“A deeply divided Supreme Court squared off Wednesday over the future of affirmative action in college admissions,” reports the Washington Post, covering the admissions policy of the University of Texas. The arguments for and against race-based admissions preferences were mostly old hat, but got weird when Justice Alito noted a policy of preferring the children of minority professionals over more-qualified, but poorer, non-minorities:
“I thought the whole purpose of affirmative action was to help the disadvantaged,” Alito said. He asked why a minority child of the “1 percent” should get a “leg up against, let’s say, an Asian or a white applicant whose parents are absolutely average in terms of education and income?”
State universities are allegedly all about equality of opportunity. Favoring the under-performing children of wealthy minority folks doesn’t exactly qualify. As a friend of mine put it, “If the elites have to choose between rubbing elbows with the poor or hanging out with the under-performing children of upper middle class professionals, there’s no contest: administrators much prefer racial diversity over a diversity of economic class and ideas.”
What we have here is a new classism using “anti-racism” as a wedge.
But it is itself racism. It’s just not “old-fashioned racism.”
Barack Obama, way back in 1994 — in the earliest recording of our current president arguing policy — used that phrase (“good old-fashioned racism”) to attack Charles Murray and defend reverse discrimination and massive increases in welfare programs. So, in keeping with his terminology, perhaps we should call today’s race-based “compensatory” policies “new-fashioned racism.”
After all, these policies favor some over others not based on their relevant qualifications — or on the “content of their character” — but, instead, based on their race.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.