Asians, take a lesson from the Ivy League treatment of Jews. This is how it works:
Decades ago, the Ivy League colleges thought they had a problem: too many Jews. These recent immigrants, from a culture that prized education and academic achievement, had an unfortunate characteristic: They worked harder, studied longer and cared more about school. In short, they had all the attributes required for success in the Ivy League.
Problem was, the Ivy League didn’t really want them. Being first-generation students, these applicants didn’t have rich alumni parents who would be likely to donate big bucks. Being from an ethnicity not associated with America’s governing class, they didn’t help the Ivy League with its biggest selling point — that going to college there provides an opportunity to rub shoulders with America’s governing class. And they were seen as boring grinds who studied too hard and weren’t much fun.
The result was a change in admissions criteria to reward “leadership,” and “well-rounded” candidates — a thin disguise for “WASPs” — and, following closely on, actual quotas for Jewish students, so that no matter how many applied, their numbers on campus would stay just about the same. After several decades, this came to be seen as racist and unfair, and the quotas were dropped. (Though by then, conveniently enough, the Ivy League was able to find Jewish applicants with plenty of money, polish and governing-class connections without too much trouble).
I can’t tell you how many Jews I have known over the years whose parents – or they themselves – changed their last name in order to appear to be WASPs on the Harvard application. Or in the political campaign. Or in the general social milieu. Don’t even get me started on nose jobs.
But while the quotas for Jews are gone, the Ivy League now, by all accounts, has quotas for Asian students. They are seen as people who study too hard, boring grinds who aren’t much fun — and, of course, their parents aren’t as rich and connected. And though the numbers of highly qualified Asian applicants have grown dramatically, the number of Asians admitted stays pretty much the same every year.
Now the Asian students are suing. In a lawsuit against Harvard, they are claiming that Harvard demands higher qualifications from Asian students than from others, and that it uses “racial classifications to engage in the same brand of invidious discrimination against Asian Americans that it formerly used to limit the number of Jewish students in its student body.”
These claims are almost certainly correct. Discrimination against Asian students — and not just by Harvard, but throughout higher education — has been an open secret for years. Asian students, we’re told, face a “bamboo ceiling” as a result.
Where today’s discrimination is different from the Ivy League’s old quotas against Jews is that those old quotas were removed as part of efforts to fight racism. The Ivy League’s new quotas, meanwhile, are often defended on the same grounds — or, at least, as a means of attaining “diversity.”
Here’s what the Jews did: Harvard wouldn’t take them, so they went to NYU and MIT and state colleges, etc. And they did just fine. Asians should walk away from the Ivy League in droves, should build up departments in colleges and universities that will value them, and then, as they become affluent, they should contribute to those institutions. And as this generation of Asians grows up and achieves, they should definitely encourage their own kids to avoid the Ivies. Because the Ivies have a way of practicing racism and antisemitism while preaching to the rest of use that racism is bad, that we are all racists, etc. It’s obnoxious. Maybe by losing out on the future endowment that could be provided by those talented Asians, say in about 50-100 years, the Ivies might just begin to learn a lesson.