Fact-Checking the New York Times
The paper misleads on racial preferences.

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in 2003


The Times also claims that getting rid of racial preferences “would, all sides agree, reduce the number of African-American and Latino students at nearly every selective college and graduate school.” That’s highly misleading, for at least two reasons.

First, while many selective schools use preferences, if preferences were abolished across the board, the students who no longer got into top-tier schools would get into second-tier schools, and the students who no longer got into second-tier schools would get into third-tier schools, and so forth. What’s more, there are many selective schools that either don’t use, or for some period of time in recent years have not used, racial admission preferences –without the sky falling. For starters, of course, there is Texas itself, and the University of Georgia, which had to eschew preferences because of a court decision. Further, preferences have been ended in Arizona, California, Michigan, Nebraska, and Washington by ballot initiatives. Florida, Iowa, and New Hampshire also do not use them. Add them all up, and around 40 percent of the population lives in states in which public universities either are not using preferences, or recently have not used them. There has been some reshuffling of students, but it is misleading to say flatly that “public universities in those states have seen a drop in minority admissions.”

By the way, that companion article is worse. It, too, begins with the lament that the Court is back, bothering the poor university community about its use of race in admissions, “just nine years after upholding it.” Practically yesterday, in other words — whatever happened to dismantling discrimination “with all deliberate speed”?

One dean of admissions is quoted: “Bright kids have no interest in homogeneity. They find it creepy.” Yes, those creepy white kids: They all look alike and, being white, they are all rich and all Republican and all Christian and all think exactly the same way and have exactly the same interests. And don’t get him started on those weird Asian kids.

Without racial preferences, says another educrat, “don’t be surprised if what you see is significant instances of segregation at some of our finest institutions.” No: Segregation involves sorting people by race, which is exactly what the opponents of racial preferences oppose.

— Roger Clegg is the president and general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity.