A Critical Look At “Critical Mass”

A few days ago Dawinder Sidhu, an assistant professor of law at the University of New Mexico law school, published an impressive critique of the “critical mass” justification for racial preference admissions in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Impressive as it is, the article, in my opinion, is not quite critical enough, and I have been planning to write sort of a “Yes, but…” comment about it. Now George Leef has written most of what I would have said, and so  I don’t need to. I attempted to add the following as a comment to Leef’s post, but since it hasn’t appeared there I’m including it here:

The more fundamental flaw of the “critical mass” quota goal is with the underlying rationale of “diversity” itself. Without the assumption that race is a valid proxy for “difference,” there would be no reason to believe that simply admitting more blacks or Hispanics adds to the diversity of the student body. It is thus not only quite reasonable but also accurate, in short, for minorities admitted due to a “diversity” preference to feel that it is assumed they will provide “diversity” to the non-diverse by embodying and expressing characteristic racial views. If they fail to do so the reason for their admission evaporates just as surely as for the scholarship athlete who no longer chooses to compete.


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  1. Claire Boston February 27, 2013 at 11:56 pm | | Reply

    The right and the middle see value in the individual differences and similarities that make up our population. The left seems to value the individual only as a component of some amorphous ‘group’; an interchangeable, identical cog in the greater machine of group identity.

    I can’t help but look back to the idealistic optimism that many of us had in the 60’s. Does anyone remember Star Trek’s concept of the Vulcan IDIC: “Infinity Diversity in Infinite Combination”.

    Mr. Spock would find our current political insistence on group identity politics illogical in the extreme, and an overt violation of the basic tenets of IDIC.

    Live long and prosper, all you who reject group identity politics.

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