Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Arbitrary action

I learned about the arbitrariness of affirmative action over 30 years ago, when an affluent friend of mine in Puerto Rico told me that he would be getting preferential treatment in college admissions. David Frum makes the point at greater length in The Atlantic, "Why Affirmative Action No Longer Works." Excerpt:
I once worked alongside a woman whose mother was a Cuban of partly African descent and whose father was Irish via Australia. Her first name was Latino, her last name was purest Hibernian. Preference? No preference? What about the children of an Anglo-Canadian multimillionaire and an African-American mother, to mention another prominent example? Preference? No preference? 
Both Puerto Rico and the Philippines were conquered and colonized by the United States. Yet migrants from the one commonwealth and their descendants receive legal preferences; migrants from the other do not.
Me: I'm sure that my friend, now a lawyer in Puerto Rico, would've done fine in any case.

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