Affirmative Action and Radical Politics

Abraham H. Miller, PJ Media, March 22, 2012

When I read Thomas Sowell’s column (March 13, 2012) about an African American graduate student in mathematics at a prestigious university who had his dissertation written for him, I was shocked. Not because after spending more than three decades in academia I didn’t know such things existed. I just didn’t know they existed in mathematics and, perhaps, the real sciences. I thought that kind of intellectual corruption was confined to the social sciences and humanities.

So familiar am I with the process of writing dissertations for black students that I believe I can claim to know the professor who thinks he invented it. In fact, he alleges to have devised the euphemism to cover it up, which he “brilliantly” called “heavy editing.” Were he to come forth and accept recognition for this achievement, it would be the singular and most palpable accomplishment of his academic career.

To be a black graduate student and be constantly reminded that your race results in the special privilege of having a dissertation written for you does nothing for your self-esteem. To survive in this kind of intellectually abusive environment, one must turn against it. One must deny its legitimacy.  If one weren’t radicalized before, one most certainly is radicalized afterward.

{snip} Barack Obama’s admission to Columbia University remains a mystery. He became the president of the Harvard Law Review without ever having written an article for it. Obama knew that he was where he was because of his race.  He too embraced a cultural explanation of a different reality and a political radicalization that affirmed that reality.

The ego must defend itself. We are not about to be objective about our limitations. We are going to rationalize our experiences. If we are found wanting, we are going to denounce the standards that make it so.

A colleague once returned a graduate examination in statistical methods. The single black student in class stood up from his chair, pounded on the seminar table, and screamed, “This examination is racist!”

My shocked colleague asked, “How could it be racist? It’s all statistics. There’s no substantive content here.”

To which the student responded, “It’s racist because I’m the only black student in the class, and I obviously got the lowest grade.”

Thomas Sowell views the white professor writing a dissertation for a black student as engaging in a misguided act of sympathy. At some level, I wish that as deplorable as the act is, it was out of compassion. My own observations revealed anything but compassion.

Universities operate under quotas masquerading as goals and government audits of racial outcomes known as cultural audits. Consequently, university administrators have numbers to produce because the government wants to see numbers. The reality is that the faculty that push black students through aren’t compassionate at all. They’re part of a bureaucracy that needs a certain statistical outcome. The black student is a means to an end. That end is a check in a box.

The professor who devised heavy editing was not concerned about the students he pushed through. He was concerned about the administrative tallies. He wanted to be able to say to the administration, look what we’ve done for our black graduate students. Look how many of them have received doctorates.


The real racists are not the professors who quit such committees or voice objections to them, but those who create a normative structure that begins with the assumption that black students can’t do their own work


Who benefits from this process? Certainly not the black students. The good ones are tarred with the brush of favoritism. The bad ones are set on a course that almost guarantees failure in the profession. The people who benefit are the faculty and administrators who got their boxes checked off, and the people from Washington who got paid to fly out to assess the progress universities were making toward their cultural audits.


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  • ageofknowledge

    I’m sure it happens with a regularity that borders on policy now.

    • Oil Can Harry

      And the same goes for black medical students. That’s why I avoid black doctors at all costs.  

  • Hirschibold

    I keep thinking of Christopher Hitchens’ epic take-down of our first lady over at a few years ago. There was a link to her college thesis on the web site, which Hitch (R.I.P) claimed could not be read in any sense of the word (and he was generally left leaning, and thus disposed to be charitable to her). Read the thing, if it hasn’t been scrubbed from the internet and sealed with MLK’s records in a vault somewhere. After you slog through it, you will understand why she always looks angry. She is insecure, as a result of being surrounded by people who might suspect she is a fraud.

    •  “I direct your attention to Mrs. Obama’s 1985 thesis at Princeton
      University. Its title (rather limited in scope, given the author and the
      campus) is “Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community.”
      To describe it as hard to read would be a mistake; the thesis cannot be
      “read” at all, in the strict sense of the verb. This is because it
      wasn’t written in any known language.”-Christopher Hitchens

      • anonymous_amren

        I disagree. I found it completely readable. There are some errors of logic, and some misplaced punctuation, and minor grammar mistakes, but nothing like what Christopher Hitchens claims, except some formatting and layout problems near the end. It is stupid, but readable.

  • Michael King never had a name change and never wrote a paper that wasn’t written by a professor or plagiarized wholesale. This has been admitted time and time again and is almost to the level of common knowledge.

    If THE DOCTOR REVEREND SAINTED MAHOGANY DEITY MARTIN LUTHER KING JR HIS HOLINESS ™ was a non-stop Communist fraud then what hope do mere black mortals have of not being the subjects of “heavy editing?”

  • As somone who paid for my own education this makes me mad. Not only can any black who can spell his name get a free ride at college but the STEM fields are getting corrupted now as well. I have no problem with liberal arts degrees given away for free but math and science should  have merit based standards only. Imagine being quota forced to hire an actuary that cant tell how much change he should get back at KFC.  My favorite teacher said on his first day of class that he would have no problem failing the entire class if we didn’t know what we needed to.

  • radical7

    Dr. Charles Drew. The Balck doctor  who created blood plasma and was one of the most skilled and prominent physicians of all time?

    • Drew did NOT create blood plasma. Let’s get that straight.

      • The_Bobster

        Jamal is a regular fountain of ignorance. It frightens me that someone actually taught him the garbage he spews. That means that there are a lot more like him.

  • anonymous_amren

    Dr. Charles Drew was white. Look at his pictures:
    He was not especially skilled or prominent. He is only famous for having one drop of black blood.

    • He was not white. He was mulatto, I believe. Even from the photos you posted, I can see the negroid features in him.

      • anonymous_amren

        He has some negroid features, but he’s clearly mostly white, which is almost certainly where he gets his scientific skills from.

  • All I can say is that Blacks often demand special treatment but they always try to seem like they are capable as anyone else. How can a test is statistics be racist? The problem is that he should have studied harder instead of making excuses.

  • saxonsun

    Good one! Just beautiful, those last 2 remarks.

  • Up to my neck in CA

    I fear the day my White Doctor in his earlier 60’s retires.