Affirmative Action Is Not To Blame

Affirmative Action, Affirmative Action Policies, Policy of Affirmative Action

Every year, we denote the best editorial or piece of investigative journalism on college admissions. An editorial up on “Above The Law” today will certainly be a contender for the 2017 prize.

The United States Department of Justice, under the leadership of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has signaled that it will challenge the practice of Affirmative Action under the guise that the practice fosters the discrimination of Asian American applicants. From our soapbox here at Ivy Coach, we have on so many occasions belabored the point that while Asian Americans do indeed face unjust discrimination by America’s most elite institutions, the practice of Affirmative Action is not to blame. To single out Affirmative Action in fact is simplistic and, well, just plain wrong.

Legacies, Development Cases, and More

We’ve wondered aloud why our esteemed Attorney General didn’t think to attack the practice of legacy admission (we do it as often as we brush our teeth almost!), the admission of the children of alumni who often don’t have the grades and scores of Asian American applicants with whom they’re competing. We’ve wondered aloud why our esteemed Attorney General didn’t think to attack the practice of flagging applicants as development cases, the admission of the children of major donors to a university. People are not supposed to receive any compensation for their tax-deductible donations and yet the children of these donors are receiving preferential treatment in admissions. Instead, our esteemed Attorney General is attacking the admission of underrepresented minorities, of low-income students, of students who will be the first in their families to attend college over Asian American applicants. The attack is, in a word, misguided.

Affirmative Action Is Not To Blame

But while we’ve belabored our point on the pages of our college admissions blog, in so many news publications over the last few weeks, from the tops of the mountaintops of Lake Tahoe, from far below sea level at the disappearing Dead Sea, Elie Mystal just happens to say it better. We came across Elie’s editorial today in “Above The Law” entitled “Justice Is Investigating Harvard For Affirmative Action? Bruh, Bring It On!,” and we just had to share it with our loyal readers because they’re in for a treat. First, as a word of warning, the editorial contains some profanities but we suspect our regular readers won’t mind. The piece is well argued. It is well written. And it’s spot on.

Just to give you a taste, here’s how Mystal opens the piece, “I can’t speak for every African-American Harvard student or alum. But speaking just for myself (and, pretty much, every Ivy League black person I know), I’m unconcerned that Department of Justice is investigating Harvard University over its affirmative-action policies. If Attorney General Jeff Sessions is looking for some black people to kick around, PLEASE bring that mess to me and all my friends. We are smart. We are strong. We can defend ourselves from state-sponsored racism. I WELCOME the opportunity to deal with this Confederate chieftain posing as law enforcement, within the walls of our well-defended ivory tower.” Well said indeed.

Please do check out Elie Mystal’s piece. You’ll be glad you did. And, after you’ve had the chance to read it, we’d love to hear your thoughts on our Justice Department’s intention to challenge the legality of Affirmative Action so come on back and post a Comment below. We look forward to hearing from our readers.


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