Do You Check the Box for Ethnicity?
Before I get into this, I just want to remind everyone of one thing...
Racism is not illegal.
It is deplorable, ignorant, abhorrent, and at times even unforgivable... but it is not illegal. So as I write my opinions and ask for yours regarding this, please keep this in mind; I dislike racism, I fight against it; but I also understand a person has a right to hold onto it just as they have a right to hold onto any other bad thought in their head. It doesn't become illegal until they use this thought to hurt someone else (or a group of someone elses).
So, that said... Here's today "Say What?" Moment...
Ohio State has been accused of using racial bias in their admissions process. Oh, and not just them, Miami University, too. According to this article from the Columbus Dispatch, accusations were made that claim that these institutions of higher learning actually "discriminate against white and Asian students by favoring black applicants."
My first thought was, of course, "how horrible". Followed shortly thereafter by "What the Ferbie", "I can't believe it" and even "This has to be some kind of joke".
Ah, and that's when it gets interesting. Check out the reason for these accusations...
It says black students were favored at Miami by a ratio of 10-1 over white students with similar ACT scores, and that the ratio at Ohio State was 8-to-1. When comparing students with similar SAT scores, the group found a ratio of 8-1 ratio at Miami and 3-to-1 at Ohio State... Ohio State officials said they were reviewing the study, which they saw for the first time today. But they said admission officials look at the strength of the whole student - and not just their test scores, grades and class rank... "We are also interested in such things as the strength of the applicant's high school, rigor of their curriculum, the strength of their essay and their work experience," said Dolan Evanovich, vice president for strategic enrollment planning. "And race is an optional question on the application."
Wait, What? Maybe we should read this little tidbit again...
...race is an optional question on the application.
So, I have two issues with this...
- Do you really want our colleges and universities to be so mechanical that the only standard for admitting students is test scores? Because it sounds to me like these universities really do at least try to look at more than just test scores despite our no-child-left-untested-failure-of-a-standardized-education-system agendas. and
- If the question for race is optional, then how can they claim that it's a determining factor for favoritism? How many students checked that box? Was the ethnicity ratio of students who were admitted close to the ethnicity ratio of students who applied? How many of the students who checked the box were admitted? How many of the students who did not check the box were admitted?
Very rarely is this box ever required, almost every time it is listed anywhere it's completely optional and accompanied by a disclaimer explaining that it is used for demographic purposes. Statistic tracking and the like. But for whatever reason, people still believe that it is either a ticket to get in or a hurdle to keep them out.
Which leads me to my question for you... When faced with filling out an application for anything (school, work, loan) do you check the box for ethnicity?