Ivy League: Perfect Scores not Good Enough for the “Wrong Race”

The Economist has run a lengthy article about Asian-Americans.  It begins with a description of Michael Wang, who had a perfect score in his college entrance (ACT) exams, who was ranked second academically out of 1,002 students at his high school, who was part of a chorus that performed at Barack Obama’s inauguration, who came in third place in a national piano championship, who was in the top 150 in a national mathematics competition, and who was in several national debating-competition finals.  Michael was rejected by six out of the seven Ivy League schools to which he applied.  Like many other members of this “model minority,” he is no longer willing to take this quietly.


michael-wangMichael Wang: too Asian and too perfect for the Ivy League schools. This is a typical example of modern-day socialism’s drive to allegedly “equalize opportunity”, a heading under which the incentive to make an effort to actually accomplish something in life is slowly but surely deadened among those showing the best abilities. Over time, it leads to decay in the population’s morals and intelligence, until you end up with a nation best compared to a ship of fools.

Photo via sohu.com


Asian-Americans have suffered systematic discrimination, including as recently as World War II when 120,000 Japanese Americans were interned in camps as potential “fifth columnists” while no similar actions were taken against Americans of German or Italian ancestry.

The article points out that the worst single incident of lynching in American history was actually directed against Chinese immigrants, when 17 were murdered in 1871.  Yet, as anyone who has walked the campuses of MIT, Caltech, Harvard or Stanford, or any other top-flight university, can attest, Asian-Americans are massively represented (44% of the recent incoming class at Caltech, which is routinely rated the number one school in the world).

This is despite explicit discrimination which means that, as estimated by two Princeton academics, Asian-Americans need a Scholastic Aptitude Test (“SAT”) score about 140 points higher than a white candidate in order to be admitted to a private university, whereas African-Americans can have a result that is 310 points lower in order gain the same result.


Americans of Japanese ancestry are loaded on a train on their way to a concentr… sorry, internment camp in WW2.

Photo credit: Clem Alberts


And two University of Michigan researchers have produced a study which shows the difference is down to nothing more than hard work: they followed 6,000 white and Asian children from toddler through school.  They found small differences in initial cognitive abilities and the socioeconomic status of parents, but sizable gaps in effort that eventually produce large differences in academic results.

After years of avoiding the issue, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of Abigail Fisher versus the University of Texas in its next session.  Ms Fisher, who is white, is suing UT over its affirmative action policies which she claims unfairly denied her a position.  Her suit is backed by an amicus curiae brief submitted on behalf of 117 Asian-American organizations.  This follows a lawsuit by a group of Asian students against Harvard and the University of North Carolina.  Here is the gist of Harvard’s defense in this suit:


“…a class that is diverse on multiple dimensions, including on race, transforms the educational experience of students from every background and prepares our graduates for an increasingly pluralistic world…”


I suppose that this argument could be used to support the admission of almost anyone, including a few utter imbeciles since they too are part of our “pluralistic world,” although I think that Harvard restricts this policy to its professorial staff.

But more importantly, what is the message that this sends for both over- and under-achieving students?  What does it teach our young about the relative merits of individual hard work versus political machinations?  And, from a strictly economic perspective, what are the implications of this for American success when we deliberately hinder investment in our most promising human capital?

I have previously quoted Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts on this subject: “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discrimination on the basis of race.”  Let’s hope that he follows through in the Abigail Fisher case and that Justice Kennedy joins him, since we can reliably expect that the “Gang of Four” (Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayer and Kagan) will march in lock step to whatever nonsense Obama’s Department of Justice puts forth in defense of this indefensible practice.


socialist supremesThe four Supreme Court justices most likely to support socialist policies

Image via NYTimes


Image captions by PT


This article was originally posted at Economic Man.


Roger Barris is an American who has lived in Europe for over 20 years, now based in the UK. Although basically retired now, he previously had senior positions at Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Merrill Lynch and his own firm, initially in structured finance and latterly in principal and fiduciary investing, focussing on real estate. He has a BA in Economics from Bowdoin College (summa cum laude) and an MBA in Finance from the University of Michigan (highest honors).




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9 Responses to “The Model Minority”

  • akalanking:

    This is not a “conclusion” but an observation: It would be silly to assume voting for Romney would have made *any* difference. Just look at the Greeks. While I do not subscribe to Karl Marx’s economy theory, there is at least a big chunk of truth in this quote of his:

    “The oppressed are allowed once every few years
    to decide which particular representatives of the
    oppressing class are to represent and repress them.”
    – Karl Marx

  • Crysangle:

    Though you do have to question whether there is a bias towards equalitive compensation inherent in all discriminatory procedure as a natural balance to the disformity of a successful equation of governance designed on monitoring standards of achievement within a linear yet discretional framework of validated observationary process that nurtures its own academic reasoning and hence judgements, to the effect that that governance relies on moderation as a means to efficiency of coordination of environmental stimuli designed to emphasize a wider cognitive acceptance of the provided material in relation to the hypothetical outside world , possibly .

  • Crysangle:

    “The moment a little boy is concerned with which is a jay and which is a sparrow, he can no longer see the birds or hear them sing.”

    Eric Berne

    fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too
    Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can.
    i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!


    “I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.”

    Oscar Wilde

    I have no color prejudices nor caste prejudices nor creed prejudices. All I care to know is that a man is a human being, and that is enough for me; he can’t be any worse.

    Mark Twain

  • TheLege:

    While agreeing with the sentiments regarding socialism’s attempts to ‘equalise’ just about everything, is it not also the right of an institution to pick whoever they want? An institution or organisation may see benefits beyond simply having the best and brightest.

    As a small scale entrepreneur I am motivated to employ the most productive people for the money I pay, irrespective of race, color or creed. However, qualitative judgements need to be factored in, like ‘personality’ , for example — often vital to sustaining workplace harmony. A harmonious workplace is a productive workplace, after all (and no, that isn’t some wishy washy socialist clap-trap).

    Years ago I worked at a large bank and was regularly called in as part of the recruitment process and would often have Asian students sit in front of me (from the sub-Continent as well) who would look at me as if to say: Why on earth are you bothering to put me through this process — have you not seen my school and college results? What these people didn’t realise is that results just get you in the door — after that you need to win a potential employer over by proving your personality is the right fit and that you have the nous and the drive to do the job. Academic results do NOT prove any of this. And nor do SATs.

    The above piece is a mish mash of contradictions, to my mind, because implicit in it is a plea to the State (whose existence he clearly resents) to ‘do something’ about the situation. It may have been a dream of this student to go to Harvard but if he doesn’t meet their criteria then that’s tough shit.

    • akalanking:

      “is it not also the right of an institution to pick whoever they want?”

      correct, I agree on this, so I believe all such universities should make it clear to all applicants in their application form: “We do not necessarily accept the best student based on scores or academic achievement, we reserved the right to pick whoever we want”.

      “Years ago I worked at a large bank and was regularly called in as part of the recruitment process and would often have Asian students sit in front of me… ”
      well, may be you read the Asian faces right, or may be you have it all wrong. It happens you know, esp. with white folks who don’t often interact with Asians, just saying.

      • TheLege:

        Nah. An awful lot of these kids have been driven hard by their parents to succeed and their expectations are in the stratosphere. Barris correctly mentions they work harder – but they do so not because they’re wired that way, they do so because their parents have sacrificed everything to put them through school and college.

        It’s when you say: So, you have great grades but can you tell me about what’s topical in finance right now. What is exercising the headline writers at the WSJ and the FT?

        They’re like: WTF, just give me the job already!

        I wouldn’t mention this but for the fact I’ve heard this same story repeated over and over by a range of people. The kids that are worth something are the ones that have driven themselves.

  • John Galt III:


    Which goes to prove that people with 165 IQ’s and are considered intelligent may also have a Wisdom Quotient on the same scale of around 58 on warm day.

    Jews overwhelmingly voted for Obama and if Obama had his way there would be no Israel and therefore when Jews needed an escape valve in the future it might not be there for them.

    African Americans voted 90% for Obama and then march across the Brooklyn Bridge recently by the thousands begging the NYC Marxist Mayor de Blasio administration to open more charter schools that are 100% opposed by the teachers unions. So, their children will remain uneducated and thus remain on the liberal plantation without hope. These people never grasp that the Democrats were the party of slavery, then Jim Crow, then the Ku Klux Klan and finally the Marxist slave state that allows African Americans no way out.

    ….and so forth

  • kcst1300:

    In the 2012 US presidential election, Asian Americans voted for Obama 76% vs. 23% for Romney. Draw your own conclusions.

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