“Let’s Talk About Asians”

“Let’s talk about Asians” are the words that launch the most controversial part of a college counselor’s presentation to parents of kids seeking college admittance.  Counselor Ann Lee, co-founder of HS2 Academy, provides help to those navigating the intensely competitive world of elite university admissions at places like Harvard, Princeton, Yale and others.


A recent Los Angeles Times article captured the reaction of parents after Lee informed them of the racial considerations at these admittance departments. “Zenme keyi,” one mother hisses in Chinese (“How can this be possible?”) after Lee explained that applicants’ SAT test scores are adjusted by some universities based on ethnic background.  African-Americans get an average boost of 230 points, Hispanic applicants get 185, and Asian-Americans get 50 points deducted, Lee explains. Fifty points worth of talent, knowledge, and hard work is deducted from Asian kids because of their heritage.


Lee further instructs how Asian applicants must demonstrate much more to admittance departments than other applicants. Skills like music, athletics, overcoming the challenges of immigrating, or excellence in Advanced Placement courses help most applicants, but are often devalued for Asian kids. Quite simply, universities look at race – not at individuals – and ‘there are too many Asians’.


A quote in the LA Times article from 16-year-old Asian student Lawrence Leonn demonstrates how the identity politics and diversity industries have twisted logic and cause Leonn to worry that his desire for equal treatment  may make him considered a racist:


“I don’t want to be racist or anything,” Leonn said. “Everyone works hard and struggles. But there’s this feeling that it’s going to be harder for us.”


Fortunately, some parents are refusing to sit in the back of the bus and have filed a lawsuit against Harvard University for their admissions policies. In addition, Asian-Americans played a crucial role in scuttling the California legislature’s efforts last year to reintroduce racial quotas in college admissions. California voters banned race preferences in 1998.


I applaud the courage of these parents for standing up for what is right. Let’s hope that the lawsuit and accompanying light shed on such discrimination help us succeed in the long-sought goal of our nation: equal treatment under law by our government for every individual, without regard to their skin color or gender.


- Jennifer Gratz