Monday, December 14, 2015

Is Scalia a Racist for Asking the Defense to Answer a Point Made by the Plaintiff if the Point is Politically Incorrect?

Justice Scalia
"Justice Scalia Suggests Blacks Belong at "Slower" Colleges" is the inflammatory headline at that bastion of liberal political correctness, Mother Jones.

Well, I read Scalia's comments and the judge's question did tread upon the sacred progressive principle that minorities should be given special help to get into more exclusive programs. What the article also says, reluctantly (this is Mother Jones, after all), is that the question grew out of data presented by the plaintiff's attorneys and the question was asked of the defense, thereby giving them a chance to respond and to better inform the judges.  Apparently, liberal journalists like those at Mother Jones and The Huffing and Puffington Post believe that Supreme Court Justices should already have their minds made up ahead of time so that they need not even consider such questions.

The comment (unedited):

  • "There are those who contend that it does not benefit African-Americans to get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well," Scalia said Wednesday during oral arguments in a case involving a race-conscious college admissions plan. The 79-year-old justice, speaking to a hushed courtroom, then referenced a friend-of-the-court brief filed in the case. "One of the briefs pointed out that most of the black scientists in this country don't come from schools like the University of Texas," he said, "they come from lesser schools where they do not feel that they're being pushed ahead in classes that are too fast for them."

At what point, do black students get held to the same standards as Asian, Hispanic and white students? Scalia asked if we're doing them a favor putting underachieving students in with overachievers. Do we then have to reduce the standards of the program to accommodate their less-than-stellar performance? If we do that, do we dumb down our advanced degree programs and thereby produce less competent graduates overall, in order satisfy some racial quota?

It's something to think about.

I think it is racist and insults black people to assume that blacks need to be held to lower standards because of their skin color. It seems to say, because you aren't as smart and capable, we have to reduce our standards for everyone. This is demonstrably untrue, especially when blacks like Dr. Ben Carson, Dr. Benjamin Banneker, Dr. George Washington Carver, Dr Daniel Hale Williams, Dr. Charles Richard Drew, Dr. Emmet Chapelle, Elijah McCoy, Madame CJ Walker, Patricia Bath, Booker T. Washington and the Tuskegee Airman have proven that a black man or woman can compete, not only on an even footing with whites, but also that, when the odds were against them, they could outperform white classmates.

Is it wise for us to tell black children that we need to dumb down our academic standards in order for them to compete with white students (or for that matter Asians and Hispanics)? 

The University of Texas does not discriminate against black students anymore
. The only real discrimination at UT is against whites. They also discriminate against conservatives as a few of my friends can tell you. If you enter their journalism program, for instance, and aren't pretty much a card-carrying Marxist, you are not likely to do well. I experienced the same discrimination myself for being a Christian and family man at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. Despite having the highest grades in the toughest class in the program, the department chairman made it impossible for me to complete the program, having told me at one point that "If you are a good scientist and are asked, 'Is there a God?', the appropriate answer is 'NO' in all circumstances."  I was forced to resign from the program. No black students, liberal white students, Hispanic or gay males were asked to leave that program. Only the conservative, Christian white male and they had consistently gotten rid of the only white male that had been accepted into the program every year for the previous 10 years but one.  Lucky me, it was the year before I joined the program and they were loaded for bear when I came on.

That seems like discrimination to me, but then the Supreme Court long ago ruled that a university graduate program can toss out a person if they don't like the color of their hair or anything else if they want to and you have no right to sue them. I'm still paying off a school debt I can't afford to pay because they discriminated against me because of my religion and gender.

Scalia's comment was, in effect, that perhaps we shouldn't force a program to accept kids that haven't done the work necessary to meet the program's standards if there are schools available that aren't as challenging that they can meet the standards for? He never said blacks should be relegated to such schools because of their race. The defendants were arguing that, what is in essence, racial discrimination is appropriate because they can't get enough black applicants who can meet the high standards of certain advanced degree programs.

Dr. Ben Carson came out of Detroit, an educational cesspool if there ever was one and went to Yale, the only school he applied to. He did so, he says, because his Mama rode him to do well in school and wouldn't accept less than excellent work. Black students can excel, but not if we keep telling them they don't have to try as hard as their white classmates because they are "disadvantaged". They have the same textbooks as their white classmates and the same opportunities.

Are those who are outraged at Scalia's comments really saying that something is wrong with the black community that it can't educate its children properly - enough to get them into good schools without making the good schools less "good"?

I went to a little public school in Keene because I couldn't afford church school. It was me and the local heathens and the kids who got kicked out of church school. The local churchmen on the school board deliberately kept the school underfunded so it would be unattractive to local parents and would not compete with the church school. My family was one of the poorest in town. My stepfather made a dollar an hour. Mom didn't work outside home. The linoleum floors in our house rose and fell like they were breathing whenever there was a high wind. We ate mostly biscuits, rice and beans. Sandwiches were a delicacy. So the public school was the one I went to till tenth grade. I was bullied and battered. A significant number of my classmates did prison time. I had a couple of years of church school and worked my way through. My grades were pretty good.

I scored in the top 2% on my SATs at the end of high school and was salutatorian of my class. I overcame my less-than-privileged childhood because I had access to the same books and library books as everyone else. I just read them is all.

It's not poverty keeping kids down. It's expectations. I had the same thing going for me that Ben Carson did - a mom who expected me to work hard in school. Instead of asking schools to go easy on the poor little snowflakes, we need to work on the attitude of those who would make black children believe they are less capable than their white classmates and that people are going to have to make it easy for them because their skin color makes them less intelligent and less able to succeed.

To me that is racism of the worst sort. Booker T. Washington would agree with me too. It was W.E.B. Dubois who thought we ought to make it easier for black people because their parents had once been slaves.  Dubois was a card-carrying Communist and participated in the promotion of a different kind of slavery that included everyone.

I am against racism and discrimination by race - every race in every case.  All men created equal, with equal opportunity. There is no guarantee, however, as to what you will do with your equal shot. When you start trying to give government power to game the system in favor of one group or another, you set us all up for the kind of Image to the Beast power that Revelation has warned us against. For if they can discriminate against me, they can discriminate against you.

And a lot of the rhetoric is simply lies. If you listened to the "progressive" pundits you'd think most black males in the US go to prison, but According to government figures, more than twice as many young African American men are now enrolled in college than are imprisoned. Black graduation numbers are up. One would hope that's because the parents of those kids are riding their little butts to do their homework and to finish school rather than because the schools are making it easier for them.

Scalia's comments weren't so crazy and if you read the reports, even in the liberal press. Scalia was simply putting forth an idea to the defendant that the plaintiff's attorneys in the case had put forward, namely that statistics showed blacks were able to achieve advanced degrees in other universities, even if their academic standards on entering weren't up to the standards of some more demanding university programs. The defendant's lawyers were asked to answer a legitimate question put forward by the plaintiff's attorneys. Scalia simply had the misfortune of being the one to, rather than ignore the question because it was politically incorrect, give the defendant an opportunity to respond to the point.

Instead of talking about what the defendant answered (which might have been instructive), the media did what the liberal media does - it crucified Scalia for even asking the question. In essence, the media expects a Supreme Court justice to ignore evidence presented by the plaintiff because it might not be approved by the guardians of political correctness.

Scalia's question should have been asked in order to give the defense an opportunity to answer the charges of the plaintiff. It was a fair question. Even one of the pundits at CNN agrees.

If we're not allowed to talk about both sides of a debate, it's not the Supreme Court any longer. It's a kangaroo court (no offense intended to either Australia in general or to kangaroos specifically.

© 2015 by Tom King

1 comment:

Mark Milliorn said...

I have frequently disagreed with Scalia over the years. About half the time I eventually discovered that he was correct and I was wrong. Even when I disagree with him, I still find his arguments interesting reading. I, too, work in an arena where logic is frequently labeled racism. In today's world, if someone doesn't label you with a "hate crime" periodically, you must truly be sitting on the sidelines.