Wednesday, November 11, 2009

There is nothing new under the sun

... except that the Jews, unlike Asian Americans, made a fuss about it.

About The Chosen: ... But the admissions policies of elite universities have long been both tightly controlled and shrouded in secrecy. In The Chosen, the Berkeley sociologist Jerome Karabel lifts the veil on a century of admission and exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. How did the policies of our elite schools evolve? Whom have they let in and why? And what do those policies say about America?

p. 76: ... Harvard, Yale, and Princeton thus faced a painful choice: either maintain the almost exclusively objective academic standards for admission and face the arrival of increasing numbers of Jews or replace them with more subjective criteria that could be deployed to produce the desired outcome. Their decision to do the latter was a great departure from their historic practices and bequeathed to us the peculiar admissions process that we now take for granted.

From an earlier post Affirmative Action: the numbers:

US News ... Translating the advantages into SAT scores, study author Thomas Espenshade, a Princeton sociologist, calculated that African-Americans who achieved 1150 scores on the two original SAT tests had the same chances of getting accepted to top private colleges in 1997 as whites who scored 1460s and Asians who scored perfect 1600s.

Espenshade found that when comparing applicants with similar grades, scores, athletic qualifications, and family history for seven elite private colleges and universities:

Whites were three times as likely to get fat envelopes as Asians. Hispanics were twice as likely to win admission as whites. African-Americans were at least five times as likely to be accepted as whites.

More from The Chosen below. OCR = Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights, which conducted an investigation of anti-Asian bias in Harvard admissions around 1990.

The Chosen, p.510: ... Asian Americans had the highest SATs of all [among groups admitted to Harvard]: 1450 out of a possible 1600. In 1991 the Asian-American/white admission ratio [ratio of percentages of applicants from each group admitted] stood at 84 percent -- a sharp downturn from 98 percent in 1990, when the scrutiny from OCR was at its peak. Though [this ratio] never dropped again to the 64 percent level of 1986, it never returned to its 1990 zenith. Despite Asian Americans' growing proportion of the national population, their enrollment also peaked in 1990 at 20 percent, where it more or less remained until 1994. ... by 2001 it had dropped below 15 percent.

So the "subjective but fair" measures used in admissions resulted in a record high admit rate for Asians during the year Harvard was under investigation by the federal government. But mysteriously the admit rate (relative to that of white applicants) went down significantly after the investigation ended, and the overall Asian enrollment has not increased despite the increasing US population fraction of Asians.

27 comments:

retard_smith44 said...

That peculiar admissions process now discriminates in favor of Jews. Whatever the distribution of their IQs, that Jews are >= 20% of the students at these schools has another explanation. Hmmm? What coooooould it be?

But of course the author here will not decry this peculiar (to the entire rest of the world) admissions process as the crime it is. I woooonder why?

anon said...

This book is another example of the Jews' always attempting to potray themselves as powerless victims.

Anyone with eyes who lives in the US is an anti-semite.

Steve Hsu said...

Ugh. Let's stop the anti-semitic comments. I'm trying to suggest that Asian-Americans emulate them and raise some fuss over the current system!

Paul said...

Let's assume that (1) Asians are much smarter than non-Asians, (2) we have a true merit-based admissions policy in our elite schools, and (3) elite school alumni eventually make up the elite when it comes to wealth and political power.

Obviously, the conclusion is that Asians would have a disproportionate amount of the wealth of and political power in America.

One question is: Why shouldn't the lesser peoples of the US fight this development tooth and nail?

Paul said...

BTW, my last post is not some racist call-to-arms. I posted it to remind people that issues such of these stir up a very complicated and dangerous stew. Sometimes it's better for us to leave the stew undisturbed, even if we find the unstirred stew less tasty.

Remember, we do not live in the world of our ideals. We live in the world as it is. We should realize that sometimes we must live with things that outrage us to prevent greater outrages.

Ethnic solidarity is still very strong. Look at our host. Not that I know the guy but he seems a cosmopolitan and extremely tolerant and fair-minded man. Yet it's obvious he defines himself partially by his ethnicity and, thus, the battles of his ethnic group are, at least partially, his own battles. To think that one ethnic group of winners rising on the descent of the losers will be viewed as simple justice by the losers is folly. Social harmony with quotas is more desirable then extreme social disharmony.

Sam said...

I am against racial & ethnic preferences too.

My guess is that some of the smartest people at a top school like Harvard follow a career trajectory somewhat like this:

They receive a technical degree with summa cum laude honors in two years; then they get recruited by a hedge at age 20 and are basically set for life; they do not have to waste more time in school.

Kevin said...

Are you aware of a study that breaks out verbal SAT scores? Personally, I notice that verbal ability is more important in careers influenced by pedigree (like law, public policy,business). I would say that technical fields like physics or engineering are less sensitive to where you go for undergrad.

gs said...

It's unfortunate that we're having discussions like this 45 years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

I favor objective admissions criteria. Such a system would be imperfect, but IMO less imperfect than what is happening now. (Heck, there might be fewer festering grievances if the kids were admitted according to body mass index...)

In an open society, admission to a top school should not be equivalent to lifetime membership in an upper caste. To underline that point, I would be inclined to introduce some noise (noise, not bias) into the ranking process.

Paul said...

It's unfortunate that we're having discussions like this 45 years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

You should really bemoan our evolutionary heritage. We are still chimps who get comfort and security from our tribes. And we still instinctively distrust outsiders.

William Mitchell said...

Steve, the comments here are shocking. I had no idea such ethnic paranoia still existed among anyone who knew how to type.

The anti-Asian bias in college admissions was proven years ago. The Wall Street Journal (hardly known for liberal bias) ran an article on it in 2006.

On the bright side, as you likely know, the UC system publicly confessed and renounced the policy over a decade ago. Washington has come clean too. Just a matter of time before the Ivy League converts.

Regarding the anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists, where to start? It's like hearing adults talk credulously about Santa Claus.

Paul said...

Steve, the comments here are shocking. I had no idea such ethnic paranoia still existed among anyone who knew how to type.

What planet do you live on William? There are many instances in the recent history of the planet Earth where 'ethnic paranoia' resulted in, among other horrors, forced exile and death.

Let's not let our fantasies of having a 100% merit-based and ethnic-blind society where all individuals are decoupled from their heritages when it comes to important allocations of positions in schools, jobs, political offices, etc. -- both through official channels and personal contacts -- delude us into following policies that may lead to a system that is much more ethnic-centric.

anon said...

and the admissions ratio of asians to white gentiles?

LondonYoung said...

I saw an interesting thing in Espenshade's data discussed in Inside Higher Ed, http://www.insidehighered.com/layout/set/dialog/news/2009/11/03/elite

Class rank data show white students over-represented in the top quintile of the college classes and then monotonically less well represented down the ladder. Asian students are approximately smoothly distributed over the quintiles. In isolation this data suggests that only whites are paying the price for affirmative action in favor of blacks and hispanics while Asian are getting a free ride. This is in contrast to the admissions data which suggest that it is the Asians paying the price.

Steve Hsu said...

I think you have to look carefully at distribution of majors among the groups if you want to use the quintile data. Some groups are more likely to be in the hard majors.

Paul said...

I think you have to look carefully at distribution of majors among the groups if you want to use the quintile data. Some groups are more likely to be in the hard majors.

One could define 'hard majors' as being the majors ones favored group excels in. Or the ones in which certain high test scores correlate. Anything to promote our tribe.

Steve Hsu said...

We're specifically looking at GPA quintiles here. It is easy to figure out which majors are easy and which are hard by looking at data -- some majors have more grade inflation than others, and some majors are more "g loaded" (or whatever) than others -- GRE general and SAT scores vary quite a bit by major. I've also looked at data which shows that science majors get higher grades in their humanities classes than the average humanist, and certainly higher than the humanists would get were they actually forced to take science classes (usually they are not, other than physics 101 type gut classes). This is all hush hush, of course.

anon said...

Good on ya Steve. How many Indian soc majors are there? I mean really?

LondonYoung said...

Steve - It had not even occurred to me that the top tier schools allowed on-going GPA differentials among majors but, now that you mention it, I am not surprised.

Even the mighty Obama administration allowed one of its own to admit on Meet the Press that if we want a lower gender gap in pay we'll need to get more women majoring in physics, mathematics, and engineering.

We can't sit around heartbroken that Gender Studies majors from Princeton can't find jobs while Chinese EE's produce improved chips for Blu-Ray error correction for export to America. Can you say "12% unemployment rate"?

Paul said...

We're specifically looking at GPA quintiles here. It is easy to figure out which majors are easy and which are hard by looking at data --

some majors have more grade inflation than others,

Valid point.

and some majors are more "g loaded" (or whatever) than others -- GRE general and SAT scores vary quite a bit by major.

This was my point about tests. What you've got here is something like a circular definition of 'hard'. The SATs et. al. test 'hardness'. Those that have tested for high degree of 'hardness' do well in 'hard' majors.

But 'hard' also means fewer people can do it and this...

I've also looked at data which shows that science majors get higher grades in their humanities classes than the average humanist,

is then a very important point.

and certainly higher than the humanists would get were they actually forced to take science classes (usually they are not, other than physics 101 type gut classes).

Just because humanities-smart people suck more at science classes than science-smart people suck at humanities alone doesn't mean a thing. What matters is the filtering issue above. If science-smart people are just as humanities-smart as those who are only humanities-smart, then 'hard' has meaning.

What we have then is a nice ordering of humanity. Let's go back to the future and get that feudal system going. How's Archduke Hsu sound?

This is all hush hush, of course.

The Man is keeping the Asians down.

We can't sit around heartbroken that Gender Studies majors from Princeton can't find jobs while Chinese EE's produce improved chips for Blu-Ray error correction for export to America. Can you say "12% unemployment rate"?

Well, you're in London (I guess) so what the f-ck would you care? However, some of us here in the US, while not heartbroken, should be very concerned about such things. There aren't enough error correction jobs to go around for all Americans even if we got 100% of those jobs. And if the unemployment rate goes too high. Employed EEs and everyone else better watch their asses.

anon said...

"more physics, mathematics, and engineering majors" should have been "more engineering, engineering, and engineering majors". unless you're one of the very few quants or you did applied physics and a masters in some form of engineering NO JOB FOR YOU! math majors are unemployable. the only exception is actuarial-dom. and half of math majors are women already.

oh and all the useless departments should be closed and the useless professors like steve forced to get real jobs.

Steve Hsu said...

>>This is all hush hush, of course.
>The Man is keeping the Asians down.

When I wrote hush hush it had nothing to do with Asians or a conspiracy. It's just unsettling information for professors in certain fields so no one likes to discuss it. But to conclude anything from GPA quintiles you need to account for variations by major, etc.

anon: we've had this discussion before about whether anything but engineering is useful. Have you ever asked an engineering prof whether he thinks physicists and mathematicians are useful? You might google "terence tao compressed sensing" to see what a really brilliant guy can contribute to an applied subject using very elegant mathematics. You might also look into who is really responsible for Moore's Law rates of development in microchips, information storage (spintronics) and gene sequencing.

LondonYoung said...

"Why the f- would I care?"

Well, I am both American and European by citizenship, but more importantly:

No man is an island, entire of itself...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee

The world's a small place.

Gemfinder said...

>>> What planet do you live on William?

Greetings from Planet California, Paul. We come in peace. ;-)

As a lifelong Californian, I may well be naive. This state is overcrowded, materialistic and terribly managed, but one huge advantage is that my family can simply forget it is multi-racial. The issue almost never comes up. The worst we get is occasional weird looks in arch-conservative Orange County from the pre-Civil Rights Act generation, now over 70. It was even easier when we lived in the Bay Area.

Possible sample bias: the city we live in has no ethnic or racial majority, the mayor is native Korean, and more than half our friends are either Jewish or Asian. So maybe we have self-selected out of this problem.

So I may be naive. But there is another possibility: this might be a snapshot of America's future. There are reasons for optimism. Outrageous exceptions notwithstanding (1942-45, etc.), ethnic equality has improved almost monotonically in the US for well over a century.

At minimum, I'll bet you $100 that Harvard eliminates quotas on Asian-American US citizens within 10 years.

Paul said...

When I wrote hush hush it had nothing to do with Asians or a conspiracy. It's just unsettling information for professors in certain fields so no one likes to discuss it.

My bad Steve.

Anyway, I'm playing devil's advocate here a bit. Trying to spur people to have a wee bit more caution maybe. But I do believe that Asians and science people are superior to others and should rule.

Aldous Huxley was on to something. We must condition the lesser peoples so that they enjoy their low positions. That's one way to achieve social harmony. A just social harmony where the best and brightest are on top.

No man is an island, entire of itself...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee

Nice sentiments but a load of bollocks if you think of it as a general rule that humanity could follow! You, your family, your family, your tribe, your nation, your species, ... 99 and 44/100% of humanity distinguishes the importance of these categories. The fact that these feelings may not be an optimal global strategy for all humanity doesn't seem to come into play too much. This is reality.

The world's a small place.

Yes, it is. Our bombers can reach anywhere to keep our non-negotiable way of life.

Yes, it is. I'm happy my son got the spot in the elite school over your son. Regardless of merit.

Yes, it is. My people were here before your people. We have a right to the land even though your people have been here for generations. Even though your people currently live here. History -- our history -- shows this. Your history is a lie.

etc. etc. etc.

Have you ever seen what happens to mice when you put too many of them into too small a cage? Their small world becomes quite unpleasant.

...

No one answer my question about why the lesser peoples should accept rule by their ethnic superiors. Sigh.

Paul said...

Greetings from Planet California, Paul. We come in peace. ;-)

:-)

As a lifelong Californian, I may well be naive. This state is overcrowded, materialistic and terribly managed, but one huge advantage is that my family can simply forget it is multi-racial. The issue almost never comes up. The worst we get is occasional weird looks in arch-conservative Orange County from the pre-Civil Rights Act generation, now over 70. It was even easier when we lived in the Bay Area.

My son is multi-racial and I live in central New Jersey. It's pretty multi-whatever here too and we have zero problems.

However, I'm pretty non-judgmental and once people realize this they tend to express their real feelings more. You'd be surprised with the attitudes of people -- educated or not -- when it comes to race/religion/etc. mixing. You'd think it was the worst thing in the world for their kids to marry a non-(fill in the blank here). On average, I find recent immigrants to be more against mixing on average, than non-immigrants. But this may be because they are being more truthful (lack of PC conditioning?). I don't like it but I understand.

So I may be naive. But there is another possibility: this might be a snapshot of America's future. There are reasons for optimism. Outrageous exceptions notwithstanding (1942-45, etc.), ethnic equality has improved almost monotonically in the US for well over a century.

I hope you're right. However, maybe -- GASP! -- affirmative action had something to do with this?

At minimum, I'll bet you $100 that Harvard eliminates quotas on Asian-American US citizens within 10 years.

De jure or de facto?

Ben017 said...

"Aldous Huxley was on to something. We must condition the lesser peoples so that they enjoy their low positions. That's one way to achieve social harmony."

I think Herrnstein & Murray also spoke of the importance of society offering a valued place for all citizens regardless of ability. That becomes harder to do as technology makes some jobs obsolete and others get exported overseas where there are lower labour costs.

In terms of conditioning, I think the opposite tends to be happening. People expect to be able to do anything and if they can't it is societies fault.

This suggests that public pressure will demand forms of AA remain in place to avoid the tension of inequality.

LondonYoung said...

Paul - "The fact that these feelings may not be an optimal global strategy for all humanity doesn't seem to come into play too much"

Well, I disagree. I think that culture, and social values, are all about fighting the basal urges you point out. Savages do not rule the world, civilizations do. To the extent that meritocratic values are appreciated by a culture, that culture has an advantage. I do think there are plenty of "prisoners' dilemma" barriers here. I presume the intend of discourse among the enlightened has to do with enhancing the well-being of all humanity. I don't think we gain much by discussing our inner desires (at least not on forums like Steve's blog!). How important is it to you that your children attend the best university? Would you deprive a more merit-worthy scholar? Pay? Kill to see it so? Where you, and I, and every other, draw that line will affect us all.

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