That question is being debated in Massachusetts, where court papers argue over Harvard’s use of race in its “holistic” admissions process, and in New York City, where politicians are trying to increase the number of black and Latino students at top public high schools.
But the answer has always been obvious: only the elite.
While standards of merit shift over time, prominent schools and even their critics usually take for granted admissions systems that uphold the privileges of elite groups. In the United States, “elites” are mostly white people. That means Asian-Americans and underrepresented minorities — Latinos, Native Americans and African-Americans — are pitted against one another for coveted spots at elite schools.
Madison recently expanded their least diverse schools.