Monday, June 04, 2007

Questioning Affirmative Action

State Senator Glenn Grothman pokes the wasp nest (if this is the appropriate metaphor) that is Affirmative Action politics, and is quickly met with the menacing buzz of aroused bureaucrats. Madison’s blog darling covers the basic points while commenters meander through arguments on both side of the racial preference debate.

Althouse: I understand Grothman's point that diversity-based admissions ought to connect to some real diversity that the student will bring to the classroom. But isn't his solution worse than the problem he cites? We're going to ask students to prove what percent of a race they are? That's really ugly, worse than abolishing affirmative action altogether I would think.

I believe Grothman’s point is that if government is going to offer preferential benefits then there are going to be claimants with marginal qualifications. Does anyone truly believe regulations concluding Tiger Woods merits special assistance over and above the majority of the population don’t need tweaking? Of course, the special interest groups fall back to their dogma.

David Giroux, a spokesman for the UW System, said there was a "compelling need for diversity" in public universities and that it would be a shame for the Legislature to move against affirmative action, which he described as a "divisive issue." "Diversity benefits all students, improving the quality of their education and their prospects for career success," he said.

As discussed in the comment section, the cliché about the educational benefits of “diversity” is wearing a little thin. Where exactly is the evidence demonstrating that a cultural mixture produces better anything? The most diverse industry in America is entertainment and between Brittany shaving her head, Lindsay crashing her car and Paris negotiating for the top bunk in lock down, I simply fail to see the knowledge multiplier effect.