THE IDEA OF MISMATCH, AND WHY IT MATTERS
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION in university admissions started in the late 1960s as a noble effort to jump-start racial integration and foster equal opportunity. But somewhere along the decades since, it has lost its way.
Over time it has become a political lightning rod and one of our most divisive social policies. It has evolved into a regime of racial preferences at almost all selective schools, preferences so strikingly large and politically unpopular that administrators work hard to conceal them. The largest, most aggressive preferences are usually conferred on upper-middle-class minorities on whom they often inflict significant academic harm, whereas more modest policies that could help working-class ...