The Century Foundation
Richard D. Kahlenberg, The Century Foundation, 9/22/2010
The use of race-based affirmative action in higher education has given rise to hundreds of books and law review articles, numerous court decisions, and several state initiatives to ban the practice. By contrast, surprisingly little has been said or written or done to challenge a larger, longstanding “affirmative action” program that tends to benefit wealthy whites: legacy preferences for children of alumni.1 Like racial preferences, preferences for legacies can be criticized for being based on ancestry rather than individual merit, yet they offer none of the countervailing benefits of affirmative action, such as remedying past discrimination or promoting educational diversity. Download the Issue Brief.