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Do Legacy Preferences Count More Than Race When Applying to Elite Colleges?

legacy college applicants huge advantage over sought after minorities JadeLuckClub jade luck clubWell, if you think that checking the box for Asian will help you get into elite private college,  you need to know about the SAT “tax” for Asians because we’re “over-represented” at top colleges. If you need to read up on this, click here. If you are Asian (or not) but a legacy, how does this factor into the admissions formula? Read on to find out… This is from The Chronicle on Higher Education. The full post is here.

Key quotes:

  • A new study by Harvard University researcher Michael Hurwitz finds that legacy preferences are larger than previously thought.
  • …“primary legacy” candidates (sons and daughters, as opposed to siblings, nephews, nieces, or grandchildren) see a whopping 45.1 percentage point increase in the chances of admission. What this means, as Ashburn explains, is that if a non-legacy applicant with a certain set of credentials has a 15 percent chance of admissions, a primary legacy applicant with identical credentials would have a 60 percent chance of getting in.
  • … being an under-represented minority increased one’s chances by 27.7 percentage points.
  • …  colleges gave no preference to low-income students.
  • To be clear, comparing Hurwitz’s findings on legacies with Bowen’s findings on race is imperfect, given the different methodologies. But further research is certainly warranted to find out whether the 45-percentage-point boost provided primary legacies is, in fact, larger than the boost provided to racial minorities.
  • Research finds, in short, that legacy preferences are more significant than previously believed, yet their fundamental rationale (raising money) is flawed.

Do Legacy Preferences Count More Than Race?

January 6, 2011, 4:08 pm

By Richard Kahlenberg



The True Picture: Asian Americans Who Need Help But Don’t Get It!

Hmong girls Asian Americans at poverty line JadeLuckClubTiger Mom Amy Chua’s daugher, Tiger Sophia bragged on her blog that she checked “Asian” on her Harvard application because she knew that the standard was higher:

Q: There was a recent article that said Asians are less likely to check the “Asian” box when applying for colleges due to fear of discrimination. Some half-Asian/half-white applicants only indicate their white ethnicity. What are your thoughts on that, and how did you answer that question when applying to colleges?

A: I checked Asian. I had heard it was harder to apply as an Asian, so as a point of pride, I had to say I was Asian. Would you feel good about yourself knowing you lied to get in on lowered standards?

Well, I have two things to say about that:

1) Tiger Sophia, you may have checked Asian which does have a “tax,” however you also got big bonus points for being a legacy many times over. The upshot is that you had help getting in unlike these Asian Americans below who live at the poverty line and don’t have Ivy League parents with deep pockets.

2) By checking Asian when, actually, you are of mixed race, you have taken a spot away from those who don’t have the benefit of applying to a less competitive race slot. Thanks to you, someone who life could be completely changed did not get a spot.

I am not berating you Tiger Sophia; you are a cub, after all. But I wanted to highlight the complexity of the Asian American and Pacific Islander conundrum when it comes to high stakes college admissions. And, as it is diligently spelled out and heavily researched, “Disaggregated data by AANHPI subgroups are urgently needed.” In normal English, this means 2nd/3rd/4th generation Asian American from wealthy suburbs who are mostly of Japanese/Chinese/Korean/Southeast Asian heritage should not be in the same category as those Asians (Hmongs/Cambodians/Vietnamese/Laotians) who live in poverty. These two groups should not be competing for the same resources, namely jobs and spots at highly competitive colleges. Yes, this is obvious but it’s exactly what is happening RIGHT NOW!

Read on more more details. And please chime in!


Summary of “The State of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Education in California” Report

California has the largest and most diverse Asian American (AA) and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) population in the nation. This report on the state of AANHPI education in California highlights the achievements and challenges in public K-12 and public postsecondary education (especially the limitations in available education data on AANHPI subgroups), and provides recommendations for policymakers and community advocates


1. Particular AANHPI* subgroups have disproportionately high rates of dropping out of high school and do not have high school diplomas.

  • Hmong have the largest proportion (45%) in the state (25 yrs and older) with less than a high school diploma among all racial/ethnic groups.
  • About 40% of Cambodians and Laotians (25 yrs and older) have less than a high school diploma, which is double the state rate.
  • Pacific Islander students in grades 9-12 have high dropout rates, with about one-fifth estimated to drop out over a four-year period.

2. Poverty and/or limited English proficiency heighten the risk for dropping out of high school and college/university. Most Asian American subgroups are limited English proficient, and specific AANHPI subgroups have very high poverty rates

  • Over 40% of Vietnamese, Koreans, Hmong, Cambodians, Taiwanese, Chinese, and Laotians report limited English proficiency, which is double the state rate.
  • A quarter of Hmong and Cambodians live in poverty, about double the state rate, and about one fifth of Tongans live in poverty, more than one and a half times the state rate.

3. The proportion of AANHPI professional educators is less, and in some cases, far less than the proportion of AANHPI enrolled students in the public K-12 system and postsecondary institutions.

  • Asians, Filipinos, and Pacific Islanders are 5%-7% of all K-12 personnel in the state, but Asians, Filipinos, and Pacific Islanders are 12% of K-12 student enrollment.

4. Financial aid is vital but not sufficient for student retention and success for AANHPI college students. Data on financial aid were not available by AANHPI subgroup or for the California State Universities, making comparisons difficult if not impossible.

  • At the University of California, Asian students are the largest group among all racial/ethnic groups with parent income less than $45,000, but though they receive similar dollar amounts in grants as other students, smaller proportions of Asian students receive scholarships compared to other racial/ethnic groups.

1. Disaggregated data by AANHPI subgroups are urgently needed.
2. More data and analysis are needed to determine the obstacles to retention, success, and graduation for AANHPI subgroups.
3. Pipeline programs to higher education need to target AANHPIs.

* Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI)


A Gratuitous Self Promotion from Tiger Mom Amy Chua

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua*



1. the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.
2. a literary composition, in verse or prose, in which human folly and vice are held up to scorn, derision, or ridicule.
3. a literary genre comprising such compositions.

Maybe this is the satire Chua is referring to in her book. (Yes, I read the book and it’s just a longer version of the Wall Street Journal article, though Chua claims otherwise.)

Here’s a question I often get: “But Amy, let me ask you this. Who are you  doing all this pushing for — your daughters” — and there’s always a cocked head, the knowing tone — “or yourself?” My answer, I’m pretty sure, is that everything I do is unequivocally 100% for my daughters.

“Your daughters are amazing,” [mom Elizabeth] said. In the old days, I would have said modestly, “Oh, they’re really not that good,” hoping desperately that she’d ask me more so I could tell her about Sophia’s and Lulu’s latest music accomplishments.” …

“Aren’t you glad I made you play the ‘Hebrew Melody’?” I asked her. Lulu seemed happy, but not particularly warm towards me. “Yes, Mommy,” she said. “You can take the credit.”

Lulu snapped back, “You’re a show-off. It’s all about you…”

Had I perhaps just chosen the wrong activity for Lulu? Tennis was very respectable — it wasn’t like bowling.  …

Lulu overheard me one day. “What are you doing?” she demanded. When I explained that I was just doing a little research, she suddenly got furious. “No, Mommy – no!” she said fiercely, “Don’t wreck tennis for me like you wrecked violin.” …

Sometimes, when Lulu’s least expecting it — at breakfast or when I’m saying good night — I’ll suddenly yell out, “More rotation on the swing volley! or “Don’t move your right foot on your kick serve!” And Lulu will plug her ears, and we’ll fight but I’ll have gotten my message out, and I know she knows I’m right.

Chua says her book is satirical. Many think this her way of backpedaling — death threats can do that — but the satire she exposes of her own parenting is like the “virtuous circle” she likes to refer to but can also be described as “different activity, same old shit.” At least that is what her own words seem to indicate. Do you think she is making “fun of herself?” Hardly, right? She’s comes off as so smug.

Amy Chua with daughters Tiger Mom JadeLuckClub Jade Luck club Tiger ParentingErin Patrice O’Brien for The Wall Street Journal
Amy Chua with her daughters, Sophia and Louisa.
Tiger Mom Amy Chua chirps in on the anniversary of her book in an attempt to reposition her book as a feel good satire that was meant to be funny. This is the thing about Amy Chua, I don’t know what to believe about her. She’s the queen of backpedaling, avoiding self-reflection, and a tireless self-promoter. If she didn’t have all those Ivy League degrees, she’d make a great grifter!
Seriously, does her book use irony, ridicule to expose her parenting folly? After reading her book, I got the sense that she is quite smug about her approach, particularly those piles of papers detailing to her children how to play every note of their music pieces. Does she really have regrets? Does she really think that her career choices were limited to medical school versus law school after graduating from Harvard or was this the path of least resistance? Risk is not an option if failure is not embraced.
Imagination Soup has been posting a series on Convergent versus Divergent Thinking. Amy Chua clearly falls under Convergent Thinking and that’s very sad to me but fully explains her life choices including her parenting style. “Dammit, Lulu, color WITHIN THE LINES!”
This is the true satire to me: Tiger Daughter Tiger Sophia‘s acceptance to Yale and Harvard. A result of her “successful” Tiger parenting model OR due to the fact that both parents work as professors at Yale, and Sophia is a legacy applicant many times over. Her mother went to Harvard and Harvard Law School. Her dad went to Harvard Law School. Both her aunts went to Harvard. Of course, the bigger question is what her kids do with their lives. Will they take the path of least resistance or will they finally be able to take enough risks to actually fail.I wonder if Amy Chua thinks her career is an enviable one. What do you think? If she had a Tiger Mom, she’d be asked why she’s not the president of an Ivy League college yet or on the Supreme Court orbat least nominated for the Supreme Court or on a short list for either the President of a prestigious college or the Supreme Court.
Also, what do you think of Amy Chua’s video clip? Does she come of as likeable or fake? I’m leaning towards the latter. Maybe her parents should have let her have a few play dates growing up to get some social skills. Maybe I’m too harsh? Please vote!
*Her hardcover book is now discounted from $25 to $16.77 at Amazon.

Casual to Deadly: Anti-Asian American Racism from Racism Review

Private Danny Chen dead from anti-Asian racism military JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club

Private Danny Chen

“Why are Asian Americans disproportionately targeted for abuse?

A harmonic convergence of factors. There’s the perception — and in some cases, the reality — of the “nerd” stereotype. The trinity of social awkwardness, physical frailty and academic overachievement has always served as a magnet for bullies.

There’s the rising tide of animosity toward immigrants, particularly those from predominantly countries that are seen as emerging rivals of the United States, like China and India.

There’s the plain old fact that those who are “different” in obvious ways — appearance, name, faith, accent — are often the focus of unwanted attention in environments where fitting in is prized, like high school. Or the military.

And especially among immigrants and the children of immigrants, there’s the reality that cultural and familial expectations push them to submit to bullying rather than being “disruptive” or succumbing to “distraction.” from CNN


My Twitter friend @CalvinHyj had retweeted this from Racism Review. I have to say that after I read it, I couldn’t stop thinking about Private Danny Chen all day, and reading the article put a knot in my stomach. My husband just sent me this link to CNN by Jeff Yang:  Opinion: What the deaths of two soldiers say about anti-Asian bullying which gives further insight into this incident and another suicide from bullying to  Lance Corporal Harry Lew.

I grew up in a beach town in Southern California, with about a 9% Asian American population. Now, I live in a suburb of Boston, and again — deliberately — with about a 9% Asian population. Yet, I still experienced a few incidences of racism — in 7th grade someone called me a Jap. This probably coincided with studying WWII but I can’t really remember.  When I came to Boston in the late 1980s, I remember going to the Boston Public Library and a black kid yelled racial slurs at me. My boyfriend at the time was with me. He is also Asian American but from Queens and commuted to NYC every day for school. This was child’s play for him and it didn’t even phase him. I was angry but passive.

These days, I do not experience racism, and so this article really stunned me.

How about you? What do you make of this article and how does this fit into your world? Would you discourage your child from entering the military in general? How about after reading this article. Please share.


By Jessie

From casual to pandering to deadly, there have been several disturbing reports about anti-Asian American racism in the news. In the more casual forms of racism, it seems that the whole using someone’s name as a way to retrieve an order at fast food places has gone horribly awry. About a month ago a Chick-Fil-A cashier at a store in Irvine, California assigned racist names to two customers and even typed them into the printed receipts (images here). And, just in the past few days, a woman went into a Papa John’s pizza chain in New York City and got called a racist name on her receipt (see that receipt here). Here’s an idea – maybe we could just go back to the “we’ll call your number when your order is ready?” system.

AngryAsianGrrlMN sums this up well when she writes:

This is the kind of casual racism that isn’t talked about, but that Asian people deal with on a regular basis.  We are the invisible minority, and we rarely get the kind of attention that other minorities do.

I’ll just state the obvious here and point out that these incidents didn’t happen in the distant past or some rural backwater, but in supposedly tolerant, cosmopolitan urban areas in the present, putatively post-racial era.

The pandering form of anti-Asian American racism is coming through, not surprisingly, the presidential campaign. John Huntsman, Republican candidate and former Ambassador to China, is fluent in Mandarin and, rather remarkably, spoke Chinese during the Republican presidential debate recently.  Huntsman and his wife have also adopted children from China and India.  All this “foreign-ness” has proven too tempting for some of his political opponents who are using these facts to pander to peoples’ racism and xenophobia.  As AngryAsianMan notes:

“It’s an election year, so you know what time it is. Racist campaign ads! This latest gem is from someone claiming to be a Ron Paul supporter, attacking Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman for his un-American” values. … Here we go with another round of equating China with all things evil. Complete with an extra Oriental soundtrack — never has Mandarin made to sound so sinister. [This video] is one of the most unabashedly racist attack ads we’ve seen in a while.

The ad asks whether Huntsman’s values are “American” values or Chinese?  And, then rather sinisterly photoshops Huntsman into a portrait of Chinese leader Mao Zedong while thoroughly mixing the fear-mongering metaphors and comparing him to the “Manchurian Candidate.” This kind of strategy is what some people refer to as “dog whistle racism,” in other words, political campaigning  that uses coded words and themes that appeal to conscious or unconscious racist concepts and frames. For example, the terms ‘welfare queen,’ ’states’ rights,’ ‘Islamic terrorist,’ ‘uppity,’ and ‘illegal alien’ all activate racist concepts that already exist within a broader white racial frame.

Among the most disturbing news are the details that are emerging surrounding the death of Private Danny Chen in October, 2011. Chen, 19, grew up in New York City’s Chinatown, and is thought to have committed suicide in Afghanistan after enduring racial taunts and bullying (although some now question whether it was suicide at all). A group of his superiors allegedly tormented Chen on an almost daily basis over the course of about six weeks in Afghanistan last fall. They singled him out, their only Chinese-American soldier, and spit racial slurs at him: “gook,” “chink,” “dragon lady.” They forced him to do sprints while carrying a sandbag. They ordered him to crawl along gravel-covered ground while they flung rocks at him. And one day, when his unit was assembling a tent, he was forced to wear a green hard-hat and shout out instructions to his fellow soldiers in Chinese.ethnic slurs. At other times, they forced him to do push-ups or hang upside down with his mouth full of water.

New York Magazine has an extensive piece about Chen’s experience, including his letters home from the military.  Here’s some of what he wrote to his parents:

“Everyone knows me because I just noticed, I’m the only chinese guy in the platoon,” he wrote home. His fellow recruits called him Chen Chen, Jackie Chan, and Ling Ling. But, he added, “Don’t worry, no one picks on me … I’m the skinniest guy and weigh the least here but … people respect me for not quitting.”

Four weeks later, the Asian jokes hadn’t stopped. “They ask if I’m from China like a few times day,” he wrote. “They also call out my name (chen) in a goat like voice sometimes for no reason. No idea how it started but now it’s just best to ignore it. I still respond though to amuse them. People crack jokes about Chinese people all the time, I’m running out of jokes to come back at them.”

The eight men later charged in connection with his death are all white and range in age from 24 to 35; they include one lieutenant, two staff sergeants, three sergeants, and two specialists. Danny’s parents, of course, are inconsolable at the loss of their only son.


Grace Lin: A Great Author/Illustrator Asian American Role Model Who Just Gets Better All The Time


Grace Lin Award winning author illustrator Geisel Award Newbery Honor recipient JadeLuckClub best Asian American authors writersChildren’s illustrator and author Grace Lin luckily was seemingly raised by enlightened first generation Taiwanese-American parents rather than that sad story of Tiger Mom.

At least, that is what I think after reading her Pacy series, now with its latest installment as it’s a semi-autobiographical series.

At a young age, Grace (and Pacy) knew that she wanted to write and illustrate children’s books (The Year of the Dog). She went on to polish her social skills after her best friend — the only other Asian American girl in her class — moved away. She spent the year making new friends (The Year of the Rat).

In Dumplings Days, her latest book in this series, Pacy and her family spend their summer visiting the relatives in Taiwan. Another factoid emerges: Grace was a good student in general but math was not her best subject. AND …  her parents didn’t totally flip out. Is this fact or fiction? I suspect her parents, in fact, did not flip out.

In real life, perhaps Grace wasn’t the top student in math. And so what if she’s not the top student in math at school?! She’s a shining example that this is not the end of the world! Instead, she focused on her true passion, writing and illustrating children’s books that have a pulse on Asian American culture.

The result of her efforts? Many prestigious awards. She won the Newbury Honor forWhere the Mountain Meets the Moon.  (read it, it’s fabulous. I have never met anyone who didn’t rave about  it!) She also won the Geisel Award for her wonderful easy reader Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same. (My son and I love this book so much! It always makes us laugh!)

Still, she went to arguably the best art school in the country after high school, Rhode Island School of Design. In her early career, she illustrated picture books more than writing books and worked closely with the real life version of Melanie who landed a job in publishing.

There are many reasons why I think she’s a great role model for Asian Americans, but her prestigious awards aside, I think it’s because of her personality. I hear repeatedly — we both live near Boston — what a nice person she is.

An author’s personality permeates all her books and Grace Lin is clearly a person who brings people together as the glue that helps builds a community. You can see this in her books from The Ugly Vegetables to Where The Mountain Meets the Moon.

The accolades are coming in now after decades of her hard work at her dual craft. But I have a feeling that her family was there behind her supporting her throughout this journey. Her parents have done a commendable job in letting her develop her passions, dreams, and her own identity. May we all do the same for our children!

To view any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.


Affirmative Action Case Splits Asian Americans: Are You For or Against?

Affirmative Action Asian Americans API AAPI JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club Asian American Community legal case Bakke

Asian American lawyers have taken a strong stand on university affirmative action

in the case to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court this week — and on opposite sides of the issue.

This is an old article (from 2003) but the issue of Affirmative Action as working for or against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders has not gone away nor sorted itself out. What do you think of Affirmative Action? Please vote and share your thoughts.

Here are some quotes from the article:

  • ” .. .some critics of affirmative action say Asian American students may be put at a disadvantage if universities give preference to applicants who are black or Latino.
  • …the high court’s record regarding Asians is spotty too.
  • When legal scholars cite the high court’s worst equal-protection rulings of the 20th century, they often point to Korematsu vs. U.S., the 1944 decision that upheld the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.”
  • In the 1970s, when the Supreme Court first took up the issue of college affirmative action, Asian American lawyers strongly supported admission policies that gave an advantage to minority students. At that time, Asian students qualified for this preference.
  • By the early 1980s, the soaring admission rates for Asian Americans prompted university officials to drop them from the minority category.
  • [Asian critics of affirmative action] Their brief to the Supreme Court describes diversity rules in the San Francisco public schools that limited the proportion of Chinese Americans to 45% of a school’s enrollment.
  • But proponents of affirmative action stress that they are not in favor of quotas or ceilings.
  • … opinion surveys show that most Asian Americans support affirmative action.”

For all posts on Affirmative Action and AAPIs, please click here.

Affirmative Action Case Splits Asian Americans


University’s policy, set for debate in high court, is seen as needed and as limiting, lawyers say.

March 30, 2003|David G. Savage | Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Asian American lawyers have taken a strong stand on university affirmative action in the case to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court this week — and on opposite sides of the issue.

The San Francisco-based Asian American Legal Foundation agrees with the white plaintiffs and urges the court to end race-based admission policies.

“The Constitution protects individuals, and individuals should not be judged on their race,” says Alan Tse, a San Francisco lawyer.

But the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium, a coalition of 25 Asian civil rights groups, sides with the University of Michigan and urges the court to preserve affirmative action.

“This is about fairness and equal opportunity. Asian Americans benefit from diversity. They are not hurt by it,” says Julie Su, a lawyer for the Asian Pacific American Legal Center in Los Angeles.

The division of opinion reflects, in part, the history and status of Asian Americans.

They are a racial minority group that has suffered from racism and blatant discrimination.

However, some critics of affirmative action say Asian American students may be put at a disadvantage if universities give preference to applicants who are black or Latino.

“My sense is that most Asians are supportive of affirmative action generally, especially in employment and business. But the situation is a bit muddier for higher education,” said Bill Lann Lee, a San Francisco attorney who led the Justice Department’s civil rights division in the Clinton administration.

While most civil rights law focused on discrimination against blacks, the Supreme Court’s earliest civil rights rulings dealt just as often with exclusionary laws against Chinese people in California.

The Constitution was amended after the Civil War to stop Southern states from mistreating the newly freed slaves and to require the “equal protection of the laws.” This amendment, the 14th, passed with high hopes but was steadily weakened by the Supreme Court and did little to help blacks.

However, federal judges in California — and the Supreme Court itself — invoked the new equality standard in the 1880s to strike down laws that excluded Chinese people from government jobs, from fishing in state waters and from operating laundries in San Francisco.

But the high court’s record regarding Asians is spotty too.

When legal scholars cite the high court’s worst equal-protection rulings of the 20th century, they often point to Korematsu vs. U.S., the 1944 decision that upheld the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

In the 1970s, when the Supreme Court first took up the issue of college affirmative action, Asian American lawyers strongly supported admission policies that gave an advantage to minority students. At that time, Asian students qualified for this preference.

Allan Bakke, a rejected white applicant, had sued UC Davis Medical School, claiming discrimination.

In response, the university conceded that it set aside 16 of its 100 slots for members of a “minority group,” which it defined as “blacks,” “Chicanos,” “Asians” and “American Indians.”

In 1978, the court struck down this “quota” as unconstitutional, but also said a university may consider a student’s race in order to create diversity.

By the early 1980s, the soaring admission rates for Asian Americans prompted university officials to drop them from the minority category.

“These programs ended when they were no longer needed. And there was no longer a need for Asians to be included,” said Lee, the former civil rights chief.

But Asian critics of affirmative action say they fear that a Supreme Court ruling would allow colleges and universities to put ceilings on the number of Asian American students.

Their brief to the Supreme Court describes diversity rules in the San Francisco public schools that limited the proportion of Chinese Americans to 45% of a school’s enrollment.

The rules also limited the number of Chinese students who could gain admission to the city’s elite Lowell High School.

When some Chinese American students were turned away from their neighborhood elementary schools, parents sued in federal court, and the school district agreed to abandon the policy.

“We fought the San Francisco schools for five years over this, and the only protection we had was the constitutional principle against race-based laws,” Tse said.

If the Supreme Court says the University of Michigan is entitled to raise or lower the number of minority students, the ruling could allow public schools to do the same, he said.

But proponents of affirmative action stress that they are not in favor of quotas or ceilings.

“They are trying to bring up examples of strict numerical limits, but that’s not what we are talking about. Affirmation action is about opportunities,” said Su, the Los Angeles lawyer. “I think it’s unfortunate they have tried to pit Asian Americans against other communities of color.”

She said opinion surveys show that most Asian Americans support affirmative action.

In 1996, 76% of Asian American voters in California said in an election exit poll that they voted against Proposition 209, the ballot measure that barred the state from giving “preferential treatment” to any person because of race or ethnicity.

University of California officials say the change in admission policies has had little, if any, effect on the number of Asian American students.

In 1997, before Proposition 209 went into effect, Asian American students accounted for 33.2% of the students admitted to the nine UC campuses. In 2002, they accounted for 33.8% of those admitted.

Asian Americans are the second-largest minority group in California, behind Latinos. In the 2000 census, Asians made up 11% of the state’s population, while Latinos were 32% and blacks 6.7%.

Nationwide, Latinos accounted for 12.5% of the population, blacks 12.3% and Asians 3.6%.

Divided opinion on affirmative action is not limited to Asian Americans. A similar debate has taken place among Jewish organizations.

The American Jewish Committee, which opposed the use of quotas in the Bakke case, filed a brief this year supporting the University of Michigan.

“Flexible goals aimed at increasing the numbers of minority students at a given university are not the same as unconstitutional quotas,” the group says.

However, the Anti-Defamation League filed a brief on the other side.

“While strongly sympathetic to the goal of increasing the numbers of minority students in our nation’s selective universities, the ADL continues to adhere to the principle that school admissions programs must be race neutral,” it says.

The high court is scheduled to hear arguments in the Michigan case Tuesday.


Don’t Check ‘Asian’ When Applying to College?

Some Asians don't Check Asian when applying to college JadeLuckClub high school college admissions how to get into Harvard Ivy League schools colleges universities

Asian kids know that when you look at the average SAT for the school, they need to add 50 or 100 to it.

If you’re Asian, that’s what you’ll need to get in.

Kara Miller, reviewed applications for Yale as an admissions office reader

There are times that a Machiavellian approach pays off and I would say that for Asian American students seeking to gain entrance to America’s elite colleges and universities, this would be a good time. It’s not like gaming isn’t part of the process when getting into the Ivy League or colleges like them. When it comes to the OPTIONAL race box, what to do? This article gives both sides of the coin.

I think that this is an individual decision that each student should make with eyes wide open. If you are compelled to check the Asian box, by all means do it, as long as you realize that this is not improving your chances of admittance as one would think given it’s part of Affirmative Action.

p.s. For all articles on Don’t Identify as Asian When Applying to College, please go here.

Some Asians’ college strategy: Don’t check ‘Asian’


Lanya Olmstead was born in Florida to a mother who immigrated from Taiwan and an American father of Norwegian ancestry. Ethnically, she considers herself half Taiwanese and half Norwegian. But when applying to Harvard, Olmstead checked only one box for her race: white.

“I didn’t want to put ‘Asian’ down,” Olmstead says, “because my mom told me there’s discrimination against Asians in theapplication process.”

For years, many Asian-Americans have been convinced that it’s harder for them to gain admission to the nation’s top colleges.

Studies show that Asian-Americans meet these colleges’ admissions standards far out of proportion to their 6 percent representation in the U.S. population, and that they often need test scores hundreds of points higher than applicants from other ethnic groups to have an equal chance of admission. Critics say these numbers, along with the fact that some top colleges with race-blind admissions have double the Asian percentage of Ivy League schools, prove the existence of discrimination.

The way it works, the critics believe, is that Asian-Americans are evaluated not as individuals, but against the thousands of other ultra-achieving Asians who are stereotyped as boring academic robots.

Now, an unknown number of students are responding to this concern by declining to identify themselves as Asian on their applications.

For those with only one Asian parent, whose names don’t give away their heritage, that decision can be relatively easy. Harder are the questions that it raises: What’s behind the admissions difficulties? What, exactly, is an Asian-American — and is being one a choice?

Olmstead is a freshman at Harvard and a member of HAPA, the Half-Asian People’s Association. In high school she had a perfect 4.0 grade-point average and scored 2150 out of a possible 2400 on the SAT, which she calls “pretty low.”

College applications ask for parent information, so Olmstead knows that admissions officers could figure out a student’s background that way. She did write in the word “multiracial” on her own application.

Still, she would advise students with one Asian parent to “check whatever race is not Asian.”

“Not to really generalize, but a lot of Asians, they have perfect SATs, perfect GPAs, … so it’s hard to let them all in,” Olmstead says.

Amalia Halikias is a Yale freshman whose mother was born in America to Chinese immigrants; her father is a Greek immigrant. She also checked only the “white” box on her application.

“As someone who was applying with relatively strong scores, I didn’t want to be grouped into that stereotype,” Halikias says. “I didn’t want to be written off as one of the 1.4 billion Asians that were applying.”

Her mother was “extremely encouraging” of that decision, Halikias says, even though she places a high value on preserving their Chinese heritage.

“Asian-American is more a scale or a gradient than a discrete combination . I think it’s a choice,” Halikias says.

But leaving the Asian box blank felt wrong to Jodi Balfe, a Harvard freshman who was born in Korea and came here at age 3 with her Korean mother and white American father. She checked the box against the advice of her high school guidance counselor, teachers and friends.

“I felt very uncomfortable with the idea of trying to hide half of my ethnic background,” Balfe says. “It’s been a major influence on how I developed as a person. It felt like selling out, like selling too much of my soul.”

“I thought admission wouldn’t be worth it. It would be like only half of me was accepted.”

Other students, however, feel no conflict between a strong Asian identity and their response to what they believe is injustice.

“If you know you’re going to be discriminated against, it’s absolutely justifiable to not check the Asian box,” says Halikias.

Immigration from Asian countries was heavily restricted until laws were changed in 1965. When the gates finally opened, many Asian arrivals were well-educated, endured hardships to secure more opportunities for their families, and were determined to seize the American dream through effort and education.

These immigrants, and their descendants, often demanded that children work as hard as humanly possible to achieve. Parental respect is paramount in Asian culture, so many children have obeyed — and excelled.

“Chinese parents can order their kids to get straight As. Western parents can only ask their kids to try their best,” wrote Amy Chua, only half tongue-in-cheek, in her recent best-selling book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.”

“Chinese parents can say, ‘You’re lazy. All your classmates are getting ahead of you,'” Chua wrote. “By contrast, Western parents have to struggle with their own conflicted feelings about achievement, and try to persuade themselves that they’re not disappointed about how their kids turned out.”

Of course, not all Asian-Americans fit this stereotype. They are not always obedient hard workers who get top marks. Some embrace American rather than Asian culture. Their economic status, ancestral countries and customs vary, and their forebears may have been rich or poor.

But compared with American society in general, Asian-Americans have developed a much stronger emphasis on intense academic preparation as a path to a handful of the very best schools.

“The whole Tiger Mom stereotype is grounded in truth,” says Tao Tao Holmes, a Yale sophomore with a Chinese-born mother and white American father. She did not check “Asian” on her application.

“My math scores aren’t high enough for the Asian box,” she says. “I say it jokingly, but there is the underlying sentiment of, if I had emphasized myself as Asian, I would have (been expected to) excel more in stereotypically Asian-dominated subjects.”

“I was definitely held to a different standard (by my mom), and to different standards than my friends,” Holmes says. She sees the same rigorous academic focus among many other students with immigrant parents, even non-Asian ones.

Does Holmes think children of American parents are generally spoiled and lazy by comparison? “That’s essentially what I’m trying to say.”

Asian students have higher average SAT scores than any other group, including whites. A study by Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade examined applicants to top colleges from 1997, when the maximum SAT score was 1600 (today it’s 2400). Espenshade found that Asian-Americans needed a 1550 SAT to have an equal chance of getting into an elite college as white students with a 1410 or black students with an 1100.

Top schools that don’t ask about race in admissions process have very high percentages of Asian students. The California Institute of Technology, a private school that chooses not to consider race, is about one-third Asian. (Thirteen percent of California residents have Asian heritage.) The University of California-Berkeley, which is forbidden by state law to consider race in admissions, is more than 40 percent Asian — up from about 20 percent before the law was passed.

Steven Hsu, a physics professor at the University of Oregon and a vocal critic of current admissions policies, says there is a clear statistical case that discrimination exists.

“The actual dynamics of how it happens are really quite subtle,” he says, mentioning factors like horse-trading among admissions officers for their favorite candidates.

Also, “when Asians are the largest group on campus, I can easily imagine a fund-raiser saying, ‘This is jarring to our alumni,'” Hsu says. Noting that most Ivy League schools have roughly the same percentage of Asians, he wonders if “that’s the maximum number where diversity is still good, and it’s not, ‘we’re being overwhelmed by the yellow horde.'”

Yale, Harvard, Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania declined to make admissions officers available for interviews for this story.

Kara Miller helped review applications for Yale as an admissions office reader, and participated in meetings where admissions decisions were made. She says it often felt like Asians were held to a higher standard.

“Asian kids know that when you look at the average SAT for the school, they need to add 50 or 100 to it. If you’re Asian, that’s what you’ll need to get in,” says Miller, now an English professor at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.

Highly selective colleges do use much more than SAT scores and grades to evaluate applicants. Other important factors include extracurricular activities, community service, leadership, maturity, engagement in learning, and overcoming adversity.

Admissions preferences are sometimes given to the children of alumni, the wealthy and celebrities, which is an overwhelmingly white group. Recruited athletes get breaks. Since the top colleges say diversity is crucial to a world-class education, African-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders also may get in despite lower scores than other applicants.

A college like Yale “could fill their entire freshman class twice over with qualified Asian students or white students or valedictorians,” says Rosita Fernandez-Rojo, a former college admissions officer who is now director of college counseling at Rye Country Day School outside of New York City.

But applicants are not ranked by results of a qualifications test, she says — “it’s a selection process.”

“People are always looking for reasons they didn’t get in,” she continues. “You can’t always know what those reasons are. Sometimes during the admissions process they say, ‘There’s nothing wrong with that kid. We just don’t have room.'”

In the end, elite colleges often don’t have room for Asian students with outstanding scores and grades.

That’s one reason why Harvard freshman Heather Pickerell, born in Hong Kong to a Taiwanese mother and American father, refused to check any race box on her application.

“I figured it might help my chances of getting in,” she says. “But I figured if Harvard wouldn’t take me for refusing to list my ethnicity, then maybe I shouldn’t go there.”

She considers drawing lines between different ethnic groups a form of racism — and says her ethnic identity depends on where she is.

“In America, I identify more as Asian, having grown up there, and actually being Asian, and having grown up in an Asian family,” she says. “But when I’m back in Hong Kong I feel more American, because everyone there is more Asian than I am.”

Holmes, the Yale sophomore with the Chinese-born mother, also has problems fitting herself into the Asian box — “it doesn’t make sense to me.”

“I feel like an American,” she says, “…an Asian person who grew up in America.”

Susanna Koetter, a Yale junior with an American father and Korean mother, was adamant about identifying her Asian side on her application. Yet she calls herself “not fully Asian-American. I’m mixed Asian-American. When I go to Korea, I’m like, blatantly white.”

And yet, asked whether she would have considered leaving the Asian box blank, she says: “That would be messed up. I’m not white.”

“Identity is very malleable,” says Jasmine Zhuang, a Yale junior whose parents were both born in Taiwan.

She didn’t check the box, even though her last name is a giveaway and her essay was about Asian-American identity.

“Looking back I don’t agree with what I did,” Zhuang says. “It was more like a symbolic action for me, to rebel against the higher standard placed on Asian-American applicants.”

“There’s no way someone’s race can automatically tell you something about them, or represent who they are to an admissions committee,” Zhuang says. “Using race by itself is extremely dangerous.”

Hsu, the physics professor, says that if the current admissions policies continue, it will become more common for Asian students to avoid identifying themselves as such, and schools will have to react.

“They’ll have to decide: A half-Asian kid, what is that? I don’t think they really know.”

The lines are already blurred at Yale, where almost 26,000 students applied for the current freshman class, according to the school’s web site.

About 1,300 students were admitted. Twenty percent of them marked the Asian-American box on their applications; 15 percent of freshmen marked two or more ethnicities.

Ten percent of Yale’s freshmen class did not check a single box.


Jesse Washington covers race and ethnicity for The Associated Press. He is reachable at or jwashington(at)


White House Urges Colleges To Get Creative in Improving Racial Diversity at Their Campuses

Obama Administration new guidelines for college admissions JadeLuckClub Jade Luck ClubThe Obama administration has released new guidelines on race and college admissions that turn Bush era policies on its head. Colleges and universities are now getting the green light to use ethnicity to select students for admission and won’t need to fear repercussions in court. What does this mean for Asian Americans? I’m really not sure. It’s a good thing, to me at least, that African-American, Latino-American, and Native Americans will be given more opportunities for admission. If this is coupled with socio-economic status — that is to say, recruiting those who are low income — then you are preaching to the choir.

But, given that there is zero sum gain in the admissions game; more chances for some mean less chances for others, so at what cost will these extra slots come from? One thing is clear: this doesn’t mean that there is a green light to increase the Asian American population at top colleges and universities. And, worse, the opposite might even be true.

p.s. For all the articles on Why You Shouldn’t Check Asian When Applying to Top Colleges and Universities, please go here.


U.S. Urges Creativity by Colleges to Gain Diversity

By , Published: December 2, 2011

The Obama administration on Friday urged colleges and universities to get creative in improving racial diversity at their campuses, throwing out a Bush-era interpretation of recent Supreme Court rulings that limited affirmative action in admissions.

The new guidelines issued by the Departments of Justice and Education replaced a 2008 document that essentially warned colleges and universities against considering race at all. Instead, the guidelines focus on the wiggle room in the court decisions involving the University of Michigan, suggesting that institutions use other criteria — students’ socioeconomic profiles, residential instability, the hardships they have overcome — that are often proxies for race. Schools could even grant preferences to students from certain schools selected for, among other things, their racial composition, the new document says.

Post-secondary institutions can voluntarily consider race to further the compelling interest of achieving diversity,” reads the 10-page guide sent to thousands of college admissions officials on Friday afternoon. In some cases, it says, “race can be outcome determinative.”

The administration issued a parallel 14-page outline on Friday for the nation’s 17,000 public school districts, explaining what government lawyers consider to be acceptable ways that educators can seek to reduce racial segregation, which has been increasing nationwide.

The two documents, issued as the presidential campaign heats up and as the Supreme Court considers whether to hear a new affirmative action case, were designed to give educators a clear administration interpretation of three high court cases that, since 2003, have limited the use of race in admissions, zoning and other school policies.

The contrast with the Bush guidelines interpreting the same three cases is stark. Where the Bush administration’s letter in 2008 states, “Quotas are impermissible,” the 2011 version says “an institution may permissibly aim to achieve a critical mass of underrepresented students.” Even in addressing the same principles, the framework is practically reversed.

Bush guidelines: “Before using race, there must be a serious good faith consideration of workable race-neutral alternatives.”

Obama guidelines: “Institutions are not required to implement race-neutral approaches if, in their judgment, the approaches would be unworkable.”

Colleges seeking to increase diversity while not running afoul of Supreme Court guidelines, the new document says, “could select schools (including community colleges) based on their demographics (e.g., their racial or socioeconomic composition), and grant an admission preference” to graduates of those schools. They could also “select high schools for partnership” based, among other things, on “racial composition of the school’s student body” and former partnerships with historically black colleges and universities”; consider race as they select students for mentoring programs; and sponsor retention or support programs that highlight, for example, “the accomplishments of Latino business leaders.”

Ada Meloy, general counsel for the American Council on Education, which represents 1,800 universities and colleges, predicted that educators would immediately begin to pursue ways to draw more racial minorities, as the new guidelines would ease fears of legal challenge.

“University administrators have been confused about how they could follow the court’s rulings and still achieve the benefits of diversity,” Ms. Meloy said. “So they will welcome this practical, step-by-step set of directions.”

For kindergarten through 12th grade, the guidelines tell school districts that they can shape policies on locating schools, drawing attendance boundaries and governing student transfers to achieve a better racial mix. For example, a school district with two elementary schools with distinctly different demographics could consider making one school serve kindergarten through second grade and the other grades 3 to 5 in order to force a better mix.

“Diverse learning environments promote development of analytical skills, dismantle stereotypes and prepare students to succeed in an increasingly interconnected world,”Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said in a statement. “The guidance announced today will aid educational institutions in their efforts to provide true equality of opportunity.”

Lee C. Bollinger, an advocate of affirmative action, was the named defendant, as president of the University of Michigan, in the two 2003 Supreme Court cases that laid down new markers on the permissible use of race in admissions. He described the new guidelines as “perfect.”

“It’s a very fair interpretation of what the court decided,” said Mr. Bollinger, a First Amendment scholar who is now president of Columbia University, “which is primarily that race can be one of many factors, and as long as your policies truly embody that approach, you’ll be fine, and can strive for diversity in all its benefits.”

In Grutter v. Bollinger, the court ruled that universities can take race into account as one factor in a broad consideration of students’ traits and qualifications. On the same day, in Gratz v. Bollinger, the high court said Michigan’s undergraduate college had unlawfully made race “a decisive factor for virtually every minimally qualified underrepresented minority applicant.” In a separate case involving the Seattle and Louisville, Ky., districts, the court said in 2007 that it was unlawful to consider the race of individual students directly in assigning them to public schools.

The Supreme Court will soon decide whether to hear a new case, in which a white student has sued the University of Texas, arguing that she was denied admission because of her race. Some legal experts have predicted that the court’s conservative majority could further restrict the use of race in admissions at public universities.

This week, the Department of Education released a report documenting how schools serving low-income students get less state and local money for teacher salaries than schools serving higher-income students.

The administration is making strong policy statements on low-income children and students of color, outlining remedies,” said Bob Wise, a former Democratic governor of West Virginia who heads an education nonprofit organization aimed at improving high school graduation rates. “They seem to be putting some markers down as the election begins,” he said, adding that the new set of guidelines “tries to keep within the letter of the Supreme Court opinions, while probably pushing the spirit.”



The Best U.S. High Schools with Largest Number of Asian Americans

best high schools in United States U.S. US with highest Asian American students enrollment JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club Celebrating Asian American Creativity SuccessThis is from U. S. News and World Reports. The Top U. S. High Schools for math and science are here. I found it fascinating that there was an ethnicity break out as well. Here’s the Top High Schools in the U. S. further broken out by Asian American Enrollment (see below).  Highest African American enrollment is here and highest Hispanic enrollment is here.

Overall Rank School Enrollment Asian-American Enrollment (% of Total Enrollment)
#52 High School for Dual Language and Asian StudiesNew York, NY 293 87.7
#3 Whitney High SchoolCerritos, CA 984 84.9
#36 Mission San Jose High SchoolFremont, CA 1,970 78.9
#98 Lynbrook High SchoolSan Jose, CA 1,949 75.7
#28 Lowell High SchoolSan Francisco, CA 2,563 74.6
#4 Oxford AcademyCypress, CA 1,021 70.7
#70 Monta Vista High SchoolCupertino, CA 2,523 70.5
#31 Stuyvesant High SchoolNew York, NY 3,125 64.8
#81 Queens High School for the Sciences at York CollegeJamaica, NY 371 61.2
#58 Bronx High School of ScienceBronx, NY 2,670 59.9
#63 Brooklyn Technical High SchoolBrooklyn, NY 4,469 59.2
#93 Saratoga High SchoolSaratoga, CA 1,249 53.2
#33 Townsend Harris High SchoolFlushing, NY 1,093 50.8
#39 Bergen Academies HackensackHackensack, NJ 1,050 40.5
#1 Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and TechnologyAlexandria, VA 1,805 40.2
#72 Newport High SchoolBellevue, WA 1,626 38.3
#22 California Academy of Math & ScienceCarson, CA 589 38.0
#67 Henry M. Gunn High SchoolPalo Alto, CA 1,705 38.0
#2 International AcademyBloomfield Hills, MI 157 36.4
#40 Michael E. DeBakey High School for Health ProfessionsHouston, TX 740 35.7
#61 William A. Shine Great Neck South High SchoolGreat Neck, NY 1,303 34.0
#6 Newcomers High SchoolLong Island City, NY 1,016 33.4
#37 Northside College PrepChicago, IL 1,112 32.6
#11 High Technology High SchoolLincroft, NJ 255 30.2
#74 Academy of Allied Health and ScienceNeptune, NJ 284 29.6


#80 La Cañada High SchoolLa Cañada, CA 2,007 29.5
#48 Jericho High SchoolJericho, NY 1,209 28.5
#38 Boston Latin SchoolBoston, MA 2,427 28.0
#29 International Community SchoolKirkland, WA 381 26.6
#78 Bellevue High SchoolBellevue, WA 1,361 26.5
#43 McNair Academic High SchoolJersey City, NJ 616 26.1
#10 International SchoolBellevue, WA 509 25.6
#18 The Early College at GuilfordGreensboro, NC 191 24.0
#83 Palo Alto High SchoolPalo Alto, CA 1,500 22.9
#64 New Explorations Science Tech and Math School (NEST + M)New York, NY 1,063 22.4
#32 The Preuss School UCSDLa Jolla, CA 758 22.3
#73 Piedmont High SchoolPiedmont, CA 780 22.1
#49 The Charter School of WilmingtonWilmington, DE 957 21.2
#34 Staten Island Technical High SchoolStaten Island, NY 912 20.5
#27 Benjamin Franklin High SchoolNew Orleans, LA 548 20.1


Asian Americans and Admissions at Brown University

Brown University Ivy League Discrimination against Asians Asian Americans JadeLuckClub http://JadeLuckClub.comThis is from the horse’s mouth. Ivy League college Brown University and their admissions policies with regard to Asian Americans. If you want to read more on why you shouldn’t identify as Asian American when applying to elite private colleges or grad schools, please go here.

Here are some key quotes:

Only two groups of people believe discrimination is a nuanced issue: racists and college admissions officers. But this characterization is unfair to racists—admissions officers are far worse.To compare, one group openly believes Asian-Americans are inferior. The other, more sinister group, proclaims their allegiance to the highest American ideals while systematically depriving Asians of future avenues for success.

…athletes applying to elite colleges gain 200 points on the (old) SAT, Hispanics gain 185 points, legacy candidates gain 160 points, and blacks have a staggering 230 point advantage.

An important 2004 study by Princeton researchers, Thomas Espenshade and Chang Chung, found that applying to America’s best universities as an Asian-American is equivalent to taking off 50 points from your SAT score.

Because they can’t touch the whites, a “merit tax” is levied on qualified Asian-Americans in order to benefit other, less qualified, minorities. 

 …the study’s finding that affirmative action has little impact on white admission rates comes as a surprise.


Asian-Americans in Admissions

By Jason Carr on July 7, 2009

Only two groups of people believe discrimination is a nuanced issue: racists and college admissions officers. But this characterization is unfair to racists—admissions officers are far worse. To compare, one group openly believes Asian-Americans are inferior. The other, more sinister group, proclaims their allegiance to the highest American ideals while systematically depriving Asians of future avenues for success.

Asians are doing too well for their own good, at least in the view of the gatekeepers of the Ivory Tower. Hard working, family oriented students whose ancestors hail from the East have been snapping up coveted spots at the country’s most elite universities at an increasing rate for the past two decades. According to Daniel Golden, author of The Price of Admission, “Asian-Americans constitute only about 4.5% of the U.S. population, they typically account for anywhere from 10% to 30% of students at many of the nation’s elite colleges.” Yet even these impressive numbers represent a deliberate attempt by the colleges to buttress their ivy-covered walls against an Asian Invasion. An important 2004 study by Princeton researchers, Thomas Espenshade and Chang Chung, found that applying to America’s best universities as an Asian-American is equivalent to taking off 50 points from your SAT score.

Why punish success? The guaranteed answer to be heard from admissions directors when asked this difficult question is either a “no comment” or an ambiguous regurgitation of the institution’s supposed anti-discrimination policy. The truth, that Asian-Americans are being used as fodder in an admissions process dogmatically focused on achieving its racist campus image goals, is too embarrassing for these bleeding-heart colleges to admit. The study mentioned above proved that athletes applying to elite colleges gain 200 points on the (old) SAT, Hispanics gain 185 points, legacy candidates gain 160 points, and blacks have a staggering 230 point advantage. The main problem for universities (and especially the Ivies) is that legacies and athletes, both desired admits for their financial benefits, are disproportionately white. Yet, these same universities would also like to make sure that proportionate numbers of blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians are in their classrooms. Because they can’t touch the whites, a “merit tax” is levied on qualified Asian-Americans in order to benefit other, less qualified, minorities. In the most terrifying perversion of “racial justice” seen yet, one minority is being plundered for the sake of another, but the true historical discrimination culprits, whites, remain untouched. Until you realize these underlying motivations, the study’s finding that affirmative action has little impact on white admission rates comes as a surprise.

When admissions officers aren’t making empty statements about their concern for diversity, they have a few other explanations to provide for the lower Asian admit rate. According to one former Brown admission officer:

One of the traits of incoming Asian-American applicant pools is uniformity. There’s a striking similarity from applicant to applicant in terms of the choices they make for extra-curricular activities, for example, or course loads, but most importantly, for intended majors.

There are countless reports of admission officers saying that Asians, due to their incredible academic dedication, are not able to contribute to university life in other ways. It appears that Asians are not trying hard enough to diversify their interests.” After all, according to Brown Dean of Admission James S. Miller, the University works to achieve, “selection by a personal estimate of character on the part of the Admission authorities, based on the probable value to the college and to the community of his admission.”

But the above quote is actually from 1926, and the speaker wasn’t James S. Miller. Rather, the individual who uttered these words was A. Lawrence Lowell, President of Harvard University, that rabidly anti-Semitic institution of yore. As Jerome Karabel, author of The Chosen reveals, Lowell limited the size of the freshman class and imposed new admission criteria of “leadership,” “public spirit,” and “fair play” in order to correct the “Jewish problem” to which Columbia had already succumbed. Jews, stereotyped as overly studious and socially uninterested, were thought not to exhibit any of these qualities (sound familiar?). Yale was even more up front in its battle against the Hebrews: they instituted legacy preferences in 1925 to favor the WASP students they were comfortable with. The Jews were limited so long as legacy preferences and the ambiguous admission criteria stayed, and other elite universities followed in lockstep.

It is a damnable irony that, after the eventual lifting of Jewish quotas, the same admissions preferences used to discriminate against them would be employed against the next most successful group, Asian-Americans. The new “Asian problem” is an especially tricky one for colleges, for they cannot be neatly filed into the “white” category. Colleges are being forced to employ their greatest skills in order to keep the Asians down: stereotyping, discrimination, and rejection.

While it appears that admissions directors believe Asians have a genetic predisposition to studiousness and unsociability, I have a more informed explanation. If Asian students know that they are already being discriminated against, at home and on their college applications, isn’t it rational for them to work that much harder to achieve success in a world biased against them? Asian parents drive their children to spend long hours studying because they know what they are up against. The results of this may be a small lack of social skills, but this is not a result of the student’s race, just his circumstances.

And what of this supposed uniformity in majors and extracurricular activities? Asian-Americans are often recent immigrants, and have a wide distribution of income. Immigrants seek the best ways to prove themselves in a new land; this naturally leads to intense interest in mathematics, physics, biology, and other sciences because these disciplines produce real, quantifiable results that members of an oppressed minority can point to as conclusive evidence of their success. Asian-Americans have excelled in more than just the sciences, however. They are over-represented (despite discrimination) at the nation’s top law and business schools — places that are often the destination of college liberal arts majors.

A case study in alleged uniformity across the Asian applicant pool is provided with UC Berkeley before and after racial preferences were lifted. Berkeley experienced a dramatic increase in the number of Asian-American students in its classrooms – at the moment they constitute 47 percent of the student body – soon after Proposition 209 outlawed affirmative action in California. As it is highly doubtful that Berkeley, the best public university in the United States, filled 47 percent of its class with (according to their racist stereotype) biology majors who play the piano, it can be inferred that many in this group have a passionate interest in history, classics, and other such disciplines, as well as wide extracurricular attainments. The Berkeley case illustrates that the only uniformity that can be seen in Asian-American applicants to colleges is academic excellence across all fields.

The great unspoken crime of Asian-American discrimination in college admissions is not just the obvious numerical limits on the group: American universities are joining a long line of individuals, companies, and governments who have deemed Asians subhuman for centuries. From the construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad to Japanese internment camps, America’s Asian relations have not been honorable. Curtailing racist attitudes and stereotypical labeling of Asian-American applicants to college can only be the first step in a long process of atonement. Let us hope that the officers in our esteemed universities do not allow their greed to interfere with their duty as human beings.

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