Phi Beta Cons

Affirmative Action View

Here’s a story in the Boston Globe on affirmative action many years after the UC system ended race-based admissions. What caught my eye were some of the descriptions. For instance, here’s a statement by the only black student in the 1997 Berkeley law school entering class:

“‘I felt bad for myself at the time because of my situation, but worse for the people who were denied admission,’ said Brooks.”

By people “denied admission,” he means African American students who would have been admitted in previous years, but didn’t qualify this time. The statement makes it sound like black students are the only ones who count, that they get sympathy while the non-black students who were denied admission in the previous years don’t even exist.
Later in the article we get this layout of the positions on affirmative action:

“To [Ward] Connerly, it’s a system of “racial preferences” that drive a wedge between people. To his opponents, it’s a way to recognize that not everyone starts with the same advantages.”

Now, if universities, and journalists, really want to talk about “advantages,” they should release and publicize more data on the income levels of their affirmative action recipients. Given their pursuit of minority students who are recent immigrants and/or occupy higher income populations, they might want to reconsider how forthrightly they wish to proclaim the benevolence of their programs.