Justice Clarence Thomas destroys affirmative action myth with one simple question

In an affirmative-action world, a Manhattan Institute policy analyst says Justice Clarence Thomas stated out loud what many Americans are thinking: “What IS diversity, anyway?”

Citing oral arguments from Thomas in the Supreme Court on Monday, Renu Mukherjee called out “elite universities” for their “race-based university admissions” in a scathing op-ed published in the Daily Mail.

As American Wire previously reported, the Supreme Court is hearing two cases — Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina (UNC) and Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard — that seek to overturn Grutter v. Bollinger, “a landmark case which found affirmative action admissions policies that favor certain races do not violate the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.”

Speaking to Ryan Park, attorney for the University of North Carolina, during oral arguments on Monday, Thomas said, “I’ve heard the word diversity quite a few times and I don’t have a clue what it means. Give us a specific definition of diversity…”

According to Mukherjee, “Park didn’t see it coming.”

“Racially diverse groups of people . . . perform at a higher level,” he replied.

“The mechanism there,” he continued, “is that it reduces groupthink and that people have longer and more sustained disagreement, and that leads to a more efficient outcome.”

And that, says Mukherjee, is when Thomas dropped the hammer on the entire affirmative action “myth.”

“I guess I don’t put too much stock in that,” the conservative justice shot back. “I’ve heard similar arguments in favor of segregation, too.”

In Mukherjee’s estimation, “Thomas is right to be skeptical.”

“He knows firsthand the evils of discrimination based on race, and now he’s being asked to endorse them?” Mukherjee writes. “Just as America has thrown the discredited ‘separate but equal’ lie underpinning segregation in the garbage, so should we trash this diversity myth.”

While woke, elite universities continue to defend affirmative action on the grounds that “racial diversity generates diversity of view points, ideologies, and ideas,” Mukherjee argues “their pitifully narrow understanding of diversity has damaged America.”

“Have any of these lawyers been to a college campus lately?” she asks. “They are among the most intolerant places in the country. The truth is that diversity of thought is grotesquely short supply at colleges throughout America, including Harvard.”

To make her point, Mukherjee refers to the recent Harvard Crimson survey of the incoming freshman class which shows that an overwhelming 72.4% of incoming freshmen identify as “predominantly liberal.”

“Yet this class is ‘the most diverse class in the history of Harvard,’ according to the university,” writes Mukherjee. “It’s a sick joke.”

“The class is diverse in one very narrow and frankly, superficial way – skin color,” she states.

Furthermore, she notes that 87% of those among the Class of 2025 who supported a presidential candidate in 2020 voted for Joe Biden.

“This doesn’t sound like viewpoint diversity to me,” the analyst writes. “And without viewpoint diversity as a justification, affirmative action may be a goner.”

Despite the left’s longstanding praise of affirmative action and in spite of their best efforts to implement it in America, Mukherjee notes that, in 2021, a student survey “found that more than 80 percent of students reported some self-censorship.”

“Another study showed that 65 percent of college students felt today’s ‘campus climate prevents people from saying what they believe for fear of offending someone,'” she continued. “Less than half of all college students ‘said they were comfortable offering dissenting opinions to ideas shared by other students or the instructor.'”

“It’s almost as if students are living in China as opposed to a vibrant campus in America,” she muses.

In a final finding that Mukherjee calls “depressing,” the study showed that “71 percent of students who identified as Republican ‘felt that the campus climate chilled speech.'”

“This isn’t diversity,” argues Mukherjee, “it’s a bland uniformity.”


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