Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Asian-Americans in the Ivy League: A Portrait of Privilege and Discrimination

All of this should be common knowledge by now, but of course most of it can't be openly discussed in the mainstream media.

IBTimes: ... While "Asians" -- defined broadly as people who can trace their ancestry to East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Pacific Islands -- account for only about 5 percent of the U.S. populace, they are believed to represent up to 20 percent of the enrollment at the top Ivy League schools.

However, the irony is that if the admission criteria and process in all U.S. universities were completely fair and equitable -- that is, based purely on academic qualifications -- the Asian weighting in the elite colleges would likely be significantly higher.

... Consider what happened in California -- a state with a very high Asian population of about 13 percent -- in late 1996. Voters passed Proposition 209, a referendum that essentially revoked Affirmative Action measures and deemed that entry into public colleges -- including the huge University of California (UC) system -- should be entirely race-blind.

"A direct consequence of this was that the percentage of Asian-Americans at universities like Berkeley, UC-Irvine, and UCLA immediately skyrocketed," said Stephen D.H. Hsu, a professor of physics at the University of Oregon in Eugene. "At those institutions, the Asian-American representation currently approaches 50 percent."

... The word "quota" is controversial and politically-charged; one must be careful when using it. However it's difficult not to conclude that some elite universities do indeed impose a quota -- officially or subconsciously -- upon Asian enrollment in order to control their numbers at some specified levels.

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

Or put it another way, Asian applicants typically need to score an extra 140 or so points on their SATs to compete "equally" with white students.

Miller of Babson College also wrote that "most elite universities appear determined to keep their Asian American totals in a narrow range. Yale's class of 2013 is 15.5 percent Asian American, compared with 16.1 percent at Dartmouth, 19.1 percent at Harvard and 17.6 percent at Princeton."

However, white students are similarly victimized by admission policies at some elite schools.

Espenshade discovered 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 accepted as Asians; Hispanics were twice as likely to win admission as whites, and African-Americans were at least five times as likely to be accepted as whites.

Moreover, if all elite private universities enacted race-blind admissions, the percentage of Asian students would jump from 24 percent to 39 percent (similar to what they already are now at Caltech and Berkeley, two elite institutions with race-blind admissions; the former due to a belief in meritocracy, the latter due to Proposition 209).

What Asian-Americans are enduring now is reminiscent of the travails of American Jews in the 1930s and 1940s, when colleges like Harvard and Yale imposed quotas to limit their numbers at these elite institutions. And like many of those Jews from seven or eight decades ago, numerous Asian-American students today come from poor, humble immigrant households.

To head off some of the usual comments, yes, it makes sense (in terms of narrow institutional interests) for the top schools to impose a soft quota on Asians. No use spooking older alumni donors with an off-putting student body composition, or diluting the brand so carefully developed over the years. I predict most of the elites will ease into a higher Asian representation over the next 20 years or so.

34 comments:

Yan Shen said...

Has anyone noticed that American society tolerates anti-Asian racial animus in a way that it doesn't when it comes to blacks or Hispanics? I can't tell you how many times I've heard the old stereotype of the workaholic Asian student with no extracurricular activities, who only studies, being bandied about. While such comments would be tolerable if they were in fact true(I'm not a big fan of political correctness in general), they are in fact false. People generally look for any way possible to discredit the accomplishments of Asian Americans. What's even more galling is the blatant double standard at play here. It's perfectly fine to stereotype Asian Americans in a negative fashion, but not blacks or Hispanics. What gives? I know that self-avowed citizenist, as opposed to white nationalist, Steve Sailer is absolutely appalled at the way that his fellow Asian American citizens are being treated by the college admissions offices.

Paul Yarbles said...

"I predict most of the elites will ease into a higher Asian representation over the next 20 years or so."

Yeah, the Turkmen and Afghans are coming!

Actually, the Asians you are talking about (Chinese) will get fatter and stupider and more seduced by garbage culture and so will be represented in elite school as they are represented in the general population. Sorry, but your belief in the superiority of your race will not change this reality. Whatever genetic advantage your tribe does have is no match for the addictive consumer culture your tribe increasing lives in. As prosperity increases, the fear of this seductive but academically empty culture decreases. Obesity and stupidity will be the fate of your people. That is, until the oil and water runs out.

But for now, come, my Chinese friends, join our club...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBXyB7niEc0

One of us one of us one of us!!!

Anonymous said...

Paul Yarbles' comment is rude and borderline racebaiting, but essentially correct.

I am a foreign student from Asia at an ivy league college. I find the Asian-American students, born and raised US citizens, can have just as much of a sense of entitlement and culture of trustafarian mediocrity as any other students born with silver spoons in their mouths - they disgust me as much as any of the frat boys here - but they will still coast by on their parents' money and connections. It is the children of recent immigrants, the 1st-generation Americans and the ones who moved here around middle school, who still retain the confucian work ethic. With assimilation, upward class mobility and generational change, what cultural advantages Asians have are slowly eroded. The faster the assimilation, the quicker the erosion. Chinese assimilate quickly. Koreans less so.

Without confucian culture, Asians have no other advantages. AFAIK there was nothing like the intense evolutionary selection pressure for high intelligence for Ashkenazi beyond a few mandarin administrative clans. Perhaps more in Southeast Asia where the majority natives discriminated against the chinese.

Yan Shen: Sailer has nothing but contempt for Asians (read his other posts on intermarriage), we are simply 'useful idiots'. You should infer this from his views on Jews.

Jin Dih said...

Another reason for admissions based on objective standardized test scores alone. This is what the ENTIRE rest of the world does (except Canada).

How overrepresented are Asians at the UK's elite uni's?

I thought that UC now gives standardized tests much less weight. If this is the case then pushy students are favored.

Were 39% of old SAT scores >= 1400 made by Asians?

Paul Yarbles said...

"Paul Yarbles' comment is rude and borderline racebaiting, but essentially correct."

And I thought I was just Steve Hsu baiting! But thanks for realizing the truth of what I say. If one isn't racist, then how can one think otherwise?

"Without confucian culture, Asians have no other advantages."

I'm sure Professor Hsu will have mountains of evidence to use against you here ;-)

Paul Yarbles said...

There once was a man who thought his race the best
Who conveniently thought life was totally reflected in a test
Because by filling in ovals a through e
He and his ethnic fellows could objectively see
That they were better than all the rest

steve hsu said...

"Without confucian culture, Asians have no other advantages."

No one knows the answer to this question with high confidence, but I do know what the adoption studies say: NE Asian babies adopted and raised by white families still show IQ advantages. There may also be a heritable conscientiousness group difference.

B.B. said...

"I can't tell you how many times I've heard the old stereotype of the workaholic Asian student with no extracurricular activities, who only studies, being bandied about. While such comments would be tolerable if they were in fact true(I'm not a big fan of political correctness in general), they are in fact false."

I don't know of any data on group differences in extracurricular activities, but on average Asian students do indeed spend significantly more time studying than others:

Time Spent Studying and Doing Homework
A common view is that an important reason for achievement gaps may be that black and Hispanic students do not work as hard at their studies as white and Asian students.21 Therefore, the question is asked: Is there evidence in the data that black and Hispanic students in MSAN districts are not working as hard as whites and Asians?

The best measure of student effort in the Ed-Excel data is the student's report of how much time he or she spends on weekdays after school studying and doing homework. The data show very small racial differences among classmates. Panel A of Table 4 shows that only Asians stand out as studying more than other groups

Yan Shen said...

Yes, but the salient issue isn't whether or not Asians study more than members of other racial groups. The issue is whether or not Asian Americans have well rounded extracurricular activities. It's possible both to study more than your peers and to have as well rounded a set of extracurricular interests.

Paul Yarbles said...

Do the adoption studies sing sweet songs about the master race in your ears, Steve?

Really, what do they "say" to you? Or should I ask what do they present for your interpretation? Seriously, provide a link. I am IQurious.

And what is this wonderful integer called IQ anyway? Image all that is worthy and good in the human mind can be distilled through the science (SCIENCE!) of intelligence testing into a single integer! This is one amazing contraction map (now don't get all nit-picky on the mathematical particulars, it ain't my field). It goes something like this...

Human being --> a couple of hours of testing --> sausages, no I mean: a single integer that means everything important about the most important thing in today's world.

Does the all-important mapping go backwards? Not uniquely -- it's a contraction map, dummy and IQs don't go so high (rockdoveditch principle or something) -- but the larger (aka better) numbers seem to map back to Asia and the smaller (aka worse) to Africa. How wonderful for the Asians and how terrible for the Africans! But sorry my black friends you just have to forget your crappy history and take a back seat on the bus into the future so the Asian supermen* don't feel screwed over too bad. After all we're talking science here and not something silly like history. And science is a harsh mistress. Especially when in the hands of those that want to use it to eff you over (OK so the metaphor is mixed -- you can't hold a mistress too easily and all sorts of problems -- but you get the drift).

OK, let's get this straight. The Chinese are smarter than everyone, except the Jews, right? At least if you based smarts on tests handed down by God to Moses and Zhuangzi on Mt. Binet. Cool. But don't expect everyone else to support policies that eff themselves over because of this "scientific" truth. The world doesn't work that way.

But I seem to be rambling and so I'll stop now.

Please forgive my sarcasm but I think that too strong a belief in the superiority of ones race is not healthy and should be mocked.

* su·per·man (spr-mn)
n.
1. A man with more than human powers.
2. An ideal superior man who is superior in some way that makes someone happy.

David Backus said...

Absolutely true. There's a long history of this, with different ethnic groups playing similar roles. Some of the best summaries are Louis Menand's reviews of books by Bowen with various coauthors. One of the most curious is the emphasis on sports even at elite schools. It's only partly a joke to suggest that this may flip when more Asians play football and basketball.

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2001/01/22/2001_01_22_084_TNY_LIBRY_000022572

Yan Shen said...

I was under the impression that most people in society viewed high IQ as a negative rather than a positive trait. Just think back to your high school days, when the smart kids were viewed as uncool geeks and the dumb jocks were universally adored. ;) It's highly likely that most of society doesn't share your implicit viewpoint that higher IQ somehow equates to being superior.

Botti said...

***People generally look for any way possible to discredit the accomplishments of Asian Americans. ***

Yan Shen,

Hey, at least you don't have people like Tim Wise bleating about Asian privilege :-)

As for double standards, I think people are more wary of negative comments about protected groups. It looks like poor form where the group is struggling (and many blame that on your own group). Asians are doing well though so perhaps are seen as fair game.

I attended boarding school in NZ & never got the impression Asian students had no extracurricular activities. Certainly, most were pretty studious (one roommate being a particular exception - he was one of the laziest guys I knew but quite bright), they also played a lot of sports & learned musical instruments. Perhaps there was a difference in terms of the type of sports, rugby was the main sport at the school & Asian guys were probably underrepresented in that. Our school would import large mesomorphic polynesian guys to bolster the top team.

Yan Shen said...

Speaking of Tim Wise, I just had an exchange with him on his official website the past couple of days over the merits of affirmative action. He's a nice guy and his heart is in the right place, but ultimately his arguments leave a lot to be desired. Basically, from his point of view, white racism is the cause of all of society's maladies. Of course, that explanation doesn't account for how Asian Americans were able to succeed in spite of the rampant racism they encountered. ;) Liberals sometimes assume that Asian Americans have been welcomed into this nation, historically, in a way that blacks and Hispanics haven't. This clearly wasn't the case. There was massive racial discrimination against Asian Americans in the old days, and much of the racist rhetoric directed against Asians was no different than that directed against African Americans. If you want a vivid account of the racist imagery that was used to describe Asian Americans, you should read John Dower's book War without Mercy, which describes in stark detail the racist rhetoric that was directed against the Japanese by American propagandists during the Second World War. If anything, I'd argue that Hispanic Americans have encountered the least degree of historical racism, out of the three groups mentioned. In particular, Latino Americans are closer to European norms in terms of physical appearances, compared to Asians or blacks, and no doubt this has afforded them certain advantages in terms of assimilation, that blacks and Asians lack.

But to be honest, actual white racism isn't even that widespread these days. It still exists, but amongst isolated groups of individuals, rather than being emblematic of the mindset of white Americans as a whole. I think there's been a remarkable shift in racial sentiment in the West since the end of World War 2 and the acceptance of the notion of the self determination of peoples, which helped to end the old colonialist system. The problem though is that liberals have taken the notion of white guilt a bit too far, to the point where it's become a pathology rather than a coherent mindset.

Jin Dih said...

The advantage in the visuo-spatial factor yet China has ALWAYS been behind the West. There was no Chinese Aristotle. Science is European.

I remember NE Asians always lost on Jeopardy. There are no great NE Asian lawyers. I'm sure Steve explains this as environmental.

The trivial IQ advantage (all of it in the visuo-spatial factor) found in adoption studies is too small to explain anything.

Indians outperform NE Asians academically in the US. A higher group IQ isn't used to explain that.

Nim said...

Unfair discrimination in access to higher education in America? I'm shocked! Shocked!!

Botti said...

***Speaking of Tim Wise, I just had an exchange with him on his official website the past couple of days over the merits of affirmative action. He's a nice guy and his heart is in the right place, but ultimately his arguments leave a lot to be desired. ***

Yan Shen, (for some reason I can't use the reply function)

Excellent effort debating Tim & his acolyte Frederic Christie. I had an exchange with Christie a couple of years ago & found his aggressive tone quite tiring. He wasn't happy when I used an HBD argument to explain some group disparities. Eventually he conceded that even if there were some bio differences, they would only be trivial & got back to blaming institutional bias.

***Basically, from his point of view, white racism is the cause of all of society's maladies. Of course, that explanation doesn't account for how Asian Americans were able to succeed in spite of the rampant r*cism they encountered. ;)***

I think that is where they pull out the culture argument. If you mention adoption studies, they'll then say that society/teachers treat different groups differently & have different expectations for them etc..

anon said...

Indian-Americans' ancestors typically held much higher status before they went to the US than those of NE Asians did ...

Shawn said...

"What Asian-Americans are enduring now is reminiscent of the travails of American Jews in the 1930s and 1940s..."

Exactly.

There is an Asian quota AND a White quota at universities. I will point out that Jews are favored over Gentile Whites when it comes to filling the White quota. Wealthy Whites are favored over poorer Whites (for endowment reasons understandably -- an aside: poor Blacks are favored over wealthy Blacks) who are disproportionately Jewish; also, Whites that participate in so called "republican activities," e.g. ROTC, student republican groups etc., are actively discriminated against -- these types of White people are disproportionately Gentile. So we see that even within the White quota there is active discrimination -- in this case against Gentiles.

Shawn said...

Yan Shen -

As a White male, if I were to move to China or Japan to do business, would I face discrimination? And if so, would this be just cause to revamp the culture? That was a hypothetical. They would have every right to discriminate against me. I don't care; I would just pack up and go back to my homeland: the good ol' USA.

An aside on something else: I've always found it interesting that minorities want their groups to immigrate to America. I for one do not want my own people to do this, Northern Europeans, because I do not want the Mother Country to be damaged more than it already has been; and, I really, really want high IQ Northern Europeans to stay in N. Europe to prevent brain drain.

I did find a NE Asian blogger, who lives in the USA, who agrees with my line of thought, but for his own people who wish to immigrate here (of course). He's a very good blogger by the way -- Asian of Reason is his name -- his blog:

http://piepointonefour.blogspot.com/

Sam said...

Jin Dih:

I think it has to do with a collectivistic mindset, whether cultural, genetic, or otherwise, which hampered creativity. Anyway, China is practicing eugenics & doesn't have all the PC crap that the west has succumbed to. In a couple generations they will surmount the world unless other nations follow suit.

Yan Shen said...

Shawn, discrimination is wrong as a matter of principle. Whether or not you care about being discriminated against is irrelevant to the issue here. The world doesn't revolve around you or your opinions. I've heard that Japan is ethnocentric, but China is fairly tolerant of outsiders, as far as I can tell. Certainly foreign immigrants to China today will never face the barbaric kind of treatment that Americans inflicted upon its foreign immigrants in past decades.

Regarding immigration, the number of East Asians living in the United States today is fairly small. We constitute something like 2.5% of the total US population. Furthermore, the number of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Americans is fairly tiny relative to the global population of those respective groups. For instance, while there are something like 3.6 million or so Chinese Americans, this is barely .27% of the 1334 million people currently living in China. I think most East Asians are far more enamored by America's prestigious colleges, rather than be a desire to actually live in America.

I think you'd be surprised at the growing number of Americans who are now moving to China to work. As China further develops, I'd expect the immigration numbers to increasingly reach parity.

And Shawn, since Steve Sailer has been ignoring my comments on here, even though I know he reads this blog, maybe you can answer something for me. Why are all of the HBD blogs written by white bloggers inundated with racial slurs against minority groups, and why do most of the commenters there seem so incredibly dim?

Shawn said...

"Certainly foreign immigrants to China today will never face the barbaric kind of treatment that Americans inflicted upon its foreign immigrants in past decades."

Hmm.....makes perfect sense...this may be why so many people from Asia are clamoring to get into the USA, and other Western countries for that matter. By the way, I like and respect Asians. I just think diversity lends itself to conflict and general chaos.

Yan Shen said...

Shawn, you seemed to have ignored basically all of the main points of my previous post. :) Since you're a big boy, I assume you can read English, your own native language.

The number of Asians living in the West is fairly small relative to their numbers in Asia. Also, the number of Westerners living in Asia is larger than you're probably aware of. As I've stated, I expect these immigration numbers to increasingly reach per capita parity, as Asia further develops.


Also, do you have any ideas why most of the HBD blogs are inundated with racial slurs against minorities? Or why most of the commenters there seem to be rather dim? Since they're "your people", as you no doubt would refer to them as, I thought you might have some ideas.

Botti said...

***And Shawn, since Steve Sailer has been ignoring my comments on here, even though I know he reads this blog, maybe you can answer something for me. Why are all of the HBD blogs written by white bloggers inundated with r*cial slurs against minority groups, and why do most of the commenters there seem so incredibly dim? ***

I think HBD blogs tend to attract people who are unusually open minded (they don't reflexively reject it based on conditioning) or particularly disgruntled. The disgruntled perhaps find it carthartic to get things off their chest that they can't say in polite society. So HBD blogs may be an outlet for that.

In terms of the quality of the comments, I'm often surprised at how good some are. You have to filter through a lot of rubbish though.

Cj said...

Dear Professor Hsu,

Despite the tone and topic of this comment, I'm a great admirer or your writings. However, I do have a very major complaint that I hope to draw your attention to. I was wondering how you would describe the concern expressed over the years on your blog to the negative or perceived negative effect of official discrimination, (ie "affirmative action") against Asians Americans (a term which, as far as i can tell, is often or usually used to refer to both actual Asian Americans as well as any non-American immigrant or visitor from Asia, regardless of how recent, and regardless of the degree of their 'Americanness'), combined with your total lack of concern, as far as I can see, to the much greater degree of benefit that Asian Americans and Asian immigrants receive from official discrimination in government and corporate contracting/sub-contracting and employment, entirely to the detriment of Euro (white) Americans. Would you describe your concern as principled, or simply as an advocate for the interests of your own ethnic group, regardless of the principles of fairness or justice?

CJ

steve hsu said...

I'm against all forms of racial discrimination. The favoritism to minority (specifically Asian American) contracting that you mention is something I have heard of but know very little about. While I personally know people who have been affected by the admissions policies I've written about, I don't actually know anyone who benefits from the set-asides you refer to. Can you provide some references?

Cj said...

Just one easily discovered link from google, found on the very first search, amongst many others. Much or what you will find is encoded in the bureaucratic squid ink of jargon and legalese, but all of it is created by and for those whose benefit from the system in one way or another.

http://www.nedainc.net/Federal%20Contracting%20Reforms%20Info.htm

Hard data is difficult to find, but it is out there, although once again, nearly all of it is coming from those who support and benefit from the entire monstrosity. A few things to remember - in the United States today, the only thriving industry is government contracting / sub-contracting / sub sub contracting and government agencies themselves, all of which is entirely covered by affirmative action. Asians, including new and old immigrants from China, India, and elsewhere, are probably the greatest recipients of affirmative action benefits, after only 'Alaska Natives'. Some of the key programs are set aside programs and sole source contracts specifically for minority business (in 2003 restricted to $100 million!, don't know about currently) , but also the 10 percent price bid advantage that gets played out over and over in contract competitions. Think of an iterative process. Eventually complete dominance by minority firms will happen, if it hasn't already. Data is also suspect because minorities are only counted as such if they identify as such. Otherwise they are identified as part of the majority.

"I don't actually know anyone who benefits from the set-asides you refer to"

You most likely do, but you are unlikely to find out from them.

I wonder if you are also aware of the successful "Count Me In" campaign by Asian American groups at the University of California to dissaggregate the Asian American category. which is spreading to other universities. It is similarly done (exclusively for Asians) on the US census. This means that many Asian American groups are now on the winning side of ethnic preferences in college admissions. Extremely underrepresented white ethnic groups are almost entirely aggregated together with Jewish American groups, who are possibly the most over-represented ethnicity of all.

Yan Shen said...

Of course he has no references. He's just a Steve Sailerite looking to vent because the country is slowly losing its non-Hispanic white majority.

paulyarbles said...

"For someone who despises the concept of IQ and the possibility that there could be group differences in intelligence..."

I never said there weren't group differences in intelligence. What gave you that silly idea? At a moments notice I could form two groups from my workplace or neighborhood where one group has a lower intelligence on average than the other. Intelligence being defined beforehand of course.

"I'm pretty sure you can argue to the contrary without playing devil's advocate and denigrating the Chinese."

Denigrating the Chinese! That's a laugh! I'm not denigrating the Chinese, I'm denigrating various people's obsession with the superiority of their tribe. It does come out in weird ways. Here we have it manifesting itself in so-called scientific objectivity and and an appeal to the higher ideal of Justice.

LuboŇ° Motl said...

Yesterday, I loved a Czech tweet by a former almost-classmate of mine. It was said in a very formal language so it sounded even more funny in Czech. But it said: The American scientists have figured out that one half of them are Chinese scientists. ;-)

Ken said...

Perhaps Yan Shen: But you of all people should also be aware of Asian racism which is alive and well. Racism (or more accurately tribalism) is an unfortunate part of human nature. Many Chinese despise the Japanese for their historical aggression (the rape of Nanjing comes to mind) and there is no love lost between Koreans and the Japanese. The Japanese using the former as sex and other slaves and viewing them as inferior Asians during WWII. Or the Okinawan’s who the Japanese tend to feel are a lesser form of the true and pure Japanese. And I suppose all of this could be reversed. The list goes on.

I will agree with or assessment of the views of some white liberals who seem to think racism is reserved for certain whites only. Unfortunately it is vastly more widespread than that. All tribes display it.

Melykin said...

Ken wrote: "Racism (or more accurately tribalism) is an unfortunate part of human nature.... All tribes display it."
========================================================================

Truer words were never spoken. It is part of human nature. In the west it is not polite (or even legal) to talk about, but it is there. The rest of the world doesn't even pretend not to be tribal.

As Tom Lehrer wrote a generation ago:
"Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics
And the Catholics hate the Protestants
And the Hindus hate the Moslems
And everybody hates the Jews"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIlJ8ZCs4jY

Melykin said...

Updated version of "National Brotherhood Week":

http://www.last.fm/music/Tom+Lehrer/+videos/+1-a62ZCRQ-kxY

"Oh the Catholics, hate the atheists,
The Hindus, hate the Muslims,
The Muslims hate everyone,
And everyone hates the French."

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