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Jason Riley: Trump’s ‘Indifference’ or Clinton’s Paternalism?

blackcollegestudents“I’ll take Trump’s indifference over Clinton’s paternalism.”

That’s what a black conservative friend said to Jason Riley, author of Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make it Harder for Blacks to Succeed.

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Riley wrote that he believes black conservatives are “as conflicted as the rest of the political right over the candidacy of Donald Trump.” They’re “under no illusions that Mr. Trump has given any serious thought to the socioeconomic concerns of millions of black Americans.”

Even if true, what have Democrats done about the “socioeconomic concerns of millions of black Americans”? Riley focused on claims made in The Shape of the River (1998), authored by William Bowen, former president of Princeton University, and Derek Bok.

The authors defended a college admissions practice that factors in race when admitting or denying individual applicants, which the U.S. Supreme Court declared constitutional. This practice is euphemistically called “affirmative action.” Colleges and universities admit applicants with lower grades and scores for the sake of “diversity,” which means some with higher grades and scores are rejected for the same reason

Riley disputes the authors’ assertion that lowering standards for blacks, which is how affirmative action (also called racial preferences) works, created and maintained a black middle class.

The authors’ condescending claim that the black middle class owes its existence to racial preferences in higher education is even more bizarre, but it’s consistent with the political left’s belief that black people would be nowhere without its interventions. The reality is that blacks were entering the skilled professions—nursing, teaching, law, medicine, social work—at unprecedented rates prior to the widespread implementation of affirmative action policies on college campuses in the 1970s. Between 1930 and 1970, the number of black white-collar workers quadrupled. Earnings for black males rose 75% in the 1940s and another 45% in the 1950s. In the era of affirmative action, the black middle class has continued to expand, but at a slower rate than it was growing before.

Liberals support racial preferences and credit the practice with black success. The question is, do black voters prefer the perceived indifference of Republicans or the “helpful” paternalism of Democrats?

Photo credit: COD Newsroom (Creative Commons) – Some rights reserved

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