If Harvard Cared About Equality, It Would Abolish Legacy Admissions, Not ACT and SAT Requirements

“Harvard University has decided to extend its pandemic policy of making SAT and ACT scores optional for applicants until at least 2026, which means standardized test scores won’t play much of a role in admissions decisions for years to come, if ever again at all.

Harvard cited the pandemic as the reason for the extension, but the broader push to abolish the ACT and SAT in college admissions is grounded in a misguided idea that the tests are unfair to underprivileged teenagers. The University of California system, for instance, has moved to stop requiring the exams due to concerns that they disfavored black and Hispanic applicants.”

“As Freddie de Boer, author of The Cult of Smart, has argued very persuasively, some combination of grade point average and SAT/ACT scores is highly predictive of success in college. And it’s simply not true that prioritizing test scores punishes racial minorities more than alternative admissions standards. On the contrary, the more that schools rely on non-academic criteria such as extracurricular activities and legacy status, the more they reward applicants who are wealthy and well-connected. A gifted but impoverished Latino teen who is the first in his family to finish high school has a better shot in a system that cares about his SAT score than in a system that cares if his parents paid for clarinet lessons and secured him a spot on the water polo team.”

“If institutions like Harvard really cared about being fair to the unprivileged, they’d take a machete to legacy admissions: a special boost to applicants who are the scions of previous graduates.”

“The most prestigious educational institution in the country should take the brightest students, and standardized tests are a better metric for that than the alternatives on offer.”

I Got Stopped by a NY Cop: ‘It’s Always a Good Day When You Can Bag a Sand N****r!’

“I sued the city for racial discrimination and police misconduct, winning a modest settlement. But I had been slurred a “sand n—-r” and wrongfully detained on an erroneous warrant in a city I once considered home. The effect on me was not readily apparent, but, in time, I would discover that a nameless fear had imperceptibly unhinged me.”

Black and Hispanic renters experience discrimination in almost every major American city

“In a new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research, researchers found rampant racial discrimination in American rental markets — specifically, that property managers are less likely to respond to prospective Black and Hispanic tenants when they inquire about open listings.

Using a software bot, the economists sent inquiries from fake renters to 8,476 property managers in the 50 largest US metropolitan housing markets. The bot assigned names to fictitious renters that would indicate whether the race of the inquirer was white, Black, or Hispanic.

The bot found that names perceived to be white got a response 5.6 percentage points more than Black-sounding names, and 2.8 percentage points more than Hispanic-sounding names.”

“You might be familiar with résumé studies where researchers will send in identical résumés with just one thing changed, such as a 2003 study by economists Marianne Bertrand and Sendhil Mullainathan that showed résumés with names perceived as Black received 50 percent fewer callbacks than those with white-sounding names.”

Why Republican Support For Peaceful Racial Justice Protests Was Short-Lived

“A poll conducted at the height of the protests last summer found that Republicans were 44 points more likely than Democrats (67 to 23 percent, respectively) to say that the protests were primarily motivated by long-standing biases against the police, whereas 66 percent of Democrats versus 22 percent of Republicans said the protests were motivated by a genuine desire to hold police accountable. The same poll found an even greater partisan divide in views about racial biases in the criminal justice system, with 90 percent of people who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 saying the criminal justice system treats white people better than Black people, compared to just 25 percent of Trump’s 2016 voters.
When such a sizable majority of the party rejects evidence that racial biases exist in the first place, it was always going to be tough to sustain Republicans’ support of peaceful racial justice protests. Protests of pervasive anti-Black biases in the criminal justice system simply don’t fit in a party that views racial discrimination against white people as a bigger problem than the unfair treatment of racial and ethnic minorities in American society.”

“the 29-percentage-point drop in Trump voters’ net approval of the peaceful protests from June 2020 to November 2021 was accompanied by an identical increase in the share of Trump voters who strongly disapproved. In four YouGov/Economist polls conducted last month, an average of 49 percent of Trump voters strongly disapproved of nonviolent protests in response to the deaths of Black Americans — a 29-point increase from the average of a similarly worded question that appeared in two June 2020 YouGov/Economist polls.”

New York Creating Race-Based School ‘Affinity Groups’ To Combat Racism

“On November 23 and 24, seventh and eighth graders at the Lower Manhattan Community Middle School—a public middle school in the borough’s highly coveted District 2—are scheduled to begin their mornings by organizing themselves into racial identity “affinity groups.” This intentional act of segregation is being conducted in the name of undoing “the legacy of racism and oppression in this country.”

The New York Post reports that in an email to parents, Principal Shanna Douglas outlined five possible affinity groups the students could choose to join: Asians (who are 44 percent of the student population), whites (29 percent), a combined caucus of Hispanics and African Americans (15 percent and 8 percent, respectively), those identifying as multiracial, and people who wish to opt out of such classifications altogether.

“This optional program was developed in close coordination with both the School Leadership Team, PTA and families,” New York City Department of Education (DOE) spokesperson Nathaniel Styer told the Post. “[It is] abundantly clear to both students and parents that anyone can opt-out of this two day celebration if they desire.”

“Celebration” seems an odd word choice to describe a racial sorting exercise for pre-pubescents. “How disgusting to divide 11 year old friends & classmates by race in 2021 NYC,” tweeted former District 2 Community Education Council member Maud Maron, a noted critic both of pandemic school closures and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. “Segregating kids is wrong. (Even if some expensive DEI consultant, who has run out of real racism to battle, tells you to do it.)”

New York City’s education system is no stranger to race-based affinity groups. In June 2020, the DOE’s Early Childhood Division held an “Anti-racist Community Meeting” at which 700 employees were given the option to join breakout sessions in one of the following groups: “blacks or African-American, Latinx, Middle Eastern and North African, multiracial or mixed, Native and Indigenous, Asian Pacific Islander American, White Allies.”

That same month, the principal of a public elementary school in Queens instructed teachers that they needed to become “interrupters” of racism, then sorted staff into three groups: “Latino/a/x/Hispanic; White/Asian/Other; and Black.””

“How do advocates handle the cognitive dissonance of segregating in the name of anti-segregation? Like this, care of an email from a friend of mine’s private school principal:

“Affinity groups allow people with a shared identity to meet with one another in an emotionally safe and brave space. Unlike legal racial segregation which was a tool to maintain white power and control, racial affinity groups are anti-racist spaces in which participants can build their skills and capacity to unlearn and dismantle racism.” (Emphases in original.)”

“The initial practical problem, whose obviousness should nevertheless give affinity-promoters pause, is of classification. Why should African American/Hispanic be a single category? Or white/Asian? What do we do with the ever-elusive “white Hispanic” category? Don’t naturalized immigrants have far more in common with one another than they do with fifth-generation natives who may happen to share their skin pigment?

These definitional sorting questions point to a truism routinely treated by progressives and educational bureaucrats as false: Racial/ethnic/national identity is inherently fluid, not fixed. Immigrant Greeks and Italians and Jews in the late 1800s and early 1900s would have been shocked to hear that they were “white,” yet that’s what we call them now. Cubans ain’t Mexicans, literal Caucasians (as in, from the Caucasus Mountains) are routinely categorized as Asian, and Hispanics are seceding from their own identity. In a country founded not on nationality but ideas, this fluidity should be considered a feature, not a bug.

And yet we are sending the exact opposite message, in some cases to 11-year-olds. By making them choose their own group (even if one such group is the opt-outs), we are doing two bad things: making them feel as if their narrowly and often inaccurately defined subcategory is stamped upon them like a scarlet letter, and also that it is an important or even defining aspect of their personality.”

“Eleven-year-olds should not be told in first period to join an ethnic tribe. Their teachers should not be directed to act along those essentialist lines, either.”

Why White Voters With Racist Views Often Still Support Black Republicans

“when Ben Carson made a bid to become the GOP’s first African American presidential nominee. Support for Carson was positively correlated with the belief that Black Americans have too much influence on U.S. politics”

“whites who thought African Americans have “far too much” influence preferred Carson to Clinton by 45 points.
Again, much of that relationship is down to partisanship — Republicans are more likely to hold prejudiced views and also more likely to support a Republican candidate. But that’s the point: For many white GOP voters, anti-Black views don’t seem to get in the way of supporting a Black Republican.”

“Carson received more favorable evaluations among the sizable minority (40 percent) of overtly prejudiced whites who agreed with the racist stereotype that “most African Americans are more violent than most whites.” This group rated Carson significantly more favorably on a 0-100 scale than the white moderate Republican presidential candidate, Jeb Bush (52 to 39, respectively). Then-candidate Donald Trump was the only politician in the survey who was rated higher than Carson among overtly prejudiced whites.”

“The sharp negative relationship between support for Obama and the endorsement of anti-Black stereotypes is consistent with several studies showing that prejudice was an unusually strong predictor of opposition to Obama from the 2008 election through the end of his presidency. These patterns also fit well with other political science research showing that racially prejudiced whites tend to be more opposed to Black Democrats than to white Democrats.”

“Given the racialized nature of the two-party system in the United States, most Black political candidates are Democrats who embrace liberal positions on issues of race and justice. When asked whether they would support such a candidate, research shows that racially prejudiced white voters worry that these candidates will represent the interests of Black Americans, both because of a shared African American identity and because Democrats are perceived as the party more supportive of Black interests. So, it makes sense that racially resentful white Americans oppose candidates like Obama, as his racial identity and partisanship signaled to voters that he was more supportive of Black interests than prior presidents.

Put another way: Racially prejudiced white voters are not opposed to Black candidates simply because they are Black, but because they believe that most Black candidates will fight for “those people” and not “people like us.”

Black Republicans, on the other hand, are perceived differently by racially prejudiced white Americans. Their embrace of the Republican Party and its conservative ideology help assure racially prejudiced whites that, unlike Black Democrats, they are not in the business of carrying water for their own racial group.”

“voting for Black Republicans may also be especially appealing to racially prejudiced whites because it assuages concerns of being seen as racist by enabling them to say, in essence, “I can’t be racist! I voted for a Black candidate!” Psychologists call this “moral credentialing,” and there’s even some evidence that voters who expressed support for Obama shortly after the 2008 election felt more justified in favoring white Americans over Black Americans. Electing a Black Republican like Sears, who railed against critical race theory during the run-up to the election and supports voting restrictions that adversely affect racial minorities, is similarly used as a symbolic shield by the entire party from inevitable charges of championing racist policies. As we mentioned earlier, conservative media outlets and politicians are already weaponizing her victory against anyone who would dare suggest so.”

The Racial Gap Among the Vaccinated Has Essentially Disappeared

“According to a new survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation, as the rate of U.S. adults who report having received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccines continues to climb, the rates among racial groups are now basically identical, comprising 71 percent of white adults, 70 percent of black adults, and 73 percent of Hispanic adults.”

Do We Really Need New Anti-Asian Hate Crime Laws?

“The Atlanta shooter—Robert Aaron Long—told police he struggled with sex addiction. He was a devout Christian who felt guilty about visiting sex workers at Asian spas, friends said. Were Long’s hateful acts really about race? Or were they more about misogyny—a man lashing out at women for inspiring lust in him? How significant is the fact that the victims were largely Asian women? Was his true bias against sex workers?

In one sense, none of this makes a difference. Eight lives were senselessly lost. Long’s acts were morally heinous whether driven by anti-Asian racism, general misogyny, resentment of sex workers, or total randomness. And hate crime or not, murder is a serious criminal offense, punishable in Georgia by life in prison, with the possibility of life without parole or even execution.

Yet if Long was motivated by anti-Asian or anti-female bias, this would be considered, under Georgia and federal law, a hate crime. If he was motivated by hatred of sex workers, it would not. This ambiguity perfectly encapsulates the tangled logic behind U.S. hate crime laws.”

“Hate crime statutes generally do one specific thing: enhance criminal punishments for actions that are already against the law. They say that for whatever the underlying offense is—vandalism, harassment, theft, assault, murder—the sentence will be harsher if the offense was committed out of identity-based bias or prejudice instead of, say, pure greed or lust or non-specific anger.”

“Hate crime statutes may make people feel like they’re doing something about a serious problem. But judged by their results, they’re likely to be harmless but ineffective at very best. At a 2018 U.S. Commission on Civil Rights briefing on hate crimes, none of the panelists could point to data, studies, or other evidence showing that designating something a hate crime deters, prevents, or reduces that crime or helps authorities catch perpetrators.

At worst, hate crime laws and their emphasis on individual bad motives can distract from more systemic issues.”

It’s Time to Dismantle America’s Residential Caste System

“Anti-Black habits of disinvestment and plunder continue to this day. Government at all levels overinvests in affluent white space and disinvests in Black neighborhoods, with the exception of excessive spending on policing and incarceration. Many current public policies and processes encourage rather than discourage racial segregation. And competition between communities of abundance and communities of need sets up a budgetary politics in which affluent spaces and people usually win out. The end result is more residential sorting: A recent comprehensive analysis by the Othering and Belonging Institute found that 81 percent of metropolitan regions with a population above 200,000 were more segregated in 2019 than they were in 1990.”

“I have identified three primary processes through which the ‘hood and affluent white space persist: boundary maintenance, opportunity hoarding and stereotype-driven surveillance.

Boundary maintenance consists of intentional state action to create and maintain a racialized physical order. Over a century, it has included racially restrictive covenants, exclusionary zoning that limits where multi-family buildings can be built, urban “renewal” projects that removed Black residents, intentionally segregated public housing, an interstate highway program laid to create racial barriers, endemic redlining, as well as disinvestment in basic services such as schools and sewage in Black neighborhoods.

While not all of these practices continue now, the federal government still invests in segregation.”

“The federal government also funnels about $10 billion annually through the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program for affordable housing construction. But it mostly results in construction in poor communities that already have more than their fair share of affordable housing. Nationally, only about 17 percent of LIHTC projects are built in high-opportunity neighborhoods with high-performing schools, low crime and easy access to jobs. That keeps those Americans who need affordable housing concentrated in the same low-opportunity areas.
Another program, HUD’s Housing Choice Vouchers, provides rental assistance to low-income tenants, but the program does not disrupt entrenched racial and economic segregation. Most Black and brown voucher holders land in low-opportunity areas, where more than 20 percent of residents are poor, while white voucher holders tend to find rentals in lower-poverty areas.”

“While the vast majority of white Americans reject segregation in public opinion surveys, in practice their willingness to enter or remain in a neighborhood declines sharply as the percentage of Black neighbors increases, studies have found. The average white person lives in a neighborhood that is 76 percent white. Although most Black Americans no longer live in high-poverty Black neighborhoods, those ‘hoods persist, as does the architecture of segregation. About half of all Black metropolitan residents live in highly segregated neighborhoods.”

“intentional segregation of Black people in the 20th century shaped development and living patterns for everyone and put in place an infrastructure for promoting and maintaining segregation that lives on. Racial steering by realtors who nudge homebuyers into segregated spaces, discrimination in mortgage lending, exclusionary zoning, a government-subsidized affordable housing industrial complex that concentrates poverty, local school boundaries that encourage segregation, plus continued resistance to integration by many but not all white Americans — all are forms of racial boundary maintenance today.”

“The segregation of affluence facilitates opportunity hoarding, whereby wealthy neighborhoods enjoy the best public services, environmental quality and private, public and natural amenities, while other communities are left with fewer, poorer-quality resources. Worse, suburban-favored quarters are subsidized by the people they exclude: Through income and other taxes, people of all racial and class backgrounds who live elsewhere help pay for the roads, sewers and other infrastructure that make these low-poverty, resource-rich places possible.
This pattern of overinvestment in exclusionary, predominantly white space and disinvestment or neglect elsewhere is replicated within cities across the country. In her book Segregation by Design, Jessica Trounstine amasses empirical evidence to support her theory that segregation creates a city politics that reproduces inequality — a racial hierarchy of favored and disfavored residents. After local governments deployed land use, slum clearance and other policies to tightly compact Black Americans beginning in the early 20th century, those residents also were denied adequate sewers, roads, garbage collection and public health services. Segregation institutionalized the preferences of white property owners, protecting their property values and giving them exclusive access to high-quality public amenities — a nefarious pattern that continues. Today, business elites bend local government to their will, ensuring that the luxury residential and commercial development they want gets built, regardless of competing community and housing needs.”

“a 2019 Urban Institute study found that majority-white neighborhoods in Chicago received about three times more public and private investment than majority-Black neighborhoods.”

“Chicago had closed 70 public schools over eight years by 2012. Then, in 2013, Mayor Rahm Emanuel closed 50 additional public elementary schools — the largest one-time mass school closure in the country. The Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago found that schools with large numbers of Black students had a higher probability of closure than other schools with comparable test scores, locations and utilization rates.

As school infrastructure evaporated in Black ‘hoods, the city invested in new options elsewhere. An investigative report by a local public radio station in 2016 revealed that new school building expansions after the 2013 closures were “overwhelmingly granted” to specialized schools that serve relatively low percentages of low-income and Black students.”

“The Center for Investigative Reporting released a study in 2018 that analyzed 31 million records revealed by the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and found a disturbing pattern of denials by banks of Black and Latino applicants for traditional mortgages where white applicants with similar qualifications would be accepted. This modern-day redlining persisted in 61 metro areas, from Atlanta to Detroit, Philadelphia to San Antonio. The greater the number of Black or Latino people in a neighborhood, the more likely a loan application would be denied.”

“A recent study by the Center for Municipal Finance found that cities are taxing owners of low-valued properties at higher rates than they should relative to actual land values, while taxing owners of high-valued properties at lower rates than they should.”

What we talk about when we talk about gentrification

“Racial and income segregation locks low-income people in a trap of concentrated poverty. The best schools are relegated to the highest-income neighborhoods, good jobs often exist in either exclusive or gentrifying neighborhoods, and businesses are less willing to take root in an area of concentrated poverty because there are fewer customers. All of this is a vicious cycle that traps low-income Americans. It also hinders their ability to foster growth on their own because financial insecurity makes people transient and lacking in time and energy to build community.

Meanwhile, homeowners in well-off neighborhoods have cemented systems of local control through rules like exclusionary zoning to keep their neighborhoods prohibitively expensive for lower-income Americans, including many Black and brown Americans.

Zoning laws are the rules and regulations that decide what types of homes can be built where. While this can sound innocuous, exclusionary zoning is anything but. These rules have a dark history in the United States as a tool of racial and economic segregation, used explicitly to keep certain races, religions, and nationalities out of certain neighborhoods. And while the explicit racism has been wiped from the legal text, the effect of many of these rules remains the same: keeping affordable housing and the people who need it away from the wealthiest Americans.

City by city, the message is clear: Segregation and concentrated poverty are the true blights of urban life, despite our fascination with gentrification.”