Sunday, March 17, 2019

Legacy Admissions, And More

On Wednesday's The View. Joy Behar stated 

Legacy admissions, which means if your parents went to Brown, or to Howard, or UP (sic), you can go. But it's interesting because the idea of legacy admissions is racist in nature and I'll tell you why. It started in the 20's to keep out upwardly mobile immigrants who had started pushing for admission to elite schools. And I think that is a very, very bad system, legacy. Why should your kid get in because you got in?

Meghan McCain, the daughter of Captain John McCain and granddaughter of Admiral John McCain, both of the United States Naval Academy, struck back, confusedly. In response, Cenk Uygur, the top Turk of The Young Turks, remarked

But back to the legacy admissions. It does go to the point that we're all making here, which is legacy admissions don't make sense. I want my kids to go to all the same schools but that's unfair, an unfair advantage for them to have when if you're poor in West Virginia or Kentucky or the Bronx or wherever you are and you worked up and you didn't have the advantages my kids had, well, then, you earned it even more, not less.

Starting out strongly, Brooke Thomas added "we don't talk about  it enough, legacy admissions are the original affirmative action, which should make liberals/progressives question the concept of affirmative action itself." However, it was not to be, because fully recognizing the role of class is unacceptable when we can lay the entire blame upon race. So Thomas, unfortunately, continued

when you think about the college application process, you gotta get those letters of recommendation, you got to do, you know, your extracurriculars, you gotta list all this stuff, the personal essay, your score, all of that. Legacy admissions- they skip all of that and still account for almost 30% at some of these Ivy League programs and only the original people who could to go the universities were like wealthy white men and so these are their descendants.

As a form of affirmative action, granting preference where it is not earned, legacy admissions discriminate against blacks (and Latinos and Asian-Americans). But it is discriminating also against whites from backgrounds which aren't privileged, especially whites who attended high schools in lower-ranked high schools, generally in economically distressed (majority-white or majority-minority) communities.  And white- and especially Asian- applicants are additionally handicapped by more conventional affirmative action programs. The sins of the fathers, failure to attend the most elite schools, should not be visited upon their sons or daughters.

As Uygur emphasized, legacy admissions are unfair. They disadvantage students based on a factor- where their descendants attended college, if at all- which they cannot possibly control. The criterion of race does the same, rendering advantages and disadvantages based upon one's descendants, the color of their skin and/or the continent inhabited by their descendants.

The current scandal alleging massive bribery schemes to secure admission of individuals to several elite colleges may strike a blow against the practice of favoring applicants based upon the academic history of their descendants.  But we shouldn't stop there. Applicants should be accepted at colleges based on who they are and what they've done rather than who their parents are

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