If Proposition 16 Passes, California's Future Might Look Like This

Race-preferential admissions policies are not a gentle thumb on the scale for under-represented minorities in otherwise close cases.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Here are statistics from the University of Michigan in 2005 (before Michigan passed its version of Proposition 209, but after the twin Supreme Court cases against the University of Michigan in 2003).  If Proposition 16 passes, perhaps the University of California will look similar.

Median total SAT scores of admittees by race/ethnicity:

1160 – Black

1260 – Hispanic

1350 – White

1400 – Asian

Median high school GPA of admittees by race/ethnicity:

3.4 – Black

3.6 – Hispanic

3.9 – White

3.8 – Asian

Admission rates by race/ethnicity:

71%—Black

79%—Hispanic

62%—White

54%—Asian

The message here is if you thought race preferences in college and university admissions were just a gentle thumb on the scale in otherwise close cases, you thought wrong. And if you thought that the Supreme Court's decisions in Gratz v. Bollinger and Grutter v. Bollinger would cause the University of Michigan to decrease the size of preferences, you thought wrong about that too. Preferences got larger instead.

These figures come from a report by Dr. Althea Nagai at the Center for Equality Opportunity.

Nagai reports that "[c]ontrolling for other factors, odds ratios showed Michigan awarding a great deal of preference to black over white applicants (70 to 1) and to Hispanics over whites (roughly 46 to 1)." On the other hand, Michigan "gave whites a small preference over Asians." She calculated the Asian to white odds ratio at 0.69 to 1.

By contrast, controlling for race and other factors, the odds ratio of in-state over out-of-state applicants was 1.05 to 1 (which was not statistically significant).

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  1. What amazes me is that this never led to race riots.

    And the most insidious aspect of this is AFTER the student is admitted, in the thousand different ways that some students are more equal than others.

    1. Did you say race riot, by whites? I have just the song for you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoJYM3krDWQ

      1. More https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQ0ftoiIQxU

        And the thing forgotten about the infamous Tiki Torch parade at U-VA is the real meaning of what they were saying.

        1. What is the “real meaning” of “Jews will not replace us?”

          I sense this blog won’t be satisfied until every strong law school in America declines to hire movements conservatives for faculty positions.

          At that point, of course, the real whining by Conspirators and other clingers will begin.

          1. Typical liberal false story. The actual chanting was “Juice will not replace us.”

            It was a pro-electrolyte, pro-Gatorade, message of peace.

            1. It’s got what plants crave.

  2. Looks like one race is benevolent enough to preside over its own demise.

    1. It’s not Whites who are being replaced.

      It’s the bigots.

      Thank goodness.

      1. The bigots are being replaced?

        Great! Who are we getting in trade for you?

  3. Are not racial preferences a violation of equal protection?

    1. Not under current SCOTUS precedent. Currently, in post-secondary education, a race quota is unconstitutional but a system that gives bonus points or otherwise bonus consideration for minorities is acceptable.

      1. Under current SCOTUS president, it’s OK to offer some minorities education that might not be the best fit for them so that white people can experience the benefits of diversity.

        1. You think AA recipients are generally not well suited for the schools to which they chose to apply to and attend?

          Now this is some kick-ass paternalism.

          1. “Now this is some kick-ass paternalism.”

            Naw. White people get better paternalism. As usual, minorities get lower-quality paternalism.

            1. I mean, look at the terrible racism/sexism that exists at most schools. They have Black Studies, Women’s Studies, etc. but no White Studies/Men’s studies. How racist is that?

              1. Me, decades ago: There’s a Mother’s day and Father’s day. Why is there no kids’ day?

                Father: Because every day is kids’ day.

  4. Yes, but is Dr. Nagai’s name going to make some students uncomfortable?

  5. Do we have graduation or drop out rates by race and/or entrance scores or GPA? Drop or transfer out before completing 30 credit hours (not counting AP or transfer credits) and before completing 60 hours would be useful. Changes in major might also be interesting but not as important.

    If they know admissions rates by those criteria they should be able to compile the latter drop out, transfer or graduation rates by the same criteria.

    I’m guessing we’ll see higher drop out/transfer and lower graduation rates by GPA/SAT scores. Because of the demographics of average GPA/SAT we’ll likely see more drop out/transfer for the groups who are given a leg up. (Of course we could also see if their drop out rate is ‘explained’ by less stringent admission requirement. I’d guess it will be– but it’s an empirical question.)

  6. Of course this is a terrible idea which I will vote against, but will no doubt pass. Of course, the student’s who are admitted though they lack the skills to succeed will drop out at higher rates. But what concerns me is that this screws my kids directly. Through no fault of their own, my children, who work hard in school, but are not a preferential race, will have a hell of a time getting into any of the good public universities, namely the UC system. And that system is subsidized through state taxes!

    1. And what will it do to your children’s attitudes towards race?

    2. Unfortunately colleges have for many years also attempted to have geographic diversity so they could have a hard time based on living in an area that is over represented at Cal or UCLA. So the Bush/Cheney ticket featured two recipients of affirmative action—Bush as a legacy and Cheney for geographic diversity. Cheney couldn’t hack Yale like many recipients of geographic diversity so if getting a degree from Cal or UCLA is important to them they most likely could transfer in at a later time.

      1. Yale was not a good fit for Cheney, and I’d say culturally.

        1. Cheney failed out after getting a second chance…it obviously all worked out once his wife removed his balls and got him to stop driving drunk.

    3. Having the skills to succeed is a threshold question. Admissions is an optimization question. Don’t mistake one for the other.

  7. In 2021 reparations are a no brainer and in addition to reparations I would give descendants of slaves under age 30 2 free years of community while living at home along with free tuition at a state university along with free room and board. Private colleges could get access to the money only by making up the difference. I would also focus affirmative action on getting descendants of slaves with STEM aptitude STEM degrees and not liberal arts degrees. So that might mean the top Black students don’t necessarily go to the best college but the college in which they are most likely to get a STEM degree. Btw, due the persistent and pervasive racism in America the number of descendants of slaves that can compete at the top colleges is inconsequential so true affirmative action focused only on descendants of American slaves is a no brainer. Get rid of affirmative action for recent Black immigrants and Latinos because that is essentially racism towards whites which is unAmerican.

    1. How about subrogation of the reparations? I had a greatgreatgrandfather who died freeing the slaves — they owe ME if anyone owes anyone anything.

      1. Trump threw $10 billion at the white coal miners in West Virginia and it harmed no one. Paying reparations in 2021 is merely a pretext for stimulus. However, if it is as successful a program as it should be there would be no reason not to put $40k into bank accounts of West Virginians and give them a $150k mortgage and have Harrisburg, PA and Louisville, KY attempt to attract them to their cities with tax incentives. 2021 is the perfect time to reboot this economy because the last 20 years have been economically suboptimal. Btw, you got your wet dream wars and wet dream presidents and between W Bush and Trump they flushed $10 trillion down a toilet and it helped no Americans. Reparations will cost a trillion and it will benefit all Americans.

    2. How about subrogation of the reparations? I had a greatgreatgrandfather who died freeing the slaves — they owe ME if anyone owes anyone anything..

  8. I have no insider information about this, but my guess is that public opinion on this issue hasn’t really changed very much. Prop. 209 got lots of support from Democratic voters when it was on the ballot. The same electorate that passed it voted for Bill Clinton for President.

    Among a certain sort of Extremely Online, academic liberal, race-based Affirmative Action is one of the holy grails. They really believe in it, and it also is an expression of the way they view the world, i.e., that there is a huge legacy of past discrimination and that one’s racial identity is both a primary determinant of how much disadvantage you have and a very important factor in terms of who should be included in intellectual discussions. And those people have been pushing hard, ever since 1996, to repeal 209.

    But that’s just not how most voters view the world, including many Democrats. Indeed, this is not even a big priority of Black or Hispanic voters. Remember, only small segments of the population, whether we are talking about whites or Blacks, are applying to highly selective universities where Affirmative Action schemes are at play.

    So you have an issue that is very important to a very small, but highly connected, group of people- you will see there are going to be hundreds of groiups listed as supporting Prop. 16. But it is either not popular or not important to the rest of the population. My guess is that this fails.

    1. Don’t forget the Bradley Effect — people will lie to poolsters.

    2. The only point I’d quibble with is your assumption that “highly selective universities” are the only places where Affirmative Action schemes are at play. For example, the article above describes the statistics at U Mich – a decent school but hardly Harvard, MIT or CalTech.

      1. Re-visit what the definition of highly selective is.

  9. “Among a certain sort of Extremely Online, academic liberal, race-based Affirmative Action is one of the holy grails. They really believe in it, and it also is an expression of the way they view the world, i.e., that there is a huge legacy of past discrimination and that one’s racial identity is both a primary determinant of how much disadvantage you have and a very important factor in terms of who should be included in intellectual discussions.”

    That sounds suspiciously like an appraisal of the motivations of groups to which the appraiser does not belong nor care to interview.

    I’m not bothered by affirmative action, it’s one tool in an effort to cause the future white collar work force of America to look like America. It is not a holy grail and I welcome other proposals.

    I also welcome graduates of U Mich to the discussion FWIW.

    1. The advantage of guessing about the outcome of an election is that there will eventually be some evidence whether the guess was correct or off-target.

      If I offered my own guess, it would be that affirmative action actually does have support among the supposed beneficiaries. Why wouldn’t it? If you offer people a legally-advantaged position, some of them will take advantage of that offer.

  10. I graduated from high school a year early and enrolled in college six months before that, in January 1977. In those days, a college degree was essential for getting a white-collar job and for advancement, regardless of how intelligent one may have been.

    That is no longer true today. Unless one is seeking a government license to practice in a particular area, such as law, a college or university degree is not necessary and certainly not cost-effective.

    Also, government schools, and it appears private schools as well, are all controlled by leftists. The world would be better off if they were all permanently closed.

    1. I graduated on time and enrolled in August 1977 at a private midwestern university. I have not aged into a crank with a grudge against higher education, even the kind at GMU and Liberty.

      1. ScottK – Were you a homosexual when you enrolled or did you age into it?

  11. The following is at stake when Prop 16 passes. Vote NO on Prop 16 to save everyone including Prop 16 supporters.

    1. Prop 16 destroys commonly accepted merit- based system.
    2. Prop 16 grants more powers for gov. and public universities to pick up winners and losers.
    3. Prop 16 legalizes discrimination in the form of preferential treatment.
    4. Prop 16 Instills racial tension, social uncertainties, and distrust to Gov. and Univ.
    5. Prop 16 places ANYONE at risk of being discriminated at some point in some areas.
    6. Prop 16 may actually hurt intended beneficiaries.
    7. Prop 16 averages down all and hurts CA greatness.
    8. Prop 16 is a WRONG solution for a right problem.

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