April 15, 2005

Diversity's Backlash

What Jonah Goldberg calls "The darker side of quotas" is the glaringly obvious fact that "the diversity "racket" discriminates against some minorities for the benefit of other minorities." That is, it is principally Asians who are discriminated against when preferences in the form of lowered college admission standards are extended to blacks and Hispanics.

It's too bad that it takes this kind of consequence to make some people realize that there might be something wrong with institutionalizing in our college admissions system that which is rightly illegal in most every other area of our society; racial discrimination.

As Goldberg points out, it is an issue of supply, not demand where the numbers of qualified blacks and Hispanics applying to top schools are concerned. Nobody seriously thinks that in the absence of racial preferences, the admissions representatives of our nation's colleges would discriminate against qualified minorities.

And it's not even like the elite schools are providing opportunities for the economically disadvantaged either. Statistics show that the large majority of blacks and Hispanics admitted to elite schools under racial preferences come from the middle and upper socioeconomic levels, just like their white and Asian counterparts. Excerpted from Jonah:

...this quest to make all of our major institutions "look like America" is still basically arbitrary and unfair. It's simply absurd to think that the distribution of Chinese, black, white, Hispanic, Indian, Jewish, Hmong and so forth in the society can or should be replicated at a given university. Indian-Americans, for example, are hugely over-represented in the ranks of hotel and motel owners in the United States. Harvard President Larry Summers got in a lot of hot water for thinking out loud about why women were underrepresented at the highest reaches of science. But his observations that Catholics are underrepresented in investment banking, and that Jews are underrepresented in farming, went largely unnoticed.

So what? None of these things suggests that these fields are hothouses of bigotry. Instead, it demonstrates that there are all sorts of reasons, some good, some bad, for the distributions of ethnicities in this country.

Posted by dan at April 15, 2005 1:50 AM