Rocket Man, another possible explanation for Mary Sue Coleman’s quote is that she is a liberal racist. Certainly, a non-liberal who spoke in such racial-determinist terms would be accused of racism. Indeed, Coleman’s quote sounds like a better-dressed version of the statement by the president of Rutgers University, who was condemned, but forgiven, when he basically said that preferences are necessary because African-American kids just can’t cut it. What strikes me as truly odd about Coleman’s quote, though, is why Coleman thinks her statement, even if true, constitutes a good defense of the racial preferences her university grants. The application process enables colleges to find out where candidates for admission live, who they go to school with, and where their parents work. So why does the University of Michigan need to use race as a surrogate for these things? And how does it justify granting the full 100 points to African-Americans from affluent suburbs whose parents are highly successful professionals? These questions bolster my suspicion that the University is really using race as a surrogate for perceived inability to cut it, per the Rutgers model. In any case, Ms. Coleman might be better advised to let her lawyers do the talking until the Michigan cases are decided.
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