In an MSNBC column, Eugene Volokh responds to Maureen Dowd’s charge that Clarence Thomas can’t oppose affirmative action because he’s a beneficiary. Volokh asks if a male justice is ungrateful if he holds that sex discrimination is unconstitutional, even though bias made it easier for men to get into law school.
In order to make her argument, Maureen Dowd assumes that Clarence Thomas, and all successful African Americans, owe their success to Affirmative Action as the but-for cause of their success. No African American, according to this premise, is capable of making it without a helping hand from omniscient social architects. Clarence Thomas must be an ingrate for refusing to acknowledge that very decent white people on the left made it possible for him to be where he is today. I’m sorry, but I am sick of this arrogant and utterly racist mindset, and I refuse to tolerate it any longer.
. . . I am willing to bet that I am the only member of this list who feels compelled to put his standardized test scores and National Merit award on his CV. Why do I do this? For those of you who do not know me personally, it is not a matter of braggadocio. Every September I have to deal with nearly 60 prima donna first year law students whose first and only (initial) reaction to my skin color is that they have been cheated out of a “real” Contracts professor, and are stuck with an “Affirmative Action” instructor. . .
If I recall correctly, Justice Thomas entered Holy Cross in 1968. I was seven years old at the time, and I do not think of 1968 as the heyday of Affirmative Action. I don’t recall it being widespread in 1972 when (I think) he entered Yale Law School. Why assume that Dowd and the other racists on the left are correct? Why assume that he is pulling up a ladder upon which he ascended? Are we at a point where it is inconceivable that an African American can do anything in this world that can make him or her worthy of respect as a free and EQUAL man or woman to any other man or woman in this society?
One of the results of the court’s decision, writes Cole, is to relieve the pressure to improve inner-city schools.