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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


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    In response to ‘Color-blind’ admissions unfair (by Jacqui Oesterblad, Nov. 6):

    The justification for racial preferences offered here — to remedy society’s racial disparities — is, to begin with, a legal nonstarter because the Supreme Court has already rejected it. And the Court was right to: There is no reason to use race as a proxy for social disadvantage since, after all, there are plenty of disadvantaged (and advantaged) people of all colors. In fact, 86 percent of the African-Americans admitted to more selective schools come from middle- or upper-class backgrounds.

    The article is also wrong in dismissing the mismatch problem, which is solidly established. More broadly, not only does it offer little if anything in the way of plausible benefits for using racial preferences, it ignores all the costs of such discrimination.

    So here’s a list of the costs of using racial preferences in university admissions: It is personally unfair, passes over better qualified students, and sets a disturbing legal, political, and moral precedent in allowing racial discrimination; it creates resentment; it stigmatizes the so-called beneficiaries in the eyes of their classmates, teachers, and themselves, as well as future employers, clients, and patients; it mismatches African-Americans and Latinos with institutions, setting them up for failure; it fosters a victim mindset, removes the incentive for academic excellence, and encourages separatism; it compromises the academic mission of the university and lowers the overall academic quality of the student body; it creates pressure to discriminate in grading and graduation; it breeds hypocrisy within the school and encourages a scofflaw attitude among college officials; it papers over the real social problem of why so many African-Americans and Latinos are academically uncompetitive; and it gets states and schools involved in unsavory activities like deciding which racial and ethnic minorities will be favored and which ones not, and how much blood is needed to establish group membership – an untenable legal regime as America becomes an increasingly multiracial, multi-ethnic society and as individual Americans are themselves more and more likely to be multiracial and multi-ethnic (starting with our president).

    — rogerclegg

    Why is there always this assumption that minority students admitted under affirmative action are going to be “less qualified?” That, to me, speaks volumes about where rogerclegg is coming on this issue. Affirmative action allows qualified minorities to not be passed up simply because they are a minority or because they may have gone to a worse school. I fail to see the unfairness in that system.

    — felicity

    Because, statistically, the minority students admitted under affirmative action are less qualified? I mean, that’s the point. Look at LSAT scores of minorities admitted at top law schools. Look at SAT scores of minorities admitted at top undergraduate institutions.

    Of course, the real irony is that the people most hurt by affirmative action are also minorities: Asians. Harvard routinely turns away very qualified Asian candidates because they’re “overrepresented.” The crazy thing is that this article seems to suggest that the court should allow racial preferences in admitting kids to colleges, which is pretty insane as a rule of law.

    — twentythirtyone (in response to felicity)

    See, we have inherently different conceptions of what “more qualified” means. Those students may have lower SAT scores coming in, but do they have lower grades going out? I think that a student who manages to get a 650 in spite of being educated in an underfunded school and being raised by uneducated parents and working 20 hours a week is both “smarter” and “more qualified” than a student who earns a 720 but grew up in a Palo Alto family in which every adult has a Master’s degree.

    — felicity (in response to twentythirtyone)

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