Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Downside of Diversity

The letter dates to June 9, 1969… to the time when Yale Law School first decided to enact diversity quotas. Written by California appellate judge Macklin Fleming to Yale Law Dean Louis Pollak, it counts as eerily prescient. John Hinderaker calls Fleming a prophet.

Here are some of the salient points. You decide whether Fleming showed foresight. And if the outcome of the experiment was foreseeable, why have so many schools signed on.

Anyway, Fleming wrote:

From your remarks and those of Dean Poor, I understand that 43 black students have been admitted to next fall’s class, of whom 5 qualified under the regular standards and 38 did not. … You also said that the future policy of the Law School will be to admit 10 per cent of each entering class without regard to qualification under regular standards.

He continued, that Yale had now established two separate law schools:

With the adoption of its new admission policy the Law School has taken a long step toward the practice of apartheid and the maintenance of two law schools under one roof. Already there has been established in the Law School building a Black Law Students Union lounge with furniture and law books provided by the school. And I learned from Dean Poor that the 12 black students in the present first year class who were admitted under relaxed standards have not done well academically. Dean Poor attributed this deficiency to the pre-occupation of these students with racial activities. I think it equally logical to attribute their preoccupation with racial activities to their lack of qualification to compete on even terms in the study of law.

Since black students admitted to fulfill a diversity quota were more likely to be at the bottom of their class, they would start feeling intellectually inferior:

If in a given class the great majority of the black students are at the bottom of the class, this factor is bound to instill, unconsciously at least, some sense of intellectual superiority among the white students and some sense of intellectual inferiority among the black students.

Next, Fleming explained what might happen when a group of students was consigned an inferior status:

No one can be expected to accept an inferior status willingly. The black students, unable to compete on even terms in the study of law, inevitably will seek other means to achieve recognition and self-expression. This is likely to take two forms. First, agitation to change the environment from one in which they are unable to compete to one in which they can. Demands will be made for elimination of competition, reduction in standards of performance, adoption of courses of study which do not require intensive legal analysis, and recognition for academic credit of sociological activities which have only an indirect relationship to legal training.

Given that America’s universities have adopted the same policies, we should perhaps not be surprised that they have tried to downplay competition and practice rampant grade inflation.

And, of course, the students who cannot compete in the classroom will take their struggle outside of the classroom, to protest on the street.

Fleming explained:

Second, it seems probable that this group will seek personal satisfaction and public recognition by aggressive conduct, which, although ostensibly directed at external injustices and problems, will in fact be primarily motivated by the psychological needs of the members of the group to overcome feelings of inferiority caused by lack of success in their studies. Since the common denominator of the group of students with lower qualifications is one of race this aggressive expression will undoubtedly take the form of racial demands–the employment of faculty on the basis of race, a marking system based on race, the establishment of a black curriculum and a black law journal, an increase in black financial aid, and a rule against expulsion of black students who fail to satisfy minimum academic standards.

And, of course, a diversity program that favors some groups will necessarily disfavor applicants from other groups. At the time Fleming wrote Ivy League schools were working to overcome their discriminatory policies against Jewish students. A quota system that admitted unqualified black applicants would necessarily exclude more qualified Jewish applicants:

A quota policy particularly discriminates against minority groups which have achieved disproportionate representation in a particular field. Such a policy discriminated severely against Jewish applicants for admission to medical schools in the 1930’s. That policy was undoubtedly justified by its supporters as one designed to preserve a proportion of gentile students in medical schools equivalent to their proportion in the general population. Currently, the orientals in California, roughly 1 per cent of the population, comprise in some instances 30 per cent of the enrollment in certain engineering and technical schools. Were a quota system to be introduced in those schools in order to favor black and Mexican-American applicants, the first losers would be applicants from the presently disproportionately represented oriental group.

Amazingly the more the diversity policy fails the more America's universities adopt it and continue to try to adapt to it.


trigger warning said...

An interesting exercise for the reader: review the Association of American Medical Colleges data sheets (avail. online) of the MCAT scores, GPAs, and medical school acceptance rates of blacks, as compared to Caucasians and Asians.

Then, after a session of Positive Jungian Brainwashing, visualize diverse medical outcomes.

Anonymous said...

Do you have a link?