Time to junk racial quotas in higher education

Michael Barone:

“…It’s time for enlightened America to hit reset on affirmative action once and for all,” writes Columbia linguistics professor John McWhorter in The American Interest. By affirmative action, of course, he means the racial quotas and preferences that most selective colleges’ and universities’ admissions departments employ.

“The reason America can never truly come together in understanding racial preferences is not benighted racism rearing its ugly head as always,” he goes on, “It’s because the rationales simply no longer make any damned sense.” Forty years ago, they were arguably needed to reverse anti-black discrimination. Today, beneficiaries tend to come from upscale households or from among new immigrant families never subject to discrimination here.

The weakness of the case in favor of racial quotas and preferences—which are, literally, racial discrimination, otherwise banned by the Fourteenth Amendment and the 1964 Civil Rights Act—is illustrated by a Washington Post column by the thoughtful liberal Charles Lane, subtitled “Why restart the war?”

Lane doesn’t bother to defend this form of racial discrimination as a good thing. He just says that President Trump doesn’t oppose it and that most of his voters don’t particularly care about it. On this issue, unlike many others, he’s ready to accept Trump’s and his followers’ priorities.

His equally thoughtful colleague Megan McArdle, assuming that ending quotas would reduce black and Hispanic numbers at selective schools, adds a curious defense of the status quo: “Elite institutions that systematically and markedly differ from the general population create a gaping social wound that never heals.” Really?

Our four most recent presidents, like eight of their predecessors, earned degrees at Harvard or Yale (both for former President George W. Bush). Our history has been far less blighted than Asia’s or Europe’s by resentment at or persecution of what Yale Law professor Amy Chua calls “market-dominated minorities.” Americans don’t much mind when people of various ethnicity earn success by merit, whether in business, in the National Basketball Association, or in Nobel Prizes.

But the increasingly glaring contrast between elite institutional practice and constitutional principle is driving the case against racial quotas and preferences. “Governmental use of race must have a logical end point,” Justice Sandra O’Connor wrote in Grutter v. Bollinger, allowing racial preferences at Michigan Law School. “We expect that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today.”

That was in 2003. Ten years left to go.

Except it may come sooner. Earlier this month, the Trump administration’s Education and Justice Department withdrew six possibly illegal guidance letters issued to colleges and universities by their Obama administration predecessors, each one encouraging racial discrimination in admissions…”

Original Here