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Monday, February 03, 2003

Military Academies Use Affirmative Action in Admissions
The U.S. Military Academy at West Point uses racial quotas in admitting cadets, while the Naval and Air Force academies use other affirmative action schemes similar to the ones used here at the University of Michigan, according to this NY Times article.

I support full racial equality, but I'm not a big fan of affirmative action because of the resentment it causes. I frequently talk to white people who don't seem to be overtly racist but who are upset that they or their children were denied admission to a college because of affirmative action. I also think that it addresses the issue much too late: the real problem is that so many minority students reach college age very poorly prepared due to the absurdly unequal funding of public schools. De facto racial segregation caused by white flight and sprawl has left many schools in minority areas woefully unable to afford quality teachers, materials and facilities to provide a decent education. Providing all children with a good education makes more sense than allowing unprepared students of any color in to college.

Which leads, of course, to my "on the other hand..." segment.

On the other hand, it is extremely hypocritical for the president to complain about people being admitted to college for reasons other than academic qualifications. From prep school to Yale to the Texas Air National Guard (and not being arrested for being AWOL for a year) to the board of several oil companies to owning part of the Texas Rangers to the governor's mansion in Austin to the White House, George W. Bush has gotten in solely because of his color, his wealth, and especially who his father is. He has never been even remotely qualified for any of this. You've got to have a powerful daddy to get high-paying jobs like these when the main qualification on your resume is "ignorant drunk."