I have written a number of times about the recent research on the racial achievement gap and affirmative action by Princenton Professor Thomas Espenshade and various co-authors: here, here, here, here, and most recently here. He is also one of the new scholars writing about “diversity” that Peter Schmidt mentioned in an article I just discussed here.
Please read those posts for a more thorough discussion than I will provide here, but an un-nuanced (though not, I think, unfair) summary of Espenshade’s research on data from eight elite colleges is that he and his co-authors find a massive racial achievement gap, correspondingly massive racial preferences in admissions that benefit blacks and Hispanics and bar large numbers of Asians, combined with a commitment to “diversity” that causes them to refuse to recognize the discrimination against Asians for what it is and even to lament what they see as the imminent demise of the race preference regime.
For example, as I noted here, Espenshade and Alexandra Radford noted in a recent article that
[c]ompared to white applicants at selective private colleges and universities, black applicants receive an admission boost that is equivalent to 310 SAT points, measured on an all-other-things-equal basis. The boost for Hispanic candidates is equal on average to 130 SAT points. Asian applicants face a 140 point SAT disadvantage.
Thus, not surprisingly,
[d]oing away with racial preferences for underrepresented minority students would substantially reduce the number of such students at selective colleges.
And, by doing so, it would also substantially increase the number of Asian and Asian-American students at those selective colleges.
I bring all this up, again, because Prof. Espenshade steadfastly continues, either obstinately or obtusely, to acknowledge what his numbers, charts, graphs, and statistical analyses clearly reveal: that “affirmative action” as practiced by admissions officers at elite colleges results in massive discrimination against Asian-Americans. (I discussed an earlier example of this refusal here and here.) He professes, lamely, in a recent interview about his new book with the Princeton News Service that he can’t conclude that
because I’ve never actually sat in on an admission committee. But I’m convinced they don’t have an equation like this and say, “OK, if you are Hispanic, you get a certain number of points; if your SAT scores are in this category, you get a certain number of points,” right down the list.
In fact, his refusal to recognize the discrimination against Asians that his research clearly reveals is worse than lame; it is silly, as in:
People may read this and want to say, “Oh, because I’m Asian American, my SAT scores have been downgraded.” That is not really the way to interpret these data. Many times people will ask me, “Do your results prove that there is discrimination against Asian applicants?” And I say, “No, they don’t.” Even though in our data we have much information about the students and what they present in their application folders, most of what we have are quantifiable data. We don’t have the “softer” variables — the personal statements that the students wrote, their teacher recommendations, a full list of extracurricular activities. Because we don’t have access to all of the information that the admission office has access to, it is possible that the influence of one applicant characteristic or another might appear in a different light if we had the full range of materials.
If this passage means anything, it means that those Asians may look good on paper (grades, test scores, etc.) but for all Espenshade knows they may all share an inability to write admissions essays that can compete with those written by blacks and Hispanics and a similar inability to garner enthusiastic letters of recommendations from their teachers.
This is neither lame nor silly; it is both dumb and offensive.