Richard Kahlenberg writes in the Chronicle of Higher Education:
Set aside the fact that American universities have no dearth of privileged students of any colors—86 percent of African-Americans at selective colleges are middle or upper class—or that those minority students most likely to be admitted without a preference are those from wealthy backgrounds. To most Americans, the privileged minority student is the very least sympathetic affirmative-action case, which helps explain why President Obama has said his own daughters do not deserve a racial preference in college admission.
Justice Alito pressed on. Does a minority applicant whose parents are successful lawyers and are in the “top 1 percent of earners in the country” deserve an admissions preference over white and Asian applicants from families of more modest means? Gare’s eventual response, “we want minorities from different backgrounds,” spurred Justice Kennedy to comment, “So what you’re saying is that what counts is race above all.” Justice Kennedy continued, “The reason you’re reaching for the privileged is so that members of that race who are privileged can be representative, and that’s race.”
Emphasis mine. Kahlenberg is very knowledgeable on these issues, and has edited a book on the subject. So I can’t understand why he doesn’t bring up affirmative action for the most privileged of all when it comes to college, legacies. To say that “privilieged” minorities are the least sympathetic in AA cases, and not contrast or ask why the same isn’t true for legacy admissions is a massive oversight.
I agree with what Laura Stampler wrote in The Nation in 2010:
…legacy preferences seem to clearly violate basic notions of fairness and equity
Maybe I’ll take attacks on race based Affirmative Action seriously when I see legacy admissions being challenged all the to the Supreme Court.
Tags: affirmative action