What Is The Ethical Response To The Racially Unbalanced Admissions To New York City’s Elite High Schools?

The question has been giving me a headache since I first read about the stunning results of the process that gives New York City students access to its elite public schools.  Of the nearly 4,800 students admitted into the specialized schools for 2019, 190 are black, down from  207 black students admitted last year out of just over 5,000 offers. Stuyvesant high school, which is representative, gave 7 offers to black students (out of 895 slots),   33 offers to Hispanic students, 194 offers to white students, and Asian-American students received a whopping  587 offers. Overall, Asian-American students constitute 60% of the student bodies of the eight elite schools.

Students take  a single exam that tests their mastery of math and English in order to gains entrance to the academically challenging school. Stuyvesant, which has the highest cutoff score for admission and is thus the most selective of the schools, now has the lowest percentage of black and Hispanic students of any of New York City’s roughly 600 public high schools.

What should the city do about this? Should it do anything? 

Mayor de Blasio, good Democrats that he is, has proposed the predictable solution: change the rules (You know, like lowering the voting age to 16, eliminating the Electoral College, packing the Supreme Court—but I digress) to make it easier for black students to be admitted. The problem is that this is a zero sum game, like affirmative action. If a less qualified black or Hispanic student comes in, a better qualified Asian-American student has to go. “These numbers are even more proof that dramatic reform is necessary to open the doors of opportunity at specialized high schools,”  de Blasio said.  Yes, but reform of what? The test isn’t racially biased. It’s color blind. If elite academic schools don’t admit students according to their academic talents, then they aren’t elite academic schools any more.

Says the Times, “The numbers are a stark reminder that the exam tends to produce specialized schools with classes that do not reflect the school system as a whole.” But why would anyone expect a system based on merit to produce a student body that matches the demographic breakdown? We know that different communities and cultures evolve different strengths and weaknesses. Blaming everything but what appears to be the real cause of these disparities is unfair to all concerned, and guarantees that nothing will change.

Asian American families, despite many beginning with language challenges and other obstacles, obviously are doing something right that enhances academic performance, and doing it better than whites, who are doing whatever it is better than blacks and Hispanics. How do the other communities emulate and duplicate that success?

Such stark racial and ethnic disparities in achievement look bad and feel bad, even if the results are fair and nothing sinister is behind them. Yet as Harvard is about to find out, penalizing superior students because of their race or ethnic background  is neither an ethical answer nor a reasonable one.

This problem in New York is a fractal of the nation’s racial dilemmas, and it would be revealing to hear every public  official and politician give a serious and substantive answer to what they would recommend. For example, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, with the simple-minded facileness for which she is justly infamous, opined, while ducking a question, “My question is, why isn’t every public school in New York City a Brooklyn Tech-caliber school? Every one should be.”

Ah, yes, every school should be elite, every child should be above average, and everyone should be exactly as able and talented as everyone else.

I still have a headache.


Source: New York Times

41 thoughts on “What Is The Ethical Response To The Racially Unbalanced Admissions To New York City’s Elite High Schools?

  1. As a very good friend and law school classmate said in 1980 or so, “If they’re going to make the tests easier for black kids, they’re going to have to make them harder for Jews and Chinese.”

    But seriously, the solution is for people to get comfortable with the idea of Chinese kids dominating elite schools and the professions and investment banking, business and eventually politics all out of proportion to their representation in the populous. It happened with the Jews (and the Irish and Itlaians, for that matter), it can happen with the Chinese.

    I just don’t think Bill DeBlasio has the political capital to demolish Bronx Science and Stuyvesant, et al. I think that may be a bridge too far for Comrade Bill, even on Manhattan.

    • If you are going to make the tests easier for the black students, why would you ever go to a black surgeon? This attitude that black and hispanic students can’t succeed without special help is the same racism that said it was OK to have black slaves because they are the same type of human as whites.

  2. “My question is, why isn’t every public school in New York City a Brooklyn Tech-caliber school? Every one should be.”

    Its reasoning like that that would keep someone out of such a school. ARGH!

    It is challenging to tinker with objective merit-based assessment as once you start tweaking it is not objective and not merit-based. The real challenge though is how to reform the present education system (and parenting system) to better address the lack of diverse entrants. More and better programs at identifying candidates for such schools and getting them ready (and desirous).

    Changing the rules to admit otherwise unqualified students will drive an equality of outcome, which many progressives seem to demand, but only by striving to average down and not average up. How is that fair and how does it meet the mandate for these programs?

    • The mistake that’s made getting into these discussions is assuming that “diversity” is inherently desirable and beneficial. It’s not. Let the best test takers win. Handicapping kids does no one any good, certainly not the kids who are snuck in by virtue of the handicapping. They get brutalized being around the whizkids once they’re in an elite school. I just see no benefit in a classroom having a variety of kids from different backgrounds and minority groups. None. How does that enhance learning? It also turns the kids who are snuck in into show ponies who are only there to allow the smart kids to virtue signal at will. Students learn from the material and the professors. They don’t learn anything from each other in the classroom.

  3. I said yesterday if something makes you feel bad that is on you not the system. If whites, blacks and Hispanics feel bad because they did not make the cut then they need to figure out how to make the grade.

    What these tests prove is that entrance tests are not culturally biased if Asians are kicking butt and taking names.

    It is not up to other demographic groups to make another feel special. Any feeling of inadequacy is self imposed and not because of another feeling superior.

    • Chris Marschner wrote, “Any feeling of inadequacy is self imposed and not because of another feeling superior.”

      Absolutely true!

      Unfortunately progressives, social justice warriors and a vast majority of hive minded Democrats have shown us repeatedly over the last few years that tribal division and emotion trumps ALL critical thinking, so a statement like yours essentially strips the validity from their “feelings” and the resulting onslaught from the left will be to attack you.

      The title of this blog asks us, “What Is The Ethical Response To The Racially Unbalanced Admissions To New York City’s Elite High Schools?”

      Remember to the political left, it’s all about equality in outcomes not equality in opportunity, there is nothing you can do or say to these people to change their minds. It’s as if you have a hive mind of narcissists that have crossed over into full blown delusion: an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument. To these people, if a black person applies and a non black person applies then the outcome of the black persons’ application must be equal to or greater than that of the non black persons’ application – facts are irrelevant – only outcomes matter; it’s affirmative action gone completely berserk. Here is their argument in mathematical terms: 1+1=2+2 and there is nothing you can do or say to disprove their delusion.

      Since we are not dealing with dementia patients, the response to these people must be forceful and directly to the point; “You’re fucking nuts!” or its equivalent.

    • One would have to at least take into consideration that Whites, white communities, the idea of whiteness, white history, white men, white achievements — have for the last 60+ years been vilified. What is the cause of this vilification, who brought it about, and for what purpose?

      Among the people I associate with, if only intellectually, we speak often of a sort of ideological war, and that this ideological attack has ramifications and effects. What are those effects? The undermining of our traditional cultural dominance. The infusion of millions and millions of non-whites from third-world regions with the express purpose to change culture by changing its demography. There is a good deal that could be said about the *demoralizing* effect on whites generally. And it is possible that this has had/is having an effect on their overall performance in schools and industries.

      Why is this going on? Who put this in motion? Since it is a large and consequential issue and event, there will be debate and disagreement about defining the causes and the reasons. Does one have to keep repeating the same terms dozens and hundreds of times? Deliberate social engineering to create a new and improved culture: the New America.

      It should not be an object to allow Asians or anyone else to enter America and take it over in any sense nor in any way! Have you no basic pride and desire to protect your own? Can you not even define at least some sense of self-conservation? Of your country, your people? Open the flood gates and let them stream in. Let them displace you. These are the *values* you serve. I do not think anything like it has ever been conceivable in cultural history, at any time, ever.

      Yet this is your thinking. How did this come about?

        • That is an oddly phrased question, Señor Zoltar!

          Part of an answer is that I regard your position, the one you must logically refer to as the non-bigoted one (and therefore the ‘right and proper’ one), as defective.

          You are a Progressive, not a Conservative, and you do not see (you cannot see!) how your ideas mirror the progressive ideological constructs.

          Therefore, it is not ‘them’ that are the problem — a problem that must be solved somehow by unending complaining — but you that have a certain relationship to the problem and have brought it about — are bringing about — the problems that are manifesting in our present. That is the essence I think of my view. After quite some years of review.

          As I always say, I am concerned for the larger issues, and those concerns are meta-political. When the meta-political is considered, I think it changes how we see the microcosm.

          You must necessarily attach the label ‘bigot’ and ‘bigotry’ to the views that I write about, the perspectives that I (we) have. You use that term and the terminology in a way that mirrors how the “SJW” uses the term ‘racism’.

          I deny the category! I sweep it off the table entirely. I deny ‘bigotry’ as a term to designate what I am or how I think. If I have certain ideas, and if those ideas take issue with some of your ‘constructs’, I believe that I can defend the structure of my belief with sound, sane reasoning.

          I take a tack — the only tack that I know — and attempt to engage in parrhesia: the resolution to speak truthfully even if it causes discomfort or arouses ire, even if it turns against the status quo. It is related to my belief that proper philosophy and philosophical grounding is needed more than ever to confront confused, indoctrinated pseudo-conservatives, by challenging them to see that they are not conservatives at all and that many of their ideas can be confronted. They are (parrhesia here!) intellectual weaklings who have been beaten down by their progressive ideological overlords. I say this not to be biting but because this is a true statement!

          I do not blame you though for spouting ideologically compromised positions. A sheep will bleat as it must. It is certainly not just you but an entire culture that bleats in a sort of rasping harmony!

          Sing, Zoltar, sing!

          • Alizia Tyler wrote, “That is an oddly phrased question”

            Actually it wasn’t oddly phrased, it was direct and to the point and it was completely appropriate under the circumstances. I suppose I should have predicted that you would have attack the messenger for asking such a leading rhetorical question.

            Bigot: One who is narrow-mindedly devoted to their own ideas and groups, and intolerant of (people of) differing ideas, races, genders, religions, politics, etc.

            Yes Alizia, you’re a bigot, you know it and you’re quite proud of it. You should try to understand that those that are not bigots, like you, are not necessarily a progressive; in fact if you really look at progressives you’ll see a herd of intolerant bigots; you are far more like a progressive on the bigotry front than I’ll ever be.

            • I am — and I think I will continue to say ‘we are’ — opposed to forced, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural societies that are created by a specific system, under specific circumstances. I use the general term American Postwar Era to indicate that. I have often referred as a source for further study the work of E Michael Jones, specifically ‘The Slaughter of Cities’ as a way to understand the US intelligence and managerial planning of this present System, this present State.

              You are really quite mistaken if you think that I am opposed to other peoples, their cultures, their traditions and their right to define themselves as sovereigns. My position — and ‘our’ position — asserts that in forced Multi-Culturalism differences are destroyed, milled together, boiled down in the glue-pot of shallow Americanism. If any one of those people, in their own lands for example, were to seek to preserve themselves, would they also be called a bigot? “One who is narrow-mindedly devoted to their own ideas and groups, and intolerant of (people of) differing ideas, races, genders, religions, politics, etc.”

              To be devoted to one’s own group — and in the case of America to be devoted to the demographic group that made America and made it possible — could be and in your case is described as bigotry, as a negative trait. But you are not seeing the fuller picture. Your analysis is at the level of a child. You do not see, and you will not see, that powers and groups have worked to undermine the American supermajority for specific political reasons. It is an act of aggression in fact. Something that arose from ill-will. I can guide you to theorists who explain how this came about. This is part of ‘meta-politics’ as a discipline and an area of study. I say that you are irresponsible for not understanding it better.

              Yes Alizia, you’re a bigot, you know it and you’re quite proud of it. You should try to understand that those that are not bigots, like you, are not necessarily a progressive; in fact if you really look at progressives you’ll see a herd of intolerant bigots; you are far more like a progressive on the bigotry front than I’ll ever be.

              It is not a question of ‘pride’, but rather a question of confidence. I have done my research and looked at many sides of the question. Now, I am more confident than at any other point that ‘my side’ has the stronger intellectual position, the more sound position. All that we can do though is to continue to try to explain why we have this position and, in that process, also improve the description of it.

              My assertion is that ‘progressivism’ needs to be better researched and understood, especially American Progressivism, with its Marxian roots in the mid-1800s. I don’t like to deal in absolute and strict binaries but real conservatism, according to the sound definitions that exist and can be offered, is distinct from progressivist idealism. America is 99% infused with progressivist ideals. These ideals and ideas have become ‘normalized’ and have — in this sense — infected conservatism. A sound conservatism would, with no doubt, recognize the sound reasons to maintain the supermajority that constructed America and to take action, at least through structured definition, against the Marxist thrust that began when American (radical) Progressivism took form, and on into the Postwar when it became solidly institutionalized.

              Because you have never bothered to think about these things, and have done zero reading in these area, and always repeat pre-organized tropes and call that ‘thinking’ and ‘analysis’, it seems to me fair to say that this is all quite new to you. You are not alone. There are tens of millions in exactly your position.

              I still love you like a brother© though!

              PS: I figure you are located in Madison or near. You know that I have committed to hunt you down. But it is simply too cold up there. Therefore, I postpone the hunt till mid-Summer.

            • From the chapter on “Honour” from ‘The Culture of the Teutons’ by V. Grönbech: “If a man were slack in revenging an injury, his friends would step in, saying: “We will amend it, if you dare not; for there is shame for us in all this.” But even when reparation had been exacted on the enemy, the matter was not wholly mended. The bitterest part of the shame stuck, because one of the kinsmen had suffered an insult to lie upon him , instead of shaking it off at once, and thus drawn the shame down over himself and his kin. The wound was not healed by the shedding of blood, and what was worse, there was no restitution possible.”

              Though you might not think it so, my interest really is in ‘ethics’. However, I feel that the real and functional background of ethics is in morality. Jack defines morality in the Christian sense: something that is said to descend from above & beyond or from outside, like revelation. Protestantism generally seems to insist that a man or woman cannot make a true ethical decision if it is merely following a rule. He and she must grapple with the moral command and then arrive at a true, reasoned decision. And that is what ethics involves.

              Reading Grönbech’s book — he is a Danish historian and not as one might assume a Nazi apologist or something — I have been introduced to another, a far more ancient and original, situation for understanding ‘morality’. The Northmen and the Icelanders and the Germanic tribes generally certainly had a strong moral sense and it was not ‘of supernatural origin’: it arose out of their very selves, out of their conditions, out of their Being in the Heideggerian sense. I won’t bore you with more details except to say that, in my case, it is part-and-parcel of my interest in European Recovery. And there is a movement taking shape to redefine and re-defend European interests and to define what is needed for White European Identity and self-protection to reclaim itself and its power. That is the area I work in.

              With your term ‘bigot’ you have insulted me. This was intentional and is an overt act of harm. That is your intention and I hope that you see this. I know this and you should know it, too. But this, I suggest, is a minor part of the larger issue. I reply to you that you and ‘you-plural’ have become nidings.

              From Old Norse níð (defamation, honorless), later Old Norse níðingr (dishonest person). Cognate with Icelandic níðingur
              Noun: niding m (definite singular nidingen, indefinite plural nidinger, definite plural nidingene): coward, rascal, scoundrel

              Because you are a false-conservative and because, in the large, you support and serve the essential interests of Progressives and progressivism, and through the ideology that you have absorbed have relinquished essential honour, and because you do not serve your people and in truth have no tools of defense, you have abandoned the ground to the Enemy of our culture, that we now see rising up with — excuse the turn of phrase — murder in their eyes. They seek revenge and are set out to get it. Again, this is meta-politics: the larger dimension of European culture in an extended historical sense. We either see what is going on, and reverse it, or we give into it and perish.

              You-plural, in my opinion, show yourselves as nidings: weak, cowardly, bowed down, terrified, feminine, powerless. Someone has insisted that to define yourself as a man that you must accept their (false) categories and you end up in thrall to their purposes.

              So you see that your intentional insult of terming me a ‘bigot’ has been turned around. Call me what you wish: I have chosen to link and ally myself with *my people* and to define that as Europe and the former British colonies and everywhere, including the Southern Cone of South America and South Africa, where there are communities of Europeans. And I define a meta-political struggle in which I choose not to be a niding or a coward.

              Therefore, my decision is different than your decision. Yours is not really a decision. Mine is based in a sense of honour and self-recognition (the value of *Europe* and the need to defend it), while yours is one that you have received and absorbed as a result of cultural processes through which you have been beaten down and into submission (massive cultural engineering projects that took shape in the 20th century).

              You have no way & means to defend your own. In fact ‘your own’ does not exist as a category! You work against that category and you serve those who seek to take from you the capacity to self-identify and to protect essential & fundamental interests. Call me a ‘bigot’ if you so choose, I call you a coward.

              The work that I have chosen to do here is to work out these definitions, such as I have offered here. It has taken a great deal of time & energy & study. But there you have it as my parrhesia.

  4. This is the thinking of cargo cults as applied to NYC public schools. Putting an underperforming student in an elite school full of exceptional students isn’t going to make them an elite student. Moreover, pushing to get such students into elite schools distracts from the real job at hand, which is to provide less-than-elite students with the best education possible. That is the mission of public schools: to take each student as they come, whether “elite” or not, and educate them as best we can.

    • Well said, Dave. “Putting an underperforming student in an elite school full of exceptional students isn’t going to make them an elite student.” Exactly. This is analogous to people thinking if they hang out with rich people they’ll get rich (i.e., the money will somehow migrate from the wealthy people to the less so). Actually, the opposite will be the case. The underperforming kids will be demoralized and pushed into nonproductive majors by being intimidated by the smart kids. And by the way, rich people didn’t get rich by giving their money to hangers-on.

  5. Perhaps part of the difficulty finding a solution is that we see this as a problem.

    The problem is not the demographic makeup of the school but rather the unwillingness of other populations to focus on developing skills that will allow them to compete with Asian students.

    In general academic achievement ,or should I say ability to achieve is not constrained by genetics or any other uncontrollable factor. If you want it bad enough or if your parents push you to excel, irrespective of their own education, you can compete. That is the message that should be sent.

    • But you have to want it and you have to work for it. Expecting to get it by claiming racism, and expecting “diversity” to get you in is a dead end.

  6. Fear not, I have the solution. It’s controversial.

    Figure out why more minority students perform so poorly on those tests. Then start doing something about THAT. Genius, I know.

    The AOCs of the world would claim that this won’t work, for the same reason that outright white supremacists would claim the same. They both know that there is a genetic component to this issue, although the racists are outspoken about this fact, and the progressives would never admit it.

    The genetic component exists, but a modest difference in average IQ scores does NOT explain the entire discrepancy here. Black and Latino kids cannot have the same genes as Jews and Asians, but they can gain OTHER things that Jews and Asians have: dads, cultural traditions, discipline, and work ethic. Anything short of that is just giving them a shiny trophy with “I’m smart” printed on it, and a condescending pat on the head. The real problem will go unaddressed.

    • The genetic component is really frightening and the data we have suggests more than a small difference. Research on this topic is essentially banned because the data we have points to a reality that would shake our social structure to the foundation.

        • Yeah, I just woke up from a nap and am not firing on all cylinders. I realized I wrote ‘are’ instead of ‘aren’t’ in the comment above this one.

      • tl;dr

        ::: sigh :::

        Michael R. writes: “The genetic component is really frightening and the data we have suggests more than a small difference. Research on this topic is essentially banned because the data we have points to a reality that would shake our social structure to the foundation.”

        Hmmmm. “Shake to the foundations.” That sounds serious! I hope it doesn’t fracture my Glass Menagerie!

        I will try to translate. One has to examine the history of the ideas of the people who have molded US culture in the 20th centuries. Examining this thinking, and the way it translated into policy, will enable one to see which thinkers were thinking and proposing ‘idealisms’ instead of ‘realisms’. One will also, I would suggest, be enabled to locate the Marxian Thinkers: those working with a false-model that is based on ‘dumbing-down’ and equalizing people for the sake of what they imagined to me an Ideal Society.

        One would have to then go back to those American intellectuals, such as for example Lothrop Stoddard and Madison Grant, and reexamine their materials, their alarmist pronouncements about race & culture and what they noticed going on in the world generally and what it presaged for their country, the United States of America. That is to say, for example, what was expressed in The Passing of the Great Race: The Racial Basis of European History.

        In order to examine this range of ideas, and especially that pertaining to *race* and everything related to it, one would oneself have to detoxify and deprogram from false intellectual assertions and dreamy idealism on one hand, and the more militant deceptions and lies of American Marxists.

        Unfortunately — if I were to base it on the erroneous and skewed ideas expressed in this Blog thread and in general among a certain class of American Conservative (that is to say right-leaning American Progressive!) — you would not make progress with that particular subject and with that particular American Conservo-Progressive. Simply put, there are ideas which they are not free to examine. There are thoughts they refuse to think. There are things they refuse to see and they block out the truth because, well, it would “shake [them] down to their foundations”.

        Oh dear! What that means is that they are subsumed into a set of ‘tenets of understanding’ which define Post-Sixties Intellectual Befuddlement. Walmart Thinking for a Walmart Culture.

        Now, the American Problem in respect to all these issues is perhaps just one aspect of the problem, but there is a larger problem. This ‘thinking’ that I refer to as Progressive, which is self-deceiving, deceiving to people in general, and in numerous instances and ways connected with Marxian Projects, is common all over the West. That is, if one sees and recognized the hordes of Post-Sixties thinkers that infect the Academia, and have infiltrated governments. Remember: they control how perception is molded because they have control over the Public Relations Industries, which is to say the propaganda fabrication industry, as well as the educational systems. Maoist Semi-Totalitarian Progressivism did I hear you say? My God, yes! They are undermining Occidental Civilization and this is not a joke! not an exaggeration! The issue is that serious, and the issue is that large.

        Now, one Horror that needs to be talked about is what happens — what is happening — when America and a military power, with all of the tools of culture-molding, sees itself as providing the best example to the World of the Right Way to Live but is in fact doing harm to its own people and other peoples by this skewed idea that it can and should dictate to other people how they should think and how they should run their affairs!

        At that point it is not Noble America insisting the freedom & truth be defended and instituted, but rather America through its Marxian Operatives that control the System from top to bottom, and in all areas but especially through its Hollywood culture-molding industry, has instead become a destructive force.

        Now, can you imagine the American Conservative if he and she were actually capable of acting toward real conservation? not just a pseudo-conservatism that is a ‘right-leaning semi-centrist iteration of American Progressivism’?

        • [I dedicate the above-post to SlickWilly who has taught me how to reveal truths to people who refuse to hear them, through sophisticated rhetorical gymnastics and subliminalism. Thanks, Slick!]

          • OK, I will make it clearer then. People have tried fairly hard to debunk the studies that show the average IQ of black Africans is 70. They have failed. They made IQ tests with no words, that just used symbols so that language wouldn’t be a factor. They used a white and black group that had the same GPA in the same major at the same university to get similar groups. It still works out to an average IQ of 70 for black Africans. The US military can’t induct anyone with an IQ lower than 83 because at that level, there is not a single job the person can do, even in a highly structured environment, that isn’t antiproductive.

            If this is true and cannot be disproven, this would make racial equality in education, in jobs requiring even modest cognitive ability impossible in practice. It would mean that a large group of people cannot participate in any meaningful way in today’s technological and industrial society.

            In addition, IQ tests consistently show that although men and women have the same IQ, the standard deviation for men is much larger than that of women. That means that when you get to people of very high IQ, there are more men than women, When you look at people of very low IQ, there are more men than women. This potentially has implications for the lack of women at the very top faculty positions in this country (the only faculty positions in which they lag behind men).

            There, do I make myself clear now? Would you agree that these are serious implications?

  7. I think deBlasio should take the same corrective action to resolve the racial disparity at these schools that he is taking to resolve the vast racial disparity in New York’s professional sports teams.

    I know, I know…one of these is a serious matter and the other one is education.

  8. Just because it makes someone feel bad doesn’t make it wrong.

    The challenge is to counter the school system that fosters an atmosphere that learning is “white” and therefore bad. Students who risk their safety to study or do homework will rarely be able to rise to the standards of the exams. NYC has spent decades nurturing this black lagoon of a school system. Aided and abetted by the teacher’s union. Instead of doing the hard work De Blasio wants the easy, feel good fix.

  9. Asian American families, despite many beginning with language challenges and other obstacles, obviously are doing something right that enhances academic performance, and doing it better than whites, who are doing whatever it is better than blacks and Hispanics. How do the other communities emulate and duplicate that success?

    I think the answer (or one answer) to your question lies in this paragraph. Are black students and parents getting together with their Asian counterparts trying to figure out how to improve their competitiveness? Are white parents/students? For some reason, I don’t think the answer to this question is “yes.”

    What this represents, for both blacks and whites, is either laziness, cultural hatred, or adoption of the “not invented here” hubris that can infect established cultures from time to time. The truth is, the Asians apparently work harder at it, or work smarter, giving themselves an advantage. This is how America got to be the greatest country in the world in terms of power, wealth, and cultural dominance.

    Such stark racial and ethnic disparities in achievement look bad and feel bad, even if the results are fair and nothing sinister is behind them.

    Yes, they do. But the solution is not “dumbing down” admission, but somehow lifting up applicants. It’s a knotty problem, to be sure, and it’s tied up in the respective culture’s work ethic, which is tied up in their world-view, what each culture places value on, and how those values are communicated to their families.

    We should encourage all racial demographics to learn from each other. It may be that whites don’t want to adopt the characteristics that Asians do to enhance their academic performance. If so, fine, but the admission criteria should be (or stay) objective and race-neutral.

    Seeing a racial disparity in an elite institution is always jarring, and it should alarm the races underrepresented. But they should not be demanding lowered standards. After all, would not lowering the quality of its students make an elite school no longer elite?

    The answer, it seems to me, lies in the determination of the respective communities to raise the quality of their student applicants. To do that, they should get together with the successful ones and brainstorm about ways to raise their own standards, then integrate that thinking into their cultural norms.

    After all, isn’t that what a “melting pot” society would do?

    • You have inadvertently hit upon a potential good idea: exchange programs between the Asian Community and the Black Community. If only Michael Brown could have had the chance to learn the study techniques of his Asian brothers & sisters perhaps the whole trajectory of Culture would be different now!

      The Model Minority has certainly a great deal to teach the Less-Than-Model Minority. Think Thomas Mann and The Transposed Heads!

      After all, isn’t that what a “melting pot” society would do?

      Boil something long enough and it turns into glue. Good point!

  10. As a 1965 graduate of the then all-male Brooklyn Technical High School I have had a headache ever since Deblasio made his initial statement It has now developed into a full-blown migraine with AOC’s statement.
    Since looking at high school yearbooks is al the rage today I took a gander at mine. The names and faces of my fellow alumni were the names and faces of the sons of mostly first and second generation legal immigrants. We gained access by first having proven to our earlier teachers our competence in math, science, as well as language. Their recommendation was required to be admitted to the “test.” The test was grueling. The result of the test verified our competence. I do not recall filling in a bubble with a #2 pencil identifying me with a particular ethnic group.

  11. I am a little late here, because it did not seem like I had anything to add.

    However, I just ran across an article that puts a wrinkle in this.

    It appears that there is a factor that gives someone a preference: geography. Namely, if the elite school happens to be your neighborhood school, you are given a preference over another qualified applicant from outside the neighborhood.

    If this is true (I don’t believe everything I read, but I consider it), racial disparities in the school could be the result of, in part, racial disparities in the demographics of the neighborhood.

    If you take that away, you have a strict question of the value of diversity. 2 kids, both score the same on the test (and by some miracle of the parameters of the thought experiment, are identical in every way). However, one is Asian and lives right across the street from the school, the other is black and lives outside the neighborhood boundary.

    Both are qualified; one lives closer. Is picking the one further away for sake of race and “reflecting the community” appropriate?

    Obviously, proximity to a school is valuable to some families. (Apparently, there is some history here where parents wanted a preference that they could get into their neighborhood school.). However, that means that we might be talking about an economic disparity as much as a racial one.

    The school is in a more affluent area populated disproportionately by whites and Asians. The black student is from a poorer family that could not afford to move into the school’s neighborhood.

    Is it okay to admit an equally qualified student because of an economic disparity?

    Not sure of the answer. And, as much as I tried to make the hypothetical water-proof, there are leaks. My initial thought was that the Asian student would do fine wherever he goes and would likely have other good options for elite schools. But, so would a black student. And, if the black student has to go outside his neighborhood anyway, why not let the Asian kid stay put and have the black kid go to a different elite school?

    Part of the problem is that that school might be the only elite school applied to. Or, even if he applied to all of them, you could have a scenario where local preferences bar him from every school. There, you would have a genuine problem, because you would have students whose potential is wasted because they are arbitrarily relegated to schools that don’t have the ability to teach to their potential. In such cases, something should be done to allow the student into a better school. (I am sure this is the problem every superintendent wishes for: too many smart students and not enough elite schools to teach them all.)

    And, some of my analysis is off-track anyway. No one seems to raise the issue of economic disparity (that was my inference): the divide seems to be between getting into your neighborhood school vs. racial representation. That gets rid of the problem of admitting a weaker candidate for reasons of race.

    Between two “equal” candidates, should race be a factor?

    Between two “equal” candidates, should proximity to the school be a factor?

    If you answered yes to both questions, which factor is more important?


  12. I find it…curious? suspicious? that the very ones who have preached to the rest of America about how they should treat minorities in this very area are guilty of not taking the steps to ‘even the playing field’ in favor of lower performing students.

    Progressives are all about fixing other people, and never about living within the rules they impose upon the peons.

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