No Racial Discrimination in College Admissions, Really?

No Racial Discrimination in College Admissions, Really?

The point is simple. Minorities have been discriminated against all of their lives, and their parents’ lives, and so on. Attention to a full student evaluation for minorities is the last attempt to partially overcome this and give applicants the chances that they deserve in order to rectify discrimination.

The Trump Deceptors have a lifetime of labeling bad things with common phrases that make them sound good. Like selling a copied real estate handbook for your life savings, and calling it Trump University . Like “Zero Tolerance” for the ancient evil of separating children from their parents. Like promises of great healthcare for everybody, at less cost. Like cleaner air and water than ever before. “No Racial Discrimination” in a system full of hidden discrimination.

Let’s start with the Legacy admissions policy. It’s probably hard to get data on private universities legacy admissions. In ancient times, they would go twice as far down the admissions ratings to admit a legacy. This is done because the parents of legacies are highly successful graduates who will give money to the university’s endowment. Examples of people who went to Harvard are Mark Zuckerberg, world’s second richest man, and Bill Gates, world’s third richest man. Guess what color the legacies are who’s parents went to Harvard 30 or so years ago?

On the other hand, why restrict this monetary advantage just to legacies? For example, it is said that Jared Kushner’s father donated $2.5 million to get him into Harvard.

Then we look at expensive prep schools which greatly increase the admission chances of their students. These are high costs ventures, again weighted to whites. At a prep school, you can also become class president and captain of the unrated football team for a semester, along with everyone else in your class.

Admission at Harvard takes a 4.1 GPA. How do you get a higher than 4.0? Taking Advanced Placement classes which have grades as high as a 4.5. Problem is, poor schools do not have many Advanced Placement classes.

I really don’t care about Harvard, or its admissions or legal suits. It admits few students in the first place, and they are all exceptional in various ways. I am in fact impressed that they have now achieved parity between white and minority students. However, this is by counting Asian-American students as minorities, which is not universally accepted. Harvard can take care of itself. It is all the other students in the country that I care about.

The other standard for admissions is the SAT tests and scores. It costs money for SAT prep courses, and for practice tests. It takes some money to even repeat the tests to get higher scores.

Extra-curricular activities are now on a pay-to-play basis. These now count for elite emissions. Even teachers in poor schools have to pay for materials. Poor schools have old edition reused books, and sometimes too few of them.

Poor high schools don’t even have adequate counsellors to guide students whose parents are not college graduates, or who do not know the ropes for college preparation.

Poor parents who work are not available to chauffeur young students to their extracurricular activities, or to pay for private music or sports lessons.

Poor students feel they have to work to help support their families, or to have spending money, or to buy a cheap car.

I have been to a couple of talks where it is shown that upward mobility is almost dead in America. While Harvard may be able to provide scholarships for poor students, they have to pay most of their own way, as well as go into debt at most universities.

The UC System is a leader in waiving or reducing tuition for less than wealthy families. The voters of California passed Proposition 209 in 1996 outlawing racial consideration in admissions and faculty hiring, by 55%. This has seriously hurt enrollment of African-American students.

UC Irvine is connected to Asian-American areas and Latino-American students. We have successfully recruited these students, and have been rated a top university in upward mobility.

Trump’s tax cuts for the top 1%, and increased debt for the rest of us does not help the situation. His destruction of the affordable care act was going to eliminate health care for 23 million poor people. He is still trying to eliminate health care for people with pre-existing conditions. Trump’s entire social policy will effectively discriminate against minorities in college admissions and affordability.

If Trump and Jeff Sessions were really going to remove discrimination for poor students, they would have to back Democratic social programs for decades and generations.

It is not even clear to me how Trump can dictate admissions policies to private universities. And public ones are run by the States, and have been able to set their own admissions policies. While the Federal Government dispenses research funds, they affect only graduate students, not undergraduates. They also are required to be disbursed on a peer review basis, not on a social manipulation basis for undergrads.

This sounds very much like the conservative Supreme Court deciding that the Voting Rights Act was no longer needed, and letting all of the previously discriminating states to return to voter registration, voter ID, and gerrymandering discrimination. Trump is essentially claiming that the need for affirmative action is over. That is further from the truth than before Trump’s policies.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
This entry was posted in Education, Equal Treatment Under the Law, Immigration Policy, Politics, Poverty, UC Admissions, Upward Mobility. Bookmark the permalink.

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