Jonathan Haidt demonstrates that that today’s climate of racial discontent on elite university campuses was predicted to occur at the very beginning of the adoption of large-scale Affirmative Action by those universities.
[I]n 1969, at the dawn of racial preferences,… Macklin Fleming, Justice of the California Court of Appeal …[wrote] a personal letter to Louis Pollack, the dean of Yale Law School. Fleming was concerned about the plan Dean Pollack had recently announced under which Yale would essentially implement a racial quota â€“ 10% of each entering class would be composed of black students. To achieve this goal, Yale had just admitted 43 black students, only five of whom had qualified under their normal standards. …
Judge Fleming explained why he believed this new policy was a dangerous experiment that was likely to cause harmful stereotypes, rather than reduce them. …
The immediate damage to the standards of Yale Law School needs no elaboration. But beyond this, it seems to me the admission policy adopted by the Law School faculty will serve to perpetuate the very ideas and prejudices it is designed to combat. If in a given class the great majority of the black students are at the bottom of the class, this factor is bound to instill, unconsciously at least, some sense of intellectual superiority among the white students and some sense of intellectual inferiority among the black students. Such a pairing in the same school of the brightest white students in the country with black students of mediocre academic qualifications is social experiment with loaded dice and a stacked deck. The faculty can talk around the clock about disadvantaged background, and it can excuse inferior performance because of poverty, environment, inadequate cultural tradition, lack of educational opportunity, etc. The fact remains that black and white students will be exposed to each other under circumstances in which demonstrated intellectual superiority rests with the whites.
But Judge Fleming went much further. He made specific predictions about what the new policy would do to black students over the years, and how they would react. Here is his prophecy:
No one can be expected to accept an inferior status willingly. The black students, unable to compete on even terms in the study of law, inevitably will seek other means to achieve recognition and self-expression. This is likely to take two forms. First, agitation to change the environment from one in which they are unable to compete to one in which they can. Demands will be made for elimination of competition, reduction in standards of performance, adoption of courses of study which do not require intensive legal analysis, and recognition for academic credit of sociological activities which have only an indirect relationship to legal training. Second, it seems probable that this group will seek personal satisfaction and public recognition by aggressive conduct, which, although ostensibly directed at external injustices and problems, will in fact be primarily motivated by the psychological needs of the members of the group to overcome feelings of inferiority caused by lack of success in their studies. Since the common denominator of the group of students with lower qualifications is one of race this aggressive expression will undoubtedly take the form of racial demandsâ€“the employment of faculty on the basis of race, a marking system based on race, the establishment of a black curriculum and a black law journal, an increase in black financial aid, and a rule against expulsion of black students who fail to satisfy minimum academic standards.
Hat tip to Bird Dog.