The Irony of “Diversity”

Douglas Laycock, a law professor at the University of Texas who was involved in representing the university’s defense of race preferences in the Hopwood case, has a thoughtful discussion of how Texas, and other schools, should go about implementing Gratz and Grutter. (Via Howard Bashman)

Laycock emphasized Grutter‘s finding a compelling governmental interest in intellectual diversity, which he encouragingly portrays as “including but not limited to racial and ethnic diversity,” but also that Grutter “found a compelling interest in ensuring that higher education, as the path to leadership in the next generation, be visibly open to applicants of all races and ethnicities.”

Not just open, but “visibly” open. Thus the irony: in order to highlight the fact that they do not discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity, universities are empowered … to discriminate on the basis of race and ethnicity.

One other virtue of Laycock’s article is that he unambiguously and forthrightly confirms one of the strong criticisms of racial preference, which is that it is simply race norming by another name:

Affirmative action has been a program to maximize the dual goals of diversity and academic excellence, by enabling selective programs to admit the very best students of each ethnicity.

I have made this point before a number of times, and anyone who wants cites should let me know.

As I pointed out here, Congress actually outlawed race norming, even where such norming is defended as essential to producing diversity. But then, Congress also provided, in Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, that

no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be … subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. [42 U.S.C. § 2000d]

A lot of good that did.

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