Posted by: Andy | December 23, 2007

Book review: Color and Money

The short:

*Very dry: The beginning and the end were tough to stay awake during.  The middle had some spots that seemed to be written differently enough to keep me awake.  Or maybe I just had more sleep those days.
*Full of useful information: If you’re curious about the state of affirmative action in the last 15 years or so, not so much if you’re interested in what you would expect to be the thesis (the title), more in the next point:
*Fails to effectively wrap up the thesis.  Sure, we astute readers can tell from reading the whole thing that the net effect is that rich kids & legacies still get the same, if better preference treatment as minorities under AA, and that for someone who complains about losing a spot in college to an AA minority – odds are at least as good that they lost it to a legacy or wealthy applicant.  But, the closing chapters don’t really effectively wrap that up in any kind of way, they just wax on about the need for AA.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t necessarily disagree, I just think that the SPECIFICS of the idea of wealthy kids supplanting the middle class in colleges really wasn’t examined in enough detail.  He presented some bits throughout to back this up, but I never felt like it was …hmm, enunciated (?) correctly.

Anyway, chock full of useful info if you’re into this kind of thing, and lots of references to look up the original studies statistics are from.

I’ll sum up some of the meat for the folks at home:
*Businesses are a lot bigger supporters for AA than you would expect.  Hardline gimme the money giant conservative voting corporations.  AA may have been cancelled for good if not for their (and the military’s – which is an interesting digression about the racial makeup of our troops that I’ll avoid because I’m not that read up on it) support in the last Supreme Court challenge.
*Colleges don’t want AA to be challenged/removed, because then it would be that much easier for people to get at/challenge their legacy programs, which they don’t want to get rid of at least partially because that’s a large part of how they are funded.  Which brings up several interesting questions about the role of government in higher education.



  1. One should be passionate when authoring a book on such a topic. One shouldn’t be so passionate that one neglects to write a cohesive, coherent and thorough book.


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