The topic of elite universities allegedly discriminating against poor whites still has legs. There’s an article about it at Time Magazine.
If I may go off on a tangent for a moment, the following paragraph from the article is most interesting:
The original provocation was this: Two Harvard faculty members had observed that if you look at the black undergraduate students at Harvard, the majority were not what most people have in mind when you talk about the beneficiaries of race-based affirmative action. In other words, the majority of the black students at Harvard were not descendants of the American slave population but rather they were first- or second-generation immigrants with parents from the Caribbean or Africa or they were multiracial students.
It’s a rather significant finding: if you skim off the top 1% of “black” people in the United States, that group is disproportionately composed of voluntary immigrants and people who are “multiracial.” This is consistent with HBD. For example, the old Scarr Weinberg study (previously blogged about) showed that half-black adoptees had higher IQ scores than full-black adoptees; this is not surprising given that half of their genes come from a higher-IQ race, and Arthur Jensen hypothesized that blacks who have romantic relationships with whites have higher IQs than the typical black. And I’ve long suspected that African immigrants disproportionately come from the top half of the African bell curve.
Returning to the issue of whether there is discrimination against poor whites, I suspect that the Ivy League admissions process is meritocratic except with respect to the highly desired minorities of blacks and Hispanics, but especially blacks, who are given a big boost relative to other applicants.
But what does meritocratic mean? It does not mean that the Ivies simply admit the applicants with the highest SAT scores and other standardized test scores, or the best high school academic records, or some combination of the above. As I’ve written before, the Ivies place a very strong emphasis on “leadership activities.” The Ivies believe that an applicant with leadership activities has much greater merit. (Of course, the leadership requirement would be extremely relaxed for a black applicant; Harvard would no doubt gladly accept a black nerd who spent all of his free time playing World of Warcraft if he demonstrated high grades and high test scores.)
I suspect that the emphasis on leadership activities began mostly out of a desire to load the Ivies with children of privilege and to keep out those nerdy Jews who got really high test scores. Thus it’s rather ironic that in the anti-Semitic corner of the blogosphere, people are blaming an admissions policy which was initially motivated by anti-Semitism to be some sort of secret Jewish plot. What happened is that the Jews learned that their children were being denied admissions because they weren’t doing sports and other leadership activities, so they adjusted their child rearing strategies to give the Ivies what they wanted, and now Jews are part of the elite along with WASPs and the admissions policies which originally worked against them now work in their favor. (The preceding sentence applies to the well-off Jews. Believe it or not, there exist prole Jews who are in the same boat as prole gentile whites with respect to the college admissions process.)
Reliance on non-academic leadership traits may have been instituted to discriminate against Jews and benefit the WASP establishment, but they continue primarily because of HBD-denialism. Because blacks score lower on tests than whites, it’s assumed that there is something inherently wrong with tests, because any fair measure of merit would rate blacks and whites equally. Relying on leadership traits also has financial benefit, because any admissions measure which recruits more rich children will lead to higher revenues for the Universities. Not only do rich children pay full price, their parents sometimes give gifts above and beyond the regular tuition price. Sometimes way beyond.
The group of people that these admissions policies most heavily discriminate against is Asians; especially first-generation Asians whose parents don’t have the slightest understanding of the admissions policies of elite universities and who naively think that it’s most important for their kids to have really high grades and play the violin. Furthermore, for HBD reasons, Asians probably naturally lag behind whites in non-academic propensities, because Asians tend to be less extroverted and less athletic.
Beyond Asians specifically, the admissions policies discriminate against children who come from a social class that’s not in on the game; children who attend public or religious schools whose students don’t normally apply to elite universities and whose guidance counselors are completely clueless. Because of the high value given to athletics, the policies also discriminate against unathletic kids, and this is something that being rich can partially compensate for because the elite private primary and secondary schools can find some sport for the less athletic kids to participate in so that their college application isn’t devoid of highly desired athletic activities.
Bottom line is that it’s beneficial to your children if you are rich, and it’s beneficial if you use your money to send them to private school, assuming that you want them to attend an elite university. There exists a group of right-wingers who normally say how much they hate places like Harvard and they don’t want to send their children their anyway, so it’s ironic that they are complaining about being discriminated against by the very institutions they most hate.