More on affirmative action

House of Cards for Black Law Students
By Richard H. Sander
Richard H. Sander is a professor of law at UCLA. His article on this subject is forthcoming in the Stanford Law Review.
December 20, 2004

Traditionally, critics of affirmative action have focused either on its unfairness to those groups that don’t receive preferences (usually whites and Asians) or on the inherent conflict between racial preferences and the legal ideal of colorblindness.

Over the last few years, however, a new and potentially even more damaging line of inquiry has emerged: the idea that racial preferences may materially harm the very people they are intended to benefit.

For instance, researchers Stephen Cole and Elinor Barber found that racial preferences at Ivy League colleges had a large and negative effect on the academic aspirations of black students.

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