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(The classic defense of racial admission preferences, by Derek Bok and William G.Bowen, acknowledged that only 14 percent of black students admitted to the selective schools that the authors studied came from backgrounds of lower socioeconomic status, and the rest came from upper- or middle-SES backgrounds.) If colleges and universities want to help those who are disadvantaged, they can do so on the basis of, well, rather than using skin color as a proxy.
The answer is no, and the reason is the obvious one that, when one does a cost-benefit analysis, one has to consider not only possible benefits but also possible costs.
So here’s my usual list of the costs of using racial preferences in university admissions.
If you consider race, it must be because sometimes it will tip the scale. ) And the fact is that race is typically weighed quite heavily -- not as a mere tiebreaker, as innumerable studies by my organization and researchers from both sides of the aisle have shown -- so the quota/nonquota distinction is one without much of a practical difference.
And the legal, moral and historical ramifications of treating people differently based on race are different from doing so on the basis of three-point jump shots.
There is no legal pedigree for setting such quotas, which sound like what Justice Lewis F. had in mind when he rejected such a rationale in Bakke in 1978 as “discrimination for its own sake” that is flatly forbidden by the Constitution.
Such an aim would manifestly require discrimination against not only Asian-Americans but against any other group that is “overrepresented” in higher education -- Jews and now also Asian-Americans, high school graduates, nonfelons, children, senior citizens and so forth.) Considering the Costs But let’s suppose that you are not completely persuaded.
As I said, it’s hard to swallow that anyone really believes this.
Whenever I debate this issue, within a few minutes we’re talking instead about slavery.
It is increasingly clear that racial preferences help no one -- and hurt everyone.
And I will add that, not only is the list of costs longer than the list of benefits, but also the costs are heavy and undeniable, while the benefits are marginal and dubious.