Last week a federal judge ruled that Harvard University can racially discriminate in admissions against Asian Americans in order to create a diverse student population.
“[R]ace conscious admissions programs that survive strict scrutiny will have an important place in society and help ensure that colleges and universities can offer a diverse atmosphere that fosters learning, improves scholarship, and encourages mutual respect and understanding,” the 130-page ruling by U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs stated.
That means Burroughs was unmoved by the fact that Harvard admissions officials rate Asian-American applicants lower on personality traits such as “positive personality,” likability, courage, and being “widely respected.”
The judge also was unperturbed by the fact that, based on grades, test scores and other factors, Asian-American applicants with a 25 percent chance of admission would have a 35 percent chance if they’re white, 75 percent chance they’re Latino, and a 95 percent chance if they’re African-American.
Can you imagine the outrage if it were the inverse? If black Americans only had a 25 percent chance to get in and Asian Americans had a 95 percent chance?
Here is where liberals will tell us that America is institutionally racist and biased and black Americans need a leg up. But there’s another compelling argument comparing the plight between Asian and African Americans. No one could explain the situation better than conservative scholar Heather Mac Donald; from her recent book “The Diversity Delusion”:
“A growing body of empirical evidence is undermining the claim that racial preferences in college benefit their recipients. Students who are admitted to schools for which they are inadequately prepared learn less, in fact, than they would in a student body that matches their own academic level.”
“… The universities’ encouragement of victimology has wider implications beyond the campus. The same imperative to repress any acknowledgement of black academic underachievement as the cause of black underrepresentation in higher education is more fatefully at work in repressing awareness of disproportionate black criminality as the cause of black overrepresentation in the criminal-justice system.”
“… A thought experiment is in order: If American blacks acted en masse like Asian-Americans for ten years in all things relevant to economic success — if they had similar rates of school attendance, paying attention in class, doing homework and studying for exams, staying away from crime, persisting in a job, and avoiding out-of-wedlock childbearing — and we still saw racial differences in income, professional status, and incarceration rates, then it would be well justified to seek an explanation in unconscious prejudice.”
“ … America has an appalling history of racism and brutal subjugation, as we should always be vigilant against any occurrence of that history. But the most influential sectors of our economy today practice preferences in favor of blacks. The main obstacles to racial equality at present lie not in implicit bias but in culture and behavior.”
Writing in the Los Angeles Times in the wake of the ruling, Asian American high school student Ethan Hwang put it like this: “Imagine an affirmative action 200-meter dash. If you’re African American, you get a five-second head start. If you’re white, you take off when you hear the starter pistol. If you’re an Asian American high school student, as I am, you have to wait five seconds after the starter pistol before you can go.”
Hwang goes on to note that his parents grew up in Taiwan before coming to America, and his father’s wages were so low at one point he slept in his office at night, lived on instant noodles, and struggled to save money for a down payment on a house.
“But he was determined to achieve his piece of the American Dream,” Hwang added. “My parents encouraged me to succeed, too, never suspecting that I’d be punished in the college admissions process for meeting their expectations. Even though I spend a majority of my free time focusing on academics and activities that put me at the top of my class, I may very well never make it to an Ivy League university because of my skin color.”
A Wall Street Journal editorial against the judge’s recent ruling points out that it was no surprise and that the U.S. Supreme Court will have to fix this mess on appeal:
“The Court’s tolerance of racial preferences in the name of diversity contradicts the Civil Rights Act and the Fourteenth Amendment, and it has contributed to the rise of racial resentments. The Supreme Court now has a full set of Justices, and it can help by cleaning up its racial jurisprudence. A good place to start is by heeding Chief Justice John Roberts’s famous line in a 2007 case that ‘the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.’”
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