Because to be black is to be poor. And the SAT is un-black. And because black people are "holistic." You know.
"Without Passion or Prejudice" is a relatively short piece that captures what I've been trying to say to all of America -- and it includes my idea for how to turn the tide.
However impossible it may seem -- it can be done.
As Tom Hanks said in Apollo 13 about landing on the moon: "It's not a miracle, we just decided to go": https://onevoicebecametwo.life/2021/08/03/without-passion-or-prejudice/
My prediction is that John will be wrong. Not actually wrong, but "wrong". Once the selective schools realize they've built their own Kobayashi Maru, they'll conclude that the only way to beat it is to change the rules - alter the simulation. If the problem is that the brown kids aren't graduating at the proper rates, let's just change the rules so that they will. Let's make the data fit our expectations by altering the requirements for those metrics. The problem will never be with the people, it will always be with the system. Since we can't change the people, let's just keep adjusting the system until we get what we expect no matter how genuinely unhelpful that system becomes.
Once we have the graduation rates in order, we'll have to do something about those 5/10+ year salaries where companies realize that the UC Berkeley stamp doesn't mean that much anymore, and the under-performing, but still graduating, kids are weeded out in the market to the lower-tier positions.
I agree with what you said, but I wouldn't characterize it as racist antiracism being "back" -- it's more like it's ramping up higher than it already was with no end in sight.
The University of California has been crowing that its admitted freshman class for 2021 is the "most diverse" ever. However, the actual figures won't be released for a while yet, so let's look at the figures for the years 2013 and 2020, shall we?
From 2013 to 2020, the percentage of black undergrads in the UC system went up from 3.7% to 4%. Not too impressive. If "representation" to match the population is what everyone seems to care about (and ignoring every other issue -- but it's what the diversity crowd seems to favor), that's not satisfactory. There are about 6% black people in California, so they're being represented at only about 2/3 their numbers in the population.
Let's see what happened with the Latino kids. They went from 19% of UC undergrads in 2013 to 25% in 2020, and Latino people make up about 38% of California's population. They made some gains, so that they too are represented at about 2/3 of their numbers in the population. Not great, but if representation at the levels in the population is a goal, at least that's moving in the right direction.
Now we turn to the groups that "everyone agrees" are OVER-represented at the UC, the pesky Asian and white kids.
From 2013 and 2020, the percentage of Asian undergraduates at the UCs went from 38% to 34%, whereas they represent 13% of the population.
Fun side note -- in this same time period, the percentage of international students tripled in the UC system, the vast majority of whom are from China, so while American Asian students -- you know, the ones who live here and whose parents pay taxes so they can attend their public schools -- are slightly less represented, we've had a huge increase in non-American Asian students. Is that "diverse"? Or not?
So...again, leaving aside the issue of whether the Asian American kids grew "less qualified" in the last seven years and whether they truly deserved to lose representation and be shut out -- and looking only at the stated goals of the diversity crowd, that the UC student body match the numbers in the population -- you'd say this is "progress."
Now for the worst of all -- the white kids. "Everyone knows" they get opportunities handed to them on a plate. They don't even have to work for it. Those rotten undeserving lazy white kids take far more than their share of resources, and we all agree they must simply make way for the "more diverse" UC of tomorrow.
From 2013 to 2020 white kids went from 30% of UC undergrads to 21%. And they represent 39% of California's population. In other words, while black and Latino kids are represented at about two-thirds their levels in the population, white kids' presence at UC is barely half of their levels in the population.
Wait WHAT now? What do you say? White kids are by far the _least_ represented racial group at the University of California? And that was _before_ the elimination of the SAT and the great "diversity gains" of 2021? White kids are more under-represented at the UC than even black and Latino kids? By FAR?
Contrary to the stereotype, the white kids are not all little Thurston Howell the 3rds. Their parents are not all shopping at Whole Foods and Lululemon and listening to NPR. These kids are not legacy students at Ivies. Their parents are not donating a library to buy their kids a spot.
These underrepresented white kids are the kids of bank tellers, fast food workers, office workers, public school teachers, supermarket cashiers. These are regular kids, from regular working class people of modest means, who are being shut out in large numbers, so that UC can talk about how "diverse" it is.
So how does that happen? And what does it mean? And what do we need to do?
To mention this issue at all is to be a horrible, racist, entitled white person who needs to sit down and stfu.
To mention it is pointless, too, because absolutely no one gives a shit.
Very good, as usual.
Really good piece, John. Sadly, this kind of critique can only be written by a person of color in our current society. The data is clear. One damaging impact of admitting unprepared individuals of color to elite universities is that many of them choose to major in black studies or other soft and accommodating fields of study. They leave the university with few career options.
I would love John to address the deficits for children of color that stem from elementary school and even before. I sat on a committee at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in the 1980s to address the lack of qualified black candidates for medical school. We decided that any solution would have to go back to earlier childhood, which was well beyond our reach. It is a cultural problem and common in all individuals of lower socioeconomic status. Perplexing but in need of wise analysis.
IMHO, there is one legimate way to include disadvantage in the admissions process: make an honest attempt to take into account the trajectory of a person. If someone was raised by highly-educated parents in an affluent community and went to high quality schools and ends up with similar objective "numbers" (however that is defined) to someone raised by a relatively-uneducated single mother in a low-income neighborhood who attended crappy schools, then we can say that the latter is more likely to go further in their education and career than the former. But those objective "numbers" (again, however they're defined, and if they can be defined in a way more predictive of success with new and better tools, then great) have to remain the fundamental way in which merit is determined.
I go back to segregated state college days, Florida State and A&M. Even got arrested for visiting A&M! I've thought about that for years.
What do you think of the Darwinian adaptation theory that 400 years of punishing IQ as we conceive it has resulted in not only a lower "IQ" but also increased mechanisms for culturally hiding it? Any idea about how that might work?
p.s. The orange tee gets many compliments!
Every time I see antiracist I first mistakenly read it antichrist. I'm not that wrong.
It’s hard for me to relate to the issue of minorities and relaxed admissions to elite California schools, just because my experience was so different. It used to be (late 1970s) that if you attended/graduated from a junior college you could later be admitted to a four year college without taking the SAT, or in this state, it was the ACT. For me, since I waited several years after high school to go to college, jc was a good place to get my feet wet, brush up on my skills and get basic requirements out of the way. The jc I attended had open admissions and there were a lot of kids like me there, a mix of working class whites, blacks and Cuban Americans. That approach worked well for me, and I went on to a four year state university, and got my BA. Not sure how it works now. I agree with the basic point that preparing students of all colors for college-level classes (if they want to go to college), is the obviously right approach. It’s a little hard to believe that is not what most institutions beyond UC Berkeley are encouraging. How many colleges are actually fooling around with admissions criteria? Maybe more than I know. ???
Given the supposed erudition of those promulgating this policy, it’s hard to believe they don’t see and understand the sophistry of their argument. Presuming they are cynically aware of what they are doing, their undermining the integrity of the selection process is the most egregious form of racism. They are judgmentally rejecting qualified students in favor of those less qualified, denying some opportunity and introducing others to a situation where they stand a good chancing of struggling or failing.
In the end, to justify their misbehavior, this devout “anti-racists” will very likely be forced to continue to erode education standards and the expectations placed on students. This will materially impact STEM studies, which are need to sustain and advance our economy, pushing more students to “soft” studies that are, arguably, not as scarce and are less marketable in an information economy.
Knowing their behavior is wrong, and taking these actions despite the inevitable harm to all those involved, pursuing this policy is an indictment of academia and the intellectual “elites” actively destroying it. Dr. McWhorter and Dr. Loury are two very notable exceptions (and there are, thankfully, others), and it is beyond disheartening how far things have devolved in my lifetime. That said, I derive hope from and am grateful for Dr. McWhorter’s challenging this unseemly orthodoxy, and I appreciate his unrelenting efforts to “right the ship” before it sinks.
We all differ in attractiveness, athleticism, vocal resonance, height, eyesight, hearing, everything. But when it comes to cognitive ability, there are no differences.
As a Democrat and an educator, I can't stress that strongly enough.
You must vote for Democrats to stop racism. And you must support educators. The only thing standing between your child and top-tier scholastic excellence is money.
Excellent writing. You tell em John!
These shallow UC buffoons don't care about the students, just their fragile image in the eyes of the "cool kids". Each action to placate the woke mob sacrifices a bit of their integrity on the altar of smug moral superiority, but the Elect acolytes only solemnly nod and look on, preparing for their next assault (as John said) on these institutions as "racist" when the students don't get A's.
great point about testing too: why do "antiracists" just assume it's impossible to improve achievement among certain racial demographic groups? in my experience, the work that i did for the test improved my skills at large and (imo) helped me do better in college. That said i'm glad i didn't get into any fancy schools; joe-schmoe school was plenty enough.
White Progressives used to breed brown people for brawn, now they breed for spunk? We’ve come a long way, baby.
I'd suggest folks muse on who really benefits from a “holistic” approach to admissions rather than one focused on meritocratic standards like GPAs and SAT scores. Does a minority kid raised by a single parent from a poor performing school in crime-ridden neighborhood benefit as much relative to a UMC white kid from a good school with lots of extra-curriculars, as the white kid does relative to a middle-income Asian kid?
The University system is reacting to the realities of a problem not of their making, which is that the demographics of the students that are prepared for entrance at at an elite University don't match the demographics of the educational system as a whole. K-12 Education is consistently failing students of all colors, and trying to apply a corrective at the end of a 12 or 13 year process is too little, too late. That being said, this new change will almost certainly make things worse for students coming from the worst schools. But hey, it's easy to market as virtuous to those that don't want to get into the details.