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University of California Berkeley School of Law




There are consistent messages to people of color about their proper place in
society, which has always been a really important tool for maintaining and
advancing white supremacy. Referring back to what Professor Haney-Lopez
asserted earlier today, in today’s post-civil rights society, few people would
argue in favor of segregation in racial terms explicitly so. And few people would
assert that Blacks, for example, do not belong in certain places. However,
opponents of affirmative action have begun to articulate a form of these
arguments as an add-on to the mismatch theory. In the minds of these scholars,
affirmative action should not be employed—or, rather, it should be utilized much
less—because African American, Latinx, and American Indian students simply
do not belong at elite institutions of higher education, pointing to what they refer
to as a mismatch between elite schools and the standardized test scores of many
underrepresented minority students. Scholars like Peter Arcidiacono and Richard
Sander assert that affirmative action tends to harm underrepresented minority
students more than it helps them because it places them at schools where they’re
simply “outmatched,” or where they cannot compete with their white peers. And for this reason, they argue what should matter most is whether underrepresented
minority students actually go to college or graduate school, not where they go to
college or graduate school. They highlight that affirmative action determines
where, not whether, individuals attend college.

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