Monday, July 3, 2023

This World

Blasting affirmative action but leaving legacy admissions in place is probably not the best way to reduce the lingering effects of systemic racism.  Then, again, my guess is most of the justices haven't read the book.

Here's a long but relevant passage, from page 437

In the 1970's newly emergent "conservatives" as they self-identified, broke from the liberal past/future refrain that the nation still had a ways to go.  They pointed to the legislative gains of the preceding decades to claim that the nation had arrived; Black people in the here and now were no longer facing racism  Conservatives framed supporters of affirmative action as "hard-core racists of reverse discrimination" against while people, as Yale Law professor Robert Bork claimed in 1978.

Let's not address the wealthy parents who endow a building or donate to the athletic department to aid and abet their applicants.  The Cuters went to school with those parents.  It felt just as unfair as the letters other kids received, urging them to apply.

In 2001, the year Big Cuter was applying to college, white people became a minority in California.  My son wondered if he could apply as a minority now.

I never thought of myself as white.  I was Jewish.  One of our family's foundational bits of knowledge was that Daddooooo's youngest brother was one of the four Jews admitted to MIT, getting in despite the quota.

It's never seemed like a good idea to me, but I can't come up with a better one.  

I always tell the applicants I speak to about Cornell that what you study is less important than who you meet.  Expand your horizons.  Learn something new.  Join something weird.  Make different friends.

It helps if there are enough differences in the student body so that everyone has a chance to make a different friend.  The Supreme Court seems to disagree.


  1. If educational opportunities were truly equitable and really color blind, we wouldn't need Affirmative Action. They're not.

    1. It's so true. The problems begin in pre-school.


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