Should The Attempt to End Racism Involve Favoritism?


It seems that more often than not these days, the effort to end racism involves treating white people as second-class citizens. Probably, most white people can handle the slight, but why should they?

That's the question posed by education scholar Rick Hess , who points out that efforts on campus to give greater voice to minorities is an exercise in good intentions gone awry.

There was a time when schools unabashedly treated students differently based on race and ethnicity: This was called discrimination. People of goodwill have spent long decades struggling to address and atone for this vicious legacy. We may not be there yet, but undeniable progress has been made — guided by the ardent conviction that race-based discrimination has no place in American education. Today, though, a small but growing slice of college and K–12 educators are suggesting it is okay, even admirable, to treat students differently based on the color of their skin.

The reality is that progressive stacking and its ilk ultimately rest on dubious applications of junk science. While claims of “implicit bias” serve as the justification for “anti-racist” pedagogy, the credibility of the entire body of work has been called into doubt. Indeed, a recent meta-analysis examined nearly 500 studies on the “Implicit Association Test” — arguably the foundational measure in the study of implicit bias — and found fundamental problems with the test itself. Researchers, including one of the test’s co-creators, found that “the correlation between implicit bias and discriminatory behavior appears weaker than previously thought.” They cautioned that “there’s not necessarily strong evidence for the conclusions people have drawn” about implicit bias.

Do you agree or disagree that minority students should get priority treatment in order to compensate for past discrimination?