Phi Beta Cons

Affirmative Foreign Action

Here’s a story from the Washington Post illustrating the kind of contortions that proceed when we try to engineer a competitive process on identitarian grounds. It notes, first, a research paper showing,

The nation’s most elite colleges and universities are bolstering their black student populations by enrolling large numbers of immigrants from Africa, the West Indies and Latin America, according to a study published recently in the American Journal of Education.
Immigrants, who make up 13 percent of the nation’s college-age black population, account for more than a quarter of black students at Ivy League and other selective universities, according to the study, produced by Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania.

The numbers reflect the shift from affirmative action as a measure to correct historical injustice to affirmative action as a means to ensure diversity. Here is how prominent voices in academia interpret the trend:

Black American scholars such as Henry Louis Gates and Lani Guinier, two Harvard University professors, have said that white educators are skirting long-held missions to resolve historic wrongs against native black Americans by enrolling immigrants who look like them.
In an interview, Guinier said that the chasm has less to do with immigrants and more to do with admissions officers who rely on tests that wealthier students, including black immigrants, can afford to prepare for.
“In part, it has to do with coming from a country, especially those educated in Caribbean and African countries, where blacks were in the majority and did not experience the stigma that black children did in the United States,” Guinier said. “The fathers of these students tend to be much better educated. This is not just true of immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean, this is true across the board. We have an admissions system that prefers wealth, that rewards wealth and calls it merit.”