Tag: Affirmative Action

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!)

With the Supreme Court poised to potentially outlaw race-conscious admissions, Affirmative Action may soon be on the chopping block.

What will be the legacy of this half-century-old policy? Jason Riley, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and columnist at the Wall Street Journal, discusses affirmative action’s impact both on the black community and the broader American education system.

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Glenn Loury and John McWhorter had an interesting discussion about the midterm elections.  Loury decided to ask McWhorter about all of the issues where McWhorter would appear to be in agreement with the Republicans, especially the “wokeness” issue.   I think McWhorter is not close to becoming a Republican.  But Glenn, I appreciate the effort here.   […]

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Quote of the Day: The Educational Benefits of Diversity

 

MR. PARK: Diversity is our nation’s greatest source of strength, but as our Reconstruction founders understood and our nation’s history confirms, it also poses unique challenges to the American experiment. We live in a large and sometimes unwieldy democracy, and for that democracy to flourish, people of all different backgrounds and perspectives have to learn to live together and unite in common purpose….

JUSTICE THOMAS: Mr. Park, I’ve heard the word “diversity” quite a few times, and I don’t have a clue what it means.…I’d like you to give us a specific definition of diversity in the context of the University of North Carolina. And I’d also like you to give us a clear idea of exactly what the educational benefits of diversity at the University of North Carolina would be.

MR. PARK: …And so we value diversity of all different kinds in all the ways that people differ in our society. On — on the educational benefits question, Your Honor, I don’t think it’s actually disputed here that there are real and meaningful educational benefits that come with diversity of all kinds. SFFA’s own expert…conceded and agreed enthusiastically, in fact, on the stand that a racially diverse and a diverse — diversity of all kinds leads to “a deeper and richer learning environment,” leads to more creative thinking and exchange of ideas, and, critically, reduced bias between people of different backgrounds and not solely for racial backgrounds.

Americans are understandably squeamish about official racial and ethnic classifications. Nevertheless, these classifications are ubiquitous in American life—and their boundaries are policed by the government.

On this week’s special episode, Manhattan Institute senior fellow and director of constitutional studies Ilya Shapiro moderates a panel featuring David Bernstein, professor at the George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School; Glenn Loury, Manhattan Institute Paulson fellow; and Adrienne Davis, professor at Washington University Law School. Bernstein’s new book, Classified: The Untold Story of Racial Classification in America, is out now.

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Remember the time we were foolish enough to contemplate that affirmative action was finally going to be tossed into the dustbin for good? That time has come and gone. Now corporations have a new campaign for the Supreme Court’s approval of this disastrous policy under the auspices of “diversity”; since the evidence of affirmative action’s […]

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President Brandon, sir: seriously, if you’re going to make skin color and genitalia your primary considerations in hiring, you’ve got to make at least a small effort to find people who are of a hue that makes you happy and who are equipped with the plumbing you want, but who are also not ignorant, inarticulate, […]

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Kenny Xu, author of An Inconvenient Minority: The Attack on Asian American Excellence and the Fight for Meritocracy and the president of Color Us United, joins the podcast to discuss whether Harvard discriminates against Asian applicants in its admissions process (a case about which will soon be considered before the Supreme Court). They also cover related issues about race in America.

The Affirmative-Action Showdown

 

On January 24, 2022, the US Supreme Court granted certiorari in two blockbuster cases dealing with affirmative action in higher education. Students for Fair Admissions Inc. (SFFA) v. President & Fellows of Harvard College involves a private institution covered by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which reads:

No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

The companion case, SFFA v. University of North Carolina, involves a state institution subject to both Title VI and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the latter of which reads: “nor shall [any State] deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The great question underlying both cases is whether these two provisions require that race not be considered in the admission of students into higher education.

Biden Says Next Air Force One Pilot Will Be Black Woman

 

With calls from within his own party to reimagine the elite retinue of Air Force One pilots into one that “looks like America,” President Biden announced that the next pilot to fly Air Force One will be a black woman.

In his statements from the White House Rose Garden, Biden said that the next Air Force One pilot will be the “most-qualified, active-duty military pilot who isn’t Hispanic, Native American or of Indian, Arab, Irish, Asian, Scandinavian, or Mediterranean descent.” Biden added that “Black men also need not apply,” stating that a president’s safety is too important to be left to anyone other than the most qualified pilot available, provided that the pilot is “a black gal.”

According to anonymous sources within the White House, Biden initially expressed concerns to his aides that a president’s safety when flying is too important to be left to considerations of race and gender, saying “This is my life we’re talking about.” Biden came around, however, after two female staffers fainted and a third male staffer vowed to literally self-immolate then and there if he didn’t choose a black woman. (All of the staffers were white.)

The Kids Are Alright… Sorta.

 

A newly released poll, carefully constructed and conducted, has some surprisingly good news about American college students’ views. The results are consistent with a 2019 Pew poll of the general public. The vast majority of videos and stories on college culture and students suggest very different answers than those offered by real students. The left has not won. It ain’t over ’til it’s over. No fate.

College Pulse Poll, June 2021: College Pulse offers marketing and research products linking American college students with businesses and non-profit organizations. Their June 2021 poll asked twenty-two questions on policy issues. The sample was drawn from over 400,000 enrolled students and carefully adjusted to reflect the actual demographics of the student population. See a brief, clear explanation of the survey design here.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard and Cara talk with Melvin Urofsky, Professor of Law & Public Policy and Professor Emeritus of History at Virginia Commonwealth University, and the author of several books, including Louis D. Brandeis: A Life and Dissent and the Supreme Court. Professor Urofsky shares insights on Justice Brandeis’s jurisprudence, and why he consistently ranks among the three most influential Supreme Court justices in American history. They discuss his understanding of American constitutionalism, and how he interpreted the law to diminish consolidated financial and federal power, what he called the “curse of bigness” – big banks and business monopolies, as well as big government. They also explore Brandeis’s dissenting opinion in the U.S. Supreme Court case New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann, perhaps the best-known 20th-century articulation of the role of the states as “laboratories of democracy” under our federal constitutional system. They delve into some of the most influential dissenting opinions in U.S. Supreme Court history. For example, Justice John Marshall Harlan, the lone dissenter in the Court’s infamous 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson case, offered legal views that would later lead to the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision overturning “separate but equal.” Professor Urofsky also offers thoughts from his 2020 book, The Affirmative Action Puzzle: A Living History from Reconstruction to Today, on one of the thorniest political and legal topics of our era. He concludes the interview with a reading from Justice Brandeis’s concurring opinion in defense of free speech in Whitney v. California.

Stories of the Week: Cara and Gerard discuss National Charter Schools Week, and this education sector’s success in improving opportunity for underserved students. In Florida, nearly 95 percent of seniors enrolled in the state’s Tax Credit Scholarship program graduated from high school during the 2019-20 school year, the second highest graduation rate since they began tracking it in 2015. A new study of admissions at 99 colleges shows that despite adopting test-optional policies to increase diversity, the share of low-income students or students of color at these colleges has risen by only a percentage point.

How Affirmative Action Falls Short

 

It has been fifty-six years since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, legislation that took aim at the systematic forms of legal segregation that had long dominated large segments of American life. It did not take an expert in implicit biases to see the corrupting influence that officially sanctioned racial segregation had on public life, nor did it take a subtle analysis to understand the importance of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in undoing the exclusion of African-American citizens from their lawful place in society. The effects of these statutory reforms were lasting and profound.

The passage of these landmark statutes did not put an end to racial conflict simply because they ended explicit forms of discrimination. Indeed, one of the toughest issues to resolve was the proper regime for dealing with labor markets. The great mistake of the 1964 Civil Rights Act was to adopt an explicit colorblind standard for employment under Title VII, which had the effect of slowing down the introduction of affirmative action programs that might have led to more African-American employees in the workplace, especially in unionized firms.

Those affirmative action programs received belated judicial approval in United Steelworkers v. Weber (1979), in which Justice William Brennan held that Title VII “does not prohibit such race-conscious affirmative action plans.” In Weber, Justice Brennan upheld a program that set aside 50 percent of the in-plant craft-training places for black workers until they achieved parity to the percentage of black workers in the overall labor force within that community. That decision was the second major piece of Title VII’s employment law regime, following the 1971 decision in Griggs v. Duke Power, which had previously adopted a strict “business necessity” test to justify a disparate impact that any facially neutral test or business practice had on racial minorities. Weber enabled affirmative action programs, while Griggs blocked discrimination against protected minority groups.

Before Standardized Testing

 

A bit more than a week ago, the regents of the University of California voted unanimously to approve Janet Napolitano’s proposal that the UC system cease using the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and the ACT to help their admissions departments choose from among their applicants those most apt to profit from the instruction the universities in the system offer. This they did in the face of a UC Faculty Senate study confirming the utility of these standardized tests for that purpose and demonstrating that the poor showing of African-American and Hispanic high school students on these examinations had little, if anything, to do with test bias and much to do with poor high school preparation.

In theory, UC will now design its own test for applicants, but this can hardly be made to produce the results desired – for it will surely be unavailable to students from out of state, and no examination testing the candidates’ intelligence and preparation is likely to produce results dramatically different from what one secures via the SAT and ACT, which do an excellent job of predicting future academic success. In practice, all of this is obfuscation: for, as I argued on 18 May in “The Value of Standardized Testing,” the real aim of those who want to eliminate standardized testing or make it optional is to make it possible for their schools to practice that species of systematic racial discrimination that passes under the euphemism “affirmative action” without anyone being able to prove that this is what they are doing.

What, you might ask, did universities do before the SAT and ACT existed? Some had their own exams – which gave great advantage to those who could travel to the campus to take it. Others emphasized “character” – which, though in principle admirable, tended in practice to mean that to be successful an applicant had to belong to the appropriate social class. In much of the Ivy League, this meant that Catholics, Jews, and the like had no need to bother applying. As discovery in a recent court case against Harvard revealed, this is how that university excludes Asian-American applicants today.

The Value of Standardized Testing

 

It has become fashionable in the world of higher education to advocate eliminating the requirement that prospective students take the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or the ACT and then submit their scores to the admissions offices of the colleges and universities to which they apply. Janet Napolitano, the President of the University of California (UC), has even proposed that at Berkeley, UCLA, and the other elite institutions in the California system such scores be ignored altogether.

The faculty senate at UC has come down on the other side after conducting, at Napolitano’s direction, an extensive study of the question focused on the utility of the tests and on the question of whether they are a source of racial discrimination. The faculty study concluded that the tests have been useful for distinguishing those who could profit from the courses of study at these elite schools from those who could not and that the existing racial disparities in their student bodies had to do chiefly with poor preparation and not with the tests themselves.

What, you might ask, is this all about? The answer is simple enough. High school grades no longer mean much. Grade inflation has ensured that. The SAT and ACT tests may not be infallible. There are able people who do poorly on standardized tests, and these examinations reveal little about the grit and determination of those who score well. But, on the whole, they do a pretty good job of measuring what they purport to measure – the quality of the young person’s preparation for college and his or her aptitude. And in the aggregate, as the faculty senate at UC discovered, they do an excellent job of predicting academic success.

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https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/liberal-judge-lets-harvard-discriminate-against-asian-americans Burroughs, an Obama appointee, acknowledges that “Asian Americans would likely be admitted at a higher rate than white applicants if admissions decisions were made based solely on the academic and extracurricular ratings.” Instead, they are admitted at a lower rate than white and black applicants, and at a significantly lower rate than applicants of […]

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https://www.wsj.com/articles/harvards-legal-discrimination-11570143828?mod=MorningEditorialReport&mod=&mod=djemMER_h “Ensuring diversity at Harvard relies, in part, on race conscious admissions,” wrote federal Judge Allison Burroughs. “Race conscious admissions will always penalize to some extent the groups that are not being advantaged by the process, but this is justified by the compelling interest in diversity and all the benefits that flow from a diverse […]

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Myron Magnet joins Brian Anderson to discuss his new book, Clarence Thomas and the Lost Constitution.

Magnet contends that Justice Thomas’s originalist jurisprudence offers a path forward for recovering our nation’s “lost Constitution” and restoring America as a free, self-governing nation made up of self-reliant citizens.