Roger Clegg on why racial preferences remain wrongheaded
PLF friend Roger Clegg has a very interesting article in Inside Higher Education where he explains why federal action to curb universities continued use of racial preferences is sorely needed. The article talks about this PLF Supreme Court brief he joined which documents how universities continue to flout the requirements of the Equal Protection Clause. The entire article is worth the read. Perhaps most notably, he explains how whatever the speculative benefits of racial preferences are, the costs are real and undeniable.
“But let’s suppose that you are not completely persuaded. That is, let’s suppose that you think, while the justifications for the use of racial preferences are not rock solid, there is at least something to them. Does that mean that we should continue to use them?
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.
- It is personally unfair, passes over better qualified students and sets a disturbing legal, political and moral precedent in allowing racial discrimination.
- It creates resentment and is otherwise and inevitably divisive.
- It stigmatizes the so-called beneficiaries in the eyes of their classmates, teachers and themselves, as well as future employers, clients and patients.
- It mismatches African-Americans and Latinos with institutions, setting them up for failure, so that not only are those discriminated against hurt but also those supposedly benefited.
- It fosters a victim mind-set, removes the incentive for academic excellence and encourages separatism.
- It compromises the academic mission of the university and lowers the overall academic quality of the student body.
- It creates pressure to discriminate in grading and graduation.
- It breeds hypocrisy within the college and encourages a scofflaw attitude among administrators.
- It papers over the real social problem of why so many African-Americans and Latinos are academically uncompetitive.
- It gets states and colleges involved in unsavory activities like deciding which racial and ethnic minorities will be favored and which ones not, and how much blood is needed to establish group membership — an untenable legal regime as America becomes an increasingly multiracial and multiethnic society, and as individual Americans are themselves more and more likely to be multiracial and multiethnic.”
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