Why conservatives are sometimes right

The WAPO featured this headline:

“State affirmative action bans helped White, Asian students, hurt others”

A quick look at the data indicates that the headline should read “State affirmative action bans helped White, Black, Asian students, hurt others.”

The headline does not say that, presumably because it is extremely inconvenient for the liberal narrative to admit that Black students do better in the states that ban affirmative action.

As you can see in WAPO’s own chart (below), the main beneficiaries of AA, by far, are Hispanics, who are brought from significant underrepresentation almost all the way to population parity by Affirmative Action.

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If you want to design a program that benefits Hispanics, there’s a much easier and totally constitutional way: just give admissions preference to any student who is totally fluent in more than one language. If, on the other hand, you want to extend a helping hand to Black students, the great brains at Harvard and elsewhere should be able to create a system that works better than the existing Affirmative Action models, which don’t seem to have worked at all for that purpose.

(Note: black students are still dramatically underrepresented in both groups, with or without AA, when measured as a percent of the population. In other words, even those who actively seek diversity should realize that it was probably time to shelve the existing Affirmative Action programs and replace them with some new schemes. The Supreme Court’s action will apparently have a negative impact on Hispanic students, but not so much for other minorities, who have apparently not been helped significantly by any of the existing admission models, with or without AA.)

13 thoughts on “Why conservatives are sometimes right

  1. Look, I have no idea why this is hard for anyone.

    AA was created when it was a binary problem: black and white. The other minorities weren’t on anyone’s mind.

    Now? Diversity in America is a rainbow. AA was meant to right a very simple imbalance. Tilt one scale. Now it’s a 9-dimensional thing nobody can track and if you try to keep it “fair” you’re gonna have a stroke. Who’s a minority? That guy who decided he is this week because of who he does or doesn’t want to sleep with? This rabbit hole is a warren on crack. Only thing to do is shut it all down and say “PLAY FAIR YOU FUCKERS” without even entertaining the question.

  2. Personally, I think the Court did the right thing in deciding that race based affirmative violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There was no question but that Harvard was discriminating against Asian students. While I believe the current Court would have reached a similar result, it seems significant to me that this was (to the best of my knowledge) the first affirmative action case to reach the Supreme Court where the effect on a minority ethnic group was stressed by the plaintiffs.

    I am currently on a family vacation in the Berkshires with my siblings and their children. My youngest sister moved to LA right after graduating from college with her engineering degree. She met and married another engineer whose parents were from Mexico. I didn’t get a chance to speak with my nieces about how they feel about the decision, yet. But my sister would have preferred if the decision had been delayed about 5 years. My oldest niece will be a 12th grader next year. She is both an excellent student and a gifted athlete. Without this decision, she would likely have been able to gain admission to any school she might have wanted to attend. But I think she would agree with the Court just for the sake of fairness. But I’ll definitely ask her tomorrow.

  3. You’re looking at the data as a binary — either they got into college or didn’t.

    As the article explained, when affirmative action is removed, Black students get accepted in higher numbers at less selective schools. This is the paragraph about the “cascade effect.”

    And thus: “Black and Hispanic students who attended less selective universities have poorer outcomes, such as lower graduation rates, graduate school enrollment and income.”

    When affirmative action is removed, do more Black students go to college? That’s what this chart says, although it flies in the face of common sense.

    But even if that’s true, without affirmative action, Black students are being pushed into WORSE schools.

    What a win for them?

    1. It’s not really in the face of common sense. The number of admissions is basically a zero sum game – something like 2000 freshmen per year at Harvard, for example. The problem, therefore, is that every admission given to a Hispanic must come from someone else. Of course, that will come predominantly from Whites and Asians, but if the pro-Hispanic bias is too great, even Black students will lose some of those slots.

      The problem with your observation is that you have lumped “Blacks and Hispanics” into a single group, when they clearly are not, at least according to the chart, which indicates that Hispanics essentially derive all of the benefits of AA. The article also basically lumps “Blacks and Hispanics” together again and again, which does not seem appropriate, given the stats.

      It seems that AA has worked great for Hispanics, but poorly or not at all for Blacks.

      1. Binary? Well, yes, but when we dig down & look more carefully at the statistics, we’ll find them to be ASCII, or floating-point.

        While it’s true that prejudice—unconscious bias if you prefer—has direct & also indirect effects on hiring & admissions, the choice by would-be applicants to look elsewhere is a bane of diversity programs, which I’ve witnessed at tech companies.

        IOW, bias is a component of the causes behind the stats, but not the sole one, & maybe not even the largest one. Women choosing to avoid certain schools, departments & companies thanks to word-of-mouth that they’re likely to be mistreated there, I’ll lump in with adverse bias—tho it works thru choice.

        But blacks opting for historically black colleges is overlaid by a larger cultural picture that I’ll say depicts a racial defeatism. They decide not to go to college because it’s not for them. Or, they choose colleges that are explicitly for them.

        Women are passed over for tenure because of how many of them are choosing full-time motherhood mid-stream in an academic career that they feel is going nowhere. Not that they aren’t right, but it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

        This said, college clearly is not for everyone.

    2. There have been studies that indicate that African-American students can be harmed by race based affirmative action policies at elite universities. That’s because an African-American student accepted at a school like Harvard with a significantly lower GPA &/or SAT score than the average accepted White or Asian student, will most likely find themselves taking classes with people that had much higher GPAs and standardized test scores. Most will have come from high schools where they were in the top 10% of their class. Yet, many of them might find themselves in the bottom 25% at Harvard, not because they aren’t excellent students, but because they weren’t up to the level of the White and Asian students who did not receive a boost because of their race.

      Such mismatches are likely the reasons that African-American students at elite schools are substantially more likely to drop out and/or take longer than 4 years to graduate. But if that student wasn’t quite on the same level as the average accepted applicant at a Top 5 school, they would likely excel at a top 15 or 20 school. But an African-American student accepted at a top 15 school will face the same problem. That’s because the African-American students with the same scores as the average student accepted at a top 15 school, will have been offered admission to a top 5 school. It’s turtles all the way down.

      For the record, I haven’t looked up the actual numbers and pulled the ones here pretty much out of my butt. However, the mismatch between students and schools is very real.

  4. California banned AA in 1996. America’s bigger problem imo …

    “The number of women attending college increased in the 1960s and accelerated in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1994, the sex ratio was balanced at 50-50. In the almost 30 years since, the gap has widened in the opposite direction. Today there are about 40 men for every 60 women on many college campuses.”

    This adds to the Dobb’s decision overall impact on female voters and men also. Re: the 2024 potus election ~ stay tuned!

    Interesting times, eh.

    1. These numbers have been about the same since 1990. I graduated around then from an engineering school which was mostly men. There was a nursing school there which was practically all women. I don’t think anything much is changing. More men probably do things that don’t involve going to a college, they have to do something. There are plenty of good paying trades that don’t involve college. Anyone who has gone to college knows that most people there never do anything much with their degree. Colleges are more than happy to take people’s money and most go to college for the experience.

      1. Agree mostly re: degrees iow college is basically a waste of time & $$$ especially with the exponential rise in cost from the ’60s ’til now. Of course I’m prejudiced not having a (4) yr degree, but even my associate degree didn’t do me much good. And yes, good paying jobs are out there without going to college if one is motivated.

        Race is still a factor as forming a more perfect union is still a work in progress. Part of scotus AA decision may have swung on America electing Barack Hussein Obama potus iow, yes Virginia, things have improved in America. But would argue all things were possible after (8) yrs of Cheney/Bush. 😉 Again digressing. The yin/yang of politics.

        1. That’s if your overly-analytical take is via a metric of “good-paying jobs”. The right way to think of the main benefit of going to college, IMO, is that you pick up the lingo, & that’s your ticket into the club.

          You may be individually capable of opening your own doors thru the force of your personality. But if not, club membership provides a benefit of the doubt in hiring, raises, & especially, promotions.

    2. I just noticed your 50-50 in 1994 comment. Not by the data I’m seeing, not even close. There were more women going to college than men in 1980 and reached about the same ratio as today in 1990. Nothing has changed since.

        • The great explosion happened in the period of social upheaval in the 1970s, when the number soared from 41% female undergrads in 1970 to 51% in 1979 – a full point per year.
        • There were two reasons for the rapid change:

          (1) Substantially more women went to college;
          (2) The end of the draft meant that men no longer HAD to go to college to avoid service. In 1971, with war raging and the draft still in place, 58% of male high school grads enrolled in college. The draft ended in 1973, and by 1976 the percentage had fallen all the way down to 47%.

        • The female share of undergrads increased another 6 points by 2002, a moderate growth rate of a quarter point per year in that span (1979-2002).
        • The number barely moved from 2002 (57% females) to 2019 (still 57%).
        • Then the pandemic seemed to affect the trend. In the past three years, it has soared to 60%, meaning a recent growth rate at the 1970s level of a full point per year.
    3. And yet you had schools like UC San Bernardino find reasons to get rid of as many GI Bill students in the early 00s and switch all their marketing and internal messaging as “your university for Latino education.”

      Heard it. Happened to my late wife when she was one credit hour away from her degree on the GI Bill. When she went to do whatever she had to do to exit, the big line at the registrar or whatever started talking to each other: all GI bill of various races and genders. The UC system decided that school was gonna be Latino central and that was that, and they made room by throwing out all those pesky free ride vets and vet kids.

      California may have said they threw out AA but in reality they did no such thing. I lived there from when that happened in 96 til 07, and it was very openly argued that the law passed, the state didn’t like it, and they just openly ignored it…with moves like the one I’m talking about.

      And oh look, it folds right into what Scoop is saying.

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