Back to Law of Caste and Status?

By Roberts, Paul Craig | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), October 18, 1999 | Go to article overview

Back to Law of Caste and Status?


Roberts, Paul Craig, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Do you remember when well-bred males from the age of 7 were expected to give up their seats to women on public transportation, to stand when women entered a room, and to wait until women were seated before sitting down to the dining table? These civilities have all fallen to feminism, which sees such civilities as hallmarks of the "male hegemonic order."

During the fight over California's Proposition 209, which banned racial quotas in university admissions, radical law students at the University of California at Berkeley attempted to revive these practices. Only it was white students, male and female, who were supposed to give up their seats to more deserving "persons of color." This new etiquette might yet prevail. How should we interpret it? Is the woman who shows deference to a person of color by giving up her seat part of a female hegemonic order? A white hegemonic order? Or is she being coerced into accepting a minority hegemonic order?

I suspect the radical students have in mind the latter. Just as males who showed these civilities toward women were unlikely to abuse them with foul language or rough behavior, the white students, who can be seated only after minorities have taken their places, are being schooled to show deference to groups whose skin colors make them more deserving.

Berkeley's radical law students are on to something. They realize the race-based legal privileges that have been conferred on "preferred minorities" are strictly unconstitutional and will not stick unless the white majority is taught to see the privileges as the prerogatives of a more deserving people.

We have under construction a new class of aristocrats - only it is race instead of family antecedents that confers intrinsic worth.

George W. Bush, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, recently criticized his party for being negative about the culture. But something is wrong when law students and professors at famous universities want to resurrect the status-based legal systems of premodern times.

Berkeley - and practically every other university - is saying privileges are fine so long as the "right" people have the privileges.

The intense, fervent and strident defense of racial privileges by academics and the U.S. Justice Department manifests the breakdown of our culture. The essence of our culture is equal standing in law. …

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