George Stadel Racial discrimination for diversity is still racial discrimination

August 19, 2018 GMT

Asian Americans (a term as broad as can be found, for there is no more diverse group), haven’t had an easy time in America.

The California constitution once banned the hiring of Chinese by corporations and government. The Chinese Exclusion Act banned the immigration of most Chinese and lasted until 1943. In 1952 the McCarran-Walter Act limited the number of immigrants from China to 105 per year. From 1913 until 1952, Chinese, Indians, Japanese, Filipinos and Koreans were banned from owning or leasing agricultural land in California. This law was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1923 and by the California Supreme Court in 1946. Oregon’s laws were even stricter and many other states had similar laws.

In 1942, President Roosevelt ordered the internment of Pacific coast Japanese Americans and this was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1944. (Let those Democrats currently trumpeting the inviolability of precedent be reminded of Supreme Court decisions such as these.) In the 1970s and ’80s Vietnamese immigrant fishermen on the Gulf Coast were boycotted, beaten, shot at, sued over their fishing methods, their boats burned.

In the 1990s, after I moved back to Connecticut from Asia, I remember vividly a political cartoon showing a “Chinaman” with buck teeth, sprouty hair and slanted eyes, similar to cartoons of African Americans in the southern U.S. in the 1890s or Jews in Germany in the 1930s. The cartoon was in The New York Times. How many movies have there been in the last 20 years with an Indian as the subject of stereotype mockery that would never be tolerated by another ethnic group?

My wife and I could not have married in California until 1949. Thirteen other states would have banned our marriage at that time, some until 1967, just nine years before we were married.

But Asian Americans are prospering nonetheless. Not surprising to me, opposition to their success is still coming, from the left side of American politics. In New York City, Mayor Bill DiBlasio wants to limit their numbers in elite high schools. He says Asians have an unfair advantage because their parents can hire tutors to prepare them for the entrance exam. Yet Asian Americans have the highest poverty rate of any group in New York and that includes Asian American students at those elite high schools.

A lawsuit against Harvard University has uncovered that an Asian American student must score 140 points higher on the SAT exam than a white student to gain admittance. In college admissions, Asian Americans regularly score highest as a group in the SAT, ACT, academic record and extra-curricular activities, but much lower than any group in the subjective measure of “personality,” because, you know, those Asians are bland and inscrutable.

One Harvard admissions officer said that they all look alike on paper. Doesn’t that sound familiar? This measure alone reduces the Asian-American admissions rate at Harvard to 26 percent from the 40-plus percent at Berkeley and CalTech, where they don’t discriminate. Harvard then applies their secret, inscrutable (actually) “demographics” criterion, which reduces the rate to 18 percent, about the same as the quota once used for Jewish students when they were the ones discriminated against at Harvard and elsewhere.

The arguments of DiBlasio and Harvard against Asian American students are the same as the arguments against the Gulf Coast Vietnamese fishermen. They are too successful because their families help, they find better ways to succeed (implying cheating), they don’t do anything but work (no personality) and there are too many of them. They displace others. It’s unfair. Something must be done. For fairness! For diversity!

Were the Gulf Coast perpetrators racist and DiBlasio and Harvard not?

An Advocate editorial recently said that “diversity” is essential. This is the cost.

George Stadel is a resident of Stamford.