PS102 3/2/99 - Equality and Liberty
What we were trying to identify were the conflicts between equality and liberty. We also are identifying to you that while today we push equality, the framers of the Constitution emphasized liberty. In the last 30 years the push for equality has been done through affirmative action. A catch phrase that has a lot of people upset, a lot of people, and becomes a great excuse for the white people. I keep hearing from whites, "I didn't get the job because of affirmative action," and they wouldn't have got the job no matter what color they were; they were losers. Just -- bias an excuse.
There have been cases where quotas have been used. That's a big problem with affirmative action, white people using it as an excuse and of course under represented people -- notice again I didn't use minority-- Affirmative action is giving preferences to individuals from groups who have been denied access to power who were under represented. When there is equal or near equal qualification, and last time in class we tried to identify that. People complained about "minorities", or better, under represented people, getting benefits, but they never seem to complain about athletes getting benefits.
This fellow in my class yesterday who actually attends Stanford this year -- because he wanted to take the political science here because he heard of me. Just teasing. His roommate is a track star at Stanford who got into there with a 3.0 average and a 950 SAT. Score. Now that's not near equal. To get into Stanford you need 4.0 and generally around 1400 SAT. However, exceptions are made for athletes, but how do they survive? Well my son and I went down when he graduated from high school. The coach from Berkeley was recruiting him. The soccer coach asked him to come down to the campus and wanted to give us the pitch. Well my son graduated with a 3.6, may have been a little higher if you adjust, but it wasn't a Berkeley 4.4 average which is what you need to get into Berkeley out of high school with everything else. So I looked at the coach -- I knew the answer, but I asked, "Can you get him in?" He said with a 3.6, of course. He said as a soccer player, I can get him in with a 3.2 and if he were a football player, I could get him in with a 2.0. I looked at him and I expressed my disgust, I never kept my mouth shut. If he wanted my kid he would have taken him anyway.
You know, this is big business. It's money. Football, at Cal. Alumni money. I said, what happens if he has a little problem with English? And he said, we have tutors. They have tutoring sessions every Friday for the athletes, and on top of that we will provide a private tutor paid for by the alumni. They also have special academic counsellors for the athletes for each sport. So they can get the right classes in case any are too tough. They still get a Berkeley degree if they finish. Of course the problem was they didn't finish.
Now there's a big concern of schools pushing athletes to complete. I was at the University of Arizona at which he is tournament in 1989, Arizona State in 96 and I knew the and I hadn't seen him in year or so so I went to see him and he was talking to the football coach who was brand new at that time in 89. I think it's different now. The basketball coach had been there, had a successful couple of years. They were laughing, not just about his salary, was $500,000 a year and that doesn't include $100,000 from Nike or whatever the foot company was throwing into the program, the shoe company. $500,000 a year. There's no professor at any campus that makes $500,000 a year as a salary. The funny part that they were laughing about is that he had a stipulation in his contract that he would get a bonus for every athlete he graduated. So to push him to make sure his athletes stayed in school, they gave him extra money. What I'm saying is when I hear complaints about affirmative action I sort of push it aside and say if they gave that kind of tutoring, if they put that kind of money in they could take the people from the ghetto with 2.0 and get them better jobs, but that's not what I'm proposing here. My attitude is that it shouldn't be reduced for nobody that's the whole point. Academics should be the standard we're talking about at these schools.
Are there schools that maintain standards? There are a few. But the problem with affirmative action the problem with athletes the problem with professors kids is that the standards have been reduced. What am I talking about? Professors' kids. Most will allow our children to go to that campus or alumnus kids with far lower GPA. If your parent teaches at Stanford you can get in at 3.0, not a 4.0. However, if you don't get into Stanford and your parents work there, even if they're not in the faculty, they will pay half your tuition at any college you go to in the country. Not a bad country. That's not fair. Well that's my whole point. This process isn't fair.
My point is that I want to complain about both and I want to make it clear that bodies really to me are extremely bothersome. Would I take it? Sure, I'd take the money. That's not the point. Well, what I'm saying is I don't have any ethics. This is back many years ago. When affirmative action was really being abused even more so than it has been. There was a student and he was a straight A student at Ohlone, he was from the Philippines. He had left under Marcos. His family was active politically, but he wasn't on the -- he didn't keep a 4.0 there. He probably had a 3.7- 3.6 which is -- maybe 15-20 years ago. He's back in the Philippines but he wanted to go to law school. So he took the S.A.T exams. He got 756 on them. Obviously an outrageously high score. What he wrote to the law schools was, when you consider me for admission I do not want to be considered under minority admissions. I worked hard so you have seen my scores and grades. I don't want to be degraded by being accepted in minority admissions. If you take into account diversity, please take into account I'm from the Philippines.
Now it sounds hypocritical, but he was dead serious. Because diversity is a factor in equality. We always have to deal with different kinds of diversity. What proves his ethics is he received a full scholarship to Cornell, which is one of the Ivy League law schools on minority admissions. He turned it down. He went to Rutgers in New Jersey on a partial scholarship simply because they took him in open enrollment. He felt it would be degrading. He had ethics and I'm saying I don't know how many of us, I know I wouldn't. I would have taken -- it is very hard when you deal with that. We live in a society with the expensive stuff and I gave those kind of people credit for their consistency, but that's one of the problems. People can easily abuse it and as I said, make excuses while they abuse it. Not just whites using it, and abusing it. But another example --
Q My brother-in-law got a job in Sacramento as a fire fighter and he had been applying in Fremont and Newark for the last 5 years and his mother was born in Hawaii before it became a state, so he was able to claim that he was a Hawaiian citizen, but technically he is even though he's 100% white and a friend of his who also moved to Sacramento applied for the same job who put white on the paperwork, my brother-in-law got the job. Personally my opinion only because he put on this --
A Doubt it.
Because Hawaii is not recognized, unless Polynesian as an under represented group. It just blew me away that somebody was on paperwork might say something, but at the same time most of the people that I know are actually been Anglo and I know a lot of the minorities have been turned down.
I knew this kid who hadn't even gone through college who was a big white kid and he got on the Oakland police. When I heard this Korean guy say he got turned down and was saying they hired some other white guy because of affirmative action. It may be more difficult, but if you've got the standards you're going to get the job. Unless it's one of the institutions where you got poor management and quotas and I don't think you want to work there anyway. We talk about guidelines. I'll talk about that, but, you know, we use it. We abuse it.
Did I talk about the individual that sued Ohlone college because he got turned down for a division deanship here? Cost the school a fortune. The guy was African-American and we needed -- we were hiring a dean for our division. The guy retired, and the head of committee is Mildred White. Now she's African-American. We had two Hispanics on the committee, a number of women, and an Asian on the committee, besides this Anglo who did the interviewing, - and today one of the nice parts about affirmative action, it requires you to ask the same questions to everybody.
Years ago you come in for a job, I always knew I'd get a job because I knew when I went into the interview I could change the topic into something interesting and we'd talk the whole time about the topic and never about the job. I think you can still pull that, but on the major jobs like teaching today you can't. Because when you go for your initial interviews there's a set of questions that everybody has to be asked so that you have consistencies. But I don't know if I'd get a job today.
In any case, we usually pull a certain number of people in for an interview, of the 60 or 50 applications, and this is what you do in a lot of the hiring, not just in teaching, and we choose 7 to bring to interview. Interestingly, of the 7, 2 dropped out who were women so we really didn't have any women, but we had a real diverse group. Actually, 3 women minorities and 1 was Asian, 2 were Hispanic and the other 2 were white. The majority. And the 1 black guy -- I'm sorry, so it was only 1 white -- whatever it was. Well, this guy was an older guy in the sense that he had been around education for many years but he had not taught in the classroom for many years and we can't have a classroom teacher in action. He hadn't taught in 20 years. He had all this nice educational lingo and we didn't like it. When people start using educational lingo you begin to say this is the kind of administration - those of you who were not in education -- he had every word down. He knew every phrase of what was going on in the education books. That's scary.
Well, in any case, he was not sent up to the president. The president usually requires that we send up 3 names without ranking them so he can choose. This is power of the president. Well we actually sent up 4 names including a person I thought would get the position basically because he was Asian and he was coming from San Francisco City College. However when he found out he had to teach and wasn't going to get extra money from it, I understood he dropped out. We hired a Hispanic and that happens to be Ron Quinta who many know from biology. He was the one that was hired from the post.
Any of you had Ron Quinta? One of the tragedies, he's a great teacher. Because he wasn't - became an administrator. This guy went to the equal opportunity and charged that the committee had been racially biased against him. What the school had to do was they had to go through 5 years of records to show that we did not, that we had hired diverse people on the campus. We had to have the lawyers writing back and forth various briefs, it must have cost the school $50,000 just because this guy files a complaint which hadn't gone into the lawsuit yet. Each of us who were on the committee had to be interviewed, our statements had to be taken. Our reasons were given within, you know, all of that kind of stuff because he filed. So it has become a very expensive process. Translation: It has been abused. There's no ifs, ands, or buts about it. The real problem is how do you mend it?
But let me get back to the whole issue. Because as I said I'm a supporter of affirmative action, what do we mean by equal or near equal? A 3.9 and somebody with a 4.0 to me is near equal. Now, when you're dealing with that kind of a difference, you have to take into account other kinds of things. You take into account whether they work, you know -- well you people who were -- going to college. One of the things the Anglos don't understand about the Asian community is that the Asian community knows how to do their application. Their parents will go to work to pay for them. They're going to make sure they make extra money. The Anglos come from non-education families and say, I'm not putting the mortgage on my home the only way you're going is if you work for it. They may not on your S.A.T scores are on, but these - the Asian community speak among themselves and what do they do? Starting in the 7th and 8th grade, forgetting the students and the academic grades. They make sure their children go out and work in volunteer projects. They work in the hospitals, in the community centers, volunteer time, looks good on the application. They know this. They go out for track. They go out for badminton. They go out for swimming because nobody gets cut. I'm not joking.
All right, all you Asians can throw things at me. You want to call it bias? It's on the record, they get this stuff down. It's not the 4.0, they are well aware. They're going to be on those committees. They are going to be doing dance stuff for the dance. They're going to be doing the yearbook stuff because they know that diversity is necessary, right? Okay I say it the way it is. I'm not going to get fired for this. But the fact is that it's a knowledgeable kind of thing. That is an understanding of what it takes to get into the schools and that's why you tend to have to decide on those issues. I may have said that last time.
I told my older son that he could much easier get into a good school on the east coast than the west coast because they want diversity. A student coming from Mission with a 4.0 has less chance than somebody from New York with a 4.0 because they pull people in from other parts of the country because they want the diversity and then they can say they have alumni. All of this is a factor that people don't yell, well I didn't get into college because I didn't get into volunteer work. They yell because of affirmative action and in most cases it's not all of these other kind of activities that become important because they figure that in many ways if you are active, then you are going to be a productive member of society too. If you came from that school that school will get the reputation that will pull more people in. Now, what happens? Well for many years what often happened was that they always, administrators fearful of the need for diversity in jobs, in schools began to reduce standards. By setting quotas or guidelines. At least unofficial ones. They were official ones too. Now that was what created many of the problems. Because it opened the door to abuse. Abuse that I would take advantage of. Just like your friend did.
If Hawaii is a minority, put it in other list if I am Hawaiian. Okay? Many Jews who had Hispanic surnames because they came from Spain, they were kicked out of Spain in 1492, their families haven't lived anywhere near Spanish lands. But they have names like Sanchez, Garcia, Gonzalez, put down their names, put down their Spanish heritages and were getting in as Latinos. Absolutely not what affirmative action is. A friend graduating back with my son from Mission high, he was 6' 3", blond, blue eyed, his name was Montoya. He had no background in a latino culture. His family had come back in the colonial days from Spain settling in this area and he got into Berkeley with a 3.2 because the name goes on the list as Hispanic. Now that was abusive and those are the problems that people heard and people were concerned about. The other abuse was reversing, and it has been a problem too, the fact that many people who had the grades and diversity could not get in because of those kinds of abuses.
Years ago Jews had limitations. My brother got turned down in Princeton because they had reached their quota of Jews. Lowell high school stopped Asians coming in. Only 40% were allowed in. That was just last week in the paper. They finally got rid of that. So if you've got communities who have the standard, why are we pulling the standards away? What do we do to get the other people up the standard? Well on the educational level, obviously Asians are not under represented. However, will we say Asians are a minority, under represented?
When we talk about such things as in administration. You don't see many Asians even on the faculties of some of these institutions and that makes a difference. Where else do you see it? Well, look at television. How many Asians do you see? On television you see many African American TV shows, but you don't see very many latino TV shows. A few, and certainly don't see many Asians and when they are there, they're made fun of in one way or another. Like on the Simpsons. So we create even worse stereotypes there which is the point. That has to somehow be changed when we talk about representation.
Sometimes standards were false. They kept certain groups out. For instance, in New York, to be on the police force 30 years ago you had to be a minimum of 5' 8". Now you got to understand in New York that is the average height. In California, it's 5' 10". You people eat better oranges, I don't know. Whatever it is. I love going back to New York. I only feel average there. However at least I used to feel average until I shrunk. But the issue was that it kept off a lot of minorities.
Granted when minorities live here for a number of years their height increase from the diet. But this was not very much the case. In New York, not only is the diet poor, but you still have a lot of immigrant groups. It also kept women from the police force. Was it legitimate? The answer was apparently no. Because when they got rid of the size requirement, they had many minorities who --always a different kind of power of the respect from their own communities.
The whole point of affirmative action was to get people from the community to go into the community to create role models, to understand the community, not to give somebody a degree whose family hasn't been in Spain for 400 years because you know that person isn't going to benefit the community. They're not going to be seen or they don't identify with the community. They're not seen as Hispanic by the Hispanic community. And women coming into the police force, they found them very suited for police work in areas - domestic disputes for example. They seem to handle it better than the macho cop who wants to beat the hell out of the male. Doesn't understand the female response and that's the reality of some of the things that happen, but where are the standards? Where should they be kept?
One of the things we talk about, fire fighters. San Francisco fire fighters were constantly being attacked. The fire fighters in San Francisco had no women on the force. Very few minorities. The exam is given and they're usually about a hundred or so, but there are very few, but the San Francisco fire fighters were notorious for hiring people among the families. It was a family business if you had a relative on it, you got on. You work as a fire fighter for a while. The test is pretty physically strenuous and women were failing it. The women started arguing that it wasn't a standard of the work. They brought in experts to show it was the standards, you know climbing the ladder, body, hose dragging, that kind of stuff, running up, you've seen the towers. So, they argued that's why women couldn't get it because they weren't doing it well. Women in San Francisco who wanted to be fire fighters began going to gyms, maybe taking steroids. On the next exam, 70 women passed it. Although some of them were in the top 10, some of them were on the next 10-20. They still did not hire any women. Which makes you question then whether it is sexism or not. Because if we can see it is pretty equal, you've got 100 people, 200 passing, you've got women up there, maybe you can open the door. Because what does "best qualified" mean? And that's the point. Diversity makes a factor of the qualification. Of course there are those groups that do worse, and in their fear of being sued, they create systems that are almost meaningless. You can quote me on this, the people who were going to hate me dramatically.
I think the way to get into our nursing program is the stupidest system I have ever seen. I don't know how many of you -- anybody here going into nursing? Because of arguments of suits, because of question of what best-qualified meant, the nursing department, rather than making the decision does a lottery system. The names are thrown into a computer wheel and they were pulled out if they have met the requirements. So what they are using now is not best qualified - that anybody is qualified, meaning C or above average. That way they avoid the question of bias and they can say, our nursing students passed the state exam. See, me, I'd much rather have a person with an A in biology than one with a C in it as my nurse. I much rather have somebody interview and say this person works well with patients rather than simply have a wheel decide.
The strangest part about the system is that they throw your name in twice if you live in Fremont or Newark. Because it's the Fremont/Newark community college system. Granted right now there is a need for nurses. They're pulling in a lot of people, but they haven't been getting nearly as many. We used to have 40 positions and 200 applicants. Now they're having trouble getting applicants, but it still runs into my question of avoidance.
The fear of suit has created problems of not wanting to make decisions as to who you think would be better in the field. Because it can be argued bias. How do you prove that was a fair interview? How do you prove this? These factors are there. With our classes here at Ohlone now we can't put prerequisites on those classes unless we can prove it's a necessary course for the class.
We can set prerequisites in the same departments so you can't take math 152 unless you pass 151. That makes sense, you don't have to prove that. But if I decided that to really do well in this class it would be better to have students that passed English 101A, I can't put that down as a prereq anymore unless I do a study for 3 years to show that students will only pass the class if they've taken English 101A. So we do have to do students studies and some may benefit, but -- as I said, years ago when it first started, it was far worse. People would come into my class getting Bs and I would be saying to them, hey you're not going to get on. And he said yeah I am. I'm a minority. I'll get into medical school in fact. And when people think like that it's extremely dangerous. It's unhealthy because he wasn't going to get into medical school. People begin to believe and abuse it.
So what did the courts decide? Well, the first case of that really happened with affirmative action issue came to the Supreme Court in 1977. By the way, I am expressing all biases here. If you haven't noted. I don't ask you to agree with me. So that we're clear that this is not required for you to regurgitate back at me. In 1977, a man name Bakke -- and it's under the University of California vs Bakke on your word list -- sued earlier. He had sued the University of California Davis. Because he was denied admission to medical school. Bakke was a white man. Davis had, in an attempt to create affirmative action, set up a quota system. Of the 100 positions open for medical school, 16 of them had to be filled by minorities.
I had a professor many years ago who one of the students asked, do you grade on a curve? His response was, if I had a class of 100 baboons that means I'd have to give 10 A's. I'm not about to do that. In a sense, maybe that's what happened with the quotas. Because what happened in a sense was Bakke was denied admission. He had better grades, grade point average, then any of the 16 minorities admitted. Why was he turned down? The school doesn't have to tell you why it turns you down. It could have been many factors including diversity. It may have been and some people have said it may have been his average. Medical schools are notorious for not wanting to take people in their 30s. He was in his 30s.
He could prove there was a quota against whites. He sued. It was Bakke, vs. originally University of California Davis, but he won it in the California Supreme Court. It was the first reverse discrimination suit. Saying that he was being discriminated against because he was white. The University of California appealed the decision to the Supreme Court. In a very close 5-4 vote, US Supreme Court agreed with the California Supreme Court that this quota was reverse discrimination and they said that quotas were illegal because it reduced standards. They didn't put it in those words, but that was the implication. However, they did say that affirmative action was not illegal, that you could consider diversity. So that if you want to weigh individuals because of their race or their agenda they could take that into account and choose from. It does not outlaw affirmative action at all. But it said that you still should be picking the best person based on your standard, not because you have set aside certain positions.
So basically quotas were outlawed. So what did schools do? They set up guidelines. There are 20% Hispanics living in the community, therefore 20% of the people should be Hispanic. Now the government in many cases went crazy with that guideline. In one guy's factory about 50% of his employees were African American and about 10% were Hispanic. However, the community was only about 10% African American and had 20% Hispanics. They charged him with racial discrimination because he didn't have enough Hispanics working there. They did an investigation. So do we do it on the community standard. Do we do it on the state-wide standards? Do we do it on national statistics? Guidelines almost became quotas, especially when used by administrators who want to look good by statistics of affirmative action.
In 1978 another court case came to the Supreme Court. It also reflects part of my attitude. It was Weber v Kaiser Steel, New Orleans. Kaiser had been attacked for not having any African Americans in skilled labor positions or management. They argued it was because of the community and so to compensate for what they were lacking, they set up a special training program to train African American welders. To train African Americans to be welders, they didn't hire them. They did pay for their training. It is a very expensive skill to learn and it's a high-paid skill. It takes a long time to really become good at it. So they took in people to train who were minority, under represented. A man name Weber who was a white man applied for the program.
He was working at Kaiser Steel; he was turned down. Because basically he was white. Kaiser charged that he had the opportunity, as all white men did in New Orleans, to take it in high school. But the program in New Orleans was not open to blacks. Therefore, they were making up for a past wrong. They were redressing a grievance. The Supreme Court reviewed it and said it was okay. Since they were not hiring unskilled labor, but training people, they were tutoring people to bring them up to standards so that they could get diversity in their plan. In other words, it is fine to create diversity by training people, by educating them. Opening up bridge programs. But it's amazing how people use that as a rationale sometimes. For the reasoning that they're not doing well. Many people in the bridge programs fell out too, but at least they're trying to bring them up to standards in some way.
The whole community college system was established as a bridge program. Sometimes sadly we're often seen as a remedial because we've often so many courses. In some ways the high schools not only fail minorities, sometimes majorities as well or students aren't doing the work they should be. So we offer many courses that are not transferable to bring them up to standard, but there's nothing wrong with that. It's the body of American education that people who didn't mature until later, screwed around in school, now can go on in many institutions. In many countries, like England, the system is that you take your test at age eleven. You don't pass that test to go on to the academic schools or off to a trade school. You're out of school and that's it, never again, from eleven on your life is determined. A lot of countries have that kind of standards. The United States, and Germany as well, opens the doors to adult students.
Some of you in this class are not the average age of the students usually. 18 or 19. I remember everybody was 18 when we had that woman in class who was 28 and we saw her as that old lady. We couldn't believe that this old woman of 28 was going back to school. But today, it is not uncommon. In fact, especially in the evening program, we have more students of the average school age now. But years ago we had a lot of reentry students, as they're called, back taking advantage of the GI bill. In fact this woman who was running the student government for one semester, she came here in her 40s, she graduated Ohlone at 40 and went on to Smith college and lived in the dorm with all the 18 & 19-year olds. Not many colleges, not many countries, where that can happen. You can knock American education all you want, but the fact is where we fail we tried to make it up in redress grievance. That's why we have so many people from other countries trying to get into our schools, because they know they can do it here and not there.
Positive statement which a lot of the people tend to forget about. The open door element of our progress. I was dealing with Weber v University of California. How we create a bridge for many people to complete their education and that's what we should be doing, spending machine in those schools. So that those programs become the standard. There is no reason that Mission high school should have better programs than Irvington. Not better, more academically enhanced.
Mission has a reputation, perhaps undeserved. I found that teachers there were mostly -- well they had some good ones, many retired last year, but I was amazed. You go to open house or back-to-school night you can see, you can read a teacher right away. It's not hard. My son's biology teacher last semester, she stood up there in open school reading her notes from this card and I said God this is deadly. And she was. Absolutely didn't know what was going on in that biology class, didn't even have the right answers for exams. Kids actually put up a web site dedicated to her goofs.
Q There's a lot of teachers like that in Mission. That was an example. The problem is that you know people look at it and say blue ribbon school. We want to move into this area to go to Mission and what is it that makes the school great? You know it's the students because the people are moving in to go there. If those same people go to Irvington, they don't offer the Calculus courses so they've got no equal rights. We've got to present that ability for those students who want to, and ask for that environment.
Concerned with the new approach to affirmative action that's a game that Governor Davis is pushing. That is that the University of California system will take in the top 4% from each school and the others won't be able to go. Well the top 4% from some schools would be in the bottom 10% of others academically. So that will be depriving large numbers of academic people and maybe in a different way reducing standards. I think we have to look at academics; we have to look at financial need as well as minorities, who were truly minorities in the sense of under represented so that they can be going back into their community as representatives of the community as role models.
I think the greatest thing for American blacks in many ways was the Anita Hill hearings. Most of you were too young to remember when she charged Judge Thomas, when he was being appointed to the Supreme Court, with sexual harassment. On TV, a whole parade of Yale educated lawyers and judges were then interviewed and put on and they were all African Americans. When you see that, you begin to realize that this is there.
Some of you may have heard the name Malcolm X? I don't know if anybody read the biography. When he was in junior high school he went to his guidance counselor and he said, "I'd like to be an attorney." and she said forget it. There's no way any black is going to get into law school, so why don't you go on and do something more practical like drive a truck. Whether this was a true story or just reported by Alex Haley who wrote the biography, the fact is it does reflect what happened years back. So if you have people that you can see, then you can inspire others to realize that they can go on and they can do their kind of achievement. That's why one of my favorite people in America, who's very much hated by many people in the black community, is Jessie Jackson. Now he is radical, but he constantly pushes education, and the need to achieve. And what it means to go on, and it's hard for you to comprehend this. But community family -- peers -- in more, so peers can spoil people's chances for success.
A friend of mind, quite young at the time in the 1960s, became head of the job corps, one of the job programs set up by Kennedy and Johnson, it was to train people in skilled labor from the ghettoes. Specifically take people, and skilled labor meant driving a truck, not just pushing a cart or selling drugs, but going on and getting a job where you got good pay. They found that the biggest problem they confronted is this, they would train these people, they would give them the skill. The people would go back home and they would be told that they were trying to go above them and they'd never get hired and they gave it up and they went back to pushing drugs or a cart. Despite the training. So the whole community element needs the role models so the people can see those individuals out there and they can say to themselves, no, it's not true. I can be like that. And that's what affirmative action was meant to do when we talk about level the playing fields. It's not just about getting jobs, but creating role models.
Okay. I've done my sermonizing today on that issue, but I made some points I hope. Whether you agree or not is -- on the chart as well is the issue of majority right, minority rule. Something that sounds good but needs to be clarified. You can't have a democracy if you cut off some people. Everybody should have a right to achieve equal opportunity. If you eliminate minorities then they don't have a right to become a majority. Many years ago my wife took political science at San Jose State, had an exam and the question was, if the people vote to take away the right to vote from read-headed people, would it still be a democracy since they voted to do it? That's a good question. Of course you know that if you were to get that question you would first think about what? The chart. Yes, now you know that. You can't cut off the group. Our constitution was designed to protect minorities, to preserve liberty, more so to create equality.
I told you the framers of the constitution saw the people as a danger, because they saw them as ruling through passion. The minority that they were going to protect was themselves. Rich and the well-born. Let's face it, and the framers of constitution would preserve the rich and the well-born. However, it is being used to protect groups that may have larger numbers, the groups we all under represented. The minorities, if you will. The same Constitution with very few changes. There have been historically only 27 amendments to that original living document. Why is that amazing? It's amazing because in California every year I think we get 27 amendments to our Constitution. Most countries have had numerous constitutions in their history. The nation of Bolivia since it's founding in about 1820s has had 60 constitutions. Even the Soviet Union before it collapsed had had four. We have had two? Two? Yeah. What was the first one again? Articles of Confederation, which went out. We talked about a lot that went out of existence with the new constitution the one we know of in 1789. The constitution was written in 1787 at a convention in Philadelphia. During the summer, late spring, and summer. Finish on September 16th and sent to the states. Perhaps illegally, originally they had agreed they were going to send it back to the articles legislature. The Articles of Confederation. The Articles of Confederation required a unanimous vote for any amendment and a 2/3 vote for any legislation passed. That was near impossible and the constitution was sent out requiring a 2/3, a 3/4 vote of the states or at least 9 of the 13 states to ratify it. It was supposed to go back and it didn't. So it violated the Articles, the meaning was to have a convention to amend the articles and they went and wrote a whole new constitution. It almost didn't pass. Many states were very close until the framers of the constitution agreed to add a Bill of Rights. The framers of the constitution said, you don't need a Bill of Rights. The people argued, we don't trust the government, we want a Bill of Rights.
The original Articles of Confederation were designed against the tyranny of one King George III. It was designed to prevent a dictator in America. The new constitution was designed not only against the tyranny of one. It was to protect the few against the many to preserve liberty. The Articles were working, but he had created 13 separate countries. There were many problems that you read about. This was an attempt to bring the country together. One of the things that inspired the convention with people to show up was Shay's Rebellion.
Shays's Rebellion in 1786 - the back farmers of Massachusetts, their land was being confiscated by the banks, by the money lenders, and there was no national army to go put them down. There was no military force except for the militia in Massachusetts and interestingly the governor of Massachusetts at the time was Sam Adams who had led the sons of liberty. He was a revolutionary, but now he led the force to put down the revolution. It scared the wealthy. They were also scared because they were sitting on their lands. George Washington for example owned land and what was now West Virginia. Out in Ohio they were very wealthy and people were then and they want to stop that. They want to protect their property and their wealth. So they created a document to preserve the minority.
I remember about 1982 at -- is Amador high school in Livermore? It was at Amador high school that 3 women sued because they were going to have a prayer at graduation and they argued that prayer was unconstitutional. You remember it? Yeah, I'm always glad that sometimes we get these older people that remember these -- that I don't make these things up. I remember a reporter speaking to one of women and saying -- you know how reporters can attack? How can you stop all those hundreds of students from graduating who want to have a prayer, this is a country where the majority rule and if the majority wants a prayer they should have one, and that's what your constitution was established to create. And she said, "no, you don't understand our constitution. You need to go back and take a history lesson. Our constitution was written to preserve the minority and we are the minority against majority tyranny." There was a lot of truth to that because the constitution was not just to protect the minority. The Bill of Rights in the First Amendment also gets it established, religion, we are protected from religion as well.
Translation: The school system can't make you pray. They can't write a prayer. They can't make you a Catholic. They can't make you a Baptist in the classroom. You can pray in class any time you want. You will be -- but that is not the same as if I say to you let's get down on our knees now and pray before you take my exam. The knowledge we have of the constitution in its workings is limited originally.
Because the convention was closed, we couldn't do this today, we have leaks, we have cameras, we have people being interviewed, reporters staking their cameras against the windows to see what was happening in Philadelphia in the hot summer in a small room. I was shocked when I went to Constitution Hall because I expected a big room where they would sit around and talk. It's a small little room. You've seen it?
I think more shocking, there was two things that happened in my visits, one was Constitution Hall which I expected to be big, the other was the Mona Lisa. It's not a big picture, it's small. It was green because, with the coloring of the thing, they may have cleaned it up since I saw it, and all these people were around it and I expected to see this massive portrait. It was very disappointing.
Did you know that the whole point about Mona Lisa's smile? They've been trying to figure out for years. They've been figuring for years and what it means -- well a few years ago a woman took the computer to try and analyze the various people and you know what she found out? That the Mona Lisa is Leonardo Da Vinci in drag, in a reverse drag. You know how he wrote in mirror image? Well apparently he was painting himself in drag and that's the real secret of the Mona Lisa's smile. I read about it. Again I just want to verify I don't make these things up. Thank you Paul. Why they brought up on the Internet. I've got the article as well. You know, irrelevant, but just a little side light to historical base.
In any case, we do have some knowledge thanks to James Madison who can keep some notes, he was our third president, is often known as the Father of the Constitution. Third president? Our fourth president. Spit out too fast. I expect to get corrected on those things. Our fourth president. Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison. He also was involved in writing the Federalist Papers. The Federalists Papers were a series of papers written in New York state under Greek and Roman names anonymously by Madison, Alexander Hamilton from the Aaron Burr commercial, when he was shot by Aaron Burr. You remember that commercial? That's the best commercial ever. And a man name John Jay, but he became your first Supreme Court Chief Justice. They wrote these documents. Most were written by Madison and that's how we have some idea of what the constitution was meant to do. But again, the big issue in getting it passed, and it was written for New York state, and it passed by a convention. The people didn't vote on it. They elected people to vote on it. Typical indirect democracy, and it passed by two votes. It was very close because people did not trust a strong government. Thomas Jefferson finally came over. When they agreed to have a Bill of Rights he supported it. Patrick Henry never supported it, but that document has lived with minimal changes because it's a guideline to our government.
And of those 27 amendments, ten of them were right away. They were the Bill of Rights, introduced at the first congress in 1789. They actually introduced 18. Madison wrote most of them. 12 were sent to the states. Ten passed and seventeen none, the ten Bill of Rights. The 11th passed -- are we ready? 1992. It had been sitting -- since 1789. It had no time limit on it. When congress raised their salary almost double, people in the United States got upset. They found this sitting out there, the 11th amendment which is now the 27th. It's listed as 27th. 1992 says that congress can't raise their own salaries during their term of office, but not during their own term. And that became -- so 11 of the amendments were right away. That actually only leaves 16. Two cancelled each other out. What were those two? Prohibition. So that gives us 14 amendments, three of which came from the Civil War and the ending of slavery. We've only really had 11 amendments that were on different subjects that were relative; it's an amazing document that provided for majority rule and minority rights. I'll continue by going into democracy, direct democracy, on Thursday.