A few remarks:
Flogging Sully is the only one to ask about the practice of Affirm Action. I think most people probably misunderstand how it works--equating it w/the promotion of an unqualified person, when it is not. R.payton gives us a report about an event in Little Rock--which, as far as I can see, has nothing whatsoever to do with the practice of Affirmative Action. But one could easily take from his anecdote about this school that black people are somehow inferior--let's say unambitious--playing on racial stereotypes that still exist. Ban B. knows more about AA than I do. Unfortunately he no longer seems to be posting.
Has someone here been mistreated somehow by Affirm Action? I always wonder about a white person's motive in raising this issue. If you've never been denied an opportunity that you know of, and especially if you have a good job now, you're concerned about Affirm Action because..? Because you, as a white person don't want to be offended by talk about our racial history? Because you hold some sort of paternal attitude toward "those" people, and feel AA is holding them back somehow? I think it's telling that the one major case about this issue before the U.S. Supreme Ct, involved a white woman who couldn't get into the U of Mich law school (a very elite school). I'm sure she suffered tremendously because she had to (and presumably could) go to law school at a "lesser" school.
Nothwithstanding all our efforts and ambitions, we are made up as persons in part by our fathers and their fathers before them. This includes, among other things, our attitudes toward education. I believe it's axiomatic that a person who comes from a less educated family is less likely to envison the top, much less succeed in climbing the educational ladder. Conversely, if you come from a well educated family, it is very likely that you will be expected as a young person to climb the education ladder. Salient fact: in my lifetime, black people were discouraged and sometimes even barred from an education. I'm still benefitting from the fact that my daddy was white. He graduated from high school. Black men of his generation averaged a 6th grade education per a book I read on MLK Jr. (also being of that generation).
Yes, socioeconomic status is a factor in achievement. But I don't think it is easily separated from race--unless we ignore history and its effect on us today.
It's fine to think and talk about a colorblind society. But we're not anywhere near that. And in any case, I always hear this from white people--they who tend to reserve the right (as they've traditionally done) to judge matters of race.