The Los Angeles Times has an editorial today that gently suggests that the pro-racial-preference amicus brief filed by the Obama administration in the Fisher v. University of Texas case is incoherent. This is the same point that I made earlier this week, albeit without the gentleness.
The Times editorial is also correct in suggesting — again, obliquely — that no one really believes the “diversity has huge educational benefits” argument that is the only argument that can now be made to attempt to justify racially discriminatory admissions policies as a legal matter.
But the editorial is wrong to suggest that the existence of socioeconomic disparities among races justifies racial preferences. There are socioeconomically disadvantaged (and advantaged) people of all colors, and there is no reason to use race as a proxy for disadvantage. And the reason for continuing racial disparities is, in 2012, not discrimination — it is the fact that 72.5 percent of African Americans are born out of wedlock, and growing up in a home without a father is connected with poverty, crime, doing poorly in school, and just about any other social problem you care to name. Finally, you do a student no favor if you admit him to a school for which he is mismatched and where he is more likely to fail.