The Schumer-Rubio Amnesty/ Immigration Surge Bill emerged from the Senate Judiciary committee May 21st. The full Senate will consider a motion to vote on the bill (after having first, of course, pondered a motion to vote on the motion to vote) next Monday, June 10th.

So far as I can ascertain, neither the bill nor the 161 amendments the committee considered contained the phrase “Affirmative Action.” This is a pity, as the intersection of these two issues—immigration and Affirmative Action—is a place where current social policy shows itself at its most flagrantly illogical. 

For immigration patriots, Affirmative Action is a good point of leverage: unpopular in itself, and doubly outrageous as affected by immigration—Affirmative Action is a zero-sum game, and allowing immigrants to benefit from it while simultaneously increasing their numbers inevitably dispossesses white Americans even faster. This issue was raised by the historian Hugh Graham, in Collision Course, as long ago as 2002.

With a Supreme Court decision on the Fisher case due any time now, coinciding with the Gang of Eight bill, that zone of intersection between the two issues is in the spotlight. This is a good time to brush up on Affirmative Action.

Probably most Americans who accept Affirmative Action assume that it still has its original purpose: to compensate American blacks for their ancestors’ status as slaves or second-class citizens. Yet:

Blacks of West Indian or African parentage are greatly overrepresented at the more competitive colleges compared to all blacks. At the Ivy League schools represented in the NLSF survey blacks with parents born abroad—mostly those from West Indian and African backgrounds—constitute 40 percent of all black students, an enormous overrepresentation considering the small percentage (approximately 13 percent) such students represent in the total black student age population in America . . . Immigrant-origin blacks compete with native-origin blacks for affirmative-action slots in elite universities, a development some native blacks find objectionable.

That is from Russell Nieli’s recent book on Affirmative Action, Wounds That Will Not Heal.

Nieli, who teaches politics at Princeton University, lays into his subject with gusto, declaring in his introduction that

40+ years of racial preference policies [have] had overwhelmingly negative consequences…Affirmative Action has been a disaster on multiple levels.

Nieli works his way painstakingly through all those levels, though concentrating almost exclusively on college admissions. Quotes here are from his book.

• Affirmative Action fortifies prejudice

Affirmative-action role models are not genuine and are soon recognized as such by all concerned. The role actually modeled by Affirmative Action recipients is that of a patronized black, Hispanic, or female who is of inferior qualifications…and who would not have gotten to where he or she is except for the existence of an official policy of government favoritism…

Resentments inevitably abound, especially among white and Asian students who remember disappointed high school friends and rejected applicants of their own race, some of whom were much better qualified than many of the black and Hispanic students they meet on campus.

(Resentments of that kind, while surely easy for most people to understand, have baffled at least one Supreme Court Justice.)

• Affirmative Action, with its associated rewards and resentments, strengthens ethnic tribalism, which “is a principle of social chaos and, ultimately, a formula for civil war.”

• Fundamental American norms of fairness and reciprocity are violated by Affirmative Action:

White people, even very bigoted ones, can accept the advancement of blacks, or of any other racial, ethnic, or religious group in America, within virtually any area of endeavor, so long as that advancement takes place within the accepted rules of the game.

Which is to say, within those fundamental norms of fairness and reciprocity.

• The “pipeline problem”— NAM (black and Hispanic) students exhibiting low average performance at all levels of the educational system—is made worse by Affirmative Action in college admissions.

NAM students admitted on lower standards than whites and Asians will of course underperform in their college careers.

• The related “mismatch problem,” subject of another recent book, arises when NAM students who might prosper and develop confidence in lower-ranked colleges flounder in elite schools, while those low-ranked colleges are deprived of students who might add luster to their reputations.

(Russell Nieli told me that if you read Mismatch and his book, you will have the complete case against Affirmative Action in detail. I am sure he’s right; but both are scholarly books written in measured tones. If your taste runs to something with more polemical zip, I recommend Steven Farron’s 2005 book The Affirmative Action Hoax.

The lower-ranked colleges respond by “downward-raiding,” admitting NAM students who would be happier and more successful at still less competitive schools…and so on downwards, mismatching at all levels.

• Disincentives: Knowing that their race or ethnicity will waft them into a good college, smart NAM high-school students “will have every reason to work less and devote more time to fun-producing activities.”

• Dishonesty: The rationale for Affirmative Action has seen a flagrant moving of the goalposts.

Affirmative Action began in the 1960s as a scheme of compensatory justice, with an additional basis in the “social need” for more black professionals.

When Affirmative Action came before the Supreme Court in the 1978 Bakke case, however, these foundations were found to be at odds with the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal treatment. So the supposed benefits of “diversity” were hastily drafted in as a substitute rationale—a “compelling state interest”—for continuing race preferences.

Suddenly the argument from compensatory justice was no longer much heard, just as “before [the Court’s] decision, diversity-enhancement arguments were rare to non-existent.”

• The discredited “Contact Hypothesis”: the notion that diversity is beneficial in and by itself is based on the “Contact Hypothesis” theory which states that: “Prejudice of a racial or ethnic kind and the negative stereotyping that promotes it are products of social isolation and ignorance of the ‘other’ that such isolation produces…Better contact furthers better understanding.”

Nieli shows that the Contact Hypothesis is now known, as dispositively as anything can be known in the social sciences, to be false.

Wounds That Will Not Heal is anchored at two points of general philosophy.

Underlying his outlook, Nieli tells us, is Personalism, the individualistic creed sired by liberal-Jeffersonian “rights” doctrine out of Christianity.

The early and mid-1960s marked a high point in post-Reconstruction American history in the public understanding of, and respect for, the dignity and worth of individual human persons.


The period from the very late 1960s and early 1970s proved to be a period of unprecedented ethnicization and tribalization in the American public consciousness.

Nieli favors the earlier dispensation.

The second anchor point, unusually for books from social-science academics, is a respectful attitude to evolutionary psychology.

If you are one of those who know your way around this stretch of savanna, you will find, while reading Wounds That Will Not Heal, that you keep coming across terms, references, and names that are familiar. The Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness, for example, gets a friendly mention.

E.O. Wilson isn’t referenced, but at least James Q. Wilson (Crime & Human Nature with Richard Herrnstein) is. So is Lawrence Keeley (War before Civilization). So—good grief!—is J. Philippe Rushton (Race, Evolution & Behavior), of whom:

Some find Rushton’s ideas incendiary, although like any theory in social science they must be validated or refuted based on the best evidence, not the most widely shared ideology.

Fat chance!…but a rare breath of calm good sense none the less.

Nieli does not go all the way to Frank Salter’s arguments about social bonding based on genetic interests. He restricts himself to culturalist “blank slate” explanations for group differences. But in the milieu in which he wants to present his arguments, this is as far as you can go without being Watsoned.

When dealing with the generality of social scientists, it’s a stretch even to get them to culturalism. Their preferred mode of thinking about negative group characteristics, Nieli tells us, is in terms of outside agency. NAMS have low test scores, high crime rates, lots of fatherlessness? Oh, that’s all caused by white racism, you know.

In my own experience I have found that the only way to get left-oriented sociologists to acknowledge the possible salience of cultural factors in explaining the poor academic performance of so many black and Latino youth is to bring up the alternative explanation of genes. ‘So if it isn’t culture, do you think the problem is related to genes?’…Instantly under such prodding leftist sociologists become born-again culturalists and eagerly embrace the theories of people like John Ogbu and Thomas Sowell, whom they normally would ignore or spend considerable effort trying to refute.

I’m not sure how much this approach helps. Isn’t anything prior to culture? What are the upstream variables? Where should we go looking for them? “In white racism, in historical injustice,” that leftist sociologist would presumably reply. “In feedback loops of population genetics and historical experience,” I would say.

What would Russell Nieli say? I think he’d say that he has an open mind on the matter, and will be content to have contributed somehow to discrediting the hideous, dishonest, divisive racket of Affirmative Action.

It’s a solid and honorable position. In the present constrained atmosphere in which these topics are discussed, it’s even quite a brave one for an academic to take.

Russell Nieli has written a useful, important, and timely book. I wish him well with it.

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  • Bobby

    Chuck, “I’ve never met a Wall Street derivative TRAITOR(pun intended) that I didn’t like” Schumer is not bothered by this at all. He doesn’t care that all of these new “minorities” will get affirmative action and put another millions of Americans second. In fact, Schumer welcomes it. He as a Congressman, pushed for the first massive amnesty when Reagan was president, telling the citizens of the U.S. that it’s neccessary. Really Charles, “neccessary” for who? I won’t even bring up Rubio, he’s a lightweight and is taking advice from Schumer.I’d bet on it in a New York minute.

    • The__Bobster

      Schemer was the one who removed the tax penalties in the 1986 act.

      But within a few months of IRCA’s passage, Congressman Schumer was complaining to the Secretary of the Treasury that illegal aliens who had just been given Amnesty shouldn’t have to comply with the same tax disclosure requirements as lowly native-born Americans. And in 1988, Schumer got what he wanted: a one sentence clause in a 499 page bill prohibited the INS from sharing with the IRS any of the information they received during the legalization process. In effect, illegals received a customized tax break, along with their shiny new legal status. [What Back Taxes? | Rep. Schumer’s Maneuvers During 1986 Amnesty Shed Light on Sen. Schumer’s Promises Today, By Virgil Goode, CIS, February 2013]

      • Vanessa

        Chuck Schumer is the most tribal person of all! But what else would one expect from a member of the “tribe of tribes”?

  • wattylersrevolt

    John Derbyshire
    We are not going to be engaged in a policy wonk debate with blacks about IQ test score psychometrics and affirmative action. They want to kill us and rape our women. There has been two years of intensified black on White violence. If the McCain had won in 2008 or Romney in 2012 there would have been a full blown race war by now.
    We are in a race war with blacks and…asian legal immigrants. And no, I am not the least bit happy that three quarters of the “US” IMO Team are asian “Americans”…although, you apparently are. I want the chinese out of my country.

    • The__Bobster

      It is crazy to educate our enemies, be they Red Chinese or Islamic. America has more enemies than anybody, but Washington pretends otherwise to please business and university interests. Our national security is severely endangered by short-term economic choices, like colleges welcoming full-tuition students from dangerous nations like Saudi Arabia and Red China.

      • bigone4u

        As i wrote in a comment yesterday, the Chinese government, working through Chinese “businessmen” bribe college adminstrators with free annual trips to China to “further good relations” or somesuch nonsense. The traitors know that the Chinese exchange profs and students are up to no good.

        • AllSeeingEyeSpy

          “Chinese government, working through Chinese “businessmen” bribe college adminstrators with free annual trips to China to “further good relations””

          I highly doubt they need bribes to dote over Chinese and foreign students. Doing that is part of adhering to ‘diversity’. Discrimination against whites isn’t just the law it’s considered the highest enlightenment.

    • Bobby

      Well put. Reminds me of an old friend of mine. Everytime he’s confronted with the violence of minorities in the area he lives around, he goes into a philosophical analysis of why this is happening and what certain philosophers in the womans rights movement in academia have to say about it, and how other philosophers are beginning to disagree with them,etc,etc.etc.
      In reality, what academics have to say about the plain reality of violent street level crime is WORTHLESS to anyone that might need to get “wised up” on these issues.

  • sbuffalonative

    Blacks hate whites so much that they pushed to give Affirmative Action openings to non-blacks. White of course will lose openings but blacks will be affected more.
    Blacks should never have let other non-whites claim Affirmative Action status.

    • Bobby

      Right, and people like Jesse “Rainbow” Jackson, or Al Sharpton, are still at it–working hard to scr-w black people for the sake of enriching themselves. It’s so utterly weird.

      • Jefferson


    • Jefferson

      Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton believe that all Brown and Yellow people love Blacks and that it is only Whites who hate Blacks.

      That is why the Black establishment are extremely pro-amnesty, because they believe the streets will be paved with gold for Blacks once Whites become a Minority in this country.

      • George White

        Clearly, black “leadership” is even DUMBER than the GOP (if that is possible). it’s well known here in Los Angeles (certainly my law enforcement contacts will back me up) that mexican gangs have done an ethnic cleansing of blacks in South Central, which used to be ALL black but is now mostly Hispanic.
        Blacks used to work in meat packing, construction, hotels, food service, manufacturing…areas now TOTALLY dominated by illegals.
        Sharpton and Jackson are two of the STUPIDEST human beings on the face of the earth at this moment. I sincerely wish that their bad karma would KICK IN.

        • Bossman

          Immigrants are better workers than US Blacks. Blacks males are very irresponsible and unreliable kinds of workers. Even during the days of slavery, most slave holders would rather have black females as slaves than black males.

          • “Immigrants are better workers than American blacks”

            Duh. It’s not hard to improve on the lowest common denominator.

      • Bossman

        Historically speaking, there has been less discrimination against Blacks in Latin America than in Anglo America.

    • Name

      “Blacks should never have let other non-whites claim Affirmative Action status.”
      ———————————————————————————————————Whites should never have let blacks claim Affirmative Action status.

  • The__Bobster

    The reason why farmers can get special tax breaks is because there are so few of them and so many of us.

    When we were an agrarian society, the thought of special breaks for farmers would’ve been laughed at.

    • bigone4u

      Right, economists have shown that peanut farmer subsidies are added into the cost of a jar of peanut butter, but consumers do not realize it.

  • haroldcrews

    It is never a question of whether there will be discrimination or no discrimination. It is always a question of what form of discrimination will be permitted or even required by the state. Meritocracy though possible in theory is extraordinary difficult to implement in a multiracial society. This is particularly true when there is a substantial disparity in ability between the races present. The less capable race will assert that the disparate impact of merit based qualifications for social advancement is conclusive proof of racially based discrimination. At that point affirmative action of some type will be granted to the less capable race. This is what we have seen in the US. Discrimination of some sort is inevitable. The best a society can do is to make the discrimination rational in that it favours that race which on average is more capable and disfavours the race that on average is less capable. At least with this arrangement civilisation is more likely to be advanced than diminished.

  • bigone4u

    Having worked for the anti-white University of Texas System, I can’t wait for the Fisher case ruling. It offers an opportunity to outlaw affirmative action. However, the UT System will just find another way around the law, as they have done in the past.

  • borogirl54

    I think by admitting poorly prepared students to a highly selective college does no one any good. What is going to happen is that they are going to drop out of college and end up working at low wage jobs. They would have been better going to a community college and preparing themselves for admission to highly selective colleges.

    • r j p

      It is nearly impossible to flunk out of Ivies in undergrad programs, hence BO and MO.

      • Not Politcally Correct

        And many other mediocre White trust fund kids with them as well.

  • George White

    Schumer is….scum. He HATES the people of this country and he should be DEPORTED.

  • evilsandmich

    Better Contact furthers better understanding
    I’m a firm believer in that, but of course not in the way that the multi-culti freaks envision.

  • Ciccio

    The fact that native Africans far outdo African-Americans in the intellectual field only reinforces Darwin’s theory. Those smart enough to stay out of the hands of slavers stayed in Africa. Those who could not were caught and sold as slaves. Intelligence is hereditary.