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Tuesday, June 24, 2003
If I were a rich man
From the New York Times editorial on the Michigan cases:
The court's analysis was far from perfect. In evaluating the undergraduate program, the majority was too quick to accept that all uses of race are equally suspect — that helping disadvantaged blacks is akin to saving seats at the front of a bus for whites. The court also failed to recognize that the point scale, by giving a distinct but limited advantage to minority applicants, used just the sort of "plus" factor Bakke permitted.
Here's what the New York Times doesn't mention: the undergraduate program was not designed to "help disadvantaged blacks." Indeed, the exact opposite: the undergraduate program was designed to help already advantaged blacks.

The "point system" established by the University of Michigan gave a bonus to all disadvantaged people, regardless of skin color -- and under the system, an applicant could earn only one bonus in this area. (In other words, a poor black could get the plus for being poor, or for being black, but not both.) Hence, even in the absence of the black bonus, disadvantaged blacks would get the boost, by virtue of being disadvantaged. In short, the only blacks who needed the "black boost "were middle-class or rich. In other words, the people who need it least.

So, what explains the editorial comment?
A) The New York Times didn't know how the program worked.
B) The New York Times was being deliberately misleading.
C) The New York Times thinks all blacks are inherently disadvantaged simply because of their skin color.
D) Some combination of the above.

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