New York’s super-progressive mayor, Bill de Blasio has pledged to get rid of the Specialized High School Admissions Test, the rigorous entrance exam that has, up to now, been the sole determinant for entry into New York’s elite high schools.
De Blasio is concerned that the current demographics in elite schools like Stuyvesant High and Bronx Science, previously mostly white, is skewing disproportionately Asian-American, with very low numbers of African-American and Hispanic children.
If de Blasio is successful, New York schools will go the way of universities like Harvard and MIT, who are imposing quotas on Asian-Americans to achieve “diversity,” a more highly prized value amongst progressives than equality of opportunity for all individuals regardless of race or religion or ethnicity.
Needless to say, Asian-American parents are not amused. And they are fighting back.
Their grandparents did not slave away in laundries and chop suey joints 24/7 to see their great-grandchildren become the victim of a politically correct scheme of social engineering.
To them, an objective exam reflects the level playing field America is supposed to be. They don’t want their children paying the price so that campuses can look like “Utopia”.
American novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald once famously said, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”
How witty that sounds. If you’re drunk, that is, which F. Scott Fitzgerald was a good deal of the time. In the cold light of policy-making, two opposed ideas do not usually constitute an effective tool for guidance.
Juggling opposing ideas is a constant necessity for multiculturalists, who hold that all cultures are equally worthy, and equally conducive to human flourishing. The supporting corollary idea progressives hold is that any disparities in outcomes between cultural groups are due to racism or other oppressive forces, like patriarchy, exerted by those who hold power in society over those who are powerless.
A quandary arises when certain cultural groups, even those with demonstrable histories of oppression, flourish in spite of bias and in spite of their sorrowful histories.
In the case of Jews, obvious frontrunners on most outcome scales, multiculturalists have managed to hold two opposing ideas together with the duct tape of whiteness: yes, this group experienced bigotry in the past and have become successful in the present without affirmative action, but they are white, so they can be accused of having “privilege” to explain their success.
They have a tougher time explaining why certifiably non-white people punch above their weight.
Pew Research on religious groups vis à vis income tells us that next to Jews, Hindus are the highest earners. Most Hindus are Indian. All are brown-skinned. In the lexicon of progressives, they rank as “Other” and therefore have no “privilege”.
Any reasonable person unburdened by rigid theories disconnected from reality can see why they are successful. Indian culture values family solidarity, education and hard work. In Indian families, two-parent families are the norm. Not unlike Jews.
In academia, East Asians present a special problem for multiculturalists. They have been fabulously successful in education.
Again, culturally, no surprises here. The term “tiger mother” tells the tale. With a study ethic that puts Jews to shame, (primarily) Chinese students are swelling all ranks in which merit criteria are honoured.
In 1960, Asians were one percent of the U.S. population. Now they are five percent and still growing. Their presence in higher education and tech is stunning.
Between East and South Asians, they now fill half the tech jobs in Silicon Valley. At the California Institute of Technology, 40% of the student body is Asian-American.
Cal Tech has no plans to impose quotas on them, but MIT and Harvard University already do. To achieve the racial balance they want, Harvard is creating more “holistic” standards which include “personality” ratings.
(In the 1930s, they justified their Jewish quota by imposing “character” criteria.)
Harvard uses weasel words to describe personality, such as “likability, courage, kindness and being ‘widely respected,’” which is basically saying that Chinese students are “cold, nerdy, insensitive and lacking in leadership qualities”.
Harvard and other universities have no problem with over-representation of other groups.
Female students are very much over-represented in academia today. As a formerly disadvantaged group, they are given latitude for unlimited representation in any educational area they choose, and affirmative action in areas they don’t in proportionate numbers.
In some colleges, females outnumber males in up to 6:1 ratios.
If progressives really wanted Blacks and Hispanics to succeed in education, they would point to Jews and Asians and say to them, “do what they’re doing.”
But that would be to admit the obvious: that some cultures, in spite of oppression, racism and lack of privilege, are better at the intergenerational transfer of behavioural traits conducive to success than others.
The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act denied immigration and naturalization on racial grounds.
During World War II, the Japanese suffered the humiliation of internment.
Asians have every right to insist on merit-based admission wherever they damn well please and in any numbers they damn well deserve.