Carpe Diem

It’s time to end racial profiling in college admissions

Linda Chavez writes on ending the unfair practice of racial preferences profiling and affirmative action discrimination in college admissions:

Judging people by the color of their skin is never benign. When government allots benefits to some based on race, it necessarily means that government discriminates against others who don’t share those racial characteristics.

It was wrong when government behaved in this fashion for more than 200 years to favor whites. And it’s no less wrong when government does it today to disadvantage whites — and, importantly, Asians, who faced discrimination under the old system and still face it in most affirmative-action plans.

In those states that have banned racial preferences, black and Latino students are doing just fine. In fact, in California, which banned preferences in 1996, not only have the numbers of black and Latino students attending the prestigious UC system increased, but they are graduating at rates 20 to 25 percent higher and have better grades than they did prior to the ban.

We’re supposed to have progressed to the point that skin color doesn’t matter. Wasn’t that the whole point of the civil-rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s? So why do we still allow life-altering decisions to be made on the basis of race? The time to end racial discrimination is long overdue.

Update: In response to some of the comments about this post, let me clarify that the choice is NOT between:

a) Allow some academically mismatched, under-qualified minority students into a few highly selective universities like UC-Berkeley, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and University of Texas-Austin based on racial profiling and affirmative discrimination

OR

b) Deny those minority students a college education.

The real choice is between:

a) Allow some academically mismatched, under-qualified minority students into a few highly selective universities like UC-Berkeley, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and University of Texas-Austin based on racial profiling and affirmative discrimination

OR

b) Allow all students to have access to universities based on their academic qualifications, regardless of skin color.

In other words, the choice is not between: a) admission to the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor even if there is academic mismatch for minority students, and b) NO college education for minority students, but rather the choice is between: a) admission to the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor even though there will be academic mismatch for minority students, and b) race-blind admission of minority students to the University of Michigan, OR Michigan State, Central Michigan University, or Oakland University based on academic qualifications and NO academic mismatch.

49 thoughts on “It’s time to end racial profiling in college admissions

  1. Instead of beating around the bushes, SCOUS should outlaw the racial preference in college admissions more broadly once and for all. No more back and forth and wasting of tax payers’ money on endless debates. It’s pretty clear that treating all races equally is the only way toward an equal society.

    Please visit and like our facebook page at Asian Americans Against Affirmative Action at https://www.facebook.com/AgainstAA

    • I don’t think it matters. Universities find other ways to promote favored groups. Look for stereotypical experiences and vocabulary in the essay – look at zip codes for demographics, etc.

      The UC California system now employs readers that go through the whole application and try to divine race.from secondary information. It works minority enrollment has actually come up – but I feel sorry for some of the kids they select who are just set up for failure because their academic skills are not strong enough to cope with the more.competitive environment.

  2. Yet, blacks were prevented from accumulating wealth, because of slavery and racism, until recently, to compete with other racial groups, e.g. whites.

    Do blacks have similar income and wealth today compared to whites?

    • PeakTrader, equality doesn’t mean equal outcome. We should focus on personal responsibilities and equal access instead of equal outcome.

      America is poised to become a majority-minority nation. In fact, several states have crossed that line. Based on the current demographic shift shown in Census data, by 2043 or sooner, it’s projected the whole country will become a majority-minority nation. Furthermore, the changing national demographics helped President Obama win two elections. Nobody could argue that President Obama’s 2008 win is an anomaly. Today, not only do Blacks hold key positions in all 3 branches of the Federal government but also many of them are successful leaders in business, sports, academia, and news media. Deval Patrick is the governor of my state and Setti Warren is the major of my city where 90% is white. As minorities gain in population and political power nationally, racial preferences given to particular groups are likely to come under fire and scrutiny from public opinions and the judicial courts. Increasingly, racial preference affirmative action is an inadequate tool against inequality and in fact is now causing more injustice and inequality problems than it is intended to solve. Can you imagine a race-based preference for Asian athletes in the NBA or the NFL? (See article “What If the NBA Had Quotas”)

      • It’s not about equal outcome. It’s about blacks starting from a much lower point than whites, because of slavery and racism.

        • PeakTrader, I have heard kind of arguments again and again but blacks won’t be doing much better if the focus of the race isn’t on personal responsibilities. It may sound harsh but it is true. How many single parents in the black’s families? Are these kids having a great chance to succeed even without the discrimination? Honestly ask yourself. I do think blacks face discrimination, as do Asians and even whites (i.e. as seen in college admissions). But i have seen enough poor Asian kids thrived and succeeded. Let’s focus on personal efforts and responsibilities, instead of on past and the color of skin. We have to pass beyond that.

          • So, you don’t believe blacks should be compensated, somehow, for over 200 years of slavery and racism in America?

            “Disadvantaged” is not an empty term.

          • peak-

            yes.

            blacks had steadily been making gains for the whole first part of the 20th century.

            the gap between black and white wealth had been narrowing.

            this trend stopped during the 60′s and then reversed as a result of the great society programs and affirmative action/welfare.

            note that the book was written in 1984 and sparked several sets of reforms that helped somewhat, but that have also reversed quite dramatically in recent years, particular around household wealth as the homeownership policies of the CRA imploded.

            this is not to say that blacks were not harmed by discrimination before. what it says is that they were managing to catch up in spite of it without any special preferences but, that when a system of such preferences was put in place, it destroyed incentives to work, broke up the black family (which used to be more, not less likely to have kids within marriage than whites) and wound up doing a great deal of harm to those it was intended to help by creating a culture of dependency.

            read the book.

            it’s extremely well documented and footnoted with links to all the government data.

          • So, you don’t believe blacks should be compensated, somehow, for over 200 years of slavery and racism in America?

            Of course not. For the same reason, I shouldn’t be compensated for the evils done by someone’s great-great-great-great grandfather to my great-great-great-great grandfather. Much for the same reason your child isn’t held responsible for the crimes you commit.

            Also, it’s quite arbitrary to say claim that only blacks have oppressed, been held slaves, or been the victims of racism. Why not compensate the Irish? Why not compensate the Chinese? It’s even more arbitrary, if you’re interested in “social justice”, to only look at what happened to one group of people in the very recent past, in a very specific geography.

            The very word slave derives from the same root as Slavic because Slavic people were routinely enslaved by pretty much everyone, including black north Africans. Are you prepared to take wealth from current black north Africans to compensate the Slavs for their very ill treatment centuries ago? If not, why not?

            In case you didn’t know, humans have practiced slavery and racism since humans began. The problem, and stupidity, of your claims is primarily due to the capricious nature of your claims. Why not hold current Africans responsible for the current social position of Americans descendant from Americans slaves? After all, Europeans enslaved very few, if any, Africans to be sold in American slave markets. African slaves were all ready enslaved by other Africans and sold for rum.

            Additionally, I am only third generation American, with my Scottish ancestors going through Nova Scotia to New England, having zero connection to American slavery or Jim Crow. Why should I be held responsible for something compensating blacks?

            Lastly, the Irish and Chinese I mentioned above suffered injustices on par to what black Africans suffered, yet they prosper very well. Did it ever occur to you that the corrosive entitlement mentality that you are owed something that happened to a relative has eaten the soul of the black community? Much of the destruction and degradation of the black community has only occurred since the 1960′s, a result of the evil welfare programs that created ghettos, inspired dependence, and destroyed the American black family.

            Congratulations for suggesting the same type of policies that have been quickly destroying the people you claim to care about.

        • You assume that most whites and Asians inherited vast sums of money. Most do not.

          Many white and even more Asians have ancestors who arrived in the U.S. with almost nothing AFTER slavery. They did not start at a higher point.

          Income also matters. People should save and invest. If blacks, Asian and whites have similar incomes for a working life and but do not produce similar levels of wealth, we need to look to habits and behaviors, not race as the cause.

          We also need to look to personal traits. “Blacks” may have been disadvantaged for 200 years, but unless you find a 200 year old black guy, today’s black person was not. There were rich and educated blacks even generations ago. Their kids are not in that group for sure. Interestingly, black immigrants to the U.S., who often come with few physical assets, have higher incomes than American blacks AND native American whites.

          Racism just is not the most likely explanation for differences.

          • No, I assume blacks didn’t have the same opportunities as whites to earn income and accumulate wealth over many generations.

          • john-

            the really interesting thing was how rapidly the gap between blacks and whites was closing until the 60′s.

            the passage of the “great society” programs did not just stop the trend, but reversed it. affirmative action and welfare programs would up being more harmful to black wealth accumulation than jim crow.

            murray’s excellent book “losing ground” lays this out in great detail with reams of economic data.

            the heart of those programs may have been in the right place, but the effects have been precisely the opposite of what was intended.

            poverty alleviation programs have turned out to be a source of dependence and stagnation.

          • Morganovich says: “the really interesting thing was how rapidly the gap between blacks and whites was closing until the 60′s.”

            Do you have any proof?

            Before the 1960s, there was substantial discrimination against blacks, e.g. in housing, education, and I suspect jobs too.

          • “President Truman was angry over the treatment of black Americans, particularly war veterans, and although his commitment to civil rights was tempered somewhat by political necessity, several milestones were achieved during his administration.

            In December the committee produced a 178 page report. Its recommendations included improving the existing civil rights laws; establishing a permanent Civil Rights Commission, a Joint Congressional Committee on Civil Rights, and a Civil Rights Division in the Department of Justice; development of federal protection from lynching; creation of a Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC); and abolishment of poll taxes, among other measures.

            President Truman issued an executive order banning segregation of the armed forces. Although this was done over the protests of senior military officials,

            1950-1953
            The actions by President Truman, though important, were largely symbolic without congressional legislative action, and they failed to have impact on the day-to-day lives of black Americans.

            In 1952, the country elected as its President, the former Supreme Allied Commander of WWII, Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Republican showed no real signs of interest in the race issue. But the forces of change had been set in motion. When real change came, it would arrive from both ends of the social strata. It would be championed from the churches and tenant farms of Georgia, and from the Supreme Court of the United States, where former California Governor Earl Warren would shock traditionalists and president Eisenhower, who had nominated him, by rallying the court for the most activist era of judicial decisions in that body’s history.”

          • Well said. Also, race based does not equal income based. There are many wealthy African Americans and Hispanics. Their kids can get into college with much lower grade than poorer white and Asian kids.

          • Morganovich, did blacks make gains before the 1960s or lose ground after the 1960s?

            If blacks made gains, it was likely through laws.

            I would’ve rather seen workfare with a rising minimum wage, at least adjusted for inflation and perhaps also keeping up with real income growth, than all those expensive welfare programs.

          • Workfare with a rising minimum wage would’ve benefited blacks much more than welfare, and also benefited the country. More money equals more choice.

          • What does Charles Murray say about discrimination of blacks in housing, education, and employment before the 1960s and after the 1960s?

        • My son had a couple of black friends in high school. They lived in the same neighborhood as we. They lived in similar homes, fathers had similar jobs as I. But you would argue that they should get a preference over him based solely on their skin color? How is that not racism?

          • Seattle Sam, the reality is many, if not most, blacks go to crappy schools and live in poorer neighborhoods than whites.

          • And, I don’t know why Seattle Sam assumed I’m for preferences, particularly for high income blacks.

            I was stating some realities, including root causes, why blacks have lagged whites in America, which some people seem to minimize or deny.

        • Peak, if whites’ higher rates of wealth today over that of African Americans can be attributed to slavery (and not lower drop out and crime rates, higher college completion rates, other productive personal choices, etc.), why are the former slave states among the poorest in the country today?

    • Peek it is interesting to note there was Chinese and Japanese slavery as well – and in CA it lasted until the 1950′s because authorities had blind eyes to the problem. Japanese Americans had all their wealth De facto confiscated in WWII as well. And yet colleges discriminate more against Asians than Whites. Why? With a hundred years of slavery and little ability to keep wealth don’t Asians deserve a break as well? The discrimination was brutal – well into the 1970s when I was growing up.

      Most folks on a national level aren’t even Aware of Asian slavery and discrimination. So yeah let’s.give Asians preferences as well!

      • meekque2, there was discrimination against the Irish and Italians when they came to America too.

        So?

        Do you really believe that’s a equitable comparison with blacks in America, particularly black families who’ve been in this country for over 200 years?

        • Asians came as slaves – I repeat as slaves and when Slavery ended in 1865 many Asians continued to be slaves until the 1950′s.

          They were brought over just like the blacks by industrialists and were indentured servants – just as bad as slavery and outlawed by the constitution – but who follows the constitution.

  3. @PeakTrader | October 20, 2013 at 9:59 am
    So, you don’t believe blacks should be compensated, somehow, for over 200 years of slavery and racism in America?

    “Disadvantaged” is not an empty term.
    ===============================
    There is no reply button below your post so I started quoting you. I do believe blacks should be compensated (and they have) when they can’t even ride on the same bus with whites or can’t live in the same community with whites or Asians. But we are way way beyond that point of time in history. In my previous post, I listed the many success of blacks in politics, in government, in sports, media, academia, and many other professions. you name it. The justification for blacks to continuously get compensated is diminishing. At the same time, these positive discrimination (yes, this is how AA is called in UK) for blacks are negative discrimination against other races. You must recognize that. The AA policies in college admissions are at an expense of other races. You must recognize that. I am convinced that AA in this day and age is only harmful, counterproductive, and causing more problems (such as racial tensions) than it intends to solve.

    • The reason racial preferences will not disappear is that there is a political party whose lifeblood depends on being able to dispense favors to groups based on racial (and gender and sexual) identity. There will never be a world where everyone is treated equally because it’s not to their advantage to have such a world.

    • Blacks were here well before other groups, e.g. Hispanics or Asians. They should be doing as well as white immigrants.

      Country Immigrants before 1790 – Population 1790

      Africa: 360,000 – 757,000
      England: 230,000 – 2,100,000
      Scot-Irish: 135,000 – 300,000
      Germany: 103,000 – 270,000
      Scotland: 48,500 – 150,000
      Netherlands: 6,000 – 100,000
      Wales: 4,000 – 10,000
      France: 3,000 – 15,000
      Jews: 1,000 – 2,000
      Sweden: 500 – 2,000
      Other: 50,000 – 200,000

  4. PeakTrader has just articulated this “logic”.

    1. “Many, if not most, blacks go to crappy schools and live in poorer neighborhoods than whites.”
    2. Therefore we must give preferences to blacks.

    So what’s the variable for which you are trying to compensate? If it’s crappy schools, then surely you would be in favor of giving preference to whites and Asians from poor neighborhoods and crappy schools over blacks from good schools and wealthy neighborhoods? If it’s race, then why even bring up the subject of crappy schools? Or do you think crappy schools are the inevitable result of having a lot of blacks in the neighborhood?

    • That’s your logic, not mine. I’m stating that if blacks had the same opportunities as whites, for generations, then blacks would be doing as well as whites.

      • “That’s your logic, not mine. I’m stating that if blacks had the same opportunities as whites, for generations, then blacks would be doing as well as whites.”

        Hmm. Then I would expect African (Black) nations to be exactly equal to European (White) in all economic and intellectual measurements. The fact is the cultures are very different. Of course that’s the 800 lb. gorilla in the room and to mention it verges on racism. Oh well, Peak, I guess you can go down the paths of colonialism, imperialism etc. to explain the discrepancies. However, that would still beg the question, why didn’t the peoples of Africa colonize the peoples of Europe?

    • Perhaps, Asians immigrants are overrepresented in education, because they have above average income or wealth, while Hispanics are underrepresented in education, because they have below average income or wealth.

      Of course, there are other factors. However, income and wealth may be the most significant factors.

  5. Asian slavery is covered up in CA as well, you don’t hear about it any more. But some local papers when I was growing up in the 70′s and 80′s still acknowledged it somewhat. And by Local – I mean not San Francisco Chronicle. The Local San Mateo Times – a very small paper would occasionally publish stories back then, mostly in the Obits section. The saddest Obit I ever read was about a Chinese Man who was a slave in Hillsborough – a small very rich community in San Mateo County. A man who was a slave butler for a family was finally granted his freedom in the 1950′s (basically he was given a small salary at that point) and was allowed to leave. But the guy only had skills as a butler, and little experience in the outside world so he “chose” to stay and worked for the family until he died. When he was finally granted his freedom, he was also older, and was unable to find a wife – or maybe too shy too at that point. He ended up dying alone and with no family or children or anything. There were more details, but this was some 30 years ago when I read it, so I don’t remember them all.

    But that extremely sad. We also until the 1950′s had girls kidnapped from China and Japan and were forced into slave prostitution. These stories were brought up in a comical way. There was a restaurant property that always seemed to fail, and the reason given was the place was supposedly haunted with employees and guests seeing unusual things. The speculation was that since the property was an Asian slave bordello until the 1950′s that it was one of the girls who worked there that was doing the haunting (funny human interest story ha ha) The Asian slave prostitutes lived about 7 years on average before they died, bodies riddled with disease.

    And yet with all the discrimination, slavery, forced live in gettos – and even move to small towns outside of the mainstream (Locke, CA is one of them). Having their property stolen in WWII – when the Japanese were interned they couldn’t pay property taxes since they didn’t have jobs, so the government took possession of the properties for lack of tax payment – that is how San Francisco got their famous Japanese Garden in Golden Gate park. Others deeded the properties over to friends, who were suppose to give it back at the end of the war when they could be paid back, but most of these people double crossed the Japanese and just kept the properties. Chinese were imported to do construction, esp railroads, and heavy work, and were indentured servants, even though that was illegal after the civil war – they didn’t know, they ended up having to buy stuff from the company shop and not be able to leave until the debts were paid off.

    And yet we discriminate more against Asians in College than any other group! Per folks like Peak – we should be giving them breaks to get into college because they were slaved, had little property – or had it confiscated, and were – through the 1970′s heavily discriminated against.

    So that brings up another interesting issue. Asians, Blacks – Asians are pretty darn successful, even though they were brought here under similar circumstances. Why – my guess is that it has something to do other than 200+ years of slavery. We have also transferred trillions of dollars in help, and help for the poor to these poor performing groups, so you would think they would be doing OK by now. Until we are allowed to look at the root problem and are not told we are racist for wanting to help in positive ways, the issue will not change.

    • marque2 says: “Asians are pretty darn successful, even though they were brought here under similar circumstances. Why – my guess is that it has something to do other than 200+ years of slavery.”

      I didn’t know Asians were bought and sold like blacks over the same 200 year period.

      Do you really believe 1790 blacks, given the same opportunities as whites, wouldn’t have been as successful in America?

      What other “something” besides “slavery” would’ve made the difference?

      • Yes you didn’t know that Asians were brought over as slaves and some still were in the other 20 the century. It really kills your argument – so you don’t want to believe it. And certainly wasn’t like the Irish or Italians who had it really rough but were for the most part free.

        Bet you also didn’t know the government confiscated most Japanese property in WW II either.

        • It really kills your argument misinterpreting what I said.
          Do you have any data to show there were as many Asians slaves as black slaves in America over that period?

          Why not include white slaves too? Does Japanese internment camps rise to the same level as black slavery and racism in America in your mind?

          • He history isn’t as well document, here is an article I found on the internet which alludes to it. With California’s anti Coolie Act of 1862 – they didn’t try to pass it because they loved Asians, they passed it to keep more Asians from coming in because they were hated so much.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coolie

            and here is another one on the
            Credit Ticket system (Indentured Servitude == slavery) – an unconstitutional practice.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Credit-ticket_system

            There are some others. A good way to start your research on the subject – since I am not your personal librarian is to Type “Indentured Servants in California” – a lot of pages come up.

            There is also a book written in 1910 that is a Google copy of a book about the Chinese sex slavery in California – I am having trouble finding that now. But have read it, maybe I will do some searching for that tonight (OK I will assist you a bit.)

            Note Indentured Servitude is slavery, you are in debt to someone and they refuse to release you until the debt is paid – and usually they make you purchase from the company store, and pay for company housing so your debt ends up getting higher and higher and you are never released. Indentured Servitude sounds so much nice than slavery, doesn’t it?

            Unlike Black leaders who like to dwell in the past, Chinese actually would like to forget, so the history isn’t documented as well.

            I learned from Op eds, from interest stories in the paper, highway markers with points of interest Visiting Chinese towns like Locke, CA …

            On the bright side though – last time I google searched the subject a few years ago, I almost got crickets – at least stuff is starting to show up. If you type California slavery – you get black slaves – oh and a black guy who apparently had a white slave, even though that wasn’t much of an issue in CA – which shows you how much power the Black lobby has.

  6. If you’re not admitting a diverse group of students to your school, then I don’t have any interest in going there. I want to go to a place that forces me to see the world from other’s points of view, that recognizes excellence based on multiple cultural bases, and that can prepare me for the future, not the outdated standards of yesterday. And yes, I’m a white privileged male from New England.

    • What is your definition of diversity, Niko? Here is what I wrote about the common myth of so called “diversity”.

      First of all, the popular “diversity” argument for Affirmative Action in college admissions is not a valid one. Here, the definition of “diversity” is called into question – do we define diversity in terms of skin color? or should diversity really be defined by different ideas, values, or cultures? Perhaps, the definition of “diversity” to many college admission officers is only skin deep. It is not only shallow but wrong. Are we saying all Asians share the same culture or all Blacks share the same idea? Many studies have pointed out colleges and universities are willing to set their AA “beneficiaries” for failure due to mismatch, simply so that the preference dispensers can look out upon their “diverse” student body and know that they are morally superior to the rest of the society and public based on their flawed “diversity” ideology.

      Secondly, even if we all agree on “diversity” definition, to what extent should the diversity be implemented? Every school? Every campus? Every program? Every classroom? In U.T. Texas’ case, the school is trying to implement “diversity” in every classroom and every program even URM students number increased significantly under the top 10% state law without any racial preference treatment. This is where the school, in my view, loses its justification.

      Thirdly, the notion that a school’s student population mix needs to strictly follow population racial profile is ludicrous. Are we saying all racial and ethnic groups work hard in the same degree and value education to the same extent? If one group of people are willing to work harder, why wouldn’t they be over-represented in colleges? Why should any student be punished just because he/she belongs to the hardworking group? Shouldn’t we all be judged by our individual characters instead of our race or color of skin as Dr. King eloquently said in his dream speech?

      Lastly, diversity can’t be placed ahead of equality. This country is founded on the basis of equal rights and equal protection. My argument is simple – why would one want to live in a “diverse” society where there is no equality?

      • 4AA

        Perhaps “diversity” means creating a student body with the widest possible range of academic ability. Affirmative Action certainly accomplishes that.

        • There are all different kinds of diversity. Studies show that people who are exposed to racial diversity are more able to adapt and excel in unfamiliar situations, especially cultural ones. In the end, for me, a college is not a place I go to be with other like-minded people from the same background who have excelled in exactly the ways I have. It’s much more important to meet people different from me. You can disagree, but I can’t be wrong. Admissions bodies, at least at private schools also can feel that way.

          I agree, that the argument falls apart when you’re trying to get a cultural cross section, because that sounds like promoting a private good – supporting those with less privilege – rather than the public good of expanding horizons. It’s the same argument as accepting the dumb kid of the parents who donate a new gym. That’s for the public good, and is worth the academic or test scores hit.

          • Niko

            In the end, for me, a college is not a place I go to be with other like-minded people from the same background who have excelled in exactly the ways I have. It’s much more important to meet people different from me. You can disagree, but I can’t be wrong.

            I don’t disagree at all. You should go to college for whatever reason you wish. If learning to be adaptable is your goal, then immerse yourself in racial and cultural diversity. I think every student should go to the school of their choice, for whatever reasons they choose, as long as they believe as strongly as I do in the principle of “user pays”. I assume you’re not in favor of admitting academically unqualified students from diverse backgrounds just for your cultural enrichment.

            Admissions bodies, at least at private schools also can feel that way.

            Indeed. Privately funded schools, like any other private business, Should be able to provide whatever goods and services consumers demand – to whoever they wish to serve.

            I agree, that the argument falls apart when you’re trying to get a cultural cross section, because that sounds like promoting a private good – supporting those with less privilege – rather than the public good of expanding horizons. It’s the same argument as accepting the dumb kid of the parents who donate a new gym. That’s for the public good, and is worth the academic or test scores hit.

            You might want to bone up on the definitions of private and public goods.

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