The Trump Justice Department recently announced to its civil rights division through an internal memo that it would begin “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.” The Left responded by shamelessly insisting that Attorney General Jeff Sessions wanted to promote the enshrinement of white nationalism in admissions processes.
Kristen Clarke, the president of the liberal Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, insisted even challenging the notion of Affirmative Action “could invite a lot of chaos and unnecessarily create hysteria among colleges and universities who may fear that the government may come down on them for their efforts to maintain diversity on their campuses.”
I cannot help but reflect on these wise words from Thomas Sowell: “Some things are believed because they are demonstrably true, but many other things are believed simply because they have been asserted repeatedly.”
The black Hoover Institution economist has spent years proving the vitriolic language and policies of the Left have disproportionately hurt minorities’ socioeconomic wellbeing across the country and around the globe.
Now the DOJ has challenged Affirmative Action due to empirical evidence proving it damages majority and minority groups alike. One recent Princeton University study revealed that Affirmative Action policies gave black students a bonus of 230 points on SAT scores based on the 1600 scale. Meanwhile, Asian applicants were penalized 50 points. Despite the facts, the Left is in a panic.
Clarke argues that the Civil Rights Division was “created and launched to deal with the unique problem of discrimination faced by our nation’s most oppressed minority groups,” revealing that the leftist concept of “intersectionality” has crept into institutions obligated to protect the civil rights of all peoples. Yet, it is proven affirmative action disproportionately affects Asian and Jewish communities.
General consensus would claim Affirmative Action is intended to aid the black community. However, study after study concludes quite the opposite: Affirmative Action hurts the black community.
Sowell recounts when he was a professor at Cornell, the average white student scored in the 99th percentile on their SATs. Therefore, the professors taught to that level. Since black students were on average the 75th percentile, they lacked the proficient skill set to keep up. Sadly, this led to academic probation for 50% of Cornell’s black students. On standardized tests, Blacks admitted into MIT scored in the top 10% of math nationwide, but once at MIT they predominantly scored in the bottom 10%.
This has been found to be consistent across higher education. According to Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor Jr., students that were mismatched with their schools because of affirmative action were left in the “bottom 20% of their classes (and the bottom 10% in law school).”
Plenty of these minority students are capable of thriving at crawling vine institutions like UCLA or Vanderbilt, just not the more elite ivy league school that admitted them for the sake of diversity.
Campus administrators and professors like Sowell understand this. In fact, when anonymity protects academia from public scrutiny, a majority of professors oppose affirmative action in hiring and admissions according to a 1996 Rapper Poll.
Why does the Left continue to turn a blind eye to empirical evidence?
Thomas Sowell argues the reason is that the left would lose their moral pedestal. “Perhaps that is because, whatever its economic and social benefits, it offers few rewards to politicians, activists, and intellectuals or to those who wish to seem morally superior by denouncing society,” he says. “Only if the goal is the advancement of the less fortunate, rather than the aggrandizement of those who would be their guardians or spokesmen or elected officials.”
Sowell said this in 2004, and he is still exactly correct. Virtue signaling about the principles of affirmative action far outweigh its negative outcomes for the Left. If the Left actually addressed the issues of affirmative action, they’d be forced to look in the mirror and confront the reality that demagoguery, intersectionality, and virtue signaling have little to do with successful policy.
Below is a video of Thomas Sowell in 2013. WSJ live and the Hoover Institution came together to discuss his book “Intellectuals and Race.” Minutes 17-21 are the most pertinent to this article.