More than three-fourths of Americans oppose the use of racial preferences in college admissions, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released on Tuesday. What is more, large majorities of blacks and Hispanics oppose the practice. Yet it continues to be justified by university administrators stuck in a 1970’s view of racial relations.
According to the poll, 71 percent of non-whites, including 78 percent of blacks and 68 percent of Hispanics, oppose race-based admissions preferences. Self-described liberals oppose it by a 2-1 margin. And the unpopularity of preferences is nothing new. Opposition has been roughly this high for more than a decade. Yet it is going to take a U.S. Supreme Court case to end the discrimination.
The court is set to rule soon on a case that challenged race-based admissions policies at the University of Texas-Austin. Supposedly the preferences exist to remedy the residual effects of past racial discrimination. But desegregation took place decades ago. Moreover, the negative effects of this ongoing racial discrimination (even if done with the best of intentions, it is still racial discrimination) are profoundly negative.
Minorities accepted to schools for which they would not otherwise qualify have lower graduation rates and are less successful later in life. The preferences also can cause distrust and resentment among whites, which hurts minorities and hinders race relations.
American institutions should not discriminate on the basis of race. Three-fourths of Americans get this. Why don’t university administrators?