Affirmative Action, Unfair? OK, Let's Make It Fair
David Leonhardt: Let's focus on overall disadvantage
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2012 5:40 PM CDT
Abigail Fisher, right, who sued the University of Texas, walks outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012.    (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(Newser) – Affirmative action is losing favor among Americans because it emphasizes diversity over fairness—but proponents still have time to correct that mistake, writes David Leonhardt at the New York Times. He saw the issue on full display this week during Supreme Court arguments in the case of Abigail Fisher, a white woman turned down by the University of Texas. Her lawyer argued that Fisher's treatment was unfair, while defenders of affirmative action skirted fairness entirely, talking only about the importance of diversity.

"Americans value diversity," writes Leonhardt. "But they value fairness more." That's why the Supreme Court limited affirmative action in 2003, and five state referendums have banned racial preferences. But if affirmative action were to help people who are broadly disadvantaged—by income, neighborhood poverty, family structure—it would be more fair and still help many blacks and Latinos. This is "a version of affirmative action—legal, generally popular and arguably more meritocratic—that higher education has not yet even tried." Click for Leonhardt's full piece.

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Showing 3 of 156 comments
SilenceDogood
Oct 17, 2012 5:21 PM CDT
The narrator on this blog is delete happy.
MilanMoravec
Oct 16, 2012 3:51 PM CDT
Replacing instate students with affluent foreignand out of state students in a public university for diversity is unfair. The more non-Californians admitted to public University of California the fewer residents can be. Fall admit rate for residents drops to record low 18%: 43 percent jump in the number of affluent foreign and affluent out-of-state students. Cal. Chancellor Birgeneau ($450.000), Provost Breslauer ($306,000) shed thousands of eligible in-state applicants. Residents are replaced by a $50,600 payment from born abroad affluent foreign and affluent out of state students. And, Birgeneau Breslauer subsidize affluent foreign and affluent out of state tuition in the guise of diversity while they double in-state tuition (Harvard College now less costly). Birgeneau Breslauer hapless leadership accepts $50,600 tuition to displace California residents (When depreciation of tax funded assets, infrastructure, cost of bonds etc, are included (as they should be), out of state, foreign tuition is more than $100,000 and does NOT subsidize in-state tuition. With the influence of University of California Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau Provost George Breslauer deployed excessive force by his campus police - rammed baton jabs - on students protesting Chancellor’s Provost’s doubling of in-state tuition. Retire dysfunctional Provost Breslauer. Birgeneau resigned. Email messages to UC Board of Regents marsha.kelman@ucop.edu and Calif. State Senators and Assemblymembers.
imaginaryfriend
Oct 16, 2012 2:30 PM CDT
I've been reading all of the comments, the horrible, the offensive, the judgemental, the prejudice comments. The black people that are the descendants of slaves were all born here in this country. We grew up watching Tom and Jerry, Loonytoons, He-man, and She-ra just like you. We went to schools just like yours. We watched the Brady Bunch and the Cosby Show. We listened to Michael Jackson, Elvis, Guns and Roses, Green Day, Madonna.... top hits that everyone listened to. We are more like you than anyone else on this Earth. We took Algebra, US History, English... we took the SATs, ACTs, and ASVAB. We serve in the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force. We are your neighbors and some of us are willing to fight and die for this country just like SOME of you are. It's hard to imagine but things in general are a little more difficult when you are constantly battling a stereotype, black, gay, fat, inbred, whatever. In the case of black people, we know that black kids drop out at higher rates, that black schools have less funding, black teenagers have a higher rate of pregnancy as well as likelihood to come from a single parent family. The important thing to realize is blacks suffer from generational poverty coupled with a less that concealed hatred by the general public. I realize a lot of these immature and hateful comments come from teens full of anguish and very ignorant and uneducated people that can barely spell, let alone write a complete sentence. The majority of those people have short attention spans and zoned out after my first paragraph, the remainder is for those of you that may not agree with me but at least understand that in life, nothing is fair, but we all need to do whatever we can to make it fair. Not for ourselves, for everyone else, for our children, for the future. That's white kids, asian kids, mexican kids, black kids, and all kids. We need to look at what minority problems exist and fix them, we need to look at problems are related to poverty and fix them, we need to take the time to treat all of the children like we would treat our own, because we are an American family and once you stop seeing race and start seeing that all of our blood is the same color, you can see that we are the strongest nation on Earth and the only remaining super power. We must insure the future for all the children. In the distant future, when you are old and unable to care for yourself, the young black nurse comes to take care of you, looks at your posted medications and retrieves pills for you but your vision is too poor to read the label. How important will her education be to you then? In order for a black person to get the grades and do the work to get into college it's twice as hard as a white person. Sometimes there are wealthy blacks in competition with poverty stricken whites for the same educational benefits that reversal is rare but it has happened. Sometimes a black person is not the best person for the job but gets the job, sometimes. But this happens so rarely and with so very very few people, it is ignorable, if you lost your job or spot at school to a minority (or so you believe) you probably didn't lose it, there are 5-8 other white people still in front of you that are more qualified than you are. That minority that barely made the cut had a lower score than yours although has show exceptional promise in comparison to their peers, which is something you did not do. Unemployment is twice as high for blacks as well as the percentage of the population living under the poverty line. If you think you lost a job to a minority, you didn't, you lost a job or weren't granted acceptance into an educational institution because you weren't good enough. You. Own it. Don't blame the kids who made it, those on scholarships, those with connections, those who worked their rears off to get in. You didn't make it, try harder, in life we all have burdens to bear and in the case of blacks in college and working... just be glad they aren't out on the street selling drugs, having babies, robbing your house, or whatever else you'd imagine you'd prefer them doing than working.