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Affirmative action: The ugly truth

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Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, 9:18 p.m.

Racial preferences in college admissions are fundamentally wrong in principle. And with research now showing they actually hurt minority students in practice, the U.S. Supreme Court must overturn this insidious form of “affirmative action” once and for all.

As they hear a University of Texas case on Wednesday, the justices must remember what Chief Justice John G. Roberts wrote in a 2007 case: “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”

They also should know of research that UCLA law professor and economist Richard Sander and Brookings Institution fellow Stuart Taylor Jr. — authors of the new book “Mismatch” — sum up for The Atlantic.

The more competitive the school and the bigger its racial preferences, they write, the bigger the “mismatch” for “underprepared” minorities placed “in environments where they can neither learn nor compete effectively,” though they “would thrive had they gone to less competitive but still quite good schools.”

That sets up minority students to fall behind. And thus, racial preferences intended to benefit minorities end up stigmatizing them, reinforcing “pernicious stereotypes” and undermining their self-confidence.

With higher education unwilling to offend the overly sensitive by addressing the issue, the Supreme Court must end this practice.

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