Racial Quota Fallout

By:  Thomas Sowell
03/20/2012
       
Racial Quota Fallout

Many years ago, I learned of an episode in the life of a promising young black man that is relevant to things happening now. He had been educated at a good school, and went on to receive degrees at good colleges and universities. Then he went for a Ph.D. in mathematics at one of the leading departments in that field.

 

Many years ago, I learned of an episode in the life of a promising young black man that is relevant to things happening now. He had been educated at a good school, and went on to receive degrees at good colleges and universities. Then he went for a Ph.D. in mathematics at one of the leading departments in that field.

When he encountered difficulties, his professors essentially wrote his doctoral thesis for him. No doubt they felt good about doing something to help a promising young black man, and perhaps took pride in doing so. But what about his pride?  This young man ended up joining an extremist group that hated white people.
 
Would it have been worse if he had not gotten a Ph.D. in math? Probably 99 percent of the people in this country, regardless of race, could not get a Ph.D. in math — and yet they can still live happy and fulfilling lives.
 
What recalled this episode from long ago was the current flurry of interest in a video of a young Barack Obama at the Harvard law school praising Derrick Bell, a black professor there, whose writings on "critical race theory" promoted an extremist hostility to white people.
 
Derrick Bell was for years a civil rights lawyer, but not an academic legal scholar of the sort who gets appointed as a full professor at one of the leading law schools. Yet he became a visiting professor at the Stanford law school and was a full professor at the Harvard law school.

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Thomas Sowell (photo)

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