Mona Charen writes in National Review What Sotomayor Gets Wrong .
Sotomayor’s argument rests entirely on a fallacy — that lowering admission standards for certain minority applicants is the only possible response to concerns about racial and ethnic disparities in American life. “Race matters,” she scolded again and again in her dissent. Actually, she went further, and argued that a Michigan constitutional amendment that explicitly forbids racial discrimination amounts to racial discrimination.
The contention that white, Asian, and other students should be disadvantaged because of discrimination against blacks that ceased decades before they were born is on its face unjust. Under the regime of preferences, the white child of a poor waitress from Scranton who would be the first person in her family to ever attend college will have to get SAT scores about 300 points higher (depending upon the school) than the black daughter of a dermatologist from Beverly Hills. An Asian student would have to score even higher because that minority is, according to those who insist on counting by race, “overrepresented.”
Admissions officers at selective schools pretend that they are offering opportunity to “underserved” minorities, but in reality, they are simply lowering standards for already-privileged students with the preferred skin tone. Nintey-two percent of blacks at elite colleges are from the top half of the income distribution. A study a decade ago at Harvard Law School found that only a third of black students had four African-American grandparents. Another third were from interracial families, and the rest were children of recent immigrants from Africa or the West Indies.
Should mixed-race students get half a preference? Should their scores be 50 percent higher than students with two black parents? These are the kinds of absurdities our current system presents.
When California outlawed racial preferences in 1996, preference advocates predicted apocalyptic consequences. Instead, as Taylor and Sander reported, “black and Hispanic students improved their academic performance, stuck more successfully to STEM majors, and graduated at stunningly improved rates.”
Dropping preferences is not only not harmful to minority students, it is beneficial. It should not be the end of the story, though. The gap in achievement between some minority groups and others can and should be addressed. Contra Sotomayor, it’s not so much that “race matters” as that schools matter. The shame of the nation is that poor children continue to be so trapped in terrible schools. That is the disgrace that race counters cloak.
An interesting take- Racial profiling is no longer an absolute. Mixed marriages are more common. It is less relevant whether racism still exists than it is whether profiling is bad solution to a diminishing problem.