Whites Aren’t For Affirmative Action Until They Realize It Serves Them, Says Survey

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standardized testThose who are not in favor affirmative action here in the United States often tout the tired line about college admissions needing to be a Meritocracy. Damn it, we need to return to merit, not people playing the “race card” or whatever such nonsense you always happen to hear from your in-laws. But a study by Frank L. Samson, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Miami, suggests that some white people are absolutely for a meritocracy, until they realize that said meritocracy doesn’t serve them.

Inside Higher Ed reports that when Professor Samson surveyed white California adults, he found that they tended to “favor admissions policies that place a high priority on high school grade-point averages and standardized test scores.” But once those participants were told that Asian-Americans perform the best, they started backpedaling:

The white adults in the survey were also divided into two groups. Half were simply asked to assign the importance they thought various criteria should have in the admissions system of the University of California. The other half received a different prompt, one that noted that Asian Americans make up more than twice as many undergraduates proportionally in the UC system as they do in the population of the state.

When informed of that fact, the white adults favor a reduced role for grade and test scores in admissions — apparently based on high achievement levels by Asian-American applicants. (Nationally, Asian average total scores on the three parts of the SAT best white average scores by 1,641 to 1,578 this year.)

When asked about leadership as an admissions criterion, white ranking of the measure went up in importance when respondents were informed of the Asian success in University of California admissions.

Samson also noted among his research that whites have a tendency to couch their Well That’s Just The Way The Cookie Crumbles take on inequality in the United States in language of “‘qualifications’ and a meritocratic distribution of opportunities and rewards.” He writes that “the purported failure of blacks to live up to this meritocratic standard” makes the profound racial inequality in our country more palatable. But when faced with the “group threat” of Asian American scholarship, that whole “principled commitment to a fixed standard of merit” flies right out the window:

“While the principle of fairness may be a driving concern in people’s attitudes towards policies such as affirmative action, social welfare, and fair housing, the malleability of white respondents’ attitudes towards the importance of university admissions criteria in response to racial considerations indicates that public opinion about the importance of such criteria is anything but fair, at least if the definition of fairness entails a procedural fairness by which all groups should be subject to the same procedural process, i.e., same weighting of admissions criteria, when determining whether an individual should be admitted to a prestigious public university system, an opportunity that will significantly shape that person’s life outcomes.”

Now somebody PLEASE go take Abigail Fisher to an ethnic studies class so that she can be properly schooled on her white entitlement.

(photo:  anaken2012 / Shutterstock)