October 11, 2012

"So what you're saying is that what counts is race above all.... You want underprivileged of a certain race and privileged of a certain race. So that's race."

Said Justice Anthony Kennedy at during the oral argument over the the University of Texas affirmative action policy. UT, following state law, automatically admits everyone who graduates from a Texas high school in the top 10%, a colorblind policy that produces a certain amount of racial diversity, especially since there are many high schools in Texas that have a very high proportion of black or Hispanic students.

So why does UT do any additional affirmative action as it fills up the portion of the entering class not admitted through the 10% program? You've already got a lot of diversity, so why do you need more? The additional affirmative action is precisely to bring in privileged black and Hispanic students, that is, the black and Hispanic students who did not attend racially isolated schools. If white students get too many of the top 10% spots at those schools, then the 10% program does not bring enough of these minority students into UT.
The university says... that the highest-ranked students at a disadvantaged school have lower SAT scores than some in the middle of the pack at a more competitive suburban high school. UT's affirmative-action program aims to open doors for minority applicants from middle-class or professional families. Such students can "help dispel stereotypical assumptions…which actually may be reinforced" by minorities admitted only because of the top-10% plan, UT said in its brief.

Justice Samuel Alito seized on that point. "I thought that the whole purpose of affirmative action was to help students who come from underprivileged backgrounds, but you make a very different argument that I don't think I've ever seen before," he said.
Actually, under the Court's case law, the diversity that is considered a compelling interest (which is what the state needs to defend race discrimination) is not about boosting the underprivileged. In Grutter v. Bollinger, the majority approved of the idea of  assembling a class that includes "a 'critical mass' of minority students," which does not mean "racial balancing, which is patently unconstitutional" but is "defined by reference to the educational benefits that diversity is designed to produce."
These benefits are substantial. As the District Court emphasized, the Law School’s admissions policy promotes “cross-racial understanding,” helps to break down racial stereotypes, and “enables [students] to better understand persons of different races.”...These benefits are “important and laudable,” because “classroom discussion is livelier, more spirited, and simply more enlightening and interesting” when the students have “the greatest possible variety of backgrounds.” ...

The Law School does not premise its need for critical mass on “any belief that minority students always (or even consistently) express some characteristic minority viewpoint on any issue.”... To the contrary, diminishing the force of such stereotypes is both a crucial part of the Law School’s mission, and one that it cannot accomplish with only token numbers of minority students. Just as growing up in a particular region or having particular professional experiences is likely to affect an individual’s views, so too is one’s own, unique experience of being a racial minority in a society, like our own, in which race unfortunately still matters.
If it's about breaking down stereotypes, the 10% approach creates a problem: The minority students in the classroom tend to come from the racially isolated schools, the less privileged Texans. So, it seems, the additional affirmative action is needed to get a more varied group of minority students, in which case, the point is to bring in privileged minority students, because these are the students who — in Grutter terms — might provide the classroom benefit of teaching all the students that minority students don't have "some characteristic minority viewpoint."

Obviously, there were dissenting opinions in Grutter. For example, Justice Scalia scoffed at that idea of the compelling interest: The lesson taught by classroom diversity is "essentially the same lesson taught to (or rather learned by, for it cannot be 'taught' in the usual sense) people three feet shorter and twenty years younger than the full-grown adults at the University of Michigan Law School, in institutions ranging from Boy Scout troops to public-school kindergartens."

I'm not taking a position on whether UT's admissions policy is good or whether it's constitutional. (Do not assume you know what I think. You don't.) All I am saying is that if Grutter is to be applied (and not limited or overruled), an affirmative action program that's all about boosting the most privileged minority students actually makes sense.

Did Justice Alito not see that (or was he mainly expressing disapproval)? Here's his quote (along with Justice Kennedy's), put in context, beginning at page 43 of the PDF transcript:
JUSTICE ALITO: Well, I thought that the whole purpose of affirmative action was to help students who come from underprivileged backgrounds, but you make a very different argument that I don't think I've ever seen before. The top 10 percent plan admits lots of African Americans -- lots of Hispanics and a fair number of African Americans. But you say, well, it's -- it's faulty, because it doesn't admit enough African Americans and Hispanics who come from privileged backgrounds. And you specifically have the example of the child of successful professionals in Dallas. Now, that's your argument? If you have -­ you have an applicant whose parents are -- let's say they're -- one of them is a partner in your law firm in Texas, another one is a part -- is another corporate lawyer. They have income that puts them in the top 1 percent of earners in the country, and they have -­ parents both have graduate degrees. They deserve a leg-up against, let's say, an Asian or a white applicant whose parents are absolutely average in terms of education and income?

[GREGORY G. GARRE, counsel for the University of Texas]: No, Your Honor. And let me -­ let me answer the question. First of all, the example comes almost word for word from the Harvard plan that this Court approved in Grutter and that Justice Powell held out in Bakke.

JUSTICE ALITO: Well, how that question be no, because being an African American or being a Hispanic is a plus factor.

MR. GARRE: Because, Your Honor, our point is, is that we want minorities from different backgrounds. We go out of our way to recruit minorities from disadvantaged backgrounds.

JUSTICE KENNEDY: So what you're saying is that what counts is race above all.

MR. GARRE: No, Your Honor, what counts is different experiences -­

JUSTICE KENNEDY: Well, that's the necessary -- that's the necessary response to Justice Alito's question.

MR. GARRE: Well, Your Honor, what we want is different experiences that are going to -- that are going to come on campus -­

JUSTICE KENNEDY: You want underprivileged of a certain race and privileged of a certain race. So that's race.

MR. GARRE: No, Your Honors, it's -- it's not race. It's just the opposite. I mean, in the LUAC decision, for example, this Court said that failing to take into account differences among members of the same race does a disservice -­

JUSTICE KENNEDY: But the reason you're reaching for the privileged is so that members of that race who are privileged can be representative, and that's race. I just -­

MR. GARRE: It's -- it's members racial group, Your Honor, bringing different experiences. And to say that -- if you took group, if you had an admissions process that to admit from a -- people from a particular background or perspective, you would want people from different perspectives.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Counsel -­

MR. GARRE: And that's -- that's the interests that we're discussing here. It's the interests that the Harvard plan specifically adopts and lays out -­

140 comments:

MikeR said...

Please don't try to tempt me into a discussion of whether seeking privileged minorities fits well with the logic of Grutter. It is obviously really really stupid. The best you can hope to show is that Grutter is really really stupid.

Ann Althouse said...

@MikeR Sorry. That's precisely the temptation intended.

My plea is: please don't talk about the more generic issues around affirmative action that have been discussed many times before.

Get the precise issue in this post, and please talk about that.

rcommal said...

Oh, what a tangled web we weave.

Superdad said...

But doesn't this whole line of questioning prove the weakness in the prior opinions upholding race as a factor in order provide diversity of view points? The school is admitting what we should all know is true: people of the same minority group do not all think, talk and act the same. Their socio-economic statues is more important than their race in forming their experiences and world view.

Thus, the underlying premise that you can use race as a standing in for diversity of thought/experience is false.

Calypso Facto said...

Get the precise issue in this post, and please talk about that.

Maybe I'm missing it too, but thought the introduction of the idea that PRIVILEGED minorities are now a protected class to be given special advantage WAS the precise, novel, and nonsensical issue here.

"Mr. Garre replied that affluent blacks or Hispanics bring "different experiences" than those from disadvantaged backgrounds and that the university was justified in ensuring their perspectives could also be found on campus."

Marshal said...

Did Justice Alito not see that (or was he mainly expressing disapproval)?

He saw it. By forcing proponents to publicly acknowledge this reasoning he highlights the conflict between the stated goals of race preference supporters and their true goals.

Shouting Thomas said...

Brown v. Board of Ed. was decided properly, but for the wrong reasons.

The decision rested on the notion that the "self-esteem" of blacks demanded desegregation.

All the bad shit, including feminism and the gay activist movement, has been based on this same poor reasoning. "Self-esteem" became the driving principle of liberal thought.

MikeDC said...

The issue is whether, given that there will already be a mix of frequently but not always economically underprivileged from Race A and race B, the economically privileged of race A should get preference over anyone in Race B.

Answering yes to that question seems patently absurd, in addition to being obviously at odds with our national principles. Why is it even a discussion?

cubanbob said...

If it's about breaking down stereotypes, the 10% approach creates a problem: The minority students in the classroom tend to come from the racially isolated schools, the less privileged Texans. So, it seems, the additional affirmative action is needed to get a more varied group of minority students, in which case, the point is to bring in privileged minority students, because these are the students who — in Grutter terms — might provide the classroom benefit of teaching all the students that minority students don't have "some characteristic minority viewpoint."

Leave it to lawyers and intellectuals to miss the obvious solution to this non-problem: meritocracy.
That will solve the problem unless one thinks to many Asians and Jews in the classroom is a problem.

AF said...

"All I am saying is that if Grutter is to be applied (and not limited or overruled), an affirmative action program that's all about boosting the most privileged minority students actually makes sense."

But that's a rather uninteresting point, as the Supreme Court, even if it doesn't want to overrule Grutter, is certainly not going to consider itself bound to adopt the logical conclusions of Grutter's reasoning.

Bob Ellison said...

I find it difficult and troubling to read Alito asserting that he has never encountered the argument that the porpoise of affirmative action is to create and raise up a group of special people that the rest of society, and especially other members of that privileged "minority", can admire and attempt to emulate.

This is a very old idea. Maybe I misunderstand Alito.

Widmerpool said...

To be brutally frank, the issue is that the vast, vast majority of underpriveleged blacks would simply not be able to hack it at most schools (certainly not UT) because of the absolutely shitty schools we as as a society consign them too. The do-good liberals need to reach out and bless blacks who don't need a hand at all or they would be graduating pitifully small numbers of black students.

cubanbob said...

Calypso Facto said...
Get the precise issue in this post, and please talk about that.

Maybe I'm missing it too, but thought the introduction of the idea that PRIVILEGED minorities are now a protected class to be given special advantage WAS the precise, novel, and nonsensical issue here.

Nailed it. AA must be a great success if it now requires privileged minorities to be considered a protected class. What hasn't been thought through is how does it effect the self-esteem of a privileged minority student to know no matter how well they did on their SAT,GRE and their GPA they needed to be handicapped to get in.

Ann Althouse said...

"Maybe I'm missing it too, but thought the introduction of the idea that PRIVILEGED minorities are now a protected class to be given special advantage WAS the precise, novel, and nonsensical issue here."

I've laid out the argument for why it makes sense within the definition of diversity propounded in Grutter.

You can reject the argument, but please first understand the argument and consider whether rejection of the argument requires rejection of Grutter.

Ann Althouse said...

"the porpoise of affirmative action"

Is that like the sexual harassment panda?

Bob Ellison said...

Yes, Professor, it's a special genus. The pompatus of emanations is another species there.

Widmerpool said...

"You can reject the argument, but please first understand the argument and consider whether rejection of the argument requires rejection of Grutter."

Yes.

Dark Eden said...

The way I am interpreting this is that they definitely want blacks represented but they'd much prefer privileged house blacks to those dirty underprivileged fellows from the fields.

It seems a little monstrous.

Levi Starks said...

H.R. Puffinstuff,
You can't do a little, and you can't do enough.

sean said...

Politically, this seems like a death knell for affirmative action, if universities are going to say explicitly and openly that it is about helping wealthy black and Hispanics. The reason that affirmative action enjoys what political support it does is because of a vague impression that it helps the less fortunate.

I won't assume that I know Prof. Althouse's current views, but I highly doubt that she and her friends would have marched chanting: "More rich blacks! More rich blacks!" No one would get out of bed for that cause.

Richard Dolan said...

"If it's about breaking down stereotypes, the 10% approach creates a problem: The minority students in the classroom tend to come from the racially isolated schools, the less privileged Texans."

You're kidding, right? The entire argument turns on accepting stereotypes, and by doing so implying to the student body that those stereotypes capture the relevant social facts about race and class. The proffered contrast is between kids who "come from the racially isolated schools, the less privileged Texans" versus kids who are the sons of "a partner of your law firm in Texas". UT is asking the court to draw a picture (a very unflattering picture) of the first group, and the opposite picture of the latter group, as if neither were composed of individuals having very varying personal qualities.

What supports the idea that kids from less well-off backgrounds are unsophisticated yokels who don't know which fork to use, have bad study habits, haven't read anything more challenging than comic books, can't write standard English, have trouble verbalizing conceptual differences, and on and on? What supports the idea that a son of a law firm partner in Texas will, by that fact alone, embody the opposite traits? Short answer: nothing but the twisted racial and class narratives so beloved on campuses across America today.

Grotesque.

Real American said...

seems to me that the 10% rule created a situation wherein the usual beneficiaries of affirmative action (upper and middle class minorities) were being left out of the racial spoils system, so this new affirmative discrimination by UT was implemented to get them what they consider to be theirs. another reason to end the racial spoils system and let everyone earn their way in the old fashioned way.

cubanbob said...

Ann Althouse said...
"Maybe I'm missing it too, but thought the introduction of the idea that PRIVILEGED minorities are now a protected class to be given special advantage WAS the precise, novel, and nonsensical issue here."

I've laid out the argument for why it makes sense within the definition of diversity propounded in Grutter.

You can reject the argument, but please first understand the argument and consider whether rejection of the argument requires rejection of Grutter.

10/11/12 11:56 AM

The argument is easy enough to understand. What is inexplicable is the logic that arose to come up with Grutter.

bagoh20 said...

You intellectuals are tricky, very tricky. The rest of us are in awe.

Hagar said...

Since UNM admitted me, they should also have sought out some specific number of other squareheads with different views to show the rest of the crowd that we are not al alike?

Levi Starks said...

What I'm getting is that there are some smart hardworking poor white kids (but not in the top 10%) who will be denied the opportunity to attend this college so that a rich academically average black/hispanic kid can?

Peter said...

" ...So, it seems, the additional affirmative action is needed to get a more varied group of minority students ..."

These attempts to fix affirmative action remind me of attempts to fix the geocentric model of the solar system (aka Ptolemaic system).

The problem with the geocentric model isn't just that it is wrong, it's that its wrongness degrades its utility.

And so, to fix it one adds circles within epicycles within circles, always trying to fix the correction to fix the abberraton caused an earlier correction (and on and on, without end).

Ptomemaic astronomy was not fixable, and neither is affirmative action.



Affirmative action needs corrections to fix the abberations produced by other corrections that were adopted to achieve goals that are not being achieved because abberations caused by the corrections to fix the corrections selected the 'wrong' minorities to achieve the stated goals.

And so it goes. When can we just admit that affirmative action just doesn't work, that whatever noble intentions launched it, it is as hopelessly wrong and unfixable as geocentric astronomy?

sleepless nights said...

It's always been that way. The kids who really could use the help are less likely to get it.

Nathan Alexander said...

Am I wrong, or is "privileged" being defined/identified as "going to school in a majority-white school"?

That seems a fairly invidious starting point, to me.

Michael said...

The argument is an admission that Blacks do poorly in good schools and well in bad schools but that those who come from either underperform their white and Asian cohorts which requires the university to try and gather more from the good schools who seem to have success rate which proves the point that we are all equal. Sort of.

Levi Starks said...

The real reason the affluent black children should be given preference is that without them the poor black children who earned the right to attend by virtue of their grades would only have wealthy white kids as role models for financial success.

Calypso Facto said...

Now that we're parsing smaller and smaller minority groups to protect, maybe we're finally on track to get back to the rights of the ultimate minority: the individual. Everyone will be eligible for preferred admission status (ergo, no one will) because everyone brings a unique perspective.

Michael said...

The argument is an admission that Blacks do poorly in good schools and well in bad schools but that those who come from either underperform their white and Asian cohorts which requires the university to try and gather more from the good schools who seem to have success rate which proves the point that we are all equal. Sort of.

DRJ said...

I agree with Real American at 12:08 PM, and I think that's exactly what UT's administrators wanted to accomplish with holistic admissions. UT's administrators have long urged the Texas Legislature to change the Top 10% rule so UT would have more control over admissions.

traditionalguy said...

Universities need first to get their minds out of the gruetter. Then Universities will be color blind. Then they can base the favoritism games on gender and sexual preference.

Methadras said...

One word: Money.

Victor Erimita said...

As a lawyer in my 60s, I grow deeply cynical about reading any Constitutional analysis of these SCOTUS cases, when the 4 leftist justices will vote virtually 100% of the time for whatever leftist ideology challenges or defends a case. The Left accuses the conservative justices of equally ideological practice, but their "ideology" consists of insisting that the Constitution actually means something and is supposed to be a barrier to unlimited federal power, not an enabler of it.

We don't know how Kennedy will vote. Roberts showed us this summer that we don't know how he will vote. But we know with absolute certainty how the 4 leftists will vote: whichever way leftist dogma requires this week, under the "living" (meaning dead) Constitution. Why bother with Constitutional analysis? Because Kennedy actually cares about such things?

TosaGuy said...

Ya'll deal with the ins and outs of this law and court case.

In the real world in Texas, we now know that if your high school kid is in a small-town or minority school and is in the top ten percent, it would be very bad for those parents to move to suburban Dallas or Houston if their kids want to go to UT.....because according to UT, those kids won't get admitted if they make that move.

TosaGuy said...

"Roberts showed us this summer that we don't know how he will vote."

Is there anyway to turn college acceptance into a tax? Then we would know how he would rule.

Dr Weevil said...

rcommal (11:38am):
The new version is
"Oh what a tangled web we can never terminate / when once we practice to discriminate."

Hagar said...

How come none of the Asian peoples get in on this?

rhhardin said...

Privileged blacks would be right wing blacks, and so increase diversity.

Sheridan said...

Methadras wins the thread.

Roger Sweeny said...

If you go after higher income blacks and hispanics so you get a variety of those groups, then you also have to go after poor whites. That is something most selective colleges don't really do.

PatCA said...

I'm not a lawyer, but I'm beginning to suspect that the real reason UT wants to admit "privileged" minorities is to raise the stats on GPA, graduation rate, passing the bar exam, etc.

Same reason why schools in NY are recruiting White or Asian students.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/17/education/brooklyn-magnet-schools-see-hurdles-to-integration-even-in-kindergarten.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Dante said...

I've laid out the argument for why it makes sense within the definition of diversity propounded in Grutter.

If you start from the premise that 2 + 2 = 5, then logically 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 = 10 using the previous flawed logic.

The problem is you doubled down on your error, and made it even worse.

But we can't talk about that?

TosaGuy said...

"My plea is: please don't talk about the more generic issues around affirmative action that have been discussed many times before.

Get the precise issue in this post, and please talk about that."

Senator Scott Brown had a nice retort to that line of thought.

Shanna said...

Am I wrong, or is "privileged" being defined/identified as "going to school in a majority-white school"?

It really seems to be, and there seems to be major snobbery towards people who made it to the top of their crappy school.

Now I'm wondering where my school would have fallen in their eyes. It was pretty much 50/50.

Shanna said...

I'm not a lawyer, but I'm beginning to suspect that the real reason UT wants to admit "privileged" minorities is to raise the stats on GPA, graduation rate, passing the bar exam, etc.

Doesn't SAT (or ACT I guess) score of students factor into their rankings? That's probably a factor as well.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Start from the premise that colleges and universities can admit whoever they want, for whatever reason they want.

There is an obvious institutional advantage to admitting a privileged minority student rather than an underprivileged student.

All other things equal, the privileged minority has a greater chance of success that may redound back to the institution.

What the institution gets is Stacey Dash from Paramus High School, not some poor girl from the slums of Newark.

So long as the institutions put a value on this type of diversity, which they obviously do, these affirmative action polices are perfectly rational.

John Cunningham said...

Steve Sailer has some great comments on his blog re the oral arguments, at http://isteve.blogspot.com/2012/10/more-high-comedy-at-high-court.html

deborah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
deborah said...

"The real reason the affluent black children should be given preference is that without them the poor black children who earned the right to attend by virtue of their grades would only have wealthy white kids as role models for financial success."


I'm fine with this. I was once over at my daughter's relatively poor, black girlfriend's house. She had all white Barbies, which I found distressing.

MayBee said...

The "privileged" minorities don't have a very different experience than the non-minority students who will be attending the university with them.

So the goal of introducing people with diverse experiences isn't met.

Lyle said...

Not mentioned by any side, it seems, is that students with residence in Texas may apply to another UT system university and if they maintain a certain GPA for two years they can transfer in to UT-Austin.

The young woman could have done this (although I gather she got a scholarship of some sort to LSU) and the privileged minority who failed to get in to UT could go this route as well.

As far as the privileged minority rational of bringing about a diverse class of people... it's like Justice Kennedy said, that's race. Why try and define privilege when it is so much easier just to look at someone's race.

It's about race, not class. And if it's about class it is going to be about the underprivileged and not the privileged (at least at a place like UT).



furious_a said...

One word: Patronage.

Fail to see the distinction between "achieving critical mass" and "racial balancing unconstitional" when "critical mass" implies some sort of "balancing".

Not a theoretical exercise for this family -- the "precise issue" in this case is that my child, by virtue of our residence in one of those "suburban" districts, is out-the-gate dis-advantaged vs. our neighbors' children because s/he wouldn't bring the "different experience" (and skin-tone) UT feels enhances its educational ambience. When s/he and these other children are the same age, and have lived within a few blocks of one another, attended the same pre- and primary/secondary schools, participated in the same sports leagues and played and had sleepovers together for most of their lives.

Please, racial preferences were bullsh*t then, they're even more bullsh*t now.

Balfegor said...

With a finite number of admissions slots, it's basically impossible for any university to get this theoretical "critical mass" of all different groups about which there might be stereotypes. If the admissions personnel want a "critical mass," of some racial group, make them set out explicitly what group(s) they're targetting a critical mass of (even if they're too cowardly to come clean about what number they think constitutes a critical mass under any parameters). If they're looking at the intersection of their various fetishes (e.g. they want a Black preppie, a Black nerd, a Black jock, and a poor Black from a racially isolated school, and a lesbian Black, and the same for Hispanics, etc.) make them come clean about what they are looking for and how they decide. If you're a public university, you shouldn't have any right to leave your admissions process as a black box -- every aspect of your decisionmaking process should be open and clear to your masters: the public.

Texan99 said...

"Leave it to lawyers and intellectuals to miss the obvious solution to this non-problem: meritocracy."

No, no, no. You can't have a meritocracy, because you'd miss the most important diversity of all: diversity of ability. Why should students at a demanding university be surrounded only by students who can do demanding academic work? They'll never be exposed to the healing milieu of the full spectrum of competence. UT should be required to accept a quota of students from every percentile rank of GPA and SAT scores. For too long has the special perspective offered by the IQ-challenged been ignored at the highest levels of academia.

Texan99 said...

"Senator Scott Brown had a nice retort to that line of thought."

Ha. Good one.

Balfegor said...

Re: MayBee:

So the goal of introducing people with diverse experiences isn't met.

I think the idea is that if you meet a privileged African American student who went to Groton and summers in France, that will challenge stereotypes. Certainly it will do a better job of challenging stereotypes than African-American students from poor, racially isolated schools. So even if it's just a fig-leaf rationale for letting in the children of wealthy men, it's not entirely silly. I mean, that was part of Obama's appeal -- that he challenged Black political stereotypes in that he went to a posh prep school, and then to the Ivy league, and so on, as opposed to a wild eyed racist preacher (Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, etc.).

Simon said...

I have been opposed to affirmative action for a long time. I think it's morally wrong, I think it's bad politics, and, save for a brief period as an extraordinary remedy to an extraordinary violation, I think it violates the fourteenth amendment where there is state action.

On the other hand, I've written many times about my near-absolute deference to the military on matters of internal military affairs, and my significant deference to them on military-related matters.

At the confluence of these two lines of thought, I am accordingly greatly-troubled by the claim that the military is strongly in favor of college quotas, calling it "crucial[ ] for training people of different races and ethnic backgrounds and for exposing them to each other." I'd appreciate input on resolving this tension.

n.n said...

Their premise for diversity, whether of color or perspective, is fallacious. Their perspective denies individual dignity. It assumes that perspective is dependent or established by the environment, which is not generally true. It's the same false argument that people and cooperatives present to justify redistributive change (i.e. involuntary exploitation) in order to control criminal activity, family disruptions, social dysfunction, etc. This argument has, in fact, been the premise for justifying policies which manufacture and preserve prejudice thereby engendering progressive (i.e. cultural) corruption of individuals, institutions, and society. It's the same perspective which permitted individuals to rationalize the merits of slavery.

The proponents of affirmative action, welfare, discrimination, diversity, social justice, evolutionary dysfunction, etc., may authentically have good intentions; but, they seem wholly oblivious to the cycles of corruption and generational suicide which their perspective fuels.

furious_a said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PatCA said...

TosaGuy,

Off topic, but a friend of mine moved her daughter from the science magnet school where she was one of many smart kids to the central, largely minority high school, where she excelled. Got a full scholarship to UCLA in physics.

furious_a said...

...if you meet a privileged African American student who went to Groton and summers in France, that will challenge stereotypes. Certainly it will do a better job of challenging stereotypes than African-American students from poor, racially isolated schools.

For the senior at Hockaday or St. Mark's (DFW private) that's great! For the Carter or Molina (DISD) kid, not so much.

Balfegor said...

As I think about it a little more, if the basic problem is:

If it's about breaking down stereotypes,

The key racist stereotypes about African Americans that need to be broken down are that they are (1) violent, (2) rude, (3) stupid. This might do a little to break down stereotypes (1) and (2), but I tend to think the top 10% rule selects just as well for this, if not better (since boorish violent rich kids is kind of its own stereotype, cf. House Kennedy).

When you're in an academic environment, though, (3) is the most important stereotype to break down, because it's the most salient. If your African American admittees are coming in with lower qualifications and performing at the lower level their qualifications would predict, you're not breaking down stereotypes at all. You're reinforcing them. If the distribution is such that the lower tail of the bell curve in a curve-graded class is all African Americans, you're sending students precisely the opposite of the message you want to be sending. If you genuinely want to challenge stereotypes, you should be doing everything you can through outreach etc. to get the average for your African-American students higher than the mean for the school as a whole. The stereotypes for Hispanics are different, but the result would be similar.

Put in that light, picking high-performing Blacks and Hispanics from private schools and rich school districts actually makes sense.

The Godfather said...

Civil rights started off being about justice: It was unfair to treat black people worse than white people, just because of race.

Affirmative action started off being about fairness, too. Blacks faced certain disadvantages because of how they and their ancestors had been treated, so we needed to cut them a little slack.

That may still be the emotional motivation for affirmative action, but under Grutter the focus now has to be on what is best for the institution, which is diversity. So we don't care if privileged middle class blacks are being favored, we only care about the make-up of the class.

Good by justice.

The Godfather said...

Civil rights started off being about justice: It was unfair to treat black people worse than white people, just because of race.

Affirmative action started off being about fairness, too. Blacks faced certain disadvantages because of how they and their ancestors had been treated, so we needed to cut them a little slack.

That may still be the emotional motivation for affirmative action, but under Grutter the focus now has to be on what is best for the institution, which is diversity. So we don't care if privileged middle class blacks are being favored, we only care about the make-up of the class.

Good by justice.

gregq said...

"The additional affirmative action is precisely to bring in privileged black and Hispanic students, that is, the black and Hispanic students who did not attend racially isolated schools. If white students get too many of the top 10% spots at those schools, then the 10% program does not bring enough of these minority students into UT."

To paraphrase Kos; screw them.

Their parents benefited from "affirmative action". Now they want the same leg up, after getting the advantages of middle class upbringing that their parents were supposedly lacking, and that were the excuse for AA in the first place. Screw that.

The case the UT needs to make, and failed to make, is that middle income black students increase "diversity" in the way that middle income white students, and lower income black students, do not. Which is to say, UT must make the case that people need to be judged on the color of their skin, not (just) the content of their character.

Which was a losing argument, according to the transcripts.

jimbino said...

I was one of those privileged minority students at UT Law School.

One of the very first beneficiaries of Affirmative Action, I won the "Hispanic scholarship" of my law school class, although I am Irish-English, White, fair-skinned and blue-eyed.

I already had enjoyed the privilege of a first-class education at a suburban Chicago high school; I was one of 14 National Merit Scholars in my graduating class there.

Furthermore, by the time I even applied to UT Law, I was college valedictorian and had gained a graduate degree in physics from the University of Chicago.

Just think how much it serves the interests of diversity to have a totally privileged Irish-English White guy attend UT Law with an Hispanic scholarship! True diversity was served in that I was one of only 5 out of 140 to have the slightest clue about STEM, something you generally won't find in a $500/hr lawyer or, indeed, in one of our Jewish/RC SCOTUS justices (with the exception of Breyer).

AA is a total crock! It would more appropriately be used to bus Black and Hispanic minorities to our national parks and forests, where to this day you never see one (with the exception of Obama's family visit just after inauguration in 2009 and Justice Thomas, who is a fanatical RVer)!

Nathan Alexander said...

At the confluence of these two lines of thought, I am accordingly greatly-troubled by the claim that the military is strongly in favor of college quotas, calling it "crucial[ ] for training people of different races and ethnic backgrounds and for exposing them to each other." I'd appreciate input on resolving this tension.

1) Political Correctness is pervasive: The higher up you go in the military, the more political you have to be, and the more appearances/perceptions matter. You don't make General/Flag rank if you are clueless/dismissive about political correctness. So you get lots more politically-correct bullshit from the strategic leaders, but much less of that crap from the operation level, and almost none originating from the tactical level.

2) Experts are wrong on any number of things: Military internal is military internal. College quotas aren't really military internal. You don't ask your mechanic for advice on a bathroom renovation. And there were plenty of doctors who smoked, so blind-spots exist even among those who should know better.

3) Self-confidence in forging steel: The military's starting assumption is that if you give them a willing candidate/recruit, they will make him into a successful soldier/sailor/airman/Marine. So pushing for quotas lets the military look good without actually hurting their performance in any appreciable way.

DRJ said...

As for the premise of this post -- that diversity isn't about helping the underprivileged, it's about increasing perspectives -- then why not just admit you want to turn admissions over to the thought police? It's what academics want anyway so they might as well be honest about it.

Oh, wait, they can't. So instead they go through these contortions to make sure the students they admit support the "right" (i.e., the "left") thoughts.

gregq said...

Widmerpool demonstrates great ignorance by babbling...

"To be brutally frank, the issue is that the vast, vast majority of underpriveleged blacks would simply not be able to hack it at most schools (certainly not UT) because of the absolutely shitty schools we as as a society consign them too."

Wrong. Under the 10% program, minority students have better retention rates than they did under the previous racist plan. Probably because the plan lowered the competitiveness of the UT student body as a whole. But for whatever reason, you are factually wrong.

Bob Ellison said...

Nathan Alexander said "Political Correctness is pervasive: The higher up you go in the military, the more political you have to be, and the more appearances/perceptions matter. You don't make General/Flag rank if you are clueless/dismissive about political correctness."

That's a good point. It applies not just to political correctness, but to other types of thought and communication. Obama recently called that video maker "shadowy". That was really stupid. And this guy's the commander in chief. We've got an idiot running our military.

Ann Althouse said...

"Am I wrong, or is "privileged" being defined/identified as "going to school in a majority-white school"?"

It's being defined in terms of affluence and access to better schools. The assumption is that the schools in Texas that are nearly all black or all Hispanic are serving less well-off communities. Think that's a bad assumption?

But there is also the idea that the un-integrated school is worse. After all, it lacks diversity. If you believe in diversity, the kids that go to these schools are deprived of the benefits of diversity.

gregq said...

"Start from the premise that colleges and universities can admit whoever they want, for whatever reason they want."

Bad premise.

1: It's a State school. Why should the opinions of Administrators be more important than those of elected officials?

2: Can a college or University chose to only admit white and Asian students? No? Then your premise has already failed.

3: It's a State school, and so bound by the 14th Amendment.

Alexander said...

This won't stand. It doesn't matter what logically follows from Grutter or what the whole point of AA is. It was sold to White America has one part reconciliation, three parts helping disadvantaged minorities. That first part allowed privileged minorities to openly take advantage of the system and for most people to look the other way and excuse it as an isolated case in an otherwise useful program.

But if it's now on the record that the point is in fact to create one set of rules for poor minorities and then bend those rules back again for another set of minorities, it cannot survive. Too many people are going to see it as a system actively designed to screw over themselves and their offspring in the name of political correctness - well-intentioned or no.

Bob Ellison said...

It's being defined in terms of affluence and access to better schools. The assumption is that the schools in Texas that are nearly all black or all Hispanic are serving less well-off communities. Think that's a bad assumption?

Turn it around: many wealthy parents send their kids to elite schools because they assume they will get better education that way. Think that's a good assumption?

James Pawlak said...

I do not mind "reverse discrimination" if it is limited to those students seeking majors or graduate school placements in such areas as "Gender Studies"/"Women's Studies"/"Black Studies"/"Community Organization" (Obama style)" OR THE LAW.

I most strongly object to selecting out the less than best students for such programs as Engineering/The Hard Sciences/Medicine (As does the University of Wisconsin Medical & Health Sciences school)!!!

LarsPorsena said...

'But there is also the idea that the un-integrated school is worse. After all, it lacks diversity. If you believe in diversity, the kids that go to these schools are deprived of the benefits of diversity.'

What are the benefits of 'diversity'?
It's always addressed as if it's a cardinal virtue.

Rumpletweezer said...

My problem with Affirmative Action has always been: How do you know when you're done?

BarrySanders20 said...

Sandra Day O'Connor, the celebrated centrist, left this hard little turd as part of her legacy. It is results-oriented decision making that leads to absurdities when applied in other situations. Those defending are trying to force the square peg into the AA-hole.

The affluent minority lawyer couple in Dallas whose kid is a good student but not top 10% of the class in a top suburban or private school can't stand seeing a less qualified minority from the hood or border get a place at UT while their kid goes somewhere else. That is who benefits from the UT program and that is who the school wants. Prohibiting race as a factor prevents UT from picking this kid, who brings a "diversity of experience" different from the hood/border kid.

If this is upheld, the court will have to admit that racial difference alone does not promote educational benefits, which what SDO grunted in Grutter.

Freeman Hunt said...

If almost all of the minorities at your school are underprivileged and less prepared than the non-minorities because the minorities came in from underprivileged schools via the 10% plan, you are going to give your students a very strange view of minorities!

Levi Starks said...

Even if there were no affirmative action policies in place, some poor minorities from less than stellar circumstances would by virtue of some inner desire for achievement still manage to make it into a top college, and excel both academically and socially. So much so that they might in their life do some great thing. They might even become president. But we'll never know. Because in today's America, no one "builds it" only government can "do that"

BarrySanders20 said...

Sandra Day O'Connor, the celebrated centrist, left this hard little turd as part of her legacy. It is results-oriented decision making that leads to absurdities when applied in other situations. Those defending are trying to force the square peg into the AA-hole.

The affluent minority lawyer couple in Dallas whose kid is a good student but not top 10% of the class in a top suburban or private school can't stand seeing a less qualified minority from the hood or border get a place at UT while their kid goes somewhere else. That is who benefits from the UT program and that is who the school wants. Prohibiting race as a factor prevents UT from picking this kid, who brings a "diversity of experience" different from the hood/border kid.

If this is upheld, the court will have to admit that racial difference alone does not promote educational benefits, which what SDO grunted in Grutter.

Smilin' Jack said...

"defined by reference to the educational benefits that diversity is designed to produce."

If there were no preference for privileged blacks, then it would quickly become obvious that even privileged blacks are too dumb to get decent SAT scores (see e.g. "The Bell Curve.") Protecting people from learning this fact is the "educational benefit" here.

Tari said...

They are welcome to get rid of the 10% rule; it causes more problems than garden-variety affirmative action ever did. Getting into the "top 10%" in good high schools in Houston means working until 2-3am every night on homework. Considering the cost of private college (and the relative affordability of UT), that's not cool.

buster said...

Would racial and cultural diversity be an important educational consideration in the graduate program in mathematics at an elite university? Would it produce better-trained or better-educated mathematicians? Is the answer different for elite law schools? Why?

Freeman Hunt said...

The 10% rules sounds like a very bad idea that started with good intentions.

Freeman Hunt said...

This is all so stupid. Why don't they just admit the best students they can get? Anything less than that creates the assumption that individual minority students are AA admits even when they aren't.

Rcommal is right. Tangled web indeed.

Matt said...

Poor little rich white boys can't get into college so they blame blacks and latinos. Then they go to their rich daddy who helps them get in by giving money to the school alumni. Affirmative action for the rich....

Oh yeah, and then they run for office because they can buy a seat in congress. Then they vote to end affirmative action. The rich get richer.

Calypso Facto said...

But there is also the idea that the un-integrated school is worse. After all, it lacks diversity. If you believe in diversity, the kids that go to these schools are deprived of the benefits of diversity.

So a white kid from an all-white, un-integrated school deserves a special set-aside in college admissions because he hasn't had the advantage of a diverse upbringing? Of course not. Which gets directly to the line of questioning by Alito, Scalia, Roberts, and, as here, Kennedy:
"I don't understand this argument. I thought that the whole point is that sometimes race has to be a tie-breaker and you are saying that it isn't. Well, then, we should just go away. Then -- then we should just say you can't use
race, don't worry about it."

damikesc said...

Poor little rich white boys can't get into college so they blame blacks and latinos. Then they go to their rich daddy who helps them get in by giving money to the school alumni. Affirmative action for the rich....

Oh yeah, and then they run for office because they can buy a seat in congress. Then they vote to end affirmative action. The rich get richer.


And the poor Asian kid who got passed over for a rich black kid?

I guess that Asian had it coming, eh?

TosaGuy said...

"Getting into the "top 10%" in good high schools in Houston means working until 2-3am every night on homework."

If you have to work that hard to be in the top 10 percent, then you are not in that group.

If truly everyone in those schools who is 10 percent does work that hard, then your kid should focus on doing well in school and having a life. The right college for them will emerge. UT ain't all that.

Jane said...

If I follow the argument correctly, at any given school, minorities perform worse than whites, so that the 10% rule gets a certain number of minorities who are at heavily-minority schools, but doesn't help the minorities at majority-white schools. Is that really what they're saying -- that a black middle- or upper-middle class kid is going to be, on average, underperforming compared to his white peers and therefore underrepresented in the 10% group? That black kids, even without economic disadvantage, still can't compete? Have I missed something?

Widmerpool said...

gregq,

Thanks for your kind remarks. Black graduation rates remain pitifully small as compared to white graduatino rates. My point stands uncontroverted by you.

chickelit said...

The ugly and repulsive Matt hissed: Poor little rich white boys can't get into college so they blame blacks and latinos. Then they go to their rich daddy who helps them get in by giving money to the school alumni. Affirmative action for the rich...

Tell that to Abigail Fisher.

Jane said...

Oh, and what's the consequence of not being admitted to the University? Is this university better funded than other state schools? Or are there qualified students who are not admitted to any Texas public university which will provide a quality education, and thus obliged to pay higher tuition rates at a private school? Are there inequities in state funding at play? Or is just a matter of desirability, prestige, higher-rankings which mean better employment prospects? What exactly is the harm to the unadmitted student?

Beach Brutus said...

The argument as I understand it is that the UT Law School wants to admit underachieving privileged minorities in order to promote a diversity that would debunk racial stereotypes --- but isn't it a component of modern racial stereotypes that minorities are primarily admitted to elite institutions and grad programs because of affirmative action? --- ergo - doesn't the Law School's argument re-enforce rather than debunk the stereotype?

Calypso Facto said...

What exactly is the harm to the unadmitted student?

So there's no point in having an AA plan at all, you're saying.

gadfly said...

Althouse said . . .

My plea is: please don't talk about the more generic issues around affirmative action that have been discussed many times before.

Get the precise issue in this post, and please talk about that.


10/11/12 11:37 AM

There is a faulty premise that accompanies "affirmative action" and the basic diversity theory that is the underlying concept. That premise is that somehow diversity is beneficial, but there is no empirical study that can prove the theory.

It is easy to understand why. Simply, diversity means trait and orientation differences among individuals inside groups and these are not functions of skin color.

Diversity, if properly measured would include many things as race, culture, religion, gender, sexual preference, age, profession, Myers-Briggs personality type, functional background, education level, political orientation, and other demographic, socio-economic, and psycho-graphic characteristics.

Folks, there simply is not enough time or money to honestly measure the effect on a single individual in all these categories, let alone discern how that individual affects a specific group. And when it comes down to the bottom line, putting individuals inside of "little boxes all made out of ticky-tacky" can never promote change for the better.

Affirmative Action and its diversity concept is discriminatory at its very core. After 50 years, it is time to scrap the concept.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

MR. GARRE: It's -- it's members racial group, Your Honor, bringing different experiences. And to say that -- if you took group, if you had an admissions process that to admit from a -- people from a particular background or perspective, you would want people from different perspectives.

Then what they need is Affirmative Action for rural white kids! How many movies, TV shows, music vidoes, etc. reference inner city life? I'd bet real money that rural white kids know way more about inner city life than inner city kids know about life on a ranch.

Except in the minds of leftist, that is.

MayBee said...

But there is also the idea that the un-integrated school is worse. After all, it lacks diversity. If you believe in diversity, the kids that go to these schools are deprived of the benefits of diversity.

Are the high schools which produce high-achieving students diverse or not diverse?
Is there any study tracing the happiness or success of students who have graduated from less diverse schools?

What does this say about the historically black universities?
Or Galludet?

MayBee said...

I think the idea is that if you meet a privileged African American student who went to Groton and summers in France, that will challenge stereotypes.

Yes, I get that's what UT is doing, but the goal of Grutter, as written by Althouse is "educational benefits that diversity is designed to produce" and to "better understand persons of different races".

But if you are homogenizing the student mix so kids of higher privilege all come together, where is the diversity? What understanding is required?
Is it the lesson the deciders of Grutter imagined?

I don't think so. I don't think the goal was for all the white students to learn about the black orthodontist's kid's life experience.

Grutter was about getting the white kids to understand the 10%-ers life experience.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...
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Michelle Dulak Thomson said...
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Michelle Dulak Thomson said...
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Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

cubanbob,

If it's about breaking down stereotypes, the 10% approach creates a problem: The minority students in the classroom tend to come from the racially isolated schools, the less privileged Texans. So, it seems, the additional affirmative action is needed to get a more varied group of minority students, in which case, the point is to bring in privileged minority students, because these are the students who — in Grutter terms — might provide the classroom benefit of teaching all the students that minority students don't have "some characteristic minority viewpoint."

This is it. If the point is "diversity," the 10% plan provides it. "You want a cross-section of the best high school students from every county in the state? Here you go!" But that isn't what UT/Austin wants; it wants a race-normed set of the best Texan high school seniors, perhaps with a few more Asian-American students than the demographics would allow, but with that slice taken from the non-Hispanic-white allotment. In other words: X percent of the best Black students in the state, and Y percent of the best Hispanic students, and Z percent of the best Native American students; and as these will be, percentage-wise, the percentage of Blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans in TX, we'll just get the best students we can for the remainder.

MayBee said...

Saying, basically, that the kids that come from the 10% rule would simply enforce stereotypes and not encourage inter-racial understanding is pretty awful.

But that's what he is saying.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

I have to re-reply to this:

So, it seems, the additional affirmative action is needed to get a more varied group of minority students, in which case, the point is to bring in privileged minority students, because these are the students who — in Grutter terms — might provide the classroom benefit of teaching all the students that minority students don't have "some characteristic minority viewpoint."

So the point is to prove that minority students are in fact exactly like white students (and Asian-American students, who evidently do not count now)? And you can do this by admitting minority students who are ordinary middle-class kids who are exactly like white kids. And the 10% plan makes that difficult, because it makes the admission of poor minority kids more or less automatic.

Can I point out (as if it needed doing) that if "diversity" is the point, filling "flagship schools" with the children of well-off families who have all grown up in the same environment isn't the way to do it? You want "diversity," as in seriously exposing students to the life experiences of people whose life history is very different than their own, the 10% model is perfect. You want "diversity" as in a sufficiently parti-colored graduation pic ...

Penny said...

"Blogger Ann Althouse said...

@MikeR Sorry. That's precisely the temptation intended.

My plea is: please don't talk about the more generic issues around affirmative action that have been discussed many times before."

Well then!

How about we talk about GENETIC issues instead of generic issues?

Penny said...

If we'd only hurry up with that Human Genome Project, then ALL us special snowflakes could individually contribute to a more "diverse" classroom.

Penny said...

Civil Rights?

Ha ha

BLIZZARD in the forecast!!!

cubanbob said...

PatCA said...
TosaGuy,

Off topic, but a friend of mine moved her daughter from the science magnet school where she was one of many smart kids to the central, largely minority high school, where she excelled. Got a full scholarship to UCLA in physics.

10/11/12 1:21 PM

Your friend didn't do his daughter any favors. The daughter is now going to find herself in a position where she is among a number of really smart kids and wont be truly prepared. She would have been better off at the magnet school studying the higher level maths and physics so she would be prepared to do the work she will need to do now.

Oso Negro said...

Ann Althouse said...
"Am I wrong, or is "privileged" being defined/identified as "going to school in a majority-white school"?"

It's being defined in terms of affluence and access to better schools. The assumption is that the schools in Texas that are nearly all black or all Hispanic are serving less well-off communities. Think that's a bad assumption?

But there is also the idea that the un-integrated school is worse. After all, it lacks diversity. If you believe in diversity, the kids that go to these schools are deprived of the benefits of diversity.


Let's be real here. Among white Texans, a "better school" means one with the smallest possible element of thuggish hood rats. Oddly enough, among black Texans, it means the same damn thing. You know who has really made out with the 10% rule? The Hispanic kids from south Texas. As for me, I was delighted to have my daughters attend a school that was roughly a third black, a third Mexican, and a third white. Having seen ghetto culture first-hand, there is no chance whatever that they will grow up to be sentimental liberals.

10/11/12 2:05 PM

Penny said...

If we continue to want to ignore the content of peoples' character and personal achievements when making decisions, then I say, the sooner we leave behind skin color, sex, national origin, et al. The sooner we get down to what REALLY matters.

MY genes!

One of a kind!

MayBee said...


Your friend didn't do his daughter any favors. The daughter is now going to find herself in a position where she is among a number of really smart kids and wont be truly prepared.


I don't think that's true. If she's truly smart, she'll be just fine.
I know lots of kids from LAUSD schools who are doing well at UCLA and Berkely.
Students who aren't accepted into those schools (or USC) can often transfer in after a two year successful stint at a community college. There's no way they were competing in the same talent pool as the other kids enter junior year at one of the major colleges, but evidently they make it once they get there.

cubanbob said...

Ann if the purpose of Grutter is to promote diversity, the purpose being to expose students to people of different backgrounds in their near infinite number of possible background combinations then the solution would universal conscription in the Armed Forces.
Imagine that, we turn the Armed Forces into a universal military academy, with military discipline for four years. Mission accomplished.

Now on a more serious note,Grutter as noted by another comenter is a fix to a fix to a problem that can't be fixed unless standards are lowered enough to the point that those whom were to be helped aren't helped and those whom are supposed to benefit from 'diversity' are simply reinforced any prejudice against the favored group. Grutter needs to go and so does AA. Time for remedial education isn't when becoming a freshman. The time for remedial education is from K-12th grade.

Penny said...

Laughing my ass off thinking about how we can have "full employment" in America...

Pretty nearly everybody doing genetic diversity admission's screening at UT.

cubanbob said...

MayBee said...

Your friend didn't do his daughter any favors. The daughter is now going to find herself in a position where she is among a number of really smart kids and wont be truly prepared.

I don't think that's true. If she's truly smart, she'll be just fine.
I know lots of kids from LAUSD schools who are doing well at UCLA and Berkely.
Students who aren't accepted into those schools (or USC) can often transfer in after a two year successful stint at a community college. There's no way they were competing in the same talent pool as the other kids enter junior year at one of the major colleges, but evidently they make it once they get there.

10/11/12 5:05 PM

How many community colleges offer the higher level maths and sciences? I understand the idea of working the system to gain an advantage but that can be too clever by half if the student truly isn't prepared for work level required. If she is smart she can in time catch up and succeed but it is better to get the fundementals in high school rather than in college.

David said...

These strange gyrations to get diversity simply emphasize my beef with the entire affirmative action industry. It takes the focus away from the high schools, middle schools and primary schools, which are the source of the problem. (And the families, but this is about schools.)

In schools that are mostly minority, the top 10% will be minority students. Even academic liberals get that. With microscopic exceptions, these schools are underperforming on every standardized measure of achievement. Thus the 10% from those schools do not compete well with the top 10% from higher performing (and mostly white and asian) schools when they get to college.

In the highest performing schools, very few minorities make it into the top 10%. In another recent post, I cited some statistics from the SAT study on race and scores from 2006 that show this shocking disparity. With very limited exceptions, the minority students in these schools tend to come from the upper ranks economically.

You can slice and dice this all you want in college admissions and you are stuck with the same issue. There are not enough high performing minority students coming out of high school to meet the admissions objectives of all these schools. Thus they must fill spots with lower performing students to meet the goals.

Once you face this, you realize that there will always be someone aggrieved. In Texas its the more privileged minorities, elsewhere it might be whites. This is the natural result of admitting for racial "diversity" until minorities start to achieve better.

And this underachievement can only be addressed at the secondary school level.

But that's too hard, Mommy, so nobody wants to do it.

Penny said...

And if you graduated from law school and are underemployed as we speak?

Hang in there!

Civil Rights for snowflakes, like me :), should guarantee full employment til doomsday.

The Human Genome Project, when complete, practically GUARANTEES full employment for any civil rights protected snowflake.

Either that, or a nice financial reward for those who don't want to WORK at being the diverse snowflake they were born to be.

Amirite?

Our future is BRIGHT!

MayBee said...

If you genuinely want to challenge stereotypes, you should be doing everything you can through outreach etc. to get the average for your African-American students higher than the mean for the school as a whole. The stereotypes for Hispanics are different, but the result would be similar.

So the goal is to challenge stereotypes?
Then they should probably seek under-achieving Asians as well.

Learning to appreciate diversity is not the same thing as actively seeking to challenge stereotypes. If the goal is challenging stereotypes then you are actually moving away from diversity in all ways but skin color. You would seek to find students who are as similar as possible in experience and behavior, so they can say, "Hey! You are just like me!"

Texan99 said...

And as the absurd holes we're all digging for ourselves have amply proved in this discussion, the whole business has absolutely nothing to do with diversity, challenging stereotypes, or redressing past injustices. It's about buying votes and slapping plasters on guilty but confused consciences.

PatCA said...

cubanbob,

The girl took the same science courses at the new high school, but my point was she was not as pressured by being only one of many smart kids with a high GPA there.

At UCLA she did great! She's graduated now...don't know what job she has.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

David,

But, see, that's the whole deal. UT/Austin hasn't the foggiest interest in "diversity"; it wants the best possible student body that "looks" reasonably "like Texas." Therefore it wants the very best Black and Hispanic students in the state -- and, annoyingly, they aren't all in the top 10% of their classes, because their parents are relatively well off, and they are in good schools.

What a bummer all around: Poor kids in nasty schools get a leg up into UT/Austin, while the Talented Tenth's children find out that suddenly it's not enough to be "good for a Black kid." And the UT/Austin faculty are stuck with the reality that Texas high schools vary a lot. And have to figure out how not to have their F's look racially disproportionate.

MayBee said...

I'm a big supporter of things like the 10% rule, because it truly rewards kids for doing the best they can wherever it is they are planted.
Of course they should be matched to a college at which they have a good chance of succeeding, but giving them an opportunity is important.

MayBee said...

I understand the idea of working the system to gain an advantage but that can be too clever by half if the student truly isn't prepared for work level required. If she is smart she can in time catch up and succeed but it is better to get the fundementals in high school rather than in college.

True, but you can attend something other than the most elite school and still be prepared for a competitive university.

UCLA turns down tons of students who would succeed there (they also accept a fair number of students who don't succeed there). If you think you can succeed there, it may be wise to put yourself in the most favorable position for admissions you can.

David said...

rhhardin said...
Privileged blacks would be right wing blacks, and so increase diversity.


You think white liberal guilt is intense? The privileged Blacks I've known--and some are very privileged indeed--are even more so.

On the other hand, if black parents start believing that sending their kids to top high schools might actually decrease their chances of better colleges, all hell could break loose.

Or black and white parents might start competing to get their kids into crappy high schools. Thus assuring top 10% status.

Oh it boggles the mind.

Foobarista said...

The weird thing about the whole Grutter reasoning is the idea that you need "diverse" kids at the college as some sort of prop or teaching aid, presumably to whites and others, rather than as a benefit to the kids themselves.

I'll admit that I'm more on Alito's side: the best argument for AA is to deal with the economic bad effects of past de jure racism on current kids by giving them preference. Flipping the argument over and saying that these kids get special treatment no matter their economic background is not supportable.

Rabel said...

Althouse is largely correct. The "privileged minority" argument can be read into Grutter.

It's Grutter that's wrong. And in re-reading O'Connor's opinion I get the impression that she only bought in and provided the fifth vote because she was allowed to place limitations on the discriminatory use of race in college admissions - compelling state interest, strict scrutiny, critical mass, and even a time limit.

This case will simply loosen those limitations.

AA is here to stay and I think that UT will get a favorable ruling.

The only way to get rid of AA that I can see would be a 28th amendment along the lines of:

"No State shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. And this time we mean it."

Cedarford said...

Cubanbob - "Leave it to lawyers and intellectuals to miss the obvious solution to this non-problem: meritocracy.
That will solve the problem unless one thinks to many Asians and Jews in the classroom is a problem."
--------------
Any society has a "problem" if a small minority with interests divergent from the majority population becomes an aristocracy, controlling the professions, merchantile business, power.

History shows eventually the majority will boot or cleanse the minority out in the name of self-determination if they see the future as better without that minority in charge of most business, most school selections, most institutions.

Happened to Jews repeatedly, to colonialists, to Castillian gentry running most of Central and Latin America, Indians and Paks that became too powerful in Africa, and happened half a dozen times in the last 50 years to overseas Chinese when they seized too much wealth and clout and university spots in SE Asian nations.


Saint Croix said...

The obvious problem with affirmative action is that we are still dividing people into races. We are segregating people in our minds, putting them into groups. It's idiotic. The whole thing is insane.

It's perpetuating racial segregation. Read this thread. It's "black people" this and "white people" that. This whole thread is vile.

And it's vile because the stupid idiots on our Supreme Court are making us divide people into races.

Our government divides us! On the census they do this. They make us talk about race, argue about race. And it's so-called liberals who want to do this!

Race is a farce. The only book you need to read on race is this one.

Saint Croix said...

God save us from the master planners.

Oso Negro said...

Yeah, well if race doesn't mean a thing, why is it only star-belly sneetches running the final in the men's 100 meters in the Olympics?

Suresh kumar said...

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cubanbob said...

Cedarford said...
Cubanbob - "Leave it to lawyers and intellectuals to miss the obvious solution to this non-problem: meritocracy.
That will solve the problem unless one thinks to many Asians and Jews in the classroom is a problem."
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Any society has a "problem" if a small minority with interests divergent from the majority population becomes an aristocracy, controlling the professions, merchantile business, power.

History shows eventually the majority will boot or cleanse the minority out in the name of self-determination if they see the future as better without that minority in charge of most business, most school selections, most institutions.

Happened to Jews repeatedly, to colonialists, to Castillian gentry running most of Central and Latin America, Indians and Paks that became too powerful in Africa, and happened half a dozen times in the last 50 years to overseas Chinese when they seized too much wealth and clout and university spots in SE Asian nations.


Shorter Cedaford: can't have meritocracy lest it offends the less capable majority. So Uganda got rid of it Asians, well that turned rather well. Malaysia curbs it's Chinese to not offend the Malays, so how come they suck compared to Singapore.

cubanbob said...

MayBee said...
I understand the idea of working the system to gain an advantage but that can be too clever by half if the student truly isn't prepared for work level required. If she is smart she can in time catch up and succeed but it is better to get the fundementals in high school rather than in college.

True, but you can attend something other than the most elite school and still be prepared for a competitive university.

UCLA turns down tons of students who would succeed there (they also accept a fair number of students who don't succeed there). If you think you can succeed there, it may be wise to put yourself in the most favorable position for admissions you can.

10/11/12 5:56 PM

UCLA turns a lot of very qualified California students for financial reasons. An out of state student paying full freight gets a better shot of getting in all things considered. Same CA very quality student has a much better chance at another state's schools for the same reason, they pay full freight.

Jerome said...

The basis of the "diversity" justification for AA is that a more diverse class leads to a better education. Just as the selection of some text books over others may lead to a better education. Obviously, the author of a selected text receives an advantage, but that is irrelevant. If one accepts the premise, then the conclusion follows, and the question of which students to admit becomes a matter of educational technique.

Of course, the fact that the universities allow students to choose which classes they will take, rather than assigning them to those classes which will receive the most educational benefit from their presence, demonstrates clearly that the people running them do not actually believe there is any educational value in diversity. The fact that they are willing to advance such a transparent lie to justify their conduct indicates quite clearly that their real motives are indefensible and utterly corrupt.

rcommal said...

Of course, the fact that the universities allow students to choose which classes they will take, rather than assigning them to those classes which will receive the most educational benefit from their presence, demonstrates clearly that the people running them do not actually believe there is any educational value in diversity.

This point deserves serious attention and contemplation.

Althouse/Meade: Are you still reading the comments attached to this post? I hope so.