True or false: In 1978, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed colleges to give a leg up in admissions to members of groups that had been kept down by historic discrimination.
If you said “true,” think again. In Regents of the University of California v. Bakke , the court said that colleges could consider race to enhance student diversity but not to compensate for prior discrimination.
That’s how we arrived at our curious cul-de-sac on affirmative action, which has made it harder for Asian Americans to get into elite colleges. At many schools, meanwhile, it’s also more difficult for women to gain admission than for men.
That’s a travesty. And those of us who believe in affirmative action — for African Americans and for other historically underprivileged groups — should be the first to admit it.
When news broke that the Trump administration was seeking lawyers to investigate and litigate “intentional race-based discrimination” in higher education, most of my fellow liberals saw it as a sop to President Trump’s white base.
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