July 26, 2010

Class and Disparate Impact

Every so often, a nice moderate suggests getting rid of racial preferences and replacing them with class preferences. They usually make this suggestion in various states of naivete, but one of the most common is that they don't understand that the main body of preferences isn't college admissions but employment, and it's less done by overt than by covert quotas motivated by fear of disparate impact discrimination lawsuits.

One reason why class has faded relative to race so dramatically as a subject of liberal concern since the days of Harry Truman is that there's no money in it. You can't file a disparate impact lawsuit over class discrimination because the government doesn't count by class, it counts by race/ethnicity, by sex, and by age. The Soviet Union counted people by class, but the whole project seems pretty hopeless in the U.S. The Office of Management and Budget has rules for how to count by race, but not by class.

I realize that there are a lot of other reasons why liberals are so bored by class these days, but never underestimate the power of the government handing out money and prizes along some lines and not along other lines to determine what is a political obsession and what is not.

27 comments:

dearieme said...

"One reason why class has faded relative to race so dramatically as a subject of liberal concern ...is that there's no money in it." Well said - and that may be something of an international truth.

l said...

Liberals have some funny ideas. Whereas low class blacks, Hispanics and 3rd world immigrants have vibrant and fascinating cultures, libs despise low class whites. Libs denounce HBD, but clearly believe that low class whites are inherently stupid. Eric Alterman calls them "fucking NASCAR retards." Liberals congratulate themselves for being "free thinking" intellectuals -- compared to what, since a comparison is implied? Stupid low class whites, of course.

James said...

Re-reading Vance Packard's book THE STATUS SEEKERS (1959), I'm struck above all by two things: first of all, how little America's class structure seems to have changed in the last 50 years, compared with just about every other aspect of American culture; and secondly, how outspoken Packard could be on the topic, compared with the mealy-mouthedness that's almost de rigueur now (save from the likes of Eric Alterman, who manages to be insulting without being remotely perspicacious on the matter).

Anonymous said...

You can't file a disparate impact lawsuit over class discrimination because the government doesn't count by class, it counts by race/ethnicity, by sex, and by age.



Disparity suits on the basis of age are almost unknown though. You've talked about pools of underutilized intelligent people ... if employers got over their bias in favor of younger workers they would be little need for them to keep importing "newer" aka younger ones.

Garland said...

Last night Chris Matthews asked at Buchanan "how much is left of affirmative action in terms of-- I know schools, private schools look for diversity because they think it helps all their students. What is left that bothers you in terms of affirmative action that you think should be gotten rid of... What is left as a remnant of affirmative action you want to see gone?" I'm not usually surprised by TV head ignorance (who is?) but his impression that affirmative action has somehow waned truly staggered me.

Buchanan set him straight about employment briefly but the rest of the segment seemed to be talking pretty much about school admissions.

http://www.livedash.com/transcript/hardball_with_chris_matthews/52/MSNBC/Monday_July_26_2010/262510/

suggestion said...

The government does count people by class. The U.S. census keeps statistics on how many people (or at least households) are living below the poverty line for example. That's a good starting place.

Dahinda said...

I Said said:
"Liberals have some funny ideas. Whereas low class blacks, Hispanics and 3rd world immigrants have vibrant and fascinating cultures, libs despise low class whites. Libs denounce HBD, but clearly believe that low class whites are inherently stupid."

On top of this they are totally clueless that the low class minorities hate them more than the low class whites do. Just because you are politically correct doesn't mean the other people are. Minorities just see liberals as just that many more whites, just ones that are pathetically patronizing and sappy!

Anonymous said...

But if you made a law that swapped class for race in civil rights, all the disparate impact suits could only be for class, which is impossible to measure accurately, so no disparate impact suits.

Garland said...

Oh yeah, Matthews also said that NBA teams carry white players:

http://www.sportsgrid.com/nba/msnbc-host-nba-carries-white-players-because-of-affirmative-action-video/

keypusher said...

Drum identified a study that said class-based affirmative action would assist blacks almost as much as race-based affirmative action would. That doesn't sound right to me, but if it's correct, that would be important and worth knowing. Is it correct?

Roger Chaillet said...

I said: Some animals on the farm are more equal than others.

Liberals don't give a shit about blacks, Mexicans and Third World immigrants.

They just wish to parade their moral superiority over "rednecks."

I've yet to meet a liberal who wishes to move to the barrio or 'hood.

Too much "vibrant" culture.

Like when I lived on the edge of the barrio in Old East Dallas. I'd hear roosters crowing before dawn, and hear the sound of gunfire on Sunday evenings as the drunkenness ensued.

Now the area is being gentrifed, i.e., taking on a whiter hue, and the SWPL-types are moving in.

Anonymous said...

"Eric Alterman calls them "fucking NASCAR retards."

To acknowledge the snobbery inherent in the liberal, educated masses' hatred of all things associated with the South or with the common man, including a love of cars and especially racing cars (since race cars involve competition) is one thing, but to understand it is another thing.

For some who would be elites to shed their common origins means that they must shed any affection for, interest in, or ties to those reminders of a working class ancestry. Disdain must be quite vitriolic, lest anyone think him to be of base stock.

For others, whose families never were of common stock (or for whom the connection is so distant as to be meaningless), the common man can be looked upon with disdain some times but with condescending affection at others. (I think of the likes of Peggy Noonan, although admittedly I really don't know her family origins. Just when you think Peggy understands the ordinary guy or gal, she reminds you she doesn't.)

All of them--those whose ties to the common American are very much in their memories and those who have never had such ties, there is something much more primitive going on.

Their inability to understand such things as NASCAR or neighborhood Super Bowl parties where guacamole and chilpolte dips, pizza, and ice cold beer are preferred fare, or the workshops set up in the garages of middle class/working class homes illustrates something else, something simpler that explains their contempt.

These elites are good with words, but with not much else.
The male animal is never, no matter how much he tries, no matter to what social or economic heights he climbs, able to shed his envy of the masculinity of other males.

That the NASCAR millions could beat the shit out of them with both hands tied behind their backs should the need arise, that these same "dullards" demonstrate the masculine brain's grasp of and appreciation for mechanical engineering, a male trait most of these verbal elites lack, is a constant reminder to them that they lack valued traits of masculinity.

They are, in effect, DWEEBS...and NASCAR men are, in large part, their visual, uncomfortable reminder of that.

The same thing works for the silly women who can't understand the average American woman married or attracted to the Average American man --the Maureen Dowds, the vapid(forgot her name) bitch that Ben Bradlee's married to, Rachel Maddow, the contributors to Salon, Slate, whatever. Loving a man, being a great mom, creating a close family that can derive happiness even if they never, ever travel to Europe in their lives...ah, these are representations of womanhood that make them uncomfortable. So, at every turn, they show their contempt for these women, unless of course they are black women who, they argue, have not chosen their fate and "must" work at Walmart to feed their 5 kids, in which case, they stick up for them and advocate for policies that will benefit them. They envy nothing in lives of the latter group of women and so feel no need to attack them.

The elites are still dweebs and dweebettes.

Speaking from a woman's point of view, there is nothing so sad as the contrast between a masculine man and an effete.

Anonymous said...

USG doesn't count religion either, hence no disparate impact suits there.

Mike said...

The left since the time of Marx has presented itself as the advocate of the working class. Since the 'sixties, though, in the U.S. the left has fallen out of love with the working class. This happened about the time that "hard-hats" began having confrontations with long-haired hippies and war protesters.

Marx had very little good to say for what he called the lumpenpropletariat - the underclass. However, today's left is enamored with this class. Left-wing politics in the US represents an alliance of upper middle class apparatchiks in government, academia, and journalism, with lumpenproles who are in some way beneficiaries of social-welfare programs.

Veracitor said...

"There but for the grace... go I"

That's why supercilious white liberals fear and loathe lower-class whites. A white liberal knows that no one will ever mistake him for an NAM so he's free to pay lip service to the fascinating foibles of NAM's, but every time a liberal sips from his ironically-labelled microbrew he risks being mistaken-- from a distance-- for a mere worker sucking down a Bud.

Since white liberals can't rely on racial stereotypes to distinguish themselves from lower-class whites, they naturally magnify less salient differences and even invent and publicize purely arbitrary ones (of dress and courtesy and food preferences).

This isn't surprising to anyone who has read some history. The European nobility is famous for inventing obscure rituals and taboos just so they can detect parvenu intruders.

Harry Baldwin said...

We recall that that amusingly devious fellow, our president, suggested he felt the same way when running for office. This, from Slate (March 31, 2008),

>>
Obama has certainly sent signals that he is not doctrinaire on the issue. In an interview last May on ABC's This Week With George Stephanopoulos, he was asked whether his own daughters should someday receive preferences in college admissions. His response was unexpected: "I think that my daughters should probably be treated by any admissions officer as folks who are pretty advantaged." He added, "I think that we should take into account white kids who have been disadvantaged and have grown up in poverty and shown themselves to have what it takes to succeed." His comments lit up the blogosphere with speculation that as president he might spearhead a major policy change, shifting the basis of affirmative action from race to class disparities.
<<

Maybe he's holding off for his second term to introduce legislation on this!

Father Hildago said...

How did the Soviet Union count people by class? My understanding is that the USSR was a classless utopia. It was an official noble lie that everyone parroted but no one believed or lived by.

It is much like how elites proclaim "diversity is strength" but do all they can to escape non-token diversity in their neighborhoods, schools, marriages and careers.

In the old USSR, it seemed that there were few class differences because everyone was poor outside a few well connected politicians. Propagating the official PC lie as a low level party functionary was the best way to elevate ones class (along with running in the black market but that again usually took political connections).

The parallels between the old USSR and our American elites' ideal of New World Order are obvious:

* Growing one party state, elections without real choice, esp on fundamental issues where the elites are a odds with the masses.

* Relative growth of power of the political class who have higher salaries, security and even greater private sector opportunities as the state increasingly regulates and subsidizes the private sectors like finance (Rham, Summers, Geithner, Gore, Chelsea), natural resources (Bush), defense (Chaney).

* At times silly PC line that is harshly but selectively enforced against potential enemies of the new order (Jimmy the Greek, Gibson, HBD vs Michael Irvin, Polanski, NBP)

* Discredited nakedly propagandistic media organs that are so unpopular they may need government subsidies to survive

* Spread of hard-line PC orthodoxy throughout all of society: education, academia, media, politics and business

* Pervasive demonization and persecution of Kulaks and other real or perceived enemies of the state via media, quotas, and laws (white, male, Christian, conservative, etc).

A friend living in the old USSR said rampant alcoholism was a coping mechanism for the masses to deal with all the official double speak. Is this blog a coping mechanism for it's readers?

steve wood said...

I think the rise of the so-called meritocracy has a lot to do with this. Today, people at the top believe they got there all on their own merit. After all, they reason, the bad old days when you had to be from the WASP elite to make it are long gone. Today "anyone" can go to Harvard. Of course, we know that's not really true, but it's a comforting fiction, and people - even people who probably could have gone to Harvard under the old system as well - cling to it.

If you believe that the elite has risen purely by its own merit, then it follows that those left behind must be lingering in the lower 50% because of their own LACK of merit. Thus, there is no sympathy and no noblesse oblige toward the poorer classes ... unless, of course, you can convince yourself that they're down and out because of racial prejudice.

Kylie said...

Anonymous said..."Speaking from a woman's point of view, there is nothing so sad as the contrast between a masculine man and an effete."

Not this woman's POV. I find effete men contemptible and even repulsive--as contemptible and repulsive as I find overbearing "progressive" women.

Otherwise, an excellent analysis of "dweebs" and "dweebettes", thanks.

Felix said...

["Eric Alterman calls them "fucking NASCAR retards."]

To acknowledge the snobbery inherent in the liberal, educated masses' hatred of all things associated with the South or with the common man.. is one thing, but to understand it is another thing.


It's actually very easy to understand the motivation of a guy called Eric Alterman. Some liberals are actually liberal (useful fools) while others simply malevolent.

Anonymous said...

To Father Hildago from a former Soviet citizen,

You are right on the money with your points about the parallels between the USSR and the USA. Yet there is one crucial difference: to keep the state going, USSR had to seal the borders (hense, Iron Curtain); otherwise, most able-body-and-mind people would flee, and the country would collapse.

Essentially, the collapse of the USSR had been precipitated by the exodus in the '70 and '80s of several groups, allowed to emigrate "for family reunification reasons": Jews, Germans, Baptists, and everyone who could marry into such a group or pass for a member. (A joke from around that time played on another, earlier, Soviet joke about a car not being a luxury: "A Jewish woman is not a luxury but a transportation abroad."

Though many of the people who left the Soviet Union were simple workers or, the opposite, high-level scientists and intellectuals, the majority were middle-level cogs in the wheel of the Soviet machine. Purchase agents for factories ("tolkachi"), technical assistants to party appointees, engineers, draftsmen, etc. In other words, people who made things happen.

The US won't be able to stay "in business" of distributing wealth if it keeps the borders open to those who want to leave because "people who make things happen" will flee.

Redistribution only works for as long as there are things to distribute. After that, everyone is left with what they were born with: IQ, drive, and health. Remarkably,the growth of common sense in individuals with high IQ is inversely proportionate to the success of the social justice policies. In the country of the victorious socialism (USSR), I hardly ever met a smart person who lacked common sense.

Anonymous said...

"A friend living in the old USSR said rampant alcoholism was a coping mechanism for the masses to deal with all the official double speak. Is this blog a coping mechanism for it's readers?"

This blog is certainly an outlet, but most people use coping mechanisms that would be most familiar to the Soviets.

Anonymous said...

Correction. In my comment to Father Hildago from a former Soviet citizen I wrote

the growth of common sense in individuals with high IQ is inversely proportionate to the success of the social justice policies. In the country of the victorious socialism (USSR), I hardly ever met a smart person who lacked common sense.

It should read

the growth of common sense in individuals with high IQ is directly proportional to the "success" of the social justice policies. In the country of the victorious socialism (USSR), I hardly ever met a smart person who lacked common sense.

Anonymous said...

Kylie quoted me: "Speaking from a woman's point of view, there is nothing so sad as the contrast between a masculine man and an effete."

And Kylie then added:
"Not this woman's POV. I find effete men contemptible and even repulsive--as contemptible and repulsive as overbearing 'progressive' women."

I do believe that is what I said (or suggested)-- unless you are taking issue with my use of the word "sad," by which I meant "pathetic." Agreed, your word "contemptible" is even better, however.

Anonymous said...

Well, the Clinton-appointed judge just rendered her decision.

To my mind, there is absolutely no reason for any thinking American to obey any law, anymore. Our kids laugh at laws in our states and in our communities because those laws aren't enforced; they laugh at school policies that aren't enforced.

Now, one more judge tells cops they can't be told to enforce a law that is on the books. If a society, through it's local, state, federal laws are not allowed to distinguish citizen from non-citizen, then citizenship holds no benefits.

In the hearts and minds of decent people, I do believe something big is brewing.

Anonymous said...

Kylie,

I wanted to add that two terms for such effete men have grown common around my part of the woods: "fem-men" (which, I contend people too often mistake for meaning "gay") and my personal favorite, "male-lites."

none of the above said...

Harry Baldwin:

I think Sasha and Malia Obama will be the death of pure race-based AA in university admissions. There is simply no way to argue with a straight face that the daughters of a former president, with two Ivy League alums as parents, should be given a boost in admission to some university.

keypusher: Do you have a link? That seems extremely unlikely to me, if you assume that admissions would otherwise be based on test scores that correlate with IQs. I believe the children of high-SES blacks have a lower average IQ that the children of low-SES whites, so it seems inevitable that if all poor kids are put on an even footing and admitted based on IQ (or an IQ surrogate like the SAT or ACT), white kids will get most of the spots.