The Missing Asian Students

One of the least-kept secrets in higher education is the fact that many colleges and universities, especially the more select ones, consciously seek to suppress their “Asian” student enrollment.
During the first year of my term as a regent of the University of California (UC), a prominent member of the staff at one of the UC campuses remarked to me that at least two of the UC campuses could become “all-Asian” if conscious efforts were not pursued to “maintain diversity.” It was at that point that I learned that “diversity” was the fig leaf to hide this pervasive system of discrimination against Asians.

The case filed by Jian Li against Princeton and the decision of the Office of Civil Rights to take this case, and to even expand it, is an extremely important one for those who believe that racial discrimination is morally wrong and that every American is entitled to equal treatment. This insidious practice of Asian discrimination has largely gone unchallenged for a variety of reasons. First, there is a prevailing view that “opportunities” granted to one group do not come at the expense of another. This view was recently expressed by one of the presidential candidates. It is a sentiment that enables institutions of higher education as well as others to get away with their Asian discrimination. Few are aware that the percentage of Asians at the University of California at Los Angeles campus went from roughly 22% when preferences were being accorded to “underrepresented minorities” to over 40% once they were eliminated.

Second, Asian discrimination occurs because Asians—unlike black and Latino activist groups—remain silent in the face of discrimination against them. Stepping forward as he has done, Li might very well trigger an “I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore” attitude among other Asians. And that would be a good thing.

Until recently, the unbridled pursuit of “diversity” has allowed public and private institutions to operate with reckless abandon based on their belief that the end of racial integration and “inclusion” justified the means of achieving it—a means that they failed to even acknowledge as constituting discrimination. Hopefully, the Office of Civil Rights can unmask the consequences of this diversity gambit and restore the principle of individual rights to the decision-making process.

Ward Connerly

Ward Connerly is founder and President of the American Civil Rights Institute.

One thought on “The Missing Asian Students”

  1. Ward Connerly’s remarks bring to mind a conversation I once had with a neighbor about abortion. She (and apparently her husband, who said nothing) were for legalized abortion, she said, because she saw it reducing the number of children of Asian immigrants who’d grow up and, by their intelligence and hard work, make less likely a successful career for a son that was lazy and not particularly clever.
    In his public statements Connerly should mention another reason university administrators and their political allies have for setting up a system that fills the limited number of university slots (particularly to professional schools) with less capable minorities while excluding the more capable ones. Like that former neighbor of mine, many have less than impressive sons and daughters, children that wouldn’t fare well in a level playing field competition with Asians, but who will do well competing with blacks and Hispanics admitted under affirmative action. And like any member of the bourgeoise, they’re obsessed with ‘making good’ at almost any expense, particularly when the expense is borne by others.
    That explains why such people seem little concerned when the graduation rates for favored minorities are so poor. For them, that’s almost a measure of success. After all, the objective isn’t to help those minorities, it’s to flood admissions slots with them and keep out more capable Asians and whites from disadvantaged backgrounds. Once a Jian Li is kept out, their goal is accomplished. Whether the person admitted in his place graduates or not is irrelevant.
    For similar reasons, the champions of affirmative action are also hostile to changes in our educational system (such as vouchers) that would improve the opportunities of all disadvantaged groups, black, white, Hispanic and Asian. They don’t want to lose the advantage they have in being able to afford private schools for their kids or to live where the public schools are well above average. These are the ‘haves’ trying to keep down the ‘have-nots,’ whatever their background or race.
    For political corruption you follow the money. For corruption in university education you examine what personal incentives educators have for excluding some of their most talented and energetic applicants, reasons that are so selfish that they can’t be spoken aloud. My neighbor was being unusually honest. They aren’t.
    –Michael W. Perry, editor of Eugenics and Other Evils by G. K. Chesterton

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