_Picture courtesy of Bluebear2 via Wikimedia_
The recent revelations which appear to show that Harvard maintained an Asian quota by ranking Asian applicants lower on personality even without having met them is unsurprising.
The connection between higher education and meritocracy has always been shaky. It’s just less shaky in this country than in most. And the system has never known what to do with a flood of high achieving students. There were Jewish quotas into the 50s because colleges wanted to reduce the number of Jewish applicants. The existence of Asian quotas is equally unsurprising. (There may, for all we know, still be similar Jewish quotas. Nobody has dug into the data.)
The worm in the apple here is that Harvard offers an illusion of meritocracy. But its aim is preparing future leaders. Rather than letting in the brightest and most dedicated students. And its notion of leadership qualities has only so much to do with academic merit. That is why there’s an extensive industry dedicated to helping parents get their children into those high end schools. Some Asian parents have been paying thousands to tens of thousands of dollars just for the image management side of things.
Diversity is a much more important value than merit in academia. And while that serves as an unofficial quota on white people. It serves as a quota on Asian people too.
Whether it’s Harvard or Google, when there’s concern about “diversity”, Asians never count. Because they’ve already exceeded their part of the diversity quota. It’s an obvious example of how diversity is a racist apartheid system. That almost goes without saying. But it exists because the institutions of higher learning don’t really value higher learning. Scores are qualifiers, but what they really want is a progressive social club. And a whole bunch of Asian students obsessively studying ruin that vibe.
Diversity isn’t just racist and unjust. It also reduces the academic worth and integrity of every institution that practices it.