Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Great News. NYT & WSJ stand up for AsAm students

    Yesterday, a Wall Street Journal article entitled "Harvard's Asian Problem" whose last paragraph stated:

"Let's hope that day is getting closer. . .  the Supreme Court has allowed schools to pursue diversity on campus in what it called a "holistic" way. Now we see that in pursuit of diversity, schools treat some minorities as less equal than others based solely on race. Nothing holistic-or constitutional-about that.(emphasis added by S. B.)

   TodayNY Times, nation's most prestigious liberal newspaper, came out with this op-ed article: "Is Harvard Unfair to AsAms?", written by Yascha Mounk who teaches at Harvard.  He plainly states that Asian Am. students  have been racially discriminated just like the Jews of the past years.  Read it for yourself:

"NEARLY a century ago, Harvard had a big problem: Too many Jews. By 1922, Jews accounted for 21.5 percent of freshmen, up from 7 percent in 1900 and vastly more than at Yale or Princeton. In the Ivy League, only Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania had a greater proportion of Jews.

Harvard's president, A. Lawrence Lowell, warned that the "Jewish invasion" would "ruin the college." He wanted a cap: 15 percent. When faculty members balked, he stacked the admissions process to achieve the same result. Bolstered by the nativism of the time, which led to sharp immigration restrictions, Harvard's admissions committee began using the euphemistic criteria of "character and fitness" to limit Jewish enrollment. As the sociologist Jerome Karabel has documented, these practices worked for the next three decades to suppress the number of Jewish students.

A similar injustice is at work today, against Asian-Americans. To get into the top schools, they need SAT scores that are about 140 points higher than those of their white peers. In 2008, over half of all applicants to Harvard with exceptionally high SAT scores were Asian, yet they made up only 17 percent of the entering class (now 20 percent). Asians are the fastest-growing racial group in America, but their proportion of Harvard undergraduates has been flat for two decades.

A new lawsuit filed on behalf of Asian-American applicants offers strong evidence that Harvard engages in racial "balancing." Admissions numbers for each racial and ethnic group have remained strikingly similar, year to year. Damningly, those rare years in which an unusually high number of Asians were admitted were followed by years in which especially few made the cut.

The most common defense of the status quo is that many Asian-American applicants do well on tests but lack intangible qualities like originality or leadership. As early as 1988, William R. Fitzsimmons, Harvard's dean of admissions, said that they were "slightly less strong on extracurricular criteria."

Even leaving aside the disturbing parallel with how Jews were characterized, there is little evidence that this is true. A new study of over 100,000 applicants to the University of California, Los Angeles, found no significant correlation between race and extracurricular achievements.

The truth is not that Asians have fewer distinguishing qualities than whites; it's that - because of a longstanding depiction of Asians as featureless or even interchangeable - they are more likely to be perceived as lacking in individuality. (As one Harvard admissions officer noted on the file of an Asian-American applicant, "He's quiet and, of course, wants to be a doctor.")

The contribution Jews made to American life in the decades after they were maligned as unoriginal, grasping careerists speaks for itself. There is no reason to believe that today's Asian-Americans will leave less of a mark. . . . . 

 . . . It's perfectly fair to consider extracurriculars as an important factor in admissions. But the current system is so opaque that it is easy to conceal discrimination behind vague criteria like "intangible qualities" or the desire for a "well-rounded class." These criteria were used to exclude an overachieving minority in the days of Lowell, and they serve the same purpose today. For reasons both legal and moral, the onus is on the schools to make their admissions criteria more transparent - not to use them as fig leavesfor excluding some students simply because they happen to be Asian."                   (Emphasis added by S. B.)


   Wow!  Need I say more?  

   However, the battle is NOT won yet.  Anyone recently denied admission to a competitive school please go tell your story on Ed Blum's website.  Together, we shall overcome.  

                                  Do You Remember?

    A few year back the only AsAm voice in the college admissions debate was from OCA, AAJC (Washington D.C.), JACL, AALDEF (Margaret Fung), & APALC (Stewart Kwoh of LA).  They as a group filed repeated amicus briefs in SUPPORT of race preference admissions at the expense of AsAm students.

    2.5 years ago, 80-20 took a survey of 50,000 AsAms on this issue, and OPPPOSED race-preference admissions.  How things have changed!  Help to keep 80-20 alive and DONATE.   Forward to AsAm students.

S. B. Woo, a volunteer
President, 80-20 Nat'l AsAm Educational Foundation, Inc.