By Amanda Taub
She explained to me that it's really easy for people from dominant groups to assume that the status quo isn't biased, because they've never had to confront that bias themselves. And so when they see that an existing system is being changed to include minority groups or accommodate other interests, there's a tendency to assume that the natural order of things is being disrupted in some illegitimate way.
For instance, Leong pointed out, in the affirmative action debate she has noticed a tendency to assume that standardized test scores are inherently valid measures of merit—"that someone with a 160 on the LSAT is more deserving than someone with a 150 on the LSAT"—and that affirmative action that admits students with lower scores is therefore favoring "less qualified" students.
But that doesn't take into account ways in which standardized tests may themselves be an imperfect, even biased, measure of merit. Likewise, complaints that curricula now need to include certain books "just because" they are written by nonwhite, non-male authors assume that in the past, books earned their way onto the curriculum via objective merit, and that any replacements are, by definition, sacrificing quality in the name of diversity.