Now It Has Come To This

Philip Trout, the outgoing president of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, has apologized, twice, for having the temerity and insensitivity to say “all lives matter.”

Inside Higher Ed reports:

“As the NACAC president, I wish to offer my sincere apology for the words I used yesterday afternoon at our opening general session,” Trout said in a message distributed Friday afternoon. “I am sorry to know that I have offended and hurt so many people.

“What I did is not right,” Trout continued. “I have asked for the support of my colleagues on the NACAC board to allow us to spend additional time addressing issues of race and human relations.

“With your help and advice, we will work hard toward making our association a center of inclusion and personal dignity for all counseling and admission professionals,” Trout concluded.

Apparently that was not sufficient, and on Saturday Trout offered his second public grovel in two days:

“At Thursday’s opening general session, I wanted to acknowledge all the violence occurring in our communities along with a statement of sympathy and solidarity for all those affected that should have used the words ‘Black Lives Matter,’ ” Trout said. “I regret that my insensitive statement caused hurt and offense and that the impact of my message of inclusion and respect actually had the opposite effect. I am sorry to have hurt the feelings of so many people, and I offer you my sincerest apology.

“Let me restate,” Trout said. “Black lives matter.”

Trout had issued an apology in a statement Friday that did not include the words “black lives matter.” His remarks Saturday were delivered to a large meeting hall filled with hundreds of people.

At the NACAC, “inclusion” obviously does not extend to those who are willing to say in public that all lives matter, and it would also appear wise for any college applicants who harbor such racist and insensitive thoughts to keep their views hidden from their guidance counselors.

Roger Clegg Eviscerates Harvard Crimson Editorial

The following is a guest post by Roger Clegg, President and General Counsel of the Center For Equal Opportunity.

The Harvard Crimson editorialized recently on the lawsuit that has been brought against the school for discriminating against Asian Americans in its admissions.  There was so much bad reasoning in the editorial, and the bad reasoning was (alas) so typical, that it is worth annotating. The editorial with my bracketed, italicized annotations follows.

More Nuance in Affirmative Action” [That should be “Preferences Based on Race and Ethnicity.”]

Using the Anti-Affirmative Action Lawsuit to Improve Considerations of Race [Right: improved racial discrimination.]


After two years of stagnation, Harvard’s hand will be forced to release six years of admissions data in response to an anti-affirmative action lawsuit. The organization Students for Fair Admissions claims that affirmative action illegally discriminates against Asian-Americans by setting a percentage quota. [Catch that, “illegally discriminates” – as opposed to the legal discrimination against Asian Americans that the Supreme Court has blessed.] U.S. District Judge Allison D. Burroughs has decided that more “comprehensive data” than the basic yearly demographics released by Harvard will be necessary for investigating these claims.

While we strongly disagree with the objective of this lawsuit, [I.e., one supposes, stopping racial discrimination of all kinds, including that against non-Hispanic white Americans.] we believe that claims of discrimination against Asian-Americans do justify greater scrutiny of Harvard’s admissions process. Despite the unfortunate and unnecessary context in which it is taking place, the release of additional data is a step towards transparency and a better understanding of this highly selective—and, alas, sometimes equally mysterious—process.

Affirmative action is crucial for diversity on campus. [That is, for skin color diversity. There’s no assertion here that  it’s necessary for other kinds of diversity.]  African-Americans and Hispanic students live with many socioeconomic challenges that depress their access to education, [So do many white students.  So do many Asian American students.  And many – most – African-American and Hispanic students do NOT face “socioeconomic challenges.”  So why are we using skin color and national origin as a proxy for them? William Bowen and Derek Bok acknowledged in their classic apologia for racial preferences The Shape of the River that only 14 percent of the African Americans admitted to selective schools like Harvard come from low-SES backgrounds.]  including the chronic underfunding of schools with students of color at every poverty level, or the psychological traumas that result from fearing or experiencing discrimination. An inability to accept the importance of race in a society that is far from race-blind will feed this cycle of deprivation.

[Note that the justification being offered here for racial preferences has nothing to do with the purported “educational benefits” of “diversity,” which  is the only justification that the Supreme Court has recognized and is, therefore, the only one that Harvard relies on.  Rather, this is a broad claim of “societal” and “historical” discrimination that the Court has rejected.]

Nevertheless, the benefits of affirmative action do not justify fully ignoring claims about Asian-American admissions. [Those benefits, as discussed, are dubious both factually and legally.  And note that there has been no discussion of the undeniable and heavy COSTS of such discrimination, against which the flimsy and disputed benefits must be weighed:  It is personally unfair, passes over better qualified students, and sets a disturbing legal, political, and moral precedent in allowing racial discrimination; it creates resentment; it stigmatizes the so-called beneficiaries in the eyes of their classmates, teachers, and themselves, as well as future employers, clients, and patients; it mismatches African Americans and Latinos with institutions, setting them up for failure; it fosters a victim mindset, removes the incentive for academic excellence, and encourages separatism; it compromises the academic mission of the university and lowers the overall academic quality of the student body; it creates pressure to discriminate in grading and graduation; it breeds hypocrisy within the school and encourages a scofflaw attitude among college officials; it papers over the real social problem of why so many African Americans and Latinos are academically uncompetitive; and it gets states and schools involved in unsavory activities like deciding which racial and ethnic minorities will be favored and which ones not, and how much blood is needed to establish group membership – an untenable legal regime as America becomes an increasingly multiracial, multiethnic society and as individual Americans are themselves more and more likely to be multiracial and multiethnic (starting with our president).]  Crucially, affirmative action ought not to be framed as a zero-sum game where the admission of an African-American or Hispanic student constitutes the replacement of more qualified Asian-American student.  [That may be “crucial” but it’s also obviously false.  Admissions IS a zero-sum game, and less qualified people ARE being admitted over more qualified people.  If preferences weren’t being given on the basis of race, there would be no issue, and certainly no legal issue.] This wrongheaded narrative ignores, among other considerations, the fact that legacy students and others are also granted preference in the admissions process.  [This is what is called “changing the subject.”  The fact that there exist preferences for nonracial reasons has nothing to do with whether racial preferences –which are uniquely ugly and divisive and are the explicit subject of legal prohibitions – are wise or fair.]

Rather than pitting minorities against each other, the greater scrutiny that Harvard is undergoing should shed light on the mechanics of admissions for the sake of transparency. [The fact is that some minorities ARE being discriminated against in favor of other minorities. This may be inconvenient for the Left’s narrative, but it’s a fact. It’s also an important fact, because it underscores one of the problems (already noted above) with using racial preferences in a country that is increasingly multiracial and multiethnic.] For instance, one study found that Asian-Americans require 140 more SAT points than white peers to gain entry to private colleges. While statistics like this one may very well be benign, it deserves more attention to counter claims of discrimination.  [It’s unlikely that these statistics are “benign”; it’s also the fact that similar statistics can be deduced for discrimination against non-Hispanic whites vis-à-vis African Americans and Hispanics.]

This lawsuit is a chance for Harvard to reexamine its ambiguous criteria for “well-roundedness” and potentially refine the way it thinks about affirmative action. The current policy may fail to take into account significant variations within race—grouping dozens of countries and cultures into a generalized whole, or overlooking patterns of socioeconomic privilege among individuals.  [True enough.  But these “groupings” are now a favorite tool of the Left, not Right, in distributing privilege.  Hey, here’s a wild idea:  What if we ignore all groupings — and dispense with trying to correct this by coming up with better subgroupings – on the basis of skin color and what country someone’s ancestors came from, and instead judged each person as an individual?]  As Harvard further scrutinizes its admissions policies, we hope that it will find nuances to reconsider. [There’s a time and place for nuance, and there’s a time and place for bright lines.  Racial discrimination falls in the latter category: Just don’t do it.]

Double Entendre (Unintended) Of The Week

In “Virginia Slim: The Race Tightens,” the Weekly Standard‘s Fred Barnes asks Corey Stewart, Trump’s Virginia campaign manager, why he thinks Trumps prospects are better than in 2012, when Romney lost by 4 points. “Stewart says Romney’s opponent, Obama, was an exciting candidate. But Clinton isn’t.” And then comes the unintended but terrific double entendre: “Clinton […]

Asked … And Answered

Peggy Noonan begins her Wall Street Journal column today with a question you’ve all heard, in one form or another, many times: The signature sentence of this election begins with the words “In a country of 320 million . . .” I hear it everywhere. It ends with “how’d it come down to these two?” […]

Guest Post By Ward Connerly

Ward Connerly, as most readers will know, is the architect of California’s Proposition 209, through which the citizens of that state amended their state constitution to prohibit differential treatment based on race by all state agencies. Subsequently Michigan and several other states adopted similar proposals.  Thus I was flattered when he asked if he could […]

Roger Clegg: Some Blunt Talk On Race

Some will regard the following guest post by Roger Clegg, president and general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity, as politically incorrect. I do not. I suspect, however, that I would have posted it even if I did, based on a belief that the best way to fight political correctness is by being willing […]

Hillary Now Lying About … Her Lying

At this late date anyone shocked by Hillary Clinton lying is like Captain Renault in Casablanca, who pronounced himself “shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here [a croupier hands Renault a pile of money].” Anyone who believes any of the various and inconsistent explanations and justifications of her claiming private ownership […]

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