Walter E. Williams

Last week's U.S. Supreme Court 6-2 ruling in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action et al. upheld Michigan's constitutional amendment that bans racial preferences in admission to its public universities. Justice Sonia Sotomayor lashed out at her colleagues in a bitter dissent, calling them "out of touch with reality." She went on to make the incredible argument that the amendment, which explicitly forbids racial discrimination, itself amounts to racial discrimination. Her argument was that permissible "race-sensitive admissions policies," the new name for racial preferences, both serve the compelling interest of obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body and inure people to the benefit of racial minorities. By the way, no one has come up with hard evidence of the supposed "educational benefits" that come from a racially mixed student body, and there's mounting evidence of harm done to minorities through academic mismatching.

Far more important than the legal battles over racial preferences in college admissions is the question of why they are being called for in the first place. The SAT's purpose is to predict how well a student will perform in college classes. Blacks score at least 100 points lower than whites in each of the assessment areas -- critical reading, math and writing. Asians score higher than whites in math and writing. SAT scores are also reported for Mexican-Americans, Puerto Ricans, Indians and others. Blacks score lower than these minorities, who themselves score lower than whites and Asians.


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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