Education, Top Stories

Unmaking Affirmative Action

On July 3, the Trump administration rescinded the Obama approach to race-based college admissions. This returns the U.S. to the philosophy of George W. Bush’s White House, which argued that race should not be a significant factor. The Trump initiative may have no immediate impact since the Supreme Court upheld race-based admissions policies in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin in 2016. But an impact is surely coming. Consider that Justice Scalia died before he could vote against affirmative action in the Fisher case. Now Justice Kennedy is retiring and Trump’s Supreme Court will certainly tilt against the policy with dissenters like Justices Roberts, Thomas, and Alito. Previously, Justice Thomas asserted that, “a State’s use of race in higher education admissions decisions is categorically prohibited by the Equal Protection Clause.” And Justice Roberts is on record as saying that “the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”

The end of affirmative action is a horrifying prospect for many liberals, but it may better reflect the actual views of Americans. A 2013 Gallup poll found that two-thirds of Americans believe college applicants should be admitted solely based on merit. A majority of whites and Latinos think race should not be a factor in admissions, and blacks are more evenly split, with a significant 44 percent saying admission should be based strictly on merit. A CBS/New York Times poll conducted the same year found that when Americans favor preferential programs, it is because they perceive them to be contributing to diversity on campus, not as a way to make up for past discrimination.

This goal of increasing diversity was articulated in Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s Grutter v Bollinger (2003) endorsement of the Court’s earlier claim that student body diversity is a compelling state interest and justifies the use of race in university admissions. The moral reasoning is that greater campus diversity breaks stereotypes and xenophobia, and students will therefore emerge from these experiences with greater tolerance and less prejudice.

However, ‘diversity’ is a long way from the original purpose of affirmative action. President Lyndon Johnson’s policy (Executive Order 11246) started as a legitimate leg-up for black Americans—a boost for opportunity in employment. But the more recent logic of the courts, as well as the public imagination, contends that affirmative action will help white people think better thoughts about people of color. Integrated diversity creates contact, the thinking goes, and contact reduces prejudice. This moral argument appears to underpin the Supreme Court’s logic in the Grutter v. Bollinger case, where Justice O’Connor argued that race preference policies would be a necessary evil for only another 10 years (25 years from the original opinion). After that, presumably, we’ll be past racial discrimination.

When President Johnson first instituted affirmative action in 1965, one of the underlying purposes was reparation to the descendants of former slaves. African-Americans who felt the sting of Jim Crow racism directly would benefit from the policy. At that time, the goal of increased diversity in schools and the workplace was intimately connected to affirmative action’s restorative function, but that is no longer the case. In today’s America, many of the people who benefit from diversity policies are not disadvantaged African-Americans, but Latinos, Indians, Africans, Vietnamese, Iranians, Pakistanis, Chinese, Koreans, middle-class blacks, and so on. Unlike the mid-60s, nowadays there is significant diversity on university campuses.

The U.S. is not living in a post-racial age, in the sense that we all see past skin color, speech accents, and cultural differences. But we are living in a post black-and-white era of discrimination, in the sense that we now have many additional kinds of prejudice and bias (brought about by ‘melting pot’ trends). Prejudice is not as uniform as it used to be, and now we have micro-prejudices that cannot be legislated away; Puerto Rican Americans stereotype Mexican Americans, who stereotype African Americans, who stereotype Korean Americans, who stereotype Japanese Americans, who stereotype Chinese Americans, who stereotype Pakistani Americans, who stereotype Indian Americans, and so on. Trying to mitigate this inevitable mess of tribalism with a preferential and zero-sum admissions policy seems like a fool’s errand.

The aftermath of the civil rights era saw huge U.S. immigration spikes for Asian and Latin American populations. In the 1960s most immigrants came from Europe, so the color question remained acute. But, starting in the 1970s, there has been a huge influx of color. In 1960, only 9 percent of immigrants were Latin American and 5 percent were Asian. Compare that with 2011 immigration, when 52 percent were Latin American and 28 percent Asian. The color question has changed in America and this has implications for the logic of affirmative action.

The ‘diversity argument,’ that Justice O’Connor proffered in Grutter, will probably not survive a substantial legal challenge because it tries to catch a specific needy demographic—African-Americans—with a wide net that also inadvertently benefits many non-African-American people of color. Moreover, ‘diversity’ is now being interpreted by conservative intellectuals as diversity of opinion and perspective. If diversity really is the goal when college campuses are being composed, then we’ll need a huge influx of under-represented conservative and libertarian students and faculty. Perhaps the one place where liberals are unlikely to win the diversity argument, broadly understood, is on college campuses where political correctness and ‘safe-space’ culture has narrowed the diversity of political viewpoints.

For the Left, it would have been better to keep the argument focused on reparation for descendants of slaves, because that smaller net captures the correct demographic group. But this argument is problematic for other reasons, namely the historical distance between today’s African American students and slavery.

Switching away from race and toward an economic criterion for preferential treatment results in two improvements; poor kids get into elite schools and poor minorities are captured within the general economic criterion. However, as legal scholar Ronald Dworkin has argued, in consideration of the Texas case, it is not enough to get black students on campus in Texas—a task easily accomplished by an existing law that takes the top 10 percent of Texas high school students and therefore draws smart, poor, black students from geographically black high schools. Judge Alito suggested, while hearing the case, that this 10 percent rule sufficiently ensures the sought-after student diversity. But supporters of affirmative action, like Dworkin, argued that this would not be the right sort of diversity, because it would feed white stereotypes that blacks are poor. Supporters of affirmative action in Texas argued that the university should be encouraged to cherry-pick black students from middle- and upper-class backgrounds in order to break campus stereotypes.

This is a strange and dubious argument against an economic criterion. Using an economic criterion only creates the stereotyping problems that Dworkin described (i.e., most of the black kids on campus will be poor) if you think middle-class blacks are not competitive with middle-class whites. Some data (from a 2011 Pew Research report) seem to suggest a competitive wealth gap between whites and African-Americans who have similar middle-class educational backgrounds, but what is needed is data of the reverse relation. Do African-American students of middle class income brackets fail to qualify (via exams and other objective measures) for quality schools? If so, this would constitute a strange and mysterious failure, since there’s no firm evidence of genetic causes for such a disparity, and middle-class status usually means that the ‘nurturing’ or cultural ingredients for educational success have been provided (e.g., intact nuclear families that push education). If, on the other hand, middle-class families that prize education produce competitive students no matter what their racial status, then the only ethical problem left in college admissions is helping economically disadvantaged students of every race.

Perhaps what Justice O’Connor should have argued was not that “diversity” policies need 25 more years of legal protection (her actual argument), but that slavery reparation needs 25 more years of legal protection. That would have been the mechanism needed to keep African-Americans inside the affirmative action cohort and other people of color outside it. That argument certainly has its champions, as I learned at a recent mandatory ‘Undoing Racism’ workshop at my college. For two full days, my colleagues and I were told by the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond that “only white people can be racists” because only white people hold institutional power in the U.S. When my extremely diverse colleagues from all over the world objected that there is plenty of racism in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and elsewhere, we were all informed that racism was actually a U.S. invention to justify slavery and that evidence of international racism or ancient racism was either spurious or derivative of the white American variant. The explicitly stated goal of the workshop was to sensitize people to the black struggle in particular, and it had no pretensions about diversity or inclusion per se. However, that argument, baldly stated, sounds less tenable to contemporary Americans. Many Americans see discrimination as a social problem and one that is much more complex than simply white and black. Moreover, many African-Americans have much greater economic and institutional power these days—a point raised by black colleagues during the workshop, and summarily silenced by the workshop leaders who preferred to see rich and politically powerful blacks as outliers.

Many middle-class African-Americans also feel that we’ve outgrown affirmative action. President Obama, for example, has stated that his own privileged daughters don’t deserve affirmative action preferences. Instead, he argues, low-income students of all races, should be given preferential treatment. At the same time, however, his Department of Justice supported the race-based admissions in the University of Texas case.

When Asians score their way into all the slots at the good schools, will whites argue that they were discriminated against? Actually, Asian scholastic excellence is already so powerful that Asians have to be discriminated against to keep them from overpopulating competitive programs. William M. Chace, in his 2011 “Affirmative Inaction” essay in the American Scholar, tells of a Princeton study that analyzed the records of more than 100,000 applicants to three highly selective private universities. “They found that being an African-American candidate was worth, on average, an additional 230 SAT points on the 1600-point scale and that being Hispanic was worth an additional 185 points, but that being an Asian-American candidate warranted the loss, on average, of 50 SAT points.”

As far as overall diversity goes, we might bite the bullet and assert—independent of the affirmative action tradition—that we want a pluralistic campus which reflects our national melting pot. To that end, we might create a quota lottery that replicates, on campus, the same racial demographics of the whole nation (75 percent white, 15 percent Latino, 12 percent black, 5 percent Asian, and so on). But the problem here is now obvious. We would need to actively restrain one of the most impressive academic racial groups (Asians) in order to force them to conform to their tiny demographic percentage. This seems both unethical and unwise. Asian-Americans have been disproportionately injured by discriminatory admissions policies, which is why the Asian-American Coalition for Education (AACE) has successfully motivated the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to begin an investigation into Harvard’s admission policy.

Liberals might object that Chinese people never had the hard times that blacks had in America, so they don’t deserve any special treatment. The descendants of the Chinese indentured laborers who built the transcontinental railroads would probably beg to differ, as would the descendants of the Los Angeles Chinese massacre and mass lynching of 1871. Moreover, what do we make of the Naturalization Act of 1870, that extended citizenship rights to African-Americans but denied them to Chinese on the grounds that they could never be assimilated and integrated into American society? Almost a century of anti-Chinese policies followed, punishing them and subjecting them to Jim Crow-like conditions. Also, a new study shows that income inequality for Asians has now surpassed the ratio for African-Americans, so the myth of Asian economic advantage is exposed.

The tangled criteria of (a) reparation for past injuries and (b) ‘breaking stereotypes’ (through increased diversity) is a very sticky wicket, because it radically opens the floodgates of equally reasonable complaints. Latinos in every economic class will need to be cherry-picked, as will Asians and every other group. If there are not enough gays and lesbians on campus to defuse homophobia, institutions will need to protect slots for gays and lesbians in every economic and racial category. Transgendered students will not just need representation, but representation from different economic backgrounds. And Asians who are bad at math and Jews who are bad at economics will need special recruitment, in order to break down those pernicious stereotypes on campus. In short, ‘breaking stereotypes’ is an over-inclusive criterion, and fails the strict scrutiny expectation that a law or policy be ‘narrowly tailored’ to achieve its goal or interest.

Here we see the problem with basing today’s preferential treatment on histories of injury and victimization. Too many groups have been victims for the State to undo the damages. The medicine becomes worse than the disease it is intended to treat. Perhaps it is better, as the libertarians suggest, for the State to get out of the way and let individuals improve their lives.

From the libertarian perspective, the burden of educational success falls on the individual and the family. This is not naïve rugged individualism. Every child that does well in school is only the visible spear-tip of a hidden weapon—and that weapon is the family. On this view, it is the devotion and labor and focus of the family, not race or money, that makes the major difference between the successful and unsuccessful post-secondary student. For example, a recent study looks at why Asian kids from poor families score better than rich white kids, and concludes that Asian family culture makes the difference. It’s not some genetic or innate cognitive advantage, but the family insistence that achievement comes from extreme effort—a longstanding emphasis in Confucian cultures. Of course, this is unlikely to be the only cause of academic excellence, but it can’t be ignored or trivialized either.

We need to face reality. College admission and employment generally is a competitive zero-sum game. Affirmative action started as a well-intentioned way to redress inequalities, but it has become an ethical and practical quagmire. It is now effectively pitting races against each other, and rigging the results so that individual merit differences are discounted. Liberals are afraid that eliminating affirmative action is the same as turning away from those who are less fortunate, whereas conservatives and libertarians think that, when the State gets out of the way, individuals and families make themselves more prosperous. If the State must be involved in the redistribution of social outcomes through college admissions, then it should stick to a problem it can actually solve—namely, improving access for poor people of every race.

 

Stephen Asma, PhD, is professor of philosophy at Columbia College Chicago and author of ten books, including Why We Need Religion (Oxford, 2018), and The Evolution of Imagination (Univ of Chicago, 2017). He writes regularly for the New York Times. You can follow him on Twitter @stephen_asma

85 Comments

  1. There isn’t a single elite university or college that I’m aware of that makes available to the public the average grade point averages and test scores of admitted students by their race (gosh, I wonder why?), and this has been the case for several decades now. On those rare occasions that this information has either been leaked or been released as a result of a lawsuit –- for example, at Michigan and Texas — the amount of discrimination against Asians and whites and favoritism toward blacks and Hispanics has been staggering: In one case, about a three-hundred point SAT score difference between white and black students. There’s probably less of a differential at Harvard because it can attract the very best minority students, but it’s extremely likely that there is no college that has truly meritocratic admissions. (In fact, just using the term “meritocracy” has been called a “microaggression” on some campuses — that’s how morally and intellectually debased campus culture has become.) Let’s call this decades-long corruption of the ideal of fair treatment what it actually is: Institutional racism against whites and (especially) Asians. It’s particularly sickening when the black and Hispanic students admitted come from higher socioeconomic classes (they don’t tend to be poor at places like Harvard) than first-generation Asian kids.

    Here’s a section of the report of the data made available by compelled discovery in the current lawsuit against Harvard:

    “Consider the example of an Asian-American applicant who is male…[who has] characteristics that result in a 25% chance of admission. Simply changing the race of this applicant to white—and leaving all his other characteristics the same—would increase his chance of admission to 36%. Changing his race to Hispanic (and leaving all other characteristics the same) would increase his chance of admission to 77%. Changing his race to AfricanAmerican (again, leaving all other characteristics the same) would increase his chance of admission to 95%.”

    “For the three most recent admissions cycles, a period during which Harvard’s Admissions Office has tracked admission rates by race using the federal IPEDS methodology, Harvard has maintained African-American admission rates at nearly exactly the same level as the admission rates for all other domestic applicants (within 0.00064). The probability that the difference in admission rates would be smaller than 0.00064 in each of the three years is less than 0.2% absent direct manipulation, and is consistent with Harvard having a floor on the African-American admit rate.”

    “Asian-American applicants also face a penalty on the overall rating, a penalty that increases in magnitude at levels of the overall rating where admission is more likely. The chances of an Asian-American applicant receiving a 2 or better on Harvard’s overall rating is 4%. But if Asian-American applicants were treated equally to white applicants, their probability of receiving a 2 or better on Harvard’s overall rating would increase from 4% to 4.5%. This effect is statistically significant and represents more than a 12% increased chance in receiving an overall rating of a 2 or better. The rise in an Asian American’s chances of receiving a 2 or better on the overall rating would be even greater if they were treated like African-American or Hispanic applicants. If treated like Hispanic applicants, their probability of receiving a 2 or better would be 2.5 times higher, increasing to over 10%. Had Asian-American applicants been treated like African-American applicants, their probability of receiving a 2 or better would be 4.5 times higher, increasing to over 18%.”

    • Chad99999 says

      So do you understand that American universities have never been test score meritocracies, and most could not meet their missions and strategic objectives if they were?.

      In exchange for being subsidized heavily by taxpayers, and in order to fulfil their resulting obligations to function as engines of economic growth, disseminators of new technologies, and providers of civic education to nourish democracy, universities have to engage all races and classes in society. Moreover, they cannot take the tax dollars of black Americans and use the money to educate Asians because Asians have higher test scores. If there were no tax subsidies to universities it might be fair to rely on test scores, but not with the system we have.

      • Russian Hacker says

        Chad, this only makes sense from a hyper-racialized view of society. Some might even say it’s racist. If anything will break the US it’s identity politics. The Soviets knew it, Xi Jinpin knows it, and Putin knows it.

        • It cannot be racist to object to the exploitation of black taxpayers. For hundreds of years, blacks were abused as slaves to develop and enrich the white community. Now you want to drive blacks out of the Ivy League and the flagship state universities, replace them with Asians, many of whom are brand new to this country, and tell black taxpayers to keep paying to support the system you are excluding them from.

          • Andrija Stupar says

            Chad Chen,

            The Ivy League universities are private, all eight of them. They are not massively subsidized.

      • There is a certain type of American who does not understand or chooses to ignore the fact that affirmative action began as a reparations program for hundreds of years of black slavery.

        Some of these people claim that most whites, such as Italian and east European immigrants fo not owe blacks anything because they began to arrive in America in large numbers just as slavery was being abolished in 1865.

        That attitude ignores American economic history. Slavery help build the America that received. and provided opportunities to these European immigrants. The taxes paid by slave owners, the investments in infrastructure made possible by the accumulated surpluses of hundreds of years of slavery, even the buildings slavrs built, have all been used by these immigrants who self-righteously claim they owe blacks nothing. So we don’t want to hear complaints about affirmative action.

        • Cheester says

          They don’t owe blacks anything. Blacks benefits just as much from the infrastructure that exists in America. You’re spouting a bunch of rhetoric that makes it seem like everything in America was built on slave labor. If that was true, how do you explain the fact that the south, both of the civil war era and today, makes up the poorest parts of the country? States with the least slavery, generally in the northeast, are much richer than their slave-owning counterparts in the south. Looks like not everything good in America was built on slave labor. No one alive today lived under slavery, and hardly anyone complaining about this even lived under Jim Crow. If blacks are the ones who are responsible for so many of the great things in America, they should have no problem thriving now that there are not only no institutional barriers to their success, but also an overwhelming number of scholarships and programs to help them succeed. Yet what we see is that they are not nearly as qualified as the Asians and whites they are competing against. It’s rather ironic that you call immigrants with no blood on their hands self-righteous when none of them are as self-righteous as you or the people clamoring for special treatment.

          Lastly, the things that truly make America great, like our Bill of Rights and freedoms, were conceived of by white men, not blacks. Since blacks are so capable of building great societies to live in, you should easily be able to name one majority black country on planet earth that you would actually rather live in than America. You can’t.

        • Jeremy Smith says

          Who ended institutionalized slavery? Something that has been around since the dawn of our species? I seem to be drawing a blank.

  2. Brett McSweeney says

    Good to see these patronizing, counter-productive “affirmative action” schemes getting called out.

    People who are accepted into a top college on the basis of AA typically end up floundering and failing. Not a positive experience. So why not just get a job? A real job is one of the best educational experiences out there, and they pay you as well.

    The tertiary education trend I like is the on-line/low-cost learning (MOOC) model. It’s available to every ability level of any age (*ahem*) – free if you don’t need the certificate. Except for aspiring academics, arrangements like that would suit most people.

    • Caligula says

      “People who are accepted into a top college on the basis of AA typically end up floundering and failing.”

      For what it’s worth, this effect is minimized at Harvard, as it receives so many high-quality applications, and is the first choice of practically all applicants, that it can afford to put a heavy thumb on the admissions scale and still obtain very capable applicants.

      Of course, Harvard’s diversity-grab makes life more difficult downstream, as schools attempt to meet their diversity goals after those upstream have skimmed off the cream. Harvard’s position as “oldest and richest” positions it as uniquely able to afford to do this, as even the remainer of highly-selective schools (Ivies, etc.) will have to compromise quality to make their diversity numbers.

      Yet the likely result of pointing this out (and demanding statistics) likely will be a decline in academic rigor at even the top-rated schools, as given a choice between maintaining academic rigor or reforming their admissions, I suspect most (all?) schools will find ways to hide the fact that their academically weak admits are having trouble.

      Thus, the dishonesty of a hokus-pocus admissions process designed to obscure large racial preferences ultimately must corrupt the entire educational enterprise. Yet those who create and propagate this dishonesty likely see no acceptable alternative.

      And, yes, education (MOOCs, etc.) have made education cheap, but, educational credentials remain insanely expensive. In time a system of comprehensive exams (instead of seat-time, aka credit-hours) may create a system of low-cost, efficient higher-ed., but, the present system is not going to go gently into that good night without a fight.

      And thus, I’d expect better systems to appear first in those countries that simply can’t afford anything else, and which lack a higher-ed. establishment that will fight and thwart attempts to create real alternatives.

    • yandoodan says

      “People who are accepted into a top college on the basis of AA…”

      Imagine a world in which top colleges admitted people on the basis of Alcoholics Anonymous. A sobering thought!

  3. Back when racial preferences were instituted, there was a good argument based the notion of “you can’t take off a man’s chains and expect him to immediately be competitive in a race.”

    Imaging being back then. What concrete measure could society use to determine when the preference have been around long enough? I can’t think of a better answer than “when a black man becomes president.”

  4. OtherWay says

    Racial quotas aren’t a disaster because Asians will be hurt by them.
    They are a disaster because they are corrupt (who picks the groups ?) and because it would be obviously immoral to hold ANYBODY back who was more qualified because of some random birth attribute. Pointing out the hypocrisy and immorality of AA using racial social justice arguments just lends credence to the social justice claptrap. Don’t do it. AA is immoral because it is. Social justice is almost as equally flawed (for roughly the same reasons, people aren’t their skin tone or their genitalia and should not be judge on those things).

    • Jack Skellington says

      OtherWay is right. Two articles worth exploring on this topic:

      1. Unequal by Nature by Nobel prize-winning geneticist on group differences and college admissions:
      http://www.amacad.org/publications/winter2002/crow.pdf

      2. Mismatch: The Painful Truth about Affirmative Action:
      https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/10/the-painful-truth-about-affirmative-action/263122/

      We can reject affirmative action as morally corrupt, and ineffective, without necessarily increasing animosity toward groups. We already do it in sports, we can do it in academics too.

    • I inherited less than you and was raised with fewer resources because for hundreds of years my ancestors were forced to work for no pay and build wealth for your ancestors so you could thrive. That’s corruption.

      Affirmative action is already banned in many states and has been discarded as a policy by all but a single tier of elite universities, mostly in the north east. For white and Asian Americans to focus this much rage on a few hundred black affirmative action students and demand that black taxpayers in Michigan, Texas etc pay to educate Asians who just arrived in America is an obscenity.

      • Definitely Not a Russian Hacker says

        What would you say then to the Jews, who lost 40% of their world population in the 30s? Who came to the US with nothing? Who to this date face the highest rate of hate crimes per capita in the west, including the US? Why aren’t we talking about special treatment for their tax money? It’s simple if you ask me. Like the other successful minorities, they don’t shoot each other on the streets.

        • Jews did not lose 40% of anything. My uncle was a Polish Jew who “disappeared” himself as a Jew in the Caribbean. Only six people in our family even knew he was a Jew. That is what happened all over the Americas during and after WWII.
          Moreover, as repeated field experiments show, no group in Amerikkka faces the labor market discrimination blacks face. Jews are whites and easily turn educational credentials into privileged lives. BEven blacks with PhDs struggle to find jobs. Heather Macdonald claims that employers love to hire blacks. She is a liar. Every US Census shows that black unemployment is higher than white and Asian unemployment at every level of education measured.

          • Andrija Stupar says

            @Chad Chen

            “Jews did not lose 40% of anything.”

            Right, all those people slaughtered in Auschwitz in fact just ran away to the Carribean, where their descendants live today, singing Yiddish songs to the sounds of calypso drums…in which fantasy reality do you live inside your head, exactly?

            “I inherited less than you and was raised with fewer resources because for hundreds of years my ancestors were forced to work for no pay and build wealth for your ancestors so you could thrive. That’s corruption.”

            Yes it is corruption, and it is very fair to direct this statement to descendants of former slave owners and people who benefitted from slavery. There is no disputing that. However, not all white people owned slaves or benefitted from it (there were in fact those who were directly harmed by it), and tons of white people arrived in America as immigrants after the Civil War after slavery was abolished. So just saying what you said to a random person you assume is white (as you just did) as you have no idea whether your ancestors were exploited for the benefit of the other person’s ancestors – in fact there is a large possibility that they were not. So, what do exactly descendants of poor Polish or Italian immigrants that arrived in the US in the 20th century “owe” to you as a descendant of slaves? That this type of complexity is difficult to untangle is the point the article is trying to make.

          • The appropriately named Andrija Stupar does not know that the Ivy League schools are the most heavily subsidized universities in the United States. Columbia University receives more than $600 million annually in direct federal assistance. Harvard University receives more than $550 million each year in US government research grants and other forms of financial assistance. Yale and MIT each receive more than $500 million every year. All are in the Top 20 recipients of feferal financial aid.

          • Samuel Adams says

            @Chad Chen

            Hey Chad,

            I read your numerous colorful comments and I’m empathetic to your eagerness to get made whole by the descendants of those who enslaved “your ancestors”, which I presume means you’re African American. So let me help you!

            Those people who enslaved your ancestors were mostly fellow Africans – the whites traded guns and booze for your ancestors from the African en-slavers – hence the term slave TRADE – not slave abduction – slave TRADE. Point being – you probably share common ancestors with those Africans who enslaved your direct ancestors, and if not, you certainly share race and ethnicity with them. WOW!

            Still though, of course, the Whites who exploited the slaves have blood on their hands too, and I know how strongly you feel that their ancestors should be held to some accounting – so let me also help you find their ancestors!

            Numerous DNA studies show that 95% of African Americans are at least 20%-30% white, which presumably includes yourself. How do you think that White got there? Any guesses? White masters raping black slaves is how! Yea, sad but true. Ya see, not to many black slave men were fathering children with White women in the Antebellum South. Not much of that at all.

            So do I have to spell this out for you? YOUR ancestors were not just the abused black slaves with whom you identify, but likely also the AFRICANS that enslaved them, and certainly the WHITE MASTERS that raped and exploited them. Their blood, is your blood.

            Now I don’t believe a person should feel bad or be held accountable for the crimes of their ancestors, let alone those with whom they only share race. But if you do then you don’t have to go online to find the ancestors of those who enslaved, exploited and raped your ancestors, you can just go to the nearest MIRROR!

            Cheers!

            P.S. – The “Amerikkka” quip – cute! Good luck in life fervently hating America, Whites and Jews. I’m sure that won’t trip you up at all!

          • Jeremy Smith says

            Wow did you just say the Jews lost nothing in WWII? It’s as if they all pulled a Houdini? It was all smoke and mirrors.

      • Roy K Burton says

        I’m a white male born into a very poor family. My grandfather couldn’t read or write he had to work at 13 to help the family stay on their small spot of land. My grandmother picked cotten from a child till she was married at 16 for the same reason. They moved to St. Louis shortly after they were married to try to provide a better life for their children. Neither of my parents went to college, they both worked full time jobs to make ends meet in our meager house in the city. I attended school in an almost all black school. Growing up my friends and I didn’t see one another as black or white or Latino, we were all poor. Matter of fact some of my best meals were at my friend Calvin’s house. Now I’m a father who has a child just starting college.(The first one of us to go to college) So my question is why should my son not have an equal shot at a good school based on the work and dedication he has put into it? Why should he be passed over for another just because he was born white? I never owned slaves. My family hasn’t benefited from slavery. It’s actually just as possible that one of your ancestors owned slaves as that was a typical tribal practice in almost all societies at some point in history. So i ask you how long should people pay for the sins of their ancestors? When is it enough? When do we stop blaming everyone else for our circumstances and look in the mirror?

    • Chad99999 says

      Who exactly is being held back? Asians are 6% of the US population but already hold 22% of the seats at Harvard. Asian leaders should be mighty pleased. Instead, they are trying to get all the seats at Harvard that whites don’t have, and scolding blacks for not disappearing from the Ivy League. That is jutzpah. Their meritocracy argument is ridiculous because universities cannot be test score meritocracies if they are to reward their donors, contribute to economic growth without aggravating inequality, and sustain Ametican democracy. Ametica cannot be ruled by Jews and Asians. Democracy would collapse given the sheer number of other ethnicities in the population.

    • peanut gallery says

      It’s impossible to have a system with zero corruption. Just because the systems don’t always hit the target doesn’t mean the idea of meritocracy has no merit or that it’s not worth aiming at. The AA system doesn’t aim at it and is only hitting wider and wider away from merit as time goes by. I can see what system I’d prefer. YMMV.

    • Against Tracy says

      Tracy: Your Jewish conspiracy theory was debunked years ago by a real statistician (not a pretend one like Ron Unz): http://andrewgelman.com/2013/02/12/that-claim-that-harvard-admissions-discriminate-in-favor-of-jews-after-checking-the-statistics-maybe-not/.

      In fact, Ron Unz recently praised the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Henry Ford’s bizarre anti-Semitic conspiracy theories from the 1920s. Not sure you’ve actually investigated what you’re citing. If so, scary. If not, please do some skeptical research, and check out Nathan Cofnas’s work on this subject.

  5. Diversity of thought is the only diversity that matters. says

    The only thing that matters in accessing higher education is a proven ability to succeed. A university degree is not a right. It is something that is earned, and should only be afforded to the very best and brightest that a society has to offer, because those are the people who are capable of using their education to further our society. An individual who is capable of rote memorization or repetition of talking points is of no use in professions that require a degree, and merely removes the opportunity for a better equipped student to receive an education and thus contribute to their country in a meaningful way.

    • David Bissett says

      You are sure to be flamed for Your logic in our current society, the race to the bottom knows now limits and is now supported by a multitude of “Degree Holder-Elites” who would need a safe space after even being exposed to the truth that You are taliking about………,

    • Mazzakim says

      “The only thing that matters in accessing higher education is a proven ability to succeed.” The conundrum, which of course is at the heart of the Harvard lawsuit, is how you actually “prove” ability. Standardized test scores and grades are not going to capture, for example, artistic ability, leadership skills, discipline-specific aptitudes and a whole range of other factors that actually go into the success in different fields. As you said, the ability to rote memorize and then regurgitate information doesn’t actually get you very far in the professional world.

      I taught in Asia for close to ten years and I spent quite a bit of time helping prepare middle school and high school students (from families willing to invest heavily in the effort) for competitive entrances into elite academic programs. With some caveats, I’m going to agree with the author that affirmative action should primarily be helping the access of poor students to higher education. When it comes to the elite-of-the-elite universities such as Harvard, the problem is by the time you actually get to university age, the difference in the 12+ years of preparation between a talented poor kid at a generic public school and a rich kid at a well-endowed private school with access to unlimited resources including personal tutors, life coaches, educational consultants, etc., is almost insurmountable. Affirmative action of any kind at that point is only going to be able to accomplish so much.

    • Hodgicus says

      Rote repetition and memorization of talking points exquisitely describes the lecture content of every tenured professor my grad school inflicted on me. Just saying.

  6. Peter from Oz says

    The whole confabulation about race is based on a contradiciton in thinking on the part of those who claim to be anti-racist, but who in fact are so fanatic in their beliefs that they become racist themselves by worrying about differences in characteristics rather than character.
    On the one hand the anti-racists are adamant that race is a social construct that makes no difference to a person’s worth. But on the other hand they want us to believe that non-whites think differently to white people. That is the basis of AA. We need to have lots of minorities in colleges because they have a different perspective because of the colour of their skin. What a load of bollocks that is. We should look at people as individuals not as members of groups.

  7. Mix says

    What is the counter argument to the “what about white legacie/athletes” objection to anti-AA

    • There is no meritocratic argument. Affirmative Action as it mutates represents the people’s best guess at a socially acceptable compromise to colorblindness. The coalition is falling apart. You can’t expect anything approaching ‘equality’ in a Pareto domain. And our education, and job markets are Pareto domains.

      Affirmative Action is a power move just like the legacies were a power move. But just like the social register at Palm Beach, the powers that were are no longer the powers that be. In short, there is no real meritocratic argument to be made, only an ethical one. The ethical argument is to be colorblind and 6th Amendment to all that legacy stuff. The outlier of an Obama will distract

      I say what we really want is a class system. http://cobb.typepad.com/cobb/2018/04/peasant-theory-and-the-american-meritocracy.html

    • Putin Hacked My Twitter says

      I would say the counter argument is that both are discriminatory and should be abloished. Legacy admission is a uniquely American phenomenon and can probably be legitimately criticized for being a relic of anti-Black discrimiation.

  8. I am pretty sure Rawls says somewhere that affirmative action is only supposed to be a temporary measure not a permanent fixture.

    • peanut gallery says

      We’re basically living in Nazi Germany, so obviously now it not the time to get rid of AA. That’s what a Nazi would do! NAZI!!1

  9. As the word gets around about the staggering preferences shown to blacks and Hispanics, I highly recommend white and Asian applicants simply start lying about their race on the application. The massive weakness in this whole AA system is that they rely on people to honestly self report their race. I’m frankly surprised more people haven’t caught on to this yet. Just check the box for black. If you are challenged act indignant and tell them they are racist for suggesting you are not the race you identify as. After all, according to their own doctrine race is just a social construction.

    The entire system will collapse once enough people catch on to this and start lying on the applications. I have a son and a daughter who are white as lilies; when it comes time to apply to college their new socially constructed race will be African American.

      • Paul Ellis says

        It’s only the Zen approach of using your opponent’s strength against them, a.k.a. ‘playing the system’. I do it all the time. It’s the only way to avoid being crushed. Find that Achilles heel and stick an arrow in it. It’s always there, somewhere.

        • Paul Ellis says

          Here’s an anecdote illustrative of finding an Achilles heel and spiking it.

          I’d been trying and failing to get a 2nd card issued on my business card account. The UK Barclaycard website is un-navigable; their voice-activated answering system didn’t understand my request, no matter how I phrased it; I couldn’t find a way of speaking to an operator; the local Barclays branch couldn’t help because I don’t have a Barclays bank account. The best they could do was give me a telephone with which to call the number on the card, and leave me to deal with Computer again.

          On the verge of giving up, I had a brainwave. After confirming again that Computer couldn’t understand my simple request, I said: “I’d like to close my account.” “You want to close your account? Please wait while I put you through to someone who can help.” Bingo. The human who came on the line a few seconds later to talk me out of closing my account understood the sentence: “I’d like a 2nd card on my business card account, please.”

          Barclays thinks their voice-activated answering system is impregnable. It isn’t, because their Achilles heel is their over-riding need for customer retention. Now, my SOP when dealing with voice-activated answering systems is to say: “I want to close my account, please.” That gets me a human to speak to like a shot.

          This approach works in subverting the system to stop it crushing you. It also pollutes the Big Data many of these systems are built upon, but we knew that. There’s still a use for a pinch of salt.

          • Dark Matter says

            Well said! I discovered the same thing a while back with my cable provider. Whenever I need to penetrate the automated system, I simply say I would like to speak to the retention department. Not only do I get a human almost instantly, but they typically offer a discount on my service, usually without even being asked!

          • I like your style. I won’t say that this approach has never occurred to me but I do agree that a more universal level of commitment to it is probably beneficial on the whole.

    • peanut gallery says

      I’m Trans-racial. I enjoy large posteriors and I can not prevaricate.

    • Yes, our family always marks “mixed” on any race question. “Race” does not exist. Asking folks to self-identify promotes racism.

    • OtherWay says

      Senator Elizabeth Warren did that (Indian instead of Black, but just as good).
      The issue is a University can kick you out for any reason – they don’t have to say why (which is you a liar). Warren got away with it because Harvard was all in on the game and approved of it. They needed the boxes checked as much as she did. Harvard is currently filling its AA slots with the likes of Malia Obama, who Barrack said should not get AA preferences – but who got them anyway.

  10. It is very hard to defeat stereotypes, because as one of the well-replicated findings of the social sciences, stereotypes as generalizations generally have higher statistical validity than most social science findings. It strange that this literature finds so little attention in the media and the university, as it would do a lot to point us in the right direction: if you are a group and you don’t like how people stereotype you, get your group to behave differently. This will work better than attacking people for accurately generalizing about your group’s actual behaviors.

    I don’t know that affirmative action is really going to go, and I don’t think it will go easy, but if one travels the world, it is pretty clear that in most places in the world, there are different groups, and there are clear inequalities between those groups that are replicated across generations. One can look at the elites in China today, and 84% or so are descended from elites from 1949, despite Maoism and the Cultural Revolution. India is even more stratified (for reasons perhaps impenetrable to a Progressive). Dumping affirmative action will simultaneously impede the Progressive game of “Let’s Pretend”, and it is unclear what the political consequences will be.

  11. Anonymous says

    I work for a university. I fully agree with a previous comment: The best way to change the university admission system is to just select the race category that is most likely to benefit you. If the applicant gets criticized answer this: “I am more than happy to comply with your racial categorization scheme, can you please do a biological race test, because I honestly do not know what my race is.”.

    After all, many people are “mixed”. So is Obama, even though, strangely, in the US the category “mixed” seems not to be less preferred than “pure” races — that is somewhat racist maybe. It suggests that being of a pure race (a fictional idea) is preferable than being mixed.

    Obviously, no university will be able to do a “race test”, and no university will ever challenge you for selecting whatever you select. Wasn’t there a well known American professor/politician who selected being of some category but she had a hard time proving it? It looked like she benefited. She was never challenged by the university itself, only by her political opponents.

  12. “However, as legal scholar Ronald Dworkin has argued, in consideration of the Texas case, it is not enough to get black students on campus in Texas—a task easily accomplished by an existing law that takes the top 10 percent of Texas high school students and therefore draws smart, poor, black students from geographically black high schools. Judge Alito suggested, while hearing the case, that this 10 percent rule sufficiently ensures the sought-after student diversity. But supporters of affirmative action, like Dworkin, argued that this would not be the right sort of diversity, because it would feed white stereotypes that blacks are poor.”

    In fact, UT also admits non-white students who are not in the top ten percent of classes of more competitive schools because non-white students who were in the top ten percent of their non-competitive schools seemed dumb, as well as poor. The ten per cent rule by itself did not have the intended effect.

  13. “A 2013 Gallup poll found that two-thirds of Americans believe college applicants should be admitted solely based on merit.”

    I wonder if white America would agree with this once this is practice, and the vast majority of the ivy league is Asian.

    • @DH

      I’m white and I know a lot of white people. None of them would have a problem with this outcome. However it is odd you assume this outcome. Sure there would be fields in the hard sciences and CS dominated by Asians, but it has been my experience they do not dominate fields such as law, medicine, or the social sciences.

    • Shenme Shihou says

      They probably wouldnt care. Most white people know that Asians are smart.

    • peanut gallery says

      I wouldn’t care. It’s kind of racist to assume a race thinks as one hive-mind. My son is half-asian, and at this rate I’ll tell him not to go to college.

    • Caligula says

      If those admitted are truly the best and brightest then many of them can be expected to go on to found prosperous companies, or make scientific discoveries, or use their engineering talent to create new technologies (and improve existing ones), etc., and thereby enrich all of us.

      Why do you think white America (or anyone) would choose some (probably secretive) scheme to achieve proportional representation over this obvious and mutually beneficial alternative?

  14. Frank Ch. Eigler says

    If the present race-dependent admissions regime stays around much longer, it won’t be long before masses try the #wrongskin stunt of “identifying as” members of all the Preferred identity groupings, so as to take a slice of that advantage. It’s intersectional arbitrage, so to speak.

  15. Ocean Creature says

    Wow, can there be ANYTHING more racist or sexist than assuming that members of their race or sex are representative of their group??

    Do these race-obsessed nit wits actually hear what they are saying??

    And here is what is most ridiculous – I am the product of two foreign parents, both white, but from two different countries and “typical” American culture (if there is such a thing) was/is utterly foreign to me. My mother wouldn’t buy peanut butter because she thought it was a butter substitute…

    So, what white culture am I supposed represent??

    DIVERSITY IS ALL OF US BECAUSE WE ARE EACH UTTERLY UNIQUE.

    No quotas ever!!!

  16. Jack B Nimble says

    Dr. Asma stated “…….A 2013 Gallup poll found that two-thirds of Americans believe college applicants should be admitted solely based on merit……”

    Well, ‘merit’ is doing a lot of work in the above quote. Here’s a counter-example from my own 30+ years of college teaching. I once had a student who was NOT in the top 1/4 or 1/3 of my pre-med course, but he was also a collegiate ballplayer in a VERY competitive Div I league. So he almost never came to my class. He went on to play pro ball for a few years, then went on to med school and finally set up a successful practice. The point is that time-management is one of the most important skills that a student, or doctor, needs to develop. That is why extra-curricular activities including sports, and not just raw test scores or grades, should be looked at when evaluating a college applicant. Yet because those activities can’t be ranked numerically like an ACT or SAT score, an element of subjectivity enters. Folks who are on the ‘merit’ bandwagon seem to want to make college admission a purely numerical/automatic affair.

    Dr. Asma also stated “…….We need to face reality. College admission and employment generally is a competitive zero-sum game……”

    Maybe in his libertarian fantasy…. err…. reality, but not mine. The marginal cost of adding one more student to a 100-seat class is so low that other factors are probably at work, including a desire to create scarcity. Why create scarcity? Well, the reputation and business model of Ivy League schools, for example, are based in part on scarcity, and some professions like medicine are thought to want scarcity to protect the incomes of those already licensed to practice medicine. Also, admission to most public colleges in the US is NOT zero-sum, because their business model is different.

  17. ‘Diversity’ is the theory that different demographic groups possess inherent substantive differences.

    ‘Equality’ is the theory that these ‘diverse’ groups succeed in the same proportion as if there were no inherent differences between groups.

    If ‘diversity’ were real, people could name specific substantive differences between groups.

    If there are no articulable differences between groups, then ‘diversity’ really doesn’t matter.

    The reality is that our institutions would rather impose group quotas than honor individual rights, because quotas possess a veneer of fairness and this litigation insurance is paid with the civil rights of those with the wrong demographics.

    Today, institutions don’t have to be fair to you, they just have look fair to your group.

  18. SPECIOUS AS ALL GET OUT — “It’s not some genetic or innate cognitive advantage, but the family insistence that achievement comes from extreme effort—a longstanding emphasis in Confucian cultures.”

    Is there some kind of evidence that shows the actuality is not that Confucian cultures are the product some genetic or innate cognitive characteristic of the inventors such cultures? Is it possible that innate cognitive systems (evolutionarily adaptive) do not produce such ethos systems as Confucian culture, but rather produce a culture that is far different in values and habits than Confucian?

    • Paul Ellis says

      I’m not sure I understand your post, but if I do, the ‘Confucian’ cultures all insist on long hours of study for schoolchildren. 12 hours per day, 6 days per week, is still the norm in Japan. It gets your 10,000 hours in pretty quickly. This norm is imposed by cultural expectations, peer pressure, families, and the competition for places in top schools and universities that lead to well-paid jobs in corporations.

      • Paul Ellis says

        Another way to read your post is that you might be asking whether differences in cultures are the result of cognitive differences.

        All cultures have values and habits; it’s the differences between values and habits that define the differences in cultures, and obviously they can be very big differences indeed. As others have said elsewhere, cultures don’t just appear fully-formed. They evolve, and it’s reasonable to suppose that the culture of a people indigenous to a place evolves to make possible and enhance the survival of that people and its society in that place. Consequently, it will have characteristics – its particular configuration of values and habits – specific to those people in that place.

        If a specific physical environment causes physical adaptations to evolve, it would be hard to imagine that it didn’t also cause cognitive adaptations to evolve, and these adaptations should be expressed both in the structure of society and its culture. This happens across the rest of the natural world; there’s no good reason why humans should be exempt.

        A further point: I read an article in The Times (UK) yesterday in which their science correspondent asserted that there was evidence that the humans who migrated to Europe from Africa mated with Neanderthals, and that modern Europeans still carry Neanderthal DNA. If this is true, then this should create a clear genetic difference between modern Europeans and Africans. He didn’t say whether early Asians (or anyone else) had also mated with Neanderthals.

  19. More past discrimination: Catholics, atheists, Jews, Chinese coolies, German-Americans (WW I), Japanese-Americans (WW II). Solution: merit-based programs (IQ (adjusted for cultural diversity), SAT, GED, aptitude testing, free public libraries.

  20. Elizabeth says

    There is a parenting across cultures study at Duke University that has been going on for about 10 years which our family has been apart. From their questions and interviews they are clearly getting at the importance of the parenting role in child development including relationships and discipline.

    IMO, we need one parent at home to be involved with their children (work @home if needed). Less being such a consumer and start the DIY lifestyle. Need to end culture of “not parenting” perpetuated with low paying /low functioning jobs and subsidizing child care.

    • Paul Ellis says

      I read an article some years ago, I think in the Spectator, in which the middle-class female writer with small children estimated that if she were to go back to full-time employment she would have to gross nearly £50K p.a. just to cover the childcare and housekeeping costs she would incur, along with the costs of employment including commuting, etc., and all to end up having other people bring up her kids rather than her. Unsurprisingly her solution was part-time working from home.

      This was also the approach my wife and I took, both being freelance home-based workers, and the result was that our child always had access to parental care and attention. There are downsides – it’s hard to grant yourself statutory paid parental leave when you’re self-employed, for instance – but the result is a teenager who is aware of the difference between her childhood experience and those of her friends whose parents have full-time, demanding jobs. She’s very grateful to us and we have a solid and communicative family as a result.

      We were fortunate, but will end up paying for this in other ways: we’re unlikely to enjoy the retirement comforts we might have had if we’d had full-time corporate jobs that suited our abilities. Never mind; that was our choice, our decision, and we took it.

  21. It’s simple reasoning here, if blacks can’t graduate high school, they won’t graduate college or univeristy. They have that social promotion mindset, and believe higher ed is no big deal – wrong…

  22. bwayjunction says

    As a black male and presumed beneficiary of (yes, i’m that old} ‘affirmative action’, its demise can not come fast enough. While we have taken all of the heat, the major beneficiary, white middle and upper class women, have gotten and continue to get a free ride on our backs.

  23. Jom says

    I find it funny there’s s no affirmative action for unattractive people like me. I’m maybe a two out of ten in attractiveness. I’d way rather be an attractive black male than a very unattractive white male. Attractiveness is a huge advantage.

  24. Andrew Roddy says

    Blah, blah, blah. I stand against the liberal agenda and struggle to construct a reasoned argument while flecks of spittle issue from my mouth. Kleenex. Blah, blah, blah. Or perhaps this article actually says something. I wouldn’t know, I didn’t read it. Blah, blah, blah. I have studies and statistics, and choice quotes, that lend my prejudices a veneer of respectable veracity. Quillette. Spittle. Veneered prejudice. Blah, blah blah.

  25. A note on the “libertarian view”: in addition to the individual and their family, I’d also expect various private institutions to help out. It can be study groups in certain neighborhoods, charitable scholarships for poor-but-deserving kids, specialized schools,…
    Beyond AA, there are many policy relaxations that would help (loosening zoning which would make it easier for low-income folks too move closer to desirable districts and away from undesirable ones, school vouchers and loosening restrictions on charter schools,…)

  26. You simply aren’t going to compare the Chinese-American experience to the African-American one – nothing like chattel slavery and millions of deaths at sea en route and being worked to death in the New World. Just check out the lynching database map and marvel at the black/chinese ratio of terror murder. Did any region of the country create a terror state designed at enslaving the Chinese? One needn’t downplay the unique awfulness of chattel slavery or the obvious fact that the disparate group data on flourishing between black and whites has a ton to do with US History up through 1964 to disagree with affirmative action or other identity-based and race obsessed fixes to problems that don’t really require current racism or lend themselves to cleancut reparational justice. If black people had immigrated to the US under the exact circumstances of the Chinese, their population flourishing metrics would be much better. I am afraid that conservative minded people often make the SJW mistake – not willing to grant facts because they fear the policies they may be used to justify.

    • Rationalist says

      Brian, sounds like you are very ignorant of Chinese American experience from the late 19th to mid 20th century. Suggest you hit the Chinese American history books.

  27. Rationalist says

    Affirmative action is the new racism in 21st century we must fight against and defeat. Please visit Facebook page – Asian Americans Against Affirmative Action – to learn more. https://www.facebook.com/AgainstAA/

  28. meerkat says

    “To that end, we might create a quota lottery that replicates, on campus, the same racial demographics of the whole nation (75 percent white, 15 percent Latino, 12 percent black, 5 percent Asian, and so on)”

    That’s actually exactly the sort of innumeracy that one has to expect from liberals these days. You wouldn’t set quotas that are reflective of the nation as a whole, because in the case of the US, the demographics of the nation differ at various age levels. The relevant demographic would be the college-aged population(there are very few octogenarian undergrads). This is the sort of mistake that liberals make on a consistent basis when advocating for corporate boards, teachers’ unions and police forces that “look” like the country/state/city. There are very few CEO’s under the age of 50, just as there are no 10-year-old cops and teachers. So if you get a large influx of disproportionately young people to a certain area, it’s going to take decades before the demographics of these groups catch up, and by that point there will be a another group of newcomers to complain.

    • Rationalist says

      Quota is outlawed by the SCOTUS since 1970’s. However, liberals found all sorts of ways and excuses to let it creep back into American’s higher education institutions and workplaces.

    • Ewart Archer says

      OK, Know-it-all:

      Since the black and Hispanic populations are younger than the white population, they should have larger shares of university seats.

  29. One very troubling aspect of race-based affirmative discrimination is that it dictates discrimination based on race constructs, When you say a black should get X, how do you tell if someone is black? Maybe his maternal grandmother was White? What percentage of “whiteness” in your blood disqualifies you? What percentage of “yellow”?

    Do we really want to judge people by the color of their skin rather than by the content of their character? I heard that long time a ago a great man gave his life to fight just this….

  30. Aaron Gonzalez-Jackson says

    “Do African-American students of middle class income brackets fail to qualify (via exams and other objective measures) for quality schools? If so, this would constitute a strange and mysterious failure, since there’s no firm evidence of genetic causes for such a disparity…”

    Well.

    O.K..

    Carry on.

    • When all is said and done, the entire human population of the planet originated from a relatively small part of East Africa. Racists have been unable to prove any critical genetic differences among the “races”.Even Chinese scientists have been shamed into accepting the African origin of the Chinese people. But there are clearly whites on this thread and in America who hold out some hope that geneticists can show that the white race was ” improved” via prehistoric mating with the now-extinct, large-brain Neanderthals.
      Good luck with that one.

  31. Greg says

    Let’s not lose sight of how these hyper-racialized admission policies have infected the larger culture. The diversity bureaucracy and identity politics, especially when indoctrinated into impressionable young minds by those seen as arbiters of morality, can be incredibly divisive and deluding.

  32. Todd Radke says

    Substituting the word diversity in place of affirmative action is just another liberal positive rebranding ploy like calling the 11,000,000 people (one thing both Dem and Repubs agree on) undocumented immigrants rather than the illegal immigrants they truthfully are. There is an old adage that tells you all you need to know about affirmative action, “two wrongs do not make a right”.

  33. Would people object to blind-application process?

    Let college admissions decide on the basis of merit. Assign random numbers to college applicants. No names, no gender, no zipcodes. Transcripts, grades, extracurricular activities.

    Let there be scholarships for athletics and academic performance, and provide income based financial aid to those with academic merit.

    • Blogger says

      A blind-application process would just favor the wealthy even more than the current admissions processes do.

      • But isn’t that what conservatives want? No quotas, race blind policies, pure meritocracy. What’s the difference between wealth and merit anyway

  34. Hodgicus says

    Aside to Chad: There is one trait every modern American PhD candidate must have to graduate, and that is a completely submissive and spineless attitude toward authority.
    The education system is setup to serve two purposes. To ensure the continued superiority of the inherited monied class, and to provide them an ample pool of suitably cringing servants who will sell themselves soul and body for a larger kennel and a bigger food dish.
    Don’t buy the hype.
    All these racist commenters are right about one thing: affirmative action is not going to make things right for the African diaspora in America. Education makes Obamas, not free black folks. You want your boys growing up to lick Wall Street toe jam like that? No, you don’t. Nothing you can beg, borrow, or steal from whites is ever going to be worth having… because of where it came from. Get together with other smart brothers and build something different, something better, something of your own. Stop judging your race and it’s progress by white standards, and set some new ones.
    Good luck. 🍀

  35. “For the Left, it would have been better to keep the argument focused on reparation for descendants of slaves”

    Has a criterion for benefiting from “affirmative action” ever been being a descendant of a slave (or the descendant of a victim of any other crime), or have skin color and African ancestry always been the only criteria?

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