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Parenting版 - Smash the ‘Bamboo Ceiling’ of Racial Quotas - One Indian American says he overcame anti-Asian bias and got into med school by claiming he was black
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Smash the ‘Bamboo Ceiling’ of Racial Quotas
One Indian American says he overcame anti-Asian bias and got into med
school by claiming he was black.
By John Fund — April 5, 2015
A group of Asian-American students has filed suit against Harvard’s
admissions policy, charging that it seeks to limit the number of Asian
students much like quotas held down the number of Jewish students
until the 1920s. For example, one of the students Harvard rejected, an
unnamed child of Chinese immigrants, had perfect scores on three
college-admission tests, graduated first in his (or her) class, led
the tennis team, and raised money for National Public Radio.
Harvard officials respond that one in six of its students have an
Asian background, its admissions policy was singled out for praise in
a 1978 Supreme Court decision, and it rejects thousands of impressive
overachievers every year.
But the group bringing the lawsuit, Students for Fair Admissions, won
a powerful PR ally this week: Vijay Chokal-Ingam, an Indian American
who happens to be the brother of Fox comedy star Mindy Kaling,
revealed that he won acceptance to medical school by claiming to be
black. Frustrated at being rejected by medical schools in part because
of mediocre test scores and a 3.1 grade point average, Chokal-Ingam
shaved off his slick black hair in 2001, began using his middle name,
“Jojo,” and checked the “black” box on his applications. He soon won
interviews at Harvard and Columbia and a spot on waiting lists at the
University of Pennsylvania, Washington University, and Mt. Sinai. He
eventually went to Saint Louis University Medical School but dropped
out after two years. He then applied as an Asian American to UCLA’s
business school and graduated with an MBA. He now works in Los Angeles
as a résumé coach.
RELATED: To Improve Higher Education, Scale Back Federal Involvement
“I got into medical school because I said I was black,” Chokal-Ingam
writes at his blog Almost Black. “The funny thing is I’m not. . . . My
plan actually worked. Lucky for you, I never became a doctor.”
Chokal-Ingam admits it was wrong for him to lie but says he did so in
part because he was angry at the system of quotas that discriminated
against Asian-American students. “Affirmative-action racism is as
ingrained in our society as imperialism was in the time of Gandhi and
segregation was in the time of (Martin Luther) King,” he wrote on his
blog. “People who challenge affirmative action racism such as Abigail
Fisher, Justice Thomas, and Ward Connerly are the true heirs” to the
ideal of a color-blind society.
He isn’t opposed to giving people from disadvantaged backgrounds a leg
up when it comes to college admissions, but he argues that it was
wrong for someone of his financially privileged background to get into
medical school with mediocre grades.
“I disclosed that I grew up in one of the wealthiest towns in
Massachusetts, that my mother was a doctor, and that my father was an
architect,” he told the New York Post. “I was the campus rich kid,
let’s just put it on the table. And yet they considered me an
affirmative-action applicant.” He says affirmative action actually
works against the interests of its beneficiaries, because it “promotes
negative stereotypes about the competency of minority Americans by
making it seem like they need special treatment.”
Liberals active in the 1960s civil-rights movement such as Martin
Luther King called for a color-blind society, but today’s left-wingers
want to entrench quotas forever. Last year, the Democratic state
senate in California rammed through a ballot measure that would have
ended the state’s ban on racial preferences at public universities, a
ban put in place by voters in 1996. But Asian Americans mobilized
against any return to racial preferences and forced the Democratic
state assembly to shelve the idea. That effort was part of what
inspired Chokal-Ingam to write a book on his experience. It will be
called Almost Black.
Richard Kahlenberg, an education-policy analyst at the Century
Foundation, says there is indeed evidence that Harvard is substituting
race for poverty as a major determinant in its admissions policy.
“Harvard has as many students in the freshman class from families in
the top 1 percent by income nationally as from the bottom 50 percent,”
he told Fox News last year. “It could produce considerable racial and
ethnic diversity without resorting to racial preferences.”
Edward Blum, a civil-rights activist who has midwifed the complaint
against Harvard, says he believes the recent 2013 Supreme Court
decision in Fisher v. University of Texas provides valuable legal
ammunition for his point of view. “The Fisher opinion unambiguously
requires schools to implement race-neutral means to achieve student-
body diversity before turning to racial classifications and
preferences,” he told me in an interview last year. But at the three
most selective Ivy League schools, there is a clear anomaly: Asian
Americans were over 27 percent of applicants to those schools between
2008 and 2012 but represented only 17–20 percent of those admitted.
Blum believes that the discrepancy represents a “bamboo ceiling”
against Asian-American applicants.
The Harvard lawsuit will be fascinating to watch if it strips away the
veil behind which college-admission decisions are made. Even if the
case does not ultimately reach the Supreme Court, it will probably be
a powerful teaching tool for Americans of good will who want to
promote education opportunity for minorities but not at the expense of
other minorities. As Chief Justice Roberts declared a few years ago:
“The way to stop discrimination based on race is to stop
discriminating based on race.”
— John Fund is national-affairs correspondent for National Review
Online.
1 (共1页)
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