Today, Boston GlobePublished my opinion on the Supreme Court’s role in Harvard/UNC Chapel Hill case challenging racial preference in college admissions. Here is an excerpt.
Recently, the Supreme Court decided to hear two appeals challenging the practice of using racial preferences for higher education. Students for Fair Admissions against Harvard College and an identical case against University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Two important points are being raised in these cases: Harvard’s apparent policy to discriminate against Asian American applicants and Harvard’s flawed “diversity” reasoning for racial preferences. It would be a good idea for the Supreme Court to reject diversity theories and declare that anti-Asian discrimination does not differ from other types of discrimination.
Affirmative action in college admissions began as an effort to compensate historically discriminated-against minority groups — especially Black people — for the many years of oppression they suffered. But the Supreme Court has largely rejected the compensatory justice rationale for such policies and instead endorsed the theory that racial discrimination in admissions is sometimes permissible to achieve educationally valuable “diversity….“
Harvard and UNC use a variety of racial classifications that are quite crude. The “Hispanic” and “Latino” categories combine diverse groups like Puerto Ricans (Cubaans, Mexicans), Cubans, Mexicans, and Cubans. The term “Asian”, which encompasses over half the global population (including Indians, Chinese and Japanese), is used to describe more than 50% of all people. Arabs, native-born white Protestants, and Swedish immigrants are all classified as “white….” This arbitrary and broad classification amounts to a crude racist stereotyping, which courts will reject in nearly any context. These classifications don’t accurately reflect the unique characteristics of each group or their potential contribution to educationly beneficial diversity.
If applied consistently, the diversity theory could justify a vast range of racial and ethnic discrimination…. This kind of near-blank check for racial discrimination is dubious under any plausible theory of constitutional interpretation, whether originalist or living-constitutionalist….
Maybe the court needs to reconsider the compensatory justice argument for racial preferences. It is much more convincing. It is unclear how discrimination against a particular group of members can be corrected by discrimination. Favor of an entirely different set of people years later, whose only connection to the victims is that they are members of the same race….
If compensatory justice is the true purpose, schools should at least make extensive efforts to ensure that the beneficiaries of racial preferences really have been victimized by discrimination themselves, as opposed merely being members of the same demographic group as others who have.
The article will discuss unfortunate parallels between elite college admissions policies today that discriminate against Asians and those of the early 20th century, which sought to limit the number Jewish students in these elite colleges.
In this article from April 2021, I discuss the topic of anti-Asian discrimination more in depth. The HillThe site also lists examples of the left- and right-leaning political parties. This is one issue where each side of the political spectrum loves to condemn the actions of others while overlooking their own.
A personal note. I’m a Globe reader from elementary school and I grew-up in Boston. This is my first piece that was published in the Globe. It is ironic that multiple pieces were published in national media, such as The Washington PostThe Wall Street Journal Before finally being able to put one in my hometown newspaper. Better late than never.