Race-Based Admissions Harm Minority Students

George F. Will, The Columbus Dispatch, December 2, 2011

The U.S. Supreme Court faces a discomfiting decision. If it chooses to hear a case concerning racial preferences in admissions at the University of Texas, the court will confront evidence of its complicity in harming the supposed beneficiaries of preferences.

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In 2003, when the court ruled on two cases arising from University of Michigan undergraduate and law-school racial-preference policies, the court contributed more confusion than clarity. It struck down the undergraduate policies as too mechanistic in emphasizing race but upheld the law school’s pursuit of educational benefits from a “critical mass” of certain approved minorities.

A brief submitted by UCLA law professor Richard Sander and legal analyst Stuart Taylor argues that voluminous research refutes the legal premise for such racial classifications: They benefit relatively powerless minorities.

“Academic mismatch” causes many students who are admitted under a racial preference, but who possess weaker academic skills, to fall behind. The consequences include especially high attrition rates from the sciences, and self-segregation in less-demanding classes, thereby reducing classroom diversity. Blacks are significantly more integrated across the University of California system than they were before the state eliminated racial preferences in 1996, thereby discouraging enrollment of underprepared minorities in the more-elite institutions.

Another study showed that, even if eliminating racial preferences in law schools would mean 21 percent fewer black matriculants, there still would be no reduction in the number of blacks who graduate and pass the bar exam.

A second brief, submitted by three members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights–Gail Heriot, Peter Kirsanow and Todd Gaziano–argues that racial preferences in law-school admissions mean fewer black lawyers than there would be without preferences that bring law students into elite academic settings where their credentials put them in the bottom of their classes.

There are fewer minorities entering high-prestige careers than there would be if preferences were not placing many talented minority students in inappropriate, and discouraging, academic situations: “Many would be honor students elsewhere. But they are subtly being made to feel as if they are less talented than they really are.” {snip}

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  • Anonymous

    Of course it hurts minorities like Jews, Chinese, Cubans, Italians, Indians, and…

    Oh, they meant it the other way. Just another pity party for blacks, women, and Mexicans. Carry on, liberals.

  • Anonymous

    Black law students should cheer up. If they make it past the bar there’s a good chance they will be a judge in no time.

  • Question Diversity

    Affirmative action in college admissions hurts white students more, and beyond that, it’s a collective drag on our economy and our innovative and inventive future. Getting George Will to care about whites, though, is like getting the average child to eat brussels sprouts.

  • Ben N Indiana (AWG)

    One advantage of race-segregated schools was their ability to address the special academic needs of black students. Brown v Board of Education was heralded as a triumph for blacks. In reality, it consigned black students to decades of sub-standard educational environments to appease the politically correct heresies of multiculturalism.

  • Rhialto

    Notice that no side considers the impact on non-wealthy white males. Apparently, it is agreed and understood that this group is of no consequence to American society.

  • Mike Harrigan

    Aside from the obvious harm done to White’s who are denied college admissions (and jobs) by using affirmative action, the disservice done to ill prepared “minorities” should be staring these do-gooders square in the face. The evidence is overwhelming that these students are destined for complete and utter failure. How this has escaped media scrutiny all these years is mind boggling……I’d like to retract that. It isn’t mind boggling at all. No mystery whatsoever.

  • Walter

    As a young man currently wishing to pursue a higher education, i often wonder where my “European American” or “Germanic/Nordic” scholarship is. There are Mexican, Native American, Black, and Asian scholarships. Why do i have to be the one to pay? The hidden victims of these race based admissions are middle class, heterosexual, white, Christian males.

  • Netzach

    #1,

    “Of course it hurts minorities like Jews, Chinese, Cubans, Italians, Indians, and…

    Oh, they meant it the other way. Just another pity party for blacks, women, and Mexicans. Carry on, liberals.”

    The joke is, it hurts them all. Oh AA, is there a single thing your touch will not degrade? Sure, the article is probably just another pity party, but the effect is quite likely still real. Moreover, I think “AA hurts whites and successful minorities, and it’s not even beneficial to those who are supposed to benefit from it” might be a more powerful and widely appealing argument against AA than “it hurts whites”.

  • Tom Iron

    The black writer, Thomas Sowell has been saying this for many years. It doesn’t matter what the court says or doesn’t say, the academians mean to circumvent anything so they can maintain the rotten status quo.

  • Anonymous

    Even Krushev said the commies sell America the rope to hang itself with. Clearly if you wait it out these socialist engineered liberal programs they will all self implode and hang themselves too.

  • olewhitelady

    I honestly believe that most black people were happier before the civil rights revolution. They controlled the social and cultural environments in which they lived, with a minimum of interference from whites. They weren’t in constant competition from white people for jobs, sex partners, or community standing. Black businessmen could maintain their means of living within black neighborhoods. If a black person was smart, he could become a teacher, physician, etc. and work within his own sphere. If he wasn’t smart, he could become a janitor, shoe shiner, etc., and no one pressured him to go to college.

    Now that blacks are expected to operate in the white world, more than ever are in prison. A good number of them are in trouble with the judicial system because they committed crimes against whites. A huge number of black women are forced to share black men and never marry because of competition from women of other ethnicities. If they have children–often in their teens–they’re compelled to raise them without help from a husband or from their own fathers. Drug use, social disease, joblessness, and abortion are rampant. Blacks who have a political forum continue to complain about racial problems, some insisting that discrimination and bigotry is worse than ever.

    Any time a culturally different or lesser-abled group is expected to conform to or compete with a dominant group, there will be unhappiness and frustration. We’ve seen this all through history. It’s the same with women being expected to act like men and gays being expected to act like straights.

  • Anonymous

    “Many would be honor students elsewhere…”

    Bow-tie Guy is right, they would do better in other institutions. Just off the top of my head I can recommend no fewer than three life-changing educational experiences from which these “over their head” minority students could surely benefit: the Ronald McDonald College of Hamburgerology; Mrs. Naugautuck’s Academy of Custodial Engineering; and the George Pullman Institute for Baggage Handling and Sleeping-Car Portering.

  • Soprano Fan

    To Anonymous (re post # 10):

    It was Vladimir Lenin, not Khrushchev, who said “The capitalists will sell us the rope with which to hang them.”

  • Detroit WASP

    Wayne State University in Detroit is reportedly the blackest public non traditionally black college in the US.

    The drop out rate among black students is 90%.

    http://www.jbhe.com/features/65_gradrates.html

    “At Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, blacks are 32 percent of the 21,000-member undergraduate student body. But only 10 percent of black students go on to graduate compared to 44 percent of white students.”

    They are victims of affirmative action admission policies!

  • Sincerely Concerned

    “Many would be honor students elsewhere. But they are subtly being made to feel as if they are less talented than they really are.”

    Huh? How is this so? Moreover, this is a vague yet contradictory statement. Do they mean that they could be honor students at a vocational institute? Do they mean that once minorities are accepted into tougher universities, they fail but only because they are being made to feel they’re stupid when they really aren’t? I’m confused.

  • Question Diversity

    14 Detroit WASP:

    Ask the AR regular Proactive about Wayne State, and the 250-word essay requirement for all graduating seniors that blacks had a hard time passing.

    12 Anonymous and 15 Sincerely Concerned:

    What Will is saying is that a big fish in a little pond is a lot bigger than the same big fish in the Pacific Ocean. My problem is that it’s still the same fish, no matter the body of water, and we’re just arguing over which body of water the fish should be in to maximize its self-esteem. Forbid all that institutions of higher learning should instill education and knowledge. No, the self-esteem of certain minorities is the the goal.

  • Andromeda

    Affirmative action hurts these people even if they manage to graduate. They don’t have to do as well in their classes, and they know it. Many don’t show up. (I’ve heard this first hand more than once.) Then they graduate and can’t do the job. People aren’t forced, yet, to go to a minority doctor, lawyer, pilot, etc.. I won’t patronize such people. There’s a fairly good chance they will be incompetent. I know I’m not the only person who thinks this way. Three decades ago, I didn’t reason this way. A minority had to go through the same process and had the same things expected of him/her. Sometimes the expectations were even higher. When I hear the illiterate female black bully in my high school class say she’s going to be a lawyer, I know that she probably will be.

    As to the main content of this article….well D’uh!

  • Anonymous

    #17 Andromeda…I’ve said the same thing, that it’s only a matter of time before we see affirmative action and lowered standards for pilots. Does anyone know if it is already happening, maybe at FedEx, UPS, or USPS?

  • AvgDude

    Yep, you’re not doing any minority kid any favors by setting him up to fail. If you can score no better than 900 on an SAT, then you’ve got no business in a four year university. You need community college or a trade school.

  • ChemE

    I agree with Will. Affirmative action results in the “beneficiaries” being put into more elite educational institutions than they would otherwise qualify for, with the predictable result that they are competing with more-intelligent students than they would otherwise be. Elimination of AA would put these students into environments where their IQs and SATs would be more comparable to their classmates, and very likely more would actually graduate, in spite of fewer being admitted to college.

  • Anonymous

    Of course the universities, in their wisdom, have a dealt with this problem by lowering the standards to get grades and graduate.

    Recall how the mortgage credit requirements were lowered to help minorities get access. Then those folk turned out to be bad credits and were foreclosed upon. Then they sued because they lost their mortgaged property, property they would have never had if historical credit rules had been followed.

    Watch minorities who were given preferences sue because they failed in school. Expect claims the schools knew the “under-served” were unlikely to graduate, or the classes were too hard and not appropriate, or not enough assistance was provided.

  • Howard W. Campbell

    If we still had any significant number of Pullman Car Porters; by now the black elite and the illegal’s lobby would have demanded that those jobs go to Mexicans. We would be forced to (attempt) retaining all of the former Porters to jobs for which they were not qualified.

    How many of you agree that it is worth the extra money to go to a fast food place (or restaurant) that is staffed by a mostly white workforce? Even with all of the idiot-proofing that restaurants invest in, going to some of these minority dominated places is a culinary version of Russian Roulette.

  • Sureesh

    Here’s a case where quotas work IN FAVOR of whites- check out this article- http://news.yahoo.com/asians-college-strategy-dont-check-asian-174442977.html

    Do you white nationalists still agree that ALL nonwhite groups are dumb, lazy, and nonproductive or can you admit that Asians perform better than whites now?

  • Ray

    Affirmative action creates institutionalized mediocrity.

  • Anonymous

    Like most other government programs, affirmative action screws the very individuals it aimed to help in the long run.

  • Prof. Jon

    I am a professor.

    My classes are very difficult – very writing intensive.

    Blacks invariably drop out. Whites and Asians stay.

    I make my classes incredibly difficult in order to have an intelligent and productive teaching environment.

    No pandering. Difficult. The Whites and Asians always rise to the occasion. Blacks always fail. Literally fail.

  • john

    18 Anonymous

    I understand your concern, but there’s no way pilot standards will be waived for minorities of any race. Just passing the written for the ATR (air transport rating) is daunting, let alone passing the checkride.

    No air carrier is going to trust a $50 million (or more) airliner to some affirmative action boob. Any black (or Amer-Indian, Mexican, Chinese) or whomever is fully qualified to sit in the left seat if he earns that rating.

  • Anonymous

    What we aren’t hearing about here are the pressure groups behind keeping unqualified blacks pushed into universities that are beyond their skill levels. There must be money involved somewhere around this for the absurdity to continue. Its religion (PC) over rationality. ONLY the ‘black leadership’ could possibly deal with this issue, but as they would also face personal repercussions, they will NEVER deal with this in a rational way. As America ‘winds down’, this level of nonsense will keep grinding on, as in the endless third world illegal immigration. They will keep it going until America is totally unrecognizable.

  • chris

    I am black and I disagree with this article because I feel that all poor kids should be given the opportunity to attend university and this includes poor white kids. Poor people pay taxes and they should have the opportunity to get a quality education. I grew up poor in the city of New Orleans and I graduated from the University of New Orleans. I am now attending graduate school at the University of Southern Mississippi. I don’t know if I am an affirmative action admission recipient or not but I am working my tail off to earn my degree. All of my instructors are white and they go out of their way to help me because they see I want something out of life. I feel that if a person has good moral character and wants to attend a university to obtain an education then we as a society should help them accomplish their goal. I am taking out student loans to finance my education and I have a dream of working for a large engineering firm one day. This is what is so great about western civilization that a poor black kid can get an education if they want it bad enough. However, we live in a society today where people both black and white refuse to fight for our country’s western foundation heritage. White liberals talk about slavery and racism but they refuse to acknowelege that blacks in America are given opportunities. Some black people take advantage of the opportunities and some don’t.

  • joe

    Courts will never get rid of AA because they would be too afraid to rule against the wishes of Blacks. Blacks know that and are not worried.

  • Anonymous

    “In over their heads”. We have been saying this for years.

  • Allan

    At the University of Illinois, Circle Campus, they used to call this the “revolving door admissions” which more or less sums it up.

  • Bob

    to #23

    Congrats on your graduation from kindergarden.

    In first grade you’ll learn all about NAMs.

  • sedonaman

    chris, et al:

    No one says poor people should be denied an education. What the majority is against is lowering standards just to make a student body “look like America”.

    First, there is no shortage of educational opportunities in America. Less than a generation passed before Vietnamese boat peoples’ children were graduating from engineering school in this country. I hired a couple of them, and they made good engineers.

    Back in the 1990s, the LA Times carried an article about the lack of proportional “representation” of racial minorities in the freshman class on the UCLA campus. The Times’ conclusion was that “minorities are not getting a college education.” That politically motivated argument patently ignored other options. Not everyone belongs in a top university, nor does such an institution have any business wasting resources on “remedial instruction” [see graph at the end of this http://www.uiowa.edu/~030116/116/articles/bronner2.htm article.

    As stated above, some students are not well prepared, but there are other routes to a college degree without sacrificing standards. This is what community colleges are for. They admit anyone over 18 with a body temperature of 98.6 degrees. After spending two years at a junior college and establishing his academic preparation, a student can transfer to a university as a junior and graduate after two years there. And that’s just one alternate option. It’s not easy, but it takes determination, as you are demonstrating.

    AA and lowering standards are simply to reach pre-determined quotas and not to help minorities. What happens after the quota is filled is of no concern to the administration; if a minority flunks out, it is no problem because there will be a new minority student come next term to take his place. If you don’t believe this, try to find out the graduation rates for students admitted under AA at your school.

  • SS

    There ain’t enough “racism” in the entire History of America to account for all the non-white pandering of Today.

    Rhialto,

    I happen to believe there’s a reason why the White Man is never mentioned. Look around and you will see that there are less and less White Men in every position you can imagine and white women are breeding a “new” race meant to take our place.

    Were I in charge, I would tell White People to breed like rats and don’t worry about food and shelter. We have banded together and we will help each other so go now, breed, breed and breed!

  • Anonymous

    The US should do what (generally non-Western) countries do; admit based on test scores and other academic criteria. Why should race even be a factor into admissions? Regardless of race, if you cannot achieve a certain level of academic criteria, you do not deserve to study at a university. As long as your IQ and test scores etc aren’t too low, it shouldn’t be hard to find a university to get into.

    But, I suppose it’s too taboo to mention that blacks (and some non-white races) have IQs and test scores to low to get into even the lower level universities. Perhaps these lower intelligence people were not meant to go to university; why should we push for these people when we know they are likely to fail or drop out?