December 11, 2018

"This American Life" reveals more than you might expect about how Harvard discriminates against Chinese-American applicants.

I strongly recommend this 25-minute segment of "This American Life," "The Veritas Is Out There" (listen at that link or read the transcript). A propos of the lawsuit against Harvard, which alleges that Harvard discriminates against Asian-American applicants, a Chinese-American who did get into Harvard looks at his own admissions file and sees what the alumnus who interviewed him had to say. This student, Alex Zhang, is on Harvard's side in the lawsuit: He wrote an amicus brief supporting Harvard and he got the Chinese Students Association to sign another pro-Harvard amicus brief. He doesn't change sides when he sees what's in his file, but he is sorely challenged.

The interviewer wrote a very long memo, strongly pushing Alex, but you can tell that the interviewer believed that the way to do that is to distinguish him from other Asian-American applicants. At one point the interviewer wrote "was this a perfect for MIT mechanical engineer playing me?" The "This American Life" producer, Diane Wu editorializes: "Perfect for MIT, I guess, is code for too boring for Harvard."

The most telling line in Alex's file is about his mother: "She is far from the stereotypical 'tiger mother.'" Wu asks Alex how he feels about that, and he says "it's true." Wu pushes harder: "Is it weird to you at all that the interviewer is pointing to stereotypes that you aren't? Is he a perfect-for-MIT engineer playing me, or does he have a tiger mom?" Alex concedes, "That's a good point."

Wu knows she's pushing: "As soon as I asked the question, I felt like I overstepped, like I was planting the idea in Alex's head that something racial was going on. But when I heard tiger mother, I thought, there is the implicit bias they're talking about in the lawsuit in a way more explicit form than I was expecting."

Alex cannot resist too much or he'll forfeit credibility: "Yeah, that is really weird. I guess it kind of goes into a narrative like the Asian applicant has to disprove certain things to be considered viable for something ivy league."

Wu paraphrases: "In other words, if you want to get into Harvard, don't be too Asian."

Alex: "Hmm. That makes sense. I don't know what his motivations are, my interviewer's motivations. Maybe the interviewer was like, oh, I should distinguish him from other Asians, or maybe he just does it subconsciously."

Wu:
Alex's friends saw his screen grab [of his admissions file] saying tiger mom and perfect-for-MIT engineer and texted him back, oh, my god and that's kind of horrible. Tiger mom was actually a lot more explicit than any of the examples of bias that came up at the trial. It was really a fight over statistics and economic models, but a few stereotypes did come up. They were subtle. Things like Harvard referring to Asian applicants as one-dimensional or book smart.
So "This American Life" gets Alex talking to the alum who wrote the memo, Jim McCandlish (who is, according to Alex, "an old white guy" with a "Chinese wife"). McCandlish without obvious prompting, reveals an attitude that is — though he doesn't seem to notice — very damaging to Harvard's position in the lawsuit. This is McCandlish:
Most likely, at least certainly from a place like Oregon, the interviewer is Caucasian. And we know there are stereotypes. I'm just curious how that plays out. If you have an expectation that an Asian interviewee is going to have a drab personality or meek and mild, you may play into your stereotype and not develop the rapport that would defeat the stereotype or at least resist it. You're in a really gray area of human nature.
Alex asks him about "tiger mom," and McCandlish says, "Well, recall, I live with one" (that's how he refers to his wife, this man who went to Harvard).  He adds: "I live with a tiger mom and fight it all the time." (I'm not sure what "it" is. Does he fight the tigerish qualities of his own wife or is he fighting other people who hold negative stereotypes against persons of Chinese descent?)

Later, McCandlish says — and remember, he went to Harvard — "I use that term because I'm an Amy Tan fan." He must have meant Amy Chua, author of "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother." Amy Tan is another author, as Wu explains. Tan wrote "The Joy Luck Club." (But see this review of Amy Tan's memoir "Where the Past Begins" that says it would make sense to call it "Post-Battle Hymn Of The Damaged Daughter Of A Tiger Mother.")

In an interview with Wu that McCandlish didn't allow to be recorded, Wu says he admitted that he was trying to get Alex in by — in Wu's words — "overtly pointing out to the admissions officers that Alex was different from other Chinese-American applicants. That this young man did not fit whatever stereotypes that he or the admissions officers might have."

Later, we hear Alex wondering why having a "tiger mom" should count against you: "Is that not part of your upbringing and who you are now?... There seems to be these very negative connotations about the way Asians are raised or the way that they behave growing up. And it just seems like there's this very deeply ingrained prejudice and misunderstanding."

91 comments:

rhhardin said...

You distinguish him from Asians because he's in the Asian pool. Take the top ones from each pool.

rhhardin said...

Strictly speaking Harvard ought to distinguish Eash Asians. The others aren't very bright and so ought to be in a lesser pool.

https://brainstats.com/average-iq-by-country.html

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Tiger Moms are bad because they force their kids to study and excel, thus increasing their chances to be admitted to prestigious universities if admissions are based on merit, which they are not. They are based on "clubability" and racial quotas. The "leadership" class of the US is awful because they are being selected for political reliability. That always ends well.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Asians are rocking the boat because they aren't susceptible to white guilt and see no need to defer to other minority groups.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Tiger Mom behavior is how all ambitious members of new groups of immigrants behaved in the not so distant past, pushing their kids to study hard so that they could get into a good college and be successful in a country that allows for that, no matter what strata of society you originated from. Now, with Asians, that is being stigmatized. Wonder why?

Lucid-Ideas said...

What this shows is what everyone already knows: That college admissions - past a certain point where objective standards fail in assessing marginal positional advantages - become quite subjective and arbitrary. I.E. you have now gone from a pool of 30-50,000 applicants to 1000. They're all beyond qualified to make it that far, but the choosing hasn't ended, and you can't not choose. Therefore the selection delves into minutiae...background, roboticism (is this kid human?), performance under stressful situations...the untestable categories. Well...at least not legally testable in any objective sense.

The appearance of arbitrariness, that's what Harvard et al don't want you to see, even thought that's precisely what it is.

Incidentally jobs, careers, and candidacy for political office are very much the same thing. Did anyone ever expect anything diffrent?

iowan2 said...

Diversity is mandatory as long as they are all the same.

FIDO said...

The Republican Party is ready to welcome them when they start getting smarter about where their political allegiances really lie.

Anonymous said...

If Asians have to prove that they are not 'meek and mild' to get into Harvard, do blacks have
to prove they are not loud and coarse?

Anonymous said...

How stifling and insufferable is the cadre of earnest, bright, hard working, socially aware, pleasant BMOC types, longing to be amongst others of their kind. Harvard fits every stereotype of Harvard.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Asians have to prove that they are not 'meek and mild' to get into Harvard

Not meek and mild is coded language meaning that they are ideologically reliable and willing to show up at the protests. Hinting that they wore a black mask and swung a bike lock at a Trump protest would be optimal.

mockturtle said...

It's OK to discriminate against Asians because they're so, you know, superior.

Hagar said...

Amy Tan's mother was not a "tiger mother." She was bi-polar and a real trial for her family, but an exceptional personality with substantial achievements. Mother and daughter loved each other deeply, and Amy Tan is still working on getting it all sorted out in her mind.

I think that is what made me think of AA; they both want to diagram sentences, parse them out in great detail, and try to figure out what they think about it all.

Antiantifa said...

It is hard to engage in race-based discrimination without being racist.

Expat(ish) said...

I get these kids (or their parents) want to get into Harvard. We have a neighbor whose kid really really really wants to get into FSU like his mom and dad.

But, as a parent, I feel like you've really let your kid down if they end up like that.

The numbers are pretty clear - except for some real edge cases ("ME at MIT" vs. "ME from Iowa State") the $ and career value of the degree from Princeton vs. Carolina is ... very very small. I think children are much better off trying to find a geographic location and school size that suits them.

And because an undergraduate degree is effectively fungible, this is also a great place to let a kid make a decision that might be a mistake.

-XC

PS - I've had more MIT grads working for me than I've had to work for, but I work in tech, so I may be an outlier. But remember, Iowa graduates more ME's in a year than MIT does in 10.

Wince said...

Harvard engineers are supposed to get MBAs and become “leaders”.

It’s a form of typecasting. And ask yourself how many Asian “leading men” has Hollywood produced?

Roy Jacobsen said...

Students will be far better off to avoid the Ivy League schools. To call them a cesspool elevates them.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

I give the interviewer a pass. You can stereotype the stereotypers but you can’t assume they don’t know what’s in front of them. In fact, knowing what’s in front of them is a particular old white guy skill. Others are too easy to play.

Henry said...

Is Diane Wu the tiger interviewer?

wildswan said...

The idea of judging people for a place in the top of society by a test came from China. That's how you got into the mandarin class. And that way of judging merit was brought from China and put into western society in the 20C. So it's part of Chinese culture going back thousands of years to study hard in order to rise. And it's part of western culture to consider other factors. Now Chinese-Americans are trying to rise in western culture - should they work excel in the exam or consider other factors? The culture they are entering is not based on 5,000 static memes. And how should Harvard judge? The real issue is the issue of the dangers of the meritocracy brought into ironic focus by persons of ability and chinese background who are citizens of western countries and entitled to try to get ahead. But do we want the meritocracy - do we want 10,000 Macrons to bloom? whether they are named LaShawn, Jim or Hexuan.

Big Mike said...

Jesus effing Christ. Unlike Althouse, who is too young, I am old enough to have been a college student in the mid-1960s and an adult in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I heard the same little code words back then about blacks, the subtle phraseology that tells everybody that this person is not that kind of ghetto black. Now the Ivy League runs the same playbook on Asians. Do tell.

And it still goes on today -- think of Joe Biden saying of Barack Obama back in 2007 "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy." Think of David Brooks in ecstasy over the crease on Obama's suit pants.

Fernandinande said...

https://brainstats.com/average-iq-by-country.html

It's almost like - but not quite like - IQ is inversely correlated with shucking and jiving ability.

The Bergall said...

Gender and race. Repeat until the desirable result is ascertain..............

Ralph L said...

I live with a tiger mom and fight it all the time.

I read it as if he is fighting his own stereotype of her.

I thought admissions people were looking for distinguishing characteristics of every applicant who meets the minimum. How else can they make a choice?

Dave Begley said...

Just make Harvard admission a lottery except for athletes and musicians. Save a number of slots for legacies and make that a lottery too.

iowan2 said...

the $ and career value of the degree from Princeton vs. Carolina is ... very very small.

Yes, this.

What lots of parents miss, is the concept of strong character traits. Honesty, respect, work ethic. Those traits translate into a successful life. Seeking money, fame, position, for the sake of achieving those, will most likely not make you successful. Is in having the time and assets to live what is really important to you.
That Harvard diploma has no value to people that dont know you...unless you tell them you have it. If you tell me, I won't be impressed. You are still going to have to prove yourself through your actions. I have spent many wasted hours being lectured to by college degrees that lacked experiences to back up their book learning, to be impressed by a diploma.

Rick said...

We punish people who save money by letting those who spend theirs in for free. Why wouldn't we also punish people for their other successes?

John said...

Later, we hear Alex wondering why having a "tiger mom" should count against you:

Because the school needs to know what you’re capable of when not being constantly managed.

walter said...

Maybe the "meek and mild" can get points for being less likely to get embroiled in a title IX overreach..

Roger Sweeny said...

If Asians have to prove that they are not 'meek and mild' to get into Harvard, do blacks have to prove they are not loud and coarse?

No. It's a matter of supply and demand. There are many, many, many east Asians who meet Harvard's objective criteria, so the pool has to be whittled down some way. There are depressingly few blacks who meet the criteria, so admissions officers are not looking for ways to reject them.

Temujin said...

Ahh...missing the good old days of WASP-filled and run Ivy League schools. Back when everyone was prohibited from attending Harvard unless they came from good old blue blood stock (read: Protestant). Irish Catholics started sneaking in. And dem Jews. Then the whole thing went to shit. Next thing you know black kids and hispanic kids are rubbing shoulders with Asian kids. Then Asian kids are everywhere. Gotta figure out a way to keep these people out.

Maybe we focus back on...wait? What's our percentage of Protestants these days?

Ambrose said...

For the most part alumni interviewers are working to get "their" candidates in. So of course, he will play up the criteria he knows the admissions office is looking for.

Mike Sylwester said...

I don't feel sorry for any Asian-Americans who suffer such discrimination but vote Democrat.

Anonymous said...

As a WASP graduate of Harvard I am on the Asians side - I don't think Harvard has a leg to stand on here. There are other serious issues regarding racist and anti-free speech policies at Harvard College that badly need correcting. This suit is a good place to start.

Mike Sylwester said...

Applicants to get into Yale should be asked about what Halloween costumes they ever have worn during their lives.

Richard said...

“This student, Alex Zhang, is on Harvard's side in the lawsuit: He wrote an amicus brief supporting Harvard and he got the Chinese Students Association to sign another pro-Harvard amicus brief. He doesn't change sides when he sees what's in his file, but he is sorely challenged.”

Alex knows that Asians are being discriminated against and yet he still sides with Harvard. It is almost as if he wants Harvard to limit the number of Asians admitted. After all, if every Asian gets into Harvard then his admission would not be as special. See I am not one of those stereotypical Asians who spend all of their time studying. I am a real Harvard man.

tim in vermont said...

It’s the deplorables keeping the Asians out of Harvard! They want the cachet that blacks have so they identify with blacks, but it’s not racism that keeps them out of Harvard, it’s faculty empire building. One theory I heard was that Harvard didn’t want them because they had no interest in the main product on offer, Grievance Studies. This rings true to me.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Because the school needs to know what you’re capable of when not being constantly managed.

Ever hear about the helicopter style of parenting? Its not just Asians that are constantly "managing" their kids.

tim in vermont said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ron Winkleheimer said...

One theory I heard was that Harvard didn’t want them because they had no interest in the main product on offer, Grievance Studies.

Very, very few people are actually interested in Grievance Studies, which is why colleges are making the classes mandatory.

Sebastian said...

"There seems to be these very negative connotations about the way Asians are raised or the way that they behave growing up. And it just seems like there's this very deeply ingrained prejudice and misunderstanding."

Negative, yes; prejudice, yes; misunderstanding, no. Harvard knows exactly what it's doing.

But . . .

The fact that the Feds pay for research and such shouldn't deprive Harvard of the right to discriminate.

Char Char Binks, Esq. said...

All Amys look alike.

Rory said...

One theory is that this is about beds: if you fill the dormitories with kids who take sciences, engineering, and business, then there won't be any students the grievance departments.

Char Char Binks, Esq. said...

Alex is on Harvard's side because Harvard is on his side. They let him in.

Big Mike said...

@Mike Sylvester (9:14) +1

Anonymous said...

Ron W: ...if admissions are based on merit, which they are not. They are based on "clubability" and racial quotas. The "leadership" class of the US is awful because they are being selected for political reliability. That always ends well.

wildswan: ...do we want 10,000 Macrons to bloom? whether they are named LaShawn, Jim or Hexuan.

Precisely. The real problem here is having Harvard, or rather, a small set of elite gate-keeping institutions, in the business of setting up a mandarin class with far too much influence over the governance of a very large nation. There is a far larger population of "meritorious" young people in the country than there are slots in the Ivy League's freshman intake, and while we need real merit and intelligence in a leadership class, we don't want or need this mandarin class with a limited and brittle ideological mono-culture. (The pertinent first question for the average citizen is: "Is the elite caste in charge of things working in the interests of me and mine, or against them?" You ought to make sure it's the former before worrying about separating the able from the incompetent.)

So I can't get worked up over Harvard discriminating against anybody. Not only because, in addition to the above, I'm old and cynical and well aware of the universal human tendency toward "nepotism and tribal preference for me but not for thee" hypocrisy, but because that's not the big problem with "Harvard" for most of us, which is...well, just read the article and listen to these people. Do you want people tangled up in such an idiotic angels-on-the-head-on-the-head-of-a-pin "diversity" theology, and the people ambitious to join these tangle-brains, controlling your country and your life?

William said...

I've heard of tiger moms, but I didn't know it was a negative stereotype. I didn't read the book, but I thought the writer was preaching that American women should be more like tiger moms. It's definitely a phenomenon that Asians alternately complain about or take pride in......Of all the aggrieved people on earth, rejected Harvard applicants are the least aggrieved.......I'd much rather have Natalie Portman as my classmate than someone with a higher GPA and SAT score. There are other metrics than academic achievement. They don't have to be WASPs, but the scions of rich influential families also serve a useful decorative purpose by attending Harvard. Harvard has to retain its glamour, or it's no longer Harvard.

n.n said...

The progress of diversity or color judgments (e.g. racism) is another wicked solution to an albeit hard problem, right? It's one step forward, two steps backward. We can and should do better. Also, drop the hyphenated, half-breed labels. Perhaps American of whatever descent or heritage, but a whole American, not 1/2.

Virgil Hilts said...

Re China and importance of tests to its culture, David Goldman (Spengler) said earlier this year: "China’s Communist Party government is a merciless meritocracy, which is one reason the Chinese have difficulty understanding American politics. If you’re in the Chinese leadership, you made it there by scoring high on a long series of exams, starting at age twelve—which means you haven’t met a stupid person since you were in junior high school. The fact that democracies can frequently advance stupid people. . . doesn’t make sense to the Chinese...President Xi Jinping cannot .. get his child into Peking University unless that child scores high on his exams. Here in America, you can buy your way into Harvard. You can’t do that in China..." Strongly recommend the whole thing. https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/how-to-meet-the-strategic-challenge-posed-by-china/

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

How does government, corporations, and individuals design their diversity quotas? Is one drop of yellow, Jewish, black, orange, whatever color, sufficient to earn your woke -- but sleepy -- credentials?

Virgil Hilts said...

Also - some group stereotypes are based on statistical truths. We should never prejudge an individual based on the stereotype. But if that same group does less well at something because of that statistical accurate trait, it does not necessarily mean that discrimination occurred. Harvard cannot come out and make this argument (since the left abhors the concept of statistically accurate stereotypes), but Harvard does believe that a disproportionate percentage of Asian applicants are tools.

Howard said...

The admission rules work fine. Asians are good test takers but lack practical and creative skills.

narayanan said...

@Virgil Hilts

Assuming Spengler has it right - What about Rich Chinese and Arabs and whoever buying their children seats into US universities who need the $$?

narayanan said...

Ambrose said... For the most part alumni interviewers are working to get "their" candidates in. So of course, he will play up the criteria he knows the admissions office is looking for.

Does that mean there is secret handshake between alum and admissions office?

Big Mike said...

In addition to being an educated fool, Howard doesn’t know many Asians or he would think of them in purely stereotypical terms. Sorry to burst your bubble, Howard, but if you knew any number of Asians you’d find all with “practical skills” and many with genuine creativity.

Howard is a racist jackass.

Howard said...

Shield Maiden Mom's are better. The kids play sports and don't kill themselves at MIT

Howard said...

Why do I live in BM's head?

Bill Peschel said...

"I thought admissions people were looking for distinguishing characteristics of every applicant who meets the minimum. How else can they make a choice?"

How else can they discriminate (in a legal sense)? You have a couple hundred slots and several thousand people, all of whom qualify for them. How do you pick?

Jim Gust said...

I understood that the alumnus and his Chinese wife had a child, and that he was fighting his wife's being a tiger mom to their child every day, that is, trying to promote the child's independence.

It was a terrific story for NPR, I was surprised they aired it, because it deflated the narrative. Harvard's racism is obvious.

Crazy Rich Asians takes a swing at the Tiger Mom idea. An enjoyable film with lots of stereotypes.

Char Char Binks, Esq. said...

"I thought admissions people were looking for distinguishing characteristics of every applicant who meets the minimum. How else can they make a choice?"

How indeed?

Aren't all Olympic qualifiers amazing athletes? How can we possibly separate Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps from the lone Uzbeki who met the minimum requirement to represent his country? Maybe we can assemble some panel of experts from the Ivy League to assess their likability, courage, kindness, etc. when awarding medals.

Tom Grey said...

Harvard is and has been guilty of illegal discrimination.
They should lose their side of the lawsuit.

Worse is that Harvard, Stanford, Yale, and all top colleges have long been secretly discriminating against hiring Republicans. This open-secret discrimination being acceptable has led to increased polarization, with more folk who like being mean joining the Democrats, so they can be mean to Republicans.

Colleges indoctrinate the young into thinking it's OK to be mean to Reps.

Howard said...

Saying Harvard et Al discriminate against Republican is like saying stand-up comedy discriminate against Republican s. Deplorables hate free market

Yancey Ward said...

Admissions' staff were trained to be able to articulate and defend the political and conceptual interventions their work performs.

Larry J said...

iowan2 said...
the $ and career value of the degree from Princeton vs. Carolina is ... very very small.

Yes, this.

What lots of parents miss, is the concept of strong character traits. Honesty, respect, work ethic. Those traits translate into a successful life. Seeking money, fame, position, for the sake of achieving those, will most likely not make you successful. Is in having the time and assets to live what is really important to you.
That Harvard diploma has no value to people that dont know you...unless you tell them you have it. If you tell me, I won't be impressed. You are still going to have to prove yourself through your actions. I have spent many wasted hours being lectured to by college degrees that lacked experiences to back up their book learning, to be impressed by a diploma.


You don't have to ask if someone is a Harvard grad. In short order, they'll tell you. We had a similar thing in the Air Force with a lot of academy grads. The most obnoxious ones were called "Ring Knockers" because they'd tap their Air Force Academy rings on the table to draw attention to the fact they graduated from the academy. Even if they didn't do that, they'd find a way to work "when I was at the Academy" into the conversation, any conversation.

Fortunately, they weren't all like that. One young woman in particular that I had the privilege to work with was completely unlike that. I told her that I never would've known she was an academy grad if someone else hadn't told me. She took that as the compliment I intended. She graduated with a degree in electrical engineering, earned a masters in EE, and is razor sharp both in technical knowledge and her sense of humor. She's highly respected and we fought over the opportunities to work with her on projects. Her children were about the same ages as my grandchildren, so we had a lot of topics for humor. I miss working with her.

FWBuff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FWBuff said...

I heard this story on the radio Saturday, and it disturbed me for a different reason.

I'm an alumni interviewer for my law school, and interview several prospective students each fall. I'm very concerned that the volunteer interviewer's evaluation and name were made public. We're the only people that interact with the prospects "live". How can we be candid in our supposedly confidential evaluations if they can be disclosed in this way? How does that help the student or the school, especially when words can be taken out of context and interpreted through a racial filter? As one of the "old white guys" (which characterization neither the reporter nor NPR had any trouble leaving in the story), I may have to re-think helping my school this way in the future.

Mike Petrik said...

The longstanding phenomenon of children benefiting from parenting has to be addressed. Thankfully, our elite institutions, government and private, understand this and are slowly but surely putting a stop to this injustice.

Rabel said...

"The admission rules work fine. Asians are good test takers but lack practical and creative skills."

Fuck you, Howard.

Leslie Graves said...

I wonder if McCandlish was a legacy admission.

jg said...

The entire enterprise of anointing a touchy-feely 'right kind of people' elite is corrupt and should be exposed maximally.

Big Mike said...

You don't have to ask if someone is a Harvard grad. In short order, they'll tell you.

Or any other Ivy. Engineers from Cornell can be particularly obnoxious.

Earnest Prole said...

Harvard’s predicament is primarily a crisis of social class. If you let in too many middle-class Asian achievers, there won’t be room for the upper-class whites Harvard believes should rightfully rule the world. Select by pure merit and you’ll end up with a school that looks like UC Berkeley: nearly half Asian.

Big Mike said...

The admission rules work fine. Asians are good test takers but lack practical and creative skills.

Howard is unhappy that I responded so negatively to the above. As if any decent person would let racial stereotyping go unchallenged. What’s next, Howard? You gonna call black folks “shiftless”?

Char Char Binks, Esq. said...

"Asians are good test takers but lack practical and creative skills."

Much the way that weightlifters are simply good at lifting weights, but are actually scrawny and weak, and Michael Phelps isn't a good swimmer outside of the narrow swimming tests given at the Olympics, probably.

Mike Petrik said...

Howard is being sarcastic. Has to be. Nobody can be that stupid.

tcrosse said...

Howard is being sarcastic. Has to be. Nobody can be that stupid.

Howard is pulling your hechsher.

Amadeus 48 said...

For the love of heaven, what did you think this file would be like?

Harvard isn't going to admit Asians as 40% of their incoming class, so they have to make some distinctions. They could throw the stack of files down the stairs and admit the ones that get to the bottom. They could line the qualified Asian applicants up alphabetically and admit every 10th student. They could exclude every qualified student with certain names. They could draw lots. It's all arbitrary. What they want is a certain number of Asian/ black/ foreign/ white/ hispanic/ transgender students and no more. Who those people are is unimportant. Any admitted student's file is going to look like this. They are making completely arbitrary decisions.

Big Mike said...

Howard is being sarcastic. Has to be. Nobody can be that stupid.

@Mike Petrik, obviously you haven’t read his comments on other Althouse posts.

rehajm said...

You don't have to ask if someone is a Harvard grad.


You can always tell a Harvard grad but you can't tell him much

Big Mike said...

Harvard isn't going to admit Asians as 40% of their incoming class, so they have to make some distinctions.

And why not? What would be the downside of a Harvard class that consisted of all Asian-Americans except for varsity athletes? And even there, there my son’s high school sent a Chinese-American to Harvard. Very good grades, but he could throw a football a long way with excellent accuracy.

The Godfather said...

1. I went to Harvard (Class of '65). I knew one Asian American (not a good friend, just somebody I knew). I'm not saying he was the only one there, but I only knew one. I also knew one Roosevelt and one Rockefeller, just to give you perspective.

2. When I went back for my 25th reunion, I noticed two big changes on campus: More women (Harvard had gone co-ed) and more Asians.

3. I am really pissed off at Harvard because they have adopted policies to prevent students from joining off-campus private clubs that "discriminate". I thought the right to associate was a good thing.

4. I hope Harvard loses the Asians' law suit. I hope they are hit really hard.

5. But that's because I'm pissed off at Harvard for other reasons (see #3).

6. In principle I believe that a private institution should be allowed to "discriminate" in whatever way it chooses. If Harvard wants to base admissions on whether the applicant is a Mayflower descendant, or the son/daughter of billinaires, or "clubable", that should be Harvard's right. In a generation a Harvard degree won't be worth much, but by then I'll be dead and won't care.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

You have a couple hundred slots and several thousand people, all of whom qualify for them. How do you pick?

By lot. How else? And if that means that your class is more Chinese/Japanese/Taiwanese/South Korean than you'd like, deal with it, OK?

Anonymous said...

And why not? What would be the downside of a Harvard class that consisted of all Asian-Americans except for varsity athletes?

What would be the downside of Harvard class that consisted of all, say, white gentiles? (There are more than enough of 'em with top scores in the population to fill a Harvard class, after all.)

Golly, I just can't imagine why that would bother anybody.

n.n said...

#ColorMatters #DiversityMatters #PeopleAreColorfulClumpsOfCells

Howard said...

Funny how you cucks don't get triggered hysterectomies over black sterotypes

Douglas B. Levene said...

I think CalTech has the right idea: no athletic admits, no legacy admits, no racial preference admits. Just grades and scores. Trust that your students, especially those who are so smart, will figure out for themselves what hobbies and other extracurricular activities, if any, make sense for them. Focus on getting the smartest kids and giving them a great education. Let the rest fall out where it may.

MB said...

This person's amicus brief supporting Harvard is a sign of his conformism. He wants so badly to fit in and de-emphasize any differences, real and perceived, between himself and the prototypical successful Harvard student.
Those other Chinese students who didn't get in, they were the real non-conformists. Too non-conformist for Harvard, apparently.

Unknown said...

"Howard said...

Funny how you cucks don't get triggered hysterectomies over black sterotypes
"

Stereotypes are the truest things in the world. All other worldviews are based on opinions, theories and dreams. Only stereotypes are based on actual observation.

Unknown said...

I come from Asia and know Asians are not some super-intelligent race. There are dumb Asians. Not all Asian mothers are "tiger moms". There is an old Asian tradition of studying hard to get good jobs. There is also the idea that they must try and excel to not bring dishonor to the family and the old country. If Asians can qualify into prestigious universities out of proportion, why shouldn't they be rewarded?

Anonymous said...

Harvard got its start as a Puritan seminary. The one common thread that persists to this day is that Harvard administrators, students, and faculty all believe that they're god's elect, annointed to rule over everyone else. It's why they always harp on that "we train leaders" bullshit, and why Harvard produces graduates who simply can't be happy unless they're telling other people what to do.

I've employed a lot of people in my career, and a degree from Harvard is one thing I'll hold against any applicant.