Patterico's Pontifications

12/13/2015

Scalia’s “Racist” Comment Not Actually Racist

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:49 pm

Affirmative action was argued in the Supreme Court this past week, and Justice Antonin Scalia was the target of the left’s “Smear of the Week.” Here’s leftist Adam Liptak in the New York Times:

In a remark that drew muted gasps in the courtroom, Justice Antonin Scalia said that minority students with inferior academic credentials may be better off at “a less advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well.”

“I don’t think it stands to reason that it’s a good thing for the University of Texas to admit as many blacks as possible,” he added.

Oh, my! There were muted gasps at the RAAAAACISM of Justice Scalia!

This is yet another example of leftists elevating the importance of mushy-headed good intentions over that of results. Thomas Sowell has said:

Racial preferences put more minority students on campus, but in ways that reduce the number who graduate. Conversely, when racial preferences were banned in the University of California system, the number of black students who graduated actually increased substantially, as did their grade point averages. Instead of failing at Berkeley or UCLA, these students graduated from other good quality universities in the system.

Some might think that the result of having more blacks graduate is more important than the intention of having more blacks attend elite universities.

But anyone who thinks that way — that results matter more than intentions — is forced to turn in their Leftist Card.

I shouldn’t have to say this, but: to say that blacks should not be admitted to schools where they are not prepared to succeed is not racist. Affirmative action of any kind in college admissions is going to inevitably have the effect of admitting a greater percentage of students that do not succeed. If you give preference in the admissions process to people whose last names begin with consonants, you will start to see that more people flunk out of that school whose last names begin with consonants. If you instead give that preference to members of a certain race, you will see more flunking out by members of that race.

As in everything in life, there are trade-offs. Those who are admitted and succeed will likely have greater prospects. But those who are admitted and flunk out will likely have lesser prospects. In other words, simply having more blacks at an elite university (and fewer Asians, by the way, in case leftists care about the ill effects on that minority group, which we all know they don’t) is not necessarily a good thing on its own. You have to look at the consequences.

Scalia’s point — and it is buttressed by many studies — is that race-based admissions end up hurting a lot of minorities who are supposed to be the beneficiaries of such programs.

This all seems so obvious, I questioned whether it was worth it to write this post. But sometimes you have to point out obvious truths — especially when we live in a country where such truths are enough to make people gasp.

DHS Redefines Term “Resident Expert” As Their Resident Expert Is Unable To Answer Basic Questions

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:33 am

[guest post by Dana]

This past week, Dept. of Homeland Security Deputy Assistant Secretary for Screening Coordination, Kelli Ann Burriesci testified before Congress about the Syrian refugees and the visa waiver program. She was sent by DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson to testify in his stead because, according to the DHS, she is their “resident expert” in the programs.

Unfortunately, said resident expert was unable to answer even the most basic questions about who is entering our country:

How many Syrian refugees have entered the U.S. in the last year” Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) asked Burriesci.

“Sorry, I didn’t bring any of the refugee numbers with me,” she responded.

Jordon then asked: “Do you know how many Americans have traveled to Syria in the last year?”

“I don’t have that number on me either,” the official responded.

“So you wouldn’t know how many Americans have traveled there and returned?” Jordan pressed.

“I don’t have that number on me,” Burriesci stated.

When asked by Jordan, “How many visa waiver program overstays are there currently in the U.S.,” Burriesci again responded that she does not “have information” on that subject.

The lack of answers led to frustration.

“We’re talking about the refugee issue and the Visa Waiver Program issue and you can’t give us numbers on either program?” Jordan asked.

Rep. Ron DeSantis, the subcommittee’s chairman, exasperated by Burriesci’s lack of knowledge, suggested Burriesci use a lifeline:

“You can’t give us the number of people on expired visas? You have staff? Can they just call DHS so we get it before the hearing is over?” DeSantis asked. “This should not be that difficult.”

Burriesci did not make a call and continued to stumble under further questioning.

An irate Rep. Jordan blasted Burriesci for her lack of knowledge and unpreparedness:

I’ve asked you the number of American’s who’ve traveled to Syria, you don’t know. The number of Americans who may have traveled and returned, you don’t know. The number of Syrian refugees who’ve entered the country in the last year, you don’t know. The number of visa waiver program overstays, you don’t know. The number of visa waiver overstays who may have been to Syria before they came here, you don’t know. And the number of American citizens on the no-fly list and you don’t know. And yet you are the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Screening Coordination, Office of Policy, Department of Homeland Security in front of the oversight committee and you can’t give us one single number to some, I think, pretty basic questions.

Based on Burriesci lack of command over information she was charged to know and to provide to the committee, DeSantis expressed the overall frustrations and concerns of not just the committee, but of the American people as well:

“Islamic jihadists are on the march and 13 people were massacred in San Bernardino, yet DHS seems clueless about what is going on with potential threats to our security,” the lawmaker said. “Congress needs to plug holes in immigration programs ranging from the visa waiver program to the refugee program. The testimony by DHS today gave Americans serious cause for concern about whether our government has a handle on the threats we face.”

I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here when I say that if a senior official and “resident expert” from the DHS is this unable to answer the most basic of questions, and also refers to the K-1 visa as the “K-Y” visa, it’s pretty much guaranteed that someone is, indeed, getting screwed.

(at the 6:17 mark)

–Dana


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