Racial Widgets: Affirmative Action At Harvard

Racial Widgets: Affirmative Action At Harvard

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Black Americans are not mainly held back by the fact that Harvard is hard to get into. If the powers that be at Harvard are curious, they could take a drive to the Boston exurbs to the Oxford school district, where the dropout rate for black students is 25 percent. (It is 0.0 percent for Asian students.) They might walk around the corner right there in Cambridge to the Schott Foundation for Higher Education, which tracks dropout rates and race, producing a great deal of worrisome data. They might visit New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Miami, or Atlanta, where the difference in dropout rates between black students and white students is more than 20 percentage points in every case. Not a lot of likely Harvard recruits in those dropout pools.

Worrying about who gets into Harvard is not going to do very much for black Americans corporately, and the Asian-American plaintiffs have a convincing case on simple justice grounds. They should not be discriminated against in order to pursue someone else’s social ends. That is unjust and, in the long term, impossible to defend, even if Harvard’s motives are goodhearted.

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