Tag: racial history

A house divided still

By Alan Bean

Stephen Spielberg’s “Lincoln” pulled in $34 million over the Thanksgiving weekend, third best behind the new Twilight and James Bond movies.  When I saw the film over the weekend, the audience  applauded as the credits rolled–something you don’t see very often.

The film,  loosely based on Doris Kearns-Goodwin’s book Team of Rivals, is relentlessly historical.  Lincoln is portrayed as a bucolic Christ figure, but Spielberg stops short of turning The Great Emancipator into a comfortable citizen of the 21st Century.   Constitutional equality applied to Negroes, said Lincoln; that meant abolishing the slave trade in every corner of the Union and little else. (more…)

Affirmative action and the traumatized twentieth

By Alan Bean

As this excellent article in Colorlines suggests, simple racial inequality has no bearing on the affirmative action debate, and for one simple reason:

 In order to argue that affirmative action is necessary to remedy past discrimination, schools would have to present evidence showing that they’ve previously discriminated against the groups they’re now going to great lengths to admit. Doing so would open them up to litigation from students of color who’d been denied.

With equity off the table, universities have only one legally acceptable argument: affirmative action creates a diverse student body and diversity is intrinsically beneficial to students. This argument makes sense to white administrators who would feel uncomfortable presiding over a homogeneous student body.  According to Colorlines: (more…)