Friday, February 06, 2009

Nerd Notes and Analysis: Asian Students, Quotas, and Minority Status Issues

Anti-Chinese propaganda cartoon from 19th-century California.
Surely we're beyond this kind of crude race-based protectionism, aren't we?

A Harvard history professor
takes a look at the percentages/quotas of various minorities in the California university system. I've mentioned this before, but it's useful to see it again: note how the Asian students, long labeled as the "model minority" for their ability to perform well, are now somehow an obstacle. (I refrain from launching into a predictable rant about academic performance, race-based admission policy, overly zealous affirmative action, and the idea that Asians aren't real minorities because we perform TOO WELL). For the record, I don't believe in race-based ANYTHING. I basically espouse the nerd equivalent of Sola Fide, only I mean merit alone, however politically incorrect this is.

Anyway, here is a blurb from the Nerd Analysis (my emphasis in boldfaced italics):
. . . university officials have long been tinkering with the rules in an effort to bring in more “underrepresented minorities.” Standardized tests have counted for less and less, and admissions have become more “holistic”—i.e., subjective. Demonstrating that an applicant has “overcome disadvantage” has become more important than demonstrating that he grasps quadratic equations and can write a literate essay.

It’s hard to believe that, as part of this mission, the regents are deliberately trying to do their bit to stave off the “yellow peril.” But proponents of racial preferences have let slip some highly unsavory attitudes on occasion. My wife, Abigail, appeared on
Crossfire many years ago and was asked by liberal co-host Bob Beckel whether she would “like to see UCLA Law School 80 percent Asian.” In a 1995 interview, President Clinton said that “there are universities in California that could fill their entire freshman classes with nothing but Asian Americans.” In 1998, a writer for Newsday asked,“Since Asians outscore everyone, would we accept an all-Asian class?”

Nasty stuff, and not aberrational. If you truly believe that it is unjust that some groups are “underrepresented” at elite institutions, it follows inexorably that no groups may be “overrepresented.” Mathematically, when no one is underrepresented, no one is overrepresented. Since Asians have more than triple their “proper share” of places at the University of California, and quadruple their share at Berkeley and UCLA, they are the chief obstacle to “equity” in higher education.

Aw, who's afraid of the Big Bad Nerdy Asian Students? Apparently everyone who's invested in the little industry of campus race-flogging.

Personally, I'm half-inclined to think that ANY high-performing minority is a basic and existential threat to the doctrine of the Poor Oppressed Victim Who Needs Help and is thus a fit candidate to be called a "race traitor." I'm going to leave it at that. For now. Let me now oppress you with my work ethic, GPA, graduate education, and shiny nerd credentials.

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