How Diversity Punishes Asians, Poor Whites and Lots of Others

When college presidents and academic administrators pay their usual obeisance to “diversity” you know they are talking first and foremost about race. More specifically, they are talking about blacks. A diverse college campus is understood as one that has a student body that–at a minimum–is 5 to 7 percent black (i.e., equivalent to roughly half the proportion of blacks in the general population). A college or university that is only one, two, or three percent black would not be considered “diverse” by college administrators regardless of how demographically diverse its student body might be in other ways. The blacks in question need not be African Americans–indeed at many of the most competitive colleges today, including many Ivy League schools, an estimated 40-50 percent of those categorized as black are Afro-Caribbean or African immigrants, or the children of such immigrants.

As a secondary meaning “diversity” can also encompass Hispanics, who together with blacks are often subsumed by college administrators and admissions officers under the single race category “underrepresented minorities.” Most colleges and universities seeking “diversity” seek a similar proportion of Hispanics in their student body as blacks (since blacks and Hispanics are about equal in number in the general population), though meeting the black diversity goal usually has a much higher priority than meeting the Hispanic one.

Asians, unlike blacks and Hispanics, receive no boost in admissions. Indeed, the opposite is often the case, as the quota-like mentality that leads college administrators to conclude they may have “too many” Asians. Despite the much lower number of Asians in the general high-school population, high-achieving Asian students–those, for instance, with SAT scores in the high 700s–are much more numerous than comparably high-achieving blacks and Hispanics, often by a factor of ten or more. Thinking as they do in racial balancing and racial quota terms, college admissions officers at the most competitive institutions almost always set the bar for admitting Asians far above that for Hispanics and even farther above that for admitting blacks.

“Diversity” came to be so closely associated with race in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Bakke decision in 1978. In his decisive opinion, Justice Lewis Powell rejected arguments for racial preferences based on generalized “societal discrimination,” social justice, or the contemporary needs of American society as insufficiently weighty to overrule the color-blind imperative of the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause. That imperative, however, could be overruled, Powell said, by a university’s legitimate concern for the educational benefits of a demographically diverse student body.

Virtually all competitive colleges after Bakke continued with their racial preference policies (“affirmative action”), though after Powell’s decision they had to cloak their true meaning and purpose behind a misleading or dishonest rhetoric of “diversity.” Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, a critic of racial preferences, accurately explains the situation: “The raison d’etre for race-specific affirmative action programs,” Dershowitz writes, “has simply never been diversity for the sake of education. The checkered history of ‘diversity’ demonstrates that it was designed largely as a cover to achieve other legally, morally, and politically controversial goals. In recent years, it has been invoked–especially in the professional schools–as a clever post facto justification for increasing the number of minority group students in the student body.”

While almost all college administrators and college admissions officers at the most elite institutions think in racial balancing and racial quota-like terms when they assemble their student body, they almost always deny this publicly in a blizzard of rhetoric about a more far-flung “diversity.” Indeed, there is probably no other area where college administrators are more likely to lie or conceal the truth of what they are doing than in the area of admissions and race.

Most elite universities seem to have little interest in diversifying their student bodies when it comes to the numbers of born-again Christians from the Bible belt, students from Appalachia and other rural and small-town areas, people who have served in the U.S. military, those who have grown up on farms or ranches, Mormons, Pentecostals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, lower-middle-class Catholics, working class “white ethnics,” social and political conservatives, wheelchair users, married students, married students with children, or older students first starting out in college after raising children or spending several years in the workforce. Students in these categories are often very rare at the more competitive colleges, especially the Ivy League. While these kinds of people would surely add to the diverse viewpoints and life-experiences represented on college campuses, in practice “diversity” on campus is largely a code word for the presence of a substantial proportion of those in the “underrepresented” racial minority groups.

The Diversity Colleges Want

A new study by Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade and his colleague Alexandria Radford is a real eye-opener in revealing just what sorts of students highly competitive colleges want–or don’t want–on their campuses and how they structure their admissions policies to get the kind of “diversity” they seek. The Espenshade/Radford study draws from a new data set, the National Study of College Experience (NSCE), which was gathered from eight highly competitive public and private colleges and universities (entering freshmen SAT scores: 1360). Data was collected on over 245,000 applicants from three separate application years, and over 9,000 enrolled students filled out extensive questionnaires. Because of confidentiality agreements Espenshade and Radford could not name the institutions but they assure us that their statistical profile shows they fit nicely within the top 50 colleges and universities listed in the U.S. News & World Report ratings.

Consistent with other studies, though in much greater detail, Espenshade and Radford show the substantial admissions boost, particularly at the private colleges in their study, which Hispanic students get over whites, and the enormous advantage over whites given to blacks. They also show how Asians must do substantially better than whites in order to reap the same probabilities of acceptance to these same highly competitive private colleges. On an “other things equal basis,” where adjustments are made for a variety of background factors, being Hispanic conferred an admissions boost over being white (for those who applied in 1997) equivalent to 130 SAT points (out of 1600), while being black rather than white conferred a 310 SAT point advantage. Asians, however, suffered an admissions penalty compared to whites equivalent to 140 SAT points.

The box students checked off on the racial question on their application was thus shown to have an extraordinary effect on a student’s chances of gaining admission to the highly competitive private schools in the NSCE database. To have the same chances of gaining admission as a black student with an SAT score of 1100, an Hispanic student otherwise equally matched in background characteristics would have to have a 1230, a white student a 1410, and an Asian student a 1550. Here the Espenshade/Radford results are consistent with other studies, including those of William Bowen and Derek Bok in their book The Shape of the River, though they go beyond this influential study in showing both the substantial Hispanic admissions advantage and the huge admissions penalty suffered by Asian applicants. Although all highly competitive colleges and universities will deny that they have racial quotas–either minimum quotas or ceiling quotas–the huge boosts they give to the lower-achieving black and Hispanic applicants, and the admissions penalties they extract from their higher-achieving Asian applicants, clearly suggest otherwise.

Espenshade and Radford also take up very thoroughly the question of “class based preferences” and what they find clearly shows a general disregard for improving the admission chances of poor and otherwise disadvantaged whites. Other studies, including a 2005 analysis of nineteen highly selective public and private universities by William Bowen, Martin Kurzweil, and Eugene Tobin, in their 2003 book, Equity and Excellence in American Higher Education, found very little if any advantage in the admissions process accorded to whites from economically or educationally disadvantaged families compared to whites from wealthier or better educated homes. Espenshade and Radford cite this study and summarize it as follows: “These researchers find that, for non-minority [i.e., white] applicants with the same SAT scores, there is no perceptible difference in admission chances between applicants from families in the bottom income quartile, applicants who would be the first in their families to attend college, and all other (non-minority) applicants from families at higher levels of socioeconomic status. When controls are added for other student and institutional characteristics, these authors find that “on an other-things-equal basis, [white] applicants from low-SES backgrounds, whether defined by family income or parental education, get essentially no break in the admissions process; they fare neither better nor worse than other [white] applicants.”

Distressing as many might consider this to be–since the same institutions that give no special consideration to poor white applicants boast about their commitment to “diversity” and give enormous admissions breaks to blacks, even to those from relatively affluent homes–Espenshade and Radford in their survey found the actual situation to be much more troubling. At the private institutions in their study whites from lower-class backgrounds incurred a huge admissions disadvantage not only in comparison to lower-class minority students, but compared to whites from middle-class and upper-middle-class backgrounds as well. The lower-class whites proved to be all-around losers. When equally matched for background factors (including SAT scores and high school GPAs), the better-off whites were more than three times as likely to be accepted as the poorest whites (.28 vs. .08 admissions probability). Having money in the family greatly improved a white applicant’s admissions chances, lack of money greatly reduced it. The opposite class trend was seen among non-whites, where the poorer the applicant the greater the probability of acceptance when all other factors are taken into account. Class-based affirmative action does exist within the three non-white ethno-racial groupings, but among the whites the groups advanced are those with money.

When lower-class whites are matched with lower-class blacks and other non-whites the degree of the non-white advantage becomes astronomical: lower-class Asian applicants are seven times as likely to be accepted to the competitive private institutions as similarly qualified whites, lower-class Hispanic applicants eight times as likely, and lower-class blacks ten times as likely. These are enormous differences and reflect the fact that lower-class whites were rarely accepted to the private institutions Espenshade and Radford surveyed. Their diversity-enhancement value was obviously rated very low.

Poor Non-White Students: “Counting Twice”

The enormous disadvantage incurred by lower-class whites in comparison to non-whites and wealthier whites is partially explained by Espenshade and Radford as a result of the fact that, except for the very wealthiest institutions like Harvard and Princeton, private colleges and universities are reluctant to admit students who cannot afford their high tuitions. And since they have a limited amount of money to give out for scholarship aid, they reserve this money to lure those who can be counted in their enrollment statistics as diversity-enhancing “racial minorities.” Poor whites are apparently given little weight as enhancers of campus diversity, while poor non-whites count twice in the diversity tally, once as racial minorities and a second time as socio-economically deprived. Private institutions, Espenshade and Radford suggest, “intentionally save their scarce financial aid dollars for students who will help them look good on their numbers of minority students.” Quoting a study by NYU researcher Mitchell Stevens, they write: “ultimate evaluative preference for members of disadvantaged groups was reserved for applicants who could be counted in the college’s multicultural statistics. This caused some admissions officers no small amount of ethical dismay.”

There are problems, however, with this explanation. While it explains why scarce financial aid dollars might be reserved for minority “twofers,” it cannot explain why well-qualified lower-class whites are not at least offered admission without financial aid. The mere offer of admission is costless, and at least a few among the poor whites accepted would probably be able to come up with outside scholarship aid. But even if they couldn’t, knowing they did well enough in their high school studies to get accepted to a competitive private college would surely sit well with most of them even if they couldn’t afford the high tuition. Espenshade and Radford do not address this conundrum but the answer is easy to discern. The ugly truth is that most colleges, especially the more competitive private ones, are fiercely concerned with their ratings by rating organizations like U.S. News & World Report. And an important part of those ratings consist of a numerical acceptance rate (the ratio of applicants received to those accepted) and a yield score (the ratio of those accepted to those who enroll). The lower the acceptance rate and the higher the yield score the more favorably colleges are looked upon. In extending admissions to well-qualified but financially strapped whites who are unlikely to enroll, a college would be driving both its acceptance rate and its yield score in the wrong direction. Academic bureaucrats rarely act against either their own or their organization’s best interests (as they perceive them), and while their treatment of lower-class whites may for some be a source of “no small amount of ethical dismay,” that’s just how it goes. Some of the private colleges Espenshade and Radford describe would do well to come clean with their act and admit the truth: “Poor Whites Need Not Apply!”

Besides the bias against lower-class whites, the private colleges in the Espenshade/Radford study seem to display what might be called an urban/Blue State bias against rural and Red State occupations and values. This is most clearly shown in a little remarked statistic in the study’s treatment of the admissions advantage of participation in various high school extra-curricular activities. In the competitive private schools surveyed participation in many types of extra-curricular activities — including community service activities, performing arts activities, and “cultural diversity” activities — conferred a substantial improvement in an applicant’s chances of admission. The admissions advantage was usually greatest for those who held leadership positions or who received awards or honors associated with their activities. No surprise here — every student applying to competitive colleges knows about the importance of extracurriculars.

But what Espenshade and Radford found in regard to what they call “career-oriented activities” was truly shocking even to this hardened veteran of the campus ideological and cultural wars. Participation in such Red State activities as high school ROTC, 4-H clubs, or the Future Farmers of America was found to reduce very substantially a student’s chances of gaining admission to the competitive private colleges in the NSCE database on an all-other-things-considered basis. The admissions disadvantage was greatest for those in leadership positions in these activities or those winning honors and awards. “Being an officer or winning awards” for such career-oriented activities as junior ROTC, 4-H, or Future Farmers of America, say Espenshade and Radford, “has a significantly negative association with admission outcomes at highly selective institutions.” Excelling in these activities “is associated with 60 or 65 percent lower odds of admission.”

Espenshade and Radford don’t have much of an explanation for this find, which seems to place the private colleges even more at variance with their stated commitment to broadly based campus diversity. In his Bakke ruling Lewis Powell was impressed by the argument Harvard College offered defending the educational value of a demographically diverse student body: “A farm boy from Idaho can bring something to Harvard College that a Bostonian cannot offer. Similarly, a black student can usually bring something that a white person cannot offer.” The Espenshade/Radford study suggests that those farm boys from Idaho would do well to stay out of their local 4-H clubs or FFA organizations — or if they do join, they had better not list their membership on their college application forms. This is especially true if they were officers in any of these organizations. Future farmers of America don’t seem to count in the diversity-enhancement game played out at some of our more competitive private colleges, and are not only not recruited, but seem to be actually shunned. It is hard to explain this development other than as a case of ideological and cultural bias.

This same kind of bias seems to lurk behind the negative association found between acceptance odds and holding leadership positions in high school ROTC. This is most troubling because a divorce between the campus culture of its universities and its military is poisonous for any society, and doesn’t do the military or the civilian society any good. The lack of comfort with many military commanders that our current president is said to have seems to be due not only to his own lack of military experience but to the fact of having spent so many of his formative years on university campuses like Harvard, Columbia, and the University of Chicago, where people with military experience are largely absent and the campus culture is often hostile to military values and military personnel.

In an attempt to find out what kind of diversity exists — or doesn’t exist — on the Princeton University campus, I once asked students in a ten-member discussion group to raise their hands if they knew one or more Princeton undergraduates who had served a year or more on active military duty (in the late 1940s or early 1950s, of course, undergraduates at Princeton would have encountered legions of such people coming back from WWII and the Korean War). I made it plain that I wasn’t asking if the students had a close friend or roommate who was a veteran, just a single person with military experience that they had at sometime encountered during their Princeton undergraduate careers. Only one student — a female — raised her hand: this student once met someone who had served in the Israeli military. On a second occasion I asked this question to a larger group and again only one hand went up — this student once met a Princeton undergraduate who had served in the Turkish military.

Many universities, including Princeton, are interested in enrolling foreign students, along with students from disparate regions of the U.S. But the more competitive private universities seem to have little interest in diversifying their student bodies when it comes to people who have served in the American military or people who intend to make a career out of military service. Even if they don’t shun such people, or hold their military service or aspirations against them, they clearly don’t seek them out or court them the way they do “underrepresented” racial minorities. And while many universities host college-level ROTC programs (often for financial reasons), the military/civilian relationship on campus is usually far from amicable.

Military veterans and aspiring military officers, like poor whites and future American farmers, are clearly not what most competitive private colleges have in mind when they speak of the need for “diversity”. If nothing else the new Espenshade/Radford study helps to document what knowledgeable observers have long known: “diversity” at competitive colleges today involves a politically engineered stew of different groups. drawn from the ingredients selected by reigning campus ideology. Since that ideology is mainly dictated by the Left, it is no surprise that the diversity achieved is what the larger American landscape looks like when it is viewed through a leftist lens. I suggest a different approach: elite colleges should get out of the diversity business altogether and focus on enrolling students who are the most academically talented and the most eager to learn. These students should make up the bulk of their entering classes. Call it the Cal Tech Model since the California Institute of Technology seems to be the only elite institution that comes close to realizing such an ideal. Or call it the U.S. Olympic Team Model, or the Major League All-Stars Model, since it is based on the same strict merit-selection principle governing our Olympic sports teams and our major league baseball all-star teams. Let the diversity chips fall where they may and focus on recruiting the most intelligent, most creative, and most energetic of the rising generation of young people. In my naive way this is what I always thought elite universities were supposed to be about.


  • Russell K. Nieli

    Russell K. Nieli is a Senior Preceptor in Princeton University's James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, and a Lecturer in Princeton's Politics Department. He is the author of "Wounds That Will Not Heal: Affirmative Action and Our Continuing Racial Divide."

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153 thoughts on “How Diversity Punishes Asians, Poor Whites and Lots of Others

  1. What is sad about this unfortunate article is that there is no acknowledgement of historical racism and absolutely no attempt to share how to better bridge the gap of inequities. Also, why not acknowledge the fact that white elites are also privileged in these Ivy institutions through pedigree. What stinks about this article is the constant promotion that black and Latinos are blocking whites from their ‘earned’ advantage. Whites have over 90% privileged opportunities in most sectors of life in the upper cadre, yet, they are not satisfied, despite their historical advantages. Most of these exams promote white culture. I wait for the day Malcolm X will be included in the exam as a notable American or that the savagery of Anglos against Native Americans as a historical fact for all high school seniors to note.

    1. What about the Chinese Exclusion Act? That once existed, yet Asians still are unfairly rejected based on race…

      1. What about how white people are being pushed out of their own societies they have built for their people and are now FORCED to tolerate watching as their own are pushed aside and told to help all other races to succeed while watching the demise of their own. I think diversity is only hurting whites as a whole. I think it it time we start talking about this and start giving one another elbow room to grow and flourish, economically, traditionally, educationally, culturally, spiritually etc and start striving for self determination and preservation. It is time to give native land back to ALL. Israel has a right to return based on mandated DNA tests. We can determine by DNA whom is native to which country and whom isn’t and go from there in order to end these racial issues on a global scale. Enough is enough. Also, white (ethnic Europeans) are the minority on earth (look it up).. Not black or Hispanic/Latino peoples.

    2. I acknowledge the need to train community-proportional professionals to serve their own communities. Thinking more about how to deliver this idea, I feel that we should prioritize the admission rates based not only by ethnicity, but also by social status. The de-fact current practices benefit rich African Americans, and punish poor Whites and Asians.

    3. I’d also like to add that many of the wealthier “whites” who are admitted in these universities, most aren’t ethnic European (white) but ethnic Middle Eastern/Semitic Jewish. That is a HUGE difference if we are talking about racial based equality.

    4. This is exactly why diversity is such a dangerous idea and why we need to fix it. It is time to give America back to the natives and colonizers go back to Europe, Africa, Asia etc. Enough is ENOUGH. People expect and DEMAND way too much from white people even at the expense of their own people and its getting old and its not fair. Its time we start acknowledging this. We could easily do mandated DNA tests like Israel has with the right of return policy to see whom is native to where and start helping groups back to their own ancestral lands in order to end these issues. Diversity is way too heavily entangeled with colonization which is why its NOT working and we need to accept this and end this bs.

  2. I’m about to attend a graduate school that will cost me $50,000++ in tuition for the program from beginning to end. It’s an academically competitive program. Anyone who gets in must, in general, be a stellar performer academically. Anyone who gets in (and who isn’t given a racial preference for admission consideration ie: lower academic standards) has put in a lot of work to be there.
    I am white.
    My school has a “Minority Assistance Program” for minority graduate students.
    Under the program, ALL tuition is covered, including a stipend of “not less than $5,000”.
    This is who can apply and receive the benefits of the program…notice that the only criteria for receiving the benefits are that you are NOT white. This is not a scholarship program with a limited amount of coverage, but a program that is designed to cover ALL ‘minority’ graduate students:
    “Must be a member of a minority group as defined by the Diversity Plan: African-American; American Indian/Alaskan native; Asian, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander; and Hispanic/Latino”.
    There are no other standards for acceptance. Not academics, not financial need, not anything else. Just race: specifically that you are NOT white.
    Again, the ONLY criteria for getting ALL tuition covered and at least a $5,000 stipend is that you are NOT white. They cover every other race except the white one. This program isn’t in place because of the ‘history of slavery’ or some other specious excuse. This program is in place solely to discriminate against whites and whites only.
    This should have all hard working white students at the school, and all other schools with similar programs, outraged. There should be class action suits. People need to wake up and realize that there is no agenda of equality or meritocracy. Only an agenda of race based advantage codified into policy.

    1. White people being pushed from their own societies they have built. The same is now happening in the UK as well. Can you imagine if millions of black people migrated to Japan and the Japanese were treated like this in their own society and refused acceptance in the schools their people built? They would fight back and let me tell ya, Japanese don’t play and band as one for the sake of their peoples preservation and nip that in the butt really quick like they should.

  3. This rhetoric is not logical.
    Why are Asian student admissions to med-school limited to consideration for the need of Asian doctors in Asian communities?
    The main reason an Asian doctor could be better is if there is a language gap: a Chinese, Indian, Korean, et cetera physician may be able to speak the patient’s language, if they are serving a large number of immigrants.

  4. Um why is everyone on Vinny’s back?? Nowhere in Vinny’s comment did he say anything about GWB. The person who posted before him (Jason) brought GWB.
    And Vinny’s right. I completely agree that letting underqualified blacks in does hurt blacks in the long run because everyone assumes that a successful black man is a product of affirmative action. Some blacks are actually qualified and deserve to be at Ivy League universities but the author didn’t discuss those blacks and how selective admissions hurts them. That’s the debate Vinny was alluding to. That’s exactly why Justice Clarence Thomas (an African-American) is against affirmative action; because everyone assumes he was a product of affirmative action when that’s not the case.

  5. “c student, because asian students are an over-represented minority. There are not that many Asian American communities to support the number of Asian American Doctors. That is why Asian Applicants have a difficult time becoming a doctor”.
    This rhetoric is not logical.
    Why are Asian student admissions to med-school limited to consideration for the need of Asian doctors in Asian communities?
    Can they not treat people of all races? I would gladly hire an Asian Doctor.
    Jewish doctors are far over-represented in relation to their numbers. The need for Jewish doctors in Jewish communities is clearly not a consideration for their admission to med school, nor is it a valid consideration for admission of med students of other races.
    Can you provide evidence, anecdotal or otherwise, that the supposed status of Asians (or anyone else) as an over-represented minority is a contributing factor to the increase in the difficulty of their becoming doctors??

  6. Rick,
    You are wrong, as the realm of ‘AA’ benefactors goes far beyond college admissions, deep into the world of employment – especially any government position.
    When this perspective is taken into account, it is not white women that mostly benefit, but black men and women to the detriment of more qualified candidates. In cases such as this, both the rejected but more qualified candidate and the public who pays the employed persons salary loses. Due to AA, blacks are well overrepresented in these positions, in many agencies, in relation to their percentage of the total population. The net effect is passing any ‘discrimination’ onto poor whites.
    Employment being the goal of a university education, I would argue that the total effect of AA in government jobs is far more significant than that in college admissions.
    Furthermore, ‘disparate impact’ lawsuit abuse and ‘white privilege’ propaganda in the schools is leading to the reduction of both educational standards as well as entrance standards in some very dangerous jobs, all for the sake of affirmative action. The reduction in meritocratic standards will have long reaching consequences in education, competitiveness in the world market, in tax expenditures, and even in human lives.
    The politicians have the guts to implement AA in physically dangerous positions, or positions that are there to save lives, in the positions where it is difficult to track any increase in civilian deaths due to worker incompetence, such as the fire department. However, I can’t wait until they either stay consistent and mandate such AA in commercial pilot and military pilot training, in the medical field, or another position where increased fatalities can be readily tracked and assigned to the responsible parties, or they hypocritically reject the offer to move their policies forward in these spheres. Because firefighters responsibility is also to save lives, there should be no difference in meritocratic hiring policy between hiring for that position and hiring for positions in which it is easier to track accountability such as pilots and med careers. I could keep pontificating on the logical ramifications of AA hires in the government, as they apply to job performance/output in relation to the tax burden needed to employ them, etc.. But I’ll leave it here for now.
    I find the post by Mohammed Shomam | November 11, 2011 5:16 AM funny because she asks if we have sour grapes because she was admitted to a law program through to a racist policy that allowed her to not show as much merit as a person who was rejected in her stead. The answer is yes.
    The audacity to ask such a question is indicative of a sense of racial entitlement that is out of control in this country. It used to be that people were embarrassed about being an AA case, or at least humbled at the privilege offered to them over others on the basis of their skin color. Now, they feel license to arrogantly brag about it, despite not knowing if their life circumstance truly put them at a disadvantage over the person who was rejected in their place, or if they just weren’t as smart or worked less hard than the person rejected – a person who quite possibly came from an even more disadvantaged background than them.
    Keep bragging, but it’s even more reason for me not to hire you as an attorney or anyone else, like you, that I suspect of being an AA case. AA was tolerated for a while due to white guilt, but throw it in our faces with accusations of ‘sour grapes’, and you lost the the benefit of the doubt for being underprivileged but competent in my eyes.
    No matter what, in the end, it’s the poor whites who shoulder the passing of the ‘racism buck’. Of course, this is assuming that blacks would be discriminated against should they have the meritocratic credentials. Absent of an AA policy, we know they would not be discriminated against should they possess grades that won out in fair competition. Therefore, it’s actually just the creation of brand spanking new racism against poor, disadvantaged whites.
    This reminds me of a guy that I spoke with who is at an Ivy on a football scholarship, who intends on becoming an attorney who plans on getting hired at a top Big Law firm because of his race. He has done his research, and knows that he will make at least $160k to start and 3 times that after a few years, but was droning on about white privilege to white people, many of whom live close to the poverty line. I love it, because rants like his expose the hypocrisy and wake people up to the privileged political forces which aggressively act to keep discriminating against them.
    Keep bragging about your AA privilege. Keep up the ‘white privilege’ aggression and demanding that we lower our standards instead of giving you unbiased license to hit the bar based on merit, like everyone else. It’s a good idea, as it wakes white people up to the fact that the ‘non-racial’ world that they thought that they agreed to, really just meant a world that gives other races organized political power and privilege at the expense of their own political well being.

    1. White people are being pushed aside in their own societies they have built. People expect and DEMAND way too much from ethnic European peoples and it’s getting old. Enough is enough

  7. c student, because asian students are an over-represented minority. There are not that many Asian American communities to support the number of Asian American Doctors. That is why Asian Applicants have a difficult time becoming a doctor.

  8. Sour Grapes, Your entire post makes no sense, White people as a whole are not discriminated against. If anything I could understand if you mentioned white men, but the vast majority of AA beneficators have been White Women. White women make up the largest amount of college students, make up the majority of employees in the workplace and so on, so if you looked at being white as a unit, then I would say that whites are highly represented. The company that I work for right now, I am the only black male there, and there are a handful of black and hispanic women. There are also two hispanic men, so the notion of white people not being represented is not seen at least at my place of work.

      1. Yes they will continue to ignore whites and asians. As for the most part they can succeed on their own two feet and mind.

        Meritocracy is where we should go back to NOT Cultural Marxism and Reverse Racism.

    1. Diversity is holding white people in OUR Western world back and its not fair. It is time for White people to reclaim what they built for the sake of their peoples future. I am sick of being forced to watch as my people are held back just to race pander to groups who dislike us. Its not fair and we need to end evil colonization/diveristy ideas.

  9. I always check a random ethnicity box whenever I am asked. I truly believe it is irrelevant to anything aside from possibly the doctors office.

  10. In the end the market place is the final deliverance. College is one thing but making a living is ENTIRELY different. The best jobs end up in the best hands.
    For equal time, what about all the unqualified whites that got in because they were white and later flunked in real life 101.
    btw when I encounter a black or hispanic with an advanced degree I question his ability far more than white or asian with the same degree.

  11. I love how people want to make this about mostly Asians and then you summon up the courage to call this racist, this proves just disadvantaged white people are in this country now. White privilege is not only a false term to use, it is a cruel joke in today’s world. Plenty of schools are now getting black and other non white families to continuously go there and provide funds, rich whites will be SHOL very soon on that as well.
    At least Asians have numerous private AND public organizations to protect them throughout the US and the west, while whites are expected to be defended by the very same institutions that happily trample them for ‘diversity'(as ‘anti racists’ like to say, “all the institutions are white, they just aren’t specifically named white institutions”).
    Affirmative action may hurt Asians, blacks and ‘Hispanics'(a group of people who don’t exist as a race and technically a Hispanic is someone who speaks Spanish, as in European SPAIN), but the damage to white people is not possible to calculate with all the bright careers(normally, without affirmative action) ruined, and all the jobs that were not given, all the income that was lost in the long run…even the amount of white children born due to economic restraints(no wonder the white birth rate keeps going down).
    White people are not only slaves in this world, we are COMPLETELY expendable slaves(unlike other slaves who are purposely bred so their children can continue the institution as slaves) who ultimately will be worked to our demographic death if we don’t fight back.

    1. Exactly! This has been planned against our people for a while now. I do wonder if this is why White birth rates are so low and the white drug epidemic? We have casted our own people aside in our own societies to pander to all other non white groups. No other race of people on earth would do this!!?? What is wrong with our people? They expect and and demand way too much from us and hate us all the while. We need to wake up or we won’t last.

  12. Wow, I’ve never seen such sour grapes. I am an African American woman who probably did gain admission to law school with the help of affirmative action. I didn’t do so great on my LSAT, but I did finish in the top 10% of my first tier law school class. Oh, and I did very well on the bar exam.
    You would think the article said that 50% of those admitted were black. It was closer to 5 to 7%. 5 to 7%? Really, that’s it and you have all of these sour grapes. Maybe your kid is not as great and interesting as you think.
    And for the person who stated that white people built this country and they should work to keep it — you don’t read much history do you? I think you owe a great debt to African American and Native American people. A lot of this country was built on their backs.

    1. I think its time we give America back to the natives and colonizers go back home to Europe, Africa, Asia etc. Native Amerindians deserve to have their land back 100%

  13. Thank you for this article, Dr. Nieli! As the mother of a daughter whose gifts and talents are prodigious, but to whose application many Ivy League schools gave not even a nod (Princeton not excepted), I find at least a perverse comfort here. It was frustrating to see schools with reputations for monolithic preppy student bodies actively courting minorities of choice- LGBTQ, black, Hispanic- and yet overlooking the rare diversity offered by a poor white girl raised in a large single-parent family. I am happy to say that Princeton’s loss was Brown’s gain, though I suppose that sounds pretty snarky. One last thought- as the mother of four daughters, I am convinced that being female gives one a disadvantage over males as colleges attempt to balance their gender books.

  14. Thank you for this article, Dr. Nieli! As the mother of a daughter whose gifts and talents are prodigious, but to whose application many Ivy League schools gave not even a nod (Princeton not excepted), I find at least a perverse comfort here. It was frustrating to see schools with reputations for monolithic preppy student bodies actively courting minorities of choice- LGBTQ, black, Hispanic- and yet overlooking the rare diversity offered by a poor white girl raised in a large single-parent family. I am happy to say that Princeton’s loss was Brown’s gain, though I suppose that sounds pretty snarky. One last thought- as the mother of four daughters, I am convinced that being female gives one a disadvantage over males as colleges attempt to balance their gender books.
    Sarah Latimer

  15. I am 6th generation Navy. Every war, action or conflict this country has ever had, was done with one of us in the mix. I married a Japanese wife and we have three sons. One of which has gone above and beyond any parent can ask to reach and achieve higher standards. He also belongs to the Navy sea cadets. It is very disturbing to discover that six generations have fought for a country where my son will not get a fair shake because he is half asian and belongs to a group that supports the country and contributes so much to the community. How do I sit him down and tell him that he is considered asian and not American? Maybe I should tell him that when the elite owned slaves a few hundred years ago and his great great great great grand father was fighting for those slaves and eating rotting pork out of a barrel, that my family somehow did a diservice to the slaves. I’m crushed to think that I wasted my life defending those who don’t have the moral courage to select students based on merit, if you can call that courage. Do they think that asians magically shit good grades? It’s called blood, sweat and tears. Of which, I’m sure, none of which these liberal cowards have ever shed. Time for this family to end a legacy of service to an ungratefull country. Fight your wars without us!

  16. @1qtkitty
    But u have admitt, you are ” FEMALE” and ” ASIAN” and those priavte schools still use gender and race as factors for admissions. How else would they acheive ” balance” and ” diverse” student body

  17. “Whenever we did have such applicants, however, they were weighed on the same balance as all other non-minority applicants, using the common justification that they were not disadvantaged by prior life circumstances in the same way that black and hispanic applicants from non-professional family backgrounds usually are. As a person from a rural, working class red state background myself, this seemed quite fair to me.”
    Andrew Kane, you are a liar, as simple as that. What about development applicants, hm?

  18. What the elite colleges are doing in the name of diversity is reverse racism, pure and simple. As the mother of an Asian American Medical School student, I witnessed this first-hand during the application process. My son was the #1 ranked student in his liberal arts college for all four years of his undergraduate studies, scored a 40 on his MCAT, which is in the 99.97th percentile, had a 4.0 GPA, worked three summers of research at a leading medical institution, had excellent references, worked & performed volunteer work throughout the four years of college, etc., and yet he was so discouraged to learn from his peers that that would still not be enough to get into the Ivies. And he would tell me that the black students that he encountered during med school interviews were invariably admitted to every school where they’d interviewed. Meanwhile, the white, South Asian and East Asian boys had to console themselves with admission to second-tier schools.
    One thing for certain, however – I’ll never again go to a black, Hispanic or female physician for my medical care. It’s either White, South Asian or East Asian guys for me and my family until this nonsense ends.

  19. I wonder if the Ivy League alumni would even reflect on their RACIST decision to exclude Asians based on race when the Asian parents disown their children for not being accepted. That’s why this information SHOULD be in the mainstream.
    I’m in the middle of the road, a modest applicant from a military family who didn’t push for me to attend university because it seems like those not in the “elite” group are told to doubt themselves. However, higher education and knowledge is critically important in an ever expanding, international marketplace and a University education is definately worthwhile.
    Unfortunately the rather important institution of higher learning has been hijacked as a liberal ideology used as an alias for a small group of elitist LOSERS who are afraid of being threatened by competition. AS a matter of fact, it was they who ran this country into the ground with horrible trade policies with OPEC, Asia and a cumbersome subprime scandal.
    Yes the modest students from military families do get 4.0 in engineering. Yes the rural Caucasian students get scholarships to b-schools. As a matter of fact, it was the rural students who influenced me to study business (by the way, I’m not Caucasian). The liberals were busy flunking out or majoring in something useless like basketweaving and recreational chemistry.
    I’m a modest American who does come from a multiracial and cultural background and I am too aware of the cracks that it pushes people into, even if the intention was “good”. I’ve suffered many of them. As a matter of fact; even with a college degree, because of the narcissistic elitists-being in a vulnerable position due to subjective standards ruined my life. I’m not looting, rioting, etc. I will fix it. And it may not be what they want. But I will fix it.
    I’ve accomplished a lot of things in my personal/professional life to where I’m not threatened by the success of somebody else who is not like me.

  20. As an Asian applying for medical school now, I gotta say its pretty hurtful to know in the back of my head that, when a school says their mission is to provide opportunities of people of color, or that they value diversity they only mean one color/one race.
    Even when visiting the museums in DC this summer, I saw a exhibit on diversity, and know that race in the US is still predominantly seen in black and white (pun half intended).
    Kinda pitiful to see the one token asian guy in the group picture, or the token native american blurb

    1. How would Asians feel if this was happening to them in Asia? There own people being held back to racially pander to all other groups and being hated for for so called “privileged Asians” and being brushed aside so other non Asian groups im Asia can succeed? I am 100%sure Asians would fight back and this would have been nipped in the butt a long time ago but ethnic Europeans aren’t aloud to and are told they better tolerate this or else.

  21. @Ashley, why on Earth would choosing qualified African American applicants “hit them in the face”, or cause an Ivy League institution to fail? The implied racism there is pretty repugnant.

  22. Do not know just how I get pulled into looking at all most of these comments, however it is certainly good to recognise that folks can make them in the first place. I Really appreciate the read and carry on writing, I may get inspired to do the same at some point.

  23. what is amazing to me is that more white women have benefitted from affirmative action and yet whites are still holding on to the notion that blacks are benefitting. Also diversity is a joke. How can you have diversity when the foundation (culture) is still that of “whiteness” and all other sub-cultures are considered beneath the “ruling class”. White privilege affords many whites to think the way they do because they never have to look at it from any other perspective, and when you have whites that constantly come to conclusions from a Eurocentric perspective about others who don’t look like mom and pop in their photo album,the perception will more than likley always be distorted.

    1. This is why America needs to be given back to native Amerindians and why we need to end ALL form of this so called fake diversity. Africa deserves to be African, Asia Asian, America’s Hispanic/Latino/Amerindian, Europe European, Middle East Arabic culturally, spiritually, ethnically, economically, traditionally, educationally etc.
      DIE- versity is only hurting us and destroying our unique diverse differences on earth. We need to fight against this idea and push back.

  24. I founded a charity club, won numerous county level awards, volunteered over 300 hours, have a 3.96, and scored over a 2300 on my SAT. My rank was within the top 5%. Did I get in? No.
    What went wrong? My teacher recommendations? No, the ones I chose loved me and I was an exemplary student in their classes, actively involved in discussions. My essays? My writing has received recognition at the school and county level. That can’t be it.
    Oh wait, I’m ASIAN. There are 12322 copies of me out there. The admissions officers who read my application probably rolled their eyes, put my name in a bowl with other Asians’, and drew some at random.
    Funny to add that the 2 people who got into Harvard from my school this year were both Africans.
    Some schools luckily don’t give in to affirmative action as much. (MIT and CalTech.) Others like Cornell, BROWN, and University of Pennsylvania, oh my crap YES.
    But in the end, those universities are going to fail miserably. One day they’ll realize that automatically choosing the Negro kid over the Asian kid with the same stats will hit their faces hard. And I’ll just laugh at them.

    1. You are too nice in asserting that they are choosing others with the same stats over you. In reality, it is not. They are actually choosing others with much lower stats over you. Go cry.

  25. Like Jim, I feel very disappointed by the tone of this debate. I read a comment that stated that the anonymous poster had asked his daughter to falsify her race. That’s just wrong, regardless of your opinion of affirmative action.
    I definitely think that affirmative action should be drawn to a close. But I doubt that it is as relevant as some people would imagine. Nowadays, schools often consider admissions a “holistic” process. Essays and teacher recommendations are often more important than grades and SAT scores, which are not even that objective either. With so many high achieving students, a college would not want to accept 2000 robots that could parrot formulas and multiple choice answers. They need diversity of thought, which is something that they discover through essays; this is undiscoverable in so-called “objective statistics”.
    Why do I believe this? It is because I, an Asian female from a middle class family in a rural city, managed to earn admission to CalTech, MIT, and Princeton because I was well qualified and I worked hard. When I visited these universities, I could not find a single “pity admit,” not at CalTech or MIT or Princeton. In fact, Princeton paid for my vist, and the visits of most people — including caucasians!! Everyone who was there had the same voice, the same aspiration to do something. Honestly, schools look for creativity and passion more than the ability to memorize because critical thinkers are the only people who can change the world.
    Furthermore, I believe that many of the readers are far removed from the current realities of college admissions. With over 24,000 applicants to Princeton this year, and a large majority are qualified, it is truly a crapshoot to see who would get in. Many colleges only consider GPA and ACT scores to a certain point, after which it doesn’t matter if you score a 30 or a perfect 36. These statistics don’t really represent the primary determinants of admittance — so the statistics are quite skewed.

  26. @Novaguy
    “One’s true character can be gleaned from how they react to the hand they are dealt.”
    Excellent post and quote. For some on this board, I’m thinking they are feeling sour grapes for not being college-qualified with or without affirmative action. People really need to concentrate more on themselves and being the best person they can be, than on articles with agendas.

  27. African Americans were frozen out of the one program that advanced more Americans into the Middle Class than anything before or since — the GI bill following World World II. Technically, they were eligible for benefit. But since most schools did not admit African Americans and slots at traditionally black colleges were limited, most were frozen out.
    They were also frozen out of a program to help people buy their first home — another hallmark of entry into the middle class. Very few FHA lenders would offer mortgages in the ‘red-lined’ neighborhoods where blacks were allowed to buy. As a result, almost no blacks were able to use the program.
    I’m honestly not opposed to affirmative action that gives bright, hard-working black students an shot at entering the privileged class – or at least at getting a good education that allows them to build a career.
    But colleges do no one a favor when they accept students whose qualifications are in the bottom 10 percent of students accepted and then don’t offer some sort of program to help students who haven’t developed the necessary study habits, math skills, critical reading skills, etc., do that. At one top school, a white girl with a score of 34 on the ACT, who is also a talented artist, but whose parents are completely lacking in resources to pay for college, was wait-listed (which typically means no aid if you make it off the wait list), while an African American girl with a 24 ACT who was rejected by her state university’s honors program was admitted. This school is not doing this student a favor. Fortunately, the talented artist has many other good options.

  28. My great grandfather immigrated to Tanzania (Africa) from southern China. I was born in Tanzania, and immigrated to the United States when I was in middle school. Would it be right for me to check off “African American” in my college application? I “look Asian” but I have lived in Africa far longer than most blacks in the US. Much of my extended family is still in Tanzania

  29. I find the word “diversity” obnoxious as it is used on university campus. It usually refers to Blacks and Latinos only. No Whites or Asians are included in this “diversity” thinking. What kind of diversity is that?
    I love Blacks and Latinos. But I never can understand why poor Whites and Asians are almost always left out. It is always the Blacks and the Latinos that get attention when it comes to financial aids, admission benefits and other special privileges.
    I, like most people in the U.S., respect people of all color. Why can’t we think in terms of “people” rather than “people with color”?
    Asians and Whites, is it a good idea to weep and scream to get attention?

  30. This grade inflation serves no one well.
    I tutored at community college in phila and had I been dead, would have won the gold in rolling in my grave when I saw the what passed for writing at the highest level English classes for students that had scholarships to go on to Temple.
    the professors passed out A’s and B’s just to prevent being called racists.
    Most of the writing was not formatted in basic sentence structure. I couldn’t believe it was the new Millenium in America.

  31. I pride myself for having been a critic of affirmative action from its very inception. I published articles against this racial policy as far back as the 1978 Bakke decision. So it’s not that the findings and conclusions of this study should surprise me.
    But there is more. It’s not just that affirmative is “reverse discrimination” against whites. This has been said for decades. Sometimes, this reeks of a “white power” argument, which can be ugly.
    No. What is really appalling is that elite universities’ affirmative action policies discriminate against poor whites only. Rich whites still take care of themselves quite nicely. Less than well qualified rich whites still have no trouble getting into Harvard or Yale (think of George W. Bush).
    As I have been saying for over 30 years, affirmative action and current “diversity” policy are abominations because they are based on race and utterly fail to recognize social class, thereby compounding social inequality and injustice, instead of alleviating them. As the study shows, university admission policies do not discriminate against whites; they discriminate against poor whites. They aggravate economic inequality.
    There are two kinds of people who criticize affirmative action and diversity policies:
    (1) those whose self-interest is threatened by them (e.g. white males). After all, when have white conservative males been concerned about social justice, except when it suits them? Only after the table of privilege has turned, do they begin to clamor for a “merit system.” To some extent, the debate over affirmative action is a case of whose ox is being gored.
    (2) the moralists, who don’t understand that they may be morally right, but that they are pragmatic losers.
    Affirmative Action has never been meant to rectify injustice, certainly not economic injustice. The reality is that America is the world’s most diverse society, and becoming more so every day. So what is the elite to do, in order to prevent instability and fragmentation, and hold on to the reigns of power? It designs policies which contribute to ethnic integration, without contributing one iota to greater economic equality. The peace is preserved. No more Watts and South Central LA riots. Poverty increases, especially among whites. But class consciousness has never been a factor in this country, and it never will be. Poor whites and poor blacks will turn on each other before they will ever join hands. This is called Pragmatism. It is ugly, it is hypocritical, it is political, it works, and it is American.

  32. Do we need to make decisions based on SAT scores? Asians tend to have higher SAT scores than other races but do they make good students? It depends on the qualities you are looking for in a student. Do they make better lawyers and physicians? They are on top of the leader board in the LPGA. They are the best female golfers. But is it good for the sport? Believe me TV and the whole world do not think they are irrespective of the fact that they are the best. It all depends.
    Let’s remember that ultimately we are preparing students to serve their community in different capacities. We need Asian Doctors and lawyers etc to serve their communities, Have you thought about it that black communties need black doctors, lawyers etc. Have you thought about the fact that there might be a range of scores that can lead to success in university. It could be anywhere between 1100- 1600, It does not have to be 1600. Isn’t this another way to look at the issue? For example Sarah Palin does not have to know as much as Barack Obama to be smart and to be a successful President. Does she? It could very well be that her level of knowledge falls within the range.

    1. If it is for most of the non-med professions, I agree with you that we need community-consistent professionals to serve the communities. However, for Medical Professionals (Physicians), I would choose those with the best understandings of Sciences and technologies over anything else. It is chilling to think that a Physician is there pretending to be taking care of you, but he/she does not really understand Sciences.

  33. It’s amusing how riled up people get over a short article from a person with an obvious agenda. All this represents is the time-proven tactic of using “select” and “random” statistics to tell a story with the conclusion that you want. And most of you fall for it. Are any of you people commenting really educated?
    For me, before forming an opinion on such a complex subject, I would like to see the full study, and all of the data. Then figure out my position.
    For some reason, most Conservatives (and I will tell everyone that I am a lifelong Republican from North Carolina, white male, CPA/MBA, educated at a “State” university) blindly listen to the rhetorical ramblings of people like Rush, Beck and O’Reily, and just repeat whatever comes out of their months. Sorry, that just doesn’t work for me.
    Oh, and by the way, even if the points in the article are dead nuts correct, guess what? Here is a big life lesson for everyone – sometimes, life is just not fair. Sometimes the Quarterback does get the Homecoming Queen. The smartest or the hardest worker doesn’t get the promotion (effective office politics goes a long way). Some people are born with a silver spoon and have their paths greased for the rest of their lives.
    One’s true character can be gleaned from how they react to the hand they are dealt.

  34. I think both Bush and Gore were relatively well qualified given standards at the time., which cites to Boston Globe, June 7, 2005
    Both articles disclose the same SAT scores for both Bush and Gore.
    Bush – 566 Verbal, 640 Math. Combined 1206, which is an above average score, which probably combines with the Bush legacy and a regional bias (Bush was a TX resident, which would be underrepresented).
    Gore – 625 Verbal, 730 Math. Combined score of 1355 was probably way above average for Harvard at the time.
    I can’t see the mid-1960s average for the harvard/yale guys being over 1250. I actually suspect the average was below 1200, which would make both Bush and Gore above average admits on the SAT scales. Throw in legacy and likelihood of being in politics and both having athletic backgrounds, and they’re both pretty much guaranteed admits.
    Both had mediocre grades in both high school and college, but I have to wonder how much today’s grade inflation prevents an honest assessment of C’s and B’s back then, especially when you consider both Bush’s and Gore’s strong performance in various standardized exams.

  35. As disturbing as the report may be, just as disturbing is Mr. Neili’s stereotyping of 4-H and FFA as “Red State activities”. Both organizations are present in every state. I work with 4-H in my state and can assure you that 4-H Clubs exist in every county in every state, and that there are as many urban 4-H members as rural members across the nation. The “home” of 4-H in every state is the state land-grant university – so 4-H is actually a part of higher education.
    I suspect Mr. Nieli is correct in assuming there is a rural bias going on, because many people are not aware of the scope of the organization or how it has changed over the years to remain relevant in a society that is no longer farm based.

  36. I take the article as fact, and will only quarrel with the authors saying that Obama doesn’t get along with his military commanders. That is clearly hearsay.
    My question is more to the revelance of the article, to go to schools that are A.elite, B. left of center, conduct a study and then extrapolate that data to apply nationally is to discredit the study. What else would one expect at Harvard where there is a history of the behaviors referenced in the article. To imply that this is the case all over America, I don’t find at all believeable. Conduct the study with a sampling of schools all over the country (red state and blue state, north and south) and let me engage the data produced by that. To think that the resentment felt by and referenced by many of the replies is being ignored nationally is nonesense. There are many white admissions officers who look at applications daily and say something like this ” I worked hard to get where I am. I have a steep mortgage each month, and kids who are approaching college age. I’m fresh out of sympathy for anybody who doesn’t have the grades, scores, or character to enter this school. Application rejected.” What is going on in these 8 schools is certainly not the case throughout America. that is why I label these articles as fear mongering. Believe me, the black community has gotten the memo, my niece will graduate michigan this year and she knew going in that she was going to get nothing gratis. Black students nowadays either produce or flunkout. And there is nothing wrong with that standard. The data nationally will show this. I think the time for citing anecdotal incidents to ignite a firestorm is past. Again, I accept the data derived from the study, yet reject the idea that this somehow holds true nationally.

  37. I would like to address the comments holding that white applicants from red states and/or working-class backgrounds are disadvantaged in admission to a very small group (8) of “elite” universities. I served for 8 years on the admissions board of an ivy league university (i.e., elite?) and our problem was that there were very few such applicants. I would have been happy to have had more for, yes, diversity purposes, but they just were not there. And it was not for lack of recruiting efforts by the admissions personnel, I can assure you. Whenever we did have such applicants, however, they were weighed on the same balance as all other non-minority applicants, using the common justification that they were not disadvantaged by prior life circumstances in the same way that black and hispanic applicants from non-professional family backgrounds usually are. As a person from a rural, working class red state background myself, this seemed quite fair to me. My own personal experience tells me that there are many reasons why the “top” few elite universities might not seem so attractive to these white working class/red state students, but foremost among them is the perception that these schools are only for the “very rich” and “sophisticated” types, and that they would very likely not fit in well or be very happy and comfortable there. I imagine this is correct in most cases, and certainly no one needs a degree from Harvard or Princeton to lead a rich and successful life. The fact that we have in this country such an amazing number of wonderful institutions of higher learning of all types besides the ivy league elites, where the less affluent and less sophisticated can gain admission on their merits and be successful students makes me wonder just what all the fuss is about. The politics of envy?

  38. Most of the Ivy Leagues and top colleges do not have an agriculture school, department, or classes. Consider this with the negative association of Future Farmers of America and 4-H with admissions. Is the college a good fit for the applicant if he really is a future farmer? Why would you apply to a college without an single agriculture course if you want to be a future farmer? If I wanted to be a farmer, in California, I would go to UC Davis or one of the state universities with an agriculture program instead of Stanford. Even if the colleges wanted to diversify their programs from focusing on engineering, medicine, law, business, and research, it’d be kind of hard to offer an agriculture program in the middle of the Silicon Valley, Cambridge, NYC, or any of the major metropolises where most of the top colleges are located.

  39. Thanks for that brilliant gem, Dr. Shapiro. Everybody appreciates your brave, insightful commentary on the substance of Nieli’s disturbing article. Keep fighting the good fight, O Irascible One.

  40. Asian-American students should list their race as “caucasion. Your race is what you say it is, (unless you falsely claim a preferred minority status) and they just as well take a shot. (And if your child has an Asian-sounding name – even it it is really Polish – you might consider changing the last name to “Smith” for school admission purposes and changing it back after he graduates.) Do the Ivies still have quotas limiting Jews as well?
    African-American students with competitive SAT GRE LSAT, etc. scores sometimes list themselves as Caucasion on school applications to AVOID being beneficiaries of affirmative action, and to free up more “affirmative action” spots for disadvantaged African American students. I encountered this in professional school. At least at the graduate level, it happens more often than you would think.

  41. It just goes in cycles. Soon there will be so many minorities in elite colleges that it will skew towards whites and Asians once again. The exact same thing will happen with men as well; there will be an abnormal amount of women (almost 60% women at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, already), and therefore the favor will skew towards males.
    The root problem here is teaching in public schools. We need reform that will increase education retention and test scores in America’s most impoverished schools, especially those that serve the African American and Hispanic minorities.
    In regards to the college admission question itself, we need better and less-selective colleges. The Ivy League (and those top-tier selective colleges like it) need to stop being hubs of power and wealth and instead be places of progress and instruction–instruction that will actually help this nation and our planet, not just grant the receiver a six-figure plus job.

  42. k – “And was denied entry to MIT only because of his lack of community service.”
    As a current student at MIT with no history of community service anywhere on my record, I find this claim to be ridiculous. Given the nature of this (fantastic and illuminating) article, I should probably also qualify myself as white and middle-class though I’m sure there must be some other diversity-based reason I was accepted. Let me know if you think of it.

  43. I wonder if the authors of the study looked at the number of students who took the ACT versus the SAT? I know that in my Red State, many students take and study for the ACT instead of the SAT, and I often think that this leads to a bias in their ability to gain admission in Ivy League schools.

  44. Just sour grapes from a bunch of brain dead republicans. These elite schools know who they want to admit. They have been doing it for over 300 years. Admissions is based on many things other than sat scores. get over it. Republicans wouldn’t be happy there anyway, everybody’s smart. go the the University of Alabama.

  45. I am from a family of modest means in rural Minnesota but have successfully attended an excellent liberal arts school and am now a graduate student at a prestigious university. I credit my undergraduate institution for making my education there possible, but I have also seen how difficult it is for poor students to travel this path.
    First, I wanted to compliment you for discussing a troubling and poorly addressed issue of inequality in college admissions. Making quality education accessible to all motivated students is, I think, part of the American Dream and only by discussing this issue will we have any hope of improving it.
    Second, I wanted to comment that while the effect of our admission and financial policies has disadvantaged poor white students, I don’t believe that is the intent of the policies. You seem to see a “Left” conspiracy here when all I see are originally well-intentioned policies that have had unfortunate side-effects. Clearly, those policies should be revisited — and perhaps a merit-only based admissions is the answer (although this too has problems when you define “merit” as performance on standardized tests, given that peak test performance is limited by the primary education you’ve received – which is clearly not equal across our country)
    Finally, I wanted to critique your politicization of this issue. Programs like ROTC, 4-H, or Future Farmers of America aren’t “red state” or “blue state” programs. Ensuring equal opportunity in education is an issue for all of us – and there are poor white students in every state, regardless of the color you choose to assign it. While higher education certainly has a high proportion of left-leaning individuals, I know many right-leaning faculty and students… and I have never seen students, faculty, or staff be hostile towards anyone because of their political affiliation (in either direction). Frankly, political affiliation doesn’t come up that often (at least in my area of study). In any case, improving access to higher education for all students will benefit those students, the general student body, and higher education generally. So, thank you again for raising the issue.

  46. One more comment: I am generally fairly liberal, and I approve overall of the job Obama’s done (gasp!). But I always thought it was weird and sad that my elite liberal arts college had virtually no conservative or poor or rural white students. Class discussions were like an echo chamber. I would have really enjoyed being challenged by some other viewpoints. I work in Republican politics now in Alaska (they hired me, so hey) and I’m thrilled to find my ideas challenged and some of them changed. I’m still a liberal, but a better educated one. What I get now is true diversity – true diversity of opinion, of viewpoint, of education, and of lifestyle. That is real diversity.

  47. I don’t believe anyone is entitled to information about my “race,” and while I’ve never been misleading about my ancestry, I wouldn’t hold it against anyone who claimed whatever racial affiliation they wanted. I suggest that Asians apply as whites or Hispanics, whites apply as Hispanics,, and Hispanics apply as blacks. This whole quota system is disgusting and revolting and deserves absolutely no respect. I can’t see anyone ever really getting grilled about their ancestry. I would LOVE to see some adventurous students start to dismantle the system this way – though I’m sure MANY already have.

  48. As a self-described radical liberal, these findings are disturbing indeed. Pure meritocracy and equality of opportunity will always be incompatible; while I favor a balance, the current state of affairs is a travesty that falls into neither camp. As always with the university pack, the trick will be to pressure Harvard into changing, and the rest will eventually follow. On the bright side, this is considerably more likely to be addressed than the enduring problem of legacy admissions.

  49. I’m dead tired of the “Bush’s Daddy got him in or got him out” crap.
    Bush got into Yale after public school in Texas and 4 years at prep schools. He entered in 65 when his father was still just a businessman in Texas.
    Al Gore Jr got into Harvard after being in the middle of his class at prep school but his father was a long standing senator.
    Now whose father is more likely to have influenced admissions directly or indirectly?
    And I’m also sick of everyone calling Bush “Bush Jr.”. Al Gore Jr is a junior. B. H. Obama Jr. is a junior. If anyone wants apply diminutives then apply them right.

  50. The 4-H thing is startling. I wonder if Boy Scouts is equally disadvantaged. I had always heard that being an Eagle Scout was an achievement that would open doors for a lifetime. No longer true? My kid is both a scout and a 4H-er, though perhaps this won’t hurt his elite college admission chances as we live in bluest of blue California, and he has a disability (hearing impaired). Oh, and we’re white and financially secure.

  51. I’m a retired fireman. Took a hiring exam for the Columbus,Ohio fire dept in 1974. It was ordered by a black federal judge & consisted of questions like”true or false,you never had hair on your head”.”Do you like cabbage or beets”. I kid you not.After that test failed the affirmative actiontoids, quotas were implemented.I don’t blame blacks,just stoopid,lazy liberals. Wonder why no Ohio State thesis writer ever looked into that?

  52. I held an internship my Ivy League admissions office one summer, and I have to say that they did believe in diversity as understood in its broadest context. They liked nothing more than the diamond in the rough, the really bright kid from a public school in North Dakota, rather than yet another New England prep school student who had done all the right things from ninth grade and whose application packet had been vetted by an army of guidance counsellors. (Or rather, this was the prejudice… what the actual statistics were for admissions I do not know.)
    But the general thrust here is still correct: diversity is a cover for affirmative action. Bright North Dakotan public school students might have had a certain edge in the admissions process, but they did not get:
    -their application fees waived;
    -all-expense-paid visits to campus;
    -a separate stream for consideration with – let’s be honest – lowered standards
    -a separate prospective weekend
    -and a battalion of college employees whose job was to keep them from dropping out once they matriculated
    All of which were available to people who ticked the correct boxes on the application form.
    In other words, some people are more diverse than others….

  53. More commentry on the distribution of financial aid:
    I know a student who is white as white can be, from a divorced home, who applied to a liberal arts school and got a full ride for a theatre arts major. He ends up getting around $4000 in rebate checks PER TERM. Compare this to another white as white can be student from a military family, who did no community service in high school because he worked from age 15 to pay for his own education. I will mention that this student has an engineering major, had over a 4.0 GPA in high school, and was denied entry to MIT only because of his lack of community service. He receives help from FAFSA dollars totaling about a quarter of his tuition costs.
    Now which one will contribute more to society in 20 years?

  54. Bush,Kerry and whichever other rich kid, all got in as “unfairly” as the blacks you are disparaging.So quit howling about being meritocratic.

  55. I’m afraid that most of you here are well-meaning, but deeply naive. The problem is not affirmative action (that is the result) per se, but the whole ‘diversitarian’ mentality, which has been allowed to permeate our entire society in the most ludicrous, totalitarian fashion. The Founders were (by today’s standards) white supremacists to a man. They did not want America to be anything but a perpetually all-white nation. Even those who opposed slavery did not want blacks being allowed to assume American citizenship – and on equal terms with whites!! (Look at the predictable result in now-dead cities like Detroit.)
    These are facts. We have discarded the Founders’ wisdom (on much else, too) on racial integration, and then made the situation immeasurably worse by throwing open the immigration floodgates to an endless Third World, white race-replacing invasion and colonization (another policy totally opposed by all past generations of Americans).
    Why are we whites giving away the land that past generations of whites struggled to build? We are insane and collectively (racially) suicidal. This is the only explanation (that, and the cowardice and passivity of otherwise normal whites who simply don’t care about their own children’s futures).
    Do you want to live in a society which forever discriminates against whites – and then moves to active persecution once we have been reduced to a demographic minority???!!!

  56. I’m afraid that most of you here are well-meaning, but deeply naive. The problem is not affirmative action (that is the result) per se, but the whole ‘diversitarian’ mentality, which has been allowed to permeate our entire society in the most ludicrous, totalitarian fashion. The Founders were (by today’s standards) white supremacists to a man. They did not want America to be anything but a perpetually all-white nation. Even those who opposed slavery did not want blacks being allowed to assume American citizenship – and on equal terms with whites!! (Look at the predictable result in now-dead cities like Detroit.)
    These are facts. We have discarded the Founders’ wisdom (on much else, too) on racial integration, and then made the situation immeasurably worse by throwing open the immigration floodgates to an endless Third World, white race-replacing invasion and colonization (another policy totally opposed by all past generations of Americans).
    Why are we whites giving away the land that past generations of whites struggled to build? We are insane and collectively (racially) suicidal. This is the only explanation (that, and the cowardice and passivity of otherwise normal whites who simply don’t care about their own children’s futures).
    Do you want to live in a society which forever discriminates against whites – and then moves to active persecution once we have been reduced to a demographic minority???!!!

  57. How about affirmative action for all? In a national democracy shouldn’t the governing elites reflect the ethnic and geographic diversity of the nation as a whole? Couldn’t the federal government require this kind of “representative diversity” as a condition for receiving federal funds? A simple act of Congress might be all that is needed.

  58. Wow, I am horrified at the racist overtones of these comments. In fact, it leaves me completely speechless. Somehow I thought America was better than this spittle….

  59. “A farm boy from Idaho can bring something to Harvard College that a Bostonian cannot offer.”
    Someone from Idaho has a much better chance of admission to Harvard than a Bostonian. Harvard wants geographic diversity and it gets a lot fewer applications from Idaho than Boston.
    My freshman year at college (not Harvard), the school bragged that our class was made up of students from 49 states. I bet they would have accepted any applicant from the missing state!

  60. This is the most troubling thing I have read in a long time.
    Regarding Caltech, my experience there matched Charlie’s. The only diversity commitment was to geography (within the USA), and some of my classmates from ND, MT, and WY were unprepared for the coursework, especially those from small rural high schools that hadn’t offered calculus. But other than that there wasn’t much social engineering going on and there was no Asian penalty.
    However, my senior year (1988), CIT had an entering freshman class where the sex ratio was something like 58-42. Historically it had been more like 7-1. I don’t think the admin even tried to deny the fact that they had sex-selected that year. That was my last year there so I don’t know what followed – if the ratio stayed at 3-2 or grew even more balanced, and how the female students fared as far as flunking out goes. Even in my own entering 1985 class, where the 7-1 ratio still held, the female attrition rate was pretty high (though I don’t say that was all academics – there was intense social pressure on the women when they represented only 1 of 8 students, and I think some left just to get away from the feeling of being in a goldfish bowl. The admin may have thought correctly that by evening out the sexes they were increasing the likelihood that women would stay 4 years).

  61. It sounds like I got though college just in time. I was a poor white, Army veteran, FFA in high school boy who attended the University of Texas in the 1970s. It was in those halcyon days after the end of “separate-but-equal” but before the days of “united-and-unequal” college admissions. In the 1970s, UT was about 97% white, 2% Mexican-American, and 1% black. In other words, it did not discriminate on the basis of race.
    My oldest daughter just began college this summer. I NEVER let her put “white” on anything. She won a $13,000 “Martin Luther King scholarship” following my advice. Have your children do the same: If the racists try to stop you, make them PROVE you are not “black”.
    Btw, you SHOULD say that “ALL blacks” at highly-selective schools are there only because of racist preferences. Of course we know there are a handful that are not (a TINY handful), but if someone challenges us, simply say, “Prove it.” If they say it’s our burden to prove, then challenge them to join you in demanding the racist colleges provide the data needed to prove it. Then watch them tuck tail and run.
    In the meanwhile, remember: Tell your kids ALWAYS to mark themselves as “black” on all college application and job employment forms.

  62. As a former university teacher with experience in U.S. and Asian universities, I’ve always been troubled by these admission policies.
    On the one hand, it’s undeniably true that some students (including White ones) get an inferior education in their education through high-school, making it less likely they will succeed in getting into a college or university.
    On the other hand, sometimes the larger problem isn’t so much the *schools* they attend, but a lack of support outside the classroom, from parents and other role models. Some students are the product of poor schools, but schools that had good teachers, and the student received encouragement. The experience of many Asian students proves the truth of that.
    I do strongly believe that standardized tests still place too much emphasis on “multiple-guess” and “fill-in-the-void” stuff, and not enough on writing, logic, etc. They have improved from my day, when there was NO writing required.
    But that introduces the question of how do colleges and universities assess students if not through testing? And here is where I get stuck.
    Interviews may seem a strong candidate, especially if the interviewer was prohibited from noting down the applicant’s race, etc. (including being, say, wheelchair-bound). Others would then rate that student. But would that be enough to avoid actual discrimination, especially for students who don’t fall into one of the particular ethnic groups.
    And that’s the very problem at the heart of this article.
    I do think it should be federal law that a university *cannot* ask for a students race, sex, religious affiliation (if any), etc. on the initial application form. In fact, I would argue for applicants to using initials for their first name, and second if they have one, so an admissions officer can’t determine even their sex.
    If none of the above will work, then I guess it’s open admissions, but with a real weaning process. That means no so-called “social passing.”
    But even that’s full of pitfalls.

  63. Just check Hispanic on the box — the diversity nazis don’t have the courage to blood test you.
    When the system is designed to screw you over, there’s nothing wrong with screwing it back.

  64. Here’s a shorter version of Thomas Lipscomb’s comment: qualified Asian applicants are discriminated against, so qualified Jewish applicants should also be.
    Nieli happens to believe nobody should be discriminated against.

  65. Professor Nieli deserves our thanks for clarifying the practical operation of the iseologically laden diversity cartel at elite institutions of higher learning.
    A sequel could be written about the impact of current preference policies on standards, curriculum, and classroom activism.

  66. Ironic that Nieli doesn’t find the amazingly high percentage of one tiny ethnic group in these “highly selective colleges”, Jews are less than 2% of US population, statistically significant.
    If the administrators will settle for the admission of 7% as a representation of the 12% of blacks in American population, why should the same kind of thinking not drop Jews to barely 2% of their admissions?
    There are all kinds of PC games. One of them is pointing to the years of prejudice against Jews in the Ivy League and never mentioning the huge percentages proportionate to normal diversity goals they represent in both the faculty and student body, while Asians and others suffer.

  67. Black students–without regard to background–ipso facto offer something white students–ipso facto–cannot? Why is this not racial profiling?
    By the way, Vinny, I have no idea about how George Bush got into Harvard and Yale, but his SAT scores were slightly higher than John Kerry’s; I think the same is true for GRE’s but I’m not sure.
    Meanwhile, the current president has not allowed release of his scores.
    I don’t think you can necessarily draw the assumption you do from the article. I don’t se an implication that all blacks at elite schools are freeloaders. The point seems to be that skin color in certain cases confers a substantial admissions advantage on applicants. This seems to be true.

  68. Diversity, another name for affirmative action, which is itself a progressive label for lowing standards for the favored, will eventually strangle itself. This whole progressive meme debases the one currency that these institutions have, the market value of their product.
    You cannot make a silk purse from a sow’s ear. I do not care how much the progressives beleive that you can socially engineer away basic requirements for talent and hard work; in the end their graduates will all suffer from the same label of “special needs” collegians who can’t function in the marketplace.
    Whether it be preferences based on racial identity politics or preferneces based on nepotism, merit wins every time. In the end, the preferred are done no favors at all, because they are not prepared and they instinctively know it.

  69. Fascinating article. The Espenshade/Radford study puts the ivy league colleges’ admissions preferences on display. And what a sad, limp display they make. Preferences distort and cause admissions contortions that are decaying the value of the degree.
    Indeed, a campus of highly competitive students selected for their intelligence is what had made these colleges so prestigious in the first place.
    Dr Nieli’s idea of diversity is so refreshingly straightforward: “numbers of born-again Christians from the Bible belt, students from Appalachia and other rural and small-town areas, people who have served in the U.S. military, those who have grown up on farms or ranches, Mormons, Pentecostals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, lower-middle-class Catholics, working class “white ethnics,” social and political conservatives, wheelchair users, married students, married students with children, or older students first starting out in college after raising children or spending several years in the workforce.”
    Such a rich cultural environment that would be. (sigh) I would so love my child to be exposed to all that. What a gift it would be to be able to immerse him in a campus like that, with all that is wonderful about America and her people.
    I’d so love to be able to immerse my child in the kind of campus Dr Niele’s admission policy would assemble. But alas, does the monolith that is higher ed allow no choice? There exists but the single stream? Is there no room for varied admissions policies? Lockstep admissions policies? No parallel streams?
    Thanks for the thought provoking article, Dr Nieli. Are college administrations listening and thinking about these punishing admissions policies, I wonder?

  70. The previous commenter accuses the author of imaginary insinuations. But the data speak for themselves: there is an overwhelming bias against poor whites, a significant bias against Asians, and an overwhelming bias in favor of blacks. And since these elite institutions practically never give grades below a C, once admitted you are almost sure to graduate.
    But by far the worst bias is the one against those who have had high school participation in ROTC: an elite government divorced from its military is not qualified to lead our country.

  71. Vinny: GWB was NOT “utterly unqualified” for admission to Yale. At worst you could say that his college board scores were marginal for Yale (his SAT scores were only in the top 16% nationally,) and that he might not have been admitted had he not been a legacy — in other words, like a large percentage of other Yalies at the time. As far as his admission to Harvard Business School, there is not a shred of evidence that his admission was based on any family ties to Harvard.

  72. Vinny B. The reason no one has mentioned that “George W. Bush was utterly unqualified to get into Harvard or Yale, but got in thanks to his Daddy” is that this is is an untrue canard. If you disagree please provide the rest of us with the data to which you apparently have access and which must include at least Mr. Bush’s SAT and achievement scores, his high school GPA, and the distribution of these (at least the mean and standard deviation) for his entering class at Yale. If you can’t do this, it suggests that your just an ignorant, dimocrat blowhard (pardon the double tautology).

  73. White should not be a race. Everyone is against racial profiling except when schools and universities are involved. I know the son of a doctor that moved here from Mexico and could be counted as Hispanic in applications even though they were wealthy. If you are a poor immigrant from Serbia, you are immediately labeled White and must put up with racial stereotypes. When people overseas ask where I’m from, I don’t say White. I am American. Until we assimilate and start all becoming Americans, we will have a problem with race. The pro-football player that lives next to me can put Black on all his child’s applications, but we must suffer the stigma of being White. Even though both my husband and I came from poor families and earned our success. It is a problem. Look for Asians to be lumped in as White soon, or else the numbers won’t be minority percentages for Blacks and Hispanics.

  74. “You should have mentioned that George W. Bush was utterly unqualified to get into Harvard and Yale, but got in thanks to his Daddy. Rather, you chose to insinuate that all blacks attending Harvard and Yale are poor freeloaders that would not have gotten in save the color of their skin.”
    Michelle Obama got into Princeton on legacy, because her brother was there on a baskeball scholarship.

  75. Vinny B.:
    “When equally matched for background factors (including SAT scores and high school GPAs), the better-off whites were more than three times as likely to be accepted as the poorest whites (.28 vs. .08 admissions probability). Having money in the family greatly improved a white applicant’s admissions chances….”
    Yes, Neili committed the unpardonable sin of writing something that could potentially relate to the history of GWB without seizing the opportunity to attack him by name. Outrageous! Nevertheless, careful readers might, from the bit quoted above, realize that Neili did, in fact, point out that wealthy whites clearly gain an unfair advantage in college admissions.

  76. It amazes me that, even with a well-researched, well-cited piece like the one above, the first instinct of leftists is to invoke the name of George W. Bush to close debate. So I guess Vinny’s point is that, because W got into the Ivy League schools, the point on affirmative action and admissions bias is invalid. Ok then…

  77. Why should he have mentioned it since it’s completely irrelevant to the subject at hand? Funny you never hear the same complaint about anyone named Kennedy.

  78. Not only are well-qualified students of Asian origin discriminated against but those unqualified blacks and hispanics admitted on “diversity” grounds are given social service passes. Furthermore few of such students gravitate towards pure and applied sciences but mostly end up in grievance mongering social science programs whereas the quota Asians are usually candidates for just the sorts of degrees the “diversity” mob shun. Hence university education in general is undermined by unqualified students being given useless degrees and restricting qualified students from pursuing useful studies. The most important point is that this latter group is being discriminated against on the basis of race. As the cynics say let no good deed go unpunished and America is being punished by these idiotic policies.

  79. He could have mentioned that Obama was very fortunate to ttansfer to Columbia half way through an admittedly lackluster stint at Occidental and even more fortunate to enter Harvard Law School. I would bet you that Obama’s grades did not justify either admission. Of course, we can’t know that because his grades, like most of his background, are a state secret.

  80. “Diversity,” practiced as you describe, also hurts blacks in the long run, because it doesn’t end with admissions, but continues in the area of grades and, therefore, graduation.
    Such “diversity,” therefore, sullies the reputations of black professionals and creates the perception–sometimes correctly–that their competence suspect. It engenders the idea that black professionals were pushed along through school: they (we) are deemed incompetent until proven otherwise. And this perception exists within the black community as well.

  81. Thank you for pointing out what is painfully obvious among high-achieving Asian-American students: that admissions standards at the nation’s elite universities are significantly higher for Asian students than any other racial group. More importantly, the numbers of Asian acceptances are set artificially low in order to boost the number of “under-represented minorities” (URMs) on campus and ultimately, to ensure that the majority of enrolled students are white.

  82. Jolly good, Vinny, jolly good. Way to advance the discussion! I’m afraid I’ll have to deduct some points, though, for not bringing Palin into this. How difficult can it be to write something like: “Undoubtedly the author wants the Ivy League to accept people like [sneer] Palin!”

  83. Poor Vinny can’t read too well it seems; a major thrust of the article was in fact that wealthy whites do unfairly compared to average and/or ‘poor’ whites (i.e., the majority of the population of the country).
    And Russell wasn’t “insinuating” much of anything. The numbers are clear: with a truly race-blind, achievement-oriented admissions system, there would be very very few blacks in the Ivy League. You may argue the various merits of affirmative action, but you can’t argue that the color of their skin isn’t, for many, their primary qualification.
    But for some people, it’s just always about Bush.

  84. End all taxpayer funding of colleges. The PC BS will immediately end – they will only take on those who have money, or those they believe can parlay the education they offer into enough of a living to pay it all back…
    I have never eaten a plate of food grown by, slept in a house built by, or driven a boat or car built by anyone requiring an Ivy League education. Tell them all to pack sand…

  85. You should have mentioned that Albert Gore was utterly unqualified to get into Harvard, but got in thanks to his Daddy.

  86. Most poor black students attend awful public high schools and as a direct result do not develop the kind of learning skills that allow them to do well in college. Thus, when they are admitted, with backgrounds significantly behind most other students according to SAT scores, they have little chance of catching up, and generally do very poorly. They have a high drop out rate, and their college experience tends to embitter them. And the elite colleges take black students who might do well at less demanding institutions, which are forced to take black students with qualifications below their normal standards who might do well at lesser schools, and so on.
    The present system does not do them useful favors; it leads them down paths to dead ends.
    There are of course black students, largely from middle class backgrounds or good high schools, who do succeed, but usually their qualifications were acceptable without racial preferences.
    That upper class blacks get preferences in admission over poor whites or poor Asians is really the very opposite of fairness to the unfortunate. and so is the fact that most lower class blacks who get preferences end up being screwed by the system.
    Another disgusting feature of the system is that the sight of most black students doing poorly in college, which is a direct product of the biased admissions process, fortifies the impression among our liberal elite that blacks are inferior, and need these preferences to succeed.
    It is hard to see what good the present system encourages.

  87. Vinny B. should have mentioned that he didn’t know how to engage an article on its content but that he was eager to offer inept snarkiness.
    Where Nieli wrote, “Although all highly competitive colleges and universities will deny that they have racial quotas — either minimum quotas or ceiling quotas — the huge boosts they give to the lower-achieving black and Hispanic applicants, and the admissions penalties they extract from their higher-achieving Asian applicants, clearly suggest otherwise,” I wonder if he isn’t pulling his punches.
    Wouldn’t it be fair to substitute “clearly refute these claims” for his final three words? I mean, is there anything missing that keeps this from being **proof**?

  88. wow. 1st comment wins the so defensive about their bias they go on offense… how depressingly trite… there is a term for that sort of fallacy I think… hmm, oh thats right ad hominem. Even more amusing is that I believe the study did address the class issue. What a ridiculous sham.

  89. Vinny,
    You seem to have missed the author’s thrust in that privilege seems to be the most important determinant of a white person’s odds of being accepted. I am at a loss as to how you could have failed to comprehend what is so clearly written. You further undermine your own credibility by bringing George Bush into it. It seems to be a favorite rhetorical dodge of someone who cannot form a coherent counter argument – Bush did it!
    As a red state resident, I agree with the author’s contention that we are under represented at the elite institutions. Please explain why someone from an upper class family or whose skin color is different should have preference over one of my neighbors’ children?

  90. Hey Vinny B: And Barack Hussein Obama was soooooo qualified for both Columbia and Harvard Law? Get real!

  91. Vinny B:
    As a graduate of both Caltech AND Harvard – a rare bird indeed – I can attest that this article is correct.
    You can’t survive at Caltech without native talent, no matter what you shade happens to be. One third of the entering class (speaking historically) flunks out. In my year, we had 182 enter and 113 graduate…and it was do it in four years or forget about it.
    Caltech has courses that are DESIGNED to flunk out the weaklings…
    As far as Harvard goes/went, no Harvard faculty member would deliberately flunk a black,,,they have a policy of “Here’s your D, now get out of my course.” Hence what’s left to graduate _ in a majority of cases are a series of grade inflated gut courses.
    There are enough bright, motivated Blacks to pass alright, but they would be about 2-3% of a typical entering class. Grade inflation accounts for the rest squeaking past.
    It’s pretty sad for a Black to enter a classroom and see the “Here comes the F now…” on their fellow students faces. But it happens all too often.

  92. He did mention that, in the favoritism given to rich whites. Doubly so for legacy admissions, who the college hopes will continue a family tradition of donating to the school.

  93. Gee Vin, poor old W. released his academic records ( did better then both Al Gore and John Kerry as it happens). There’s another high-profile politico who hasn’t done the same. Occidental, Columbia, Harvard Law…. the name escapes me.
    Would you like to do away with legacy admits? Works for me, and probably Dr. Nieli as well.

  94. Thank you for this piece. The affirmative action story doesn’t surprise, but the descrimination against ROTC, 4H, and FFA members is a shocker.
    BTW, Vinny B, Dr. Nieli shows pretty clearly that wealthy whites do reasonably well under the current process. I think President G.W. Bush falls into the category of wealthy white. Weird though, that the first comment on this article is an anti-Bush screed. What does that tell you?

  95. Oh, not all. The most blazingly brilliant incredibly intelligent person I have known in my 60 years was an American black woman. She was amazing, and could blow the intellectual doors off of anyone.
    But guys like the microbiology lab partner, with the admitted 2.1 grade point, with the aggressive recruitment by several medical schools…well, some people got to where they are purely because of their melanin, and that isn’t fair. Would you want this guy to be your surgeon–or the woman mentioned above?

  96. If you bring up Bush, you by rights should also mention Al Gore and a whole raft of dimwitted Kennedys. I think their situation was adequately addressed when he discussed the advantage that wealthy white applicants have over poor white trash.

  97. VinnyB, obviously, you didn’t bother to read the article. No shock there. At least learn not to use the word “all” in your libelous remarks. Such globalisms just expose your ignorance.
    Just wondering why you’re not making a similar comparison about white rich Democrat politicians getting into Ivy League schools?
    Also wonder how you feel about Asians. Oh yeah, the left just never answer that question.
    What did Dr. King say? Clearly his dream is not being realized, and the ones blocking it are racist, leftist college admins.

  98. Sorry, Vinnie, if that egregiously childish comment is all you can muster you are in deep rhetorical trouble (ignoring the fact that you’re actually quite wrong about GWB, who had similar academics to Kerry, but that’s so 5 years ago anyway). The point you assert that the author is making (“insinuating” that all black students at the Ivy League are “freeloaders”, which he isn’t making, but is made only in your fevered and racist imagination) is precisely the problem with affirmative action that McWhorter et al point out. Its manifest racially-based unfairness makes all black people’s achievements suspect, even when they are genuine achievements. This is supremely unfair but is the predictable result of group based ideologies. These quotas are racist pure and simple.

  99. As a past student at one of the nation’s top engineering schools, I worked on the school paper, and had a chance to ask the Dean of Admissions why they didn’t just put a numbered cover sheet containing identifying info on the application, so that it would be race/sex-blind.
    He told me to my face that that would mean that the school would be full of nothing but white & Asian men. This was about 1990–things seem to have festered.
    I had a black lab partner in one of our junior-level design classes, who bailed on me (2-person lab groups) on the drop-deadline (told me the next day) & subsequently failed out. He was in a state program to *enhance* “minority” (although my Armenian, Korean, Punjabi, etc. friends might disagree about his particular minority status) graduation rates.
    Dunno what the State threw away on an unqualified student, complete with an entire support department that only blacks could use, the rest of us were subject only to the knowledge of whites/Asians).
    Good money thrown after bad, for ideology. Thrown far, far away.

  100. Really useful comment, Vinny. Try reading the whole article, instead of just the words you can understand.

  101. To Vinny B,
    How do you know that GWB was “utterly unqualified” to get into Harvard or Yale? Have you seen his grades, or read an official report that supports the veracity of such an unfounded (ignorant) allegation? Sounds like you drank the Kool-Aid?

  102. A brutal indictment. Vis. earlier comments… unable to refute the data or the analysis, the default position of the left… smear everyone.

  103. Vinny,
    Your comment demonstrates that you do not understand statistics. The author does not insinuate that ALL blacks at Harvard are affirmative action admits that would have been denied admission had they not checked the African-American box on the application. He states that the statistical sampling shows that on average a black applicant will be admitted with significantly lower SAT scores than a white or asian applicant. Without seeing the distribution of SAT scores it is not possible to determine how many of the black applicants would have been denied admission if they had not checked African-American on their application.
    By the way, George W. Bush earned better grades at Yale than John Kerry.

  104. At the private institutions in their study whites from lower-class backgrounds incurred a huge admissions disadvantage not only in comparison to lower-class minority students, but compared to whites from middle-class and upper-middle-class backgrounds as well.
    He didn’t name names, but he certainly said that wealthier whites have a better chance of getting in. Did you read the article?

  105. The article states facts. The insinuation “Vinny” claims is simply what he is gathering from the facts. That would then mean there is quite a problem with this blatant racism at our universities. Hence, change is needed to a neutral, non-race based admissions process. Eliminate race from the application altogether. Allow for natural diversity, and eliminate racism in this context. Racism is simply wrong in any shape or form.

  106. Vinny,
    Let’s take a look at Obama’s transcripts from High School so we can see how he got into Occidental College…Oops, he hasn’t released them, gee, I wonder why? Well then, let’s take a look at his Occidental College records to see how he got admitted to Columbia…What??, he didn’t release those transcript either?? Gee, I wonder why? Well then, let’s take a look and see his transcripts from Columbia to see how he got accepted to Harvard….You’re kidding me he didn’t release those either????,, Gee, I wonder why? Must be because his grades were so much better than other students who were rejected admissions and he doesn’t want to hurt their feelings! Right Vinny?

  107. Lol… Oh Vinny B. In the past I would point out how nonsensical it is to criticize an article by making the exact same point as the article. You don’t like that an unqualified student was admitted to Yale due to the hidden agenda of the school (money/political clout.) The article makes the exact same point as you – unqualified students shouldn’t be admitted to elite private schools due to the hidden agenda of the school (meeting “diversity” quotas/politcal clout.) Glad to see you agree with the basic injustice outlined by the article. Sad to see you’re too caught up in personal bias to realize you agree.

  108. Well, that’s not good for me. I’m a Taiwanese-American, and even within my high school I’m struggling with all the competition around me. I hope I can pull together a good enough college resume so that I can get myself noticed by a respectable university. Pressure’s on for Asians! Some things will never change…

  109. “Rather, you chose to insinuate that all blacks attending Harvard and Yale are poor freeloaders that would not have gotten in save the color of their skin.”
    Are you talking about our current president?

  110. Wow, Vinny, you completely miss the point. The author may not even have supported Bush (as I didn’t), and yet may be concerned about the inability of poor whites to gain access to these private schools, and their utter lack of ideological diversity.

  111. Vinny, you just let us know when you find anything that the article GOT INCORRECT.
    *chirp chirp*
    Yeah, that’s what I thought.
    As to W’s admission to universities, a distraction, but here goes:
    a. Document your claim (that Bush was a poor candidate for admission on the merits).
    b. Even if true, how is your claim any different for such worthies as Al Gore, Jr.? You seem to imply that “legacy admits” are only available for conservatives.

  112. Let’s be fair,Vinney , John Kerry and all The Kennedy brothers c
    fall into that category.
    It’s all about the moral equivelency

  113. Vinny –
    Does that also include Yale classmate John Kerry and Bush roommate Lanny Davis? Were they also unqualified in your view?

  114. A very refreshing article. I wish I had sought out Tom Espenshade while I studying in the same building with him. I do believe I have been banned from Wallace hall though. I sent my advisor a bible and suggested he read it. He called the police on me. The radical left are insane! It’s nice to see someone with a little common sense teaching at an Ivy league institution.

  115. My mother has taught at the college level for several years, and the story she tells, when this topic comes up, is of one of her very best students, a young African American woman. This poor victim of “affirmative action” was a GREAT student and likely to become a GREAT teacher… if ever she could believe that she was responsible for her achievements.
    Her self-esteem and belief in her own abilities had been crushed: she was only there because of her skin color, and wasn’t really doing as well as everyone else, much less better – she BELIEVED that, even though it so clearly was not true.
    And really, why WOULDN’T one believe that? After all, the standards being applied ARE different, as shown above. Affirmative action is “the bigotry of lowered expectations” – that is, nothing but softer, cuddlier racism of the vilest sort.
    African Americans (and other minorities) will have greater achievements when their achievements are allowed to mean something, when the “liberals” stop demeaning their efforts as lesser and “not up the real standards”.

  116. So Vinnie – why did you pick George Bush instead of Al Gore who was in the same situation? Every school has spots reserved for People with money – why do you thing they have the reputation they have?

  117. > You should have mentioned that George W. Bush was utterly unqualified to get into Harvard and Yale, but got in thanks to his Daddy.
    Bush was more qualified than Gore, Kerry, and the Kennedys, yet for Bush rates a mention and they don’t.

  118. As is always the case with liberals, Vinny B. is off the mark. Using GWB (one individual) as an example against the enormity of affirmative action programs is beyond comprehension. No doubt, GWB, like many “favorite sons” of Dem and Repub politicians, got in by connection.
    The article did not say that “all blacks” attending these universities are freeloaders. But many have gotten in just based on the color of their skin. And whites of equal economic disadvantage have no such priviledge. Asians are actually discriminated against in college admissions; I’ve seen it with my own eyes. That’s the price you pay in Obama’s America when you become successful on your own.
    Read before you write, Vinny B. and face the truth. Race-based preferences have proven to be largely unsuccessful, except for causing more divisiveness among races and not allowing qualified students gain the entrance they deserve.

  119. C’mon, Vinny, if you don’t realize how pervasively we’ve dumbed down admissions standards for (even affluent) blacks, you’ve got blinders on. Even the U.S. Naval Academy openly admits that the test scores and aptitude testing for black cadets are much lower. Whatever happened to “by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin”? Ever seen any studies on the difference in SAT scores and grades between black and non-black Ivy league students? Blacks needs to stop blaming everybody else and expecting special treatment. It’s gone way overboard, for way too long.

  120. “Diversity,” practiced as you describe, also hurts blacks in the long run, because it doesn’t end with admissions, but continues in the area of grades and, therefore, graduation.
    Such “diversity,” therefore, sullies the reputations of black professionals and creates the perception–sometimes correctly–that their competence suspect. It engenders the idea that black professionals were pushed along through school: they (we) are deemed incompetent until proven otherwise. And this perception exists within the black community as well.

  121. You should have mentioned that George W. Bush was utterly unqualified to get into Harvard and Yale, but got in thanks to his Daddy. Rather, you chose to insinuate that all blacks attending Harvard and Yale are poor freeloaders that would not have gotten in save the color of their skin.

  122. This is a startling article! While I always knew there was an inherent bias in “diversity” to have the numbers laid out like this is staggering.
    Since I’m too dumbstruck to comment on the meat of the article, I’ll nitpick on the details…you mention the MLB All-Star game as one example of a meritocracy and I have to call you out on this. According to the rules, in the All-Star game each team must have one representative…so diversity is reaching it’s slimy hands even into our nations pasttime.

  123. Very interesting piece, but I don’t think you quite have the hang of this diversity thing. It all has to do with identity politics. The favored minorities are those who have had, in the eyes of the diversifiers, a history of being victimized or marginalized; this is why farm and ROTC kids don’t count for diversity purposes, but blacks and Hispanics (and gays, in certain settings, but not [yet] in admissions) do. The putatively victimized groups are singled out because, in the eyes of the diversifiers, the life experiences of the victimized are of especial educational value for everyone else. Why so? Presumably because once everyone else learns what it really feels like to be black, or Hispanic, or whatever, they’ll call for political action to remedy the historic and continuing injustices against these groups. The underlying idea, then, is a familiar one: education as a tool to achieve desired political change.
    Why don’t proletarian whites count as a favored group, on the grounds they have suffered Marxian exploitation? Perhaps because there hasn’t in fact been a white working-class identity politics movement over the past 50 years.

  124. Unfortunately, any college that accepts US government funds is not permitted to ‘let the diversity chips fall where they may.’
    If they fail not only to discriminate for diversity but to discriminate for diversity in the approved manner, they can be attacked in court in a variety of ways.

  125. Back in 1980, when Bill Gates exited haarvahd after his freshman year; a lot of kids who loved computers entered into the business world, and became more successful than their parents.
    In a sense, this has been true about America. A guy hanging out in the garage, who learned to fix “things.” And, always drove a car he could control under the hood, didn’t end up not working!
    While over in college, when the riots started, a lot of students discovered they’d graduate, anyway, because there was an incoming class. And, only so much space.
    The sheepskin always looked better on the sheep!
    Today, more women go to college then men! And, people are swamped with loans they can’t get rid of. Even bancruptcy doesn’t cure the tidal waves they brought upon themselves.
    While way back, when haarvahd was just for gentlemen, it was a strategy used by the very wealthy to give their kids an exposure to sex and beer.
    Hollywood also galavanted in, and changed what people believed. And, it also changed what people “wanted.”
    As to colleges, they once got their endowments from students who graduated, who then on to be big successes in business.
    While Bernie Madoff came along and sponged up about a $15o-billion in a Ponzi Scheme.
    Meanwhile, if ya can’t do math, it doesn’t matter what your skin color.

  126. This isn’t something new — but this time Espenshade and Radford have documented what is going on. More than thirty years ago I was teaching in a small rural school system in upstate New York. I had a bright student from an extremely impoverished background. He was the eldest child of a widow whose family lived in a delapidated old wooden house in the woods — no electricity, a wood stove for heat, kerosene lanterns for lighting. He had decent grades, solid B+ average (although I am certain he was capable of straight A work if not held back by his surroundings) with SAT scores showing him to be more than capable of success in college. I had done graduate work at a nearby state university, one of the flagship schools in the state system. I had known students there who were getting full tuition and living expenses covered by the state. (In fact, some of them were demanding higher cash allowances for clothing, based on the claim that white students tended to dress in ratty clothing but it was an important part of Black culture to dress with style.) My rural student was accepted by that campus and two other relatively close state colleges — but he couldn’t get a dime other than the standard partial aid that almost every student in the state except the wealthiest received. The only difference i could see: the free ride went to “minority” students from New York City and he was merely an impoverished white rural student. I believed this was an injustice back then and it remains one today.

  127. Interesting article. This is guaranteed to ruffle some feathers.
    Has this article been published in other journals or periodicals? Please keep us posted on the reactions you get from all quarters.
    I found this article via Instapundit.

  128. No diversity in thought is permitted.
    Back in the 80s I worked for a company that had an HR department that thought we should employ more native Americans. Overnight we did – employees from India were reclassified – no longer were they Indians, they were “Indians”. That made me laugh. HR and logic – never the twain shall meet.

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