Author's Final Manuscript
Ethnic and Racial Studies
Natasha Warikoo’s study of how students at Harvard, Brown, and Oxford Universities view race and fairness highlights the vast differences between the U.S. and Britain with respect to perceptions of meritocracy by these winners in the competition for places in elite institutions. The strict enforcement of uniform standards for admission is seen as critical and legitimate at Oxford, whereas a more holistic approach in the U.S. – one that sees racial diversity as an important and desirable part of the institution’s culture and identity – is seen as critical to a “diversity bargain”. I question the sources of students’ ideas about race and the diversity bargain, suggesting that they may be rooted more in their pre-college experiences than in their life at university. I also raise questions about whether and how an admissions lottery would work to address some of Warikoo’s concerns.
Karen, David. 2017. “The legitimacy of elite gatekeeping.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 40.13: 2263-2274.