RACE VS. LEGACY….Are race preferences worse than legacy preferences? Or is the whole comparison specious? Matt Yglesias says:
Legacy preferences aren’t just some random departure from meritocracy, they’re a departure from meritocracy that overwhelmingly works to disadvantage blacks and Latinos. With that in mind, the one thing certainly does seem relevant to the other.
Consider what we would say if George Wallace has said “sure we’ll ban segregating buses by race, we’ll just make a new law saying that only children of folks who sat in the front of the bus in the 1940s can sit in the front today.”
That’s not a totally congruent comparison, but I think it shows that legacy is relevant to the racial preferences debate.
In fact, it’s a remarkably congruent comparison. In 1876, after Rutherford B. Hayes won election and removed federal troops from the South, the Reconstruction era ended. Southern states immediately went to work to prevent blacks from voting, and one popular method was the “Grandfather clause”: Citizens could only register to vote if their grandfather had voted in a previous election (or, sometimes, literacy tests or poll taxes were waived if your grandfather had voted in a previous election).
Republicans spend an awful lot of time defending practices that “just happen to” injure African-Americans, including such things as legacy preferences, racial profiling, disparate coke/crack sentencing, etc. Perhaps they should spend a little more time actually taking racism seriously and trying to figure out how to end it.