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Two legal experts make the explosive argument that affirmative action hurts minority students’ educational and career chances—and that liberals are in denial about it.

Affirmative action in higher education is a perennial lightning rod for controversy. But until recently, there has been little hard data about how and if racial preferences work.

In Mismatch, law professor Richard Sander and journalist Stuart Taylor, Jr. draw on extensive new research to prove that racial preferences put many students in educational settings where they have no hope of succeeding. Because they’re under-prepared, fewer than half of black affirmative action beneficiaries in American law schools pass their bar exams. Preferences for well-off minorities help shut out poorer students of all races. More troubling still, major universities, fearing a backlash, refuse to confront the clear evidence of affirmative action’s failure.

The controversy over affirmative action will take center stage this fall, when the Supreme Court hears Fisher v. Texas. Mismatch—a bold, nonpartisan, and scrupulously researched exposé of a well-intentioned policy’s flaws—will be essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the real impact of this contentious social program.


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