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Columbia University Prof Defends Affirmative Action, Bias Against Asian Students

Columbia University Prof Defends Affirmative Action, Bias Against Asian Students

“Teachers assume they are smart, hard-working, high-achieving and morally deserving, which can boost the grades of academically mediocre Asian American students.”

Everyone is talking about Affirmative Action in higher education this week as the Supreme Court examines the issue due to a case brought by Asian students.

At the New York Times, a sociology professor named Jennifer Lee offered a somewhat stunning take.

Lee essentially argues that Asian students benefit from bias long before they get to college.

From the NY Times:

Asian American Students Face Bias, but It’s Not What You Might Think

Affirmative action is on trial again. This time, opponents of race-conscious college admission practices are claiming that Asian Americans are hurt by it. The plaintiffs in Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College, which presented oral arguments before the Supreme Court on Monday, allege that Harvard holds Asian American applicants to higher academic standards and rates them lower than other students on personal characteristics, such as fit, courage and likability. The proposed solution is to abandon race as a factor in admissions decisions.

This approach is based on a fundamental misconception. Asian Americans face bias in education, but not in the direction the plaintiffs claim. Research that I and others have done shows that K-12 teachers and schools may actually give Asian Americans a boost based on assumptions about race. Affirmative action policies currently in place in university admissions do not account for the positive bias that Asian Americans may experience before they apply to college. Abandoning race as a consideration in admissions would further obscure this bias…

In “The Asian American Achievement Paradox,” which I wrote with Min Zhou and is based on 162 interviews of Asian, Hispanic, Black and white adults in Los Angeles, we found that Asian American precollege students benefit from “stereotype promise”: Teachers assume they are smart, hard-working, high-achieving and morally deserving, which can boost the grades of academically mediocre Asian American students.

Professor Jacobson recently spoke about this issue at Cornell.

Here are a few reactions from the Columbia tweet posted above.

It’s truly something to behold.


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Your terms are acceptable. The answer is use the SAT and ACT score as the only criteria for general admissions. Full stop. Then eliminate the legacy admissions because we wouldn’t want any preconceived notions about the fitness of these folks based upon their Parent’s personal academic achievement nor financial contributions.

Close The Fed | November 4, 2022 at 7:22 pm

I agree with Christopher Caldwell, that the civil ri9hts acts became a new constitution and not a good one.

I don’t want Asians with their culture to become our leaders in the U.S.A. It’s not an American culture at all.

We should have every right to discriminate as we please, but if you’re getting government money, you only have the right to discriminate as our laws permit. So quit taking govt. money and quit taking all these tax breaks, and keep doing well.

I don’t want to live in an Asian country. I’m not going to move to one, and I don’t want my country turned into one.

    You can count on one hand the number of colleges and universities that don’t take federal dollars.

    CommoChief in reply to Close The Fed. | November 4, 2022 at 8:53 pm

    Can you be more specific about what aspects of the culture from the various different Asian cultures, they are not interchangeable, you find objectionable.

    The more common themes throughout ‘Asian’ culture seem fine to me; hard work, reverence for elders, value education, importance of family, self improvement, personal sacrifice, individual responsibility and delayed gratification.

      gonzotx in reply to CommoChief. | November 4, 2022 at 9:21 pm

      Group think and submission in general

        CommoChief in reply to gonzotx. | November 5, 2022 at 8:50 am

        I appreciate the attempt but can you be specific as to why those are bad things or how they manifest themselves? As is it’s too vague.

        Group think? Ok those on the right get accused of being mindless yokels in thrall to DJT and that’s not true.

        Submission? To what or whom? To God? Many would say submission to God is a good thing. Submission to the larger group/society? We all do that as part of the social compact.

          Close The Fed in reply to CommoChief. | November 5, 2022 at 10:44 am

          Unlike many who pretend there are no differences between groups — are there differences between Labrador Retrievers and Beagles? — I don’t deny what I see.

          Let’s assume based upon available tests, that on average, Asians are brighter than other races. That does not militate in their favor. High intelligence doesn’t equal better culture.

          They are controlled many times by their parents, who typically have their own agenda and are indifferent to its effects upon others, including their own children. They lack creativity. They are group followers. America isn’t about “group following,” it’s about seeing the right, seeing the wrong, and choosing the right over the wrong. They come here to live and work in their Asian companies with plants here, and they expect everyone to turn into the sad workaholics they are. There is more to life than 16 hour work days.

          As for the broader Asian culture, their views towards animals are different. They torture dogs before killing them to eat them. Their view of animals has not evolved as ours has. Killing rare animals because they believe ingesting them will give them desired characteristics. I fear what China is going to do to African wildlife as they take the One Belt One Road there and take over control of that continent.

          They are not Westerners. This will be a sad flat country if Asians are permitted at the helm as a great percentage of our leaders. You will not want to live in that country. They’re using our legal system to better position themselves to rise in our society. Let them segregate into their own groups here if they wish, but it’s been miserable enough having white lefties control everything. Asians would be almost as bad, which is still 50% above bearable.

          I understand so many here want to believe in character not skin color. You believe we’ve been turned into a multi-racial society and it’s the only way for this new setup to work. You have my complete sympathies.

          Regrettably, people of other colors are ALL ABOUT their colors whether we agree or not. You have to live in the world that is, not the world as you. Race has been used to increase voter turnout ever since the War of Northern Aggression.

          We have an obligation, I would even go so far as to say a duty, to do what is in our power to restore and maintain preeminence of original American culture, because that is what has brought us to this marvelous standard of living we have, and if we lose it, OUR CHILDREN will be the victims of those that hate them, because those that hate them will be in greater control than now.

          Take off the shade-colored glasses. Your children’s lives depend up on it, and I mean this literally.

          CommoChief in reply to CommoChief. | November 5, 2022 at 11:04 am

          Assimilation still happens. Immigrants begin that on day one. Their American born children continue that, often to the dismay of their Parents.

          I spent my working life doing very long days at work. That’s what my Parents taught me to do, work hard to get ahead. If the other guy is smarter or more efficient then to compete you gotta out work his ass. First in the private sector as stockbroker arriving by 06:30 and leaving about 8:00 at night. Working on weekends to establish a client base. Not ideal for some in their 20’s but it paid off financially.

          Then after 9/11 in the Army which is not a 9-5. I was at work at 05:15 daily and departing at 6:30 or so. Half days on Saturday, sometimes on Sunday afternoon. Deployments were usually 15 hour days minimum.

          You seem to be describing a fear of the influence of Communist China which I can appreciate. The influence of US culture on the world and particularly in the US among immigrants has never been higher than now in the social media age.

          2nd generation + citizens lose the cultural markers of their Parents adopting the culture of the US, for good and bad, with each generation. They want the same things everyone else does. Why fear competition from lawful immigrants? It will only make you more productive and a better asset to your employer or in your own small business.

          Close The Fed in reply to CommoChief. | November 5, 2022 at 11:49 am

          Asians in this country that I know, have their children, from infancy on, at their place of business from the time they open until they close at 9 or 10 at night.

          Further, since we continue to be overwhelmed by foreigners, our influence upon them declines, so they asssimilate LESS.

          And particularly as they breathe in the propaganda that America is evil, they are less inclined to assimilate.

          As far as which Asians I’m concerned about, I’m concerned about the Japanese etc that come here and build plants and have subsidiaries here in the U.S. They run their own plants. They have their own culture which of course they impose in their own plants.

          We’re not talking about 25 year olds working long hours. We’re talking about 40, 50 60 year olds working 14 hours a day because that is what the Japanese company expects.

          Don’t forget we are also importing Asia Indians who come with an extremely un-American culture. Thank God Musk got rid of some of them at twit.

          Asian Indians have a caste system which has been entrenched in their culture for I’m sure at least a thousand years, then come here, and treat each other the same way. We have employment discrimination cases now — which consume our tax dollars by the way to process — by A. Indians complaining another A. Indian has discriminated against him according to castes.

          So much for assimilation.

          Quit telling me a crap sandwich is honey. It isn’t.

          CommoChief in reply to CommoChief. | November 5, 2022 at 1:59 pm

          You may be surprised to find that I have very strict views on immigration.

          1. Build a wall.
          2. Require States to provide birth and death data, DL data and criminal conviction data
          3. Input that data plus federal criminal conviction data, Social Security and IRS data into a single database.
          4. Database then tells us who is alive, who files a tax return, their address, their employer and the current DL.
          5. That database is then useful for determining whether someone is who they say they are, as a basis for checking voter registration fraud and by ICE.
          6. Require all VISA requesting employer or College to immediately report an ‘AWOL’. Same for airlines for tourist VISA return flights being missed or cancelled.
          7. Now we have an effective E verify system for mandatory use by every employer.
          8. Round up and deport all those present illegally.
          9. Audit employers. Jail violators. Jail those who enabled illegal aliens, yes that just might mean Catholic Priests. Tough cookies.

          That’s the starting point. Then we have a five to ten year pause on immigration to work through the implementation of the above. Sooner done the sooner the pause can be lifted. Even then there’s a cap we won’t exceed and those will be 80% the people we need selected by merit with the other 20% for actually legit asylum claims.

          Now that immigration is fixed lets talk about assimilation. No successive waves and no entry preferences other than merit/skills along with a reduced cap would seem to preclude folks self segregating over time.

          As to working 14 hour days. Lots of people do that their whole lives voluntarily. Employers in the US are bound by wage and hour laws. Dissatisfied employees can go to a rival or if they have a good skill set and some gumption they can work for themselves by becoming an entrepreneur or independent contractor.

          Iron sharpens iron. Competition is good. Hard work is part of the American ethos or was until recently when the whiny progressives arrived.

    Dolce Far Niente in reply to Close The Fed. | November 4, 2022 at 10:54 pm

    Your subtext is “I don’t like what I perceive to be Asian culture, and I believe no Asian can be an American, so discrimination based on skin color is acceptable to me.”

      Close The Fed in reply to Dolce Far Niente. | November 5, 2022 at 10:48 am

      Was it subtext? I thought I was explicit. I apologize for my imprecision.

      Close The Fed in reply to Dolce Far Niente. | November 5, 2022 at 12:49 pm

      Now that I’m a little more awake, I’ll clarify further. This post is about admission to schools whose students typically end up in American leadership positions. I do not believe that “no Asian” can be an American. But I do believe that if you tell schools they HAVE TO ACCEPT THE HIGHEST SCORERS ON A TEST,

        Close The Fed in reply to Close The Fed. | November 5, 2022 at 12:52 pm

        Hit the return key accidently. If they have to accept the highest scorers, then you’re going to get the AVERAGE of that culture, and the Average of Asian culture isn’t American culture.

        It’s making an informed decision based upon desired outcome.

        I know some Asians that have assimilated very well, and are what I consider to be as American as most Americans. I mean, alot of Americans today don’t know their own country well enough to be good Americans. But aside from that, these Asians are American.

    healthguyfsu in reply to Close The Fed. | November 4, 2022 at 11:24 pm

    We used to have this concept called a melting pot. You could look however and become whatever as long as you upheld a shared social contract of American values. It was a beautiful thing that led to unity and harmony for a long time.

    Fake liberals killed it with racism in a naked ploy for power. I’m not sure your racism and discrimination is any better, though.

      Close The Fed in reply to healthguyfsu. | November 5, 2022 at 10:54 am

      We didn’t really have a melting pot. We had predominantly whites and blacks. For the most part they led separate lives.

      The west coast had Chinamen, who for some part formed their own enclaves.

      The 1960s opened the spigot to changing our racial makeup and the civil rights acts fundamentally changed our law and obliterated parts of our constitution.

      We USED to have freedom of association and freedom to discriminate so we could associate with whom we pleased. That’s been obliterated. Blacks know it. Hire a black, or don’t. If your average company hires your average black woman in particular, she knows the law gives her unmerited protection and she’ll be a very aggravating employee because she knows she can get away with it.

      For some reason that is a little hard for me to know myself, the desire for real freedom, not fake freedom, is in my DNA. This fake crap where I have to only say approved things, only think approved things, is objectionable.

      The problem with jim crow was again, it was a limitation on freedom of association. If you want to serve blacks at your restaurant, you should be able to. If you don’t, you shouldn’t. Law requiring you deny service or provide service, both sides are wrong.

      GIVE ME MY DAMN FREEDOM, AND quit telling me I live in a free country. It’s a lie.

“Research that I and others have done shows that K-12 teachers and schools may actually give Asian Americans a boost based on assumptions about race.”

Therefore, punishing the victims is preferable to doing your fucking job properly?

    healthguyfsu in reply to henrybowman. | November 4, 2022 at 11:25 pm

    You know what doesn’t boost scores based on assumptions about race?

    Standardized testing….at least the truly objective ones that existed before the woke scolds got their hands on them.

      CommoChief in reply to healthguyfsu. | November 5, 2022 at 8:57 am

      Yep. Can’t hide from the testing results. No way to paper over poor performance with a bunch of BS. Everyone stands equal on test day, #2 pencil clutched in their nervous hand.

        Dimsdale in reply to CommoChief. | November 5, 2022 at 9:06 pm

        That’s why they are trying to dump them. MIT did, then got wise, realized that their reputation is based on excellence, and returned to standardized testing as one of the major qualifications to acceptance.

By the way, Asians are quite racists as a whole. You won’t find many mixed couples

Japan is what 99.9% full Japanese

Asians have their own hierarchy within Asian culture.
Japanese, South Koreans, Chinese too shelf
Vietnamese next in line and then the not so coveted Asian races such as Philippines , Malaysia, Cambodian, etc.

I actually think Asians are quite brilliant if give opportunity, but there seems a creative factor that is missing often, generally very rigid.

I worked with several Vietnamese nurses and they would talk in detail
Of their culture and other Asian cultures

    healthguyfsu in reply to gonzotx. | November 4, 2022 at 11:27 pm

    Most races marry their own race. Mixed couples are far less common in all cultures for a plethora of reasons that include much more than just attraction.

    I wouldn’t use that as a barometer for “racism” as people are free to marry who gives them the best chance at happiness.

    henrybowman in reply to gonzotx. | November 5, 2022 at 12:47 am

    “Asians have their own hierarchy within Asian culture.”
    Comedienne Ali Wong refers to this in her bit about “fancy Asians” and “jungle Asians.”

    Close The Fed in reply to gonzotx. | November 5, 2022 at 12:09 pm

    Similar with muslim countries. Can’t take a bible into them.

    Americans are so unaware of the world. They pretend to think everybody is the same, Kumbya (sp?), let’s hold hands, and give everybody a Coke, and we’ll all get along.

    Geezee…. it was a COMMERCIAL, people!

      CommoChief in reply to Close The Fed. | November 5, 2022 at 8:50 pm

      I personally saw copies of the ‘Watch Tower’; the Jehovah’s Witness tract, in homes in Iraq. Arabic versions. Somebody had big brass ones handing those out door to door.

Vietnamese people I know we’re extremely hard working, kind, wouldn’t ruffle any feathers.
I was always speaking up for them actually. I ended up their supervisor but even before that, I would encourage them to speak up, etc, they just wouldn’t. They would just work as hard as they could for as long as they could. I loved working with them because I knew they gave good care, were smart and enjoyed their company.
But they stick together as a group. Like I said, not a lot of intermingling, all their kids were brilliant, first in class in HS and often the University . There was a lot of pressure to succeed.
I will tell you this, most of the Vietnamese bought rental properties, lots of them, and they are all now multimillionaires.

You just can’t separate Democrats from their racism.

Saying Asians only achieve because of “expectations” of their race is no different than saying blacks can’t because of expectations of theirs.

So the left, in its inevitable micromanipulation of race to achieve some mythical “level playing field” does little but drop mortars on that field, ruining it for everyone. They discriminate against both Asians and blacks, to the detriment of both. They never remember that it is their government schools that dropped the ball for the blacks. Asians and other achievers simply overcome the barriers put in place by the left and their agents in the teacher’s unions with hard work and supportive parents.

Advancement through merit, and nothing else, is the only fair (the real meaning of the word) means of selecting applicants for schools. Anything else is just a racist, political sham, soft bigotry doled out by the leftists as part of their plan to divide America by race.

Lastly, the NYTimes cites this sociology professor as some sort of authority on the subject with the aforementioned “low n=162” of surveyed subjects is a joke. The only “boost based on assumptions about race” that Asians receive is the fact that the classes they are excelling in have been dumbed down to “let every student have a trophy,” precisely what they are now trying to do to colleges and universities.

Lastly, sociology is a soft science, a joke to those of us in the hard sciences, and a Ph.D. in sociology is nearly as ludicrous and easy to get as a Ed.D.

Let’s face it, the author of this program, sociologist Jennifer Lee, is de facto proof that not all Asians are high achievers.

Kenny Wellington | November 5, 2022 at 1:14 am

We can move.

We can move out of this country.

Not all of us but a lot of us. And we can encourage our young adult children to seek opportunity elsewhere.

One of the reasons that Jews gravitated to the early “talking picture industry” in Hollywood is that the Nazis made it impossible to work in the German motion picture industry.

After the American civil war a group of southerners moved en masse to Brazil.

After the Vietnam war a group of Hmong moved together to Minnesota.

Countless other examples in history. Whether we like it or not.

IMHO one of the primary roles of a half decent parent is to assess the road ahead, and encourage one’s children to avoid the Krazy.

Why can’t we accept the reality that a four-year experience at an Ivy League institution 25-50 years ago … meant something entirely different from what it now has become.

Things change. Grownups accept that fact.

Maybe it would behoove a lot of us to just accept reality and move on.

Just walk away.

I realize it’s not necessarily easy peazy to do this.

I realize it’s not always going to be successful.

Everyone needs a Plan B.

But is it realistic — seriously — to imagine that the American higher education system will ever self-correct? or be coerced into correcting?

Don’t want to? Don’t have to.
Don’t agree? Don’t have to.

    Close The Fed in reply to Kenny Wellington. | November 5, 2022 at 11:01 am

    We trusted our higher officials to do the right thing because we assumed they loved the country as we did.

    We were wrong.

    As a result, they’ve trashed it. We were busy, not paying enough attention, and they trashed it. Great country ever, and they trashed it. Joe Biden was in on for 5 decades.

    Since the 2020 debacles, election, virus, schools shut down, bad vax, etc,, Americans are now getting involved. So it might improve, it might be salvaged. But we have to be realistic about how other groups feel about white Americans, because if we’re not, and we’re grossly outnumbered, we can be slaughtered just as easily as the white South Africans.

    We have to accurately assess the dynamics because if we don’t, the deaths will be gruesome and unimaginable. We already have blacks killing people with one punch randomly. With no effective death penalty or incarcerations, we have criminals with no fear of assaulting us, robbing us, torturing us, killing us.

    These are facts. The constitution, as inspired as it was, will be of no help when you’re surrounded by people who don’t adhere to it.

      Close The Fed in reply to Close The Fed. | November 5, 2022 at 11:58 am

      Downvote me all you please.

      When you’re the David Dorn killed by rioting blacks, when you’re the woman raped, strangled, murdered by a black out of jail without bail, I hope you’ll rethink it, and not pull the same self-immolating stunt that Molly Tibbets dad pulled, after her murder.

      But if you do, I object to you signing me up for the catastrophe you’re creating. The sickening thing is there’s no way for me to stop you.

    henrybowman in reply to Kenny Wellington. | November 5, 2022 at 11:32 pm

    Yeah, we can move… but where?
    The USA is the place everybody else moves to when the oppression in their country gets unbearable.
    I have revisited many of the bug-out havens that were trendy over the past three decades in the publications of the SHTF crowd.
    New Zealand? Now conquered by incompetent, iron-fisted commies.
    Australia? Now thinks literal concentration camps—over the damn coof, no less—are a reasonable idea.
    Costa Rica? Institutionally corrupt cops and officials; undependable infrastructure; the cost of living, energy, the crime rate, and especially the murder rate continue to zoom.
    None of these places believe in the right to own effective self-defense equipment.
    As I mentioned, refugees come from all over the world to get into the US to improve their lot. If there were a place even almost as good that was a lot closer to some of these people, they would go there instead of here. Are they going anywhere else? Other than Muslims “invading” Europe, I don’t see any.
    So when the USA falls below the level of acceptability for a US resident… he’s porked.

“Affirmative action” is such a noxious, offensively dishonest euphemism, like all of the rhetorical devices contrived by the vile Dumb-o-crats. It is simply racism that is alleged by the Dumbs to be legally supportable, benign and laudable.

Diversity [dogma] (e.g. racism), Inequity, and Exclusion (DIE) doctrine. Round and around in a clearly monotonic fashion. Not quite a wicked solution. #HateLovesAbortion

Basing college admissions on race is at its core the very definition of racism

Academics are complete failures in other professions, especially in the business world.

Even if they are highly credentialed, they usually don’t have what it takes to succeed in a competitive environment. No drive, no motivation but plenty of jealousy.

These Ivy Leaguers are lazy people. They realize their insecurities and inadequacies subconsciously, and so they overcome with coping mechanisms.

An interesting corollary to their behavior is showing directed disrespect towards these woke institutions.

The United States needs the best minds doing the most difficult things. But we also need to help raise up all those we can to keep them from being left behind.

    Dimsdale in reply to Ghostrider. | November 5, 2022 at 9:21 pm

    I could not agree more. In my experiences in academia, I have found that PI’s (principal investigators) are some of the biggest babies you’ll ever see, complete with temper tantrums. They routinely misspend grant money on personal items, overspend like drunken sailors (my apologies to real sailors for the comparison), farm out their teaching and grading to grad students, their lab supervision to postdocs, and their budgets to admins with not too much economic acumen. They have also been known to date their underlings. They work postdocs to death, and pay them squat, to do all the work that brings in their funding and provide their fat, six figure salaries.

    One of the big problems (that I didn’t share) is that they never had real jobs; they never left the womb of academia. They don’t know how to budget or economize, only beg for money from gov’t agencies like NIH, hence they are ignorant of real life necessities and practices.

    Look at Paul Krugman if you want an apropos example.

    The also fully believe their omnipotence, and can never be wrong, although they very frequently are.