Pretty much all of us except the MOST highly gifted have experienced the shock of being a fairly big fish in a smaller pond, moving up, and finding that we were not as special as we thought. Maybe we were hot stuff in a smallish high school and breezed through -- got up to college and discovered the first semester that the competition was a lot tougher. Maybe we were so smart we made it out to the world of work before we realized that "book smart" wasn't everything, and a few years of experience put us in our places.
Such experiences are pretty much good for us and a "right of passage", when they force us to "kick it up another notch", but most of us also know that a whole bunch of freshman headed home after that "bad semester" or "bad year" -- for whatever reason, they were not able to find that extra gear.
Universities bring in thousands of new freshmen every year -- they have a very good handle on who is "MIT material" and who might do better at a "Nice Big Ten School", or maybe two years at a community college to hone the skills a bit.
"Affirmative Action" doesn't allow that. Some set of students of color MUST be admitted, so the standards need to be lowered. Those students may be very excited to be "accepted at MIT", but if they struggle and fail there, they may fail to recover and thus fail to get the education that would have enabled them to succeed -- they WERE smart enough to succeed, just not at MIT!
Meanwhile, some other student -- these days likely a person of Asian decent, possibly even a female, who DID have the grades and would have succeeded, is denied that chance.
But minority students admitted to institutions whose academic standards they do not meet are all too often needlessly turned into failures, even when they have the prerequisites for success in some other institution whose normal standards they do meet.
When black students who scored at the 90th percentile in math were admitted to M.I.T., where the other students scored at the 99th percentile, a significant number of black students failed to graduate there, even though they could have graduated with honors at most other academic institutions.
We do not have so many students with that kind of ability that we can afford to sacrifice them on the altar to political correctness.
If the US was still winning at global competition, perhaps we could afford that loss of skill, but we have succeeded in making ourselves noncompetitive on the world market! Naturally, uttering this is "racist" -- even if the student not getting the slot is an Asian female!
The costs of our foolishness are high and we are LONG past being able to afford those costs!