I’m nearing the end of “Private Truths, Public Lies”, so this could well be the last post on the book. Here’s a quote:
“Most Republican strategists have understood that the required gerrymandering would pervert the Voting Rights Act of 1965, whose intent was to protect individual access to the ballot, not to concentrate the electoral power of certain groups. They suspected, moreover, that color-coded districts would generate racially segregated electorates, analogous to those of South Africa under apartheid.”
I have a number of times heard defenders of Rhodesia point out that their voting system, in contrast to South Africa’s, was based on property rather than race and that they eventually held an election fair in every respect except that Mugabe’s party was excluded due to its violent history, and that the black winner was rejected by the international community. South Africa is also associated with “Bantustans”, but those were pseudo-countries most natives didn’t live in, and not at all comparable to V.R.A congressional districts.
He goes on more about affirmative action in this chapter, not giving any evidence for the support of public opinion. He does acknowledge that officials sometimes went beyond even public (let alone private) opinion, which acknowledges there can be a difference, but pretty much the only references to support of such policies refers to officials. He notes that public opinion was distorted by the fear on the part of corporations that speaking out against quotas would make them targets of the EEOC and that “[t]o escape the stigma of racism, skeptics have tended to mute, soften and qualify their open criticisms”, but this is again only evidence that public opinion is not as negative as it might otherwise be, not that it is at all positive. And since plenty of evidence has been made public of the majority’s opposition, it doesn’t entirely make sense to view the opposition as merely private (as applied to his model of expected public opinion). In a chapter on communism he noted that some public figures (like high ranking members of the communist party) have more “weight” and so someone should model “weighted public opinion”. In all his writing on affirmative action, it is seemingly only the public opinion of a weighted segment that matters.