Doing Affirmative Action
Michigan Law Review First Impressions, Vol. 111, p. 27, 2013
11 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2013 Last revised: 11 Aug 2014
Date Written: April 2, 2013
Based on the two years I worked in the Admissions Office at Princeton University, I argue that many opponents of racial preferences misunderstand how selective universities evaluate applicants and, as a result, their policy arguments are weaker than generally believed. More specifically, I rebut three major critiques put forth by skeptics of affirmative action. First, I claim that racial preferences are less robust than most critics imagine. Second, I argue that affirmative action imposes fewer costs on both whites and blacks than critics indicate. Finally, I show that racial preferences have less weighty moral consequences than critics believe. In fact, an attack on affirmative action — divorced from a larger project of increasing fairness in college admissions — amounts to an attack on black social mobility.
Keywords: Affirmative Action, Equal Protection, Fairness, Athletics, Admissions Preferences, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin
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