Real Clear Politics also directed us to this piece by Stuart Taylor on racial preferences at colleges and universities. Taylor claims that because de facto “resegregation” of state colleges and universities is unacceptable to the “body politic,” the real choice on this issue is between Michigan style preferences and “other strategems,” such as the Texas top ten percent plan, designed to preserve racial diversity. Taylor devotes the remainder of his column to describing how unpalatable both sets of alternatives are.
Taylor’s piece illustrates, first of all, why the Bush Administration briefs were so unfortunate — they give the impression that true colorblindness is politically unacceptable and thus not part of what Taylor calls “the real choice confronting the Court and the nation.” If the Administration’s briefs had advocated true colorblindness, Taylor would have looked foolish had he claimed that this option is off-the-table.
I am aware of no pursuasive evidence that a colorblind approach is unacceptable to the American people. The fact that states have resorted to race-conscious strategems when told by the voters to abandon preferences shows only that the elites oppose colorblindness. Taylor says that “most of us would be highly distressed to see a drastic drop in the number of black and Hispanic students at our top universities.” I believe that nearly all Americans would be distressed by “re-segregration.” But there is no evidence that this would occur. A “drastic drop” from artificial levels imposed by university bureaucrats would probably be less distressing to most. In any case, since when does the constitutionality of racial discrimination turn on what “distresses most of us”?
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