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Culture

Recommended Reading and Listening

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights recently released a report on police practices, which was described to me by one staffer as “adopt[ing] the Black Lives Matter narrative (in more refined tones).”  Fortunately, the two sane members of the Commission — Peter Kirsanow and Gail Heriot — took issue with it.  The full report is available here, Mr. Kirsanow’s dissent is here, and Professor Heriot’s statement is here.

Speaking of Professor Heriot, she has noted that next week marks an anniversary of sorts, namely the oral argument before the Supreme Court the second time around in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, in which the Court reviewed the school’s use of racial and ethnic admission preferences.  The oral argument is notable because in it, the late Justice Scalia raised the mismatch issue — i.e., that by admitting students with academic qualifications significantly lower than the rest of the student body’s, which is the way racial preferences in fact work, there is now overwhelming evidence that those students are being set up to fail, being less likely to graduate, earning lower grades, and being more likely to switch majors from, say, chemical engineering to microaggession studies. Professor Heriot helpfully provides links to her own work here and here, and of course she notes the book on this subject, Mismatch by Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor, Jr.

And speaking of Mr. Kirsanow, he notes a recent study finding that white liberals — brace yourselves — tend to patronize racial minorities: What’s more, that conservatives are more likely than liberals to treat minorities as equals.  Mr. Kirsanow says his own experiences bear this out, and indeed that the study “merely confirms what black conservatives concluded sometime during the Mesozoic Era.”

Finally, I also want to mention that, at the Federalist Society’s annual convention last month, there was an excellent panel discussing the lawsuit that has been brought against Harvard for admissions discrimination against Asian Americans. On the panel, which was moderated by Judge James Ho of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, were Patrick Strawbridge, a partner at the law firm representing the plaintiffs; Dr. Althea Nagai, research fellow at the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of two papers this year critiquing Harvard’s policies; Professor John Yoo, who just coauthored an excellent NRO post calling for the Supreme Court to put an end to this discrimination; and Professor Andrew Koppelman, whose defense of racial preferences ought to leave Harvard worried. You can watch the panel discussion here.

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