- It is an insult to individual achievement and cancerous to young minds seeking to push through barriers, rather than consign themselves to permanent victimhood.
In principle, everyone agrees that students who are socially and economically backward should be helped by schools or universities. However, Bianca Shah, in her commentary in American Kahani titled, “Affirmative Action: South Asians Have a Responsibility to Support,” does not address some real concerns with race-based admissions.
For instance, according to news reports, an internal unpublished Harvard analysis in 2013 indicated that 43% of admissions would have been Asians if admission had been based strictly on academic considerations alone — things like high school performance and scores on the SAT examination. In fact, only about one-half that proportion of Asians were admitted.
At Harvard University, skin coloration is important, and that dark is “good” (unless the individual is of Asian origin, such as from India), while white is, if not “bad,” certainly less desirable. The suggestion that on average Asians are highly deficient in personal characteristics relative to others, especially blacks and Latinos but also even whites, is seemingly indefensible on any objective grounds.
According to New York Times Opinion columnist, David French, who also happens to be a lawyer, the evidence is overwhelming that Harvard actively discriminated against Asian applicants. As if these facts were not bad enough, Harvard specifically rejected alternative, race-blind formulations that could have achieved comparable student diversity.
As Justice Neil Gorsuch notes in his concurrence, the plaintiffs in the case submitted evidence that “Harvard could nearly replicate the current racial composition of its student body without resorting to race-based practices,” if it gave socioeconomically disadvantaged students just half the advantage it gave recruited athletes and if it eliminated preferences for “the children of donors, alumni, and faculty.”
This perpetuates a system in which Harvard both favored certain classes of predominantly white applicants and discriminated against Asians, a historically disadvantaged minority. These were dreadful facts to defend in court.
It is an insult to individual achievement and cancerous to young minds seeking to push through barriers, rather than consign themselves to permanent victimhood. Affirmative Action has created an alternate caste society based on who gets into what exclusive colleges.
Universities cannot have an open-ended timeline for addressing past discrimination that Harvard and the University of North Carolina used to justify their policies as unfocused, discriminatory and tied to racial stereotypes.
Contrary to the popular belief that race-based theory can somehow benefit everyone, it is an immutable fact that ‘every time the government uses racial criteria to ‘bring the races together,’ someone gets excluded, and the person excluded suffers an injury solely because of his other race.
To sum it up, people must be treated based on their experiences as an individual, not based on their race. If an individual has fewer financial means (because of generational inheritance or otherwise), then surely a city or state government may take that into account.
If an individual has medical struggles or a family member with medical concerns, a university may consider that too. What governments and universities cannot do is use the individual’s caste as a heuristic.
Abhijit Bagal is a legal analyst at Caste Files. He is a Healthcare Analytics technologist at a managed care organization specializing in publicly funded behavioral healthcare. He holds a master’s degree in software engineering and an MBA with a specialization in comparative international health. Additionally, Abhijit is a part-time law student with a focus on civil rights, due process, and equal protection of the law.