This piece appeared in the Los Angeles Times recently, and it deserves a lot more notice from conservatives than it’s received so far. It’s not that it doesn’t tell us things we didn’t already know — it’s that the Left is so blatant about its prejudices, and so determined to tear down any semblance of meritocracy regarding college admissions. And, mostly, it reminds us that Asian-Americans need to recognize who their enemies are:
In a windowless classroom at an Arcadia tutoring center, parents crammed into child-sized desks and dug through their pockets and purses for pens as Ann Lee launches a PowerPoint presentation. Her primer on college admissions begins with the basics: application deadlines, the relative virtues of the SAT versus the ACT and how many Advanced Placement tests to take.
Then she eases into a potentially incendiary topic — one that many counselors like her have learned they cannot avoid. “Let’s talk about Asians,” she says.
Lee’s next slide shows three columns of numbers from a Princeton University study that tried to measure how race and ethnicity affect admissions by using SAT scores as a benchmark. It uses the term “bonus” to describe how many extra SAT points an applicant’s race is worth. She points to the first column. African Americans received a “bonus” of 230 points, Lee says.
She points to the second column. “Hispanics received a bonus of 185 points.”
The last column draws gasps. Asian Americans, Lee says, are penalized by 50 points — in other words, they had to do that much better to win admission. “Do Asians need higher test scores? Is it harder for Asians to get into college? The answer is yes,” Lee says.
“Zenme keyi,” one mother hisses in Chinese. How can this be possible?
A good question. In a country ostensibly devoted to political equality, inequality is the order of the day from the Left, which seeks to bolster its favored “victim” groups at the expense of everybody else. (That anyone would willingly embrace “victim” status is another matter.) To their eternal disgrace, the courts — including the Supreme Court — have upheld the bogus issue of “diversity” as a factor in college admissions. And so we have a system that has satisfied nobody, penalizes some of the best intellectual talent in the country and hinders American competitiveness just… because.
The moral posturing of the unholy Left, which has no morals except situational morality, is bad enough, but the impact these wretched people have had on nearly everybody is sickening. On the proven theory that every single word out of the mouth of a Leftist is a lie, we have to ask ourselves: why are they doing this?
Certainly not to “help” blacks and Hispanics. If you view the basic “progressive” in his native habitat of Manhattan, West Los Angeles and rural New England, you will quickly notice that he has a positive phobia of blacks and Hispanics, lives as far away from them as possible, and is inclined to call the cops should he happen to encounter one in his neighborhood. Further, if there is any evidence that “diversity” (as the Left defines it, which is exclusively racially) has any intrinsic, positive good, I have yet to see it. For the Left, “diversity” is purely about racial nose-counting and spoils delivering, nothing more. Which is why, of course, they’re Democrats — scions of the Tammany Party.
So we are left with the only possible explanation; or, rather, two. Okay, three. One is that they are interested in the aggrandizement of power. Insofar as that — disguised as the false virtue of “compassion” — can slake the rot at the center of their souls, they pursue it. The second is that they are simply malevolent, filled with a self-loathing (as well they should be) that can only be assuaged by the destruction of everything they profess to hold dear. The third is that they are simply, irremediably, evil.
College admission season ignites deep anxieties for Asian American families, who spend more than any other demographic on education. At elite universities across the U.S., Asian Americans form a larger share of the student body than they do of the population as a whole. And increasingly they have turned against affirmative action policies that could alter those ratios, and accuse admissions committees of discriminating against Asian American applicants.
That perspective has pitted them against advocates for diversity: More college berths for Asian American students mean fewer for black and Latino students, who are statistically underrepresented at top universities.
But in the San Gabriel Valley’s hyper-competitive ethnic Asian communities, arguments for diversity can sometimes fall on deaf ears. For immigrant parents raised in Asia’s all-or-nothing test cultures, a good education is not just a measure of success — it’s a matter of survival. They see academic achievement as a moral virtue, and families organize their lives around their child’s education, moving to the best school districts and paying for tutoring and tennis lessons. An acceptance letter from a prestigious college is often the only acceptable return on an investment that stretches over decades.
This gives the game away: Democrats, who favor racial bean-counting with an enthusiasm that would put Nazi bureaucrats to shame, have absolutely no interest in diversity — only in “diversity” as they define it. Which in a sentient society ought to instantly render their intellectually shoddy arguments moot. But with the media — dominated by Baby Boomers for whom the civil-rights movement was the defining event of their lives — still locked into a 1960s black-white paradigm and on the side of the Democrats til death do them part, there is small chance of reason holding sway.
Lee is the co-founder of HS2 Academy, a college prep business that assumes that racial bias is a fact of college admissions and counsels students accordingly. At 10 centers across the state, the academy’s counselors teach countermeasures to Asian American applicants. The goal, Lee says, is to help prospective college students avoid coming off like another “cookie-cutter Asian.”
“Everyone is in orchestra and plays piano,” Lee says. “Everyone plays tennis. Everyone wants to be a doctor, and write about immigrating to America. You can’t get in with these cliche applications.”
As opposed to what? That everyone wants to play in the NBA or become a rapper like Kanye West? One group’s strengths are a liberal’s invidious cliches; the other group’s only contribute to vibrant multiculturalism.
Like a lot of students at Arcadia High School, Yue Liang plans to apply to University of California campuses and major in engineering — or if her mother wins that argument, pre-med. She excels at math, takes multiple AP courses and volunteers, as does nearly everyone she knows. Being of Asian descent, the junior says, is “a disadvantage.” The problem, she says, is in the numbers.
Asian families flock to the San Gabriel Valley’s school districts because they have some of the highest Academic Performance Index scores in the state. But with hundreds of top-performing students at each high school, focusing on a small set of elite institutions, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd.
Of the school’s 4,000 students, nearly 3,000 are of Asian descent, and like Yue are willing to do whatever it takes to gain entrance to a prestigious university. They will study until they can’t remember how to have fun and stuff their schedules with extracurriculars. But there’s an important part of their college applications that they can’t improve as easily as an SAT score: their ethnicity.
Do you see now how loathsome this is? I am not a fan of the reversal-of-argument (“What if it were Bush?) because it falls on deaf Leftist ears. They don’t care, because they’re not logical, and their hearts are too filled with hate for the points being made to penetrate their reptilian brains. So now Asian-Americans — many of whom have overcome far greater obstacles to advancement than black or Hispanics students — must develop “strategies” to steer them between the Scylla and Charybdis of modern “liberalism.”
Still, anxiety over racial admissions rates is peaking as cash-crunched public universities increasingly favor high-paying out-of-state and foreign students at the expense of local applicants of every ethnicity. A 2014 bill that would have asked voters to consider restoring race as a factor in admissions to public California colleges and universities sparked multiple public protests and scathing editorials in Chinese newspapers. The bill, Senate Constitutional Amendment 5, was shelved last year.
When will the 14th Amendment be fully enforced to benefit Asian-Americans?
Lee says that she usually tries to at least mention arguments in favor of diversity at her free college seminars. She mentions how the black student population at UCLA has declined precipitously and how student bodies at elite universities probably shouldn’t be 100% of Asian descent. When she looks to see the response, she sees mostly slowly shaking heads.
“It’s really hard for me to explain diversity to parents whose only goal is getting their son into Harvard,” Lee says.
As well it should be.
Jamie Aviles, a counselor at the ACI Institute, doesn’t teach ways to overcome perceived racial bias, she says. But she and many other counselors do agree on at least one thing.
As Aviles puts it: “It sucks to be a kid in the San Gabriel Valley.”
Sucks to be Asian, he means. The promise of America is not equal outcomes in any — every –given field: it is equal justice before the law. Any thing else would be, well, less diverse.