Wednesday, July 5, 2023

on "Affirmative Action" and the SCOTUS ruling (finally)

Other than being unconstitutional, unethical, impractical, racist (by definition), poorly targeted, euphemistically named, etc., "Affirmative Action" (AA) is a good idea. Glad to see it go, in its more aggressive/coercive/official forms, for a zillion reasons. 

(You can make decent arguments for AA practiced by companies which voluntarily choose it to benefit from additional diversity. You can make a somewhat stronger argument for AA decades ago, but it's time has passed by the metrics that made it more acceptable back in the day. [This is a cousin of slippery slope arguments: you gotta be willing to change sometime-- or keep it forever-- and if so, then when?] But practically, the damage-- even to intended beneficiaries-- far exceeds whatever cronyist benefits were still accruing.)

All this said, AA probably would have stood without its rank discrimination against a discriminated-against group (Asian-Americans) who needed higher scores than the majority population. (My students are always stunned when I use this as an example!) From Greg Price, here's how the numbers played out in the case of Harvard's admission standards. Here's recent media coverage where the discussion got ugly for the CNN interviewer.

Stossel's classic rhetorical comparison, from years ago...

Good from Jason Riley in City Journal on the overall problems...

One of the biggest practical problems is "mismatch"-- recruiting students to universities where they are less likely to succeed and more likely to choose "softer" majors. This has been written about in theory (especially by "black conservatives") and there are data as well (e.g., here and here). 

One of the unfortunate fruits of AA is that people will be-- or at least, are likely to perceived as-- less qualified. How can we-- how can you-- tell if X got the job on merit or melanin/race? Opponents point this out with glee in terms of Clarence Thomas. (Again, even if he benefited-- and it's not clear that he did-- it wouldn't mean AA should last forever. I'm not sure which logical fallacy this is. And BTW, you have no credibility if you’ve been attacking him for 30 years.) And ironically, the Left has two justices who seem to be AA hires and are apparently quite a bit less competent than the other judges.

The Babylon Bee weighed in with an ouch. Not the Bee gave us something real that hurts as much or more.

Hilarious how the WaPo framed the SCOTUS decision, focusing on costs rather than benefits.

It's worth noting that this is mostly an "elite schools" thing, so it's relatively minor in that sense. And they're going to work around the law anyway to discriminate howthey want. (This is how racists used zoning after Buchanan v. Warley.) So the ruling will have even less (real) impact. Explicit example here and more speculation here and another funny from the Bee here.

There is an interesting application to favoritism in legacy admits (glad to see the Left angrily start to critique this, something they should have pressed a long time ago!)

An interview with David Bernstein on his book, Classified, about how govt race designations got going...

Ironically, California is both ahead and behind the curve...

Finally, one more funny from the Bee!


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