WaPo Writer: Not A ‘Bad Bet’ That ‘Wealthy White People’ Will Come Out As Winners After Discrimination Lawsuit Against Harvard

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Grace Carr Reporter
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It is “never a bad bet” that “wealthy white people” are going to be winners — that’s according to a Washington Post opinion writer giving his take on the ongoing racial discrimination lawsuit against Harvard University.

“The only question is how expansive that ruling will be, and how far it will go,” Paul Waldman wrote. “But it’s never a bad bet that the big winners are going to be wealthy white people.”

He also said the case will probably land with the U.S. Supreme Court and “likely mean the end of affirmative action in higher education.”

His comments come after Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) filed a lawsuit against Harvard, alleging it discriminates against Asian-Americans. Spearheaded by conservative legal activist Edward Blum, the suit accuses the university of holding Asian-American applicants to a higher standard than other applicants.

Harvard denies the allegations, claiming it uses holistic admissions practices that include a number of other factors. Harvard admissions officers consider GPA, test scores and extracurricular activities, along with athletics, personal qualities and community activities, when deciding which applicants to accept, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Filings from SFFA claim Asian-Americans would potentially make up over 50 percent of the average admitted class to Harvard if admittance was based solely on academics, reported The Harvard Crimson.

The university is on trial in Boston’s federal court.


Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote in a major affirmative action case in 2016 — Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin — that universities can consider diversity “in defining those intangible characteristics, like student body diversity, that are central to its identity and educational mission.”

Blum was instrumental in the 2016 case, and after losing, decided he might be “more successful if he presented Asian Americans, not whites, as the aggrieved party, even if whites will wind up being the principal beneficiaries if he is successful,” Waldman said. (RELATED: Harvard Trial Day 4: Admissions Rates For Asian-American Applicants Lowest Among Any Other Racial Group)

Harvard has also been accused of giving preference to applicants whose parents have donated a substantial amount of money to the university. A high school official allegedly told ProPublica editor Daniel Golden that Jared Kushner’s “GPA did not warrant [admission], his SAT scores did not warrant it,” but that Kushner got into Harvard after his father made a $2.5 million donation to the school. A spokeswoman for Kushner Companies said that claim is “false,” ProPublica reported.

Students and tourists rest in lawn chairs in Harvard Yard in Cambridge, September 2013. Shutterstock/TravelView

Waldman says Blum might not actually want nearly 50 percent of Harvard’s classes to be Asian-American, citing author Elie Mystal, who wrote Monday in “Above The Law” that by attacking only race as a factor of consideration, universities will effectively “rinse black people out of higher education.”

“There’s no Ed Blum lawsuit trying to get Harvard to stop using legacies as a factor in admissions, there’s no lawsuit trying to get Duke to stop using a fundamentally sound jump-shot as a factor in admissions, there’s no lawsuit trying to get Liberty to stop using pastor recommendations as a factor in admissions,” Mystal wrote.

Ultimately, a SFFA win against Harvard “would have dire consequences for many people seeking a college education,” Waldman writes.

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