The Other Affirmative Action

Via atrios and TAPPED, Jack and Jill Politics and my old blogging friend Prometheus 6:

At the elite colleges – dim White kids
By Peter Schmidt
September 28, 2007

AUTUMN AND a new academic year are upon us, which means that selective colleges are engaged in the annual ritual of singing the praises of their new freshman classes.

Surf the websites of such institutions and you will find press releases boasting that they have increased their black and Hispanic enrollments, admitted bumper crops of National Merit scholars or became the destination of choice for hordes of high school valedictorians. Many are bragging about the large share of applicants they rejected, as a way of conveying to the world just how popular and selective they are.

What they almost never say is that many of the applicants who were rejected were far more qualified than those accepted. Moreover, contrary to popular belief, it was not the black and Hispanic beneficiaries of affirmative action, but the rich white kids with cash and connections who elbowed most of the worthier applicants aside.

White Man’s Burden.


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    • Armando on October 5, 2007 at 6:38 pm

    I am done ranting today.

    the site is all yours my fellow Dharmatists.

    (BTW, the is my entry in the “what do we call ourselves” contest.)

  1. that yesterday he was explaining to someone how to find another soldier.  Because soldiers all dress alike you are left with describing physical characteristics if there is a big bunch of you grouped together on a field.  You can talk rank but after that you are left with hair color, build and very often in the Army ethnicity is given out without too much thought.  So my husband was explaining on how to find  this Lt Colonel by calling him a really tall skinny white guy and the other soldier asked him if he really just called the guy a tall skinny “white” guy.  My husband said yes and white isn’t the default setting anymore.  He’s always interesting….keeps a girl watching.

  2. Because it has always been like this, no?  What is so “special” about colleges admitting a good number of white students whose parents can pay the (increasingly outrageous) tuition?  Maybe we all bought into the idea of financial aid allowing the less well-off to go to college.  Not unless they are stellar students.  For the ordinary student, there’s community college.  Prove yourself there, and you can move on to state college or university.  What is relatively new is the fact that there is a pretty vast public higher ed sector out there.

    In the past, young men went to college to get the lingo, meet the right kind of people and learn how to talk to them, which would help them to get a job within a respectable profession, originally the ministry, or perhaps the law or medicine, later business became somewhat less unacceptable.  Or, perhaps academia.  No one would have made the mistake a hundred years ago in thinking all the college boys were brilliant.  Some were.  Among the ones who were no doubt you would find people like our friend Jack Kerouac, brilliant Canuck, or WEB Dubois, brilliant grandson of African American slaves, or Stanley Kunitz, a Jew.  These guys were all in their way, outcasts from the establishment as well. 

    It was the GI Bill that changed that whole dynamic, when a load of “ethnic” white veterans inundated the colleges and universities, and many African-Americans and other racial minorities also found they had the means to attend instutions of higher learning, if they could get past the racial prejudice at the front door.

    Right now, the financial aid is out there, but it is basically up to the colleges to allocate it (or leverage it) as they see fit.  Perhaps instead the system should be reformed so that the money should go with the person, and not with the school.  That way individuals could tap into a fund to help finance their education, regardless of the school.

  3. jack and jill will get with the program: “break” from professional courtesy in order to “break” from conventional wisdom in order to “break” from the bullshit AA-excluding-diaspora “community” inferiority complex. Then Atrios wouldn’t be digging for facts about minority disenfranchisement.

    Members might actually shake their neurotic philanthropic symptoms and snap the “system.” Then JJ wouldn’t be following “Peter Schmidt, deputy editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education,” for clues on how to refute systemic acceptance of discriminatory business practice. JJ could proudly say, some of our dues paid for this investigation.

    Like that’s gonna happen? Read BlackAgendaReport‘s CBC Report Card including district representation of >25% AA voters, where you KNOW there’s a JJ chapter with dance school.


    • Turkana on October 5, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    when there was a debate over affirmative action admissions at the uc schools, and some were saying that legacy admissions are white-boy affirmative action, the dean or admissions director or something of uc davis said: we could fill our entire freshman class with 4.0 asian kids.

    • oculus on October 5, 2007 at 8:55 pm

    except when he is doing his job as a prosecutor or when he talks about not getting into his first choice of law schools:  Boalt Hall. This was pre-Bakke and my friend is still pretty bitter. 

    • documel on October 5, 2007 at 10:15 pm

    This discussion is barely scratching the surface–the real problem is life after college/high school.  Many unions are made up of many generations of the same families.  Many elite banks and brokerages hire the children of high society to gain entree into the world of the rich and the famous.

    Equal opportunity is an ideal that never approached reality.  Ethnicity and religion have always been considered, and meritocracy will never truly exist.  Many laws have been written, and the situation has improved, but there will never be blind admittance–be it college or workplace.  When it comes to gender or sexual preference, the road to be traveled is even harder–and thus, less attainable.

    In sum, people ain’t fair–neither is life–and that sucks.  Our goal should be to lessen the hurdles and work for more laws–with criminal statutes.  Throw the fat old WASP man in jail when he strays.  It will be hard to catch him, he’ll have the top lawyers, but he’ll sweat and maybe he’ll be less obvious.

    Finally, past and present students of Yale–look what your alma mater has created.  Yale should be the first ivy to eliminate legacy.

  4. of the business world’s assholianism to the academic world as a net benefit.  True explaining my definition of “business world’s assholianism” would entail an entire book.

    “dim white kids”. Yes, well if one is out to erase a generation and it’s attributes.  There you have it.

    I know, you have no idea what I’m talking about but I’m 52, and I positively know my “golden years”, hey, I’ve got that 80 MPH run into the bridge abutment all picked out.

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