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December 03, 2003

Quotas, Affirmative Action, 'Race Neutral' Means of Acheiving Diversity

All amount to quotas, and 'race neutral' means of acheiving diversity may be the worst. Unfortunately, even many 'conservative' political leaders, including President Bush and the Supreme Court, support some form of quotas/racial preferences.

One way to get X percent (X percent is the desired percentage in each case) of some minority is that an organization could simply mandate X percent (a direct quota). Or they could predict that X percent of a minority would be admitted if Y points are added to that minority group's applications, and thus mandate that Y points are added to each 'underrepresented' minority application. Or, an organization could predict that X percent of a minority would be admitted if the top Z percent of high school students at every high school were all required to be admitted to that organization, and then require admitting that top Z percent of high school students. Yet another alternative to admit X percent of an 'underrepresented' minority would be to enact a "comprehensive review" system and invent whatever criteria are necessary to acheive the goal of admitting X percent of a minority, which is essentially what the UC system in California has done.

In all four cases, approximately the same X percent of some minority gets admitted over more qualified applicants who are not 'underrepresented' minorities. All four systems add up to quotas, though only the first is called 'quotas' by most people, either due to ignorance or a political agenda. The last two methods are actually the worst, because they can allow grossly underqualified applicants of all races to be admitted into prestigious universities. The bottom line is, even if you believe some group has faced terrible injustices (which I am highly skeptical is a signficant factor today), admitting a person of that group to Berkeley when that person will have a severely reduced chance of receiving a solid degree (i.e., one that can allow significant economic advancement) is not a realistic way of correcting those injustices.

Posted by bb at 03:33 PM