I do not want the inpatient officer to consider that maybe here and there was someone who underestimated them somewhere because both of their parents are not white. In the 2020s, it will have happened so rarely to them, as upper-middle-class people living among America’s most racially enlightened blue American white people, that I’m pretty sure it will not affect them existentially more than that. Made me. growing in the 1970s and 1980s.
I do not want the inpatient assistant to consider my children’s ‘diversity’. First, their difference from the other children in their neighborhoods, classrooms, and lives is something of an abstraction. They wear Old Navy clothes, watch (and rewatch) “Frozen” and “Encanto” and play a lot of Roblox, just like their peers. And I will never forget a line from a guidebook that black students at Harvard wrote two decades ago: “We’re not here to give Kate and Timmy diversity training.” Yep – and if we pay tribute to the enterprising undergraduate who wrote it, we have to question the general thinking in the various amicus panties that will be offered in the Harvard and UNC cases about how colored children are vital for a campus because of their diversity, which reiterates Harvard President’s statement this week that “considering race as a factor among many in admissions decisions produces a more diverse student body that strengthens the learning environment for all.”
“Diversity” has become one of the expressions (and ideas) that make us feel cozy inside, like freshly baked blueberry muffins and “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” But how would you like to look a black student in the eye and say, “Much of the reason we wanted you here on our campus is your differences from most other students and the life lessons they can learn from them. “? Someone says, “I want my kids to interact with black students before they go out into the world.” I ask, “What was it about black people that you hoped your children would learn?”
There is, of course, opposition to this. Some will say we need to maintain racial preferences in admissions until we have eliminated the inequalities between black, Latino, Native American, and white America – no differences in wealth, educational opportunities, health outcomes, or access to the ballot. (Note that Asian Americans are broadly a somewhat different matter, which we may be able to address a second time.) I understand that argument, but consider it deficient for two very straightforward reasons.
First, where is the evidence that maintaining race preferences in admissions to the country’s most selective universities is the only, the best, or even a reasonably effective way to correct these inequalities? In individual cases, some colored students will certainly receive and take advantage of opportunities that they might not otherwise have had. But the persistent wealth gap after generations of positive action suggests that somewhere along the way we have missed the mark, politically speaking.
Second, if you have raised your children in the midst of economic hardship, you will most likely understand and even support that these circumstances be taken into account in their evaluation of a university, even if you are not part of a racial minority. But suppose it is not your circumstances that you are middle class or taller and not black, Latino or Native American. How would you feel if your children were admitted to a university because of their “diversity” from other children instead of, well, their own?