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Thursday, December 16, 2004

Affirmative Action

From oral arguments for Gratz v. Bollinger:

"The University admits that race is such an overarching factor in its admissions process that eventually every qualified underrepresented minority applicant will be admitted. The 20 point bonus, which is one full grade point, nearly twice the benefit of a perfect SAT score, and six times better than an outstanding essay, the -- that bonus is actually unnecessary with the way the plan actually works, because every qualified candidate who gets the bonus gets into the University. It might just as well be an admissions ticket."
~General Olsen

To paraphrase: in the state of Michigan, there are hardly any minority students who, after twelve years of schooling, meet basic qualifications for admission. And the tragedy is that they're being admitted to college? How about the fact that they're unquestionably under achieving, or that their school districts in the ultra-segregated urban landscape tend to have less funding and face massive teacher shortages?

I'm just saying, it's like arguing that the bodies from the plague are getting in the way of horse carts. It's sort of missing the point.

If these students never get a college education, which is the price of admission for a shot at class mobility in the modern age, how is this ever going to be remedied? We'll just hope that somehow the Detroit inner city begins recruiting educated, enthusiastic teachers who don't mind the pervasive crime and pittance of a salary? What public good are these college providing if they perpetuate both racial stereotypes by failing to expose the people who do go there to groups they have, in many circumstances, only seen through the haze of static on their satellite TVs? When understanding diversity among African-Americans is limited to "Sanford" and "Son," there is a problem with the education being recieved, and it's tragic that there's even a question about the necessity of affirmative action.

Is it unfair? To whom? Being born with short legs means that you'll never get a track scholarship. Are athletic scholarships a terrific harm to the process of admissions? Ten miles can be the difference between admission to a state school and not, and that's not even starting into the litany of circumstance of birth and genetics which gives a significant advantage without reference to the merit of the individual. Unless, I suppose, the argument is that learning tolerance and the exposure to diversity is less important to a school than a track team. However I can't imagine that "education" can be a meaningful term without being understood to incorporate these most important lessons that can be learned.


cranked out at 1:35 AM | |

 
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