De-minoritizing Asians

Ten years after California voters banned racial preferences in university admissions, the percentage of Asian-American students attending University of California campuses has soared, making them the single largest ethnic group. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports:

Asian-Americans – 14.1 percent of California’s 2005 high school graduating class – make up 41.8 percent of the freshman class at UC campuses, up from 36 percent a decade ago.

Meanwhile, blacks at 3 percent and whites at 32.2 percent make up smaller shares of UC’s freshman class than they did previously. Latinos account for 16.3 percent of UC freshmen, up from 13 percent a decade ago, but still less than half their 36.5 percentage of state high school graduates.

Asian-American students are far more likely than others to earn A’s and B’s in college-prep classes; they’re somewhat more likely than non-Asian high achievers to choose UC over private colleges.

Apparently, academic excellence makes students of Vietnamese, Chinese, Indian, Korean and Hmong ancestry un-diverse.

“In the narrow view, some Asians are beneficiaries, and Latinos and blacks are losers; but really, everyone’s a loser,” said Gary Orfield, an education and social policy professor at Harvard. “There may be enough minorities to have one or two kids in a classroom, but not enough to have a rich relationship.”

In addition to earning high grades and test scores, students can become UC eligible by graduating in the top 4 percent of their high school class. The move was designed to help students from high-poverty, high-minority schools. Who are the top students at these schools? Poor whites and kids from low-income Vietnamese and Hmong families.

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  1. Walter E. Wallis says:

    California had a word for this – a hundred years ago – The Yellow Peril! Hearst would have been proud!

  2. A “rich relationship”?

    And here I had this crazy, crazy idea that college was about academics, at least in theory. (I know, I’m hopelessly reactionary and old-fashioned. But then again, I’ve also got the idea that people matter more as individuals than as Examples Of Their Ethnicity, so I might as well give up even talking to people like Professor Orfield, if experience is any guide.)

  3. Ah, well there’s your mistake. Everything is about politics when you’re trying to create a worker’s paradise.

    Doing your best to create exploitable differences between people is just common sense. That way you can offer special privilages to special people and everyone is special in their own, little way.

    Much better to be part of a group that gets special privilages, which are richly deserved due to a long history of (insert convenient justification here), then to accept the boring thesis that “all men are created equal, endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights”. What’s the fun in that?

    More importantly, what’s the political value in that? If you can’t make promises of special treatment in return for political support what do you have to offer? You can’t offer equality, that territory’s already taken. You certainly can’t allow any greivance, real or imagined, recent or ancient, to lie unexploited so you exacerbate the differences.

  4. One think I haven’t found yet was what percentage of the Asian kids came from intact families, not unwed parent, the mother and father the actual biological parents, you get the idea.

  5. When I was at the UC, I lernt me that diversity is really just about (i) interesting potlucks, (ii) having a broad spectrum of skin colors for the cover of the admissions brochure, (iii) ensuring that leftists of different backgrounds have a place to hold hands, Speak Truth to Power and agree that they are victims, and (iv) ensuring full employment and political power for faculty and staff with no saleable skills.

    The original movement to open the universities was pushed by people who claimed they wanted to overcome the idea of melanin-based determinism, if you will. The whole idea that your race should determine your success in life was defeated because we as a society became rather quickly convinced that it was irrational. Surely the idea does not suddenly become rational just because the person preaching it is Al Sharpton.

  6. Academic institutions primarily have control and power over their campus environment. To encourage more racial diversity in its admissions selection and its faculty appointment is on the whole surfacey, and doesn’t really address the institutional and structural issues within society, in the corporate world, or even in the academic institution itself. Case in point: let’s take a look at the racial diversity of the colleges’ and universities’ board of directors, executive/leadership team, and, ahem, you’ll probably find the numbers to show an overwhelming majority of white Anglo-Americans. So what good is all this maneuvering for multiculturalism and diversity anyways?


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