2 UW-Madison students challenge Roger Clegg — the president of the Center for Equal Opportunity:
Like the clip in the previous post, this was recorded at a Federalist Society-sponsored debate on September 13th.
[Video shot and edited by me.]
ADDED: I want to say that, for me, the second questioner exemplifies a central problem for Clegg and his agenda. The students at a university are always the students who were admitted. They feel hurt or outraged if they think the message is that they shouldn't be here. They're here, in the room, and the individuals who did not get in are not here to cry out with corresponding outrage.
It reminds me of debates about abortion. Those who were aborted are never present in the room to express their perspective on the issue. The emotions of those who are not present may be expressed, vicariously, by others, but it's another matter entirely to say to human beings as they stand in your presence: Under my proposed policy — the only morally/constitutionally permissible approach — you lose.
Now, I'm sure Clegg would try to find a way to say these students wouldn't lose. Under a race-blind approach to admissions, some of them would get in, and, if so, they won't be burdened by a stigma that, he would say, attached when race is taken into account. And, in any event, a switch to a color-blind approach would only take place prospectively, so it wouldn't affect any of these students, who got in under the existing policy, and no matter how illegal or immoral the policy is, they didn't design it. They played by the rules in effect at the time, and they won and deserve their prize.
The policy will only affect individuals who are not in the room, who are out there, just as the students who didn't get in this year are out there. The difficult thing — and the true moral challenge — is to visualize those who are affected who are not in the room to express pain when you hurt them.
AND: I don't know that Clegg's primary concern really is for the individuals whose applications were rejected but who would have gotten in under a race-blind approach. I think he expressed more concern for the harm done to the students who did get in, the ones who were in the room resisting his message. He was telling them, to their faces, that they were being stigmatized by affirmative action. In that light, the young woman's statement "You disrespected me" really is not such an inaccurate understanding of what he was saying. He was concerned about her, but it wasn't a kind of concern she appreciated.