Affirmative Action in the USA
Today we talk about affirmative action in higher education in the United States. The Supreme Court will soon rule on the latest case over race-based college admissions, which many fear will end affirmative action as we know it.
My guest is Natasha Warikoo, a professor of sociology at Tufts University. Her new book is Is Affirmative Action Fair?, which was published by Polity press.
Citation: Warikoo, Natasha, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 309, podcast audio, February 20, 2023.https://freshedpodcast.com/warikoo/
Will Brehm 0:09
Natasha Warikoo, welcome to FreshEd.
Natasha Warikoo 1:06
It’s great to be here. Thanks for having me.
Will Brehm 1:08
So, in November of 2022, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments about this case called Students for Fair Admissions versus Harvard College. A decision I think is supposed to be coming out sometime later this year. Can you just tell me what this case is about?
Natasha Warikoo 1:25
Sure. This is a case you know; I’ll tell you the big picture is that its goal is to end race conscious admissions in higher education, that is affirmative action. But I’ll give you a little bit of the background on the case for listeners who aren’t familiar. So, affirmative action has been contested in court in the United States since the 1970s. Cases have reached the US Supreme Court four times prior to this case. And in each decision, the Court has affirmed the right for colleges to consider race kind of holistically, that is in conjunction with a variety of factors kind of holistic sense. But the Court has also said you can’t do it in a kind of mechanistic way, you can’t have quotas. So, this is very different from other countries, say like India, or South Africa where quotas are built into the Constitution, right? You must have quota. So, this is different. And so, this organization, Students for Fair Admissions is an organization led by a man named Edward Blum. He brought a case that landed in the US Supreme Court that was attacking affirmative action that was decided in 2015, and 2016. And he lost those cases, the Court, again, affirmed the college’s right to consider race in admissions. And so, this time, Blum thought, well, you know, we’re noticing that Asian Americans are doing quite well academically in the United States. And so, I’m going to use Asian American plaintiffs in this case and say that these colleges are discriminating against Asian Americans in their practice. And the way that we’re going to resolve that is by ending race conscious admissions. Now, this was a little bit of a bait and switch, because if there is any discrimination towards Asian Americans, it’s hard to understand why the remedy would be ending the consideration of race for other racial groups, right for Black, Latinx, and Native Americans but this is the argument. And so, it was kind of a surprise when the US Supreme Court agreed to hear this case. And of course, you know, the US Supreme Court has changed pretty dramatically in the last few years with three Trump appointees. It’s a much more conservative court. And so, the Court heard arguments in this trial in October, and we’re waiting for a decision which should come out in May or June. And we’ll have to see what they say.
Will Brehm 3:39
Is there an expectation among court observers as to where this case is headed?
Natasha Warikoo 3:45
So, in general, the sort of word on the street is that this is going to, quote unquote, end affirmative action? I think that the kind of proof is in the pudding, right? So, what exactly that looks like, I don’t think we know. In the trial, there was this moment where the plaintiffs were asked, Well, is a person allowed to talk about experiences with racial discrimination and how that affected their life? And the lawyer for Students for Fair Admissions actually said, yeah, you can talk about that. You can even talk about how, if you are from an immigrant family, how that cultural heritage has shaped your life. That’s okay. And so, this suggests that it’s not that colleges are going to have to, quote unquote, not see race and not know. So, what exactly that looks like that you’re allowed to talk about your racial background, but you can’t say maybe have a box to kind of check off right? And so, what exactly that looks like, we’re gonna have to wait and see. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson had this very powerful moment when she said to the lawyer, “So, you’re telling me that a white applicant – this was in the University of North Carolina case, there are two cases it’s a little complicated, but there are two universities, basically, that the organization is suing, and she said, “You’re telling me that a white applicant could say, my family has gone to this university for generations. And I want to honor that legacy by going to this university”, because of course, these colleges are allowed to take into consideration whether your parent has gone to this university and your ties to the university. And you’re saying that’s okay. But for a person who has also been in North Carolina for generations, who is Black cannot say, “Well, my family has been in this state for generations, my ancestors were slaves on this land, they were not allowed, because this university, of course, did not allow for African Americans much until sometime in the last century. And I would like to honor their legacy by going to this university. That the former will be allowed, but not the latter”. You know, he didn’t come out and say yes, yes. But the answer was, yes. And so, you know, there is this very odd, very thin line that we’ll have to see, like, what exactly that looks like. What is the court going to allow? What is it not going to allow? So, I think that’s the kind of legal decision that’s going to come about that I don’t think we know exactly what that will look like. But I do think that however they sort of land, it’s already having a chilling effect, where so many colleges are like we’re not – and we’ve seen this, and this is even prior to this case, where colleges that don’t have the resources that say a Harvard has to fight a legal battle are kind of backing away from affirmative action because they’re worried about being sued, and they don’t have the resources to fight a suit in court.
Will Brehm 6:42
I guess stepping back from this is actually kind of an interesting thing. And this you kind of do in your book, where you start really looking at what affirmative action is. And one of the first questions that comes to mind is about how do colleges and universities in the United States even go about deciding who to accept? I mean, it’s sort of that big historical question almost in a way.
Natasha Warikoo 7:04
Yeah. I think the important thing to keep in mind, and I always like to remind people of, is that the vast majority of colleges in the United States are not practicing affirmative action because the majority of even four-year colleges are accepting all, or almost all, of the applicants to them. They are either open admissions, or accepting over half, you know, 80, 90% of applicants. And so, when you’re in that kind of situation, you’re really looking at applicants, and do we think this person can be successful here? But it’s only in colleges that have more applicants who they think can be successful on their college campus than they have space for. And so, we’re talking about the UNC’s the Harvard’s, the flagship state schools, the private elite colleges are the places that affirmative action is even on the table. And so, in those kinds of places, admissions is a very complex process where they’re looking kind of holistically at a whole range of things. And these colleges are increasingly test optional, but in the past, looking at your ACT or LSAT scoring now that’s optional. Obviously, your grades in high school, your grade point average. What classes were you taking? What is offered at your high school? Did you take the most rigorous courses? Or did you specialize in a certain area? They’re looking at what extracurricular activities did you do? And within those, did you show some leadership like, were you the captain. Not just on the baseball team but the captain or the all-star, what have you. They’re looking at letters of recommendation from your teachers, they’re looking at your essay. Does your essay and what you talk about in that kind of resonate with the courses that you’ve taken or the extracurricular activities that you do. And they sort of look at this all holistically. And there are all these other little factors that play a role, like what’s your intended subject that you want to study? They are looking for diversity, not just of race, but also of geography. They want someone from every state in the country, that’s like a thing. They are considering, do you have ties to the university? Do you have a sibling or a parent who went to this university? So, all of these things are linked in a holistic way? I mean, Harvard is kind of unique because it is so well-resourced. They talk in the trial about how they have 40 people in these meetings where someone has read the application, and then they put it up on the slide, and they do a vote for every single applicant. And so, it’s a very labor-intensive process, but this is the sort of holistic view, that process, that these very elite colleges are using.
Will Brehm 9:38
That process, it’s like a little black box, isn’t it? Because like the 40 people sitting in a room, sifting through all of these different factors, and I don’t imagine this is public information. Exactly the methodology they use to come to the decision is not public, is it?
Natasha Warikoo 9:55
It’s not, except because of this trial, a lot of the data for Harvard in particular has become public in a way that wasn’t in the past. So, we know more than we did before. And again, Harvard, in some ways is unique, but in other ways, is not so unique in terms of that holistic look at very selective colleges. And one thing I’ve come to realize in thinking about these questions is that these colleges, it’s not that -someone once called them highly rejective colleges. They’re in the business of rejecting. I mean they’re accepting 1 in 20, 1 in 25, like the number keeps rising, of the applicants. And so, when that happens it’s like, okay, a first cut will kind of eliminate all the people who aren’t like stellar, stellar applicants, right. And then within that you still have multiple applicants per spot, and then something has to push you over the like, okay, of all these people you get in, right. And sometimes that is a parent who went to the college. Sometimes that is, the coach wants you for your team, right? I didn’t mention that earlier that coaches have a special role to play. Sometimes it’s you are from a state where, you’re the only person in that pool from Wyoming. That pushes you in. And absent something like that, you’re probably not gonna get in because they’re just too many people. There’s too many amazing young people out there, which is a good thing, right? And they can’t all go to Harvard. They don’t need to go to Harvard. And so, one of the things I talked about in the book is that we really need to stop thinking about college admissions as this individual certification of worthiness that like these are the best of the best. Ultimately, among all those amazing people, it’s kind of random. It’s a little bit of luck. Like, maybe this year the oboist for the orchestra is graduating and you happen to be the best oboe player in your -you got first chair, I guess there’s only two oboes in an orchestra. But you know, you were like the top oboist in the state or something, and like, it’s your lucky day. And it doesn’t mean that you’re any better than that top clarinet player, right?
Will Brehm 12:05
And so, in a sense, there has to be some level of selection bias, right? There has to be a sort of subjective opinion by this group of people making a decision over this class. Even if it’s not just about race, right? It can be about, as you said, there’s all these other factors that they’re sort of weighing. What is the logic or the justification for affirmative action, then in such a system, as you’ve just explained, what are the proponents saying as to why affirmative action is needed?
Natasha Warikoo 12:36
Before I answer that, I just want to go back to this idea of this being a kind of subjective process because I just want to point out that any system of selection, there is some definition of merit that is like there’s no one perfect objective system, right? And so, this is what this organization has decided they’re going to use to select people for the goals that they have, right? So, the US system can seem very peculiar to people outside of the United States. And it is a peculiar system, right? Most other countries like Britain, like other places in the world, are mostly using as like these standardized exams, right national exams. And you get the highest score, you get to go to IIT in India, you get to go to -well, I know Oxford and Cambridge have an interview as well, but you at least you get an interview based on your exams. But it’s important to remember that those also are subjective, right? Someone has decided that this is the exam we’re going to use, someone has decided that this is the content that we think is important for studying at this university. That is what we think makes you worthy of this education at this university. So, those are also subjective. And just because they are quantitative, and they are numbers, and there’s no kind of individual judgment doesn’t mean that they are objective anymore than – you know, I think it’s a little more obvious the way that the US system is a little more – that there’s judgment involved. But there’s judgment in a different way. I think of these other systems. So, I just want to point that out that systems of meritocracy are never – there’s no pure form of meritocracy. Meritocracy is always about what does this society, or this organization, value right now and how are they measuring it, right? And that determines who is seen as meritorious? So, I think it’s important to point out
Will Brehm 14:25
I think Thomas Piketty sort of says, it’s a way of justifying certain inequality in a system.
Natasha Warikoo 14:30
Sure. And meritocracy has been used historically to benefit those who are high status. So, there are a few different justifications of affirmative action that I outline in the book, but I’ll start with the one that has been upheld by the US Supreme Court, and that is that the US Supreme Court has agreed that you can use affirmative action – so race is like legally a kind of what we call a suspect class in the United States, right? You have to be a little skeptical when people are using race because race has been used to discriminate particularly towards African Americans, right? And that is why we have the Civil Rights Act, that’s why we have the 14th amendment to protect African Americans from racial discrimination. So, you have to really show that you have a good reason to consider race in a way that you don’t have to be able to say in court, why you are considering whether the parents went to this college. You’re allowed to do that. You’re allowed to privilege people whose parents can afford to pay for your college, that’s okay. You can discriminate towards working class people, but you cannot discriminate on the basis of race. Now non-discrimination on the basis of race does not specify which races, right? So, these laws designed to protect racial minorities have been used to say, hey, whites are being discriminated against, and now Asian Americans, right. So, there’s a little bit of an irony there. But the court has said, you can do that if there is a compelling state interest in doing so and you narrowly tailor it. So, this is when you’re considering a suspect class. So, the court has said, Well, having a diverse student body in which everyone benefits from kind of diverse perspectives in the classroom is allowed justification for affirmative action. So, if you need to consider race, and that’s the only way you can have this racially diverse student body that then learns from each other in the classroom and the dorm, that is a satisfactory reason. So, this diversity rationale, right. And there’s a lot of research that shows that that does happen. That when you have a more diverse campus, people have more positive racial attitudes. Their sense of leadership, cognitive capacity, like there are all these outcomes that you wouldn’t necessarily expect even civic participation and into adulthood seems to be affected by diversity on the college campus. So, that’s the kind of legally allowed reason and because of that, that’s the one that really has taken hold in the United States. And there’s good reason for it. I think there are other reasons that get talked about less, but I think matter. So, when affirmative action started in the 1960s, it was about redressing racial exclusion, right. And so, it was about racial inequality, and almost like a reparation, meaning African Americans, in particular, have been excluded from these colleges for generations either by law by some of the Southern colleges literally didn’t allow it, or by how they were admitting students. You had to know Latin. How many African Americans were studying at schools that had Latin? Not very many. And so, maybe there was one or two or three over a decade. And so, reparations are passed exclusion and racial inequality today, right? There is a lot of data on how race plays a role aside from class in the United States. And that’s another justification. And the last reason that people talk about, and this has been kind of mentioned in court, is the diverse leadership. That in order to create a pipeline towards a diverse leadership in society, we need affirmative action. And Sandra Day O’Connor appointed by Ronald Reagan, a Republican President, talked about this that, we need leadership that is legitimate in the eyes of the people, right? If you have a completely white and Asian American leadership, people -particularly people say, who are Black or Latinx, or Native American won’t take it seriously. They’ll be like, what is this? I don’t see anyone like me in the leadership and they won’t to take it seriously. And that is problematic for democracy.
Will Brehm 18:33
And didn’t Barack Obama credit affirmative action for his own success in a way?
Natasha Warikoo 18:38
Yeah. He talks about affirmative action that he thinks that that helped him in his higher education trajectory. Justice Sotomayor, on the US Supreme Court calls herself an affirmative action baby. And so, we can see in leadership, the ways that it has benefited us in terms of who is in leadership and what leadership looks like in the United States.
Will Brehm 18:56
And there is actual sociological research that is showing all of these benefits as being material, right? Like they do actually exist, like you said. They do create learning environments that are diverse, end up creating all these sorts of positive outcomes, as you’re sort of saying.
Natasha Warikoo 19:11
Yeah, they do. You know, I’m a sociologist. And so, in the book, I use my sociological analyses to say, well, what is the data on this? You know, because we can pontificate and have our opinions but there’s social science that looks at -there’s a study that’s been around for a long time that looked at graduates of these selective colleges, and again, because it’s holistic, it’s hard to know who benefited from affirmative action versus who didn’t but they tried to estimate it by saying, Okay, people whose SATs scores are on the lower end of people in their college who are Black or Latinx – I think that this was a focus on African Americans – they are likely to have benefited from affirmative action. Let’s compare them to African Americans who go to colleges where they’re more in the middle of the SAT scores – so, maybe would have gotten in absent affirmative action as well – and they find that going to a higher status college creates all of these additional professionals, they’re more likely to graduate because higher status colleges have higher graduation rates, and they seem to be holed up by that. There’s also studies in states that have banned affirmative action where you can see what happens over time with the ban. So, California has not considered race in the University of California system since 1998 because of the state referendum there. There are nine states that have bans on affirmative action. There was a study of medical schools – there’s a 5% decline in Black and LatinX doctors as a result of these bans in those states. And there’s research on medical care and how having a same-race doctor seems to affect the kind of care people get. And there’s a big study of the University of California system kind of before and after the ban, and they find that again, underrepresented minorities end up going to lower status colleges, which seems to make them less likely to graduate and then down the line, Latinos seem to have 5% lower wages as a result. And so, there is all of this data that we can look at and see, well, what does happen when you ban affirmative action in a state? And so, I think that tells us on the flip side, what it probably does do on the positive way.
Will Brehm 21:17
Is there any sort of research that supports opponents of affirmative action? The people like Ed Blum, who is putting forward this case to the Supreme Court? And it sounds like he’s been on a bit of a crusade doing it multiple times. Is there any evidence in the research literature that would support people against affirmative action and their stance?
Natasha Warikoo 21:37
I’ve looked at all of this data because sometimes you think there’s going to be something there, right? And in a way, I really feels like there’s no “there” there. The one intuitive thing that turns out to be wrong, is this idea of mismatch, that okay, well, if someone is going to a college where they’re not as academically prepared for aren’t they going to flounder, right? And the evidence suggests that even if you are less academically prepared, you’re still more likely to graduate than if you go to the lower status college. Again, it’s because these higher status colleges have more resources and that is probably what’s driving their higher graduation rates, right? You probably have smaller classes, more students’ services to help you out if you’re kind of struggling. So, that turns out to be false. Now, they may have slightly lower graduation rates to the rest of their peers on that campus. But that’s a different question, right? They’re still better off in those colleges. So, if we care about graduating underrepresented minority students, then actually, you want to have more affirmative action on that. And I think it’s because opponents are assuming that it plays a bigger role than it does. Like if the consideration of race were so much that students really could not pass their classes at these higher status colleges, then that wouldn’t be the case, right? But I think it’s because colleges have been cautious in how much they are sort of giving a boost to underrepresented groups on campus. And in my mind, I also think these colleges need to do an even better job supporting those students once they are admitted. And to their credit, I think they’ve gotten better at that. We see increasing numbers of centers for students of color, or Africana centers, or centers for first generation students who are the first in their family to go on to university. And we know that Black and LatinX students are more likely to be first generation than white and Asian American students. So, colleges are trying to build these supports in, I think they can do more. And the more they do, the more they can consider race because they can feel confident that they can meet the needs of those students. I think the other argument that they have made that sometimes I think people are like, Oh, well, there seems to be something there is this question of Asian American, right? In this Harvard versus Students for Fair Admissions case, they actually have Asian American plaintiffs. And they say, well, Asian Americans who are admitted to Harvard have, on average, higher SAT scores and higher grade point averages than all other racial groups, including whites, right? I will say before this case, I was like, yeah, there’s something weird about that. And I can see why you would give a boost to underrepresented minorities, but you should not be penalizing Asian Americans, or on the flip side, giving whites a boost vis-a-vis Asian Americans because whites have not experienced racial discrimination, or there’s no lack of whites on these campuses. There’s no justification for boosting whites over Asian Americans. So, I felt like maybe there’s something there. But actually, when the data came out from the Harvard trial, what you see is that it’s not really what’s going on. There were all these other things that seem to benefit whites that sort of put them – you remember, I was talking about like, you have all these people who are amazing and who gets slipped into the “in” box right? You know, whites are more likely to have a parent who went to Harvard. When we look at representation across country, where do all people of color live? We tend to live on the coasts, right? So, if you’re giving a boost to that person from Wyoming or Montana, most likely that person is going to be white. Intended major, they want to have a diversity. They need students in the English department and the philosophy department and who tends to say they want to study these underrepresented majors? It tends to be white applicants. People of color tend to say they want to make major in STEM. It’s things like athletic recruiting. So, athletic recruiting is, again, this peculiar thing in the US where sports is really important. So, if you have kind of a baseline, GPA and SAT score, if a coach really needs a pitcher for the baseball team this year, you’re a star pitcher, and he wants you, he tells the admissions office look, this is my person, and you basically get in. That tends to benefit whites because of who is excelling in sports. And so, all of these other things that are perfectly legal – we may not agree with that. We may think like, Well, why are they doing that, but they’re not illegal – those are the kinds of things that are benefiting whites above and beyond Asian Americans. And that’s what’s leading to this disparity.
Will Brehm 26:05
Does that fall on class lines, then, in a way ,where the ability to play a sport sometimes means you have to come from a wealthier background?
Natasha Warikoo 26:13
It’s both class and race, I will say. So, absolutely class. High school sports in the United States, a lot written about this by sociologists in terms of like – and I’ve learned this as a parent, which I never knew there was such a thing as quote unquote, club sport, where it’s not playing for your varsity team in your high school now, you’re playing for these private teams, and there are tryouts. And so, absolutely, it’s class, but it’s also race. I had a book that came out last year called Race at the Top: Asian Americans and Whites in Pursuit of the American Dream In suburban Schools, and this is a study of a suburban community that is pretty high-income suburban community that has a large, and growing, Asian American population. And one of the things that I noticed is that parents tended to have just different foci for their children in terms of how to get ahead, where Asian American parents put a little bit more stake in the academics, right? They all care about academics and they all understand that colleges want to see extracurriculars. But the Asian American parents, they were like, academics come first. Some of those parents like telling their kids who are maybe on a varsity sports team, please can you quit, you’re not getting your homework done. Sometimes the kids listen, sometimes they don’t. But it was clear, take as many advanced classes as you can. And if you need to quit sports, you quit. Versus the white parents, a lot of them used this word balance, right? They were like, you know, we told our kids only one advanced class per year because you have theater and when production comes around, you’re going to be really swamped and I don’t want you to get stressed. So, don’t take too many honors classes or, you know, you’re going to be playing basketball and soccer and tennis, so really ease up on the academics, don’t take too many advanced classes. Now, again, they all care about both of these things. But what do they focus on and what’s their sort of vision for how to help your kid get ahead. And I think there are cultural differences in those what I call cultural repertoires in the book for how to help your kid get ahead that are different. So, I think that is also playing a role aside from class.
Will Brehm 28:07
And so, if the Supreme Court does come down pretty hard against affirmative action, and sort of the system that currently exists in US higher education selection kind of ends, particularly for those selective schools that you were saying, what advice would you give a university admissions team if they really did want to try and create a diverse class year-on-year, but now being limited by this new Supreme Court ruling? What advice would you give? How can we reimagine admissions and affirmative action?
Natasha Warikoo 28:39
Well, I would hope that colleges are thinking about this question already. And I think that they are right? Because they are anticipating a decision that’s going to affect them just a few months later when they’re starting to look at applications in the fall. I don’t know exactly what colleges are doing but I will say, in general, the lowest hanging fruit is like going SAT optional. And I think that COVID sort of accelerated that. A lot of colleges had already been doing that. Almost all selective colleges are doing that now because the pandemic kind of pushed that into high gear. I think, having a diversity essay, where you’re asking people to tell us about how has diversity affected your own life trajectory. But beyond these kind of very specific things, I think colleges really need to kind of go back to first principles and say, Hang on a minute. What is our mission? What is our purpose? What are we trying to do as a university? And now, how do we align how we admit students with what we’re trying to do, and what our mission is. And when you look at the mission statements of colleges in the United States, there’s a lot of talk about contributing to society, about the kind of civic role that they play, right? And this is very different from other countries. I’ve looked at some of this in Britain. In Britain, I think, it’s kind of ironic that the elite colleges are public, right? They’re state funded but they see themselves much more as kind of a city on a hill, right? We are a bastion of intellectual endeavor and that is our role. Research and being the kind of city on a hill, whereas American universities historically have been much more socially embedded as one sociologist calls it. We have the land grant universities, universities that were started in the 19th century that were all about learning about agriculture and engineering and very practical purposes. The elite universities in the US much more have professional schools like teacher education, like business schools, law schools, medical schools. And so, I think that in the US, we have this civic mission and I think we need to come back to that. How do we select students that are going to further our civic mission? And when we do that, to me it becomes clear, we need to think about – you know, there’s so many amazing young people. Who is more likely to further that civic mission? What does a class look like that is going to benefit our society? How do we enact that? And I think when we do that, to me, it becomes clear, we have to consider race. But if we’re not able to do that, we need to consider what does this person’s biography tell us that can help us figure out, are they more likely to somehow contribute to society. And there’s so many different ways we can contribute, right? And there’s not one thing but that’s sort of how I think about this. And so, to me, that means double down on financial aid. I think that will go a long way to helping increase racial diversity as well. It means rethinking do we really want to be doing as much athletic recruiting as we’re doing? Because that’s playing a big role? Do we want to continue with our legacy admissions? Even the whole financial model. The financial model of these institutions is that we’re gonna have around half of our students paying more than the median household income in this country. By definition, they are assuming an upper-income class. How do we change that financial model? And that’s hard. You know, I don’t have good answers. The money has to come from somewhere. And so, what is that really gonna look like? I don’t know.
Will Brehm 32:19
But there would be ways to still keep a racially diverse student body, even if you don’t choose on race?
Natasha Warikoo 32:26
I don’t know. I mean, I’m not so optimistic because when we look at these states, we see decline in the underrepresented minorities. I mentioned the studies of medical school of University of California. And there’s studies in Michigan. It doesn’t look good. So, I’m a little pessimistic but I think colleges are going to do their best because I think most colleges are committed to racial diversity. I don’t know! It’s not good.
Will Brehm 32:53
Yeah. If you’ve looked at the evidence, and you know that there’s pretty bad outcomes when you have a very homogenous white student body after having a diverse student body and knowing that if they get rid of affirmative action, then that’s sort of a likely outcome. So, fighting against that, trying to come up with creative ways around it is going to be up to every institution, right? I mean, it’s going to be sort of a free for all.
Natasha Warikoo 33:15
Yeah. I also think as a society, we also need to be thinking beyond elite higher education because the reality is that the vast majority of people going to college are starting out in two-year colleges, they’re going to open access colleges, and an even higher proportion of Black, LatinX, Native American students are going to those kinds of institutions, right. So, we see this bifurcation. Over the last few decades, our states have really divested from the state system. The state colleges are the places that educate a large number of students in general, but particularly underrepresented minority students. And so, our community colleges, our state colleges, we need to reinvest in those. And I think that is another strategy that we need to think about as a society, right? How do we provide the resources? When we look at which colleges are promoting the most social mobility? It’s those colleges because they educate so many more people than the Harvard’s of the world. And so, I write a lot about elite higher education, but I always try to remind listeners and readers that this higher education in the United States is so much more than these elite colleges.
Will Brehm 34:27
Well, Natasha Warikoo, thank you so much for joining FreshEd. Really a pleasure to talk today and congratulations on your book.
Natasha Warikoo 34:32
Thank you. Thanks for having me.
Want to help translate this show? Please contact email@example.com
Related Guest Project/Publications
Is affirmative action fair? The myth of equity in college admissions
The origins of affirmative action in higher education around the world
Admissions, race, and inequality at elite universities in the US and Britain
Examining racial bias in education: A review
Student for Fair Admissions v. President & Fellows of Harvard College
Affirmative action politics throughout history
Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina
Capital in the twenty first century – Thomas Picketty
Moral and instrumental rationales for affirmative action in five national contexts
The Reagan revolution and the rise of diversity management
State affirmative action policies
States that have banned affirmative action
Elite Institutional Cognitive Disorder – Malcolm Gladwell
Community colleges and upward mobility
Affirmative action mythbusters
The parameters of affirmative action
Who gets in? Strategies for fair and effective college admissions
Who gets in and why?: A year inside college admissions
A-levels debacle in England – Mary Richardson on Freshed
The impact of predicted grades on university admissions of disadvantaged groups
Wealth, legacy, and college admission
The origins of legacy admissions
SFFA v,. Harvard: How Affirmative Action myths mask white bonus
Racial politics, resentment, and affirmative action: Asian Americans as ‘model’ college applicants
Reckoning with Asian America and the new culture war on affirmative action
The misuse of Asian Americans in the affirmative action debate
Pathways to racial equity in higher education
How affirmative action became diversity management
The case against affirmative action
The ironies of affirmative action
A diverse supreme court grapples with affirmative action
Have any useful resources related to this show? Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org