Diversity, racism, higher education and the real cost of baked goods

If we want to make a point by holding bake sales with differential pricing based on race, let’s get the prices right. It is empirically well established that blacks and Hispanic Americans pay more for goods and services, while getting less than white Americans.

As I described in a recent law review article on Proposition 209, if we take a statistically typical black high school senior from the Bay Area, here’s what the differential pricing really looks like: “It is likely that his or her (hereafter his) African American parents earn substantially less than similarly educated whites. They are less likely to be hired or promoted than similarly qualified whites and earn less even if they do hold similar jobs. Even correcting for income, they have far less wealth than whites of similar income, in significant part because … (of discriminatory government policies). If these African American parents were able to buy a home, it was probably in a minority neighborhood, where home values rise less quickly than in white neighborhoods … They were more likely to need a car to get to and from that home, because subsidized public transportation is disproportionately provided to white neighborhoods … (but) car ownership remains out of reach for more African Americans than whites in part because car dealers charge whites less than blacks for identical cars, and dealers charge a higher interest rate to blacks than they do to whites with the same credit ratings.

“(In minority neighborhoods,) there is less attention paid to … public infrastructure investments, including garbage collection, street sweeping, road and sign repair, street lights, fire fighting, water and sewer systems, libraries, parks and other services that support neighborhood development. Why? Partly because the Republican Party has written off the black vote and often works to suppress it. But it is also because there are fewer black voters per capita because so many black men (currently one in four) have been disenfranchised by our criminal justice system, in which African Americans — as compared to similarly situated whites — are more likely to be (affected, compared with whites who have) engaged in the same conduct.

“What has his experience been at school? He has probably been disciplined more than white students who engaged in the same conduct. His school probably has far fewer resources than schools serving white neighborhoods, including textbooks, classroom space … computers, library resources, academic counseling, pre-college counseling, college preparatory classes, advanced placement classes … and athletic facilities. He will probably get little or no meaningful pre-college counseling and thus will not know which classes he needs to take to qualify for UC or CSU, nor how he should be preparing for the SAT. His teachers are far less likely to have teaching experience or even permanent teaching credentials … (and) are likely to expect less of him academically than they do of otherwise similarly situated white students.

“If he has looked for a summer or part-time job … employers are less likely to offer him a job than similarly or even less qualified white applicants. In one recent study, employers actually preferred white ex-cons over equally qualified black applicants with no criminal record. If he was offered a job, the pay was probably lower and the job responsibilities less desirable than that offered to white students of the same age, experience and qualifications.

“If all of this has not left our high school senior feeling like an outsider in his own country, he merely needs to go shopping in any local mall or downtown business district. It is likely that as he enters most stores he will be regarded as a likely potential shoplifter, followed or watched by store personnel. If he stands near a white person on an elevator or at a check-out counter, he is likely to notice that white person clutching his wallet or her purse, probably unconsciously.”

When that student, despite the disadvantages he faces because of racism, nonetheless makes it to Cal, he has already paid far more than the statistically typical white student sitting next to him in class. So let’s adjust those prices to reflect the truth about racial disadvantage.

David Oppenheimer is the director of professional skills and a clinical professor of law at Berkeley Law.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WRACM77JT2RXUR3LMGDPPUGUYY Tony M

    Professor Oppenheimer, have you ever held a real private-sector job on your life?

    • Doppenheimer

      Quite a few, Tony.  From working in a steel yard at age 19, to construction, to working in a service station (first pumping gas, back before self-service, then as one of the managers), to driving a cab, to practicing law, to spending ten years helping to manage a private law school.  Having answered your question, allow me a request; don’t try to make me (or you or anyone else) the issue here.  Let’s all try to understand, and discuss, the issue, and each others’ views.  The bake sale was intended to bring attention to a proposal to give a new interpretation to the California Constitution’s prohibition on certain forms of affirmative action.  Let’s focus on why we think that’s a bad thing (the campus Republican club, and several commentators here) or a good thing (as I believe, along with a number of other commentators).
      David Oppenheimer

      • Anonymous

         It’s a good thing to offer extra tutoring to disadvantaged people.  However, elementary school is where it should be offered, not college, and definitely not in U.C.’s top university.    If the goal is to offer Blacks better deals at car dealerships, then teach them negotiation tactics.  If the goal is to improve the lives of minorities, then just offer them lifetime stipends comparable to a middle-class salary and dispense with the charade of college, since so many minorities flunk out of college anyways.  If the goal is color diversity, then admit more minorities from Africa and Latin America since they’ll also bring diverse languages and customs to Cal. 

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WRACM77JT2RXUR3LMGDPPUGUYY Tony M

        [Quite a few, Tony.  From working in a steel yard at age 19, to
        construction, to working in a service station (first pumping gas, back
        before self-service, then as one of the managers), to driving a cab, to
        practicing law, to spending ten years helping to manage a private law
        school.]

        Well, that’s great, but one would think you would have learned a few things along the way (unless becoming a member of academia require one to purge all of one’s real life experiences along the way). One of the things you would have realized is that most people in the private sector don’t stand around scheming how to make life miserable for one racial/ethnic group or another – they are too busy working. You would also have realized that the choices and priorities of people affect outcomes, and that Utopian outcomes are not possible under that known non-utopian scenario known as “real life”. If less than a “representative” percentage of a given racial/ethnic group can’t even graduate from high school (a pretty low bar these days), the fact that less than a representative percentage is accepted to college is hardly discrimination, merely a reflection of the relative abilities between the two groups. Ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away…

  • Anonymous

    The Ian Ayres study mentioned by David Oppenheimer proves there is no racism or sexism in car purchase negotiations.  It’s true Blacks were charged more than whites in aggregate for cars in that study.  Professor Oppenheimer leaves it at that.  However, what’s not mentioned is that the white female dealers gave better prices to Black men than did Black car dealers, and white men gave better deals to Black women than to white women.  Thus the Ian Ayres study proves there is no systemic racism or sexism in the high-pressure car retail business.  My own intuition tells me car dealers are more concerned about selling large quantities of cars than acting up on some subconscious racism or sexism.  The customer is always the king.    

  • Doppenheimer

    For the citations to authorities, see:
    David B. Oppenheimer, Color-Blindness, Racism-Blindness, and
    Racism-Awareness: Revisiting Judge Henderson’s Proposition 209 Decision,
    13:2 Berkeley Journal of African American Law & Policy 101 (2011).
    Posted at:

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1898750

    I supplied these citations to the Daily Cal, but they omitted them for space reasons when they published the article.
    David Oppenheimer

    • Anonymous

       Oppenheimer uses as a citation his own essay on Prop 209.  His essay tries to support Judge Henderson, a Black liberal activist judge who blocked Prop 209 before being overruled by both the 9th Circuit Court (a very liberal appellate court) and California’s Supreme Court.  Oppenheimer’s main point is that laws should be racism-aware instead of color-blind.  Racism-aware means Lady Justice would have to take her blindfold off, time travel to the future, see if Blacks are disadvantaged by a color-blind law, and then tilt the scales of justice in favor of Blacks.  Oppenheimer’s essay covers many of the arguments for and against affirmative action but in the end it fails to answer one important question:  What is race?  If we don’t know what race means, then we would grant preferential treatment to President Obama’s college applications, even though his black ancestors lived in Kenya and never suffered slavery in America.  Oppenheimer assumes every racial minority group must be disadvantaged, without considering the fact that many East and South Asian families live in exclusive California neighborhoods and promote a stronger culture of college preparation than wealthy white families.  By being racism-aware without understanding race, programs like Affirmative Action and SB 185 make a mockery of fairness and our 14th Amendment.
        

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WRACM77JT2RXUR3LMGDPPUGUYY Tony M

    [It is empirically well established that blacks and Hispanic Americans
    pay more for goods and services, while getting less than white
    Americans.

    Sources and cites, or do you merely make up this stuff as you go along?

    • Anonymous

      I’m glad you’re challenging Oppenheimer on this.   Blacks and Hispanics often receive institutional help for buying goods and services because they are poor.  They pay less for PG&E, get free school lunches, receive WIC cards for food, and pay less for businesses that operate on sliding scales.  They pay less for rent or sometimes get Section 8 housing.  Their cars are generally second-hand so they don’t pay for the expensive depreciation of the first few years.  They even pay less for attending Cal since their fees are subsidized by wealthier students.

    • Doppenheimer

      http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1898750

      David B. Oppenheimer, Color-Blindness, Racism-Blindness, and
      Racism-Awareness: Revisiting Judge Henderson’s Proposition 209 Decision,
      13:2 Berkeley Journal of African American Law & Policy 101 (2011). 

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WRACM77JT2RXUR3LMGDPPUGUYY Tony M

        So you quote your own writings in some so-called “journal” which is no more than a partisan political mouthpiece, hoping that will pass muster? Sorry, that shit might fly among the lesser minds in your department as well as your typical uneducated twit who’s impressed by any clown hanging “PhD” after his name, but it doesn’t pass the test for someone who understands the concept of peer-reviewed research and proper substantiation of one’s claims. Sorry, you failed on this one. Care to try again?

        • Doppenheimer

          The article has well over 100 citations to authority, mostly case decisions and peer-reviewed studies.  It contains the sources and citations you requested.  It is one of scores of articles I’ve published in scholarly journals.  If you want to discuss the issues, I’m happy to continue.  If you prefer to broadcast insults, I’ll pass.
          David Oppenheimer

  • Boaltie2013

    Prof. Oppenheimer,

    I am concerned by your opening sentence: “If we want to make a point by holding bake sales with differential pricing based on race, let’s get the prices right.”  You seem to argue that a bake sale which engages in price discrimination would be acceptable were this discrimination to occur for a purpose other than protesting affirmative action.  This argument mirrors Chancellor Birgeneau’s reprimand of the members of BRC for “the potential effect of [their] words or deeds on others.”  (source: email of 9/26) The deed itself is not condemned, it is its dissonance with “our communal values.” (Id.)

    It appears that this bake sale is to be condemned not for charging race-based prices, but because of the opinions expressed by those prices.  That is,  if a bake sale were to charge race-based prices with the purpose of highlighting economic disparities between races, it would be laudable.  Both you and the Chancellor have chosen to censure these students not for enacting a differentiated pricing scheme, but for the political statement they attempted to make through this scheme. 

    I do not agree with the sentiments behind this bake sale.  However, the
    members of BRC are entitled to hold and express opinions with which I do
    not agree.   The message of your Opinion, and of Chancellor Birgeneau’s email, is clear: students may express their opinions only if  those opinions are acceptable. This condemnation goes against Berkeley’s stated commitment to “critical
    inquiry [and] debate.” (source:
    http://www.berkeley.edu/about/principles.shtml)

    • Doppenheimer

       Censure?  I thought I was joining the conversation.   I began “If we want to make a point by holding bake sales with differential pricing based on race, let’s get the prices right.”  Then I provided a different view on the justification for affirmative action and the cost of racism.  How is this support for censorship?

      • Dictionary

        censure (v): to criticize strongly
        censor (v): to ban expressions which are unacceptable

        • Doppenheimer

          I misread your posting, for which I apologize.  I thought you were complaining that I was condemning the campus Republicans because I disagreed with them, and thus trying to censor them.  But you were saying that I was condemning the campus Republicans because I disagreed with them, and thus trying to “strongly criticize” them.  Is that right?  Perhaps I was confused by your  conclusion, where you state “I do not agree with the sentiments behind this bake sale.  However, the members of BRC are entitled to hold and express opinions with which I do

          not agree.   The message of your Opinion, and of Chancellor Birgeneau’s email, is clear: students may express their opinions only if  those
          opinions are acceptable.” 

          I’m trying to understand why you think I object to the BRC expressing its opinion.  I don’t.  I just strongly disagree with it.   That’s why I wrote an op-ed article expressing a different view. 

          But now that I have correctly read your message, I think you were claiming something more than you owe up to.  To “censure” suggests more than criticism, it suggests that I have some kind of disciplinary authority over the BRC, and that I either exercised it against them, or urged others to exercise it against them.  I don’t, and I didn’t.   All I did was respond to their speech with some more speech.

          You may (of course) disagree with my opinion, and strongly criticize it, but don’t accuse me of trying to silence others, whether through censoring them or censuring them.

          • Guest

            “”censure” suggests more than criticism, it suggests that I have some
            kind of disciplinary authority over the BRC, and that I either exercised
            it against them, or urged others to exercise it against them”

            censure (v): to criticize strongly

          • Boaltie2014

            Regardless of its definition, the way “censure” was used in Boaltie2013′s initial comment went beyond that definition. See Prof Oppenheimer’s first paragraph in the comment you just replied to.

          • Guest

            The UN frequently censures brutal regimes, but they have no “disciplinary authority” to do anything about them.

  • ermigarde

    Women pay more for goods and services too (dry cleaning, for instance), and are paid less than men, and are getting a 25% discount with this bake sale.

    • Anonymous

       Women pay more for haircuts too.  However, the hairdressers are usually women or gay men.  Is it discrimination for women to charge women more?  If so, why should men be penalized for the actions of female hairdressers? 

  • Anonymous

    David Oppenheimer makes so many unproven assumptions I don’t even know where to begin.  He claims the parents of a black student makes less money.  That is an unfair comparison already because a comparison between rich and poor white students would reveal the same achievement gaps.  He claims blacks have less wealth than whites despite similar incomes because of discriminatory government policies without citing his source or explaining why the Congressional Black Caucus has not made these discriminatory government policies public.  It also doesn’t make sense.  If two people get equal income then their wealth is purely a function of their spending and investing activities and has nothing to do with their skin color.  He claims a Black kid’s school has fewer resources than a white kid’s school, but fails to mention California overall is ranked near the bottom in school spending so every child has equally low levels of services yet California’s white and Asian kids outperform black and Hispanic kids from wealthier states.   Since many schools laid off counselors, few students get “meaningful” college counseling.  He claims blacks don’t know which subjects to take for U.C. and C.S.U., without mentioning a simple little engine called “Google” that is available for free in public libraries that can find the information in less time than it took to read this sentence.  He claims blacks are discriminated against when searching for jobs, without mentioning the civil rights protections against discrimination and the fact that Black agitators like Jesse Jackson have used extortion to set up race-based hiring quotas in large companies.  He claims that their teachers have low expectations of them without mentioning that many of these teachers are also black.  And if a little white lady clutches her purse tighter because a 6’2″ black gangbanger stands next to her, what do you think a little black lady would do under the same circumstances?  In summary, David Oppenheimer blames everything in our society to excuse poor scholarship EXCEPT for the one thing he failed to even mention: the Black cultural belief that doing well academically is “acting white”.   Who wants to be like Steve Urkel?

  • Leon

    And all this is written by a “professor” at Berkeley? Mind-boggling. On the other hand, it is Berkeley after all. Well, professor, I am glad racism is working out for you.

  • Kate B.

    Thank you, Professor Oppenheimer. Most people I have encountered who do not agree with affirmative action, in one form or another, seem not to agree with it because they think that we are all starting at the same starting line. They neglect to remember or were simply ignorant to the fact that (most) minorities are starting miles and miles behind their white counterparts. Many of the mistakes made in the past (slavery, colonization) have placed minorities in a position where resources were stripped off of them to the point where no matter how hard they worked, they could not build their lives back up nor given the opportunity to do so. Then the cycle continues and gets passed on to their children, grandchildren, and so on. Affirmative action is not about giving an advantage to minorities. It is about placing them in a position where they are at the same starting line (or equal plane) with their white counterparts. Let’s get this right: mistakes are yet to be corrected and many people are yet to get the justice they deserve.

    • Guest

      “Affirmative action is not about giving an advantage to minorities. It is
      about placing them in a position where they are at the same starting
      line (or equal plane) with their white counterparts”
      But it isn’t.  Disadvantaged students can’t become qualified by fiat.  If they haven’t mastered the prerequisites, admitting them to college only provides opportunities to struggle and fail.  Before Prop 209, UC accumulated lots of data to demonstrate this.
      Here’s some of the information: http://www.ucop.edu/sas/infodigest98/ftfindex.html

      If the tables don’t display, download the .pdf.

      • Kate B.

        Dear Guest, how can “disadvantaged” students possibly compete when they do not have the resources to be able to afford attending a better school, with better teachers, with more books, with more opportunities to get tutoring, etcetera, etcetera. The education system should not always be about trying to reach the finish line first. If you believe otherwise, then we are being educated in two completely different ways and you should reconsider what kind of education you are getting. It should most especially be about helping those who struggle in order for everyone to have an opportunity to get a decent paying job and live a decent life. The UCs should provide better resources to help those who are struggling in college (and mind you, it’s not always the minorities). 

        Affirmative action does not proffer an arbitrary means of selection. A child who, not by her own choice, is born into a family facing economic hardship can get an advantage in the admissions process. Why can a child who, not by her own choice, is born a certain race or ethnicity facing not only economic disadvantage but a social disadvantage based on the color of her skin not get the same preferential consideration? Affirmative action does not suggest that because one is of a certain race, they are automatically admitted to college. It merely seeks to add race as another criterion in the selection process.

        • Guest

          “The UCs should provide better resources to help those who are struggling in college”
          UC already provides remedial instruction and has done so for a long time.  It’s ineffective if students have simply never learned the basics.  If you look again at the statistics for “special admits,” you’ll see that remedial instruction wasn’t able to help them.  Having a “decent paying job and a decent life” doesn’t require a UC degree.  Education can’t be conferred as a gift; one must work to learn (and there’s a hell of a lot of learning going on outside UC). 

    • Anonymous

      Kate B. writes: “the fact that (most) minorities are starting miles and miles behind their white counterparts.”
      What exactly is a counterpart?  If a white child grows up in an Irish gang-infested neighborhood with a single mother and no male role models except Eminem, he might be just as disadvantaged as a black child growing up in Compton.  However, the black child would get racial preference under SB 185.  The only way “white counterpart” makes sense is if a white child grows up in Compton and somehow manages to survive while dodging black and Latino gangs and applying for U.C.  at the same time.  That is true adversity and in that case the white child should have U.C. admission preference over his Black counterparts from Compton.

      • Kate B.

        The white child that grew up in Compton has been given and continues to have an advantage. As it stands, economic and social adversities are taken into consideration in the admissions process (in UC Berkeley’s own words “hardships or unusual circumstances” with race, ethnicity, and gender being expressly excluded). The black/brown children on the other hand, get stereotyped and looked upon as being less likely to succeed in college or more likely to commit another crime. Alas, the cycle of racism, whether explicit or implicit, continues.

        • Anonymous

          Kate, I did say “racial preference”.  Both the white child and black child from Compton would get special consideration because of economic adversity under the current holistic admissions system.  However, we are discussing SB 185 and that bill throws skin color into play.  In that case black always trumps white.

  • Mlumpkin

    Well said Professor Oppenheimer!

  • Doppenheimer

    Here’s the citation requested by Frankie Huey:
    “Fair Driving: Gender and Race Discrimination in Retail Car Negotiations”, 104 Harvard Law Review 817 (1991)
    See also, http://islandia.law.yale.edu/ayers/fairdriv.htm
     

  • Frankie Huey

    Great article and response! Is it possible to site the source regarding blacks paying more than whites for an identical car.

    • Guest

      It’s true.  It’s because the default rates for black debtors are higher.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WRACM77JT2RXUR3LMGDPPUGUYY Tony M

        There you go, bringing facts into it again.

      • Doppenheimer

        In the case of loans (a different series of studies than the Ayres study), buyers with identical credit scores were charged higher interest rates if they were black than if they were white.  The car dealer (the loans are sold by the dealers, and then taken over by the banks) may have believed they were more likely to default, but if so the belief was based on the race of the buyer, not the actual likelihood of default, based on credit scores.

    • Guest

      This isn’t quite accurate.  They pay higher rates for car loans, because the risk of default is higher.  If they bought a car with cash, they’d pay the same price as anyone else.

      • Doppenheimer

        In the Ayres study they DID offer cash, and they used the identical negotiating strategies, but the dealers’ final price to Black buyers was far higher than to White buyers.

        • Guest

          I agree this is astonishing.  But the inclusion of “negotiating strategies” implies something highly subjective.  The buyers were asking for a reduction of the sticker price, not simply offering the cash.  It may be that white customers were, for some reason, more willing to walk away and take their business elsewhere.  Or perhaps black buyers created an impression that they’d do less maintenance and require more warranty service.  Did the participants bring a trade-in car?  I can only speculate about what the true factors might be.

          • Doppenheimer

            Thanks for your comment, Guest.
            If you study the scientific peer reviewed literature on racial disparities (of which this study by Ian Ayres, a professor of law & economics at Yale, published in the Harvard Law Review, is but one of many), you would perhaps move from astonishment (my own initial reaction) to sadness.  There is now a vast body of work attempting to discover the “true factors” for racial disparities.   The conclusion of a large majority of scientists studying racial disparities is that when all else is held equal (that’s why everyone gets the same negotiating instructions), Blacks are charged more than Whites, in a variety of settings, and experience substantial disadvantage in a broad variety of settings. 

            My best understanding of the literature (and I’ve been studying it for many years) is that white people feel a sense of identity (or affiliation) with other white people, often at an unconscious level, and a corresponding sense of otherness, or alienation from, Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians.  As a result, Whites treat White people better, and minorities worse, in many interactions, social and commercial.  Polling data bear this out.  They consistently show that when polled anonymously, Whites describe Blacks as less honest, less hard working, less patriotic, and less intelligent than whites.

            Car dealers may well believe that black car buyers will require more warranty service, but that belief is unlikely to be true.  And, in a small study (though not peer reviewed) replicating the Ayres study, but with follow-up interviews with the dealers, the dealers didn’t offer such justifications for their differential pricing.  Rather, they insisted that they offered the same prices, until they were shown the evidence, and then expressing bewilderment.

            So, Guest, if you’re a student at Berkeley, I invite you to take advantage of the resources of this University, and begin to study this problem.  We both have much to learn.

        • Anonymous

          I don’t doubt the data is correct.  However, how many of the car dealers were Black as well?  Bay Area car dealerships hire dealers of all kinds and will always prod a Black dealer to a Black customer, a Chinese dealer to a Chinese customer, and female dealers to female customers.  Dealers will try to maximize their own commissions and will try every dirty trick in the book.  During price negotiations the dealers will often whisper something like “hey, don’t let my boss know, but I’ll cut you a deal because we’re both .”  If Black customers end up getting gouged by Black dealers, then can you really call that racism?  If there is no racism then it’s illogical to remedy the black dealer’s price gouging by allowing Black students to get into Cal in higher numbers.  I personally believe your data indicates Blacks are unprepared when they research a car’s invoice price and Blue Book value,  just as Blacks are unprepared for college level academic work.  Should we pass Affirmative Action pricing for car dealerships now?  $1000 discount if you’re Black?  $500 surcharge if you’re Jewish and bring a copy of Consumer Reports with you?
           

          • Doppenheimer

            Dear Calipenguin,

            You say: “I personally believe your data indicates Blacks are unprepared when they research a car’s invoice price and Blue Book value,”

            Is there an empirical study I haven’t come across that demonstrates that Whites are better prepared when they negotiate with car dealers?  Please take a moment to think through why you would believe this.

            With regard to the Ayres study, why would you believe that in a peer-reviewed controlled study published
            in the Harvard Law Review the White testers were better prepared than
            the Black testers?  The whole point of such a study is to make
            everything equal except for the variable being tested, here race (and
            sex).  (White men were offered the best deals, Black women the worst,
            even though they had the same instructions on how to negotiate.)  

          • Anonymous

            Dear David,

            I was using my own intuition to guess why Black car shoppers would get a worse deal, and my hypothesis is that the same factors which lead Blacks to do poorly on standardized math tests would contribute to them being unprepared for price negotiations.  However, thanks to the Internet and Google Books I actually did a little digging of the Ian Ayres study you cited and discovered some amazing facts you did not mention:

            1.  White males got the best deals from white females
            2.  White females got the best deals from black men
            3.  Black men got the best deals from white females
            4.  Black females got the best deals from white men.
            (From “Forbidden Ground” by Professor Richard A. Epstein)

            Thus, the very study you mentioned also proves there was no racism or sexism in car purchases!  Black male dealers gave better deals to white women than to Black women, and Black female dealers did not treat Black men as well as white female dealers did.  There is no systemic bias against women or Blacks.  Since you assert this is a peer-reviewed controlled study published by Harvard, I believe it must be true. 

  • JohnS

    The author of this article conveniently ignores Asians.  Under affirmative action, which SB185 attempts to mimic, Asians were effectively required to pay a higher price than all other racial groups to attain the same thing, admittance.  This despite the fact that a large number of Asians come from the lowest socioeconomic backgrounds, with limited English proficiency, and limited exposure to higher education – similar to the factors the author attributes to more favored minorities such as African Americans. 

    SB185, by being purposefully vague in what constitutes consideration of race and sex, delegates the valuation of these factors to to the decision maker.  It is substantively a de facto law legitimatizing affirmative action policies which are already prohibited by state law.

    Under affirmative action Asians have been subjected to higher requirements and caps on their numbers, both at the high school and university level.  One only needs to look at past legal cases that recognized that Lowell High School, and even UC Berkeley instituted admissions policies in the late 80s and 90s which limited the numbers of Asian students to a certain percentage of the student body.  These were done to allow space for other minorities.  Schools like Cal were forced to retool their policies but never admitted wrongdoing.  Under these same policies Asians were lumped together as one rigid group, despite have the most diverse spread of socioeconomic, religious and geographic backgrounds. 

    Under the same policies favored by this author, Asians will be ignored and once again made to pay a higher price for the same goal, admittance.

    • Doppenheimer

      Limited space, not convenience, prevented me from stating that affirmative action should not (and need not) be an excuse for discrimination.  Some Asian-Americans are appropriate targets for all-inclusive affirmative action, such as those from poor or recent immigrant families.  Their overcoming disadvantage should be recognized as a likely sign of great potential.  And any discrimination against Asians, or whites, is wrong.  (Thus affirmative action should embrace giving opportunities to poor whites.) But assuming that a particular grade or test score means the same thing about a person’s academic potential regardless of the disadvantages she or he has suffered is willful blindness. And race & ethnicity are important causes of disadvantage, which should not be ignored.
      David Oppenheimer

      • Guest

        “Should not” does not “will not.”  What kind of accountability does SB185 put in place to prevent legislators from employing this kind of discrimination.  Allowing race to once again be used as a tool to judge applicants merely re-opens the door for abuse.

      • Guest

        “is willful blindness”
        It’s nothing of the kind.  “Special admit” students receive lower grades, graduate at lower rates, and take longer to graduate than students who meet the standard criteria for admission.  In effect, they’re wasting resources that could be put to better use.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WRACM77JT2RXUR3LMGDPPUGUYY Tony M

        [And race & ethnicity are important causes of disadvantage, which should not be ignored.]

        So what you’re saying is that minorities are not as capable academically as white folks, right?