Phi Beta Cons

Yet Another Diversity Study

In response to yet another diversity study reported on in Inside Higher Ed, I posted the following comment:

Put the Shoe on the Other Foot

Two comments. First, the study seems to support the “cascade”/systematic-mismatch effect that critics of preferences have long noted: That is, the result of eliminating preferences is that the African American and Latino students would still get into college, but now it would be colleges where their academic credentials are on par with the rest of the student body’s. This is a good thing, not a bad thing.

Second, the study predicts that, if told they cannot use overt racial preferences, then many colleges will instead use covert preferences — that is, they will try to find proxies for race (zip codes and the like). But as a legal mater and practical matter, this is still racial discrimination. And it seems very odd to suggest that, if the reaction of a school to a ban on discrimination is to lower admission requirements across the board, then maybe we ought to give up and let the school discriminate. 

It’s always useful to put the shoe on the other foot.  When Mississippi’s reaction to an order to desegregate its public schools was to close them, was that seen as a good reason to back off the demand for desegregation?


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