June 14, 2011

"It pains me to say this, but putting down black might help my admissions chances and putting down Asian might hurt it."

A modest "might."
“My mother urges me to put down black to use AA” — African-American — “to get in to the colleges I’m applying to,” [wrote Natasha Scott, pseudonymously, on a college admissions discussion website.] “I sort of want to do this but I’m wondering if this is morally right.”

Within minutes, a commenter had responded, “You’re black. You should own it.” Someone else agreed, “Put black!!!!!!!! Listen to your mom.”
How many applicants go through a moral quandary? Would you? Or would you say whatever is defensibly true that would help you the most? When you help yourself you hurt someone in this zero-sum game, do you not? Proponents of affirmative action say you do not. I won't spell out what the argument is, but if you can't think it up on your own, that might be some indication of its speciousness.

ADDED: Our President "put black." That's the most conspicuous analysis of morality young people have.

ALSO: The NYT inserts "African-American" explaining the statement "My mother urges me to put down black to use AA." Surely, Scott wrote "AA" to abbreviate "affirmative action."

102 comments:

Fred4Pres said...

Racial preferences are...racist. And yeah, putting down "black" would help you get in. If we want to get beyond race it would help not to perpetuate racial things like this.

Mark said...

I'm going to start calling myself a Native American. I was born here after all, so it's true enough.

Shouting Thomas said...

How in God's name, Althouse, do you continue to avoid referring to Steve Sailer?

I think you know that he's the best writer in the country when it comes to these issues.

This cannot have escaped your attention.

gerry said...

Isn't Obama Black Irish?

MayBee said...

We were laughing that my son should put down "hispanic". At his volunteer job, someone called him a "wetback" so we figure he can pass.

Of course we didn't do it. But who could challenge that claim if he'd done it, and how?

Fred4Pres said...

Excuse me, putting down "African American" would help you get in. Perhaps we should ask why "diversity goals" are the way to go? Shouldn't the goal be to give all children equal opportunity and then let the chips fall where they may. Diversity goals and racial preferences are lazy.

chickenlittle said...

Racist policy does not help the nation. It's what we need to undo.

Pogo said...

UW Madison discriminates on the basis of race, as advised by their Vice Provost of Diversity and Climate.

I only know one white male in my son's high school class that got in there this year. In previous years, it was a popular place to go, and they took at least 5 or more white boys. Now the allotment is cut to one.

I am advising my son to put AA on his applications because he has at least one drop.

A.Worthing said...

i am disabled. i have hidden disabilities, but they force me to type everything (long story).

my situation was a little different, applying to law school. i was afraid if i mentioned my disabilities, they would actively discriminate against me. so i decided not to reveal my disabilities.

And then i took the LSAT and as i was working on the written section, typing away on my keyboard as an accommodation, i realized... crap... i would probably be the only applicant with a typed essay and they will KNOW something is up.

So the decision was made for me.

Did i get affirmative action? maybe so. But at the risk of bragging no one thought i didn't belong there, recieving high grades from several nationally famous professors.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

“My mother urges me to put down black to use AA” — African-American — “to get in to the colleges I’m applying to,” added Ms. Scott

If I'm parsing this correctly, Ms. Scott said "AA" and the NYT added the helpful expansion of "African-American". Isn't that a mistake on the part of the NYT? She would put down black to use Affirmative Action. Putting down black to use African-American makes no sense.

Shouting Thomas said...

UW Madison discriminates on the basis of race, as advised by their Vice Provost of Diversity and Climate.

Yes, UW Madison openly and proudly practices racism and sexism.

Which is why, Althouse, people suspect that you owe, in some part, your position to the quota system. Right or wrong.

tfmaguire42 said...

All Americans are African Americans. Should I be penalized because my ancestors came from Africa by way of Ireland in favor of someone else whose ancestors came here from Africa directly?

Where's the sense in that?

Of course, Mark is right, we are Native Americans as well.

tim maguire

Pogo said...

My daughter's boyfriend was adopted. he is of Dutch stock, but his adoptive father is Columbian.

He gets AA all the time because of his Hispanic name. It's hilarious.

Scott M said...

Would you?

Can't. I don't have that option as I'm a white, male, non-handicapped, heterosexual, Christian with, apparently, no redeeming qualities in the eyes of admissions boards whatsoever.

When I went back to college at 33, there was a form I had to fill out that had something to do with student activity fees. On the first page, it asked for ethnicity. There was African-American, North American Native American, Latino, Asian, Polynesian, and white. All but that last lowly one are geographic descriptors. My group is just a color. Someone with credentials designed that form, as it turned out, and he didn't see any problem with it.

MadisonMan said...

One of my co-workers' daughters played up the My Two Moms aspect of her life in her college applications. It's not like she needed to, though, as she is whip smart.

I think many people lose perspective when they apply to College. Life does not end because a door to a College closes somewhere.

John said...

I'm wondering if the NYT intentionally put "African-American" specifically to avoid using the term "affirmative action" in a negative context.

MayBee said...

Students should protest next year by all checking "black". What is a university going to do when the kids show up not looking black enough?

That would be the best way to put an end to AA.

Seeing Red said...

I have a friend who is a nurse.

All our information is being sent to Uncle Sam to divvy up the Obamacare spoils.


Targeting by ethicity.

MadisonMan said...

I only know one white male in my son's high school class that got in there this year.

Pogo, I have heard it's been very hard in the past to get into UWMadison from my kids' high school, yet this year a whole slew of them (where 'them' = White Males and Females) did. Maybe admissions skewed it so more Wisconsinites could get in.

EDH said...

When you help yourself you hurt someone in this zero-sum game, do you not? Proponents of affirmative action say you do not. I won't spell out what the argument is, but if you can't think it up on your own, that might be some indication of its speciousness.

It's a perversion of the Kaldor-Hicks economic efficiency criteria. Specifically, the disutility to the one non-admitted person of the non-favored group could be compensated for by the enhanced utility of the other non-favored people who were admitted that are now allowed to bask in the diversity of the admitted person of the favored class.

Kaldor-Hicks does not require compensation actually be paid, merely that the possibility for compensation exists, and thus does not necessarily make each party better off (or neutral). Thus, under Kaldor–Hicks efficiency, a more efficient outcome can in fact leave some people worse off. Pareto efficiency requires making every party involved better off (or at least no worse off).

Sofa King said...

It's not like she needed to, though, as she is whip smart.

You'll never know for certain, though. There will always be some doubt.

bagoh20 said...

If an organization wants to wants to discriminate against my race, I don't feel any obligation to be honest to them. They started the disrespect. I'm just defending myself from their attack, by taking away their weapon and hitting them with it.

Regardless, technically we are all African, so we all should use it every time it helps us.

virgil xenophon said...

Maybee, I have a friend in Maine (white as the proverbial driven snow) who not only urges his children to use ethnic designations on ALL govt forms, but urges his friends and co-workers to do like-wise EXACTLY for the reason you state--to screw up the system. A true devotee of Cloward-Piven! LOL

wv: bureep--the affirmative action bureaucrats creep me out..

AJ Lynch said...

I remember leaving the Phils game one night [about 20 years ago] and stopping on Delaware Avenue for a beer. The first club we went to stopped us at the door and said "sorry, you can't come in because it's Asian night".

Milwaukee said...

One problem is getting in over your head. Just because the lesser qualified student has been admitted doesn't mean they will graduate: they may just invest valuable resources, incur debt and not graduate. Admission is the first step, graduation the ultimate goal. A degree from a lesser institution might be better than nothing from a more prestigious one.

Scott M said...

Regardless, technically we are all African, so we all should use it every time it helps us.

We all had to give oral presentations in a college public policy class (taught by a prof of African-American studies, insert expected bias here). I put a slide up that had 18 pictures (neck up only) of various apparent racial groups. White, black, Asian, hispanic, etc, all represented. I asked everyone to tally up the number of African-Americans on the screen. There were 7 obviously black-skinned pictures.

Only one person said something like "technically we're all African". Another said, "not enough info". The correct answer was 18 African-Americans. Each white/asian/hispanic person was born on the African continent.

The prof wasn't pleased and called it showboating.

ndspinelli said...

It was Malcolm X who made the term "black" the standard. It lived on for some time after his death, but then began to erode.

In my lifetime it has been, colored, negro, black, Afro-American, and now African-American. Malcolm had the correct message and he had the correct word.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

ALSO: The NYT inserts "African-American" explaining the statement "My mother urges me to put down black to use AA." Surely, Scott wrote "AA" to abbreviate "affirmative action."


Ya know, you have an Ignorance is Bliss tag. It wouldn't hurt you to use it.

DKWalser said...

Years ago I had a co-worker who had received a scholarship and other financial assistance in college based on her status as a native American. Both her biological parents were white, but her mother remarried when she was 16. Her step-father had a native American mother. He adopted her when she was 17. On that basis, she was a native American and eligible for the financial assistance made available only to native Americans.

I joked that on that basis I'd have my children apply for college financial aide as Hispanics. My grandmother was born and raised in Mexico. (She had dual US/Mexico citizenship.) True, both her parents were Danish and English was her native tongue, but that doesn't mean my kids are not Hispanics by birth.

None of our kids applied for or received special consideration based on their Hispanic heritage.

Bender said...

How many applicants go through a moral quandary? Would you?
___________________

Too many go through it. And the fact that people play the game at all by answering shows a lack of moral resolve in this country. The only right answer to the question is "None of your damn business."

Besides, given the "one-drop" rule that has been embraced by the racialists on the left, whose is to say that the guy with the whitest skin in the room is not black? Can anyone of us honestly say with any degree of certainty what color our great-great-great-great-great grandparents were?

Pogo said...

"Maybe admissions skewed it so more Wisconsinites could get in."
I believe that did happen, too.

However, UW Madison made a big deal of changing their admissions criteria, hired a guy (AA) and paid him $150K annually, and announced in a big speech how the admissions criteria had changed and a major component was Diversity, and they repeated the message in multiple mailings.

My take is that we were forewarned, and he won't apply to their business school because he's still going to be white then.

Yeah I get the open and closed doors bit. But seriously, what bullshit coming from a public university.

"We don't take your kind here." That's what I hear. I suppose the tables turned is sweet revenge, but all it makes me think is Screw them. They don't give shit about discrimination per se, just whose ox is being gored.

Lucien said...

She could always just decline to state a race, or write "other", or write in "human".

If she did any of those things she could be pretty confident that she didn't get in anywhere because of affirmative action.

The Crack Emcee said...

Fred4Pres,

Racial preferences are...racist. And yeah, putting down "black" would help you get in. If we want to get beyond race it would help not to perpetuate racial things like this.

Save it, Fred - it's a white guy pretending to be a lesbian,...

MadisonMan said...

You'll never know for certain, though. There will always be some doubt.

I very much doubt that for this particular student. Maybe for some boarder-straddlers it would be true.

But you know what? I don't care how someone gets in. If they subsequently do good work, does it matter? Not in my book.

The 'need' to get into a 'good' school is kinda silly, though. I am sad for people when they are amazed that someone turned down a chance to go to, say, Tufts, instead going to a smaller in-state school. Why buy into the nonsense that only one school is best for you?

MadisonMan said...

The first club we went to stopped us at the door and said "sorry, you can't come in because it's Asian night".

I hope you said Ah, so! before turning to leave.

Michael said...

MadisonMan: "But you know what? I don't care how someone gets in. If they subsequently do good work, does it matter? Not in my book."

Bingo!! But many AA do not do good work and for that reason a number of kids are able to transfer in from less prestigious schools after their freshman year. The shame of AA begins long before college. It begins with awarding grades that do not comport with performance in the hopes that the high grade will lead to a self esteem which will ultimately produce the requisite performance. It does not work. These kids arrive at college ill prepared and then hit reality and their first bad grades, their first academic failure. What could they possibly conclude? We have created a horrible system, a tragic system.

edutcher said...

I always tell The Blonde, when she's applying with the Feds, that she should make sure they know she's female, disabled, abused spouse (formerly), etc.

I also tell her, "Unfortunately you're also white. If you were black, lesbian, and had a Spanish surname, you'd actually have a shot".

gerry said...

Isn't Obama Black Irish?

Smile when you say that.

(from one that really is)

Fred4Pres said...

Lesbians are great in theory, but in real life they are just as complicated and fucked up as the rest of us.

Pogo said...

"Why buy into the nonsense that only one school is best for you?"

I don't. But he had a good feeling visiting the campus, and that wasn't the case elsewhere. It was close to home, and one of the best business schools in the nation.

So I take offense to being told not to be concerned when there is active discrimination at a public university. I am tired of this PC bullshit; I've had enough. Don't want to play along anymore.

Scott M said...

Lesbians are great in theory, but in real life they are just as complicated and fucked up as the rest of us.

Cab fair for both of them isn't complicated.

ic said...

"When you help yourself you hurt someone in this zero-sum game, do you not?"

Are you sure she's hurting someone not helping? In Obamaconomy, the someone has a head start in his minimum wage entry level job gaining experiences, a job that she needs after wasting four years time and money in college.

Oligonicella said...

I always use Celtic.

John said...

the dirty little secret is that anyone, anyone at all, can put down there race as black or African American.

The law is that you are whatever you say you are. What you say you are cannot, by law, be questioned.

I, a white, blonde, blue eyed honky can put down black and they have to accept it.

This was the law when I was teaching HR Management classes. Still is unless it has changed in the past 6-7 years.

John Henry

Shouting Thomas said...

Hey, a dorky German white guy won the MVP award in the NBA finals!

Now, how can we get dorky American white guys to start taking basketball seriously again?

Marta said...

My friend's blonde, blue-eyed daughter put down "African American" on her college application to UNC-Charlotte. She started the school year as the only white girl in a dorm of African American girls.

Sofa King said...

But you know what? I don't care how someone gets in. If they subsequently do good work, does it matter? Not in my book.

Okay, I really do not believe you actually believe this. You honestly would not care if better-qualified students were passed over because of political connections, or nepotism, or kickbacks? Or antisemitism, or homphobia, or, god-forbid, anti-black racism? As long as that lesser-qualified white kid subsequently does good work, you wouldn't care at all that a better-qualified black student was passed over?

I certainly hope you never made a single crack about George W. Bush's admissions!

Megaera said...

Oh come now. An educator, exposed daily to the plethora of bureaucratic forms choking academe ought to know that the only color-designated race allowed these days is "white"-- you can't find "black" as an official descriptor anywhere. "AA" is the only choice available thanks to political correctness -- the ineffably silly classification of African-American, which omits or misdescribes blacks of Caribbean, African, European, Asian, Pacific or other birth origins, SO insular, but that's PC for you. "Black" had a very brief period of acceptance (remember "I'm black and I'm proud"?) but some authority group got its panties in a wad because they thought it was insulting, and African-American was so much more, well, SOOTHING. So, AA it was, and that's what's on all the forms now. If you write in "black" the computer won't accept it. Honest, ask any bureaucrat.

MadisonMan said...

Now that I've finally read that NYTimes Article, let me add: This is an article that would not have been written for a midwestern paper. Where you go to school is a very much more important thing on the East Coast than it is here in the midwest, in my experience.

I certainly hope you never made a single crack about George W. Bush's admissions!

Not caring and not making a crack about somethine are two different things. I will never pass up the opportunity to make a crack about a politician.

Sofa King said...

Not caring and not making a crack about somethine are two different things.

It's dishonest to purport to care about something in order to criticize something you don't like, only to claim not to care about it so as to avoid criticizing something you do.

And I've always been consistent that I care about honesty.

William said...

The black Irish are descendants of the Celts from the Iberian penninsula who migrated there about 600BC--a nanosecond in evolutionary time. They are genetically closer to Spanish Celts than to their neighbors in Scotland. Black Irish like Colin Farrell might, therefore, legitimately claim to be of Spanish descent. Myself, I'm hoping to be descended from some Norwegian rapist in the 12 century.

MadisonMan said...

I will say there is a difference between being critical of something -- GWB's admission to wherever he went to school, for example, which I suspect I have not done, but who knows? -- and making light of it -- which I may have done if I was feeling snarky.

Would a mediocre student from Andover (isn't that where he went to HS?) make it into Yale today even with a Family History? I don't know. Things are different now.

Megaera said...

Oh, and BTW, "Asian" has morphed (especially in Europe) into a category which includes all Middle Eastern social groups as well.

Scott M said...

Myself, I'm hoping to be descended from some Norwegian rapist in the 12 century.

Ah! Then you can wear the horns and wield the battleaxe without a drop of irony.

Mary said...

"Where you go to school is a very much more important thing on the East Coast than it is here in the midwest, in my experience."

Not true.
It's odd you rank UW-Madison as so highly selective too. Maybe in liberal, public school circles.

Other Midwest students do aspire higher. Particularly those outside public schools, who consider private and smaller schools too.

But you get a discount at UW for faculty offspring, right?

Mary said...

I guess Madison beats the other UW campuses, but really: Look around at where the most highly recruited Midwest students (non-minority) go.

It's not Moo U.

Mary said...

But I hear the sports teams (and the drinking!) are good dere.

Lem said...

The Trobriand islanders profited from the presence among them of the Allied Forces in WWII. The forces left, but the islanders kept building driftwood airplanes in the hopes of luring back the food and support.

"Thomas Jefferson, third president, adulterer, slave owner". In the lab-get a pellet. Out of the lab-no pellet. Obvious answer-never leave the lab. But the left may supply the pellet for the ex-student. It is now not a grade, but the protection of the herd.
The problem for the ex-student however, may be different from that of the rat. The rat pulls the lever, but the college student has to supply a phrase, and the phrase has semantic content.
Semantic is the study of how words influence thought and action
.

David Mamet's 'The Secret Knowledge' pgs 22&23

Put down the "right" thing and you will be rewarded.

E.M. Davis said...

Ya know, you have an Ignorance is Bliss tag. It wouldn't hurt you to use it.

Yeah, Professor, don't plagiarize.

MadisonMan said...

But you get a discount at UW for faculty offspring, right?

No.

PSU has 3/4 off tuition for all staff member (not just faculty) dependents. UW has never had a similar tuition break that I know of.

ricpic said...

But you know what? I don't care how someone gets in.

That's mighty white of you, MM. Do you care about the someone with a better grade point average and better SAT scores who doesn't get in because another someone is advantaged on the idiot basis of melanin content and does get in on that basis?

Les said...

Why would she admit to being an alcoholic?

MadisonMan said...

Do you care about the someone with a better grade point average and better SAT scores who doesn't get in because another someone is advantaged on the idiot basis of melanin content and does get in on that basis?

Life isn't fair. Repeat as needed. This is my advice to my kids. You can use it to.

A door closing in your face will not end your life. It will change its trajectory. That is not a bad thing in the long run however it might pain you right now.

Ideally, merit would be based solely on, you know, merit. But no one knows how to put merit into a nice little box so you can judge people solely based on it.

Cedarford said...

I, a white, blonde, blue eyed honky can put down black and they have to accept it.

This was the law when I was teaching HR Management classes. Still is unless it has changed in the past 6-7 years.

====================
As I understand it, City employers have dismissed probationary white firefighters for fraudulently claiming to be hispanic via legal name changes in order to be hired - in SF, LA, Newark NJ.

And colleges have done the same on students that fraudulently got in on phony claims of being NA, false claims of Pacific Islander bonus point blood in Hawaii and West Coast, homeless, black, persecuted in their homelands or being gay in Peru or feminist in Saudi Arabia.

After 40 years of this crap, students and parents well know what can get you bonus points in going to school. Same with people seeking to get hired/promoted.

bgates said...

Why buy into the nonsense that only one school is best for you?

That's the argument the Board of Education used when they lost to Brown.

Funny how the refined, educated Democrat position has gone from "I would never discriminate in favor of a black person" to "I would never discriminate in favor of a white person", while the uncouth Republican position has stayed at "I would never discriminate". I guess that's why we're the reactionaries and they're the progressives.

MayBee said...

Life isn't fair. Repeat as needed. This is my advice to my kids. You can use it to.

A door closing in your face will not end your life. It will change its trajectory. That is not a bad thing in the long run however it might pain you right now.



Sounds like a good argument against Affirmative Action. If a door closing in your face doesn't matter, why try to spend so much time engineering for whom the door slams?

Cedarford said...

Mad Man on AA discrimination -

"Life isn't fair. Repeat as needed. This is my advice to my kids. You can use it to.

A door closing in your face will not end your life. It will change its trajectory. That is not a bad thing in the long run however it might pain you right now."

Isn't that the basic Jim Crow argument for separate but equal? Discrimination in hireing, housing and such? It merely put those blacks on "a changed trajectory".

MadisonMan said...

That's the argument the Board of Education used when they lost to Brown.

In 1954. My position is that things have changed in the past 67 years.

bgates said...

Life isn't fair. Repeat as needed.

Repeat it today, repeat it tomorrow, repeat it forever, as one of MM's ideological forbears might have said.

Scott M said...

Life isn't fair. Repeat as needed.

AH! No need for Obamacare, then. No need for those of us that bought a sensible home within our means to subsidize idiots that bought too big with ARMs. No redistributive policies necessary at all, correct? Let the private charities handle the unfortunates.

I celebrate that you've apparently had a breakthrough.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

I've often wondered at what point an administrator would question one's proclaimed heritage. If I were to put down that I was African-American (aren't we all African at some point in history?), wouldn't it be insensitive of them to question it? What if that's how I feel?

If not me (a very fair redhead), what about a clearly white but darker skinned/haired person, say, of southern-European heritage- would anyone question their assertion that they were black? I think not.

BTW, whenever I'm asked to state my race, I check "other"- if there's a description line to fill in, I state "redhead". I don't see any justification to perpetrate continued racism regarding this issue.

- Lyssa

MadisonMan said...

Oh for God's sake. 57 years.

How embarrassing.

bgates said...

How embarrassing.

You're arguing Brown v Board of Ed was wrongly decided and the state should have the power to deny a citizen the use of publicly funded institutions based on skin color, and you're embarrassed you got the date wrong?

Sofa King said...

A door closing in your face will not end your life. It will change its trajectory. That is not a bad thing in the long run however it might pain you right now.

Unless you're nonwhite of course, in which case the Constitution itself must be shredded to pieces so as to make sure you are sheltered from the evil, evil bigots out there? Do I have that right?

lyssalovelyredhead said...

BTW, I recall discussing personal statements (or whatever) on college applications with a close friend of mine in high school. He explained that he wrote his about being "multi-racial" and what that meant to him. I strongly recall looking at him like he was crazy. I knew his parents; his dad was a white southern baptist, and his mother was Puerto Rican. His mom loved me, and was a delightful person who I had met many times, and knew her background.

I had never thought of her as any different from me, and it had never, ever crossed my mind that he was somehow racially (or anything) different as a result of his mother's heritage. They were just people (good people); why did we have to label them?

- Lyssa

MadisonMan said...

If I were to put down that I was African-American (aren't we all African at some point in history?), wouldn't it be insensitive of them to question it? What if that's how I feel?

According to the linked-to article, they do some cross-checking, apparently, with essays that require the person to describe how their cultural upbringing would add to the University setting, or something. I will add that I am so glad I didn't have to write gobbledygook essays when I applied to College back in the late 70s.

So if you are on the bubble for admissions, and they look and see that you're of mixed race, and they want a mixed race person, but your essay only talks about white cultural experiences -- however that is defined -- SOL.

That's my take on it, at least.

MadisonMan said...

@bgates, no, I am suggesting that the fabric of society is a little different now than it was 57 years ago.

I'm embarrassed that I couldn't subtract correctly. Everyone should be mortified when they make math errors.

MayBee said...

I've often wondered at what point an administrator would question one's proclaimed heritage. If I were to put down that I was African-American (aren't we all African at some point in history?), wouldn't it be insensitive of them to question it? What if that's how I feel?

That's it exactly. What are they going to do about it if they don't really believe the student once he shows up at orientation? They don't require you to bring your parents along. It seems to me questioning someone based on sight would open them up to a lawsuit.

WaitingToBuy said...

When I was younger the designation for White was Caucasian. So it's white now, well times change. Last night I saw a commercial against racial slurs which included spic, retard and a host more I can't remember. I sat there waiting to hear gringo or whitey. Nope.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Two anecdotes:
- When my daughter was born the hospital asked us her race on some paperwork. When I marked "decline to state" or similar, a staff member took one look at my wife and me and changed it, right in front of me, to "Asian-American". This, AFTER I had already signed the form.
- At various times during my kids' school years, we received mail and notices from their schools about benefit programs specifically for "Native Americans", apparently because of my family name (which is actually English / pan-european). Gave me plenty of opportunities to tell stories about my Lakota relative-by-marriage named Brokenleg, but we never took advantage of the offers.

Sofa King said...

@bgates, no, I am suggesting that the fabric of society is a little different now than it was 57 years ago.


So you would support overturning Brown?

lyssalovelyredhead said...

they want a mixed race person, but your essay only talks about white cultural experiences -- however that is defined


I cannot imagine any way that you could define "white cultural experiences" that isn't extremely racist towards the non-white culture. This whole thing is madness.

William said...

"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in." I can see why Obama checked the African-American block despite having so much more white in his background. It wasn't just for tactical advantage, although that was a big part of it. It was a lot easier for him to be invisible against a black background than a white one. The white part of him he had to inhale. The black part of him was the unbuttoned part.

MayBee said...

and they want a mixed race person, but your essay only talks about white cultural experiences -- however that is defined -- SOL.

How can one determine whether someone is writing about a white cultural experience or a hispanic cultural experience? Does a black person have to write about druggies in the 'hood or something?

MadisonMan said...

So you would support overturning Brown?

Based on what case? (IANAL)

In general, I think overturning settled law -- is that the term? -- is a bad idea.

bgates said...

In general, I think overturning settled law -- is that the term? -- is a bad idea.

Oh, so you think Brown should have upheld decades of precedent.

Sofa King said...

Based on what case? (IANAL)


Imagine any hypothetical you want. Suppose a charter school that wanted to admit only blacks, or a public border drawn so as to exclude a black neighborhood.

MadisonMan said...

@bgates, why do you put words into my mouth and then imply that I said them?

Mary said...

"Life isn't fair. Repeat as needed. This is my advice to my kids. You can use it to (sic)."

(Do grammatical errors mortify you too? ;-)

Pretty much, I see you saying here that if your priveleged offspring are discriminated against because of their white privilege, you're ok with that. Plenty to go around.

Trouble is:
you're assuming all "white" parents belong in the same boat. We don't. Working-class white kids who worked hard for their shot; immigrant white kids who worked just as hard as immigrant dark kids (much, much harder than privileged white kids who had all the 'xtra 'vantages).

You don't get to discriminate against them too, just because your own son has plenty of other options, owing to his white privileged upbringing and all.

White is not White, meaning all the same. Where you, and other well meaning libs, see "life is unfair" equally, others see plain out and out discimination that doesn't take into acount measurable differences that a lot of hard work went into achieving.

Surely with a math background, you understand there's plenty of ways to measure things, like merit. Let's start with distinguishing between upper-income, professional white offspring v. those whites who really have had to work against discrimination, with no special accomodating advantages, sitting side by side at the schooldesks with darker students who shared the same socioeconomic advantages or disadvantages.

Sorry, "life is unfair" might work on your boy, but the plenty of us know better.

Peter said...

Ivy League schools used to have quotas for Jews.

Now, they don't. Now they "seek geographic diversity."

Which means, they don't want too many white students from the New York metro area.

The key to understanding how the politics of "diversity" became established is to understand that the tipping point was when women became an "under-represented minority."

Before that point, "diversity" (in the Affirmative Action sense) was tough to sell politically, because only a relatively small few would benefit from it. Including women meant that a majority could at least obtain some small advantage from it.

This diversity establishment is not just going to go quietly into that good night; I doubt they're just going to quietly surrender their perks, benefits and power.

James said...

I'm still somewhat nonplussed that my kid chose UW-Madison; I wish he'd chosen Michigan instead.

Jim Howard said...

My four year old granddaughter is blonde haired, blue eyed, and 1/4 Mexican.

You bet I'll advise her and her Mom to put 'Hispanic' down on any form involving the government in any way.

Shanna said...

If you can put something down that is true and will also win you points, I see nothing wrong with it from that personal point of view. It's the system that's wrong. But college admissions are ridiculous anyway, there are all sorts of things you can get points for.

There was an article a few years before I went that assigned a points value to different extra curriculars. For instance, playing one type of instrument is worth more than playing another.

I am glad I never had to write anything about how my cultural background would benefit the school. What dreck.

Brennan said...

I always check the ethnic heritage box to "go fuck yourself".

Most of the time it is listed as "other".

Balfegor said...

Or would you say whatever is defensibly true that would help you the most?

I would always advise people to do what will help them best. But at the same time, when filling out my applications, I chose to list myself as "Asian" as a purposeful F**K YOU to affirmative action. If I can't get in in the most competitive bracket, then I don't deserve to go.

But that was undergraduate, applying for maths and hard sciences. When applying to law school, I suspect it gave me a slight, undeserved boost.

chickenlittle said...

MadisonMan wrote: (defending Affirmative Action):

Life isn't fair. Repeat as needed. This is my advice to my kids. You can use it to.

A door closing in your face will not end your life. It will change its trajectory. That is not a bad thing in the long run however it might pain you right now.

Ideally, merit would be based solely on, you know, merit. But no one knows how to put merit into a nice little box so you can judge people solely based on it.


Shame shame shame!

But I think I know where you're coming from. IIRC, weren't you the beneficiary of some second generational affirmative action at the UW-Madison?

MadisonMan said...

IIRC, weren't you the beneficiary of some second generational affirmative action at the UW-Madison?

Nope. Came here for grad school. They didn't care I was the 4th generation to go to UW. They wanted someone to do the work.

Mary said...

" They didn't care I was the 4th generation to go to UW. They wanted someone to do the work."

Wait. Was that back in the day when they wanted a white man, preferably, to do the work?

Does that explain the guilt conscience that allows you to see your son's discrimination as acceptable, as he's being penalized for the very same factors that helped you along in your rise to the upper-middle-class tenured security?

orthodoc said...

Might? Might? Are you kidding me?

This is for admission to medical school, so it's not strictly applicable to this young lady's situation, but here's the data for admission for different racial groups, aggregated.

GPA of 3.0-3.19, with an MCAT of 24-26 (decent, but not great):
Black: 54% admitted
Hispanic: 33%
White: 8%
Asian: 4%.

GPA of 3.8-4.0, same MCAT:
Black: 84%
Hispanic: 76%
White: 40%
Asian: 32%

I doubt the data for selective colleges is any different, though it may be dressed up more nicely.

jamboree said...

Depends on your SAT scores, doesn't it?

When AA was in place here, IIRC Asians had to score something like over 1425 using the old scoring system, but if black people hit 1100 they were in. White people were 1325 or so.

So if you're asian-black with 1300 scores, you'd have to be very noble indeed to not put black.

I say she should round out and put white. :-) It's the Right Thing To Do.

Methadras said...

My name on applications gives my heritage away, even though I'm an American. The whole thing is fucking stupid and should be done away with, but oh no, we have to be politically correct to give all of melting pot of this country a fighting chance not to get redlined.

davisg2013 said...

A few points:

1. Not identifying your race on a college application is not a "moral" question, it is a question of privacy. People are free to choose to divulge or not divulge information that has no other effect than to help them.

2. There is a legal difference between putting a misleading (or outright untrue) race on a checklist and giving fraudulent information on a personal or diversity statement. Race (and gender) are self-determined and colleges have no right to investigate if someone is "Black" enough, "female" enough, etc. Lying on a personal statement to misrepresent your character is fraud and should be grounds for a revocation of admission.

3. Since race is self-determined, people should feel free to put WHATEVER THEY WANT on those race checklist. Even if you are "white as the driven snow", if you self-identify as Black, then a) you should put that, b) colleges should accepted it, and c) you will add to the diversity of the school and make it better. Colleges will not kick you out, you will still be given no special treatment and will have to graduate largely on your own. At the end of the day, the only person who will have to live with denying [part of] who you are is YOU.

4. You have no right to attend any college or university. Public or private, 2400 SAT or 4.3 GPA, there is no magic degree of "merit" that guarantees a spot in a college. Admissions committees are interested in creating a class, not picking out the "best-qualified" students without any relation to the other admitted students. In creating a class, schools have the right to encourage diversity within the class, and that includes race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, interests, or any other set of criteria that meet the school's mission. While admissions may seem like a zero-sum game, it's really not; if you don't fit in to what the school wants from its class, you don't deserve to go. Having "your spot" taken by a Black or Brown student, an international student, a jock on scholarship, or the son of the Dean's golf buddy does not make you the loser. What makes you the loser is the fact that you don't fit in.

5. Thanks to the sometimes-legitimate arguments against Affirmative Action, colleges rapidly moved away from purely "label-based/quota" models of AA and have wholeheartedly adopted a more holistic Affirmative Action scheme that seeks members of a class that have a wealth of experiences, perspectives, and views that add to the class that is more involved that a passive check on a box. Most complaints about AA are based in that old model, and bitterness from jaded students used to privilege is undermining the righteous effort.

fivewheels said...

One of my high school friends was an African immigrant. She was a white South African. She identified as white for college purposes, but just imagine the head explosions she could have caused by showing up as an African-American on a P.C. college campus in the late 1980s, the days of divestment rallies vs. affirmative action bake sales. I wish I could go back in time just to see that happen.