This was a significant and revealing vote in the Senate last week in many ways.
Senate Democrats united to vote down an amendment from Senate Republicans designed to bar “Federal funding for any institution of higher education that discriminates against Asian Americans in recruitment, applicant review, or admissions.” The addition was proposed for the grandstanding Senate legislation called the “COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act” that would require “expedited review of hate crimes” by the Department of Justice with “online reporting of hate crimes or incidents” and “expand public education campaigns aimed at raising awareness of hate crimes and reaching victims.”
This unnecessary legislation, sponsored by Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono, passed the Senate 94-1, because nobody is against “hate crimes.” Yet oddly, the Democratic Party, at least in the Senate, appears to be in favor of discrimination against Asian Americans. Why is that? The Yea-Nay vote was 49 – 48, with no Republican voting against the amendment, and not a single Democrat voting for it.
“We have major universities in this country that are discriminating in admissions against Asian-Americans,” Louisiana Republican Senator John Kennedy (R-La) said. “Discrimination is discrimination…This is wrong, it is contemptible, it is odious.” Yes, yes it is. But the current ideology of the political Left now holds that discrimination against whites is good discrimination (they have it coming, after all, the racist bastards!) and discrimination against Asian-Americans is necessary discrimination. The argument is vile, and indefensible in law or ethics, which is why, so far at least, the mainstream news media is burying the story and the vote. The passage of the pandemic hate crimes act is being trumpeted everywhere, perhaps because the news media is complicit in the wildly inflated public belief in the extent of the problem it addresses, but the Democratic rejection of S.Amdt. 1456 is barely mentioned at all. Regarding this, I will repeat the same rhetorical question I asked once already here: “Why is that?”
Why indeed. “This amendment is straightforward, it targets the ongoing discrimination that is being directed against Asian-Americans by colleges and universities across the country,” Sen. Cruz said, noting that fact that Harvard and Yale were “denying admission to qualified Asian-American applicants in favor of underrepresented minority groups.”
The Trump Department of Justice had sued these universities because they are violating the law. President Joe Biden’s DOJ withdrew its support for the lawsuits, because President’s base wants a policy where black applicants are admitted to prestige colleges based on the color of their skin, and Democrats are committed to defy the Constitution and law to give them what they want. As a little extra incentive, Biden and the Democrats are threatening the Supreme Court with ideological packing if they don’t refuse to strike down this “good discrimination.”
It is remarkable how many Asian-Americans support their own marginalization.
Mazie Hirono, the perpetually embarrassing Asian -American U.S. Senator from Hawaii whose bill Cruz and others were attempting to amend, weighed in with such infantile and illogical attacks on the amendment as,
- “This amendment also threatens colleges and universities with the loss of all federal funding for pursuing policies” that had been upheld by the court system, Hirono said.It is a “cynical attack” on universities that seek to “increase diversity.” Yup, that’s Mazie. Somebody explain to her that you can’t break laws for what you think are worthwhile objectives. (This little talk should have taken plac before this dolt ran for political office) and there is nothing “cynical” about pointing out that a party that claims to be opposed to discrimination supports it as long as it is used to benefit its favored groups.
- Mazie also said, “This amendment also threatens colleges and universities with the loss of all federal funding for pursuing policies” that had been upheld by the court system. Does this idiot need a list of all the illegal, cruel, and unconstitutional policies that were upheld by the court system until they weren’t? I bet she does. But I sympathize with her problem, because there is no legitimate justification for not barring universities and colleges from discriminating on the basis of race, so she has to resort to lame outbursts. There is no persuasive argument to be made in defense of those 48 Democrats.
I challenge any reader here to present one.
21 thoughts on “The Democratic Party Has Announced That Discrimination Against Asian-Americans Can Be Justified”
Affirmative action (and all its mutant cousins) has always been an obvious “It isn’t what it is.“, that required all kinds of dishonest gymnastic rhetoric to rationalize.
Is it my imagination or are many of the so-called hate crimes against Asian Americans perpetrated by mentally ill men of color? How can a hate crime be committed by a person of color? I thought this is called “confrontation” and “justice?”
Here’s a black guy stomping on the head of an Asian man. “Curb stomping” is evidently the appropriate ghetto term. I did not know that.
That’s such a fascinating photo at the top. At first glance, I read their faces to be Navajo or Hopi. You know, the descendants of the first Chinese immigrants in the Americas.
More evidence you can discriminate against certain minorities:
This just in: You evidently can’t be a trans-gendered person in good standing unless you are a progressive and hate Republicans.
It’s time to be honest with ourselves.
The fact of the matter is that we only gained a brief respite from the evils that we thought we had slain in the 1960s.
Segregation/Jim Crow – really, the notion that certain groups of people were not deserving of the full array of civil and human rights – is back, and there are those among our political, legal, media, and academic elites who have no problem with it.
Religious discrimination is also done by government, especially in the name of “protecting the LGBT community.”
In many facets, there is open discrimination against whites for promotions and hiring.
Asian-Americans (whose academic overachievement discredits claims about white supremacy being a feature of America) are targeted for discrimination, particularly in college admissions. Virginia is even dismantling its advanced math below 11th grade, because there are “too many” Asians.
All in the name of “equity” and “anti-racism.”
The thing is, Ibram Kendi’s basic philosophy is not really any different from that of David Duke. The only difference between them is target selection.
“Virginia is even dismantling its advanced math below 11th grade”
This is something I just cannot understand. I first heard about something like this back in the mid 2000s when a coworker told me he pulled his boys from the public school because they eliminated advanced programs as they made lesser students feel bad. This was in Ontario, NY which is quite small and I thought it was an isolated incidence. Now it seems to be spreading like the Wuhan virus.
I started advanced math in the 7th grade in Milford (DE) middle school. They had 7a thru 7f and I was in 7a. I continued with the advanced math throughout high school. This was designed to prepare students for college; so, if you didn’t plan on going to college you didn’t have to enroll in advanced math.
So now we’re at a point where we effectively penalize our top students so as not to offend those that aren’t as bright. I just cannot believe this is happening; that teachers can adopt this type of policy. It just seems so bizarre. How are these students going to be prepared for college level courses when almost every subject is more specialized now than even 20 years ago when I attended college. It’s mind boggling that education in America has taken this course.
Maybe this isn’t happening in all school districts but I’m hearing about these incidents more and more as time passes.
“ How are these students going to be prepared for college level courses when almost every subject is more specialized now than even 20 years ago when I attended college.”
The answer is they are not very prepared. My oldest is really struggling and she shouldn’t be. She is getting a stem degree and it’s been really hard for her. She wasn’t ready in math, economics, never had a lab class in science and the school dropped music last year. I homeschooled my 5th grader and was shocked at how behind he was compared to my academics at that time. I likely wouldn’t have been if he was failing, but he was getting A’s and B’s with a C here and there. Not close to failing grades. I’m extremely concerned. My middle is almost through high school and we homeschooled her this last semester too… masks really make her tired and nothing extra was happening anyways. Her lack of grammar understanding is shocking. She simply has not had that in her education. Perhaps that’s not “important”. I don’t know anymore, but grammar check won’t check subject verb agreement and make sure the tenses are correct throughout a paragraph. So… I give our school a C-.. then I’m like well… maybe it’s just our school?? It doesn’t seem to be. The standardized tests are all about the same. Some doing better in math or English, but not both. With math at around a 40-50% competency level across the board.
I live where Public schools are about the only option or homeschooling. The subject matter is antiquated in a lot of areas as well. Now, thanks to Covid around half the kids spent a year+ at home learning from zoom teaching. It’s not ideal and frankly the worst of all platforms to learn. Not all parents are like me and had the extra 3-4 hours 5 days a week to invest in personally teaching them. You really can’t teach a kid under 10 via zoom. They simply can’t learn like that. So it’s a mess. Businesses will have to have a competency test imo. My friend has a construction business. They have to teach people to read a tape measure. It’s an alarming trend.
Like so many other issues, this one is more complex than it first appears. The fact is that there is no objective means of comparing two students. One has a better class rank, glowing recommendations, and a host of extra-curricular credits. The other scored better on a standardized test, has good but not stellar grades, and is the captain of the debate team (but doesn’t belong to any other organizations). Choose one. That’s what we’re really talking about here: the idea that someone other than school.officials wants to decide which of these criteria ought to be foregrounded… and that any other decision is discrimination. I trust neither Senator–Hirono nor Cruz–to care about anything other than scoring some political points.
Much longer response here: here.
I highly recommend Curmie’s expanded response.
I read Curmie’s expanded argument and I agree with a great deal of his points.
I too spent 20 years as an administrator in a post secondary academic institution. However, his logic would also apply to hiring and firing decisions in the private sector.
No two human beings are identical in skills, temprament, perserverance, etc so to argue that because of this fact you cannot evaluate whether a choice was discriminatory you will be effectively requiring an outright admission that someone is discriminating.
If candidates from racial group A are preferred over racial group B then it stands to reason that you are prepared to explain the non-racial metrics that you are using. If you cannot you are just blowing smoke about how diversity improves the overall organization. Most of the time it is all smoke and a few mirrors.
I can see Curmie’s points. In a vacuum, I’d be willing to even concede those points.
The problem is, we are not in a vacuum.
We’ve seen school districts remove advanced courses because there are too many from certain racial/ethnic groups and not enough of others.
We’ve seen the patterns of conduct from colleges vis-a-vis admissions.
We’ve literally got people like Kendi calling for racial discrimination as a matter of policy.
Giving people the benefit of the doubt is usually the right thing to do. But these are unusual times, and we have a track record to look at. The preponderance of the evidence points to the fact that the real reason they are removing standardized testing is to prevent the creation of evidence of the racial discrimination they are engaging in.
At a point, giving people the benefit of the doubt becomes unethical. The track record on this issue is such that I think we have passed that point vis-a-via discrimination against Asian-Americans in college admissions.
Sorry Curmie, but the scientific consensus is that standardized tests do, in fact, measure intelligence.
Actually Bobby the ACT, SAT or even the LSAT do not measure intelligence they are merely a means to estimate probability of success. The higher the score the greater the likelihood that you will be successful in their academic environment.
More to that point, I have run into students with extremely high standardized test scores in various subjects but have very weak analytical skills. Conversely, there are many who might score poorly but are analytical wunderkinds.
Standardized tests simply draw correlations between academic success and scores across tens of thousands of test takers.
What exactly is your argument? We can obviously conclude that someone with a high probability of academic success is intelligent. And with the exception of cheaters, I have no idea how you can conclude that there are high scorers with poor analytical skills.
Actually intelligence is the ability to take disparate information and then formulate hypothesis or draw conclusions that can be supported. The ability to score highly on standardized tests only measure an understanding of what was taught. I can program a computer to do all types of calculations. I can train it to correct spelling or grammar in limited cases but that computer cannot on its own decide what values to consider or how to set up the problem. Measuring the ability to recite facts or solve an equation is not the same as the ability to develop new solutions to new or existing problems.
Far too many students have been fooled into believing they are highly intelligent by virtue if their ability to remember facts. Like bread, man cannot live on facts alone.
All your concerns about standardized testing aside, what is wrong with the language of the bill itself? Is it not outlawing the practice of taking into account the race of the student and letting that have any weight in the admissions process?
Or are you arguing that black students should have preferential status based on the color of their skin? You mentioned a study that you once read about (is that scholarly hearsay?) that suggests black students outperform other races with the same SAT score. Were that true, does it justify artificially increasing the value of standardized test scores for black students?
I have three objections to the proposed amendment:
1. it’s redundant, and therefore virtue-signaling
2. it presumes objective standards to distinguish between students–as with any other case of presumed discrimination (cf. police vs. black people), it’s virtually impossible to know the motivations of any decision-maker unless, to paraphrase Sherlock Holmes, all other possibilities have been eliminated.
3. it places admissions decisions in the hands of government bureaucrats, who are even less likely than admissions personnel to make intelligent decisions.
And yes, if and only if two candidates are otherwise indistinguishable, I’d favor the one who brings a different perspective of the world (perhaps because of race or religion or even politics) to the university.
The crux of Curmie’s argument in the longer post is “I don’t want some federal judge to decide how my alma maters, my employer, or indeed any other college or university runs its admissions process, absent clear and convincing evidence of actual discrimination as opposed to simply that which could be construed that way.”
Let’s look at a very different way of handling university admissions. Where I live we have two routes into university:
1) A nationally-administered test in which a high score gets you a university place;
2) Application to specific universities for specific courses, based on high school grades (and equivalents). Again, the system is administered nationally and applications are filled in order from highest score downwards.
Both of these are anonymous, and both are ‘pure scores’. So you were captain of the debate team? No effect. You were unfairly excluded from the debate team? No effect. Your father is a professor at the University? No effect. You have a letter of recommendation from an influential elected official? No effect. You come from the wrong side of town, wear the wrong sort of clothes and speak with the wrong sort of accent? No effect, no effect, no effect. And so on.
Under this system you have no basis for suspecting that the system is biased in your case. If you didn’t get what you wanted, it was because your competitors had better test scores or better grades.
By comparison, other, more ‘holistic’ systems pull in a lot of intangible and unmeasurable information, a cloud of squid-ink behind which can be used to conceal the basis for whatever decision the decision-makers want to make. I am cynical enough to believe that when human beings have the opportunity to nudge a system, any system, to get results they favour, and there is no risk of adverse consequences to them if they do nudge it, then the system will sometimes be nudged, giving rise to be unfair winners and unfair losers. Certainly anyone excluded on ‘holistic’ grounds could blame it on unfairness in the system, since the same ink-cloud that conceals any unfair decision-making also serves to conceal fair decision-making.
So my equivalent to the quote from Curmie above would be:”I don’t want university admissions to be influenced in any way by vague or subjective measures which make it possible for admissions staff to lift up some individuals and push down others. Even if there is no actual resulting unfairness, there is sure to be the opportunity for unfairness and the appearance of unfairness.”
What the system you describe does is to reward good test-takers, not necessarily good students capable of original thought. Any system is inevitably flawed. More to the point, quantification fetishists notwithstanding, not everything can be measured objectively… and those nationally-administered tests are no different. I didn’t take Physics in high school (because the Physics teacher was horrible and borderline senile); instead I took an independent study for a fifth year of a foreign language. If the test wants me to know Physics, I lose. If it values language skills, I win. And how do we judge, say, writing skills objectively?
More to the point… the trend in American universities in recent years is to recruit the student who is truly outstanding in a specific discipline: if you’re a whiz-bang mathematician, we don’t care that you write at the 8th grade level. By contrast, when I was in college, the goal was the “well-rounded” student, the one who was excellent in many areas although perhaps not brilliant in any. I benefited from that system, but that doesn’t make it “right.” Neither, of course, does it make it wrong. If Harvard and Yale go in one direction and Stanford and Northwestern go in the other, what’s wrong with that?
I spent a couple of years recently on a state-wide committee created to make transferring from a junior college to a state university smoother for students in my discipline The result, much to my dismay, was to homogenize all the university programs. It used to be that if you wanted a generalist program, you came to us; if you wanted more specialization at the undergraduate level, you went elsewhere, Now, at least for transfer students, we’re required to waive requirements, and even allow these transfers into upper-level courses for which they don’t have the pre-requisites. Meanwhile, other universities are required to allow their students a wider range of introductory courses. But that’s what happens when state legislatures think they know more about education than educators do… and every one of them thinks so.
Even more specifically: if I’m in the Music Department and my top three trumpeters are leaving after this year, I want trumpeters. The fact that a flautist has better grades or better scores on some standardized test means little if anything, because the overall quality of the program is at stake. If an excellent trumpeter meets the university’s academic standards, I’m going to recruit that student over the flautist, or even over an adequate trumpeter with better grades, if for no other reason that that my trombonists deserve to play with trumpeters who can hold up their end on difficult pieces. And I want musicians, not bureaucrats, to decide who’s the best trumpeter.
The world is subjective. We study Shakespeare and Mozart not because there’s some quantifiable difference between them and Kyd or Salieri, but because there is a subjective consensus of their superiority. We elect politicians because we agree with them on more of the issues we care about, not because they have better résumés. Seeking “objectivity” is not the same as seeking ethical conduct. I’m all in favor of the latter. The former? Not so much.
This is what I meant by the ability to articulate why you chose A over B.
Unfortunately, most schools fail this test miserably because administrators whose role is to promote diversity use different ( read racial or gender) metrics.