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The case against affirmative action in admissions to institutions of higher education is based on the moral attractiveness of colorblind decision making and buttressed by a sense that such programs are not just unfair but pointless. Their intended beneficiaries, the argument goes, are put in situations in which they are unable to compete with whites and not only perform poorly but are destructively demoralized in the process. Common to arguments against affirmative action in admissions is a belief that minorities advantaged by it displace whites who are more deserving of admission because they have accomplished more, can better benefit from the education they seek and will perform better after graduation. We surveyed more than 1,100 minority and white alumni who graduated from the University of Michigan Law School between 1970 and 1996. We compared admittees with black, Hispanic and Native American heritages, most of whom benefited from affirmative action at the admissions stage, with white alumni from these same classes, and we found that at least with these graduates, empirical claims used to buttress the case against affirmative action are, for the most part, myths. People of good will believe them, but the facts are not what people think.