In this essay on Minding the Campus, Russ Nieli responds to a recent article in the American Scholar by William Chace. Nieli calls Chace's piece a "desperate defense" of affirmative action and proceeds to show that Chace is really given no defense at all beyond repetition of jaded slogans. More importantly, Chace, like all the rest of the affirmative action defense corps, ignores the obvious point that a policy of racial preferences is a zero-sum game. It merely shuffles some students around to schools they would not have otherwise gotten into while simultaneously shuffling others out of schools they would have qualified for. There is no reason to believe that this game leads to any educational improvements, but it probably does lead to some degree of the very thing the affirmative action enthusiasts say they want to exterminate, namely racial animosity.
- April 04, 2011