"Affirmative action era is over, longtime foe says"

Lynne Henderson hendersl at ix.netcom.com
Sun Nov 26 16:17:55 PST 2006

David is right in noting that the designation "Asian American" hides 
the vast differentials among members of different communities--a 4th 
generation Japanese American or Chinese American or Korean American 
will be quite different from a first-or second-generation Vietnamese 
American or Laotian American or Hmong.   The stereotype of "model 
minority" also plays a huge role here. ("Oh, they're all engineers and 
doctors) See William Kidder's work on this in Calif. L. Rev. a few 
years ago, and the Brest/Oshige article in Stanford L. Rev. I mentioned 

The University of California (and Lowell High School in SF) both got 
sued for "quotas" on "Asian Americans" because "their" numbers tended 
to be higher than anyone's.  Cal and Lowell both backed off. (I took 
perverse joy in the fact that Anglos would be disadvantaged vis-a-vis 
"Asians"--again if they're from  the more "established" groups, just as 
Cuban Americans excel while Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans 
struggle). Numbers are up at cal undergraduate, and "white" numbers are 
down.  But as one gets tired of saying again and again, people are more 
than their numbers.  That does not mean I believe that there should be 
a ceiling on the number or percentage of admittees, only that you have 
to be very, very careful about generalizations.

Additionally,  I have read many articles on the Li case that are highly 
critical of his lawsuit--he has many classmates who are from similar 
backgrounds who got into Princeton. (urls on office computer, I'm away; 
  the Princeton student newspaper for one was highly  critical, but of 
course thy are biased? Of course anyone who has an axe to t grind in 
this is biased) And he's at *Yale* and feels discriminated against?  
Give me a break.

   When there are so many highly qualified applicants and so few spots, 
one looks for people who will *add* something rather than replicate it, 
nu?  Or are we completely secure in saying that we all should be alike? 
  No accounting for the differences in opportunities the upper middle 
class kids have?  No accounting for achievement "in spite of"?  As well 
as the ridiculously extensive resumes today's undergraduate applicants 
have to submit to "fancy, elite" schools to  have a prayer--who 
arranges that?  Parents?  A well-staffed high school?  What about 
people who don't have time for their "community work" when they are 
helping to  pay their own, and their  families',  bills by working 
20-30 hours a week in high school?

Lynne Henderson

On Nov 26, 2006, at 3:38 PM, DavidEBernstein at aol.com wrote:

> In a recent article in New York magazine (don't have the link handy), 
> a Manhattan admissions counselor (one of the people who get big bucks 
> to help rich kids get into the college of their choice) was asked 
> about the admissions prospects of various candidates.  One of the 
> candidates was a young woman with perfect score on her SATs, a desire 
> to go to MIT, and a strong interest in, and talent for, math and 
> science.  The counselor was a bit dubious about her prospects, in part 
> because she was competing with many other math and science types for 
> admission, "in particular other Asians."  Is their any industry other 
> than academia where it would be not be considered scandalous to 
> suggest that the industry is  limiting opportunities for 
> Asian-Americans based on their race?  And talk about "Eurocentrism", I 
> don't recall what ethnic group the applicants' name suggested, but I 
> find it rather appalling that in university admissions, apparently 
> Chinese, Hmong, Vietnamese, Koreans, Phillipinos, etc., all of whom 
> are from different linguistic and ethnic groups, and whose ancestors 
> lived thousands of miles away, are all simply considered "Asians."  
> Admittedly, this admissions advisor is only one person, but given that 
> her job is to read the minds of admissions staff at elite universities 
> around the country, I think we can safely assume that this attitude is 
> widespread.
> In a message dated 11/26/2006 6:27:08 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
> SLevinson at law.utexas.edu writes:
>> I recommend that people read the following article in today's Boston 
>> Globe, concerning a lawsuit filed by a Yale first-year student, Jian 
>> Li, against Princeton (which rejected his application).  He claims 
>> systematic discrimination against Asian-Americans.  For almost three 
>> decades now, white students have been explaining their failure to get 
>> into, say, the University of Texas Law School on the basis of our 
>> having preferential programs for African-Americans and 
>> Mexican-Americans.  (It should be immediately obvious that very few 
>> of the rejected white students would actually have been admitted even 
>> if there were no African-American or Mexican-American admittees, 
>> simply because there are so many more of the former than the latter, 
>> but that is irrelevant to the victimization narrative that white 
>> rejects like to portray.)  I'm curious what the response will be if 
>> the consequence of getting rid of affirmative action will be a giant 
>> leap in the admissions rate of Asian-Americans and the continued 
>> difficulty of many whites to get into the relatively few selective 
>> universities that actually practice race- or ethnic-oriented 
>> affirmative action (as opposed to the far more important legacy and 
>> athletics preferences).  Indeed, I wonder what will happen in 
>> Michigan if an increasing number of Arab-Americans from Dearborn 
>> choose to apply and gain admission to the University. 
>> No
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