Peter Wood Quoted in New York Times on Fisher Case

Peter Wood

  • Article
  • October 17, 2011

Yesterday’s New York Times Sunday Review published an article on the future of the diversity rationale for racial preferences. The article looks at a case, Fisher v. University of Texas, which will probably go to the Supreme Court. It could be an important case in the history of racial preferences in college admissions:

[It] could provide a fresh opportunity to consider what we mean when we talk about diversity. It could also mean the end of affirmative action at public universities.

The author of the Times piece quotes the president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund saying that the educational benefits of diversity have been proven beyond doubt (they haven’t). Immediately following this quote is one from NAS president Peter Wood:

But Peter Wood, an anthropologist, the author of “Diversity: The Invention of a Concept” and a critic of the Grutter decision, argues that the educational value of racial diversity is problematic. “The part of diversity that matters to me and a lot of academics is the intellectual diversity of the classroom,” he said. “The pursuit of a genuine variety of opinions that are well thought through and well grounded is essential. But that has an off-and-on, hit-or-miss connection with ethnic and racial diversity.”

The National Association of Scholars has filed amicus briefs in Fisher v. Texas and will continue to stay involved with the case if it goes to the Supreme Court. As we have said before, we believe that racial preferences not only propagate racial discrimination and a double standard in higher education, but also directly violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment in the United States Constitution. The time when our nation’s Supreme Court recognizes this may be near.

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