Tuesday, October 02, 2007

'Never ever talk to reporters without a script' watch

via the Chronicle:
The dean of admissions at the University of Chicago recently told The Wall Street Journal that he would give Barack Obama’s two daughters “a break” in the admissions process, even though the presidential candidate has said that his girls “should probably be treated by any admissions officer as folks who are pretty advantaged.”

Mr. Obama, who generally supports the use of race in college admissions decisions, made the remark earlier this year in response to a question from ABC’s George Stephanopoulos about whether his daughters should be able to benefit from affirmative action when the time comes for them to go to college.

In the Journal story, Theodore A. O’Neill, the admissions dean at Chicago, touted improvements in the racial and gender diversity of the student body at his institution, where Mr. Obama was once a lecturer. (The university, the article said, used to be about two-thirds male and overwhelmingly white. Now the gender ratio is about even, and 7 percent of the student body is black, 9 percent is Hispanic, and 1 percent is American Indian.)

Mr. O’Neill was quoted as saying that he disagreed with Mr. Obama, a U.S. senator from Illinois, on the issue of his daughters and whether they should get a break in admissions decisions: “Those children, for all their privileges, will have interesting things to say about American society based on what I’m assuming their experiences are.” [emphasis added]

The legal need to justify affirmative action in terms of "diversity" and the educational benefits students outside the preferred groups leads to all sorts of rhetorical contortions, and that's far from the worst. But, geez. And it gets worse when you realize that the assumption would not be tested by seeing whether, say, an applicant had anything interesting to say about American society in an application essay, or asking about actual experiences. The assumption is both triggered and rendered unfalsifiable by the 'race' box checked off on the application form.