Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Thinking About Preferences

In some of my workshops over the past year, I've encountered people who carry a very relaxed view when it comes to quotas on the basis of race, sex or national origin.

After all, they say, schools give preferences to children of alumni and to jocks.

What's the big deal?

But even if we set aside the issue of illegality, isn't preference on the basis of race, etc., supposed to carry a greater stigma than preference on the basis of alumni ties? We didn't fight a civil war over alumni preferences, but we did fight a bloody one, in large part, over an extreme system of racial preference.

Remove that stigma and you are likely to see more discrimination in the future, not less.

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