Colleges Discriminate Against Asians
Kevin Carey, policy director of Education Sector, asserts that, “given the opportunity, elite American universities are prone to implement discriminatory admissions policies that artificially limit the number of American students of Chinese, Korean, and Japanese descent.” Matt Yglesias is stunned and rightly appalled: “We’re a country that congratulates itself on having dismantled Jim Crow and the system of ‘quotas’ that used to cap the number of Jewish students at top schools. But the quota system appears to have merely re-emerged with Asian-Americans as the victims. And nobody talks about it, though the discriminatory mechanisms are only slightly more subtle.”
Unfortunately, in the immediate aftermath of Jim Crow’s dismantling (Brown v. BOE, Civil Rights Act of 1964, Voting Rights Act of 1965, etc.) we quite reasonably decided that simply removing legal barriers to the advancement of formerly oppressed groups was not going to result in rapid changes. To speed things along, we created affirmative action programs, school busing, and similar programs aimed at establishing something like a proportionate representation of racial minority groups in schools and other feeder systems. Naturally, this was bureaucratized into quota systems so that progress could be measured.
While we quickly counterbalanced this, starting with the Bakke decision in 1978, educational institutions are still allowed and even encouraged to devise novel solutions to bring more blacks and Hispanics into the priviledged feeders — the Ivie and other elite private schools as well as the most prestigious state universities. To the extent that slots are limited, this necessarily means that students from the most competitive groups — increasingly, East and South Asians — face higher barriers to entry.
Photo by Flickr user GodzillaRockit, used under Creative Commons license.