ACRI Ballot Initiative: Chronicle of Higher Education Article

The Chronicle of Higher Education has published an article which confirms what I have written in describing the ballot initiative. Namely, that given the demographics (overwhelmingly White) of the states selected for initiative proposals, the initiative proposals are likely to pass. I do not think that the undocumented persons issue is relevant to ACRI’s proposal.

In the article, there is a quote from Senator Ernie Chambers of Nebraska about Ward Connerly:

In Nebraska, State Sen. Ernie Chambers, who is black and represents parts of northern Omaha, last week denounced Mr. Connerly as ‘a tool of Jim Crowism’ and expressed confidence that Nebraskans ‘will see through his shell game.’

Please click the affirmative action tag under category in the right column for my posts on ACRI’s ballot initiative proposal.

Currency: Can Euro Replace U.S. Dollar as Reserve Currency?

The Bank of International Settlements, the bank for central banks, published a paper in 2006, titled “Euro as a Reserve Currency–a Challenge to the Pre-Eminence of the US Dollar.”

This is yet another document to consider as bellicose talk arises against Iran (for previous posts on Iran, please click the Iran category tag in the right column).

ACRI Ballot Initiative (Missouri): Ward Connerly’s Socioeconomic Affirmative Action Will Fail; Institutional Racism Must Be Alleviated First

On October 18, Ward Connerly gave public lectures in Missouri, where a branch of his American Civil Rights Institute (ACRI) is proposing an initiative to ban affirmative action in public education, public contracting, and public employment. [Note: Please check under the affirmative action category in the right column for my posts about ACRI’s ballot initiative proposal in Missouri.]

During an interview with the Associated Press, Connerly stated that he was in favor of socioeconomic affirmative action.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Connerly, who is black, called for an end to “race-based affirmative action” in favor of what he called “socio-economic affirmative action.”

‘We’re going through a transition in our country,’ he said. ‘We need to help those who need it rather than presuming that all black people or all minorities are in need of some special treatment.’

This belief in socioeconomic affirmative action is a good idea but it is not a viable substitute for the current affirmative action with a racial component. Why is this the case? First, the U.S. society is overwhelmingly White (see 2000 Census table below) and thus would be a majority of the poor persons which would be the target of socioeconomic affirmative action.

United States (population: 281,421,906 (2000 Census)

Race Percentage of population Number
White 75.1% 211,460,626
Black 12.3 34,658,190
Native American 0.9 2,475,956
Asian 3.6 10,242,998

An article from the American Psychological Association confirms my view.

The amorphous nature of affirmative action is in itself a subtle denial of society’s history of various kinds of oppression. So, too, are the recent efforts to substitute other sociodemographic attributes for race and culture in affirmative action policies. Socioeconomic class does not carry the same historical baggage as race and culture. It was racial classification, not socioeconomic status, that prevented Thurgood Marshall’s admission to the University of Maryland’s law school. Substituting socioeconomic class for race or culture, for example, ignores society’s history of differential oppression of people of color outside the cultural majority.

Second, race and gender based affirmative action and socioeconomic affirmative action are not mutually exclusive. Certainly programs to assist poor (and increasingly middle class) people can be created right now, without excluding race and gender based affirmative action. Indeed, such a move would be welcome.

Moreover, socioeconomic affirmative action in other contexts have not worked. For example, in the high school context, socioeconomic plans implemented to develop student bodies composed of all races have generally failed.

The wide ethnic diversity in San Francisco’s schools, which are about one-third Chinese, also introduces calculations among parents that make it easier to get income diversity without racial or ethnic diversity.

At Willie L. Brown Jr. College Preparatory Academy, a fourth- through sixth-grade school in the predominantly black neighborhood of Bayview, 75 percent of the students are black. Most are poor.

Tareyton D. Russ, the principal, said students from other neighborhoods did not seek to go there so the diversity index did not even apply. “Poor Chinese kids don’t want to go to school with poor black kids,” Mr. Russ said flatly.

Conversely, one white parent interviewed as she dropped her child off at summer school said some white parents avoided schools with a heavy Chinese concentration, like Lincoln, believing they would be too high-pressure for their children. She declined to be quoted by name.

It is interesting that ACRI is proposing its initiative in Missouri. In 1992, an ABC television network program, Primetime Live, used a hidden camera to record the treatment of two testers, one White male and one Black male in St. Louis, Missouri [Note: The program was titled, “True Colors.”]. Uniformly, the Black tester received the worst treatment. It did not appear so at the time he experienced it. All the people who discriminated against the Black tester were, for the most part, pleasant. Comparison of the videos from each tester, interacting with various social institutions, clearly revealed the discrimination against the Black tester.

Unfortunately, I do not believe that 2007 is significantly better for Blacks in U.S. society. As a result, ACRI’s ballot initiative proposal is extremely premature.

“It takes more than 30 or 40 years to remedy, or overcome, centuries of direct and indirect forms of discrimination,” said Shirley Wilcher, executive director of the American Association for Affirmative Action and a former Labor Department official under President Clinton.

Related Post Script

I do not believe it is accurate to consider Ward Connerly as a Black person. In an article, Connerly has described himself as 25% Black.

Connerly has stated he is one-quarter Black, three-eighths Irish, one-quarter French and one-eighth Choctaw.

The inference from his statement is that he is primarily White and Native American.

On the other hand, Senator Barack Obama, of mixed race heritage, considers himself to be Black.

Obama, who will speak in San Francisco tonight at a fundraiser for Sen. Barbara Boxer, identifies as black. […]

He was president of the Harvard Law Review. He is the son of a Kenyan immigrant, his father, and a white Kansas native, his mother. […]

Iran: U.S Sanctions Against Iran Are Powerless; Iran’s Use of Euro Potential Cause of U.S.’s Antagonism

The Bush Administration announced its imposition of sanctions against the Iranian Government. According to the BBC, The Bush Administration alleges that a division of the Iranian military (Quds Brigade) supports terrorism and that Iran is “pursuing nuclear activities.” [Author’s note: the U.S. Senate passed a non binding sense of the Senate resolution (S. Amdt. 3017) to state “that the United States should designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a foreign terrorist organization.” (for full text of the resolution, as passed, click here (see pages S11827- S11828))].

Reaction to the decision of the Bush Administration was swift. Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that sanctions against are not necessary.

Arriving for a summit with European Union leaders, the Russian leader did not make any direct reference to the U.S. announcement, but he said the standoff with Iran will have to be resolved through patient talks.

‘Why worsen the situation and bring it to a dead end by threatening sanctions or military action?’ Putin asked. ‘Running around like a madman with a razor blade, waving it around, is not the best way to resolve the situation.’

According to the BBC, The Iranian government also disagreed with the sanctions.

Spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said: ‘The hostile American policies towards the respectable people of Iran and the country’s legal institutions are contrary to international law, without value and, as in the past, doomed to failure.’

The head of the Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Jaafari, said the corps was ready to defend the ideals of the revolution more than ever before.

Ultimately, though, the sanctions are akin to a toothless tiger because the United States (U.S.) has had little contact with Iran since 1979. Also, Iran has its currency reserves (and prices its oil transactions) in Euros rather than the U.S. dollar. See BBC articles on this point here and here.

This currency issue is a crucial detail. Oil is priced in the U.S dollar, giving the U.S. a profound advantage. Here is a brief summary by Coilin Nunan. Pricing of oil in Euros threatens the superior power of the United States in the oil markets.

Those who threaten the U.S. dollar’s supremacy in oil transactions face serious consequences. Saddam Hussein, while President of Iraq, used the Euro in Iraq’s oil transactions. Iraq made billions as a result. Hussein also gained the ire of the United States (and war). [Note: For full discussion of this complex yet extremely important issue, read William Clark’s book, “Petrodollar Warfare: Oil, Iraq and the Future of the Dollar.” Mr. Clark does an excellent job in explaining this issue for the average reader to understand.] After the war, Iraq’s oil transactions were priced using the U.S. dollar.

The currency back story provides powerful context for the current actions of the U.S. against Iran.

Post Script:
The use of military force to defend dollar supremacy is not a sufficient reason for the terrible misery, injury, and death of war. I read Clark’s book and was deeply shocked as this currency topic was not discussed while I was in school (including college).

Related Links

The Real Reasons for the Upcoming War With Iraq

The Real Reasons Why Iran is the Next Target

Oil Producers Shun Dollar

From Petrodollars to Petroeuros: Are the Dollar’s Days as an International Reserve Currency Drawing to an End?

Iran turns from dollar to euro in oil sales