Skip to comments.Time to Drop Colleges' Racial Quotas and Preferences
Posted on 09/01/2017 4:30:17 AM PDT by Kaslin
When a policy has been vigorously followed by venerable institutions for more than a generation without getting any closer to producing the desired results, perhaps there is some problem with the goal.
That thought was prompted by a New York Times story headlined "Even With Affirmative Action, Blacks and Hispanics Are More Underrepresented at Top Colleges Than 35 Years Ago." It presented enrollment data from 100 selective colleges and universities -- the eight Ivy League schools, nine University of California campuses, 20 "top" liberal arts colleges, 14 "other top universities" and 50 "flagship" state universities. (They total 100 because UC Berkeley appears in two categories.)
The numbers showed some variation -- as one might expect, given states' different ethnic compositions -- but the bottom line was similar. In 2015 -- as in 1980, when these statistics were first gathered -- blacks and Hispanics were, in the words of the Times headline, "underrepresented."
In that single awkward word is embedded an important assumption: that in a fair society, the ethnic balance in every institution should resemble that of the larger society. This assumption is behind the "affirmative action" policies that college and university admissions offices have been following with something resembling religious devotion since well before 1980.
That inevitably means violating the 1964 Civil Rights Act's ban on racial discrimination. Unchallengeable data make clear that schools regularly admit blacks and Hispanics with much lower test scores than those classified as whites and, particularly, Asians.
The Supreme Court left an opening for such discrimination in its 1978 Regents of the University of California v. Bakke and 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger decisions, supposedly to encourage "diversity." But Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote in the Grutter decision, "25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary." That's 11 years from today.
This discrimination is harmful -- not least to university administrators, many of whom feel obliged to lie systematically about what they are doing. Its harm to those who are discriminated against is real but not overwhelming; most will find places in other selective schools.
The greatest harm -- as Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor's 2012 book, "Mismatch," makes clear -- is to the intended beneficiaries. It casts a pall of illegitimacy over their legitimate achievements. They are dismissed, as liberals have dismissed Justice Clarence Thomas, as affirmative action hires.
As Sander and Taylor point out, instruction tends to be aimed at the median student. Students who arrive less prepared -- and test scores are a good measure of this -- will often fall behind. Blacks and Hispanics graduate and pass professional exams at lower rates than their better-prepared schoolmates.
Another result: These students tend to cordon themselves off into separate enclaves, an understandable defensive response -- and one encouraged by administrators who create separate orientations, dormitories and graduation ceremonies for "underrepresented" students. Universities' shameful speech codes and ridiculous "safe spaces" are justified as needed to protect their feelings.
My impression is that there is less personal interaction between black and white students on today's "diverse" campuses than there was when I was in college a half-century ago. The supposed benefits of diversity, which O'Connor identified in Grutter as excusing racial discrimination, appear to be dismally small.
None of the 100 colleges and universities cited in the Times article has a black student percentage at or above that of the college-age population. Only 11 (nine in California, one each in Arizona and Texas) have Hispanic percentages above the national percentage; only UC Merced tops its state's Hispanic percentage.
Why does "underrepresentation" persist despite administrators' earnest efforts? The reason is that selective schools, by definition, seek students who are at the right tail of bell curve distributions of test scores and, as Brookings Institution scholars Richard Reeves and Dimitrios Halikias report, "race gaps on the SATs are especially pronounced at the tails."
No one decries the "underrepresentation" of most groups on National Basketball Association teams or the list of Nobel Prize recipients, both drawn from the right tails of particular skills. Selective institutions such as the U.S. Army and the New York Police Department have "overrepresentation" of blacks and Hispanics.
Excellence should be celebrated wherever it is found (and looked for in unlikely places). And attention and respect should be paid to those without right-tail skills who work and contribute conscientiously to society -- for example, lots of the people who have been rescuing so many in Houston. You don't have to be elite to earn success.
In the meantime, let's admit that talents and interests aren't proportionately distributed in a fair society and that it's time to drop colleges' racial quotas and preferences.
The Boston Globe reports that 50.8% of the incoming freshmen class are from minority groups, up from last year’s 47.3%. Of the students admitted from minority groups, 22.2% are Asians, 14.6% are African American, 11.6% are Latino and 2.5% are Native American or Pacific Islander.
So the majority of incoming freshmen at Harvard are minority. What?!
What are they complaining about?
It was this sort of crap that brought us 8 dark years of Obama...
The policy is illegal and unconstitutional, but hurts Whites/Christians. Therefore the colleges are not going to eliminate it.
Affirmative action always sacrifices excellence on the altar of equality.
Barack Obama may have actually destroyed America. One more like him and it is all over
This likely means there is a quiet philosophical shift going on behind the scenes among the leftist elites on this subject.
Reverse racism is still racism.
...maybe subcultural behavior has something to do with the numbers?
Preparing kids for college has to start early. The affirmative action programs do nothing about the culture that discourages success because the behaviors that lead to success are “too white” and people who engage in them are “Uncle Toms.”
If there is a real goal to increase opportunities for minorities, there has to be an effort to change that ghetto culture into one that celebrates hard work and achievement.
After the Bakke decision, I always try to find a white male doctor. With any others, you don’t know if they got in based on quotas or not.
Not even close to true, but Jews and Asians would be a disproportionate part of the class.
Not even close to true, but Jews and Asians would be a disproportionate part of the class.
NONE of the black kids going off to college were slaves.
NONE of them lived under Jim Crow. Neither did their parents.
It’s time to end State Sponsored Advantages based on black skin.
Well, he’s right about one thing: I didn’t see too many right-tail hedge fund managers out rescuing people. Which may be why I love and honor our fine, working class men who have skills, honor and courage far beyond our over-paid pencil pusher class.
What kinds of results are shown from America’s “Black Colleges”-—You know—the colleges where whites are NOT allowed to enter? The places where “A Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Waste” according to their ads asking for donations.
Do the test scores of those kids surpass the scores of colleges where the races are mixed?
I sure would like to see those results.
College admission needs to be based upon test scores-—NOTHING else. IF that is not the main & ONLY criteria- you are taking a seat away from a kid that DESERVES to be there in favor of a color or a ‘gender choice’.
You can pander to these kids from a dozen directions-—but when they try to find a real job—the rubber meets the road & they are useless. Employers don’t like to be fooled.
My favorite way to make Liberal heads explode on public forums like Facebook: Ask them when race-favoring laws can end. There are none on the books favoring whites, many favoring non-whites, and most Liberals say that we have a long way to go... so again, what is the signal that race-based laws will no longer be supported by Democrats (since the GOP has never supported one, in 160 years of existence). What will tell the country that we can finally have laws for ALL citizens, and no special groups and no short-changed groups, by law.
They stammer and change the subject and call me a racist, and then stop replying. LOL
I lived in the Jim Crow South and those southern racist democrats were a million times worse than “liberal elite democrats’ are today... they actively worked to keep black people as second class citizens - attributed crimes and thoughts to them they didn't have then lied about them and took advantage of them. And the press at the time was in bed with the southern racists - just like they're in bed with democrat elites today - same lowlifes - different choice of victim...
In short ‘democrat racists’ at the time treated blacks worse than they treat Trump supporters today. Same tactics, same bedfellows, different victim.
So there was a time affirmative action advantages made sense.... but that time is over. Also it turns out giving people an ‘advantage’ as a group diminishes their acceptance into the broader culture. So it's time to end it - for their sake - and ours - and for the sake of equal justice... and fairness before God and the Law.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.