The Puzzling Thing About Race and Achievement

In reading this Boston Globe piece about a discrimination lawsuit filed against Harvard by Asian-Americans who claim Asian-Americans with excellent records are less likely to be admitted to Harvard, it occurred to me that there’s a very interesting subtext about attitudes about race and achievement.

When whites are discriminated against to allow African-Americans into universities, there are some (white) people who feel very comfortable nuzzling up against and hinting at racial/genetic explanations for the lower performance by African-Americans. But when we discuss the performance of Asian-Americans who, by comparison, blow white people out of the water, oddly enough, this disparity is never cast in racial or genetic terms at all (usually, it is discussed with reference to ‘Confucianism’, which, I imagine, must be somewhat surprising to those of East Asian Indian descent).

Very interesting.

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2 Responses to The Puzzling Thing About Race and Achievement

  1. Eli Rabett says:

    And everybody hates the Jews (or at least used to). A useful argument can be made that the people who benefitted most from the civil rights movement were women and Jews wrt college admissions.

  2. Bob says:

    Even the controversial book The Bell Curve talked about higher asian IQs, 20 years ago! If a college decides to normalize by race, rather than income or merit, inevitably the poor or meritorious might get screwed. For what it is worth though, it is much more likely cultural differences in childhood rather than hard genetic wiring. Like it or not, there are blacks who get perfect SAT scores. I’ve never heard a racist explain how that could be possible.

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