The Downside of Affirmative Action for Black Americans

Recently, I’ve re-read Mindset by Carol Dweck. If you aren’t familiar with the thesis, it states that there are basically two “mindsets,” which are sets of attitudes and beliefs that influence how someone learns. They are also predictive of how fast and well someone can learn new things.

Dweck’s “fixed mindset” asserts that learning new things is impossible unless one has a natural talent or intelligence. The “growth mindset” is the opposite, which basically says that you can only learn new things if you put in some effort.

I was struck by something in the recent controversy surrounding the Supreme Court’s recent decision regarding Harvard and UNC’s “affirmative actions” policies. In 25 words or less, the summary of the ruling is that racial prejudice cannot be eliminated by racial prejudice.

The liberal collective mind’s response was… interesting. Many of them made statements that my great-grandfather would be proud of, who was born in 1861, and named after the president of the Confederacy. Many white liberals have made statements such as “without affirmative actions, higher education would become a plantation for whites only”; reduced down to their core beliefs, they are saying that “dem blackies ain’t smart enough to enter Harvard on their own.”

My great-grandfather probably agrees.

The fixed mindset is characterized by the belief that factors beyond your control determine your ability to learn and succeed. You won’t get into Harvard or UNC if you aren’t “smart” enough and “held down by man”. People like Clarence Thomas and Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice couldn’t succeed without affirmative action.

There was hardly anyone who recognized or noticed that the Asians bringing the lawsuit were responding to explicit racism. They were demoted as “honorary” white people who tried to block the path of People of Appropriate Color.

The funny thing is… Asians are successful for a variety of reasons. There’s a significant selection bias. It’s rare to see anyone from the streets in Kolkata or peasant farms in China applying for Harvard. They are either people who were already successful in their home country or those whose parents had been before they came to the United States. They are also, and this is more important, from a culture that says “A-is an Asian F.”

In other words, Asians and a large number of whites are from a culture that is based on ‘a growth mindset. Blacks, and to a lesser degree Hispanics, come from a culture of a fixed mindset.

Affirmative actions reinforce this fixed mindset. Harvard is not something you can do on your own. You need the help of The Great White Father.

Modern liberals will not tolerate anything else.