This story from USA Today has been all over major and minor media channels. I don’t know what is wrong with media these days–what are they trying to accomplish by posting this story? The story itself is almost satirical in nature if you take it as a commentary on affirmative action.
USA Today discusses the gender aspect of college admissions, suggesting that the young man benefited from his gender, but wisely ignores race, even though that is the first thing that comes to any reasonable person’s mind when reading this article.
There are a couple of things that stand out to me from this story:
1. The kid Kwasi, is a first generation American from Ghana. Presumably, he was born in the US. His parents are nurses and he probably grew up in a middle class neighborhood. He is not from ¨the ghetto¨ and most likely does not speak in ebonics. Most of the smart blacks in universities have African African backgrounds. On a similar note, most smart Hispanics at universities don’t look like anything the people who mow your lawns, build your houses, and pick your fruit. They are, as someone once put it to me, Conquistadors. I would guess that more than 80% of Hispanics at the top 50 schools in the US are white. Why the hell should Conquistadors benefit from affirmative action? If anything, they should be punished for the Conquistador sins their ancestors committed.
2. Kwasi plays viola and wants to be a doctor, just like your stereotypical Asian kid. When admission officers see an Asian kid who has good test scores, plays violin, and wants to be doctor, they yawn and shrug, because, well, it is just so stereotypical. Boring. Next. But a black kid? That has admission officers salivating. An Asian kid applying with a similar profile would probably have an OK chance at a few of the ¨lower ivy’s¨, but no real chance at HYP.
3. 2250 on the SAT is pretty solid score, especially for a black. While he will not be a top performer at any of these schools by any means, he will, based on his SAT score, and unlike your typical under-qualified minority, be able to handle the work and most likely make his way into a top medical school, again, by way of affirmative action.
I don’t think abolishing affirmative action at universities is politically feasible at the moment. There is too much opposition. I think schools should be mandated to publish admissions data by race if they wish to practice affirmative action. While everyone knows that blacks and Hispanics get in with lower scores than whites or Asians, the universities are pretending that the disparities really aren’t that large.
Public data on admissions by race would be embarrassing for both schools and minorities. I think it would be so embarrassing for pro-affirmative action parties that eventually they would begin to oppose affirmative action.