Phi Beta Cons

Great essay by Ward Connerly on race preferences

Minding the Campus has this great essay by Ward Connerly on the continuing battle over race preferences in California, despite Proposition 209.

UCLA officials say that it has created  a “patently impossible situation.” Why is is “patently impossible” to stop admitting students without giving preferences to some on account of their race? That’s a lot easier than

giving up the use of drugs, something that’s difficult but not impossible.
Connerly examines a recent NYT article that focused on one black applicant to UCLA, a woman who had struggled through “difficult circumstances.” He gets right at the root of the problem:

There is absolutely nothing in the description about Harris that is uniquely an obstacle confronted by blacks. Whites have also been known to file for bankruptcy and to have parental inadequacies. Asian and white kids also attend unstable schools. Yet because Harris is black, every disadvantage in her life is interpreted as a problem engendered because of her ‘race.’

What would be so awful if Harris attended not UCLA, but one of the Cal State schools where she would probably be a good academic fit?
The fact that people like the admissions officers at UCLA think that it would be a tragedy to just obey the law and stop using race preferences indicates how emotionally invested they are in affirmative action. But why? I think because it’s symbolic of their desire for “social justice.” It doesn’t actually do anything to advance “social justice” (my snicker quotes are there because I agree with Hayek that it’s a meaningless term) but that’s not what matters. The commitment to “diversity” makes those folks feel good. They badly want to believe that they’re doing something to make the world a better place — “curing societal ills.” Shuffling around where students go to college to achieve quotas (oops, I mean “critical mass”) doesn’t really help the students, but the diversity industry has many people convinced that group proportionality is a vital goal in and of itself. 

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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