When Affirmative Action Ends…

 

It appears likely that the Supreme Court is going to declare affirmative action unconstitutional, on the grounds (essentially) that the way to stop discriminating on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.

There have been any number of analyses predicting the real-world fallout from such a decision, ranging from the philosophical let-the-chips-fall-where-they-may to the apocalyptic (there will be No Black Students At Harvard!)

What I haven’t seen predicted is the outcome I believe to be most likely: Black students, and black families, will simply up their game.

Following the Dobbs decision, returning the abortion question to the states,  Twitter was suddenly filled with the Tweets of outraged feminists declaring their utter and complete unwillingness to hook up with random men until Roe v. Wade was restored.

Now that the Handmaid’s Tale was coming true, parents Twittered that they were holding family meetings with teen and tween daughters about the need to exercise extreme choosiness re: sexual partners, and encouraging their kids to take a belts-and-braces approach to contraception.

In such communications, these Americans were ironically confirming a pro-life point. Legalized abortion had, indeed, created a culture of sexual license and irresponsibility, one in which women did hook up with random men and parents did not feel obligated to stress self-protection and self-control when discussing sexuality with their offspring.

But the tweetsters also demonstrated a more universal fact about human beings: Alter the incentives, and people will tend to alter their behavior. If abortion becomes less available or acceptable, women and girls will not be left helpless in the face of natural urges (their own or those of their “partners”). They can and shall make different decisions, and assert more control over their own bodies and the uses made thereof. Where abortion is not available as a fallback, parents who care about their children’s futures will work harder to protect daughters and sons from their own immaturity by, among other measures, imparting very different messages about acceptable sexual behavior. The result could easily turn out to be largely positive—fewer unplanned pregnancies, lower rates of sexually transmitted diseases, and the end of what has been termed “hook-up” dating culture, one that frankly does not serve women well.

At the moment, I believe it is fair to say that the stated goal of affirmative action advocates—equality of academic outcome— has not been achieved. Affirmative action was already operating when I went to college some forty years ago. A kid admitted to Harvard today on the strength of a good application given extra weight because of his black skin is probably the offspring of parents whose own applications to college were similarly weighted. The original assumption was surely that affirmative action would simply become unnecessary, as racism dwindled away and well-educated, middle or upper-middle class black professionals raised bright, educated, ambitious offspring. By now, surely, a purely colorblind, merit-based Harvard application process ought to have been able to generate all the skin color diversity needed to soothe the most anxiously anti-racist Harvard dean?

The problem—Harvard’s problem— is revealed in the following charts:

I would note, here, that the point of the SAT test back when it was first created and administered was to reduce the influence of bias on college admissions. The idea was that the test would provide an objective measure of academic qualification that a prejudiced admissions official would not be able to overlook.

Why—particularly in a “white supremacist” society— are Asian students so wildly over-represented among the top scorers? Why are African American students under-represented?

The racist would say, “because black students are defective by nature.”

The anti-racist would say, “because black students have been rendered defective by centuries of white and white-adjacent anti-black racism.”

Both would agree that the defect is essentially permanent.

Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that no one now reading these words is a racist.

That is, none of you believe that there is something about having straight black hair and epicanthic eye folds that allows Asian students to excel in an academic context, or something about having brown skin and kinky black hair that prevents black students from doing so.

And let’s assume, also, that everyone reading these words prefers the reality of academic achievement to the mere appearance thereof.

The SAT is a concrete, measurable marker of academic achievement as well as of academic potential. In other words, doing well on the SAT means, among other things, that a student has not only the talent, but the basic skill set required to thrive at college. Math skills and reading comprehension, yes, but also self-discipline, the ability to delay gratification, attention to detail, and a willingness to persist through the hard and boring parts of mastering a subject. It is not a test merely of natural aptitude or talent, but of these gifts combined with a capacity for plain old hard work.

Remember, here, that not all students take the SAT. Only kids who plan to apply to college take that test, so these are the scores of relatively bright children, the offspring almost by definition of parents who are relatively strongly committed to their child’s education.

Such individual and familial attributes do not function in a vacuum. Of course, it is difficult to achieve academically when one is immersed in a subculture that disdains academic achievement, and a lot easier to immerse oneself in studying when your subculture expects it and your peers are doing the same. But students and parents necessarily take their cues from the messages received from the wider educational environment.

“How hard do I need to work in order to be given an A?”

“How many A’s will my report card need to show in order to be admitted to the college of my choice?”

I have one kid (a stepson, so it’s not bragging) who was an extraordinary and ambitious academic achiever. In his freshman college dorm room, pinned to the wall above his desk, was a list of the best law schools in the country, and the LSAT scores and grades required to get into them. Want to know how hard my stepson worked as an undergrad?

As hard as he needed to. Which was incredibly freakin’ hard. (And yes, he got into all the best law schools.)

This study, published by the National Center for Education Statistics, provides a glimpse into why SAT scores might differ by race. It compares the sheer number of study hours put in by students (and checked by parents).

As it happens, my stepson is white and male. His parents, teachers, school counselors, the authors of the SAT prep books (and, later, LSAT prep books)  he worked his way through: Every source of feedback throughout his primary and secondary schooling offered the same message: “This is what you must do to get what you want.”

My Asian-American friends confirm that the anti-Asian bias in academia has been well-known for decades, and is accounted for by both students and parents when calibrating the level of effort required to achieve the desired end. The sources of feedback tell them, over and over, “This is the bar you have to clear.” So…they clear it.

Why aren’t black students (on average) studying as hard, or long? Why aren’t their parents pushing them to do so?

Perhaps the answer is exactly the same: Every source of feedback throughout their primary and secondary schooling are telling them: “This is how much you (or your child) must study in order to get what you want. This is the bar you have to clear.” So they clear that bar. If the bar was set higher, they would clear that one too. But the bar isn’t set higher. It’s set lower.

A Harvard dean of admissions, William Fitzsimmons, testifying before the Supreme Court, told the court that Harvard sends recruitment letters to African-American, Native American, and Hispanic high schoolers with mid-range SAT scores, around 1100 on math and verbal combined out of a possible 1600, CNN reported.

Asian-Americans only receive a recruitment letter if they score at least 250 points higher — 1350 for women, and 1380 for men.

As it happens, my stepson is white and a bright young man. But it bears repeating that brightness isn’t enough: Hard work is what makes the difference. And the self-discipline and capacity for delayed gratification he exhibited were skills learned and practiced over many years.

It is essentially the same self-discipline exerted by a successful serious athlete. She forces herself out of bed at five every morning to put in three hours at the gym before school starts. She reduces social commitments to make time for team practices and tournaments. She learns to meet failure with renewed determination, rather than resignation.

If such an athlete belongs to a family that prizes athletic achievement, and to a subculture that rewards it, naturally the effort will require less of her own willpower. The “choice architecture” provided by her culture will make excellence not easy—it’s never easy—but easier.

What if that athlete (and her parents) get the message that an hour at the gym before school is plenty? Or that she can skip practice, or come in second or third at the meet, and still get all the acclaim and gold medals?

We are not talking, here, about someone who is “naturally lazy.” But no rational human being is going to work harder than she must in order to achieve what she desires.

Set the bar high—even unfairly high—and she will work harder in order to clear it.

I believe it is entirely possible that the answer to the perplexing question of why even bright, ambitious, middle-class black students (on average) underachieve and Asian and white students (like my stepson) over-achieve is simple. Affirmative action.

Affirmative action has altered the choice architecture within which students of all races and their parents make their individual and familial decisions.

Study or watch TV? Be content with a B+ or push for that A? Spend four hours grinding through yet another practice SAT, or go skiing with the family? Spend money on tutors, or spend money on a new car?

These aren’t easy choices to make—we’re talking about sacrifices most of us would find at least a bit painful. Asian families don’t push their kids to study more diligently because such parents get their jollies from exerting discipline, but because they’ve gotten the message transmitted by everybody, from Dean Fitzsimmons down to little Tong’s first-grade teacher: Want your kid to have the best chance in life? This is the bar your kid has to clear.

If and when the choice architecture gets altered (for instance, should SCOTUS end affirmative action), the short-term effect will certainly be a reduction in the number of blacks and an increase in Asians at Harvard.

But in the long run, I strongly suspect that we will see an increase in the academic achievement of bright black children of black parents who are strongly committed to their child’s education.

Since I do not believe that black people are damaged or defective, it wouldn’t surprise me if, within a decade or two, the percentage of black students scoring in the upper 1300s or higher on the SAT will have increased markedly, with concomitant improvements all the way down the scale.

I predict that black drop-out rates (another statistic Harvard, et al., would prefer we ignore) will decline, starting almost immediately, as fewer students will be admitted to college programs they have not (yet) developed the skills to manage.

In other words, the big winners from the end of Affirmative Action will be…black students. Well, the biggest winner of all will, of course, be all of us. We all benefit when young Americans, of any race, fully develop their intellectual gifts and capabilities.

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  1. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD
    @DonTillman

    The current affirmative action programs don’t make any sense… unless there is also an element of graft involved.  Ie., affirmative action opens up a substantial portion of the selection process to be swayed with bribes.

    • #1
  2. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpring
    @WillowSpring

    GrannyDude:

    The racist would say “because black students are defective by nature.”

    The anti-racist would say “because black students have been rendered defective by centuries of white and white-adjacent anti-black racism.”

    Both would agree that the defect is essentially permanent.

    I think there is a two word argument to use:

    Dr. Carson

    oops, four words:

    Justice Thomas

    oh dang, six words:

    Professor Sowell

    oh, I give up….

     

    • #2
  3. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    If such a decision comes down, what will it do to the DEI movement? It’s close to entrenched now if it isn’t already – I don’t see them going away, whatever the Supreme Court decides.

    • #3
  4. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Ed G. (View Comment):

    If such a decision comes down, what will it do to the DEI movement? It’s close to entrenched now if it isn’t already – I don’t see them going away, whatever the Supreme Court decides.

    If we have a good hard recession, I’m hoping at least corporate DEI-types will be the first on the chopping blocks when layoffs start.

    • #4
  5. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    GrannyDude:

    Why—particularly in a “white supremacist” society— are Asian students so wildly over-represented among the top scorers? Why are African American students under-represented?

    The racist would say “because black students are defective by nature.”

    The anti-racist would say “because black students have been rendered defective by centuries of white and white-adjacent anti-black racism.”

    Both would agree that the defect is essentially permanent.

    Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that no one now reading these words is a racist.

    That is, none of you believe that there is something about having straight black hair and epicanthic eye folds that allows Asian students to excel in an academic context, or something about having brown skin and kinky black hair that prevents black students from doing so.

    I think it’s dangerous to banish discussion of biological components as if considering them automatically makes one a eugenecist or racist. Dangerous because 1) biology is obviously some kind of component (not the be all and end all) or else breeding or sexual selectivity wouldn’t be a thing and denying that component will lead us astray as we consider patterns of unequal outcomes and the reasons for them and possible solutions, and 2) leaving the field of biological reality to actual eugenecists and racists means they’re the only game in town and they will lead so many astray into dangerous and immoral areas based on manipulations and false correlations supposedly supported by the nuggets of truth found in the actual science.

    To be clear, I don’t mean biological component in the sense that “having straight black hair and epicanthic eye folds that allows Asian students to excel in an academic context, or something about having brown skin and kinky black hair that prevents black students from doing so”. However, I do mean that heritable biological components can be greatly impacted by incidental realities like shared culture, which itself can be influenced by something incidental like geography. Culture can also be greatly impacted by choices or imposed conditions, such as slavery or aprtheid. These realities can be superficially and incidentally correlated with characteristics like skin color, eye shape, hair type, or even genetic diseases.

    Personally, I tend to agree with you that the soft bigotry of low expectations is the biggest factor for disparate outcomes as we seem to structurally apply those expectations by race (whatever “race” actually means). In part culturally, in part by law. Remove the legal allowance for discrimination based on race and the culture will follow at least to some degree. Once that happens, though, it may take a few generations to see material improvement. Ideally, though, in a few generations I’d prefer that we don’t view race as a significant classification by which to measure much of anything.

    • #5
  6. GrannyDude Member
    GrannyDude
    @GrannyDude

    Ed G. (View Comment):
    Personally, I tend to agree with you that the soft bigotry of low expectations is the biggest factor for disparate outcomes as we seem to structurally apply those expectations by race (whatever “race” actually means).

    I don’t think it’s possible to figure out the genetic components in any socially observable correlation until you’ve controlled for other, fairly obvious variables.

    Having said that, I think biology plays a big role in the differences between male and female interest in and aptitude for mathematics and physics, among other things. But sex is a far more significant and determinative element in the human make-up than race.

    • #6
  7. Mad Gerald Coolidge
    Mad Gerald
    @Jose

    GrannyDude: But the tweetsters also demonstrated a more universal fact about human beings: Alter the incentives, and people will tend to alter their behavior.

    Yes.  We could fix a lot of problems if we altered the incentives.

    • #7
  8. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    GrannyDude:

    Why—particularly in a “white supremacist” society— are Asian students so wildly over-represented among the top scorers? Why are African American students under-represented?

    The racist would say “because black students are defective by nature.”

    The anti-racist would say “because black students have been rendered defective by centuries of white and white-adjacent anti-black racism.”

    Both would agree that the defect is essentially permanent.

    I don’t think this part is correct. The racist part might be correct, but the anti-racist part is what I’m referring to. I don’t think anti-racists would say that black students are defective, whether temporary or permanent. My understanding is that they claim the same as affirmative action supporters have always done: to counteract affirmative policies to hold these people back we need affirmative policies to help them catch up. The illustration literally given during our company’s DEI training was that of a race around a track. Some people have a head start, so it’s only fair to let the people who were wrongly held back to catch up.

    That would be compelling if I viewed life or success as a race with a finite supply of “prize”. I don’t. I don’t view The Good Life as a zero sum game involving finite supply. I view it more like a swimming pool – the water is fine, so jump in any time you want. No one is stopping you anymore. Can’t swim because of former structural racism? OK, true, but if you want to enjoy the pool now then there is no way around learning to swim, and no one is stopping you from doing that. The choice is starting that process then start swimming, or continue to stand on the edge of the pool complaining about how your ancestors were prevented from learning to swim or entering the pool. One choice leads to refreshing pool time, the other leads to perpetual victimhood and bitterness.

     

    • #8
  9. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    Ed G. (View Comment):
    Personally, I tend to agree with you that the soft bigotry of low expectations is the biggest factor for disparate outcomes as we seem to structurally apply those expectations by race (whatever “race” actually means).

    I don’t think it’s possible to figure out the genetic components in any socially observable correlation until you’ve controlled for other, fairly obvious variables.

    Having said that, I think biology plays a big role in the differences between male and female interest in and aptitude for mathematics and physics, among other things. But sex is a far more significant and determinative element in the human make-up than race.

    Agreed. I won’t belabor the nits I’m picking. It’s just a new hobby horse of mine, and the recent Kanye saga made that clear for me. Even before Kanye freely ran over the cliff of reason to his doom on the rocks of illogic, exaggeration, conflation, category error, and conspiracy, when he was still only saying uncomfortable yet not necessarily incorrect things, the default cultural response was to point at him and shriek like Donald Sutherland at the end of the 70’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I favor finding some constructive, reasonable, and moral way to incorporate those nuggets of truth rather than declaring them verboten (not that you’re doing that).

    • #9
  10. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Ed G. (View Comment):
    That would be compelling if I viewed life or success as a race with a finite supply of “prize”. I don’t. I don’t view The Good Life as a zero sum game involving finite supply. I view it more like a swimming pool – the water is fine, so jump in any time you want. No one is stopping you anymore. Can’t swim because of former structural racism? OK, true, but if you want to enjoy the pool now then there is no way around learning to swim, and no one is stopping you from doing that. The choice is starting that process then start swimming, or continue to stand on the edge of the pool complaining about how your ancestors were prevented from learning to swim or entering the pool. One choice leads to refreshing pool time, the other leads to perpetual victimhood and bitterness.

    That is a fantastic analogy.

     

    • #10
  11. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    It appears likely that the Supreme Court is going to declare affirmative action unconstitutional, on the grounds (essentially) that the way to stop discriminating on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.

    Well … duh!

    • #11
  12. GrannyDude Member
    GrannyDude
    @GrannyDude

    Ed G. (View Comment):
    I don’t think this part is correct. The racist part might be correct, but the anti-racist part is what I’m referring to. I don’t think anti-racists would say that black students are defective, whether temporary or permanent. My understanding is that they claim the same as affirmative action supporters have always done: to counteract affirmative policies to hold these people back we need affirmative policies to help them catch up.

    In theory.

    Pressed, however, they clearly believe that affirmative action will be required in perpetuity. The president of Columbia University and a University of Chicago Law School professor penned an essay for The Atlantic in which they concluded:

    “Affirmative action must continue, potentially for generations to come—because the invidious discrimination experienced by Black Americans over a three-century span has not been undone.”

    “Generations to come” sounds pretty much like “permanent” to me. 

     

    • #12
  13. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    GrannyDude (View Comment):
    Having said that, I think biology plays a big role in the differences between male and female interest in and aptitude for mathematics and physics, among other things. But sex is a far more significant and determinative element in the human make-up than race.

    That may not be true, if certain observations about differences in IQ – for example – are correct.

    If, for the sake of argument, the typical IQ of a white male and a white female are within 10% of each other, but the typical IQ of a white male or white female and the typical IQ of a black male and a black female differ by perhaps 20% or more, then it seems clear that race is more significant than sex: because the race difference is larger.

    • #13
  14. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    Outstanding post!!!

    U fortunately, at least in the short run, improvements will be slow.   Harvard – and I believe a substantial swathe of US colleges and universities are either not requiring or maybe even not accepting SAT nor ACT scores for the next several years.   It seems that they believe that the pandemic lockdowns have damaged current high schoolers and middle schoolers to the extent that their scores will not compare favorably with prior admissions classes.   So to avoid that negative ‘blip’ in the history, they’ll just not use SAT and ACT all together.

    So since colleges and universities won’t be emphasising those scores…neither will parents and students.

    • #14
  15. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    GrannyDude:

    The racist would say “because black students are defective by nature.”

    The anti-racist would say “because black students have been rendered defective by centuries of white and white-adjacent anti-black racism.”

    Both would agree that the defect is essentially permanent.

    Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that no one now reading these words is a racist.

    You forgot the crab factor.

    The most common racist pejorative that is thrown at a black student who is performing well academically is that they are “acting white”. It is used to create social pressure and remove the incentive to do well.

    In much the same way that a bucket of crabs will grab and pull back into the bucket one that has nearly escaped.

    • #15
  16. Dunstaple Coolidge
    Dunstaple
    @Dunstaple

    This is a wonderful post, Grannydude. I agree with aaaaaalmost all of it.

    My quibble is your definition of “racism.” If black people tend on average to have lower IQ (and I don’t believe there is any conclusive proof as to the truth or untruth of that statement) then it is not racist to believe so. I don’t believe the truth can be racist.

    Try this: if it is true that black people are genetically predisposed to be less intelligent than other “races,” that means that they are inferior, and should not be afforded the same rights and responsibilities as everyone else. 

    That bolded part right there is the racist part. In a non-racist society, individuals would be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. So to speak.

    Oh, and the bold part is not just racist, it’s stupid. In practice it would deprive society of any contributions from black people with intellectual gifts. And unlike any speculations about average IQ, we can conclusively prove that intellectually brilliant black people do exist (as demonstrated by Willow Spring’s examples).

    • #16
  17. GrannyDude Member
    GrannyDude
    @GrannyDude

    Ekosj (View Comment):
    U fortunately, at least in the short run, improvements will be slow.  

    I think the improvement may be quicker than one might think. I don’t mean that, within a single decade it will all be fine, but I’d bet it won’t be more than two or three before everyone wonders what all the DIE fuss was about. ‘

     

    • #17
  18. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Not sure I agree with all that you wrote in this post, I rarely do for anyone, but I will say this:  You are incredibly brave to write it. 

    Watch out for the thought police.  They might very well be coming for you.

    • #18
  19. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    Skyler (View Comment):
    Watch out for the thought police.  They might very well be coming for you.

    She has fought them off twice (at least) already. Once with our help. 

    Remember the jack booted “Good Officer” anyone?

    • #19
  20. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    kedavis (View Comment):
    If, for the sake of argument, the typical IQ of a white male and a white female are within 10% of each other…

    From all that I have read, over many years, the average IQ of males and females is essentially the same.

    However, there is good evidence that the shapes of the IQ bell curves differ: The male bell curve is wider, which means that there are more males than females with very high IQ’s–and also more males than females with very low IQ’s. (The evidence for this difference is good, but not conclusive. In a few of his talks and interviews Jordan Peterson has remarked that more research is needed to solidly confirm or refute this difference.)

    • #20
  21. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    GrannyDude: What I haven’t seen predicted is the outcome I believe to be most likely: Black students, and black families, will simply up their game.

    They will up their game or go to schools that are at the appropriate level, which people of all colors (other than black) already do, for the most part . . .

    • #21
  22. GrannyDude Member
    GrannyDude
    @GrannyDude

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    If, for the sake of argument, the typical IQ of a white male and a white female are within 10% of each other…

    From all that I have read, over many years, the average IQ of males and females is essentially the same.

    However, there is good evidence that the shapes of the IQ bell curves differ: The male bell curve is wider, which means that there are more males than females with very high IQ’s–and also more males than females with very low IQ’s. (The evidence for this difference is good, but not conclusive. In a few of his talks and interviews Jordan Peterson has remarked that more research is needed to solidly confirm or refute this difference.)

    I’m never sure what an IQ test is measuring—that is, I know it measures something, but I’m not sure I’m happy with the notion that this  something is “intelligence.” It seems to me that intelligence is a human characteristic, like opposable thumbs or the ability to create complex systems of communication. 

    An SAT test, on the other hand, is measuring just what it claims to measure: Scholastic Aptitude.  If a kid scores an 800 on the math portion of the SAT, the chances are good that she will do very well at MIT. I know a young woman who accomplished this, so I’m using that pronoun in her honor, but I’d note, here, that one of the “aptitudes” being measured is an aptitude for  disciplined, consistent, focused effort. (As I said, that’s the same aptitude a successful athlete must have. Or musician. Or artist. Or…) With only the anecdotal evidence of my own (six) children, I would assert that some have more of this aptitude than others. Nonetheless, as with any characteristic (a facility with language, an eye for design, the reflexes required to stop a hockey puck from entering the goal) this can be cultivated. 

    I know plenty of students (I was one myself,  for a time) who are plenty bright enough. But they have a low tolerance for boredom, or their interests are wildly lopsided (yes to anything with words, no to anything with numbers), they’re stubborn, or depressed, or are so extroverted that they can’t tolerate hours of solitary study. 

    What strikes me about these discussions is how quickly we can pivot from Affirmative Action at Harvard to, on one side, “under-resourced inner city public schools” and, on the other, IQ tests.

    By definition, any kid who applies to Harvard is a smart cookie. He or she was not  educated in a lousy inner city public school or otherwise deprived of educational opportunities: Harvard’s student body is drawn overwhelmingly from the top income quintile.  

     

     

     

    • #22
  23. GrannyDude Member
    GrannyDude
    @GrannyDude

    As usual, there is evidence that black students did better—that is, more successfully cultivated the aptitudes required for exceptional scholastic performance—before progressives decided to “help.” 

    For instance, Dunbar High School, in Washington, DC, was, for the first half of the twentieth century a sort of magnet school for bright, academically-motivated black students.  That one of Dunbar’s first principals was the first black graduate of Harvard. Almost all the teachers had graduate degrees, many had Ph.Ds.

    Classes included English, Latin, foreign languages, history, science, philosophy, and mathematics up to calculus.

    In the 1950s, 80% of Dunbar’s student body went on to college. Graduates included a startling number of high-achieving black pioneers in law, technology, medicine, the military, the arts and politics.  

    Black parents would move into the city specifically so their children could attend Dunbar. 

    In a strange form of desegregation (driven at least in part by progressive activist resentment towards black elites) Dunbar was turned from a magnet school into a neighborhood high school.

    [By] 2010, enrollment had fallen from a high of over 1,700 in the 1940s to only 750; the student body was still 99% African American, but only 29% of students met D.C.’s grade level standards for reading, and only 23% met the standard for math.

    The following, cut-n-pasted verbatim from today’s Dunbar High School website, is a list of the school’s present Core Beliefs:

     

    We believe black lives matter

    We believe education process involves the progressive development of each individual to his/her fullest potential regardless of ethnic, social, or religious background

    We believe all students will be equipped with the tools to achieve personal goals, to meet the demands of tomorrow’s workplace, and to become contributing community members.

    We believe all students deserve a high-quality education that enable them to compete successfully in today’s society

    We believe warrant experiences and opportunities necessary to yield independent thinkers, capable workers, and creative problem-solvers

    We believe that Dunbar exists as an integral part of the community and appreciate the diverse roles of parents, community leaders, private and public partners, civic groups, religious institutions, and community officials that support the process of education.

    • #23
  24. W Bob Member
    W Bob
    @WBob

    I wonder how the end of affirmative action will actually be implemented in admissions offices. Strictly speaking, there’s no way it can happen if there isn’t a blind admissions procedure where those making the decisions don’t know the applicants’ race. Just removing a picture of the student from the file won’t be enough. You can tell a lot from application essays about someone’s life including their culture or race, not to mention the applicant’s name. Will those components of an application be discarded and the whole process automated to look only at scores, with no subjective assessment from a human being? 

    That’s not feasible. So it looks like colleges will be bogged down in endless litigation for the foreseeable future, regardless of what the Supreme Court decides. 

    • #24
  25. GrannyDude Member
    GrannyDude
    @GrannyDude

    W Bob (View Comment):

    I wonder how the end of affirmative action will actually be implemented in admissions offices. Strictly speaking, there’s no way it can happen if there isn’t a blind admissions procedure where those making the decisions don’t know the applicants’ race. Just removing a picture of the student from the file won’t be enough. You can tell a lot from application essays about someone’s life including their culture or race, not to mention the applicant’s name. Will those components of an application be discarded and the whole process automated to look only at scores, with no subjective assessment from a human being?

    That’s not feasible. So it looks like colleges will be bogged down in endless litigation for the foreseeable future, regardless of what the Supreme Court decides.

    I’ve a friend who used to read college applications for Bowdoin College—it’s a pretty subjective process. And I’m not sure it needs to be otherwise, once certain thresholds have been met. 

    But I don’t think Affirmative Action has to be utterly and completely ended. The subterfuges colleges will certainly use to increase “diversity” of skin color wouldn’t have to be rooted out and punished, anymore than that abortion must be everywhere banned (it isn’t, obviously) in order for the Dobbs decision to begin to make a difference in American’s thinking and behavior when it comes to sex. 

    When/if AA is struck down, the media will caterwaul so loudly and hyperbolically that both students and parents will get the strong impression that black applicants have to clear the same bar as white and Asian students.  Even if college admissions people do their best to ensure that this isn’t actually true.  

     

    • #25
  26. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    W Bob (View Comment):

    I wonder how the end of affirmative action will actually be implemented in admissions offices. Strictly speaking, there’s no way it can happen if there isn’t a blind admissions procedure where those making the decisions don’t know the applicants’ race. Just removing a picture of the student from the file won’t be enough. You can tell a lot from application essays about someone’s life including their culture or race, not to mention the applicant’s name. Will those components of an application be discarded and the whole process automated to look only at scores, with no subjective assessment from a human being?

    That’s not feasible. So it looks like colleges will be bogged down in endless litigation for the foreseeable future, regardless of what the Supreme Court decides.

    True story – when my wife was pregnant with our first, I suggested naming the baby Jamal to give him a leg up in college admissions.

    She wasn’t amused.

     

    • #26
  27. W Bob Member
    W Bob
    @WBob

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    W Bob (View Comment):

    I wonder how the end of affirmative action will actually be implemented in admissions offices. Strictly speaking, there’s no way it can happen if there isn’t a blind admissions procedure where those making the decisions don’t know the applicants’ race. Just removing a picture of the student from the file won’t be enough. You can tell a lot from application essays about someone’s life including their culture or race, not to mention the applicant’s name. Will those components of an application be discarded and the whole process automated to look only at scores, with no subjective assessment from a human being?

    That’s not feasible. So it looks like colleges will be bogged down in endless litigation for the foreseeable future, regardless of what the Supreme Court decides.

    True story – when my wife was pregnant with our first, I suggested naming the baby Jamal to give him a leg up in college admissions.

    She wasn’t amused.

     

    To be totally objective , they would have to redact the applicant’s name.

    True objectivity in admissions would probably mean 75% of admitted students would be Asian. Not sure if it’s the exact number but it’s probably close. Maybe that’s good or maybe not, but that’s what you’re going to get. At least for a while, until GrannyDude’s adjustment kicks in, if his hypothesis is valid. 

    • #27
  28. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

     

    I know plenty of students (I was one myself, for a time) who are plenty bright enough. But they have a low tolerance for boredom, or their interests are wildly lopsided (yes to anything with words, no to anything with numbers), they’re stubborn, or depressed, or are so extroverted that they can’t tolerate hours of solitary study.

    That is what intelligence is.  Someone with a really high IQ doesn’t get so bored to not be able to test high for IQ.  People with high IQ’s can think in circles around others. It’s like a bird flying.  You can try as hard as you can to flap your arms to fly, but you’ll likely get “bored” before you succeed.  A bird doesn’t get bored, it just flies.  So it is with people and IQ tests.

    • #28
  29. GrannyDude Member
    GrannyDude
    @GrannyDude

    W Bob (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    W Bob (View Comment):

    I wonder how the end of affirmative action will actually be implemented in admissions offices. Strictly speaking, there’s no way it can happen if there isn’t a blind admissions procedure where those making the decisions don’t know the applicants’ race. Just removing a picture of the student from the file won’t be enough. You can tell a lot from application essays about someone’s life including their culture or race, not to mention the applicant’s name. Will those components of an application be discarded and the whole process automated to look only at scores, with no subjective assessment from a human being?

    That’s not feasible. So it looks like colleges will be bogged down in endless litigation for the foreseeable future, regardless of what the Supreme Court decides.

    True story – when my wife was pregnant with our first, I suggested naming the baby Jamal to give him a leg up in college admissions.

    She wasn’t amused.

     

    To be totally objective , they would have to redact the applicant’s name.

    True objectivity in admissions would probably mean 75% of admitted students would be Asian. Not sure if it’s the exact number but it’s probably close. Maybe that’s good or maybe not, but that’s what you’re going to get. At least for a while, until GrannyDude’s adjustment kicks in, if his hypothesis is valid.

    Let’s say Kid A. has test scores, grades and an essay that would make her a “10” and Kid B would be more like an “8.”

    Kid A gets into Harvard. What happens to Kid B? 

    Kid B will go to a different college. At the moment, after all, this is what happens to very good (but not Perfect) white and Asian kids: They can’t clear the bar for Asians and Whites in the super-selective Ivy League, so they go to Bowdoin, Georgetown, Hamilton, Williams, the University of Texas…and so on, all the way down the line. There are a lot of excellent schools in this country. The notion that a black student who doesn’t get into Harvard has been cheated is ridiculous. 

    .  

     

    • #29
  30. GrannyDude Member
    GrannyDude
    @GrannyDude

    Skyler (View Comment):

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

     

    I know plenty of students (I was one myself, for a time) who are plenty bright enough. But they have a low tolerance for boredom, or their interests are wildly lopsided (yes to anything with words, no to anything with numbers), they’re stubborn, or depressed, or are so extroverted that they can’t tolerate hours of solitary study.

    That is what intelligence is. Someone with a really high IQ doesn’t get so bored to not be able to test high for IQ. People with high IQ’s can think in circles around others. It’s like a bird flying. You can try as hard as you can to flap your arms to fly, but you’ll likely get “bored” before you succeed. A bird doesn’t get bored, it just flies. So it is with people and IQ tests.

    Well, okay. But some of us (ahem) don’t get the slightest bit bored when studying some subjects, and will do so for hours, years, decades without any external prompting or reward…while finding others inexpressibly tedious. 

    One thing I’ve noticed about very high achieving kids—not the savants or geniuses, just the normal-bright great students—is that they tend to be generalists. I believe that my stepson could literally study anything, for instance, and become expert in it. He doesn’t have to begin with a passion for the subject itself. 

     

    • #30
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