ABIGAIL FISHER, white, was denied admission to the University of Texas. She had a better record than many black and Hispanic students who were admitted under the university's system of racial preferences. She was, in short, discriminated against on account of race. She complained and her case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which remanded the case this week.
Remand is legalese for avoiding a decision, for kicking the can down the road, for waiting for the next Obama court appointee to come along and further legitimize racial discrimination. And diversity and affirmative action are the polite names given to . . .
The all-white (and guilt-ridden) Houston Chronicle editorial board immediately weighed in against Ms. Fisher (in practical effect). The editorial -- "Affirmative action: The color line is still real" -- is a collection of generalities piled upon one another like the stems of grass in haystack with no centerpole of logic to keep it upright.
The muddle is unavoidable, and for the same reason the University of Texas was incapable -- and will forever remain incapable -- of articulating a constitutionally permissible way of seeking diversity, as a goal, without using racial discrimination, as a means. All such arguments flit here and there, but ultimately crash into the reality of what happens to the Abigail Fishers of the world. They are discriminated against on the basis of their race.
Here is the sarcastic money graf in the Chronicle editorial, the one that gives away the game:
It is not as if society isn't already filled with supposedly race-neutral systems that often have race-based outcomes. It just so happens that those outcomes are often not for the benefit of minorities.
Racial neutrality -- equal opportunity -- is simply not acceptable to the Houston Chronicle. Equal opportunity is a thing to be mocked as "supposedly race-neutral systems. What must be achieved, at all costs, is socially engineered equal outcomes. Never mind that equal outcomes may require placing the heavy thumb of state power on the scales to help racial groups they favor and, by necessity, to hurt men, women, and children in other racial groups.
And for what purpose?
[The] majority of students admitted with large racial preferences struggle academically, and often never come close to achieving their goals. At selective schools, more than 80% of blacks, and two-thirds of Hispanics, have received at least moderately large preferences . . . that [are] the equivalent of at least a 100-point SAT boost, and often more.
. . . .
Key to nurturing the myth that racial preferences can only help their recipients has been a strong norm among college administrators to play down both the size of preferences they use and the difficulties these students encounter down the road. This concealment has had the unfortunate effect of misleading students and shielding preference policies from closer scrutiny.
But cracks of light have begun to lead through. There is now increasing evidence that students who receive large preferences of any kind -- whether based on race, athletic ability, alumni connections or other considerations -- experience some clear negative effects: Students end up with poor grades (usually in the bottom fifth of their class), lower graduation rates, extremely high attrition rates from science and engineering majors, substantial self-segregation on campus, lower self-esteem and far greater difficulty passing licensing tests (such as bar exams for lawyers).
The most encouraging part of this research is the parallel finding that these same students have dramatically better outcomes if they go to schools where their level of academic preparation is much closer to that of the median student. . . .
. . . .
. . . . The central legal justification for using race in university admissions is the need to produce a healthy learning environment by fostering diverse classroom viewpoints and cross-racial friendships. . . . [But students] with large preferences were more likely to self-segregate and find themselves socially isolated.
The reason wasn't racism. At Duke University, for example, large numbers of whites and blacks formed friendships at the outset of college. But for those with large academic gaps, the friendships atrophied. . . . .
. . . .
. . . . All most all [black and Hispanic administrators and former students] complained that blacks are stereotyped on campus as being weak students. it is, of course, not surprising that the large performance gaps on campus that highly correlate with race tend to foster -- rather than undermine -- racial stereotypes. . . .
. . . . [The] third great misconception about racial preferences [is] that they foster true viewpoint and socioeconomic diversity. [Yet by the 1990s] only 8% of black students at selective schools came from the "bottom half" . . . .
. . . .
What can be done about the problem of mismatch? Most obviously, we need dramatic improvements in elementary and secondary schools to narrow the racial gaps in academic achievement. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the average black 12th-grader is on a par with the the average white eighth-grader. That project will take decades.
. . . .
But remedial programs can only do so much. And it seems clear that reform of the racial preference regime will never come from universities. Nor will reform come from elected officials, who are so terrified of being attacked as racists that even Republican candidates who personally oppose racial preferences . . . dare not make them an issue.
Racial-preference reform, in short, can only come from the Supreme Court . . . .
We badly need a simpler, more coherent and more workable set of rules about affirmative adtion. . . .
(Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor, Jr., "The Unraveling of Affirmative Action," wsj.com, October 13, 2013)
Mr. Taylor is deeply disappointed by the recent Supreme Court remand. By sending the case back for yet more legal wrangling, the high court may have entrenched racial preferences for decades, he says.
Because the obstacles to a resolution of the matter is court are simply too formidable.
Very few white or Asian students who suspect they were rejected on account of racial preferences are motivated to bring lawsuits. The vast majority would rather get on with their lives. Suing has opened white plaintiffs such as Abby Fisher to hostile publicity and even villification. Fisher was also opposed in the Supreme Court by a very wide array of major establishment institutions.
It is extremely difficult for a rejected student to know, let alone prove, that she would have been admitted but for racial preferences. While aggregate data suggest that many or most universities give black applicants a boost over whites eequivalent to a full point of GPA, or 300 SAT points, and a larger boost over Asians, almost all universities cloak in secrecy how much weight they give to race.
Another deterrent to suing is the endless delay that is routine in most litigation. Abigail Fisher had long since graduated from Louisiana State University by the time the Supreme Court got around to deciding her case -- by sending it back to a lower court for more litigation!
Such lawsuits are very expensive, and far beyond the means of almost all rejected applicants.
While Fisher's lawsuit has been financed by conservative activisits led by Edward Blum, they could provide only a tiny fraction of the resources that any university can throw into the fray.
(Stuart Taylor, Jr., "Are Racial Preferences Now Entrenched for Decades?" mindingthecampus.com, June 25, 2013)
This all fits into the declinism thesis. America's self-anointed elites use words such as diversity and affirmative action to disguise raw racial discrimination, never mind the harm it does to both the intended beneficiaries and those who are discrminated against. Yet these same elites lack the intellectual honesty and moral courage to declare openly and honestly what they are actually doing, or to sit across the table from the Abby Fishers of the world to explain, with eye contact, why racial discrimination against them is, all things considered, a very good thing.
The University of Texas should simply throw in the towel, follow the 10 percent rule, and admit the rest on the basis of individual achievement. It won't, of course. Because like the Houston Chronicle, it believes in racial discrimination. All the good people do.