I’m not, nor should anyone else be surprised.
More than 6 in 10 Americans support a ban on the consideration of race in college admissions, according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll, but an equally robust majority endorses programs to boost racial diversity on campuses….On Oct. 31, the justices will hear arguments in cases challenging race-conscious admissions at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.If the court’s conservative majority reverses decades of precedent and prohibits the consideration of race and ethnicity, the Post-Schar School poll conducted this month finds 63 percent of adults would support the change. At the same time, 64 percent say programs designed to increase racial diversity of students are a good thing. Support for boosting diversity is high across racial and ethnic groups, while Black Americans are less supportive of banning race as a factor in admissions than people of other backgrounds.
Does this even qualify as news at this point? Back at the very start of the affirmative action movement in colleges and universities, polling always showed that the public objected to “racial quotas,” meaning that race and color would be a decisive factor in admitting college applicants, but if quotas were vaguely framed as “affirmative action,” meaning “let’s do something to avoid perpetuating a permanent underclass in American society by increasing the proportion of minority college graduates,” then the public was substantially favorable. Has any public policy question ever been more vulnerable to polling manipulation by choice of words?
Of course Americans object to deciding advancement, benefits, honors and jobs based on race: the concept is unconstitutional and runs counter to the core cultural values of a meritocracy and judging individuals by the “content of their character,” not what group they appear to belong to. Another “of course” is that Americans see the intrinsic harm in a society where some groups perpetually lag in achievement, status, power and wealth.
Now what? Well, the solution to this apparent stand-off should also be obvious: address the reasons that those groups continue to lag. What might those reasons be? The Gordian Knot can only be cut by a societal willingness to seek the truth based on reality, not ideology, and so far, our society has not been willing to do that.
The problem was nicely summed up by confused but typical Gwen Meeks, 50, a white nurse from Missouri. “It is important to have a race-neutral approach to getting into college,”she told the Times. “Nobody’s ever helped by giving people something they haven’t earned through their own hard work….” BUT! “I do want every kid, no matter where they grow up, or what the color of their skin is, I want them to have the ability to get into college if they put the work in.”
And what if they don’t have the ability to get into college? How do we address the problem of a disproportionate percentage of some groups lacking that ability, or a disproportionate percentage of other groups showing that ability? The latter situation is why Harvard and the University of North Carolina are discriminating against Asian Americans (and proud of it!). Gwen wants every kid to have the ability—great, so do I. I’d also like all children to be above average, like in Lake Wobegon.
And what does “if they put the work in” mean? Doing the work should be enough even if the work is lousy? The current Woke approach to education is to stop penalizing students who don’t do the work: no more grade penalties for missed assignments and deadlines, or not showing up in school. Why? Because these behaviors seem to be predominant in the same groups that need a finger or a fist on the scales in order to qualify for college admission.
This gets us nowhere, society nowhere, and the under-represented racial and ethic groups nowhere. American society has defaulted to “racism” and “bigotry” as its only explanations for the problem “affirmative action”—“good” racial discrimination was supposed to solve by now.
The source of genuine solutions has been apparent at least as long as these frustrating polls results have been around. Cultures that emphasize learning, reading, school achievement, communication, societal values, responsible personal behavior and adult mentors and role models better prepare their children for college and life than cultures with toxic tendencies. Jews, Asian-Americans, and other immigrant groups including Hispanic-Americans have demonstrated this principle repeatedly.
Emphasizing that fact, however, is politically incorrect. It’s blaming the victims of systemic racism, so any policy approach that focuses on that undeniable problem is taboo. Graduate student Bhavik Patel in Arizona, tells the Post, “I don’t want to completely ban something and not have a solution. It has to be a better solution than what the current process is.”
The better solution is to face facts, and deal with them. That’s usually the better solution, and the ethical one, to any problem.
One thought on “Déjà Vu Ethics: The Washington Post Is Stunned To Find That The Public’s Attitude Toward Affirmative Action Hasn’t Changed In 50 Years.”
Wow! Check out the poster in the photo! When was the last time the word “integration” appeared … anywhere? How did things get so far off track since the mid-sixties?