Affirmative action should be based on class, not race

Richard Kahlenberg:

Many Americans are of two minds on the issue of affirmative action in college admissions. On the one hand, they recognise that the United States has an egregious history of racial discrimination that needs to be addressed. They also believe that all students learn more—and society benefits—when colleges bring together people of diverse backgrounds.

On the other hand, many Americans are uncomfortable with the idea that the racial box an applicant checks has a large impact on his or her chances of admission. They worry that racial preferences stigmatise beneficiaries, breed resentment, and encourage everyone— including whites—to identify by race. And many other Americans—among them, former President Barack Obama—think it’s unfair when a wealthy African American or Latino applicant receives a preference over a low-income white or Asian student.