Race based acceptance policies on college campuses have long been a polarizing issue in both the court of law, and the court of public opinion. President Obama was a staunch advocate of affirmative action, but it appears the Department of Justice will be cracking down on racially motivated acceptance policies under the leadership of Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions. From the Daily Wire,
On Tuesday, the Trump Department of Justice announced that they would move to combat the racism inherent in college admissions affirmative action. Instead of using the DOJ Civil Rights Division as a sort of defense mechanism for radical leftist groups, as the Obama administration did, the Trump administration will use the office to crack down on actual discrimination, pursuing “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions,” according to an internal document.
Based on the collective meltdown from the left on social media, you’d think this order will completely destroy education as we know it. Personally, I think Chief Justice Roberts said it best,
The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race
Discrimination based on race, no matter which race is being discriminated against, is always an indefensible position. While I absolutely believe that discriminatory housing practices of the ’60s and ’70s cause minorities to experience some of the worst effects of our crippled education system, race based affirmative action does nothing to solve that problem.
It is true, no two schools are the same. The typical suburban school, which may be 70-80% white, probably does a better job of equipping students than the typical inner city school. That has nothing to do with race, it has everything to do with resources. Schools in densely populated areas have more students per teacher and less money per student. It makes logical sense: the more students you have in a small area, the harder it is to give them the attention and the resources they need. The issue then becomes racially charged because inner city schools have higher African American populations, largely due to discriminatory housing practices in the 60s and 70s.
Affirmative action exacerbates the issue by taking students from impoverished school systems and dropping them into highly competitive college programs, essentially setting them up for failure. There are exceptionally gifted students in these impoverished school systems that have the ability to be wildly successful in college given the proper preparation. Colleges absolutely should make every effort to find those gifted students, give them the tools they need to succeed, and allow them to pursue advanced education. But race based admissions criteria does not do that.
Race based admissions largely pulls minorities from suburban schools, where they have received the same education as the average high school graduate. There is no reason to expect that their abilities are any better than their peers with similar transcripts and test scores, yet they are often elevated into more difficult programs. This sets them up for failure, setting higher expectations for African American students than a similar student of a different ethnicity. Affirmative action also punishes some students, especially Asian Americans, restricting their access to higher education.
A Princeton University study showed that blacks received a “bonus” of 230 points on SAT scores versus their competitors on the old 1600-point scale; by contrast, Asians are penalized 50 points.
If we truly want to address disparity in education, we should start by giving inner city kids access to better schools. That means increased choice and competition between school systems, instead of trapping students in failing schools. If colleges choose to look for gifted students from impoverished school districts, those efforts should be geographically based, not race based. They should also provide programs to help prepare students in ways their high school could not. The status quo of race based admissions does nothing but hurt minority students and perpetuate racial discrimination, and it needs to end.