Racial preferences undermine the great principle of America’s founding—that “all men are created equal.” Individual equality does not guarantee equal outcomes, but it does support equal opportunities.
In the past, when racism in our nation led to chains being placed upon Africans, the principle of individual equality led to those fetters being removed. Justice required that then, and justice now requires removing roadblocks to prevent Asian-American students from reaching their dreams.
Sarah, a young African-American woman I’ve known for more than a decade, will apply soon to college. She’s gifted, motivated, and wise beyond her years.
Sarah thrived in a neighborhood beset by sexual predators, addiction, and crime. I hope admissions officers will take into account the social and economic hardships she has faced and recognize her potential.
But I hope they won’t separate Sarah into a special group because of her skin color. All students should have a chance to attend the college that best suits their academic potential and level of preparation.
In order for that to happen, college admissions officers will have to put aside racial preferences. Contrary to popular belief, racial preferences are not the best way to help African-American and Hispanic students to achieve. Mounting evidence shows that these policies hurt them and inflict harm on innocent bystanders.
A federal court in Boston will look into this issue today when it hears a lawsuit by the group Students for Fair Admissions against Harvard University, my alma mater. Students for Fair Admissions represents Asian-American students who assert they were denied admission because of the school’s racial preferences.
But the lawsuit is about more than just whether Harvard has unfairly discriminated against one group. It pits two conflicting ideas about progress against each other: equal opportunity and equal outcomes.