Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Affirmative Action at Elite French Universities?

France has the largest minority population in continental Europe but you would never have known it when you look at the elite in all fields except in soccer. Only when you watch the national soccer team play you get the inkling that France is not a lilly white country. It made history when a black woman made cabinet officer under Sarkozy.

The article here here. reminds one how backward the public debate in France remains concerning how to bring its under-privileged minority citizens into the "mainstream".

The elite universities' so 1960's argument that by having Affirmative action programs to aggressively recruit minority students would lower academic standards was the same you heard back in USA.

Yet it is precisely the concerted effort by some of the more enlightened admissions offices at the elite American universities that had allowed talented young people of "color" to show up their white counterparts that given a chance they could do just as well, and not just in sports.

At places such as Harvard, Stanford or Princeton you now have 10-15% black students, 30-45% students of "color". The standards of academic achievements remain as high as ever belying those reactionaries who once claimed Affirmative Actions would destroy quality of education.

For those French who still think in those archaic terms, they should look no further than 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue inhabited by a couple who jointly have 2 Harvard, one Princeton and one Columbia degrees.

1 comment:

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