Sunday, January 28, 2007

Another View of Asians At Elite Universities

This post was written by an Asian who apparently has attended and taught at some prestigious universities. At first glance I thought this was going to be another "affirmative action helps blacks/Hispanics at the expense of Asians" article. Instead, it's a "we've got to have affirmative action for blacks/Hispanics, but not at the expense of Asians" article.

This sentence stuck out to me:

The ultimate goal is diversity in our colleges and graduate schools.

Why, exactly, is that our ultimate goal, and not educating the best and brightest?

Anyway, these comments were, I think, the best retorts to that view:

When folks use race as a proxy for diversity -- in what sense are they defining diversity?


"What is specifically hurting Asian Americans is alleged discrimination in favor of white applicants."

Again, it always comes down to white people being racist.

"Being white does not add to the diversity of the Princeton student body."

...because us white people are all the same.

Pretty much, yeah. We all look alike, too.


La Maestra said...

I've had Asian friends comment that all white people look the same.

It's funny... I grew up in an extremely diverse part of CA (there was no minority and there was no majority), and to me it was obvious that not only did all Asians look different, but that features tended to differ depending on what country a person's family was from. I'm now at a school that's 75% Hispanic, and at the beginning of the school year, I often have a hard time telling my white kids apart-- specifically the white girls. I don't know what's so difficult about it, but it just is. A few years ago I had the volleyball quadruplets in one class--all tall and blonde, but not at all related. By the end of the year I had them mostly straightened out, but I'd still slip regularly and call them by the wrong names.

My students think all Asians look alike, but our school's total Asian population is in the single digits (and we have over 1000 students) so that's understandable. Interestingly enough, three of our Asian kids are Korean by way of Argentina, and are in the Spanish for Spanish Speakers class. So much for ethnic diversity.

Cameron said...

It is ridiculous to state that Asians are being discriminated when applying to colleges. While whites make up 59.5 percent of the population of California and Asians make up 10.9%, in the University of California system, whites make up 38.9% and Asians make up 29.2%, a clear discrepancy. While colleges may state that they contain a fairly equal amount of all races, the fact is that the state does not, and California universities are heavily weighed in favor of most minorities, Asians included. Census data also shows that a greater percentage of the teenage Asian population is enrolled in college than whites (60.5% versus 42.8%).
And truthfully, Mr. Miller, I don't have a stance on affirmative action. It's perhaps one of the only liberal ideas that I'm not firmly rooted in. While racism is still prevalent in many parts of America and undoubtedly affects minority students' chance of gaining admittance to college (not only at the application/admission level, but previous to that, throughout the course of their lives), I don't believe that the percentages of minorities being admitted to college accurately reflects the makeup of the state, nor do I believe that certain "quotas" should necessarily be met. At the very least, the quotas should be re-worked.

Also, this is just for California. I know that the article is not 100% about the UC system.

Darren said...

Cameron, when less qualified people are accepted for a limited number of slots, more qualified people are discriminated against. When one cut-off score is used for one group of people and a higher cut-off score is used for another group, people are being discriminated against.

And since Asians--statistically speaking--generally have higher academic test scores and preparations than "certain other groups", they're being discriminated against.

When a staffer suggested to *Governor* Reagan that if we did away with affirmative action, the UC system would be overwhelmingly Asian, he is said to have replied, "So what?"

You're obviously buying into the "it's not their fault they don't score better" mantra of the left, leaving the blame for low scores on "racism". I leave it at the foot of individuals. There are, no doubt, anecdotes that would support either side, but I haven't seen the legions of white teachers trying to keep the brown- and black-skinned students down. What I have seen is what President Bush called the "soft bigotry of low expectations", where we *assume* that some kids can't perform and teach them accordingly. Get rid of that assumption, and let the responsibility fall where it rightly belongs.

Anonymous said...

I think this goes back to a core issue. What is the ultimate purpose of any school or university? If the main goal is to educate then we had better recruit the best students regardless of race. If the goal is to create a warm and fuzzy diverse institution, then let's forget intellectual superiority and learning and turn the schools into health centers and grade based on recognition of American Idol contestants. I hate to sound bitter, but the stupid attitude of diversity at all costs is far too often what is fueling the raging mediocrity of our educational system from the bottom up.

rightwingprof said...

"I think this goes back to a core issue. What is the ultimate purpose of any school or university? "

Indeed. Which leads us to this comment:

"I don't believe that the percentages of minorities being admitted to college accurately reflects the makeup of the state"

How is that relevant? The university isn't public education. You don't have a "right" to a bachelor's degree, or even matriculation. Why should a university "accurately reflect the makeup of the state," unless all groups are equally well prepared for the university classroom?

If you want to go to the university, work your butt off all through school, get top grades and SAT scores. It's as simple as that. And if you don't work your butt off and get those grades and scores, you have nothing to complain about when no university will accept you.

I agree with EllenK. This "diversity" bean counter nonsense has done more to degrade education than anything else.