Phi Beta Cons

Roger Clegg Reviews ‘For Discrimination’ by Randall Kennedy

Back on September 7, Roger Clegg wrote this review of Professor Randall Kennedy’s new book For Discrimination. Kennedy tries to make the case that, despite some costs and inefficiencies (such as determining whether someone is “really” in a preferred group or not), we must maintain “affirmative action” because it brings about “racial justice.”

Roger (to whom Kennedy briefly adverts, but mistakenly calling him “Gregg” after first getting his name right) knocks many holes in the book and I plan to write a full review myself before long. I will only note here what I think is the book’s crucial failing, namely Kennedy’s insistence that “affirmative action” is good because it creates a “vanguard” for black advancement. He never tries to prove that assertion and I think that is because it is impossible to defend. Yes, racial preferences redound to the benefit for a few people (like Kennedy himself, who would probably have had to attend a less prestigious law school than Harvard) but that does not mean “uplift” for the black community in general. In fact, those like Kennedy happily settle into a high-income life with the left/progressive elite whose social and economic policies are so detrimental to the prospects for uplift of the poor of all races.

George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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