If damaging evidence against affirmative action turns up in a pro-affirmative action book, the author often explains it away as misunderstood or exaggerated. This has happened once again, this time to a book that made no splash when it was published last October, but drew attention here at Minding the Campus in criticism that spread to Ross Douthat's column in The New York Times, Pat Buchanan's syndicated column and now Time magazine.The phenomenon of a writer who has given evidence against diversity backing away from the results as if they're explosive is fairly common—these guys really aren't happy when Pat Buchanan or Steve Sailer quotes them in a column.
The book is No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal, a careful study of admission practices at eight unnamed elite colleges by Princeton sociologist Thomas J. Espenshade and a research associate, Alexandria Walton Radford. Writing here on July 12th in an article headlined, "How Diversity Punishes Asians, Poor Whites and Lots of Others," Russell K. Nieli of Princeton wrote that the book reported an immense admissions disadvantage to Asians (because admissions officers think there are already too many in the best colleges) and poor whites, who are penalized by favoritism, not only for blacks and Hispanics, but also for whites with middle-class and upper-class backgrounds. None of the criticism that greeted Nieli's article has focused on the anti-Asian bias. All of it has dealt with the slim chances of poor whites at the most selective colleges.[Yes, Elite Colleges Are Biased Against Poor Whites, July 28, 2010]
Robert Putnam tried to resolve this by not publishing his research on diversity for several years after Bowling Alone, because it made diversity look bad, and he didn't want the research quotedÂ by Pat Buchanan. [See Robert Putnam: Diversity Is Our Destruction, August 9, 2007] Perhaps the solution for people like thatÂ is the one suggested by Leon Kass with regard to research on race and IQ—don't even ask the question.