Race vs. class in college admissions: A false dichotomy or not? | The Answer Sheet | The Washington Post

by Richard Kahlenberg; posted by Valerie Strauss –

The Supreme Court will soon hand down its verdict in a case that challenges racial preferences in admissions at the University of Texas. In this post, Richard D. Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the nonprofit public policy research organization The Century Foundation, and a proponent of class-based affirmative action in higher education admissions, looks at the issue. This appeared on the foundation’s blog.

By Richard Kahlenberg

Sherrilyn A. Ifill, the president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund Inc., just wrote a New York Times op-ed in defense of race-based affirmative action. The future direction of such policies is likely to be decided at some time in the next two weeks when the U.S. Supreme Court issues its ruling in a challenge to racial preferences in the case of Fisher v. University of Texas.

In particular, Ifill is concerned that “an alarming number of scholars, pundits and columnists—many of them liberal—have declared that economic class, not race, should be the appropriate focus of university affirmative-action efforts.” As a longtime proponent of class-based affirmative action (author of a 1996 book, “The Remedy: Class, Race and Affirmative Action,” coauthor a 2012 Century Foundation report, “A Better Affirmative Action: State Universities that Created Alternatives to Racial Preferences”) and a liberal, to boot, let me explain why I disagree with the four central arguments Ifill advances in favor of racial preference policies.

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