An article of faith among leftists is that we must give preferences to certain groups when it comes to college admissions. Supposedly, doing so helps to get more members of those groups into “the mainstream.” That this might not work and even be counterproductive are thoughts that are verboten.
On October 29, the Martin Center hosted University of San Diego law professor Gail Heriot, who explained why racial preferences have harmed American higher education. We have posted a lightly edited version of her address today.
One of her most interesting points is that we could easily have avoided the problems associated with preferences if we had listened to California supreme court justice Stanley Mosk, who wrote that court’s opinion when the Bakke case came before it in 1976. Mosk was a highly regarded jurist with a strong civil-rights record, but he foresaw trouble ahead if we started dividing Americans into favored and non-favored groups. He called it “a dubious expediency.” Unfortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court would open the door to preferences when it decided Bakke and has opened it wider with its subsequent decisions.
Here is another problem. Heriot writes,
One such warning came from the demands—starting in the late 1960s—for racial separatism on campus. African American students who were part of affirmative action programs at schools like Cornell, MIT and Yale demanded separate dormitories. As time went on the demands included separate student lounges, and separate graduation ceremonies, and sometimes specially designed academic departments or programs.
Bad sign. Things were going in the opposite direction from what was intended—and would eventually devolve into demands for safe spaces.
Read the whole thing.
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