The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

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Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Uncomfortable Truth About Affirmative Action and Asian-Americans | The New Yorker

In a federal lawsuit filed in Massachusetts in 2014, a group representing Asian-Americans is claiming that Harvard University’s undergraduate-admissions practices unlawfully discriminate against Asians. (Disclosure: Harvard is my employer, and I attended and teach at the university’s law school.) The suit poses questions about what a truly diverse college class might look like, spotlighting a group that is often perceived as lacking internal diversity. The court complaint quotes a college counsellor at the highly selective Hunter College High School (which I happened to attend), who was reporting a Harvard admissions officer’s feedback to the school: certain of its Asian students weren’t admitted, the officer said, because “so many” of them “looked just like” each other on paper.


This makes me angry. But the problem is really federal involvement. If Harvard weren't semi-public, this wouldn't be a problem. They could admit only people named Peabody or Bernstein, or Smith.

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A couple of decades ago an Ozzie friend explained to me a problem that their medical schools had. Chinese fathers attributed maximum prestige to their children getting medical degrees. So their able children went to medical school in large numbers. (Ozzie university admissions were based on how well you'd done on your school leaving exams). They would graduate successfully; then many of them wouldn't train further for practice but would instead start to work for Daddy's firm. What a bugger, eh?

Posted by: dearieme | Aug 12, 2017 1:50:11 PM