let's assume participants are adults who know what they are getting into
What about the American public makes you think this is a reasonable assumption? We can't even assume that people who order hot coffee are adults who know that coffee is hot.
Yeah, but it ain't gender neutral in English. Ya know - the language you are using..
Actually, it technically is the gender neutral preposition. It is not, apparently, politically correct but it *is* grammatically correct.
Also, "Man" and "Mankind" still refer to all humans, not just male humans.
if you want a minority to get into a school ahead of a white kid even though the white kid worked harder and scored better
Worked harder != scored better. Lots of people work very hard just to get a C, and lots of privileged kids don't work very hard at all and manage an A or at least a B. There's an important debate to be had about whether it's more important for a student to be a hard worker, or a to have higher scores.
What I'm saying is that you need to challenge your implied assumption that just because the white kid had higher scores, he must have worked harder. I'm not saying these minority quotas are a good idea by any means, but definitely the selection process needs to include more than grades, and right now there's no great way to judge if the kid is a hard worker or not.
In addition to all that, many people in these situations were not as fortunate as you and I were to be taught how to manage our money. When they do get a little bit ahead, you see them blow the extra money on something stupid instead of socking it away in case something happens, or trying to eliminate a debt (and therefore a payment).