations narrative, with its usual inaccuracies and fallacies, including the confusion of correlation vs. causation, that wherever ills are observed, the “legacy of slavery” is the cause.

Jackson’s dissent is all reparations, only reparations.

In a lawsuit about discrimination against Asian-American applicants, she mentions them only once — just to recap a lower-court ruling.

Jackson blustered similarly elsewhere that despite explicitly guaranteeing universal equal rights in the unmistakable language of European Enlightenment, the 14th Amendment really meant for blacks to be more equal than others: whites, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, native Americans.

Democrats in power, with their proliferating state commissions, congressional bills and pseudo-legal rhetoric, are gearing up for the far bigger and toxic battle over reparations; to win, they are ready to dangle trillions of taxpayer dollars before black Americans.

Is the future of America such tribalism and grift?

Or is America’s future our founding ideal of “e pluribus unum” — out of many, one — with its promise of oneness under the law regardless of differences that made America the beacon of freedom to the world?

You decide.

Wai Wah Chin is the founding president of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance Greater New York and an adjunct fellow of the Manhattan Institute.



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