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Friday, November 02, 2012

"The bar is different ..."

The NYTimes on Asian-Americans and affirmative action. Asians rated only a couple of mentions in the Fisher v Texas oral arguments, and always by a conservative justice. I recommend the reader comments at the link (use the Reader Picks filter).
NYTimes: ... “If you look at the Ivy League, you will find that Asian-Americans never get to 20 percent of the class,” said Daniel Golden, author of “The Price of Admission” and editor at large for Bloomberg News. “The schools semiconsciously say to themselves, ‘We can’t have all Asians.’ ” Mr. Golden says it is helpful to think of Asians as the new Jews because some rules of college admissions, like geographic diversity, were originally aimed at preventing the number of Jews from growing too high.

Commenting on similar efforts involving Asian applicants, Rod Bugarin, a former admissions officer at Wesleyan, Brown and Columbia, said: “The bar is different for every group. Anyone who works in the industry knows that.” ...

More important, some argue, Asian-Americans themselves benefit from the campus diversity the system produces. Schools where admission is purely through a test, like the elite public New York City high school Stuyvesant, often have large percentages of Asian-Americans. The University of California at Berkeley and Los Angeles are more than half Asian. That doesn’t help them integrate effectively, to pierce what some call the bamboo ceiling in the corporate and political worlds.

[ These same people argue that a "critical mass" on campus is a good thing for minority groups ... ]
From the reader comments:
Asian Americans aren't mentioned often in the debate about affirmative action in this newspaper because they're the best argument against the policy existing in its current state. This is a group that faced extreme racial discrimination throughout their history in the United States and even had legal legislation passed against them, but has excelled despite little formal assistance from the federal government. And to be frank, this destroys the notion many of my liberal counterparts hold that previously oppressed minorities simply cannot make it without the government holding their hand.

And make no mistake that Asians are discriminated against.

"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." ...


My mom didn't want me to marry an Asian girl because she feared her grandchildren would be discriminated against. Turned out she was absolutely right.

But unlike most of the kids applying to colleges from Stuyvesant HS, who are mostly Asians of one sort or another, my daughter has reluctantly and resentfully chosen to conceal her Asian identity in college application in the long-standing tradition of American strivers who are able to "pass."

For Stuy kids without that option, the combination of anti-Asian discrimination, inside-track admission policies for the children of celebrities and alumni and vast numbers of slots reserved for athletes, chances of admission to the elite universities become slim indeed, as admission numbers prove.

These kids, the best and brightest of New York City, have learned their lessons well, and know the game is rigged against them. ...
See also this earlier post: Asian hordes in NYTimes and WSJ.

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