Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Demography and destiny

From an article in The Times Higher Education (formerly Times Higher Education Supplement). The reporter was shocked at the clear cut statistics showing discrimination against Asians in elite higher education. He wondered how this could be the case in the 21st century and why the story wasn't covered more widely. In trying to get approval to do a bigger story he was told that since Dan Golden (Bloomberg) had written about it a couple of times there was no need to make a fuss about it.

... Yet statistics suggest that students from one of the most academically successful ethnic groups, East Asians, are being admitted to US universities at surprisingly low rates. Although they comprise less than 4 per cent of the US population as a whole, East Asians make up 24 per cent of students at elite universities. But they would probably comprise an even larger share if some were not being kept out by seemingly lopsided admissions requirements.

Universities deny that they have quotas to keep East Asian students out. Statistics show, however, that only one in 15 East Asian applicants is admitted to Ivy League universities, compared with one of every 10 applicants of other racial groups.

Thomas Espenshade, a professor of sociology at Princeton University, calculated that East Asians needed perfect scores of 1,600 on the principal university entrance examination, the SAT Reasoning Test, to have the same chance of being accepted at a top private university as whites who scored 1,460 and blacks who scored 1,150. He found that whites were three times, blacks five times and Hispanics twice as likely to be accepted at a US university as East Asians. [Note: This should read: "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." These probabilities are obtained after controlling for grades, test scores, athletic qualifications, and family history! See here.]

"It's both true that Asians are over-represented and that they're being discriminated against," Hsu says. "The [two] things can happen at the same time." University admissions, he adds, "should be a meritocracy. But people have other social goals in mind."

As in Texas, public university admissions policies in California have been affected by politics and court rulings. In 1996, California voters banned the use of affirmative-action policies by public agencies, including universities, and that ban was upheld by a court as recently as December. (Voters have adopted similar bans on racial preferences in Arizona, Michigan, Nebraska and Washington State.) Without such racial filters, the percentage of East Asian students at the University of California at Irvine shot up to 61 per cent, Berkeley 42 per cent and University of California, Los Angeles 38 per cent, in a state where East Asians comprise just 13 per cent of the population.

This indicates that universities in other states are handicapping East Asian applicants, Hsu says.

"It's all hush-hush, but it's pretty clear from the data," he alleges. "[Elite] schools ... don't disclose they're doing it. They just all sort of magically end up with under 20 per cent Asian students."

Hsu says universities do this partly to ensure diversity that might be crowded out by large numbers of East Asians, and partly to avoid alienating their alumni.

"The motivation for, say, Harvard (whose undergraduate population is 16 per cent East Asian) wanting to cap its Asian admissions is that they may lose some alumni support. If they have some rich alumni whose kids might not want to work too hard (to compete with the East Asian students)."

The disparity has received as little attention in the US as the shift of whites to minority status among the undergraduate population at the University of Texas at Austin. But similar changes in Canada's higher education sector provoked controversy last autumn when the weekly news magazine Maclean's, in its annual university issue, asked whether Canadian universities were becoming, as a much-criticised headline put it, "Too Asian?"

With 85 per cent of East Asian parents of Toronto high school students saying they expect their children to go on to university, compared with 59 per cent of whites and 49 per cent of blacks, and Asian-Americans of East Asian origin who are unable to gain admission to US universities transferring their focus to Canadian institutions, the magazine reported that Canadian universities were becoming "so academically focused that some (non-Asian) students feel they can no longer compete or have fun".

Some white students quoted in the article said they would not choose the University of Toronto precisely because it has so many East Asian students. (A university spokeswoman denies there has been such a backlash.)

The debate has at its heart the received idea that East Asians work harder or are innately smarter than non-Asians - or, as Hsu puts it, "a pushy group of people making life too hard" - just as Jews were once portrayed.

But while "it's certainly a stereotype, it might have some statistical basis", Hsu says. "You're talking about a recent immigrant population. It probably was true that the average Jewish kid admitted to the Ivy League in the early 1900s worked harder than other kids."

Today, he adds, "it's a not-so-well-kept secret in the Asian community that you have to work that much harder when you're Asian."

Universities, however, are trying to focus on increasing the numbers of Hispanics and blacks, on the basis that these racial groups are the biggest source of future students. They help them to meet challenges on campus and also try to improve the preparation they receive in hard-pressed secondary schools. ...

Why you should be suspicious of what the elite schools are up to, despite official statements (from an earlier post):

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.


Yan Shen said...

What else is new? East Asian Americans have been and continue to be discriminated against in the most appalling of fashions in the United States. And no one seems to care. I applaud Steve for speaking out on behalf of Asian American causes with reporters who write these kinds of articles. Perhaps if other East Asian Americans were more assertive in speaking out on behalf of themselves, things might eventually begin to change. Judging a college applicant by the color of their skin rather than by the content of their accomplishments is bigotry plain and simple. I expect not only East Asian Americans to be outraged over this kind of bigotry, but also other Americans as well.
And certainly self proclaimed "citizenists", those who believe that the US should worry first and foremost about the welfare of its own citizens, should be the most outraged of all. Here we have an institution, elite undergraduate college admissions committees, which is essentially discriminating against a select group of American citizens, who historically have faced discrimination as well. When will the madness end?

Let me state for the record that I believe in America the proposition nation, and one of the foundational propositions I believe in is that the US should treat all of its citizens the same regardless of race or gender or creed. I recently stumbled upon a similar philosophy on the internet that was called "citizenism". It made so much sense to me. The United States should look after the welfare of its own citizens first and foremost, with the clear implication that we're all in this together regardless of race because all of us are fundamentally American. I encourage anyone who believes in the tents of "citizenism" or America the proposition nation to speak out vehemently against the bigotry that college admissions officers today practice against East Asian Americans.

Yan Shen said...

There's one major problem with your analysis. At least with respect to elite undergraduate admissions, Asians aren't being treated like whites. Whites disproportionately benefit from certain forms of affirmative action like legacy admissions and athletic preferences. And as the Espenshade study makes clear, even ceteris paribus, East Asians are less likely than whites to be admitted to elite universities. What's even more outrageous is the fact that according to the Espenshade study, removing AA would boost the number of Asians at elite schools but barely make a difference in terms of the number of whites. This means that most of the burden of setting aside spots for under-represented minorities in the zero-sum game of elite college admissions has been shifted onto Asian Americans. At the very least, if we're going to set aside meritocracy in the name of promoting diversity, you would think that it would make sense that the spots set aside for such a purpose should come out of the white admissions pool, given the fact that historically blacks, Hispanics, and East Asians have all endured racism in a predominantly white America.

steve hsu said...

Thanks, I corrected what was in the article in the post above.

ShrinkWrapped said...

OK; start some new firms. When Jews couldn't get into country clubs, they built their own.

ShrinkWrapped said...

Having known people in admissions departments, I can guarantee they do these kinds of calculations. That doesn't excuse the inequity but it does play a role.

Mark said...

Fjordman, there are better ways of arguing in favor of immigration restrictions and against the idea of a proposition nation. Once you start carelessly lumping American-kids of Chinese ancestry with Chinese spies, you lose people. And with good reason.

botti said...

How do these reporters know to come to you on this subject? Do they read your blog or have you written about this elsewhere?

Mark said...

So you laud Sailer's "citizenism" then lump him in with Stormfront? Seems a bit ungracious.

Yan Shen said...


"According to Ana Lee Saxenian(1999), 29 percent of Silicon Valley startups during the period from 1995 to 1998 were run by Chinese or Indian migrants."

Mr_Cholmondeley said...

Indians are more entrepreneurial that Mongoloids.

Mr_Cholmondeley said...

Only in the shithole that is the US is this an issue at all.

coldequation said...

It seems that, if an elite firm hired dumb white legacies from Harvard while a non-elite firm hired smart Asians who were rejected from the top schools because of the, uh, dryness of their earwax, soon the elite firm and the non-elite firm would switch places.

Nonymous said...

Oops, instead of

quite deliberately pursues less measurable traits that don't lend themselves to quantification

I meant

quite deliberately pursues traits that don't lend themselves to quantification

steve hsu said...

Using just g would be a mistake except maybe at MIT/Caltech. But Espenshade tried to control for everything -- athletics, leadership, etc. It's possible his analysis is flawed, or too crude, but it's also possible that the X variable used in admissions is simply "race" (as in: If Asian, reduce admissions score by 200 points, perhaps through some unstated understanding among admissions people that the total number has to be capped) and in that case an institution like Harvard that gets so much Federal funding should be called to task.

Nonymous said...

I didn't see any reference to measurement of leadership abilities in particular in your own summary above of what he controlled for. And I guess I really do wonder if there's any number that admissions people might attach to such a measurement that would reliably capture even their own sense of how much leadership a candidate might possess, in the important sense of how that trait really is weighed in their ultimate go / no-go decision on a candidate.

I'll grant that *in principle* it might be racism of one sort or another that figures into such decisions, and not anything really more benign. But my point here is simply that, if one takes admissions people at their word, and take their concern for other, either unquantifiable or very crudely quantifiable, traits as being genuine, then *exactly* what one would expect to see is the sort of thing you and Espenshade are pointing out: that groups like Asians (and Jews, presumably, for that matter) are less well represented than the more accurately measurable traits would predict. Again, this is pretty obvious statistics.

And if we are seeing pretty much exactly what we would be expect here, why should we assume that there's anything else going on?

Yan Shen said...

Stormfront might be a better forum for you to vent. This is a mainstream blog.

Herodotus MacLeish said...

BTW if I recall, the Esplenade study showed that poor and working class whites were 7 times less likely to be admitted to elite universities than Asians.
When lower-class whites are matched with lower-class blacks and other non-whites the degree of the non-white advantage becomes astronomical: lower-class Asian applicants are ****seven times****as likely to be accepted to the competitive private institutions as similarly qualified whites, lower-class Hispanic applicants eight times as likely, and lower-class blacks ten times as likely. These are enormous differences and reflect the fact that lower-class whites were rarely accepted to the private institutions Espenshade and Radford surveyed. Their diversity-enhancement value was obviously rated very low.

The title of Neili's piece should be "How Diversity Punishes Working Class Whites".

steve hsu said...

Family history might mean legacy status rather than income level. I haven't looked at his book in a while.

Note that with the exception of H (and *maybe* PYS), financial aid budgets are pretty tight. Espenshade's schools were elite but not quite HYPS. When it comes to a poor white applicant I can easily imagine them wanting to spend their financial aid dollars elsewhere -- i.e., on the underrepresented/NAM applicants.

Herodotus MacLeish said...

How does that account for lower income Asians being offered admissions at seven times the rate of similarly qualified, financially situated whites? Wouldn't they need financial aid also?

Yan Shen said...

How about this Herodotus. I'm a reasonable man. Since you're so concerned about the welfare of white Americans, I propose the following. We hold a vote that only white Americans can participate in and we offer them two choices. They can either vote to kick out all of the white nationalists like yourself or they can vote to kick out all people of color. Either one or the other. We let white America and only white America speak, since as you say we should enact policies that match the preferences of actual(white) Americans. I think letting white Americans themselves vote on the future of this nation should be more than reasonable as far as policy goes.

What do you say?

Dudashlarry said...

Epenshade studied elite liberal arts colleges that have a difficult time attracting Asians students. Asians generally want the HYP, Ivy, CalTech/MIT, top public universities (Berkeley, UM) and/or those with top STEM programs.

Relatively few Asians rank small liberal arts colleges (often in the boondocks) at the top of their list so these schools have to lower admissions and throw money at Asians to get them to attend.

Yan Shen said...

Well that just shows how stupid you are. My guess is that the majority of whites(and Americans in general) would have no problem with limited high IQ immigration(H-1Bs, etc). Heck, even your idol Nick Griffin seems to be fine with limited numbers of high IQ immigration.

Wake up to reality Herodotus. Stormfront and iSteve and all of those other sites you hang out on on a regular basis aren't representative of mainstream America. Look, I get it, If i were a low IQ white like you, I'd be angry all of the time too. I'm trying to help you adjust to reality here.

Yan Shen said...

Isn't this blog a few IQ points too high for you? I really think that you'd find the climate more intellectually agreeable at Stormfront.

Gumshoe said...

Is this you?

Larry Dudash
Senior Software Developer at Discrete Wireless
Greater Atlanta Area Computer Software
Senior Software Developer at Discrete Wireless
Senior Software Engineer at Velocita
Staff Engineer at RAM Mobile Data / BellSouth Wireless Data / Cingular / Velocita Wireless
Senior Systems Analyst at RAM Communications Consultants, Inc.
University of Pittsburgh

Yan Shen said...

To be honest, the only herd mentality I've witnessed is hordes of low IQ whites whining endlessly about the same things over and over and over again on white nationalist/HBD blogs. But hey, what would I know? And most of the rants are rambling and incoherent and have an oddly conspiratorial tone to them, kind of like yours.

Dudashlarry said...

Well done. You deftly avoided addressing any of the facts or issues I raised with an ad hominem. Textbook.

Yan Shen said...

It's not that I avoided addressing your issues. It's that your rambling, incoherent post has nothing worth addressing. Also, I don't think you understand the meaning of ad hominem. It means to attack a person's character,etc in order to discredit their argument. I wasn't attacking your character or the character of anyone else in order to discredit any anything. I was however responding to a specific point you made and pointing out that in real life the only herd behavior I've witnessed has been on HBD blogs. I was also pointing out that your posts are rambling and incoherent. This isn't an attack against your character in order to discredit your argument. This is simply me pointing out that your argument really isn't much of an argument to begin with.

Dudashlarry said...

You avoid addressing the issues, mostly ones you raised or rebutted, because the facts I raise expose the absurdities of your verminous attacks on whites and the West. Your shtick is to rehash patently absurd leftist propaganda with a Han Chinese supremacists bent and an unreflective repetitious vengeance. I get it. But don't expect to go unchallenged or crawl away with whiney name calling unnoticed.

With better reading comprehension and more a tempered mind, you'd see beyond your rambling incoherent interpretations that Asian(Amy Chua) >= SWPL >> white(Ann Landers) elite herd mentality, comparative racism in 1850, freedom of association and antisocial tribalism by ethnicity, unique historical evils of whites, Hispanics/Asians immigrants as hapless long-suffering victims of white racism, laughable moral superiority Asian given their unabashed racism today, etc are all on-point and many topics you raised to attempt to uniquely vilify whites and the West.

You're a parody of yourself. You comically can't comprehend your own definition of "Ad Hominem" as brilliantly demonstrated by your "nothing worth addressing... (because) low IQ whites whining endlessly... most of the rants are rambling and incoherent... oddly conspiratorial.. like yours".

Guy said...

Speaking as someone who's half Asian and attended a top U., I have to wonder if putting more emphasis on raw scores for admission is a good idea as this blog argues. In other words, I sort of agree with the way that it's done. There ARE other factors--personality, extracurriculars (not just Piano, violin), etc--that are important for the culture of a school. As someone who came from a rural state with few Asians, I spent my freshman year hanging out with Asians just to connect with that part of my heritage. To be honest, it was a bit underwhelming. Most Asians tended to want to hang out with other Asians. Obsessing about their Asian heritage (Asian gatherings of various sorts for food and culture) was the norm. The personalities, on average, were kind of one-dimensional--I suppose going through a rigorous academic environment can do that. Not spontaneous at all, and true to stereotype, their lives were on very defined paths with little room for experimentation. After that year, I moved on to different set of friends that was predominantly white (with an Asian or two). The Asians in the new group were rounder (in perspective, life, experience), but they were not the norm among the Asian body at the U.

Do I think that sort of uni-dimensional focus--on average--of Asians has to be the norm? Nope. I knew a good number of dynamic Asians as well--they were just not the average. I think going through the gully of academic rigor growing up--with less time for exploration--probably prematurely clipped the wings of experimentation for a lot of the Asian students. As a consequence, their personalities seem a bit straitjacketed (on average, again).

I'm an HBD-acknowledging progressive. I fully understand the implications of having too many low-IQ groups immigrate, or the fact that East Asians have higher raw IQs on average. But after that experience, I definitely feel that have too many Asians would be bad for college culture, which is partially about experimenting, being spontaneous, having out of the ordinary experiences, and living a little on the edge.

steve hsu said...

If you feel that the desired trait (being more open, exploratory, etc.) is correlated with ethnicity (at least at this moment in time), do you then favor simply penalizing (in admissions ranking) everyone from the group (Asians) that has the bad correlation? Should this be applied to other traits/groups?

In the Ivy debates on Jewish admissions the Jews were characterized as grinds who studied all the time and didn't want to participate in lots of fun WASP activities.

Yan Shen said...

Also note that elite schools should have the right to emphasize academic merit. There are countless hundreds of other universities that people can attend if they want to enjoy a particular social experience. If marijuana culture is important to you, I suspect that a small liberal arts college might fit the bill. If excessive drinking is what you crave as part of your college cultural experience, there are state schools by the dozens.where people rarely engage in boring activities like studying and getting good grades and where people's college experiences are defined first and foremost by how much alcohol they've managed to consume. I do think that it's a bit flawed though to demand that schools like the Ivies, Stanford, MIT, etc not emphasize intellectual ability first and foremost. There should at least be a few elite universities in this country where intellectual ability still matters.

Herodotus MacLeish said...

So now you are moving the goalposts *and* speculating on facts not in evidence -- moving from 'discrimination against Asians' to discrimination against (presumably) Chinese (and in favor of, say, Filipinos). Frankly, however, I think you are wrong. I've been to San Francisco enough to know there are plenty of poor and working class Chinese; without evidence to the contrary, I don't see why they wouldn't be in the 7x greater chance, all else equal, of getting into an Ivy versus their white counterpart.
Then again I've not read the book either, or seen his statistical model, so perhaps Wittgenstein's admonition applies here.

Dudashlarry said...

When you argue whites deserve to be singled out for officially sanctioned discriminated because whites perpetuated unique evils like slavery you are attacking all whites with absurd historical BS. Furthermore, singling out low-IQ whites for abuse because you have an IQ fetish is an additional unjustice. Most are simple but decent people just trying to get along like anyone else.

Why do you assume I am white or defend whites simply because they are white? Stormfront is as much your "house" to clean up as it is mine. I like the truth and dislike seeing facts and history twisted. I don't like to see unfair, outrageous and hateful propaganda spread by self-seeking agitators go unchallenged. I don't like seeing poisonous memes like these spread which are fundamental to the rot undermining the country and world inhabited by people I care about.

You must not be widely traveled if you think white racism is the scourge of our times. I've encountered plenty of white racists, but they paled (pun) in comparison to the degree, extent and/or overtness of racism I've endured from and witnessed in virtually every other group. I'm about as familiar with Stormfront as La Raza, the Black Muslims, and various other race-based groups out there. Of all I can think of, Stormfront is the least mainstream, effective and dangerous in a sense of imposing their agenda at the expense of "others".

It's annoying you smear iSteve with SPLC-like tactics. Can you link to a recent post by Sailer where he or even other regular seriously advocate physical violence or even racial slurs (excepting the occasional out-of-nowhere leftists who plant transparently Moby-liike posts there)? From you previous posts, I'll expect another 100% content free ad hominem.

Your obsessive, neurotic, verbose and brazenly dishonest debate style is unlike any Han Chinese I've ever met even in the most liberal of enclaves. I could be wrong, it's ultimately not of great consequence this being the Internet, but you distinctly echo EvilNeocon/Testing99/Whiskey. The only difference is you obsess over agitating for "anti-white rainbow coalitions" instead of "anti-Paleocon/Ron Paull" policies (using anti-Islam and anti-leftism as cover).

Herodotus MacLeish said...

Everyone (or should that be everybody?) loves an internet pedant.

Herodotus MacLeish said...

And Mr. Abcd Spellingbeechampionaratnanrajakumar, even you missed low hanging fruit -- And not --> And note.

steve hsu said...

Agreed, this is speculation.

Yan Shen said...

If you're really upset by Asians displacing whites in the Ivy League and other elite schools, perhaps you should have tried getting into one of those schools yourself. However, I suspect as a low IQ white, that doing so was beyond your cognitive ability. Now explain again to me why you're whining like a little bitch about something that never would have affected you in the first place?

Guy said...

Ah yes, strawmans by both of you. HBD discussions tend to attract those with pretty narrow perspectives of life in general.

Herodutus is obviously a moron who will never conjure up anything of consequence, and he derives some perverse satisfaction out of lording his "superiority" via the Interwebz. Go you, dude!

Yan Shen I've seen defending against WN attacks against Asians, and I dig that to some extent because the WN tend to be pretty dull and wrong in their assertions. That said, he enjoys the strawmans like any tribe-centric participant.

And here's the real shocker (sarcasm) that will really stir up HBD rage against me: I believe a person is what they do--regardless of their ethnic background. That probably partially a function of the fact that I'm mixed. Whoops, sorry America! I have *gasp* even known really great NAMs, and I don't judge people purely through the prism of IQ or tribe (my scores in the 99th+ percentile). (That said, I understand averages, and I understand the effect averages can have on things like education, crime, etc.)

But I know that, fundamentally, my short life on this planet will--for me at least--be measured by my experiences, the connections I make, what I learn, and what I create.

Cue insults of naivete, pretentiousness, grandstanding, SWPLness, plain-ole dumbness. I care not! Adieu, fair creatures of Earth!

Yan Shen said...

Did you just return from your camping trip out in the wilderness where you experimented, lived on the edge, were spontaneous, totally mixed it up, had experiences out of the ordinary, became in touch with Nature and Planet Earth, tapped into the full gamut of your inner possibilities, lived life to the fullest, became One with the Universe, and underwent a radically transformative experience that afforded you deep and profound insights in the ultimate workings of reality? Feel free to share you insights with the rest of us on this blog. I'm sure Steve would be interested if you discovered The Theory of Everything while tapping into the full range of your life experiences.

Yan Shen said...

Sorry that I'm not as sympathetic as you are towards low IQ white trash. If you like them, I'm sure you and Herodotus can get a room somewhere.

William_JD said...

Yeah, did you catch that grammatical howler whereby Yan Shen called himself "low IQ white"?

Yan Shen said...

Buddy, stick to Stormfront or Alternative Right.

Yan Shen said...

Shouldn't you be hanging out with the rest of the degenerate white trash at Stormfront?

steve hsu said...

Actually, IIRC, I noted to him that poor whites also had low admit rates at fixed strength of application. I even suggested to him that it was because schools are reserving their financial aid dollars for minority applicants. But I don't think that appeared in the article. The first half of the article is mainly about how whites have become less than 50 percent of the population at many universities (hence the demographics title).

I'm not convinced that affluent (non-Jewish) whites are discriminated against in elite admissions. Yes, Jews are overrepresented, but I have no reason to think it isn't due to merit.

Abcd said...

This is not related to the question of whether or not Asians have certain desired traits (too early to say), but since you do believe in looking at individuals as individuals, what's your opinion on racial profiling in general (cops,TSA, etc)?

Shawn said...

Here's a evolutionary idea: How about colleges and Universities just ignore demographics when admitting students and focus solely on merit?

Mr_Cholmondeley said...

but I have no reason to think it isn't due to merit

but I have no reason to think it isn't due to merit

But you do. The overrepresentation is too gross to be anything other than discrimination in favor. Jews OUTNUMBER white gentiles at Harvard, Yale, and Penn. If admissions were by g alone Jews would be a much smaller fraction of students at Harvard, etc. Princeton is such an outlier that Jewish faculty have complained 15% is too low, too low when Jews are 2.5% of the population. What's going on? Harvard admits based on merit but Princeton's admissions officers are antisemites.

If you have eyes to see you eill see.

Mr_Cholmondeley said...

The Jewish media has worked wonders on you Yan Shen.

Mr_Cholmondeley said...

One reason is that the stereotype of the pushy striving Oriental is true.

Mr_Cholmondeley said...

Those other factors are UNIQUE to the United States. The ENTIRE rest of the world has concluded the other factors are bullshit.

Mr_Cholmondeley said...

The mean IQ of oriental college students is less than that of white college students, because such a larger fraction of orientals go to college. (Yan Shen starts to cry)

Mr_Cholmondeley said...

The ENTIRE rest of the world is on Yan Shen's side.

anon said...

If their likely reasons for discriminating against Asians (pleasing donors, perpetuating the existing power structure) would also lead them to discriminate in favour of Jews, and you are confident they do the first, how can you be sure they don't do the second?
And if Jews rank on average very high (or have extremely high variance!) on some objective measure of intelligence, how do you explain the weak performance of Israeli schoolchildren on international standardised tests?

Reactionary_Konkvistador said...

Stop being a prick.

ZZ said...

"I don't think we really know, although my guess is that American-born E. Asians perform as well as whites with similar g."

But g is not what is tested on the SAT, but g + preparation. And the study looked at SAT. Do you admit or deny that the mean asian with SAT of 1500 probably has more preparation than the mean white, and thus has lower g?

As for performance after graduation, in a winner-take-all economy, assertiveness, creativity, and self-confidence are important. For another set of economic roles, being warm, talkative, engaging, and social is important. I think NE asians are weaker on these traits than any other, and tend to be quiet and risk averse.

steve hsu said...

I don't think the Jewish advantage is g alone. Part of it is desire for success, willingness to delay gratification, etc. The same grinding that Asians are up for.

There may be positive discrimination in favor of Jews by now, but I don't have a good window into that part of the system so I don't really know.

Keep in mind a large fraction of the non-Jewish white population is not obsessed with elite education. So simple comparisons between the number of smart Jewish and non-Jewish kids is too naive. The Jews and Asians are disproportionately likely to want elite education (and can pay for it), which would account for further overrepresentation.

ZZ said...

You only "suspect" the average high scoring asian has studied more for the SAT and "it's possible" asians are less assertive than whites? I would bet my life on both. Come on now, I am happy to admit my people are dumber, less industrious, more impulsive, more prone to crime and even smell worse than yours. Now you don't need to hedge around in admitting that yours are less assertive, muscular, verbally fluent, or creative! We are what we are.

How else besides more prep can the extreme over-representation of asians among top SAT scorers be reconciled with their fairly small 1/3 SD advantage on IQ? What would be the expected population of the most elite schools if we just assumed they took all of the highest IQ students in the USA based on a white median of 100, NE asian median of 105 or 106, and equal SD? What if the white SD, as I suspect, is slightly higher than the NE asian SD and we used values of 14 and 16? I think we'd find the answer to this experiment present a pretty different picture of anti-asian discrimination.

I agree with you though this is unlikely to account for the full SAT penalty asians suffer, which is why I mentioned a few others. But there is more to merit than IQ (and the other factors the study attempted to control for) so I can't agree with your conclusion in the article that elite schools discriminate against asians, to the extent discrimination has the normal pejorative connotations. I'd change my mind if I saw evidence that asians grads of elite colleges are notably more successful than whites, but I haven't seen such data and see no evidence in my life generally.

steve hsu said...

I think the jury is still out on "verbally fluent", "creative" and IQ SD.

The bottom line, as I have expressed elsewhere on this thread, is that it's not clear whether the current admissions filter used by HYPS is the optimal one for future prestige and endowment size. Perhaps they are doing the "right" (optimal in the above sense) thing by discriminating against Asians. But I suspect this discrimination really is discrimination in the sense that they are (de facto) simply assessing a penalty in the admissions score of Asian applicants (i.e., a race-based penalty; just as blacks and hispanics receive a race-based boost). I doubt that they have a nuanced way of detecting aspects of character necessary for future success and are applying that on an individual basis to each applicant. Rather, they probably have a soft target for the percentage of Asians in the class and that determines the de facto penalty assigned by race. I do not think that a federally funded institution of higher education and research should be allowed to act in this manner.

General epistemological point: I think most people are very overconfident in their opinions. In fact, studies show this again and again. "I suspect" is probably closer to the justifiable confidence level than "I am sure" when it comes to complex matters like this.

steve hsu said...

Re: trivial normal distribution calculations, a la La Griffe. Take a population of 10M people (roughly 150k HS grads each year) with mean IQ 105 and SD 15. If the typical elite student has IQ 135 then about 2 percent of this population meets the cutoff. That would be 3k kids per year. Distribute over the 15k elite freshmen each year (say, 10 schools with entering classes of 1.5k), that's 20 percent of the elite population. This is just going by g. If the kids in the sub-population are harder working, more excited about elite education, more likely to apply, more likely to start padding their resumes at an early age, you'd get an even larger overrepresentation. Right now the Asian percentage at HYPS is about 20 percent, and thus when you look at specifics you see they are discriminated against relative to strength of application file as currently defined by HYPS. (Note to random commenters: these are just rough estimates so don't get all excited if your numbers differ slightly.)

Keep in mind that HYPS admissions is not about US rank-ordered smartness (only about 100-200 slots at H are reserved for that sort of thing, probably similar numbers at YPS, plus MIT and Caltech). HYPS could do much better in terms of brainpower if that is all they cared about.

Mr_Cholmondeley said...

Names can be misleading. My sources are Ron Unz and Alan Dershowitz.

Mr_Cholmondeley said...

and you are confident they do the first

I really doubt that the discrimination is conscious, and therefore it really isn't discrimination. That merit is defined in such a way or left undefined in such a way that it benefits one group so much more than others does suggest that this is a result of disproportionate influence of that group, but that influence may be only cultural. My point was that "merit" isn't something objective in US, so to say, "They're overrepresented because they earned it." is jive.

Jews and Asians are disproportionately likely to want elite education (and can pay for it) I wonder how these groups are represented among applicants.

Mr_Cholmondeley said...

Just as black culture is inferior to white, white is inferior to Jewish and Asian-American. White parents in general are not involved in their children's lives at all and blame their success or failure native ability.

ZZ said...

If they said that they're wrong. Sure last names can be ambiguous, but I have pictures, first and middle names, hometowns, and high school attended. Plus I knew many of them. Using the random method of looking at the last person on each page, of the first 25 white people 5 are jewish, 20 are not. None were ambiguous. roughly 20% of the white students in my class when they are about 3% of their white age cohort.

Unz is much older than me and the jewish % has been declining as they become more well-rounded and due to their very low birthrate. I read once it peaked around 1980.

Dudashlarry said...

Great dialog. I especially like the line "Come on now, I am happy to admit my people... even smell worse than yours." Too true :0 Some of the smartest ones suffer this tragic malady most.

I don't see the elite HYPS+ universities really denying able Asians their shot at leadership in a broad range of social roles such institutions make as their mission. Steve has suggested that Asians may prove more broadly successful in America after a generation or two of acclimation and baseline material success that affords more risk taking. That is not seen that with multi-generational Asian Americas and it is demonstrably not the case today.

The Asians who suffer the most from HYPS+ elite admissions policies are American-born, adopted or mixed Asians. These poor saps lack the intense Amy Chua-like cultural upbringing yet are directly competing against the smartest, most diligent, focused and/or wealthiest/networked applicants from a pool over over 2billion in the old countries (incl India).

Asians, especially the supra-elite and intelligent, seem to almost all want to pass through America's elite universities more than any other group of non-Americans by a large margin.

Yan Shen said...

Larry, I love white people.

Dudashlarry said...

Good point. However, I'm more familiar with it done solely for college applications by middle and upper middle class parents and was thinking in that context when I wrote that.

Epenshade shows that if you're poorer, you're better off keeping the Asian name for college applications. Certainly, any Hispanic, Africa, Islamic or other ethnic names that will generally confer a lot more benefits throughout life than either white or asian names.

Also, as I mentioned elsewhere, there are more downsides to being White than Asian outside college applications (eg legal protections, government contracts, SBA loans, big company or government diversity hires and promotion in most industries, strong communities and schools not targeted for forced dissolution, etc).

Mr_Cholmondeley said...

tend to be much less heritable than g so there would be a correspondingly stronger cultural component
I'd change my mind if I saw evidence that asians grads of elite colleges are notably more successful than whites

Both of you are assuming that American society is an absolute. If Asian elite grads achieve less is this a vice of this group or is it a characteristic of the group within a particular society at a particular time? Achievement after graduation is not a legitimate criterion. It may merely reinforces the status quo.

Mr_Cholmondeley said...

When I worked as an actuary in LA the department was half oriental and half white with Jews and gentiles. Soon after I left the department was reorganized along ethnic lines or so I was told. Very hard for me to believe, but it would be an example. Language was a REALLY big problem.

steve hsu said...

An individual's traits can change over time, and the traits that make one successful in a particular society can differ by society or in time.

anon said...

From LA and an asshole? Go figure.

Cogito Ergo Doleo said...

Respectively disagree with your whole thesis, which is that admissions ought to be purely meritocratic. It should not, anymore than admissions should be based on beauty, financial muscle, predicted future propensity to be president, give money to alma mater, or any other single criteria or even fixed group of criteria.
The original article you cite in the original post says "they comprise less than 4 per cent of the US population as a whole, East Asians make up 24 per cent of students at elite universities". This is prima facia evidence of no discrimination.

It is not refuted by the existence of racial preference of association exhibited by "the new white flight" (do you want your children marrying whites? blacks? idiots? who knows, its your right to a preference - but substantial numbers of asians, just like other ethnic/racial/social/class groups, don't want integration and deliberately make personal choices i.e. legal discrimination to prevent it).

It is also not refuted by Reider's feelings of embarrassment or his claim of a real bias - which if your number above is true, doesn't exist by definition. What he is calling a bias is in fact a reflection of the ultra-competitive environment created by Asians for themselves. The Inside Higher Ed article you cite as proof of discrimination is pretty confused at the beginning but what emerges at the end is that all Asians want into the same schools, just to give themselves face. What may also be part of issue is that Asian Americans are competing with 1.5 billion Asian Asians who also all have a fetish for HYPS.

These schools definitely have a right and even an obligation to provide the blessings of their education to a broad range of students not based on any single admissions criteria. Once you recognize that, then the population statistics speak for themselves - Asians are not discriminated against at HYPS.

Personally my experience is with the anti-elitism of newly middle class white Americans. My parents were the first to go to college in their families, and they certainly expected their children to join them, but when I scored high IQ/SAT scores and expressed an interest in pursuing an elite school admission, my parents were strongly opposed. State school was good enough! I ended up going to the self-styled "Harvard of the south" anyway, without their help. But what a contrast to the Chinese tradition, huh? Perhaps the elite schools should be rejecting even more applicants across the board, in favor of going out into the community and finding those people who should be attending but aren't even putting themselves in the running.

steve hsu said...

You seem to have adopted unusual definitions of "discrimination" and "bias".

Overrepresentation relative to population fraction is not prima facie evidence against discrimination or bias. In the early 20th century Jews were overrepresented as a group at elite schools, yet the administrators and faculty at HYP talked openly about why and how to discriminate against them.

Reider is talking about an actual study conducted by the admissions office at Stanford.

PS Did you mean "respectfully" or "respectively"? I didn't know there was a Harvard in the south -- sounds like an oxymoron ;-)

Yan Shen said...

Why not just admit that you're a bigot who dislikes Asian Americans? You could have spared us from having to read your empty rhetoric. Considering that you never attended an Ivy League institution or a similarly elite school, I wonder why you're so worked up over this issue to begin with? I've noticed that a lot of the whites commenting in this thread never attended a prestigious undergraduate school. Why worry over something that never affected you in the first place?

Cogito Ergo Doleo said...

Respectfully was my intention, thanks. The south can be a difficult place, but a few good schools live here.

About my definitions: Lets just try to forget ethnicity for a minute, as that dimension of the issue really warps people's thinking and writing. You know of a group of people with higher IQs who don't get into Harvard while some other people with lower IQs do get in. Well, its good to question that situation, because who could better take advantage of the opportunity? But when you look at the actual population of the school, you can see that it is really already full of high IQ people. High IQ people as a group are not being shortchanged. The school has chosen to reserve some places for people with other qualities besides strictly speaking the highest IQ. This is acceptable without having to probe the precise reasons for any particular choice. One can imagine questionable reasons for the choice, as seems popular here, and one can also imagine some laudable reasons. Reality is probably a mixture.

Now restore the ethnic dimension and look at the data. Asians are well overrepresented vis-a-vis the population of this country. So there is no discrimination or bias in the classic sense that those words are used in this country. You have no cause of action.

There are behaviours which would be discriminatory if that were not the case. Reider observes people talking about race and he is appalled, as perhaps he should be. Our history here provided ample opportunities for some to experience real discrimination and there's a lot of real guilt and shame about that, and sensitivity to racial issues, which people don't know how to deal with.

You mention the Stanford study found bias but fail to mention that Reider also noted that the problem he spoke of at Stanford was remedied: "Stanford's admissions office responded with some serious self-reflection, he said, and officials now spend some time each year studying different kinds of bias -- like letters that compare Asian applicants to other Asians -- in an attempt to weed out any unfair judgments. With bias removed, he said, "there's no way that a school or college can be considered too Asian." The article itself was from 2006 and Reider noted the study was "some years ago" at that time.

Elsewhere you mention Jian Li but to follow up, he just graduated from Harvard which he switched to from Yale after being rejected by Princeton and filing a civil rights complaint about that. Its really hard to be very sympathetic with this. Its not that Li is being discriminated against in any kind of pernicious way in university admissions. Its just that he didn't get exactly everything that he wanted, when and how he wanted it.

In the end the question comes back to the strict meritocracy argument. We live in a society where meritocracy thrives (academia, certainly some industries) but we also maintain egalitarian parts of society (one-person one-vote for example). This is not China where 99.9% of the people, even if they don't have exactly the same genetic makeup, are still virtually indistinguishable from each other. This is not a government where access to political power is strictly controlled by a small elite band - or if it has become so, its not written into the constitution yet, so that problem could still be fixed. This is a society where diversity cannot be ignored, and needs to be nourished properly. Education plays a part in that. Fairness by some standards means some unfairness by other standards. Overall the system is pretty fair, not perfect.

Just to be clear, I am not an advocate of invidious discrimination against anybody and would be happy to help you squash it wherever we find it.

socsciwonk said...

This article and most of the comments all seem like self-serving and unsophisticated readings of the data.  "Whites" are not a reasonable category for comparison, for example.  For example, here are more whites born into poverty than there are Asians in America.  They do not have the advantages of cram courses and living in big cities with educators who have an eye out for kids with talent.  They are the ones who never get to go to college or good schools.  I suppose Hsu's reaction would be they don't deserve to because they were not whipped into shape by their parents and community.  But many of them are much more talented than half the kids at Stuyvesant. And we do nothing for them.  Scores on tests are NOT great measures of talent, especially among those who have been drilled and drilled.    By the way, one of the "unfair" admissions requirements that plays a very large role in what Hsu reports is that in states like Wisconsin whites who could not get into Harvard will get into the UW BECAUSE THEY LIVE IN WISCONSIN and Asians basically do not!  Geography plays a large role in this "unfairness."

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