“Diversity” Double-Talk

Bloomberg’s Business Week reports today that Harvard Targeted in U.S. Asian-American Discrimination Probe. Harvard, you will not be surprised to hear, responded with the Ivy League version of “Holistic Holy Moly! US, discriminate? You must be crazy!”

Harvard “does not discriminate against Asian-American applicants,” and doesn’t comment on the specifics of complaints under federal review, spokesman Jeff Neal said. Asian-Americans comprised 16 percent of Harvard undergraduates in the 2010-2011 academic year, down from 18 percent in 2005-2006, according to the university’s website.

“Our review of every applicant’s file is highly individualized and holistic, as we give serious consideration to all of the information we receive and all of the ways in which the candidate might contribute to our vibrant educational environment and community,” Neal said.

Princeton, also under investigation for discriminating against Asians, read from the same script:

Princeton is aware of the 2011 complaint and will provide the government with the requested information, university spokesman Martin Mbugua said. The college, in Princeton, New Jersey, doesn’t discriminate on the basis of race or national origin, he said.

“We make admissions decisions on a case-by-case basis in our efforts to build a well-rounded, diverse class,” Mbugua said.

Academic diversicrats have been inhaling their own smoke for so long they don’t realize how transparently inconsistent and even incoherent such puffed up justifications are. But Roger Clegg does, as he shows here:

Now, I suspect that under cross-examination Harvard actually would admit that it does discriminate in favor of “underrepresented groups” (like African Americans and Latinos), which of course means that it is discriminating against “overrepresented groups” (like whites and, yes, Asians). Of course, it would prefer not to put it that way, to say flatly that it discriminates against Asian-Americans: It would rather say that it considers race as a just one factor in admissions so that it will have a diverse student body — something like that. But the fact is that, if you consider race, then in some instances it’s going to make a difference in whether a person is admitted (otherwise, why bother to consider it?), and when that happens, you have racial discrimination. Simple as that.

Now take the Princeton denial quoted above (please, take it away!). If each admissions decision were really made “on a case-by-case basis” — which means, assuming it means anything at all, that each applicant is evaluated individually, without reference to other applicants — how would the admissions office know whether  admitting any applicant would contribute to the effort to build a “diverse” class?

Just as hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue, so obfuscation is the tribute “diversity” pays to the non-discrimination principle.



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