The following reader seems to agree with our Ivy League black reader, who suggests that if forms of non-racial, non-academic preferences are given to students all the time (e.g. legacy), then race-based affirmative action, however flawed, should be in the mix as well:
The question should be framed as one bigger than race: Should a school be allowed to consider its needs when building an incoming class? A school may desire to promote donations by giving a preference to donors, athletic reputation by giving preference to athletes, political currency by giving preference to the children of celebrities, or a more inclusive culture by giving preference to historically underrepresented classes. Should a school have this kind of discretion?
If so, it seems reasonable that a school should have it in all areas, including race, rather than disproportionately in those areas where discretion will tend to favor the wealthy.
Another reader suspects that I, or the black Ivy League reader, might have fabricated her email and its personal angst with affirmative action (for the record, her identity and Ivy status were confirmed prior to publication):
Why do white people always go get (or make up) some letter from some poor black student who says he or she was harmed or shamed by affirmative action? It’s such bullshit.
But I get it. As a black man whose undergrad years were right at the start of this—1969 to 1973—I’m used to white distraction and bullshit. I have never known a black student who said they were shamed by AA. Never. If you find one you should videotape them and put it up on Youtube.