Affirmative-action angst

The earliest known image of Dartmouth  College, Hanover, N.H., in the February 1793 issue of Massachusetts Magazine.  The college, officially founded in 1769, was an outgrowth of a Connecticut school for educating Native Americans founded in 1755.  

The earliest known image of Dartmouth  College, Hanover, N.H., in the February 1793 issue of Massachusetts Magazine.  The college, officially founded in 1769, was an outgrowth of a Connecticut school for educating Native Americans founded in 1755.

 

From Robert Whitcomb's "Digital Diary,'' in GoLocal24.com

In other education news, the Trump administration, playing to its white male base, wants to sue colleges to block affirmative-action programs aimed at increasing the number of people of color on campuses. The implication is that black and Hispanic students get far more help than do white kids. (Asian-American students are put in another category.)

I’m not crazy about formal affirmative-action programs but colleges have, and should have, many things to consider when putting together classes. For example, many of the most prestigious colleges, including the Ivy League, give a big preference to “legacies,’’ those students, most of whom are white, with alumni parents or other close relatives.

Indeed, rich (mostly white) kids get a big advantage in admissions. First, they (or, rather, their families) can pay full tuition, a not minor consideration for admissions officers. Second, being already affluent, they and their families are naturally more likely to donate to their colleges before and after graduation – especially the legacy students.  Thus Jared Kushner, with mediocre high school marks, got into Harvard – after his father donated $2.5 million to that illustrious institution. It’s unknown if Donald Trump’s rapacious multimillionaire real-estate operator father, Fred, wrote a donation check to get young Donald Trump into the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School as a transfer student from Fordham.

Finally, a thought experiment forwhite people: Do you really think that life would have been easier for you as a black person?

Probablythe fairest way to  do college affirmative action in our increasingly genealogically plutocratic society is to make more of an effort to enable low-and-middle-income to attend. That would particularly benefit people of color, as well as poor whites.