This is a great and comprehensive article. As a mixed-race person who is partly Asian, I agree with much of this.
But, I note that you fail to mention the most robust form of affirmative action: that granted to (mostly) rich white children on the basis of extortion, framed as ‘donation.’ This can be up to 35% of the admitted classes. This group of people is much larger than the official recipients of affirmative action, about 3% of people who are directly affected by institutionalization with historical roots in the behavior of the rich white ones, and their ancestors, taking advantage of bribes and then lying by calling them ‘donations.’ In one study, the average SAT scores of these underperformers was a full 160 points lower than people who matriculated on the basis of actual performance. This is on a test their ancestors wrote specifically to exclude people of color: POC are beating them on their own exams despite the fact that there has been a silver spoon sitting in their mouths, in some cases, for 10+ generations!
This large group is a problem, and without discussing the significant handicap that they get which amounts to a ‘free-ride lite,’ the discussion omits the largest issue: the ranking isn’t based on performance. It’s based on how many POC rich white people want to admit to their ranks. They defend this despite what is often subpar performance.
I understand your stance re: refusing to exalt IL schools. I was admitted to 2 IL schools on the basis of performance in the early ‘90’s, the same year that Derrick Bell resigned and stated IL schools do not have diverse leadership, and specifically no female POC’s in higher level positions. He made a very big public affair of lifting the rock off IL schools and exposing them, and I chose a more equitable setting without a long history of active exclusion as a result of his efforts, happily rejecting both schools.
This discussion requires some acknowledgement of rich white people and their investment in keeping themselves on top even when their performance indicates, way past university level training, that they aren’t prepared to be on top and perhaps never have been.