Is the left gaslighting Asian Americans about college admissions? There’s a beautifully written, well argued piece out in New York Magazine by Jonathan Chait in which he expresses his views on Affirmative Action (in short, he’s mostly in favor of the practice and believes it’s important to foster social equality in America) all to set up his larger point that the left is essentially undermining the reality of Asian Americans by denying that Affirmative Action, the practice of offering preferential treatment to underrepresented minorities, discriminates against Asian American applicants, an overrepresented minority in the world of highly selective college admissions. It’s surely a compelling argument, one worthy of dissecting.
As Chait writes in his piece entitled “The Left Is Gaslighting Asian Americans About College Admissions” in detailing all of the evidence that substantiated the claims of Students for Fair Admissions in their ongoing lawsuit against Harvard alleging Asian American discrimination in Harvard’s admissions practices, “Imagine a liberal in any other context being presented with evidence that a a minority group is faring systematically worse on a subjective personality measure and concluding that this does not reflect a pattern of discrimination. What would critical race theory say?…One could imagine a different strategy in which liberal groups forthrightly concede that affirmative action reduces opportunities for Asian Americans at elite schools but defend it anyway. Asian American students, after all, benefit from exposure to students of diverse backgrounds. Instead, they have calculated that Asian American support for liberalism in general and affirmative action in particular can’t withstand an honest depiction of the policy’s effects.Their belief is they must present Asian American with a stark choice: ignore the evidence of their eyes and ears or join with the reactionaries. What they haven’t thought through, apparently, is the possibility that many Asian Americans will be unable or unwilling to reject conclusions that are perfectly obvious to them.”
Point well taken. And while it may surprise some of our more conservative commenters (they’re quite vocal!), we don’t at all disagree with Chait’s assessment. The left is absolutely gaslighting Asian Americans. Folks who purport to care about all minority groups have not demonstrated much sympathy for Asian American applicants to elite colleges — as they have for underrepresented groups, including Black/African American, Latinx, and Native American applicants. Yet why is it always Affirmative Action that’s to blame for Asian American discrimination in elite college admissions? Why is offering preferential treatment to underrepresented minorities always the center of the bullseye, always the scapegoat? Why not legacy admission, the practice of offering preferential treatment to the progeny of alumni? Why not athletic recruitment, the practice of offering preferential treatment to star squash, football, water polo, and hockey players? Why don’t these same folks take aim at how admissions officers flag development cases? After all, the preference offered to these applicants also denies Asian American applicants their equal footing.
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