Phi Beta Cons

The Right take on higher education.

Racial Preferences and Socioeconomic Status


It is frequently asserted–or assumed–that racial preferences in college admissions help the poor. Even if this were so, of course, it would be more efficient (and much less legally problematic) to give preferences based directly on poverty rather than using race as a proxy. And, in any event, it is not so.

The classic 1998 apologia for racial preferences in university admissions–The Shape of the River by William Bowen and Derek Bok–conceded that only 14 percent of black admittees to the selective schools it studied were from


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