Friday, July 24, 2009

Kinsley on Dr. Gates, Race and Police

Michael Kinsley on Dr. Gates arrest.
Kinsley writes:

"generalizations about race don't lead only to bad things, like an unjustified arrest. They can lead to good things, too. The best example is well known around Harvard Square and other academic communities: affirmative action. Part of the rationale for affirmative action is that African Americans are more likely than whites to have struggled harder, under the burden of greater disadvantages, to reach the point where they are poised to enter Harvard. Therefore, they deserve a break. No doubt this is true on average. And no doubt it is false in many cases. You can easily decide that some generalizations are just too toxic to allow, even if true on average, and race might be a good area to start. But you'd be hard-put to justify forbidding racial generalizations in split-second decisions during tense confrontations between citizens and cops, while allowing them in the relatively leisurely precincts of a college admissions office."

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