15 March 2003
And we can't jump, either
Julie Peterson, speaking for the University of Michigan on the value of their (and presumably other) affirmative-action programs, as quoted in the Michigan Daily:
One of the benefits of having significant numbers of minority students on our campus is to break down stereotypes. One of the powerful aspects of learning in a diverse environment is to be able to see differences within groups, and similarities across racial boundaries.
John Rosenberg boils this down to the essentials:
Racial preferences are primarily for the benefit of whites, who...need to be exposed to minorities. They are not justified as a benefit to the preferred minorities, who, as I've pointed out here and elsewhere, would receive the same diversity benefit even if they attended a less selective university.
Thus, when Michigan defends racial preferences, it is essentially arguing that it is not fair to white and Asian students to deprive them of the benefit of being exposed to minority students who would not be admitted but for the racial preferences given them.
"We're not letting you guys in because you need a break; we're letting you guys in because we, personally, are devoid of soul. Uh, Microsoft Word to your mother."
And the Law of Unintended Consequences (a cousin of Murphy's, no doubt) proves itself supreme once more.