An editorial in the Los Angeles Times today is an easily summarized non sequitur: Racial discrimination and disparities still exist, and therefore racial preferences must still be used.
No one denies that there is still racial discrimination (will always be, since there will always be some racists, of all colors), although anyone who denies that it has been de-institutionalized and radically diminished over that past few decades is delusional; no one denies that racial disparities still exist (will always exist to some degree, so long as there are cultural differences among groups — so long as, for example, 7 out of 10 African Americans are born out of wedlock, versus fewer than 2 out of 10 Asian Americans).
But how does it follow that an appropriate way to address lingering discrimination and disparities is through more discrimination and more disparate treatment? These policies are divisive, unfair, and counterproductive; and in a country that is increasingly multiracial and multiethnic, it is untenable to have a legal regime that sorts people and treats them differently based on skin color and national origin. Fighting discrimination (regardless of the victim’s color) is fine, social programs that help the disadvantaged (again, regardless of color) are fine, but you don’t need racial preferences to do any of this.