Affirmative action is widely unpopular and undermines the basic principle holding a diverse population together that everyone be treated equally, Russell Nieli, author of a new book on affirmative action, tells Newsmax TV.
Nieli, a lecturer in Princeton University’s political science department, is the author of “Wounds That Will Not Heal: Affirmative Action and Our Continuing Racial Divide.” He noted that polls since the mid-1970s have shown majorities of whites, Asians, and Hispanics against the policy and among African Americans “there’s a substantial minority who oppose it.”
Watch the exclusive interview here.
“It’s considered grossly unfair and it undermines what I think is a major principle holding a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-religious society together and that is that you treat everybody as an American citizen, not as a member of a racial group and ethnic group or a religious group,” he said.
“That’s the basic bond holding together in my judgment a citizen republic like we are in the United States.”
One of the areas Nieli exams in his book is the underperformance of African Americans in college when compared to students with similar SAT scores. He said in such matchups, whites and Asians have “substantially higher” grades and higher class rank.
“There are only three credible explanations for that underperformance as it’s called and all of them are directly related to racial preference policy,” he said.
The explanation for the disparity, according to Nieli, includes that African Americans choke on exams because people think that they are inferior, that African Americans know that once they get out of college they know they are going to be treated preferentially over Asians and whites and don’t work as hard and that “black students know that they have been recruited not because they’re the brightest lights on campus but because of a racial enhancement factor and they tend to form subcultures which place less emphasis on academic excellence and the same way the recruited athletes place less emphasis on academic excellence.”
Affirmative action will be undergoing another round of Supreme Court reviews in a case called Fisher vs. University of Texas at Austin that challenges the university’s affirmative action program which utilizes a number of factors including race to fill about two dozen spots in its freshman class. In recent years, the court has chipped away at such programs and may do so again.
Nieli said he was “pretty confident that there’s going to be a modification” of recent rulings that will “make it somewhat more difficult for institutions to discriminate of the basis of race.” However, whether the universities follow the ruling is another matter.
“There are two real issues involved here,” Nieli said. “One, will the universities be willing to abide by the court’s decision. I kind of think no, or only partially. They’ll be clever, like the white segregationists were after the Brown decision, try to get around the decision in various ways.”
However, should the court once and for all overturn affirmative action in colleges it would reshuffle the “black and Hispanics into institutions that are closer to what their actual academic credentials would normally achieve for them.”
“Many people wrongly think that affirmative action increases the amount of black and Hispanics students who go to college but that’s ridiculous,” he said.
“What it does is it upwardly ratchets black and Hispanics into institutions that are one or two or three levels of selectivity above where they would have gotten in to without the racial preference. It doesn’t increase the number of college eligible black of Hispanic students, it merely puts them into intuitions whereby they tend to be the least academically qualified of those in those institutions.”
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