CSM supports trend towards ‘affirmative action’ based on income


The Christian Science Monitor, one of my favourite publications, last week wrote an editorial favourable to the current trend to improve the number of students from low-income backgrounds at America’s most selective universities.

It is worth noting that difference in public opinion to income-based admission schemes compared to race-based admission schemes.

I fit into this category, I do not support race-based admission quotas. The difference between race-based and income-based on paper is great, in practice there is very little difference.

In both Canada and America, the students targeted by race-based admissions are generally living in low-income situations. The goal is to address one’s socio-economic situation, not the colour of one’s skin.

The big question in the latest trend is if there will be a backlash in five years time.

There was resentment of race-based affirmative action as some "white" people felt that "under-qualified" students were bypassing them for limited spaces in programs such as law.

Will the upper and upper-middle classes revolt if they see people from lower incomes filling those seats instead?

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CSM supports trend towards ‘affirmative action’ based on income

  1. Great post Joey, and I agree entirely with you on this issue. One of the most interesting chats I ever had with a political science professor was about how America (and to a lesser degree Canada) tends to fold our discussion about class and economic disadvantage into conversations about race and discrimination. I am far more in favour of affirmative programs that target the economically disadvantaged, no matter their racial background. To the extent that race and other factors contribute to economic disadvantage, I’m perfectly fine if these programs end up disproportionately benefiting minorities of various sorts. But I’d far sooner target actual need, rather than create some simplistic paradigm where every member of a majority group is assumed to be successful and in no need of help, while every member of a minority group is assumed to be struggling. You only leave people behind, in the first instance, and insult the ones who have made it already, in the second.

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