by Robert Arvay, Contributing Writer
In the 1920s, someone noticed that China had (symbolically speaking) more people than the UShad bullets. In an era of low technology (by today’s standards), it was feared that China had enough people to swarm over the entire United States. Only a few years earlier, the German army had “swarmed over” Belgium and other European countries, so it was perhaps natural that newspapers of the era ran terrifying headlines about the “Yellow Peril,” the color being used in reference to the perceived skin color of Asians.
About half a century later, in the 1970s, American immigration policies that previously had strictly limited immigration from Asia were loosened. Asians began arriving in America (although not swarming) in large numbers. One of them was my wife, who soon became a US citizen.
In that era of emphasis on minority rights, universities invited Asian Americans to enroll, and they did. Did they ever! Within a decade, it seemed to some people that the student body would be overwhelmingly Asian. Poor us, it seemed that we Caucasians would become a tiny minority on campus.
The “problem,” it was soon discovered, was that college admissions, at the time, were based on something called, “merit.” If you look up the word, “merit,” in the politically correct dictionary of socialist America (if there is no such dictionary, there should be), you will find this definition. Merit. An antiquated and unfair system of racial discrimination that unfairly oppresses black and latino applicants for college. Or whatever.
To remedy this unfairness, quota systems were established to ensure that the “proper” percentage of college students would be black and latino, regardless of academic qualifications, or lack thereof. As a result, many seats in college classrooms were, in effect, reserved for black and latino students only. Whites and Asians need not apply for those seats. More highly qualified students were displaced, that is, denied admission, in favor of less qualified applicants. It’s the American way. (Sarcasm, of course.)
When the courts ruled that quotas are discriminatory, the colleges quickly learned to evade those rulings, by redefining the word, “qualified.” Whereas before, qualifications had to do with test scores, with grades received in school, and with other empiric measures, the new definition involved “life experience, perspective,” and other factors that anyone could claim to have, but which allowed college admissions offices to discriminate based on race alone.
Unfortunately, those Asians who did get admitted to the colleges continued to dominate the honor roll, while black and latino students failed their courses or dropped out of school in disproportionate numbers.
Undaunted, the colleges adjusted their grading methods to solve this new “problem,” although it proved far easier to admit a minority student than to properly educate those who were less literate than other students.
While this may sound like a racist screed, it is quite the opposite. It has been demonstrated that the best way to help minority students is to begin at the bottom rung of the ladder. In other words, the first improvements must be made in elementary school, where lifelong values are formed, where lifelong study habits begin, and where expectations and discipline can have the effect of lifting minority students from their traditional stereotypes, lifting them to academic excellence. There are many examples of success among black and latino students who did not need quotas, but instead had parents who instilled in them values and a high purpose.
Liberal policies at colleges continue in effect, however, and the results continue to damage large numbers of minority students. The false god of “diversity” has become more important to college admissions policy than quality education.
There is a reason why Asian college students tend to excel far out of proportion to their numbers as compared to other races. That reason is culture. To sum it up, on average, Asians tend to value education more than they value rock-and-roll. Their culture demands respect for the elderly, demands honorable behavior, and demands hard work. While exceptions abound, my own personal experience provides a useful anecdote.
In the early 1990s, I had retired from the military and gone to college at the University of South Florida, not a bastion of liberal extremism. Having gotten to the ripe old age of forty-plus, I found that my mental acuity had diminished since the days when I could study the night before a test and ace it. I struggled merely to pass. Therefore, many of my evenings were spent in the university library, grinding away at the books.
I noticed right away that I was one of a select few Caucasians in the building. The great majority of students were Asian, with a good number of Africans— but not African-Americans, rather, foreigners— Nigerians and so forth. These young students were already brilliant and getting good grades, but for them, that was not enough. They had a need to excel, to get straight A grades, to rise to the top of the honor roll. In their personal self-grading system, a B grade stood for “Bad.”
The Nigerian students are proof that race does not explain poor academic performance among black Americans. Culture does, as do Attitudes.
Nor does race explain why Asian Americans perform better than white, black and latino Americans. Culture does. Attitudes do. Is there an echo? It is the echo of fact and reason.
Instead of focusing on culture and attitudes, some universities, including Harvard, insistently focus on race. Harvard is now being sued by the father of some young Asian Americans in his household, because he rightly fears that despite their hard work and discipline, they will be denied admission to Harvard based on, and only on, their race.
It’s long past overdue for this final form of racism to be excised from America. It will help everyone, and perhaps especially, black Americans.