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California Universities "Fill[ing] Their Entire Freshman Classes With Nothing But Asian Americans":

Which political leader expressed concern about this, and suggested that abolishing race-based admissions could lead to this (in his view unfortunate) result?

I should note that while the concern was hyperbole -- though universities of course could fill their freshman classes with Asian-Americans, race-blind admissions would not lead to such an outcome -- this year for the first time Asians outnumbered any other racial group, including whites, among students admitted to all University of California schools. (This had already been the case as to some schools.)

My reactions:

(1) UC doesn't "look like California." In fact, as simple arithmetic will tell us, when Asians are "overrepresented" this way compared to their fraction of the California college-age population, whites and other racial groups are substantially "underrepresented." Yet that's surely no reason to institute race preferences;

(2) Asian-American culture is obviously doing something right. Others, including whites like me, should do what they can to copy those aspects of Asian-American culture that promote this.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Something's Terribly Wrong with University Admissions, Judging by This Story:
  2. California Universities "Fill[ing] Their Entire Freshman Classes With Nothing But Asian Americans":
guest:
"Others, including whites like me, should do what they can to copy those aspects of Asian-American culture that promote this."

Jews are usually overrepresented too, they also do something right that others can learn from. Work ethic, a little humility and putting value on education, for example.
11.27.2006 1:16pm
HalS:
Of course it depends on what one means by "look like California". UC doesn't look like a random sample of all 18-22 year olds in the state, but I bet UC looks a lot like a random sample of the highest-achieving high school students in the state.
11.27.2006 1:22pm
wm13:
It doesn't count if you are a Democrat, so you can frankly endorse ethnic quotas and get away with it. I'll bet that Bill Clinton could have said that, of course, the Ivies don't want too many Jews, so they have to set some numerical limits, and the majority of Jews would still have voted for him.
11.27.2006 1:29pm
J-L:
"Our diversity is our great strength," [the political leader] declared.
That quote indicates a need to return to the fundamental question of what "diversity" is. To what extent is "diversity" simply synonymous with racial diversity? The political leader's comment, though it is (as Prof Volokh notes) hyperbolic, assumes that a university that is 100% Asian-American would not be "diverse." Making such an assumption is not necessarily warranted.
11.27.2006 1:33pm
Roger:
It's rather misleading to alter "there are universities in California that could fill their entire freshman classes with nothing but Asian Americans" and suggest that this expresses concern about universities "fill[ing] their entire freshman classes with nothing but Asian Americans". One suggests that it is hypothetically possible; the other suggests that universities might actually do it, or are doing it.
11.27.2006 1:42pm
Tom Holsinger (mail):
Politically this spells catastrophe for UC's budget in the legislature.
11.27.2006 1:42pm
BobH (mail):
"Others, including whites like me, should do what they can to copy those aspects of Asian-American culture that promote this."

My wife teaches in a magnet high school for highly-gifted students; to be admitted, a kid's IQ (measured by a school district psychometrist) must exceed 145. There are many Asian-American kids in the school, and a lot of those kids' parents -- particularly the parents of Korean-American kids -- are, for want of a better word, crazy. That is, they are so insistent on their kids' succeeding in high school ("success" being defined as admission to an Ivy League college -- which, to many of these parents, means Harvard and ONLY Harvard) that they drive the kids to exhaustion and the verge of nervous breakdown. My wife has had the experience of comforting a sobbing high-school senior who found out at the beginning of March that she had been declined by Harvard and had been "only" admitted to MIT, Columbia, Stanford, and her fallback school, UC Berkeley.

This, Professor, is an aspect of Asian-American culture that you are well-advised not to copy.
11.27.2006 1:50pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Roger: I'm not sure I understand your reading of Clinton's statement. Politicians aren't usually in the habit of simply pointing out what's "hypothetically possible," in part because anything is hypothetically possible. (A university might hypothetically fill its entire class with redheads, if it chose to do so, and if it was willing to relax all other admissions standards.)

It seems to me much more plausible to read "could fill" as a (hyperbolic) way of expressing what could actually happen if universities stopped considering race in admissions. It's hyperbolic because the numbers would simply lead (as they do) to huge disproportions between the fraction of Asian students in the class and the fraction of Asians in the population, and not to 100% Asians. But it's still not "hypothetical[]," and in my view it's the far more likely interpretation of Clinton's statement.
11.27.2006 1:56pm
sbron:
The overrepresentation of Asian-Americans in the
UC system is a warning to the multicultural left.
The Susan Sontag/Noel Igantiev/Tim Wise Left
believes that white privilege is the root of all social and economic inequality, and that a peaceful, just society
would ensue without whites.

However, it is apparent that a California
without whites would still have significant ethnic
and racial conflicts between e.g. Asians and Latinos
competing for university admissions. Indeed, the
push by the Latino Caucus in the CA legislature for
"comprehensive review" in UC admissions is reminiscent of the conflict between ethnic Malays and Chinese in Malaysia. Malaysia has been held back economically compared to neighboring
Singapore, in part due to the imposition of quotas
and economic restrictions on ethnic Chinese.

Sadly, disparities in academic and economic performance
and the resulting conflicts occur worldwide, and are
not just a white/non-white issue. The solution as
Prof. Volokh points out is for less academically
successful groups to emulate the more successful.
Unfortunately, the underperforming groups often
prefer to be mired in grievance and prejudice.
11.27.2006 2:14pm
dk35 (mail):
With all due respect, Professor Volokh, I too think that you may be misinterpreting the intent and meaning of Clinton's comment.

I have heard that kind of statement made frequently by people on the left. From what I understand, it is not at all meant to be a normative statement in the sense of expressing a "concern" about overrepresentation of Asian Americans (and Jews) among the student bodies of elite universities. Instead, it is meant as a response to anti-affirmative action arguments that affirmative action is bad because it disfavors Christian whites over all others.

In other words, Clinton was responding to those who argued that affirmative action should be abolished because it is unfair to Christian whites, and replaced with some kind of theoretical "objective" standard based entirely on grades and test scores. The Clinton "mend it don't end it" response line was that Christian whites might be very surprised, and, frankly, would probably not benefit in a personal sense, at what would happen if grades and test scores were the only criteria considered.

You obviously are fine with the ovverrepresentation of Asians and Jews at the flagship UC schools. I'm not losing sleep over it either (though, of course, I'm of mostly Jewish background, got good test scores and grades, and was admitted to good schools). The political question, however, is what will the Christian white majority think about this turn of events. If they are as principled as you are, I suppose there won't be a problem. But if Clinton was right, maybe many of them, in jumping on the anti-affirmative action bandwagon, didn't stop to think about the unintended consequences, and may start seeing that diversity may not just be a four letter word signifying the oppression of white people, but could actually also be viewed as a concept that makes certain that no one group is left out.
11.27.2006 2:20pm
Arvin (mail) (www):
The beautiful thing about America is that one does not have to wholly adopt a culture -- one can pick and choose aspects that they like. Parents driving their children to "succeed" is not strictly a trait of Asian culture -- white parents do it too, with piano lessons, and soccer, and boy scouts, and whatever. The difference, I think, is that Asian culture also has built into it an aspect of not questioning authority, and makes many Asians less likely to rock the family boat, or to defy their parents (though of course there are many, many exceptions).

But one need not copy those parts of Asian culture. One can copy just the aspects of placing value on education, of working hard and blaming oneself for one's failures and not others. If you combine those aspects with the traditionally more questioning aspects of certain other cultures, the idea that what you strive for is your best rather than to win, and leave out the "crazy" parts, I think you end up with a more productive person than if you just picked one culture or another.
11.27.2006 2:23pm
Taeyoung (mail):
Which political leader expressed concern about this, and suggested that abolishing race-based admissions could lead to this (in his view unfortunate) result?
Wow! I knew a number of local politicians had expressed that concern at the time, but I thought they were all fairly minor -- even fringe -- figures, letting out a bit of that old Californian anti-Asian animus. I had no idea the President had signed on.
11.27.2006 2:24pm
Nathan Hall (mail):
The political lesson of Asian-American achievement is simply this: success in our society is not primarily determined by white racial privelege. Asian-Americans enjoy no such privelege, and are able to succeed academically and economically at a rate that surpasses caucasians. Democrats, who are dependent on black and (to a lesser extent) latino feelings of despair for electoral success, are deeply hostile to this lesson.
11.27.2006 2:25pm
karrde (mail) (www):
Professor Volokh:

In my recent sojourn in grad school (mathematics) I regularly dealt with the fact that half the graduate students were Oriental. I notice similar trends in computer science and physics departments.

This leads me to wonder if there is an element of Oriental culture which breeds certain kinds of high-performance minds.

In my other circles of acquaintance, I have discovered that families of Asian origin put a high stress on educational success. However, since not all of them were trying to get into a highly-competitive high school, I wouldn't characterize the parents as insane. However, in every environment in which I met a child of an Oriental immigrant, both the parents and the children were industrious, hard-working, and driven to succeed.

I believe that Thomas Sowell wrote (in one of his many books) that Chinese and Japanese immigrants to the United States faced discrimination equal to or worse than then-resident Blacks in the States. However, the Chinese and Japanese immigrants have since had their average incomes rise above the average American income.

His conclusion is the same as noted above by sbron: some cultures do better than others at producing highly-intelligent children.
11.27.2006 2:28pm
Unanimous:
Heaven forefend that individuals be treated as---gasp!---individuals!

Obviously, this is all a sinister conspiracy by racist Asian supremacists.
11.27.2006 2:29pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Nathan, the leftist response to your argument is that race politics are a question not of ancestry, but of skin tone, and asians are privileged in that they have white skin.

This is of course BS. I guess that would not really explain why Indians are so successful. I guess whitey forgot to hold the brown man down.
11.27.2006 2:34pm
dk35 (mail):
Nathan,

It's funny, because I see a very different political lesson. The Republican party, which for many years (and still to some extent) used anti-affirmative action as a wedge issue in order to pick up support among white Christians who felt that affirmative action was the reason their kids weren't getting into good schools, now finds itself unable to deliver on their promises due to the fact that Asians and Jews get better test scores.

The funny thing is that the Pete Wilson anti-affirmative action Republican party may have scored a few short term political gains in the '90s, but it backfired to the point that the Republican party is completely demolished in California (yes, there is Arnold, but he's not really governing as a Republican). If Republicans want to keep trotting the issue out, that's fine with me, but it's not going to get them anywhere.
11.27.2006 2:37pm
Crunchy Frog:

In other words, Clinton was responding to those who argued that affirmative action should be abolished because it is unfair to Christian whites,

No, no, no, no, no. That may have been who Clinton, or those on the left, thought he was responding to, but that's not the case. Affirmative Action should be done away with because it is unfair. Period. It is not about who benefits or loses.

The political question, however, is what will the Christian white majority think about this turn of events. If they are as principled as you are, I suppose there won't be a problem.

With the exception of some well publicized (Democrat) rednecks in elective office, I don't remember the "Christian white majority" having much of a problem with the civil rights movement in the '60s. In fact, I remember there being a whole bunch of Christian white folks involved in it.
11.27.2006 2:39pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Q: Insofar as Asian culture stresses education and intelligence, and therefore provides better mating opportunities for the more educated and more intelligent, why would it not be the case, that over centuries, Asians became smarter -- genetically?
11.27.2006 2:42pm
tefta2 (mail):
This argument is the default one when discussing quotas. It seems to bother liberals that blind admissions would see freshmen classes with a preponderance of Asians. This is a problem because .... ?

Take heart everybody. The next generation will be Americans, not immigrants and those kids will mellow out a great deal, but if you still want to emulate the conditions which produced these exceptional students, you'd have to go back many generations and start selecting for the most intelligent forbearer.
11.27.2006 2:46pm
Rich B. (mail):
Prop. 209, of course, banned both race AND gender-based affirmative action. Most colleges silently practice gender affirmative action to increase the number of men close to 50/50 (there are many more qualified female applicants).

Does anyone know the gender balance of the UC schools after Prop. 209?
11.27.2006 2:53pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Rich B.: Preferences for male college applicants, aimed at moving the gender balance closer to 50/50, would almost certainly have been unconstitutional even had Prof. 209 never been enacted. That's especially so in California, since under the California Constitution (as interpreted by California courts) sex discrimination by government actors triggers strict scrutiny. But I'd also say the same is true under the muscular intermediate scrutiny applicable to sex classifications under the U.S. Constitution.

[EV: I originally wrote "constitutional" instead of "unconstitutional" -- whoops! Thanks to Daniel Chapman below for promptly correcting me.]
11.27.2006 2:57pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Did you mean to say UNconstitutional?

[EV: Yes, corrected it, thanks!]
11.27.2006 2:58pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
sbron

Ref Malaysia: I worked with the American Field Service exchange student program for many years. One of our kids as an ethnic Chinese Christian from Malaysia. Upon returning to Malaysia, she found the Chinese quota to university filled. So she returned here, got a BS Chem Eng from U-Mich, and a MSc Chem Eng from another good midwestern school. After which she married an American.
Malaysia loses. We win.

Couple of other points: Her father wanted her to come home to run the family business until little brother Jimmy was ready to take over. Her response was, "We don't operate like that here." So the female empowerment thing was working.
Her family didn't like her plans--she has a terrific job in the States--and so her American host father gave her away at the wedding.
That's a high price to pay for a culture being truly authentically culturally relatively traditionally pissy.
11.27.2006 3:00pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

The Republican party, which for many years (and still to some extent) used anti-affirmative action as a wedge issue in order to pick up support among white Christians who felt that affirmative action was the reason their kids weren't getting into good schools, now finds itself unable to deliver on their promises due to the fact that Asians and Jews get better test scores.
1. I wasn't aware that any of the opponents of AA were expressing this as "white Christians" not getting into good schools. It was opposition to racial discrimination, pure and simple.

2. Do you have any evidence that "white Christians" are now upset about admissions being based on competence? I've never seen anyone express concern for that.
11.27.2006 3:28pm
Californian:
In the early 1980s Dr. Julian Stanley of Johns Hopkins had just begun his Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY). It wasn't just an academic exercise for Dr. Stanley, as he routinely traveled to all parts of the country offering guidance and support to members of this little group.

in the mid-eighties he set up a meeting for SMPY kids to meet the admissions directors of Stanford and Berkeley. I was surprised when the Asian parents at this gathering peppered the admissions directors with questions about quotas limiting Asian acceptance at these schools. I had no idea that quotas were in place for high-achieving Asian kids, but it came clear that there were. I'm guessing that non-Asian parents and kids constituted about two-thirds of the group and, without exception, we were offended by these quotas. It seemed so un-american to us!

Subsequently, both my boys attended UC Berkeley - one graduating Summa and Valedictorian in Mathematics, the other Magna in Philosophy. Both of them enjoyed their time at Cal but wished for an even more able and dedicated student population. In furtherance of that wish, each independently (and unknown to the other) wrote a letter to the Editor of the Daily Californian decrying quotas on Asians. While I certainly don't speak for other Caucasian parents with students who attended Cal, I would be quite surprised if most of these parents didn't feel the same way I felt about my boys - happy that they viewed America as a meritocracy and proud that they would stand up to injustice when they encountered it.

Just one libertarian's point of view.
11.27.2006 3:31pm
Rich B. (mail):


Rich B.: Preferences for male college applicants, aimed at moving the gender balance closer to 50/50, would almost certainly have been constitutional even had Prof. 209 never been enacted.


Possibly true legally, but the fact is that the practice is widespread, in both public and private colleges. See, for example, this editorial/article from USA Today.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/
editorials/2003-05-22-edit_x.htm

Representative quote:


Most college admissions officers refuse to discuss the special preferences boys' applications receive. An exception is Robert Massa, director of admissions at Pennsylvania's Dickinson College. Massa readily admits tilting the admissions scale toward boys. At Dickinson, the male-female ratio is 45-55. Without preferences for male applicants, the percentage of men would drop as low as 38%, he says.


Dickinson is part of the Penn State system.
11.27.2006 3:37pm
Al Maviva (mail) (www):
It's funny seeing this discussed as a major political issue. It's a wedge issue, unless you happen to be in the intellectual elite, a graduate of (with kids likely to be graduates of) the to 140 or so schools nationwide. We're talking perhaps 5% of all undergraduate slots. The rest of the universities and colleges are nowhere near as selective, so race-based admissions are a non-issue. While a lot of voters may have principles, and some advocates like Ward Connerly clearly have principles, race-based admissions are more frequently used as a wedge by both parties...

Except for people admitted to schools above their competence level, of course, and good students who are very clearly admissible to top schools but turned away; those students have particularly bad educational results, and particularly unfair disappointments, respectively.
11.27.2006 3:41pm
Tom Holsinger (mail):
Everyone seems to be missing Professor Volokh's point.

My father, as the then No. 3 in the California Department of Education, was also the man who tipped President Clinton, via Leon Panetta, to the Asian students at UC issue way back in 1994.

Pop had been a long-time California Democratic party operative and had spent several weeks in D.C. (Dec. 1994 - Jan. 1995) working with then White House Chief of Staff Panetta on how to use Governor Pete Wilson's politically disastrous support for the anti-Hispanic initiatives on the 1994 to boost the Democratic Party in California. Which they did, and this "last hurrah" of my father's has been highly successful.

THE major fear of California Democrat pols is that an almost entirely Asian student UC will fracture the Democratic coalition, as well as driving whites and Hispanics away from the Democrats, during legislative fights over UC's budet. This is called a "wedge" issue.

Why should the public and legislature fund a public university when 90% of the state's voters have no chance of sending their children to it?

UC's now-defunct ethnic quota system was anti-Asian, not pro-black or Hispanic.

It is error to treat this as a legal issue. It is an incredibly hot political issue.
11.27.2006 3:48pm
Alaska Jack (mail):
dk -

This is a little off-topic, but you wrote something I wanted to ask about:


The Republican party, which for many years (and still to some extent) used anti-affirmative action as a wedge issue in order to pick up support among white Christians...



What is a "wedge issue" exactly? Couldn't one just as well say "The Democratic party, which for many years (and still to some extent) used pro-affirmative action as a wedge issue in order to pick up support among blacks and white liberals ..."?

I began wondering this with the gay marriage issue. The issue (which I am not altogether opposed to, by the way) was conceived and supported by liberal interests, and crammed down the public throats by an acommodating judiciary. But suddely opposition to it -- i.e., the desire to preserve social arrangements as they have existed in practically every culture since time immemorial -- is a "wedge issue"? I guess I don't get it.

- Alaska Jack
11.27.2006 3:51pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Jack,

If I had to define the term "wedge issue," I would say that it is an issue that may drive away constituents who are otherwise content with the given party's platform.

The gay marriage thing was indeed started by liberals, but to the extent that it pushes low income redistributionist types to the Republican party, I suppose it is a wedge issue. I also don't think it's a dirty word - it is what it is.
11.27.2006 3:55pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
When Ronald Reagan was Governor of California, he was told that without AA Berkeley would be filled with nothing but Asians. His reply: "So what?"
11.27.2006 4:00pm
Strom Thurmond (mail):
Just checking out the Cal Golden Bears website,,some 115 players on the varsity roster, only one of asian ancestry, of course hes on the PAC-10 all academic squad.
11.27.2006 4:03pm
ajbuckle (mail):
"So what?" indeed!

Does it matter of an asian or a white cures cancer? Even the blacks will benefit rom the end of a horrid disease. We NEED the top students to go to the good schools because it improves their work product. You dont cure cancer, or end world hunger, by crowding out the good students.
11.27.2006 4:10pm
Alaska Jack (mail):
Mike -

Hmm. I think that is a useful definition. But I've only ever heard "wedge issue" used as a perjorative. Let's look at gay marriage again. Republicans (I'm not one) were accused of using it as a "wedge issue." I guess that strikes me as strange -- defining "wedge issue" as simply drawing attention to a stated goal or policy of the other party.

I'll have to give it more thought.

- Alaska Jack
11.27.2006 4:16pm
Anon Y. Mous:

2. Do you have any evidence that "white Christians" are now upset about admissions being based on competence? I've never seen anyone express concern for that.


I think Clayton's right. If it were to come to pass that whites were having trouble getting into the top tier schools because those of Asian descent were taking all the spots, the majority reaction in the white community would be to look at how to improve the performance of the under-performers, not to game the system to get the "right" result.
11.27.2006 4:16pm
dick thompson (mail):
What bothers me about the whole thing is the idea of the LLL dems using the public universities as their own private sociological and political playgrounds and the rest of us have to pay for it.

I thought the whole idea of a university education was to take someone with talent and teach them how to harness and use that talent regardless of who and what they were. Now I find, silly me, that it is all a sham and we should use the universities to create a level outcome regardless of what the source of it is and that everything has to be sacrificed for that level outcome. Who would have thought that we should penalize the best so that the not so good will be able to pat themselves on the back and talk about their great education. As an example take the old City College in NYC. At one time it was one of the finest universities and the graduates were honored for it. Now it is little more than a slightly, and I mean slightly, better high school. Is that really what the UC should be striving for?
11.27.2006 4:22pm
Dr. Laszlo (mail):
"It's funny, because I see a very different political lesson. The Republican party, which for many years (and still to some extent) used anti-affirmative action as a wedge issue in order to pick up support among white Christians who felt that affirmative action was the reason their kids weren't getting into good schools, now finds itself unable to deliver on their promises due to the fact that Asians and Jews get better test scores."

Sorry, dude - the people I have met fitting your description of "white Christians" merely are violently opposed to racial discrimination of any kind whatsoever. You know - the same attitude they had when they took the forefront in abolishing slavery in this country.

How difficult is it to understand that you shouldn't EVER discriminate by skin color? Just shows the Democrat party has not changed their attitudes (read some of Jimmy Carter's old speeches for the Georgia governor race) since they instituted said slavery system/Jim Crow in the first place. Most of the arguments for these policies mirror very closely the arguments of the old Democrats - George Wallace, Orval Faubus, Jimmy Carter...
11.27.2006 4:24pm
Knucklehead (mail) (www):
While it is immaterial to this discussion, I'd like to correct an error made by Rich B. above. Dickinson College is NOT affiliated with Penn State. Dickinson School of Law, which abuts Dickinson College, is the law school for Pennsylvania State University. Dickinson College is a private, liberal arts college.
11.27.2006 4:36pm
Tom Holsinger (mail):
You don't understand. UC's budget in the legislature is something which can be raided in favor of more "deserving" constituencies such as the state prison system (whose guard union is very generous with campaign contributions), aka "there's never enough graft to go around".

There won't be legislative hearings about "the problem" of Asian over-represntation in UC's student body, let alone white under-representation. There will just be a constant erosion of state financial support for the University of California when UC's budget does not get political support from the great majority of voters.

There might not even be actual cutbacks in state financial support - just the absence of necessary increases due to increased population and attendance, for pay raises, etc.
11.27.2006 4:38pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Even small differences in mean IQ produce large ratios of tail areas. Universities, especially elite ones, are supposed to be places for smart people, so one would expect to find students have IQs in the upper tail of the normal distribution. It seems reasonable to suppose that the elite universities recruit students with IQs greater than 130, about two standard deviations above the mean. If the various ethnic and racial groups differ in their IQs then we should expect to find differential representations in the student body.

Here are the mean Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale IQ scores for some different ethnic groups from Wikipedia. While there is a small spread in the standard deviation, a good working number is 15.

East Asians 106
Whites 101.4
African Americans 86.9
Hispanics 91
Ashkenazi Jews 112-115

Lets compute the tail area ratio between Ashkenazi Jews (the highest IQ) and African Americans (the lowest IQ. Using numbers from the above table with a standard deviation of 15, and a cutoff of 130, we get a ratio of 78. If we raise the cutoff to 145 (three standard deviations), the ratio increases to 423. It's therefore not surprising that we find far more Jews than Blacks in elite universities. Let's compare East Asians to Whites. For a cutoff of 130 we get a ratio of 2 increasing to 2.5 for a cutoff of 145. We would need to know the ethnic mix of the applicants, which is not the same as the mix in the general population. But I'll bet the ratio of Asian/White applicants is about a half. So we should expect to find no less than 50% Asian students at the elite universities. So as usual Clinton is full of it.
11.27.2006 4:39pm
wm13:
dk35, I realize that in the circles in which you move, you can attribute almost any thought to those horrible white Christians (especially since no one knows any), but is there any actual, you know, evidence that those horrible white Christians were in fact insincere in their opposition to affirmative action and are now, or will be soon, outraged at the number of Asians and Jews who are admitted to UC on their merits?

The habit of assuming that people who disagree with you politically are evil hypocrites will make it impossible for you ever to have an intelligent conversation with anyone who does so disagree.
11.27.2006 4:39pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
"Wedge Issue" is usually used to refer to issues that one party can use to divide groups within the other party. It's usually used as a perjorative because for some reason people think this is a dirty trick. There's always the unspoken connotation that wedge issues are only discussed to weaken the other party and not because the person speaking actually cares about the issue.

My observation: The term gets used a lot more often by liberals/democrats... not sure why.
11.27.2006 4:41pm
Rich B. (mail):
I apologize for the mischaracterization of Dickinson.

The article states "Even some public colleges treat boys' applications differently," and then goes on to discuss William &Mary, followed by a paragraph on Dickinson. My faulty memory, combined with the structure of the article, made me think the paragraph on Dickinson was still discussing "public colleges."

The underlying point remains unchanged.
11.27.2006 4:42pm
jab (mail):
Rich B.,

Dickinson is NOT part of the Penn State system.
Dickinson is a PRIVATE liberal arts college.
11.27.2006 4:42pm
jab (mail):
A. Zarkov,

There is no way in hell that the mean IQ for African-Americans is a full standard-deviation below that of Whites.
Wikipedia may be your "source", but this data doesn't pass the smell test.
11.27.2006 4:49pm
Knucklehead (mail) (www):
Rich B,

Your underlying point is, indeed, unaffected by my correction. As I said, this is immaterial to the discussion topic and there is no need to apologize. Understandable and harmless error easily corrected.
11.27.2006 4:52pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Daniel Chapman writes:


"Wedge Issue" is usually used to refer to issues that one party can use to divide groups within the other party. It's usually used as a perjorative because for some reason people think this is a dirty trick. There's always the unspoken connotation that wedge issues are only discussed to weaken the other party and not because the person speaking actually cares about the issue.

My observation: The term gets used a lot more often by liberals/democrats... not sure why.
Because liberals are promoting policies that are strongly disapproved by sometimes a slim majority and sometimes by a huge majority. I suppose that if I thought like a liberal, I would say the Democrats making an issue about the incompetence of the Iraq War is the Democrats using a "wedge issue."

Here's the big problem: AA has no significant support outside of liberal circles (all 20% of Americans who think of themselves that way). Even among blacks, AA is not popular, and there's no surprise: the major beneficiaries of AA aren't ghetto blacks (the vast majority of whom aren't going to college at all) but those black kids from middle class and upper class homes who didn't do well in high school.

Ward Connerly pointed out a few years ago that Asian-American kids from homes with incomes below $15,000 a year were outscoring black kids from homes with incomes in the $45,000 a year area. What does that tell you, when impoverished Asian immigrants are providing a superior educational environment over middle class blacks who grew up speaking English (and have been doing so for generations)?
11.27.2006 4:54pm
Rich B. (mail):
The main Democrat wedge issue is currently gay marriage.

Main Republican wedge issue is currently embryonic stem-cell research.

Immigration is a wedge issue for both parties, so nobody wants to talk about it.
11.27.2006 4:59pm
Knucklehead (mail) (www):
Jab,

Ummm... there are different variations of IQ test and measurement but it is quite common for normal of 100 with a standard deviation of 15.

There is plenty of discussion about why but the ethnic breakdowns that A. Zarkov listed also seem to hold.
11.27.2006 5:06pm
CVGoebel (mail):
jab:


Yes, there is a way that the average IQ of blacks is one standard deviation below that of whites.

It's the mantra that I have heard some of my black student chanting at other black student: "Studying hard is acting white". Or words to that effect.

Since at least some factual knowledge comes in handy on IQ tests, an attitude like this ultimately would result in apparent low test scores. And it may be enough to lower the results drastically, depending on when the test was taken.

It's full effects would be seen after upper level high school education has been finished.

Nothing like starting adult life crippled by your own ideology, is there?!?
11.27.2006 5:07pm
Javahead (mail):
The Clinton quote makes sense in context - IF you buy his implicit premise that race is the proper filter to use in selecting students for top universities instead of, you know, icky things like academic performance. UCB, in particular, had to be dragged kicking and screaming into race-blind admissions, and seems to come up with a new attempt every year to sneak racial preferences back in.

But the dirty little secret that everyone is ignoring is that, in general, 1st and 2nd generation Asian American families value academic performance and push their kids to achieve - it's not that their kids are smarter, it's that the parents generally view education as more important than sports, or parties, or having a "fun" high school experience.

My older daughter went to one of the best public high schools in our area (San Jose, CA) - very ethnically mixed, but the largest single group was still euro-descended white students. But the mix in the (voluntary, but highly recommended) AP classes was probably 80% East- and South- Asian students. And it went ~80% the other way in the school sports programs.

Considering that some parents spend a *lot* of time, and effort, helping their kids do better in sports - practice time, sports camps, searching for the best coaches, I'm bemused to find them protesting that doing the exact same thing academically is somehow unfair.

I can just about guarantee that any white, or black, or latino, or fill-in-your-favorite-group parents who are willing to stress academics the same way will get similar results. And that a lot of the noise about "ethnic diversity" is just sour grapes with good PR.
11.27.2006 5:09pm
Robert Hume (mail):
I think Zarkov is probably correct as to the effect of IQs. However, even in science, there is more to success than IQ. In science and literature Charles Murray has pointed out that Asians under-achieve and Jews do about as expected in fields that are not spatially loaded (like art).

So we may be leading to underachievement in the US by allocating spots on the basis of grades and IQ if that cuts out some of the best whites... so that they don't get the benefit of the best teachers.

I think something similar happened in the early 20th century when wonderful educational establishments were put into place in the major Eastern US cities; and then there was Protestant flight as Catholic and Jewish immigrants took over the cities with all their benefits installed by the Protestants. As a result, Protestants are under-represented at the higher intellectual levels. No more Adam Smith, Shakespeare, Newton, Dirac, ...
11.27.2006 5:13pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Jab:

There is no way in hell that the mean IQ for African-Americans is a full standard-deviation below that of Whites.

Sorry but that's a pretty robust result, persisting decade after decade. Just google race and IQ and you will find lots of other sources for that figure. The difference is not really in dispute; it's what causes the difference that's in dispute, or whether IQ has any predictive value. If you think you have a better number, then give it to us along with a reference.

If you don't like that number how about this one? Sub-Saharan Africans have a mean IQ of 67. Sub-Saharan African university students (who presumably come from the elite classes) range from 72 to 100 depending the country and the study. The study with the largest sample size (403) had a mean score of 75. Nine of the 13 studies reported mean IQs less than 85. African babies adopted by Europeans test with IQs similar to their parents in Africa.
11.27.2006 5:14pm
logicnazi (mail) (www):
Interestingly enough the number of asians in good mathematics grad schools appears to be substantially less than what one would predict from undergrad math classes. In fact they may not be overrepresented at all, at least once you control for income/socioeconomic class. Additionally the asians I know in math grad schools tend to be quite americanized (often don't even speak another language and were born to americanized parents).

In short asians are certainly 'doing something right' as far as social mobility and standard of living are concerned. It might (or might not) be wise to look at the cultural forces which allow this and see if they can be encouraged in underperforming groups.

However, I think one ought not to infer that they are doing something right when it comes to creating/educating our best scientists/engineers. Generally the sort of strategies that work to make the most people do well in HS math classes simply aren't the same ones that give people the deep understanding to really work in those areas and I suspect the same may be true for other advanced areas.

I realize the post didn't suggest anything of the kind but people just can't seem to resist making this error. Whenever you see an article about asian/European/whatever countries having higher average math scores you immediately hear dire predictions about a lack of scientists and engineers. However, there is every difference in the world between producing scientists and having people do well in HS science.

I'm not suggesting that asian culture is doing something bad about producing the best scientists, they certainly do contribute at least their fair share, but just that it is a very different issue than doing well in HS/getting into college.
11.27.2006 5:18pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Sorry but that's a pretty robust result, persisting decade after decade. Just google race and IQ and you will find lots of other sources for that figure. The difference is not really in dispute; it's what causes the difference that's in dispute, or whether IQ has any predictive value.
I recall reading in The Bell Curve that much of the difference in performance between whites and blacks isn't on the tests that are presumably culturally loaded, but on math--which is about as pure of an abstract form of thinking as exists.

Apparently, one of the other measures of mental ability that correlates well with IQ is the ability to remember a string of numeric digits and recite them backward. People with low IQs generally are limited to four or five digits that they can remember and then recite reversed, while people with high IQs are capable of more digits. This might not be a very meaningful or useful ability--but it does suggest that there is a mental flexibility associated with higher IQs, and I can see how that might have some value in a number of academic disciplines.
11.27.2006 5:24pm
TangoMan (www):
This leads me to wonder if there is an element of Oriental culture which breeds certain kinds of high-performance minds.

Probably not. Note that:

For one, the sociological literature doesn't seem to show it. As Stanley Sue and Sumie Okazaki pointed out in their 1991 American Psychologist paper, Asian American Educational Achievements: A Phenomenon in Search of an Explanation, the parenting styles and values found in East Asian-American homes tend to correlate with lower test scores when they are found in white homes.
11.27.2006 5:30pm
Davide:
These comments seem be getting side-tracked on to an irrelevant issue.

One can argue about IQ til the cows come home. But the UC system isn't admitting students on that basis.

The UC system -- the ones the Asian students are now excelling at -- works on the basis of school grades and SAT/ACT scores.

So, these kids are beating their non-Asian peers in school and in school tests.

They're not being admitted for top IQs. Nor is there any such IQ beauty contest.

This raises the natural question: Why are the Asian students surpassing non-Asian students? And how can these other students improve their performance?

Unless we want to start arguing that school performance and SAT/ACT performance aren't the right criteria to use for admission -- which would raise the next question: If they're not right, what should we use?
11.27.2006 5:34pm
RJO (www):
Here's a suggestion I offer on how to uncover genuine diversity in a population.
11.27.2006 5:38pm
TheOldMan (mail):
What's an "Asian American"? You are either Asian or American.
11.27.2006 5:38pm
Rich B. (mail):

What's an "Asian American"? You are either Asian or American.


Because you can't have both a race/ethicity AND a nationality?

In this world, can you be both fat and left-handed?
11.27.2006 5:46pm
Jo (mail):
Firstly, the IQ test was developed to be a measurement of likely future academic performance, and it's pretty accurate when used in that way. It was never intended to be a measurement of how "intelligent" or "good" a person is.

Secondly, as a white "intellectual" (I'm an academic) it's pretty clear to me from my own dating experience that a lot higher proportion of Asian girls are attracted to education in a man, compared to other girls. For white girls, a PhD is a turn-off more often than not, but I'm sure I would have had more dates if I was a football star. I'm also struck by how many white academics have Asian wives (myself included). Now, if you're selecting a mate to be the father of your children, and you prioritize education over muscle, you can bet it's going to have an influence on the performance of the children. The example given above about white parents putting emphasis on sports camps has an impact on more things than just high school test results.
11.27.2006 6:12pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"One can argue about IQ til the cows come home. But the UC system isn't admitting students on that basis."

But it is. SAT scores correlate with IQ, and to a lesser extent grades. So it really is appropriate to look at the average IQ of the various groups that apply and get into elite universities. Do you really think that the population students who score an average of 720 on the SAT are going to have IQs less than 100?
11.27.2006 6:18pm
cmn (mail) (www):
If you really want to replicate the parenting techniques of Asian Americans that lead to these results, Eugene, there's a helpful
training video posted on You Tube.
11.27.2006 6:21pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Just to piggyback on Zarkov's point - the stats he offers are from Wikipedia, but I've seen them in numerous studies, independent of any site that visitors are allowed to edit. For the purposes of this discussion, we don't need to argue whether there is a genetic link, but the differences Zarkov writes about are most certainly real.
11.27.2006 6:25pm
Avatar (mail):
Fact is, when you're talking about elite institutions, you're not talking about the difference between a 3.0 and a 4.0 GPA; 4.0 won't even get you in the door. Admissions staff have to pick between a whole host of people with excellent grades and SAT scores, academic clubs, awards, and what have you.

Beyond a certain point, this rewards students who can plot a successful min-max when it comes to selecting classes and options with an eye to hyper-competitive college admissions. You CANNOT be a valedictorian and play on a football team for four years, for example, even if you're 3-4 standard deviations above genius level, because a perfect grade in a non-honors course is weighted lower than an A in an honors course. Ditto any other sport or activity that requires taking a related class without that honors bonus. This is even true to a certain extent for extracurricular activities - if you have a hobby that's not something you can put on a college application, you're sacrificing valuable time that you could be using to better polish that apple.

While this is a criticism, it's not necessarily true that changes are necessary. If you have an elite institution with applications far outweighing spaces, you're going to have to do some fairly draconian culling just to get the pile down to something you can pretend to analyze fairly.

At the same time, frankly, who cares? The university is too selective about who it admits, it loses political clout and its funding level drops, competition for admission to that university goes down as the bleeding edge of academia go elsewhere. Eventually you hit an equilibrium. Is that bad for the students? No, because we're talking about the brightest of the bright here - frankly, most of them could manage an education with a list of textbooks and an internet connection. (Of course they wouldn't have the credential, but that's for people as give a damn about the value of an elite institution's diploma, which is -not- something any person is entitled to. ;p)

Are students being denied a good education? Probably not - it's not like students that fail to get into Harvard don't go to college at all, and the big public universities are pretty good in their own right. You could even argue that de-funding elite institutions in favor of mass secondary education is a good thing - if you want to go to a selective private school, go ahead, just don't ask for the public to fund it. (Of course the majority of these institutions are already private...)
11.27.2006 6:35pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"Firstly, the IQ test was developed to be a measurement of likely future academic performance, and it's pretty accurate when used in that way. It was never intended to be a measurement of how "intelligent" or "good" a person is."

You are confusing IQ tests with tests like the LSAT which were specifically crafted to predict academic performance. On the other hand, IQ tests are designed to measure something called the general intelligence factor g, which is a latent variable and hard to measure. But it is intended to measure intelligence. I don't know what you mean by "good." If "good" means moral or ethical, then no of course IQ doesn't measure that. IQ testing is also not going to measure certain special acquired skills like hitting a baseball, or even solving crossword puzzles. Obviously academic success is also going to depend on personality factors such as discipline and certain acquired academic skills like writing, so the LSAT should better correlate with academic success than IQ. Let's put it this way. A high IQ is a necessary but not sufficient condition for success in cognitively demanding endeavors.
11.27.2006 6:38pm
Lagos (mail):
In fact SATs correlate so well with IQ tests that some UC schools have tried to remove the SAT as an admissions criterion.

Affirmative action has benefitted women for over 35 years now. The unsubstantiated claim that it now benefits male college applicants needs to be thoroughly vetted. I doubt the poster above understands the statistical basis of his claim.

Too bad.
11.27.2006 6:42pm
Tom Holsinger (mail):
In the period 1960-75 in California, high school grades and SAT scores measured en masse corresponded almost exactly with parental income. I don't know if that is true now, or has been in the past twenty years.

The first 4-5 freshman classes at UC Santa Cruz (entering 1965-66 through about 1969) were selected by its original Chancellor, Dean McHenry, from the top 10% of UC applicants (as opposed to the top 10% of high school graduates). This stopped at the insistence of the other UC Chancellors, but my class (entering 1967, graduating in 1971) had an average family income higher than that of any college or university in the state, including Stanford and Claremont-Pomona.
11.27.2006 6:42pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Avatar:

You're absolutely right; today admission to elite universities is so hyper-competitive that being highly intelligent is not sufficient in itself to get you a place. All sorts of other (perhaps irrelevant) factors are brought in to make the final selections. But you don't make the final rounds without scoring high on measures highly correlated with IQ. This is going to lead to different representations of the various races and ethnic groups. No matter how you slice it groups with the higher average IQs are going to be over represented.
11.27.2006 6:53pm
ajbuckle (mail):
>SAT scores measured en masse corresponded almost exactly with parental income.

Well, smart people do tend to make more money than dumb people. And smart people genes end up in smart people's kids.
11.27.2006 6:54pm
myzptlx11 (mail):
SAT scores don't correlate as strongly with income across racial categories. Asian Americans whose parents come from the bottom 20% of the income distribution will have higher test scores on average than middle class black kids whose parents earn over $70,000 or so a year. Indeed, I think the NYT published an article in which it noted how poorly upper middle class black kids in elite sections of Princeton, NJ did on tests in comparison to less economically advantaged Asian kids.

Moreover, "controlling" for income is NOT reasonable because iq is correlated with both test scores and income. If the hypothesis is that higher iq people are more likely to earn more and are also likely to do better on tests, it is NOT legitimate to correct for income when doing statistics on the relevance of either test scores or iq for future success in anything. Otherwise you are purposely netting out the very effects that statistics should be trying to capture.

However, the fact that even netting out income should favor poor Asian test-takers over rich African-American kids is a striking testimony to how strong the cultural component (not just genetic) must be.
11.27.2006 7:02pm
Eli Rabett (www):
11.27.2006 7:05pm
Eli Rabett (www):
Oh yeah, the purpose of state universities is not necessarily what people here think:


The Morrill Acts funded educational institutions by granting federally controlled land to the states. The mission of these institutions, as set forth in the 1862 Act, is to teach agriculture, military tactics, and the mechanic arts, not to the exclusion of classical studies, so that members of the working classes might obtain a practical college education.


As for California, the California code holds that


66010.1. The purpose of this article is to identify common
educational missions shared by educational institutions in California and to differentiate more specific missions and functions between the various educational segments.

66010.2. The public elementary and secondary schools, the
California Community Colleges, the California State University, the University of California, and independent institutions of higher education share goals designed to provide educational opportunity and success to the broadest possible range of our citizens, and shall provide the following:
(a) Access to education, and the opportunity for educational success, for all qualified Californians. Particular efforts should be made with regard to those who are historically and currently underrepresented in both their graduation rates from secondary institutions and in their attendance at California higher educational institutions.
(b) Quality teaching and programs of excellence for their students. This commitment to academic excellence shall provide all students the opportunity to address issues, including ethical issues, that are central to their full development as responsible citizens.
(c) Educational equity not only through a diverse and representative student body and faculty but also through educational environments in which each person, regardless of race, gender, age, disability, or economic circumstances, has a reasonable chance to fully develop his or her potential.


Enjoy
11.27.2006 7:15pm
vince (mail):
One of the underlying problems is that universities have this profoundly narcissistic sense that they are wellsprings of beneficence and wisdom, and that their policies will, if perfected, somehow usher in an earthly paradise.

The truth is that universities are screwed up bureaucracies which, though run by (by and large) decent and intelligent people, will always make imperfect choices because they can't decide between rationality, fairness, and efficiency, and wouldn't know how to implement any of them even if they could decide. If we can't agree on what public university admissions criteria maximize the public's utility, this will be an endless dispute.
11.27.2006 7:27pm
Taeyoung (mail):
Re: Karrde
This leads me to wonder if there is an element of Oriental culture which breeds certain kinds of high-performance minds.
I'm sure someone else has pointed this out already, but just in case, the secret is: in most East Asian cultures, we've been taking standardised examinations for between 1000 and 2000 years. If there's one thing our culture has prepared us for, it's a standardised exam on which the success or failure of our future career hinges. In fact, it's a key element of all kinds of great literature from the past -- e.g. in The Peony Pavilion, the protagonist gets his happy end because he gets the top score in the national exams.

In contrast, Westerners have been wrestling with standardised exams for, what, 100 years? 50? Pah!

:P
11.27.2006 7:29pm
Tom Holsinger (mail):
Factoid:

I recall reading somewhere that college &university admissions directors of coed schools were pretty adamant about holding the undergraduate male/female ratio at 40/60 or better (at least 40% male) because of experience that male applications plummet when the proportion of undergraduate male students drops below 40%.
11.27.2006 7:31pm
Taeyoung (mail):
Re: Zarkov:
If you don't like that number how about this one? Sub-Saharan Africans have a mean IQ of 67. Sub-Saharan African university students (who presumably come from the elite classes) range from 72 to 100 depending the country and the study. The study with the largest sample size (403) had a mean score of 75. Nine of the 13 studies reported mean IQs less than 85. African babies adopted by Europeans test with IQs similar to their parents in Africa.

Leaving aside the African-American issue entirely, I'm pretty sure sub-Saharan African mean IQ is absurdly low because of malnutrition, especially while the fetus is developing in the womb -- fetal undernourishment has, IIRC, been linked to depressed IQ in adults, and sub-Saharan Africa has it in spades. Applies just as much to African babies adopted by rich Europeans as it does to Africans raised by Africans.
11.27.2006 7:35pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"African mean IQ is absurdly low because of malnutrition, especially while the fetus is developing in the womb -- fetal undernourishment has, IIRC, been linked to depressed IQ in adults, and sub-Saharan Africa has it in spades."

There are other groups not malnourished who have low IQs. The Bushmen who live Kalahari Desert have been traditionally hunter-gathers. They are a very old people genetically and still speak a click language. As a side note, the human ancestral population is thought to have spoken a click language. Hunter gathers are generally not malnourished; in fact they might even have a better diet than most modern Americans. It's true that after about 1965 the Bushmen have fell on hard times, but IQ testing on the Bushmen date back to the 1930s. They are racially different from sub-Saharan Africans and their measured IQ is 15 points lower. Another example is the Australian Aborigines (another racially distinct group) who have an average IQ of around 66 and are not malnourished. They do have significant health problems as yet unexplained, but not due to malnutriation.

As I pointed up sub-Saharan university students also have low IQs and they surely come from better nourished elites.
11.27.2006 8:18pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Eli Rabett:

Like most mission statements this one is subject to interpretation. If you think it excludes any admission policy(s) that leads to anything other than proportional representation of all ethnic and racial groups in all California Universities then tell it to the Regents or the governor. That would mean something like 12% of the incoming freshman at UC Berkeley should be African-American, and 2% should be Jewish. I guess that's what Al Sharpton would say. It's certainly what Tom Hayden wants as he once introduced a bill to require that UC actually graduate students in a proportional manner. He was trying to correct for the high failure rate Blacks suffered under affirmative action policies.
11.27.2006 8:20pm
Eli Rabett (www):
Those are not mission statements guys, they are LAWS. I thought this was a nest of lawyers.
11.27.2006 8:47pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
They are mission statements expressed as laws. That does not eliminate the need for interpretation.
11.27.2006 9:23pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Ref: IQ.

I am probably older than most of you and so I was present at the creation of certain things you may take for granted.
I started studying psychology in the early Sixties. We learned two things about IQ: Nobody knew exactly what it measured. "Intelligence tests measure what intelligence tests measure." In other words, you could make up any kind of test and call it an intelligence test because, among other things, there was no general agreement on the definition of intelligence, either.
I should add a caveat here. The term "nobody knows" means there isn't much agreement. Nobody won the argument.

The other thing we learned about IQ is all the reasons the intelligence tests across races didn't mean what they looked as if they meant. There was no argument about what they showed in terms of raw scores.

Charles Murray ran into a buzzsaw when he addressed the issue--more or less in passing--in his "The Bell Curve", which got such flak that it's probably safer to refer to the normal distribution than to the bell curve.
11.27.2006 9:26pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
The funny thing is that the Pete Wilson anti-affirmative action Republican party may have scored a few short term political gains in the '90s, but it backfired to the point that the Republican party is completely demolished in California (yes, there is Arnold, but he's not really governing as a Republican). If Republicans want to keep trotting the issue out, that's fine with me, but it's not going to get them anywhere.
You may not have noticed, but three states have allowed their citizens to vote on affirmative action. All three states are blue states. All three states -- including the one you named -- voted against affirmative action. The idea that supporting a popular measure "backfired" is an odd one.

(Or, to be more precise, they voted against race preferences; there are aspects of affirmative action that don't involve racial discrimination, and those are still allowed.)
11.27.2006 9:28pm
Brainsarebiologicalorgans:
Genetically caused differences in mean intelligence are relevant to issues of "reverse" racial discrimination.

Black underachievement is blamed on oppression, which justifies "affirmative action" for blacks. (Don't ask what justifies affirmative action for people whose native language is Spanish; nobody knows.) But if Black underachievement is explained by genetics rather than oppression, then the justification for affirmative action is undermined. And when people justify racial discrimination by adverting to oppression, they open the door to a discussion of althernative hypotheses.

For anyone who is so benighted as to believe that there are no mean differences between groups in genetic endowments conducive to intelligence, (just try raising a chimp to do calculus), please see the following paper:

http://psychology.uwo.ca/faculty/rushtonpdfs/PPPL1.pdf
11.27.2006 9:37pm
Toby:
There are some big mistruths repeated many times here.
1) Numerous changes were made to the college admissions process in the early 70's in support of women's interests. Chief among these was a deprecation of testing and an increased reliance in high school grades. It is noteworthy that a dependence on testing was introduced by a previous reform movement, to end the quotas on Jews.
2) As these results were not great enough for the feminists, there was a parallel reduction in the reliance on extra-curricular activities. One of these was sports, which was used to discredit all extracurricular activity. As girls tended to participate in many activities (back then) there grew a tendency to admit those who participate in many activities.
3) In an unrelated movement, Grammar/Junior High/Senior High (6-3-3-) was replaced with Grammar/Middle/High School (4-4-4). As college admissions continued to include "Send us all grades from high school", this added 9th grade grades to almost all college applications.
4) A truism now forgotten is that females are ahead of males in social/academic achievement by about one year in six. One can see this in 2 year olds dating, one can recall the old 18/21 dichotomy in age of consent, but this was long understood -- and only forgotten because of politics surrounding Viet Nam. And parent knows that 9th grade boys don't seem to get it yet while 9the grade girls are quite ready for high school. The shift to middle schools added an unanticipated thumb on the scales in favor of women.
5) Ever since, colleges have been unable to restore balance. The chief reason is that with any changes, the women that men displace are minority women, thus reducing minority enrollment. There is not an administrator in the land who wants that on his watch, so more and more desperate attempts are made by the colleges to address this w/o touching a third rail.
In any case, the new "discrimination" is an attempt to redress the unfair changes made a generation ago which combined in an unanticipated way with a reorganization of primary and secondary education.

Only the dim, uninformed, or disingenuous would pull pro-male discrimination out of the full story.
11.27.2006 9:48pm
Tom Holsinger (mail):
Nieporent,

Politics doesn't have to make sense.

My father and Leon Panetta successfully plotted to destroy the California GOP due to its many overt demonstrations of anti-Hispanic bias in 1994. The means they came up with was lowered naturalization requirements, expedited citizenship proceedings in California (significant federal Naturalization Service money was shifted to California, along with increased appropriations overall), plus fund-raising efforts and diversion of California and national Democratic party funds to registering new Hispanic citizens as Democrats.

The result has been that almost every Republican candidate for statewide office 1996 - 2006 has started a million votes in the hole due to the Hispanic vote.

I'm a Republican. My father told me about this is loving detail at the time. I had to watch Governor Wilson march the California GOP off the cliff with my father helping. Then Pop showed me the election returns demonstrating how his plot worked.
11.27.2006 9:56pm
Ricardo (mail):
Zarkov,

Do you have a reference for the sub-Saharan African adoption and student studies?

My armchair analysis is that it is very tough to imagine someone with an IQ of 75 functioning in the modern world, let alone surviving in a university system which, in many cases, inherits standards left over from the colonial powers. I think mental competency starts to come into question when someone's IQ is around 70 in the U.S.

Something is not right here.

As far as Asian educational achievement is concerned, the gap in grades cannot be entirely due to differences in IQ as the IQ difference is just too small (IQs for Asian Americans are lower than for Asians in Asia). Grades correlate with IQ scores only loosely as there is a big effort component.
11.27.2006 10:11pm
Ricardo (mail):
What's an "Asian American"? You are either Asian or American.

I agree. I have a lot of friends who claim to be Asian American but, like Stephen Colbert, I just have to take their word for it. I only see Americans.
11.27.2006 10:14pm
dk35 (mail):
Nieporent,

The fact that anti-affirmative action measures pass has nothing to do with my point. In fact, my whole point is that the white Christian majority tends to vote for these measures at least partly because they were led to believe by Republican politicians that the passage of these measures would serve their own interests (I'm surprised that on a libertatian website of all places, by the way, I'm attacked for asserting that people may cast votes at least partly due to their perception of self-interest).

The real point I was making, and I think that Clinton was making, is that white Christians who oppose affirmative action for selfish reasons would be surprised to find out that, at least for the time being, their numbers in elite universities will most likely go down, rather than up.

This doesn't mean that there aren't principled, non-self interested reasons for having problems with affirmative action. Of course, for those who feel so strongly about the principle, I'm wondering when the outcry will start against students admitted for athletics, or because their mommy/daddy attended the school.
11.27.2006 10:27pm
TangoMan (www):
Do you have a reference for the sub-Saharan African adoption and student studies?

See this lengthy review which addresses "620 different IQ studies from around the world and 813,778 tested individuals."

As for student studies you can start your search with the references within this paper. Here is an excerpt:

The low mean score of Africans is also found in university samples. In one study, Grieve and Viljoen (2000) gave the Raven's Matrices to 30 African students in 4th year law and commerce at the University of Venda in South Africa's rural Northern Province. At this historically disadvantaged ''African'' university, the students averaged a score of 37 out of 60 on the Raven's. By the standards of 1993 US normative sample (Raven, Court, &Raven, 1990, p. 98), this placed them at the 7th percentile with an IQ equivalent of 78. A study by Rushton and Skuy (2000) gave untimed Raven's to three hundred nine 17- to-23-year-old first-year students at the University of the Witwatersrand. The 173 African students solved an average of 44 of the 60 problems, whereas the 136 White students solved an average of 54 of the 60 problems. By the standard of the 1993 US normative sample, the African students scored at the 14th percentile and the White students scored at the 61st percentile, yielding IQ equivalents of 84 and 104, respectively.
11.27.2006 10:43pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Ricardo,

Richard Lynn reports the various studies in his book Race Differences in Intelligence: An Evolutionary Analysis. Of course Lynn has been the subject of many personal and professional attacks as one might expect on such a hot button topic. He stands accused of ignoring data and having a racist agenda. If you google his name or look in Wikipedia, you will see what I mean. But if you read carefully you will find very little in the way of substantive criticism. The book is mostly tables and references with the text mainly summarizing the data in the tables. He presents little in the way of evolutionary analysis. If you want that then see the recent book by Wade, Before the Dawn, especially chapter 9. See also the book by Vincent Sarich (emiritus professor of anthropology at UC Berkeley) Race: The Reality of Human Differences.

As for how a people could survive with an average IQ of 70, one must remember that IQ is a quotient so it means that an 18 year old becomes a 12 year old. Now 12 year olds can do a lot. Back in the 19th Century even 8 year olds worked in factories. Moreover a people with a depressed IQ don't suffer a competitive disadvantage as everyone's in the same boat. But you do have a problem running a modern technology intensive society where the average IQ is 70. Who said today's sub-Saharan Africa doesn't have severe problems? As for university students, remember their IQs range from 75 to 100 and again everyone's in the same boat.
11.27.2006 11:00pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"The real point I was making, and I think that Clinton was making, is that white Christians who oppose affirmative action for selfish reasons would be surprised to find out that, at least for the time being, their numbers in elite universities will most likely go down, rather than up."

That's not what Clinton actually said. As I read it, he said Asian Americans are so superior they would beat out everyone else 100% but for AA. But OK lets take your interpretation and go with it.

Remember in the 1960s we were supposed to be headed towards a "color blind" society. Then came AA in the 1970s. First it applied only to Blacks, and then the favored groups got expended to include Asians, Hispanics, American Indians, women etc. Under those circumstances elimination of AA would indeed help white people, and not only Christians, but also Jews, Asian Indians, (who are classified as white) Muslims etc. As the number of Asians increased (as one might expect from their higher than average IQ) they became a disfavored group, one that had its admission bar raised even higher than for whites. The elimination of AA in 1995 would therefore help the combined group of Whites and Asians. I don't see how Clinton could assert that Asians would derive more benefit that Whites. One would have to know the mix of applicants and their scores and grades. Remember applicants differ from the general population. Knowing Clinton, I think he just made it up, and if he is correct it's an accident.
11.27.2006 11:26pm
Ricardo (mail):
Zarkov,

You said that the study with the largest sample size reported a mean of 75. If the range is so large, that means that there simply is not enough data to make such general statements about the IQ levels of African university students.

African "elites" work as accountants, business owners, managers, government bureaucrats, army officers, etc. These jobs require the same skills as anywhere else in the world. I suspect that either there are major issues with data quality or sample selection or else the data were gathered from universities that do not represent the "elite" at all. Universities in developing countries vary enormously in quality.

As for the South Africa study cited by TangoMan, it tends to undermine Lynn's enterprise of cross-country comparisons. It's not clear to me how the university at which the study was done ranks in quality. There are IQ differences between black and white students in the sample (this suggests there was affirmative action in university admissions procedures--again the black students were not "elite" at all but came from townships with lousy education systems) but measured black IQ increases from 83 to 96 when students are coached on how to perform better (the control group scored 87). The racial gap remains but it is tough to interpret this without a much broader sample. Presumably, a quality education could substitute for the intervention undertaken in the study to boost measured IQ. When we observe IQ differences across countries, it is impossible to know how much of that is due to education.

Along with the phenomenon of the Flynn effect, this leads me to not put much weight on cross-country IQ studies. The test used in this study is a favorite for cross-country IQ studies.
11.27.2006 11:48pm
TangoMan (www):
Life is an IQ test. IQ tests correlate extremely well with life's outcomes. The South Africa paper was looking at one particular method at raising scores but there are scores of papers which show that such gains are not permanent.

Cross cultural studies are actually quite robust and current tests are incredibly culture neutral.

Lastly, the achievement gap is one of the most studied issues in the social science literature and the 1 S.D. B/W difference has been confirmed across a host of different approaches to the problem.
11.28.2006 12:14am
A. Zarkov (mail):
Ricardo:

I think the sample sizes are sufficient to demonstrate that depression Sub-Saharan IQs is not solely the result of malnutrition. Moreover this data is consistent with many other data sets from all over the world. A good example comes from the Jewish Ethiopian migration to Israel in the 1980s. A sample of 250 fifteen-year olds was tested one year after migration 9 in 1989. Correcting for the Flynn effect, their mean IQ (according to Lynn) was 63. A second study in 1998 using 14-16 year olds who had been in Israel at least four years gave a mean IQ of 65.

"African "elites" work as accountants, business owners, managers, government bureaucrats, army officers, etc. These jobs require the same skills as anywhere else in the world."

I don't think you can necessarily say that African "elites" function the same or as well as they do in Europe or the United States. I'm sure even the qualifications differ. They even differ within a country. After all, taking the bar in Alabama is not nearly as hard as taking it in New York or California, and I suspect the quality of legal services is better in the latter places. It had better be, or why would anyone pay those sky-high legal fees for a New York lawyer?
11.28.2006 1:08am
Lev:

the result of malnutrition


It seems to me that IQ will depend to some extent on nutrition, especially of the mother during pregnancy and the young child.

Malnutrition is, of course, bad. But while marginal nutrition is better, it is not as good as adequate or good nutrition. And nutrition includes all the vitamins and minerals necessary for brain development.
11.28.2006 2:15am
professays (mail):
I believe all the US universities and colleges will be filled only by asian students and professors from the former USSR and Central Europe
11.28.2006 5:27am
Avatar (mail):
Also, keep in mind that having a genius IQ isn't necessarily helpful in most of the tasks you run into. (Boy, isn't my life a demonstration of that...) There's some qualitative difference, sure, but for a lot of things, you're just significantly faster/more accurate off the cuff. For an example, take writing a legal article; the genius is somewhat more likely to have an idea that breaks genuinely new ground, and less likely to wander down a dead end when doing the necessary research. But for the average article, a lawyer who is merely bright and well-motivated can make up for much of the difference in proverbial elbow grease. For the parts of the job which don't require you to be a genius (and that is to say, virtually every job in existence, because very very few people can count on getting a genius when they need one), being a genius is actually a detriment. You can do it more easily, but at the same time you'll get bored MUCH more easily.

On a related note, beyond a certain point, things like study skills cease to be positively correlated with intelligence and instead head in the other direction. There is nothing a genius needs study for (at a public high school, at least); the material your teachers are allowed to present to you will be well within your abilities to learn without exerting anything more than the most casual of effort. That's not saying that people who work hard and get excellent grades and excellent SAT scores aren't valuable additions to a university's student body - nothing wrong with that at all! - but don't kid yourself into thinking that those are also the most intelligent students. This is especially true in schools where a significant amount of the grading is completion-oriented to allow struggling students to pass...

Of course, all this also calls into question just how important a university education is, anyway. Every professor likes to think that their teaching is an invaluable asset for the students involved, and for some of them this is actually true. Occasionally you get the opportunity to take one for which is not the case down a peg - it's always hard on the ego when your highest-achieving student doesn't even bother to attend your lectures, heh.
11.28.2006 6:37pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
Let's be honest here. This is why we have a problem in America:

Asian student's parents after a low-test score: "You MUST work harder" or something of that nature, usually much more harsh.

Other minority parents and white liberals: "Your failure is not your fault. It is the result of inherent racism in the American system. That's why we need affirmative action now, and affirmative action forever."

The truth sucks, but we all know it. And don't act like I made it up, because I can point to a thousand examples, my favorite being that once I read that a standardized test was racially-biased because it talked about a mountain and most minority kids have never seen one. (See Diane Ravitch's book "The Language Police").

Call me a wild-eyed optimist, but I think that without the affirmative action crutch minorities will catch up to Asians rather quickly. Really, if I only had to study 1000 hours to get into Berkeley, why would I study 1001 or more? Human nature is what it is. Competition makes us better, excuses don't.
11.28.2006 6:53pm
Jo (mail):
"You are confusing IQ tests with tests like the LSAT which were specifically crafted to predict academic performance."

No, I'm not. Check your facts.
11.28.2006 7:54pm
Eli Rabett (www):
Ok Zarkov, I'm game interpret California 66010.2. for me to say something even close to what you are saying.

66010.2. The public elementary and secondary schools, the California Community Colleges, the California State University, the University of California, and independent institutions of higher education share goals designed to provide educational opportunity and success to the broadest possible range of our citizens, and shall provide the following:
(a) Access to education, and the opportunity for educational success, for all qualified Californians. Particular efforts should be made with regard to those who are historically and currently underrepresented in both their graduation rates from secondary institutions and in their attendance at California higher educational institutions.
(b) Quality teaching and programs of excellence for their students. This commitment to academic excellence shall provide all students the opportunity to address issues, including ethical issues, that are central to their full development as responsible citizens.
(c) Educational equity not only through a diverse and representative student body and faculty but also through educational environments in which each person, regardless of race, gender, age, disability, or economic circumstances, has a reasonable chance to fully develop his or her potential.
11.29.2006 12:06am
guest (mail):
>My armchair analysis is that it is very tough to imagine someone with an IQ of 75 functioning in the modern world.

I'm not sure if you've ben reading up on the issue, but life in the modern world is a very difficult struggle for many blacks.
11.29.2006 11:55am
A. Zarkov (mail):
Eli Rabett:

There is nothing in 66010.2 that says each and every UC California institution of higher learning has to admit students on a proportional basis. There is nothing to mandate that each and every UC graduating class "look like" California, meaning each and every race and ethnic group has pro rata representation. Note 66010.2(a) refers to "qualified" Californians. The rest of this section simply gives the usual California government platitudes about education. Lower IQ students have the California Community College system. The late bloomers have the opportunity to transfer, and a lot do exactly that. Taken as a whole, the entire California system of higher education, which includes the Community Colleges, probably does conform. It's just you shouldn't expect the UCB, the flagship school with the highest standards, not to have the some groups over represented. There are significant differences in IQ among the various groups and that's going to affect the mix of students.

I hope I understand your question, and have answered it.
11.29.2006 5:26pm