Affirmative action was argued in the Supreme Court this past week, and Justice Antonin Scalia was the target of the left’s “Smear of the Week.” Here’s leftist Adam Liptak in the New York Times:
In a remark that drew muted gasps in the courtroom, Justice Antonin Scalia said that minority students with inferior academic credentials may be better off at “a less advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well.”
“I don’t think it stands to reason that it’s a good thing for the University of Texas to admit as many blacks as possible,” he added.
Oh, my! There were muted gasps at the RAAAAACISM of Justice Scalia!
This is yet another example of leftists elevating the importance of mushy-headed good intentions over that of results. Thomas Sowell has said:
Racial preferences put more minority students on campus, but in ways that reduce the number who graduate. Conversely, when racial preferences were banned in the University of California system, the number of black students who graduated actually increased substantially, as did their grade point averages. Instead of failing at Berkeley or UCLA, these students graduated from other good quality universities in the system.
Some might think that the result of having more blacks graduate is more important than the intention of having more blacks attend elite universities.
But anyone who thinks that way — that results matter more than intentions — is forced to turn in their Leftist Card.
I shouldn’t have to say this, but: to say that blacks should not be admitted to schools where they are not prepared to succeed is not racist. Affirmative action of any kind in college admissions is going to inevitably have the effect of admitting a greater percentage of students that do not succeed. If you give preference in the admissions process to people whose last names begin with consonants, you will start to see that more people flunk out of that school whose last names begin with consonants. If you instead give that preference to members of a certain race, you will see more flunking out by members of that race.
As in everything in life, there are trade-offs. Those who are admitted and succeed will likely have greater prospects. But those who are admitted and flunk out will likely have lesser prospects. In other words, simply having more blacks at an elite university (and fewer Asians, by the way, in case leftists care about the ill effects on that minority group, which we all know they don’t) is not necessarily a good thing on its own. You have to look at the consequences.
Scalia’s point — and it is buttressed by many studies — is that race-based admissions end up hurting a lot of minorities who are supposed to be the beneficiaries of such programs.
This all seems so obvious, I questioned whether it was worth it to write this post. But sometimes you have to point out obvious truths — especially when we live in a country where such truths are enough to make people gasp.