Many elite US universities, whether they admit it or not, have a racial quota against Asians.
They cap the admission for Asians around 20 percent. The Asian enrollement is currently 15 percent at Harvard, 16 percent at Yale, 18 percent at Princeton, and 23 percent at MIT, according to data from collegeboard.com.
Meanwhile, race-blind elite universities have a much higher enrollment of Asians, particularly in California.
The Asian enrollment is 42 percent at CalTech, 40 percent at University of California Berkeley, and 34 percent at University of California Los Angeles.
Some may argue that these colleges have higher Asian populations because they’re located in California and focus heavily on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects.
However, at Stanford, which is also in California and focused on STEM subjects, the Asian enrollment is only 16 percent.
Those who deny the existence of university racial quotas like to point out that Asians are already overrepresented at elite universities. Indeed, at 5 percent of the overall US population, Asians are overrepresented by three-fold at universities like Harvard.
However, overrepresentation is a fact of life and it’s ridiculous to set quotas against it.
The NBA, for example, is 77 percent African-American** while the total Black/African American population in the US is only 13 percent.
Should African-American representation in the NBA be capped at 13 percent then? How about at 52 percent (13 times 4)?
Should Latinos, who represent 28.3 percent of Major League Baseball**, also be capped?
How about capping the number of Jews in the hedge fund business? Should Hollywood dole out more starring roles for registered Republicans?
The answer for all these ridiculous suggestions is a resounding ‘no.’
Elite US universities, however, are one of the few intuitions brazen enough to enforce this kind of institutionalized prejudice – and they have a long history of doing so.
Early in the 20th century, they conspired to keep the Jews out.
It all started when universities like Harvard began to use college entrance exams as criteria to weed out academically inferior students. An unintended consequence of this was a surge in Jewish enrollment – to as high as 20 percent at Harvard.
To stop this rise in the Jewish student enrollment, universities devised “character” considerations like one’s mother’s maiden name and changes to one’s family name*.
Based on these “character” considerations, they tried to identify and keep out Jews.
At Harvard, applicants who were conclusively Jewish was labeled “j1, those who were probably Jewish “j2,” and those who were possibly Jewish “j3,” according to Professor Jonathan Zimmerman of NYU.
Today, these prejudicial “character” considerations remain in place – but in a different form.
Their main purpose isn’t to keep Asians out (an Asian quota can be easily enforced by identifying Asian-sounding family names and by self-identification on the application).
Instead, they’re mostly used to benefit the elites at the expense of lower-middle class whites.
Lower-middle class whites don’t get any special considerations. Moreover, most of them can’t afford fancy piano or tennis lessons, so their children can’t win many awards in these extracurricular activities. Elite universities then label these children as not having a “well-rounded character.
Meanwhile, these types of lessons are the norm for privileged children.
The most egregious practice of elite universities, however, is the nonsensical policy of admitting students based on “legacy,” or whether their forefathers attended the universities. This was first used to keep the Jews out. Now, it’s mostly used to keep out lower-middle class whites and Asians.
More importantly, it allows a club of wealthy families to attend elite universities generation after generation.
Many Asian families – and some white families without any “legacy”– are trying to play the “character” game by sending their children to fancy violin lessons. By doing so, they at least prevent prejudiced elite universities from using the “character” consideration against them.
The Asian and white families who do not play this game, however, end up even more disadvantaged.
*Some Jews early in the 20th century anglicized their “Jewish sounding” family names. Benjamin Graham’s original family name, for example, was Grossbaum.
**Data from the Racial & Gender Report Card, done by the University of Central Florida.