We've considered the dangers inherent in a multi-ethnic society. One of them is a policy that deserves special attention, because it (1) is getting ever more popular, (2) can lead to disastrous outcomes, and (3) has actual merit from a race-realist perspective. That policy is affirmative action.
We've looked before at its history. Though unpopular amongst conservatives, there are two plausible arguments that could be made in its favor:
I. Natives should restrict foreign immigrant groups' ability to dominate certain institutions.
II. It is a social good to 'insert' members of lower-perfoming groups into roles where they can feel productive.
Our first argument is one for which there is much evidence, both for and against.
I. Countering an alien elite
1) Chinese in Malaysia
Thomas Sowell has written about 'middleman minorities,' which can quickly become 'market-dominant minorities.' A glaring example is the Chinese, a group which has climbed from coolie to capitalist all over East Asia. Watching these foreign interlopers take over commerce, industry, and academia has not been pleasant for Vietnamese, Indonesians, Thais, and Malays. From Sowell's Migrations and Cultures:
Malaya was also richly endowed with some of the most extensive deposits of tin ore in the world, as well as rich petroleum deposits and other minerals. The climate and soil were also suitable for growing rubber trees, eventually making Malaya the world's leading producer of rubber. But the development of all these resources was largely the work of foreigners, not Malays. Those Malays with wealth usually did not choose to invest it in such enterprises and, among less affluent Malays, relatively few were willing to work on rubber plantations or in tin mines, when they had the option of a less arduous life on their own land.
... Beginning at the very bottom, in occupations rejected by most Malays, the Chinese rose economically, many using their savings to open tiny businesses, some of which grew into more substantial enterprises. Whereas more than half of all Chinese in Malaya in 1911 were either agricultural laborers or mining laborers, just twenty years later only 11 percent of the Chinese were in these two occupations.
Education statistics from the pre-quota era (excluding Indians):
Employment statistics from several decades into the quota experiment:
It would appear that the quota efforts have indeed borne some fruit.
2) Indians in Uganda
The Indians in Uganda followed a similar pattern. First imported as coolies by the British the build the Ugandan Railway (as Africans showed little interest), they scrimped and saved and stuck around to make a buck. Sowell:
Throughout East Africa, the Indian operated on a very small profit margin, lived extremely cheaply, took the risks of selling on credit, and worked long hours in remote places under what would be impossible conditions for Europeans. He was, in short, performing an economic function which no one else was available to perform--a point also noted by various contemporary observers.
The enormous economic role of Indians in transforming the economies of East Africa is all the more remarkable because of their relatively small number in proportion to the total populations of those countries. At the peak of their population size in Uganda [... ] They were just over one percent of the population.
Indians dominated the Ugandan economy during the colonial era:
And well into the era of independence:
Channeling popular anger over this, in 1972 Idi Amin threw this market-dominant minority out on their backsides. If they left promptly, they were allowed 55£ and the right to not be murdered.
The Uganda African Trade Movement issued a public statement plainly stating that its members "intend to wage an atrocious war everywhere in Uganda on any Asian returnee."
The economic role of the Indians in Uganda can perhaps best be appreciated by considering what happened after they left. The economy collapsed. The Asian shops were often simply turned over to Amin's favorites, who sold everything and then closed them down. The confiscated wealth was not simply redistributed; the total wealth of the country was diminished. In agriculture, the Asians' coffee and tea plantations, which required constant care, were neglected after their departure and became breeding grounds for deadly tsetse flies.
Uganda eventually asked them to come back, though few have agreed to do so.
3) Jews in Euro lands
In the West, one of the 'market-dominant minorities' par excellence has been the Jews, particularly the Ashkenazim of Central European origin. In the early 20th century, the height of influence they reached in these regions was breathtaking:
Since WWII, a similar pattern has become evident in the United States:
At various times in all the countries indicated, some have called for 'reining in' these alien elite via quotas. Is there an argument to be made that this is a productive use of affirmative action? The debate continues...
II. Buying social peace
Our second argument remains largely hypothetical, as it comes from a race-realist perspective, which is today high heresy. We present it nonetheless, as sooner or later genetic science will push HBD into the mainstream, and lawmakers will have no choice but to contend with the fact that some groups will simply never perform at the same level as others. What to do with these people?
1) Precedent: Integrating the mentally handicapped
Such an idea is not without precedent. Many governments fiscally entice the private sector to hire the handicapped. In the U.S., the carrot is a tax break of up to $2400 per disabled employee. Walgreen's, for one, has taken advantage of this in a big way:
Disabled employees at Walgreen's distribution plant in South Carolina
At first glance, the Walgreens distribution center in Anderson, S.C., seems ordinary enough. But upon closer inspection, it's anything but. More than 40 percent of the 700 workers here are disabled. Walgreens employee Julia Turner has Down's Syndrome. Derrill Perry, who works right next to her, is mentally retarded. Garrick Tada has autism. Luann Bannister, one of their training supervisors, is in a wheelchair.
And Angela Mackey, who recruited most of them, has cerebral palsy. "I hope that from my work and from this program, I'm showing that disability or not, we all have potential. We all have value," Mackey said.
The French have gone even further, imposing a quota of 6% of disabled employees on any company of twenty people or more. Those who choose not to fulfill the quota must pay a yearly 'handicap tax' equivalent to 100 hours of minimum wage pay per 'missing' disabled employee.
The parallel may seem unduly harsh. Can we really compare an entire ethnic group to the mentally handicapped? La Griffe du Lion:
In 1959, AAMD [American Association on Mental Deficiency] set the IQ threshold for mental retardation at < 85. The civil rights movement of the next decade forced psychologists to rethink this boundary, because half the African American population fell below it. In 1973, responding to this concern, AAMD (by then AAMR) changed the threshold for retardation from IQ < 85 to IQ < 70. The boundary moved south by one standard deviation! The proportion of blacks below the threshold instantly dropped from about 50 percent to 12 percent. Subsequent refinements made it still more difficult to meet the criteria for retardation.
Brutal as this comparison may sound, sometimes looking at the extremes can help us better understand the middle. Millennia of natural selection have left us with groups widely disparate in cognitive ability. When this fact (re-)hits the mainstream, policymakers will have to adjust. What might 'affirmative action' look like in an HBD-aware world?
2) HBD-aware affirmative action: A road already traveled?
Were a space alien to decamp in the modern U.S., he might very well look around and guess the state already recognizes some groups as cognitively less able. How else to explain the 'running head start' they're given in so many arenas? Otherwise put, the blueprint for 'HBD-aware quotas' may already be before our very eyes. Walter Williams:
The U.S. Department of Justice, led by Attorney General Eric Holder, rejected the results of Dayton's  Civil Service examination because not enough blacks passed. The DOJ has ordered the city to lower the passing score. ... The DOJ-approved scoring policy requires potential police officers to earn the equivalent of an "F" on the first part and a "D" on the second.
Our state equality-rain-makers have done the same not only in Dayton, but in (among others) Boston, Chicago, Virginia Beach, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
The glaringly obvious conclusion is not lost on all Afros:
Keith Lander, chairman of the Dayton chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Dayton NAACP president Derrick Foward condemned the DOJ actions. Mr. Lander said, "Lowering the test score is insulting to black people," adding, "The DOJ is creating the perception that black people are dumb by lowering the score."
Mr. Foward agreed ... "If you lower the score for any group of people, you're not getting the best qualified people for the job."
In an HBD-aware quota system, of course, as with handicapped-hiring programs, the above is a feature, not a bug. The same acknowledgement of lower ability exists in college admissions, as Espenshade and Radford have shown in their landmark study:
It also exists in medical school and law school admissions:
If you're a black or, to a lesser degree, Hispanic applicant, your chances of being admitted to medical school are far greater than whites or Asians with the same college grades and Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores.
This sliding scale of standards has even worked its way down to public primary and secondary schools. After the 'No Child Left Behind' nation-wide cheating debacle, the State of Virginia has thrown up its hands and adjusted its expectations to reality:
Again, indignation follows:
...there is no way around the fact that the commonwealth is codifying different expectations for various groups of students. Virginia students of all races and incomes go to school together, but “together and unequal” is the message of the new policy.
In other words, race-realist education policy. The HBD-aware future is now?
Such submission to brutal reality can also be seen around the world.
Sowell, on India:
Explicitly lower cut-off scores for members of the scheduled casts and tribes have been common among Indian universities and technical institutes.
Medical school admission policies extend from a strict, race-based system in use by the University of Cape Town (UCT) to a “definite effort to accommodate candidates from a disadvantaged academic background” at Free State University.
UCT is clear about its racial selection criteria, by which black students need to obtain 534 out of 900 points, whereas white and Indian candidates have to achieve 700 out of 900 marks to make their “admission probable”. The university’s website also says that coloured [mixed-race] pupils have to score 578 points and Chinese 660.
The report ... recommends [Scotland] Yard lobby for a law change that would allow “positive discrimination” in [police] recruitment. ... A statistical analysis of past exam results concluded that white candidates were more than twice as likely to pass. ... Black and Minority Ethnic candidates [were] nearly two times more likely to fail on the basis of Written Communication than white candidates.If we have implicitly agreed that different groups are differently-abled, what is next?
III. HBD-aware affirmative action: the next step
The day will come, and soon, when we shall be forced to acknowledge race-based differences in ability. Where do we go from there? Symbolic set-asides? Or separate institutions?
1) Symbolic set-asides
If ethnic groups of all ability levels are tossed into the same ring, one will inevitably rise to the top. A way to counter this is through 'symbolic set-asides.' Though we don't like to admit it, this is the system we have now. Not just in the U.S., but in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, South Africa, Brazil, Australia, and many other places, the lower-performing are shoe-horned into positions they could never attain on their own merit. Is this defensible, from a race-realist perspective?
- Social peace is bought.
In theory, symbolic set-asides calm the agitation of the less able group. A sense of group pride is restored when we see people like us in prestigious or powerful posts. In Andhra Pradesh in India, where the Andhras economically dominate the Telanganans, one of the latter's leaders said,
'Yes it is true that they [the Andhras] are also better qualified for many of the jobs than we are. Maybe they are better qualified, but why is merit so important? We can have some inefficiency. That will be necessary if our people are to get jobs. Are we not entitled to jobs just because we are not as qualified?'
To the efficiency-obsessed managerialist mind, the question might seem absurd. But our societies are not assembly lines. They are human patchworks. Centuries-old ethnic patchworks, in the case of India or the U.S. We must find a formula for le vivre-ensemble that will keep us from tearing each other apart.
But what price social peace via quotas? Thomas Sowell has put together a long list of nasty side effects in his Affirmative Action Around the World. Including, but not limited to:
- It pushes people massively to 're-designate' in order to take advantage of the racial spoils.
Rainbow nation: Cherokee Indian senator Elizabeth Warren, Hispanic DOJ Civil Rights spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa, black NAACP president Benjamin Jealous
- It jumps from original, deserving groups (e.g. descendents of slaves in the U.S.) to ever more unrelated groups (Arab, Indian, Latino immigrants) like a virus.
- The real beneficiaries are often not the most disadvantaged, but the 'cream' of the less able group who were already doing very well (e.g. wealthy children of the mulatto elite getting college spots over both ghetto Blacks and poor Whites).
- It creates 'Ali Baba' companies (e.g. a Chinese company obliged to use Malay 'front men' in order to get govt. contracts in Malaysia).
- It leads to 'education mis-match,' wherein students who would have done fine at mid-level schools end up overwhelmed by (and dropping out of) top-tier schools.
- It disincentivizes hard work in the less able group (they know jobs, college spots, etc. will be handed to them based on their race).
- It disincentivizes hard work in the more able group (they know that merit is not rewarded).
- It pushes the most able to emigrate, creating brain drain and economic slowdown.
2) Separate institutions
If symbolic set-asides are not the answer, another presents itself. Just as women have created a separate space for themselves in pro sports to avoid being consistently out-matched by men, some groups have decided that voluntary separaton has its advantages.
After fighting all the way to the Supreme Court, Afro-Americans are increasingly admitting that segregated schooling could be more solution than problem:
Ernie Chambers, the only African-American in the Nebraska Legislature, was a major force behind a law enacted this week that calls for dividing the Omaha school district into three racially identifiable districts, one largely black, one white and one mostly Hispanic.
The law, which opponents are calling state-sponsored segregation, has thrown Nebraska into an uproar, prompting fierce debate about the value of integration versus what Mr. Chambers calls a desire by blacks to control a school district in which their children are a majority.
While de facto segregation in mostly-white schools is a crime, in mostly-black schools it is more and more seen as a benediction:
They highlight successful charter schools, such as the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) national chain that targets black and Hispanic students. The KIPP charter, which opened last fall in Jacksonville and has 96 percent black enrollment, recently received accolades from Gov. Rick Scott for helping minority students achieve academically. That's justification for grouping students by race or ethnicity in charter schools, supporters say.
"I would not call it segregation," said Patricia Levesque, executive director of former Gov. Jeb Bush's Foundation for Florida's Future, a lobbying group. "Charter schools may target minority communities because they want to provide those students with options."
Those 'options,' it would seem, include a playing field that excludes non-Blacks.
The endless problems faced by Afro boys in public schools has some leaders calling for double segregation--by race and sex:
But at the 100 Black Men Community School, a new all-male public charter school, educators and organizers say they refuse to accept ... any of the other statistics associated with black boys that include higher dropout rates, lower test scores and disproportionate placement in special education programs.
[...] Terrell Wrice, 11, was happy to be there. "The school gives us a different feeling - equal in one environment," he said, adding that the only downside was a lack of girls.
This desire for 'a different feeling - equal in one environment' has even extended to the humble spelling bee:
The African-American Spelling Bee Championships are scheduled to take place 9am Saturday morning at [Houston's] Jack Yates Senior High School.
"You're telling these young black children you're not good enough to compete, ... so we'll create something you can win," said [KTRH talk show host Micheal] Berry. "They have a trophy that's meaningless, there's no honor in that."
[Teacher Jackie] Terrell fired back, saying "There is honor in that, we're creating an opportunity they wouldn't otherwise have."
The subtext is clear: Afros who can see race realism--however blurrily--are beginning to carve out spaces for their own which are safe from competition from the More Able.
* * *
As genetic science is barreling along at break-neck speed, we suspect that race-realism about cognitive ability will soon (re-)hit the mainstream. When it does, policy-makers in multi-ethnic states will have some very serious questions before them. The time to think about them is not later, but now.