Thursday, September 17, 2015

Michael David Cobb Bowen — A History of Diversity

"In the 1960s there were several social movements. Two key ones were Civil Rights and Black Power. The Black Power Movement was comprised of separatists who basically wanted more than the Civil Rights delivered. They were strident in their demands. An equal vote was not sufficient for Black Power. Dispensing with matters of causality in ways now familiar to us all, a failure in parity meant a racist agenda. Charges that wouldn't stand up in court were thus laid in the court of public opinion. In the beginning there was greatness and talent. Over time, every dude with a grievance was given a mic. Nevertheless the stark racial lines of the 60s were sufficiently incriminating so that more than mere tokenism was required. Thus the terms and conditions for Affirmative Action were broadly accepted and implemented via an executive order from the hands of Richard Nixon, whose previous policy was called 'benign neglect'.

The broad outline which characterized the 1970s was that separatism was over and integration was the new regime. Black Power melted away in substance if not in rhetoric and American institutions did their damnedest, some harder than others, to get blacks employees in and up the ranks. Crossover culture was born, blacks got into Ivy Leagues in record numbers, Richard Pryor became a superstar talking about black & white, and by 1980 we had Lando Calrissian and Lionel Ritchie. Integration and Affirmative Action were the 70s peaceful response to the riotous 60s rebellion. Of course there were overproductions and errors. But when *I* grew up, the accepted standard was that assigned in the landmark case Bakke vs. UC Regents, that said race can be taken into consideration as a factor in admissions. Most specifically Bakke was interpreted as race is something, but it is not everything, and you cannot use racial quotas (which essentially makes race everything).

The political consensus emerged that so long as you don't use quotas, everybody might not be perfectly pleased with racial integration but society is so much better off that the benefits outweigh the costs. As well, people understood generally in the Bakke era, that Affirmative Action wouldn't last forever. Mathematically and socially society would run out of the cream of the crop to be integrated and like with Civil Rights and Black Power, things would go from excellent to mediocre to incompetent to worse. So long as race was not the single consideration, everything was cool

Read the full article HERE.