Notes on affirmative action

At Prof. Stackhouse’s blog, the discussion concerning diversity continues.  I want to strengthen my point that affirmative action has (1) watered down academic standards; (2) is discrimination against certain minorities (particularly Asians and Jews).  Here are some of the articles that I found:

When Affirmative Action Is A Quota System (at the American Thinker)

By Russell Eisenman

A university professor, Eisenmann claims that affirmative action has become a quota system that is basically un-American and leads to resentment.  The Ku Klux Klan could  have invented it as system to make whites hate blacks.

By the way, it may be that some elite schools can do their affirmative action hiring and hire a top candidate. But, this is certainly not the case for most schools. In my experiences, and in that of colleagues I have discussed this with, when affirmative action hiring is done, the dilemma is always that there are better qualified candidates not within the quota category. Sometimes, the person hired, because they have the right skin color or sex, is markedly less qualified than some of the other applicants.

Should Colleges Have Quotas for Asian Americans? (Washington Post, 2004)

By Jay Mathews

Matthews’ article writes about Chinese-American Ed Chin who has been very critical of the quota system of Ivy League schools.  But Matthews, against Chin, concludes its ok for the best schools to discriminate against Asians, because they can get into other schools.   But dear Mr. Matthews, racial preferences have made it more difficult for Asians to get into other schools as well.

And yet the recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions on affirmative action preserved the system at most selective private schools in which Asian American students with very high tests scores are passed over in favor of African American and Hispanic students with lower scores because the schools want significant numbers of all ethnicities on campus. Supporters of such policies say a diverse student body helps everyone learn to live in the real world, and there are plenty of other fine colleges that take students, Asian American or otherwise, whom they reject.Whenever I raised this point, Chin would accuse me, rightly, of shrugging off the American commitment to fair play for individuals. He cited comments made by Abigail Thernstrom, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a Massachusetts state school board member. “I think these racial preferences are very pernicious,” she said in an interview on a PBS Web site after voters banned the use of affirmative action based on race in University of California admissions. “I don’t think they do black students much good. I think they’re poisonous in terms of race relations. And I do not think they are fair to the Asian student, for instance, who has worked very, very hard and is kept out of a Berkeley because a student with a slightly different skin color has gotten in as a consequence of racial identity.”

The Asian-Jewish connection: Is it really kosher to call Asians the “new Jews”? (SF Gate, 2010) by Jeff Yang; The New Jews? by Jennifer Rubin (Weekly Standard, 2008).  Rubin writes to belie Matthew’s point above:

In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court cases concerning racial preference policies at the University of Michigan’s law school (Grutter v. Bollinger) and undergraduate school (Gratz v. Bollinger) highlighted further evidence of great disparities between groups. At Michigan’s law school, the admission rates of “preferred” minorities miraculously held steady between 10 percent and 17 percent in the years for which data were provided. According to Peter Schmidt’s Color and Money, “Among applicants with certain grade point average and LSAT-score combinations, the university was admitting virtually every black applicant while white and Asian American applicants had a less than 1 in 40 chance of getting in.”

The article that first made me aware of the problem of discrimination against Asians, was in the American Thinker in 2005:  Asian Americans and Affirmative Action, by James Chen, who writes about the extraordinary measures that Asian parents will go to in order to overcome discrimination of their children, even moving to “white” areas so that their children will have a better chance of graduating close to the top of their high school class.  Chen’s article infuriated me.  I realized that all of the job post advertising women and minorities are encouraged to apply did not at all mean me, since if a university will discriminate against students applying to a school, how much more will they be willing to do so when hiring a professor?

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