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January 19, 2003

More on Michigan

He hadn't updated in a while last time I checked, so I missed the fact that gTexts has been serving up some good commentary and discussion about the Michigan admissions case for a couple of days. To catch up, start here. That's a great post, but in my favorite bit, g talks about the question of a kind of affirmative action for students whose parents or other ancestors attended a school, aka "legacy" students (like G.W. Bush). Many on the Right argue that this is a completely different and perfectly legitimate practice. G says:

I think this is unfair -- People who mention legacies aren't making a constitutional point but are offering a reminder of how screwed up our priorities are. Given all the advantages many children whose parents attended elite colleges already have (good schools, expensive test-prep courses, vocabulary-enhancing dinnertime conversation), it seems strange that we're fine with giving them an additional preference on top of that, but we have a national freak-out session if minorities who generally have a disadvantaged starting point get a similar opportunity. While legacy preferences are obviously not worse than minority preferences from a constitutional standpoint, they are worse in terms of things like, say, fairness, a decent society, or equality of educational opportunity.

This raises a question that I'm guessing others have already discussed somewhere, but if the point of Bush's participation in the Michigan case is supposedly to promote "diversity," is it possible that the notion of "diversity" has become something of screen to hide the increasing absence of the kinds of things g points to -- fairness, a decent society, or equality of educational opportunity? In other words, does Bush's support for this rather vague term, "diversity," actually mask his complete lack of concern for the kind of social justice the term tends to convey to many of his listeners?

Posted 01:11 PM | general politics

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