The "Painful Truth" About Affirmative Action

Glenn Ricketts

Have a look at this piece by Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor, Jr. in the current Atlantic.  It’s culled from their new book, out this month, on the continuing disaster of the race-based admissions policies so widely practiced and heatedly denied by college and university administrators.

Sander and Taylor are up front in declaring flatly that the Emperor is unclad: however commendable the original intentions that spawned them, the current regime of racial preferences is deeply divisive, manifestly unjust and, worst of all, profoundly harmful to its designated beneficiaries. To that I’d add the profoundly corrupting effects of the institutionalized hypocrisy and inevitable dishonesty practiced by those who preside over the system.  They can’t really believe the things they so cheerfully tell you, can they?  But then, many of them have done it for so long, who knows?

At the center of it all is what the authors call “mismatch.” Minority students who might expect to do well enough at a good second- or third-tier state institution are often admitted to elite schools where the level of competition and preparation far exceeds their capabilities.  It’s something like throwing a beginning swimming student immediately into the deep end of the pool with the varsity high-diving team.  The difference, of course, is that we wouldn’t do that with athletes, because we’d have sense enough to understand what the results would be.  

But such common sense simply doesn’t apply where racial preferences are concerned, and many minority students forced to compete at a level beyond their competence routinely end up as academic failures, embittered and isolated.  There's also  the injustice done to the more qualified students who had to be rejected so “diversity” targets could be met. 

It’s hard to see where anyone comes out a winner in this Orwellian bean-counting charade except perhaps the admissions officers who can claim that they met their quotas and senior administrators who can boast about the “diverse” institution over which they preside.  And of course, nobody can call them racists, right?

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