Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Clarence Page pens an interesting column in which he describes the enormous success of America's black immigrants, and yet at the same time, ignores some obvious implications. The interesting question is: Why?
Consider the following data. Each bullet is quoted directly from Page's column.
- 43.8 percent of African immigrants had earned a college degree, compared with 42.5 of Asian-Americans, 28.9 percent of immigrants from Europe, Russia and Canada, and 23.1 percent of the U.S. population as a whole. [These statistics are from a 2000 study. For comparison, the U.S. Census Bureau reported in 2005 for Americans over the age of 25, 28% overall held at least bachelor's degrees, 49% of Asian-Americans, but only 18% of blacks. Not using the age cutoff, the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education reported in 2004 an 11% figure for blacks earning four-year degrees or higher. --ed]
- About 8 percent, or about 530, of Harvard's undergraduates were black, ..., but somewhere between one-half and two-thirds of the black students were "West Indian and African immigrants or their children, or to a lesser extent, children of biracial couples."
- Immigrants, who make up 13 percent of the nation's college-age black population, account for more than a fourth of black students at Ivy League and other selective universities, according to the study of 28 colleges and universities published recently in the American Journal of Education. The proportion of immigrants was higher at private institutions, 28.8 percent, than at public colleges, where they made up 23.1 percent of enrollment.
I am inclined to think that, based on such data, two things stand out. (1) If the America Martin Luther King dreamed of, in which blacks "will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character", is not already here, it is near at hand. (2) American blacks ought to do some serious soul-searching about why they still remain, in so many respects, at the bottom rung of the economic ladder.
But Mr. Page has no such inclinations. Here is what he thinks of all this.
Are elite schools padding their racial diversity numbers with black immigrants who do not have a history of American slavery in their families? This development calls into question whether affirmative action admission policies are fulfilling their original intent. [italics and bold added]First, if the emphasis on American slavery seemed odd to you, you are not alone. Second, it is unseemly to whine about being "disadvantaged" (as Page later does, in effect) in the presence of people who have had to live in the desperate poverty of the Third World!
Aside from the bizarre xenophobia, is also interesting to note that Page regards the "original intent" of affirmative action as "reparations for slavery". This is a new one to me. I was always under the impression that affirmative action, whatever the flaws in its basic premise, was supposed to mitigate past and present discrimination against certain demographic groups, and not exclusively blacks.
Be that as it may, Page ends by trying to have things both ways.
[W]e need to revisit the question of diversity. Unlike our system of feel-good game-playing, we need to focus on the deeper question of how opportunities can be opened to everyone who was left behind by the civil rights revolution. We tend to look too often at every aspect of diversity except economic class. [bold added]What constitutes being "left behind by the civil rights revolution"? Obviously, Page doesn't regard the fact that black men are increasingly being judged on merit as meaning that nobody has been left behind who hasn't stranded himself.
No, to Page, the civil rights revolution was not about freeing the black man from the last vestiges of slavery, but of making countless Americans who never owned slaves forfeit "reparations" to the free descendants of slaves. In other words, Page advocates a kind of slavery, or at least a new kind of Jim Crow, himself. Mighty white of you, Clarence.
With Page, the moral inversion of the Civil Rights Movement has reached its logical conclusion. Instead of seeking the same recognition of the rights of black men as of everyone else, he seeks favors for the descendants of American slaves at everyone else's expense, including that of black immigrants! Instead of looking at the evidence that blacks need no special consideration to gain entry into college, Page complains that black immigrants are muscling native-born blacks out of admission slots they are entitled to, presumably because they are black, and were slaves in America, and, perhaps, poor. Instead of urging black youths to get to work, he panders to the cult of victim-hood.
When a black man fails to celebrate a clear victory for his own race, it is a sure sign that he is not sincerely interested in advancing the welfare of his race, which is to say, ensuring that the rights of all men are protected equally.