There are few issues that are more emotionally charged than affirmative action and few issues align opinion more clearly along racial lines. Less than half of white America supports affirmative action whereas seven out of 10 blacks support it. Less than one fourth of white Americans believe that race should be a factor in college admission policies, whereas half of blacks feel it should be a consideration.
Given the raw emotion that factors into attitudes on this issue, I doubt that Sander's study will produce any new major black initiative to support elimination of racial preferences.
However, I think it would be well worthwhile for black community leaders to take this study under advisement.
Although it may be reasonable to challenge Sander's methodology, he certainly cannot be painted with any ideological brush. This effort is not the product of a conservative think tank. If there is some reasonable probability that Sander's conclusions are correct, and there certainly is, then the conclusions that racial preferences actually impede black progress are serious.
While academics go on about the validity of Sander's analysis, blacks should make the safest and most prudent bet and assume that it is accurate. We should focus our attention on the real problem, which is that our kids are not getting the education at the K-12 levels to prepare them for the challenges of university life. The data that demonstrates this is beyond question.
The most important opportunity we have for revitalizing K-12 education is to provide alternatives to the public school system through school choice. Polls show equal support for this reform among blacks and whites. The task now is getting tangible plans in place to provide schooling alternatives for every black (and white) child.
We also need to mobilize our communities to address the single biggest factor that influences a child's success in school. Home life.
The preferences we should be worried about in our community are preferences for values over meaninglessness, love and marriage over promiscuity and abuse, and the pursuit of knowledge over the pursuit of politics. Regardless of the debate about Richard Sander's data, it is our success in these areas that will determine our children's future.