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The Myth of American Meritocracy: Endnotes

Main article: The Myth of American Meritocracy 1 “Harvard Says 125 Students May Have Cheated on a Final Exam,” Richard Perez-Pena and Jess Bidgood, The New York Times, August 30, 2012: https://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/31/education/harvard-says-125-students-may-have-cheated-on-exam.html 2 By 2010, the top 1% of Americans possessed 35.4% of the national net wealth, while the bottom 95% held 36.9%. See Edward […]

Main article:
The Myth of American Meritocracy

1 “Harvard Says 125 Students May Have Cheated on a Final Exam,” Richard Perez-Pena and Jess Bidgood, The New York Times, August 30, 2012: https://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/31/education/harvard-says-125-students-may-have-cheated-on-exam.html

2 By 2010, the top 1% of Americans possessed 35.4% of the national net wealth, while the bottom 95% held 36.9%. See Edward N. Wolff, “The Asset Price Meltdown and the Wealth of the Middle Class,” New York University, August 26, 2012: https://appam.confex.com/appam/2012/webprogram/Paper2134.html.

3 See Ho (2009) pp. 11, 13, 40-69 passim, 256 for an extensive discussion of the college background and recruitment choices made by Wall Street firms in recent years. According to her “ethnography” of Wall Street, major financial firms recruit very heavily from Harvard and Princeton, somewhat less at the remaining Ivy League schools and a few others such as Stanford and MIT, and rarely anywhere else, partly because they believe admission to elite universities provide evidence of “smartness,” which Wall Street values above all else (p. 38).

The claim that attendance at an Ivy League or other elite university provides a substantial advantage over similarly talented individuals has been disputed by the recent research of Stacy Dale and Alan B. Krueger, but their findings are based on students who graduated college almost two decades ago, and probably do not capture the dramatic recent changes in the American economy and Wall Street practices since that time. See David Leonhardt, “Revisiting the Value of Elite Colleges,” The New York Times, February 21, 2011: https://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/21/revisiting-the-value-of-elite-colleges/.

4 Ezra Klein, “Wall Street Steps In When Ivy League Fails,” Washington Post, February 16, 2012: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/wall-street-steps-in-when-ivy-league-fails/2012/02/16/gIQAX2weIR_story.html

5 Austin Bramwell, “Top of the Class,” The American Conservative, March 13, 2012: https://theamericanconservative.com/articles/top-of-the-class/

6 As an example of these extreme efforts, see “NYC’s Kindergarten Wars,” The New York Post/PageSix Magazine, October 5, 2008: https://www.nypost.com/pagesixmag/issues/20081005/NYCs+Kindergarten+Wars

7 Jenny Anderson and Peter Applebome, “Exam Cheating on Long Island Hardly a Secret,” The New York Times, December 1, 2011: https://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/02/education/on-long-island-sat-cheating-was-hardly-a-secret.html

8 Golden (2006) pp. 44-48.

9 Ssu-yu Teng, “Chinese Influence on the Western Examination System,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Sept. 1943, pp. 267-312.

10 Karabel (2005) pp. 89-109.

11 Oren (1985) p. 62.

12 Karabel (2005) p. 126.

13 Karabel (2005) pp. 387-391.

14 Karabel (2005) p. 364

15 Karabel (2005) pp. 93, 194-195, 486-499.

16 Karabel (2005) pp. 524-525.

17 Admittedly, surveys show that the vast majority of Asian-Americans do not believe their racial background hurts their chances of college admission, but such factors would obviously apply primarily only at the elite, highly selective universities, which only a small fraction of Asians seek to attend. See “The Rise of Asian Americans,” Pew Research Center, June 19, 2012: https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2012/06/19/the-rise-of-asian-americans/.

18 Jesse Washington, “Some Asians’ College Strategy: Don’t Check ‘Asian,’” The Associated Press, December 3, 1011:
https://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/education/story/2011-12-03/asian-students-college-applications/51620236/1. See also Jon Marcus, “Competitive Disadvantage,” The Boston Globe, April 17, 2011: https://www.boston.com/news/education/higher/articles/2011/04/17/high_achieving_asian
_americans_are_being_shut_out_of_top_schools/ and Scott Jaschik, “Is It Bias? Is It Legal?,” Inside Higher Ed, February 3, 2012: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/02/03/federal-probe-raises-new-questions-discrimination-against-asian-american-applicants.

19 Espanshade (2009) p. 92-93.

20 Golden (2006) p. 200.

21 The elite university enrollment statistics for Asians and other racial and ethnic groups derived from the NCES data are provided in Appendix C. All the Asian figures provided by the NCES exclude “mixed race” individuals, who were previously included in the “Race Unknown” category but since 2009 have been provided separately.

22 Hsia (1988) pp. 93-148, Takagi (1992/1998).

23 For example, see Oren (1985) pp. 320-322 and Synnott (1979/2010) pp. 112,195.

24 A portion of this decline in relative Asian enrollment may be apparent rather than real. As noted earlier, some Asian applicants, especially those of mixed parentage and without an identifying Asian name, may attempt to conceal their non-white ancestry in hopes of enhancing their likelihood of admission. But such a situation can hardly be used to justify Ivy League policy, and since the numbers are unknown, we must generally confine our analysis to the officially reported statistics.

25 It should be noted that some former Ivy League admissions officers strongly deny such charges of anti-Asian bias. For example, Chuck Hughes, who spent five years as a Harvard Senior Admissions Officer, claims in his 2003 book that Asian American applicants—just like blacks, Hispanics, American Indians, and other non-whites—actually receive a beneficial “tip” in evaluating their application packages. It should also be noted that Hughes strongly emphasizes his own enthusiastic participation in varsity sports as a Harvard undergraduate, while avoiding mention of any academic interests. See Hughes (2003) pp. 86, 145.

26 Hsia (1988) pp. 98-99; Karabel (2005) p. 500.

27 Indeed, Dean L. Fred Jewett of Harvard suggested in 1985 that among Asians “family pressure makes more marginal students apply” but provided no evidence for this claim, which seems contradicted by the objective evidence. See Hsia (1988) p. 97.

28 College Confidential, September 16, 2011:

29 One apparent difficulty in such Asian surname analysis might be the case of mixed-race individuals with Asian names, but this difficulty is quite insignificant. First, mixed-race Asians are only about 15% of the total Asian population, and are excluded from our Asian statistics for college enrollments. Meanwhile, until quite recently, the overwhelming majority of marriages between Asians and non-Asians involved an Asian wife, hence the last names of any children would tend not to be Asian and would be excluded from our list analysis. Thus, both our college enrollment figures and our academic performance estimates tend to exclude part-Asians and should be fully consistent.

30 The 2000 Census lists 310,125 Nguyens, or about 1 in 3.6 of the total Vietnamese population of 1,122,528. Meanwhile, there were 194,067 Kims, representing 1 in 5.5 of the 1,076,872 Koreans.

31 Weyl (1987) pp. 26-27.

32 Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom, America in Black and White (1997) pp. 398-400 provides some racial statistics on the past distribution of top SAT scores which would strongly support this conclusion. In 1981, Asians were just 2% of the college-age population but accounted for over 4% of students with Verbal scores of 700 or above and 11% of those with Math scores of 750 or above. By 1995, college-age Asians were still just 3% of the total, but produced over 14% of those high Verbal scores and a remarkable 28% of the high Math scores. Since Asian-Americans have now increased to roughly 5% of students of college age and have also become much more affluent, we would expect such figures to be far higher today.

33 Although the primary measure of human “fluid intelligence”—so-called “g”—is measured consistently across different groups, for reasons not entirely clear the three principal subcomponents of Verbal, Mathematical, and Visuospatial abilities sometimes vary substantially across racial or ethnic lines. For example, East Asians tend to be especially strong in Visuospatial ability but much less so in Verbal ability, Jews are extremely strong in Verbal but mediocre in Visuospatial skills, while most white Europeans tend to be intermediate in both these different categories. See Vernon (1982) pp. 20-21, 160-163, 178-180, 272-277.

34 Suein Hwang, “The New White Flight,” The Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2005: https://online.wsj.com/article/SB113236377590902105-search.html.

35 At his 1992 Milwaukee trial, Jeffrey Dahmer freely admitted torturing, killing, and cannibalizing 17 young men, but vigorously denied he had selected his mostly black victims out of any racial bias. In a more typical case, after black Connecticut truck driver Omar Thornton massacred five of his white co-workers, the media focused considerable attention on whether they had been innocent victims or “racists” as Thornton had alleged.

36 In recent years, the Reading and Writing SAT scores for entering freshmen at all four universities have been almost identical, while the Math SAT scores at Caltech have been significantly higher, as have been the percentages of National Merit Scholars. See the NCES website: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/ and Steve Hsu, “Elite Universities and Human Capital Mongering,” October 10, 2010: https://infoproc.blogspot.com/2010/10/elite-universities-and-human-capital.html.

37 Indeed, the 1988 official register of Harvard, intended for prospective applicants, actually described the Harvard admissions process as “complex, subjective, and sometimes difficult to comprehend.” See Takagi (1992/1998) p. 63.

38 As Asian applications to the University of California system grew rapidly during the 1980s, there were major efforts to replace a simple and objective meritocratic admissions system with a “holistic” and opaque system, closer to that of the Ivies, which had the initial effect of sharply reducing Asian admissions. See Hsia (1988) pp. 106-119, Takagi (1992/1998). However, political resistance by Asian groups in California and especially the subsequent passage of Proposition 209 eventually overcame these policies.

39 Earlier this month, a lengthy New York Times article on Asian admissions issues written by the newspaper’s former Education Editor argued that the use of objective admissions standards had caused the Berkeley and UCLA campuses to become more than half Asian, and suggested that this had led to adverse social and educational consequences. However, this claim contains serious factual errors, given that the 2011 Asian undergraduate enrollments were just 37% and 34%  respectively, and had never come close to half at any point in history. See Ethan Bronner, “Asian-Americans in the Argument,” The New York Times, November 4, 2012: https://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/04/education/edlife/affirmative-action-a-complicated-issue-for-asian-americans.html.

40 Asians are currently 72% of the students at Stuyvesant and 63% at Bronx Science, while the latter school was just 20% Asian in 1986. See Kyle Spencer, “For Asians, School Tests Are Vital Steppingstones,” The New York Times, October 28, 2012: https://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/27/education/a-grueling-admissions-test-highlights-a-racial-divide.html and Deborah Anderluh, “High School for Gifted Kids May Open in L.A.,” The Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, September 28, 1986: https://www.ronunz.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/HeraldExaminer-1986-SAS1.jpg.

41 In the mid-1980s, charges that anti-Asian discrimination in the UC system were similar to the old “Jewish quotas” of the Ivy League quickly provoked television network coverage. See Takagi (1992/1998) pp. 50-51.

42 Media coverage played a huge role in influencing the growth and outcome of the battle over the admissions of Asians to the UC system. See Takagi (1992/1998) pp.49-51, 74-77, 100-103.

43 Asian-Americans had 2010 median annual household income of $66,000, about 22% higher than the white figure and were almost 60% more likely to have graduated from college, in each case ranking the highest of any racial group. See “The Rise of Asian Americans,” Pew Research Center, June 19, 2012: https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2012/06/19/the-rise-of-asian-americans/.

44 In defending Harvard against 1980s accusations of anti-Asian discrimination in admissions, Dean Fred Jewett made exactly this point regarding the impact of Asian geographical concentration. See Takagi (1992/1998) p. 69.

45 These were exactly the arguments made by a relatively recent Harvard graduate who had served as Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Independent and also reported on admissions practices. See Matthew Yglesias, “Harvard and Princeton Clearly Discriminate Against Asian Applicants; the Question Is Whether It’s Illegal,” Slate.com, February 14, 2012: https://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2012/02/14/harvard_and_princeton_clearly_

46 Daniel Golden, “Harvard Targeted in U.S. Asian-American Discrimination Probe, Bloomberg News, February 2, 2012: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-02/harvard-targeted-in-u-s-asian-american-discrimination-probe.html; Daniel E. Slotnik, “Do Asian-Americans Face Bias in Admissions at Elite Colleges?,” The New York Times, February 8, 2012: https://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/08/do-asian-americans-face-bias-in-admissions-at-elite-colleges/; Editorial, “A Ludicrous Lawsuit,” The Harvard Crimson, February 8, 2012: https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2012/2/8/lawsuit-admissions-fair/.

47 Dana Vachon, “The Code of the Winklevii,” Vanity Fair, December 2011: https://www.vanityfair.com/business/features/2011/12/winklevosses-201112.

48 For decades, comparing and contrasting Asian-Americans with Jews has been a commonplace in public policy analysis, given that both groups are small but high-performing minorities in American society. See, for example, “The Triumph of Asian-Americans” and “Asians and Jews,” David A. Bell, The New Republic, July 15-22, 1985 and Michael Barone, The New Americans (2001) pp. 193-274. Indeed, one-third of Barone’s book consists of the section entitled “Jews and Asians.” Most recently, the entire front page of the Wall Street Journal Weekly Review section was devoted to exactly this topic; see Lee Siegel, “Rise of the Tiger Nation,” Wall Street Journal, October 27-28, 2012: https://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204076204578076613986930932.html.

49 Jewish enrollment estimates for elite universities are summarized in Appendix D.

50 Karabel (2005) p. 536.

51 Since the overwhelming majority of Harvard’s foreign students are drawn from non-white countries or countries with negligible Jewish populations, it is likely that nearly all the Jewish students reported by Hillel are American. However, 6.2% of Harvard undergraduates refused to report their race in 2011, and many of these, possibly a majority, may actually be white. This “Race Unknown” category has typically ranged between 5% and 15% of Harvard undergraduates over the last couple of decades, with roughly similar numbers at most other Ivy League schools.

52 For all these Jewish demographic estimates, see Appendix B.

53 The combined undergraduate enrollment of the eight Ivy League universities includes roughly 12,000 Jews, 9,000 Asians, and 13,000 non-Jewish whites, as well as 5,000 students whose racial background is unknown. The population of college-age Americans consists of roughly 10 million whites, including 300,000 Jews, and 800,000 Asians.

54 Steve Sailer, “National Merit Semifinalists by School and Name,” September 18, 2010: https://isteve.blogspot.com/2010/09/national-merit-semifinalists-by-school.html; “The Far East Rises in the West,” Takimag.com, February 29, 2012: https://takimag.com/article/the_far_east_rises_in_the_west_steve_sailer/print; “More Views on California Surnames of Semifinalists,” February 29, 2012: https://isteve.blogspot.com/2012/02/more-views-on-california-sunrnames-of.html. Obviously such a Jewish surname analysis would miss the children of intermarried families in which the husband was non-Jewish, hence only count half the half-Jews. However, any such errors introduced are probably small relative to the broader uncertainty in defining and estimating total Jewish numbers, the ambiguity in identifying Jewish names, and the likely estimation errors in the Jewish college enrollment statistics.

55 Fernanda Santos, “To Be Black at Stuyvesant High,” The New York Times, February 25, 2012: https://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/26/education/black-at-stuyvesant-high-one-girls-experience.html. In 2012, Asians were 72.5% of Stuyvesant students, with all whites at just 24%, of whom an unspecified fraction were Jewish. Charles Murray has noted that in 1954, Jewish children comprised 24/28 or 85% of the highest-scoring students in NYC on a citywide IQ test, although at that point Jews were probably a little less than 30% of the city’s total white population, so a similar degree of over-representation at the local elite academic schools seems plausible. See Charles Murray, “Jewish Genius,” Commentary, April 2007.

56 Weyl (1989) p. 26-27.

57 Vernon (1982) 160-162, 178-179, 273; Richard Lynn, “The Intelligence of American Jews,” Personality and Individual Differences, January 2004; Margaret E. Backman, “Patterns of Mental Abilities: Ethnic, Socioeconomic, and Sex Differences,” American Educational Research Journal, Winter 1972.

58 Evidence that these low Jewish enrollments are due to meritocratic admissions factors rather than merely lack of possible applicants may be seen if we compare different UC campuses. Berkeley and UCLA are the most selective, and at those Jewish enrollment averages about 9.5% or about one-quarter the Asian total; meanwhile, Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara are much less selective, and the Jewish percentages are nearly twice as high and also close to the local Asian figures. Jewish enrollments are also very substantial at the lower-tier California State University system, with numbers being much higher both at CS Northridge than nearby UCLA and at San Diego State compared to UCSD. Large numbers of Jewish students also attend the schools in the lowest-tier community college system as well, such as Pierce College in the San Fernando Valley. If these Jewish students had had higher academic performance, most would almost certainly have selected the much more prestigious University of California campuses.

59 Kimball A. Milton and Jagdish Mehra, Climbing the Mountain: The Scientific Biography of Julian Schwinger, 2003, p. 218.

60 Weyl (1989) p. 26-27 estimates Jews as having a “performance coefficient” of 339 on the 1987 NMS semifinalist list. Since Jews were then approximately 2.4% of the American population, they would have been roughly 8.1% of the 1987 NMS semifinalists.

61 David W. Murray, “The War Against Testing,” Commentary, September 1998.

62 California contains a large fraction of America’s mainland Japanese-Americans, who represent approximately 1.1% of the state’s population, while roughly 0.8% of the state’s NMS semifinalists have Japanese surnames. However, the older mean age of this group implies that it probably represents a relatively reduced fraction of the high school population.

63 Weyl (1966) pp. 53-54, 83-84.

64 Most recently, Judge Richard Posner, one of America’s most highly regarded jurists, made such a claim that Jews have a mean IQ of 115 on his blog, together with an even more absurd claim that the same was also true for Asian-Americans. See “Rating Teachers,” The Becker-Posner Blog, September 23, 2012, https://www.becker-posner-blog.com/2012/09/rating-teachersposner.html.

65 Lynn (2011) pp. 274-278.

66 Ron Unz, “Race, IQ, and Wealth,” The American Conservative, August 2012: https://theamericanconservative.com/articles/race-iq-and-wealth/.

67 For example, the GSS indicates that just 3% of Jews live in rural areas, a tenth of the overall white rate, while Jews are over twice as likely to live in major cities or suburbs than the general white population.

68 Helmuth Nyborg, “The Intelligence-Religiosity Nexus: A Representative Study of White Adolescent Americans,”
Intelligence (2009) pp. 81-93.

69 See Appendix A.

70 Sam Roberts, “A Village With the Numbers, Not the Image, of the Poorest Place,” The New York Times, April 20, 2011:

71 See Appendix G.

72 Ron Unz, “Some Minorities Are More Minor Than Others,” The Wall Street Journal, November 16, 1998: https://www.ronunz.org/1998/11/16/some-minorities-are-more-minor-than-others/.

73 Espenshade (2009) p. 113.

74 See https://www.onlinecolleges.net/2012/02/21/the-10-most-generous-college-donations-of-all-time/.

75 Hughes (2003) p. 31. In 2003, roughly 450 students with perfect SAT scores of 1600 applied to Harvard, and fewer than 200 were accepted. For the 2000 rates, see Steinberg (2002) p. 220, and for the case of Princeton, see Kim Clark, “Do Elite Private Colleges Discriminate Against Asian Students?,” US News & World Report, October 7, 2009: https://www.usnews.com/education/articles/2009/10/07/do-elite-private-colleges-discriminate-against-asian-students.

76 William R. Fitzsimmons, “Guidance Office: Answers From Harvard’s Dean, Part 2,” The New York Times, September 11, 2009: https://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/11/harvarddean-part2/

77 Hughes (2003) 49, 57-58.

78 Karabel (2005) pp. 292, 311.

79 Privacy considerations prevent the public release of information on honors degrees awarded to graduates, but the top 10% of each Harvard class is inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, the national honors society, and the university’s PBK rosters of the last fifty years are available on the Internet: https://isites.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=k19082&pageid=icb.page189954. Thirty or forty years ago, Jewish names were very common on the PBK lists, but more recently they have dropped to fairly low levels. It appears that Harvard’s non-Jewish whites are now perhaps five times as likely as their Jewish classmates to achieve such high academic performance, with Asian students doing nearly as well. See Appendix G.

In recent years, Jewish conservatives have often been in the forefront of accusations that ethnic favoritism leads elite academic institutions to unfairly admit large numbers of blacks and Hispanics, who subsequently underperform once on campus. But perhaps such critics should consider looking into a mirror.

80 Karabel (2005) p. 667n95.

81 Harvard’s most recent presidents have been Neil Rudenstine (1991-2001), Larry Summers (2001-2006), and Drew Faust (2007-present); the first two were of Jewish ancestry, while the last has been married to Charles E. Rosenberg since 1980. Richard Levin has served as president of Yale since 1993, as did Harold Shapiro at Princeton (1988-2001), while the current presidents of Penn and Cornell are Amy Gutmann (2004-present), and David Skorton (2006-present) respectively, all of Jewish origins, as is Yale’s newly named incoming president Peter Salovey. In addition, former NYC Mayor Ed Koch identified Columbia President Lee Bollinger (2002-present) as being of Jewish ancestry in an angry column regarding Iran, but I have been unable to independently verify that claim. See Ed Koch, “Columbia Prez Should Have Stood Up for America, Too,” Jewish World Review, September 26, 2007.

82 Princeton’s last seven provosts have been Neil Rudenstine (1977-1987), Paul Benacerraf (1988-1991), Hugo Sonnenschein (1991-1993), Stephen Goldfeld (1993-1995), Jeremiah Ostriker (1995-2001), Amy Guttmann (2001-2004), and Christopher Eisgruber (2004-present), and all were of Jewish ancestry. Four of Harvard’s last five provosts have had similar ethnicity, as well as three of three at Brown and two of five at Yale, including in each case the current officeholder.

83 Fox Butterfield, “Harvard’s ‘Core’ Dean Glances Back,” The New York Times, June 2, 1984.

84 See Appendix D. It is also curious that the weighty 1998 defense of preferential ethnic admissions policies at elite institutions written by former Harvard President Derek Bok and former Princeton President William G. Bowen contains no mention whatsoever of the widespread claims of anti-Asian discrimination at their own institutions, and does not even include a single reference to “Jews” in their very detailed index. See Bowen (1998).

85 Three of Caltech’s most recent six presidents have been Harold Brown (1969-1977), Marvin Goldberger (1978-1987), and David Baltimore (1997-2006), all of Jewish ancestry. Two of MIT’s most recent five presidents have been Jerome Wiesner (1971–1980) and Leo Reif (2012–present), who have the same ethnic background.

86 Espenshade (2009) pp. 92-93.

87 Espenshade (2009) p. 126.

88 Steinberg (2002/2012) pp. 124-136, 219-220.

89 Steinberg (2002/2012) pp. 27-38, 204-210, 243-252.

90 Steinberg (2002/2012) pp. 38-47, 173-195, 256-257.

91 Steinberg (2002/2012) pp. 258-261, 281-282, 298-299.

92 For example, Harvard President Derek Bok once denigrated the compensatory rational for affirmative action, instead praising “diversity” as “the hallmark” and the “core” of a university experience. As a positive instance of such “diversity,” he cited the benefits of enrolling a friend of his who had served as a captain of the women’s track team, and came from a background wealthy enough that she celebrated her birthday with a trip to Italy. See Kahlenberg (1996) p. 29.

93 See Howard Kurtz, “College Faculties A Most Liberal Lot, Study Finds,” The Washington Post, March 29, 2005: https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A8427-2005Mar28.html; Emily Esfahani Smith, “Survey Shocker: Liberal profs admit they’d discriminate against conservatives in hiring, advancement,” The Washington Times, August 1, 2012: https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/aug/1/liberal-majority-on-campus-yes-were-biased/; Eric Alterman, “Think Again: Jews Are Still Liberal,” The Center for American Progress, April 19, 2012: https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/media/news/2012/04/19/11420/think-again-jews-are-still-liberal/.

94 Steinberg (2002/2012) p. 9.

95 Steinberg (2002/2012) pp. 181-182.

96 Golden (2006) p. 60.

97 Steinberg (2002/2012) pp. 282-284.

98 Steinberg (2002/2012) pp. xiii, 130-131.

99 See Appendix D.

100 Steinberg (2002/2012) pp. 59-63, 265-266.

101 Hughes (2003) p. 86, 202.

102 Hernandez (1997) pp. 1-5. She suggests that the Harvard is the only Ivy League university in which a majority of the Admissions Officers tend to have an Ivy League background.

103 Steinberg (2002) p. 131, 177-178.

104 Joseph Carroll, “Public Overestimates U.S. Black and Hispanic Populations,” Gallup News Service, June 4, 2001.

105 Razib Khan, “How Many Minorities Are There in the USA?,” Discover Magazine/GNXP Blog, January 7, 2012: https://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2012/01/how-many-minorities-are-there-in-the-usa/.

106 Grey Matter Research Consulting, September 13, 2012

107 Dean Lawrence R. Velvel of the Masschusetts School of Law interviewing Prof. Jerome Karabel on “Books of Our Time,” a public affairs show. The remarks described appear in the last nine minutes of the second hour segment. Hour One: https://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8911761293819497494; Hour Two: https://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4805892219974282.

108 “Sharp Drop in Jewish Enrollment at Princeton U. Stirs Concern,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 7, 1999; Ben Gose, “Princeton Tries to Explain a Drop in Jewish Enrollment,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 14, 1999; Caroline C. Pam, “Enrollment of Jews at Princeton Drops by 40% in 15 Years,” The New York Observer, May 31, 1999; Karen W. Arenson, “Princeton Puzzle: Where Have Jewish Students Gone?,” The New York Times, June 2, 1999. It should be noted that Princeton’s president at the time was Harold Shapiro, of Jewish ancestry, and just a few years earlier, the university had opened a $4.5 million Center for Jewish Life. See Synnott (1979/2010) p. xxvi-xxvii.

109 See William Lind, “The Origins of Political Correctness,” February 5, 2000, Accuracy in Academia: https://www.academia.org/the-origins-of-political-correctness/. Nearly all the figures mentioned were of Jewish origins.

110 As discussed earlier, the recent accusations of Harvard racial discrimination from a rejected Asian applicant were denounced as “ludicrous” and “surreal” by the student editors of the Harvard Crimson, who emphasized the tremendous importance of affirmative action policies in maintaining student ethnic “diversity” at elite colleges and pointed out that Asians were anyway already over-represented by 200% relative to their portion of the American population. It so happens that the two top names on the Crimson masthead both came from an ethnic group over-represented at Harvard by nearly 1300%.

111 For example, Bowen (1998) p. 37-39 attempts to compare the academic strength of black students admitted under affirmative action policies with the bottom decile of admitted white students, as a proxy for those whites rejected under affirmative action, and notes that the gap is smaller than often believed. The authors, former presidents of Harvard and Princeton, also emphasize that the crucial factor is to ensure that all admitted are above a high academic threshold and able to reasonably perform the work in question (p. 23). One obvious problem with this analysis is that if elite universities admit many under-qualified white students based on favoritism or corruption, these would constitute the bottom decile in question, and the comparison made would merely highlight this fact.

112 Karabel (2005) p. 292.

113 Klitgaard (1985) pp. 23-30.

114 Hughes (2003) pp. 15, 49, 56. Also, in 1990 Harvard officials told federal investigators that 80-90% of applicants could probably do the academic work and 50-60% could do superb work. See Takagi (1992/1998) p. 194.

115 Lemann (1999) pp. 206-207.

116 Examples of the extreme effort students take in building their resumes for elite college admissions purposes are discussed throughout Newport (2010) and Harvard Crimson Editors (2005).

117 See for example Austin Bramwell, “Top of the Class,” The American Conservative, March 13, 2012: https://theamericanconservative.com/articles/top-of-the-class/.

118 Quoted in Heather Higgins, “Remembering James Q. Wilson,” US News and World Report, March 5, 2012: https://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2012/03/05/remembering-james-q-wilson.

119 The quota provisions of the 1924 Immigration Act were based on the national origins of the existing American population and therefore required a detailed analysis of existing ethnicities, and the totals for 1920 are presented in Madison Grant, Conquest of a Continent (1933) pp. 278-280. Around that time, well over one-third of all Americans were of British ancestry, 80 percent were Protestant, and 85% of whites had origins in Northwestern Europe.

120 Quoted in Kahlenberg (1996) p. 115.


Primary Bibliography

The Shape of the River (1998) William G. Bowen and Derek Bok

Equity and Excellence in American Higher Education (2005) William G. Bowen, Martin A. Kurzweil, and Eugene M. Tobin

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (2011) Amy Chua

No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal (2009) Thomas J. Espenshade and Alexandria Walton Radford

The Price of Admission (2006) Daniel Golden

Twilight of the Elites (2012) Christopher Hayes

A Is For Admission (1997) Michele A. Hernandez

Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street (2009)
Karen Ho

Asian Americans in Higher Education and at Work (1988) Jayjia Hsia

What It Really Takes to Get into the Ivy League (2003) Chuck Hughes

The Chosen (2005) Jerome Karabel

Choosing Elites (1985) Robert Klitgaard

The Big Test (1999) Nicholas Lemann

The Chosen People: A Study of Jewish Intelligence and Achievement (2011) Richard Lynn

How to Be a High School Superstar (2010) Cal Newport

Joining the Club: A History of Jews and Yale (1985) Dan A. Oren

How They Got Into Harvard (2005) The Harvard Crimson

The Gatekeepers (2002/2012) Jacques Steinberg

The Half-Opened Door (1979/2010) Marcia Graham Synnott

The Retreat from Race (1992/1998) Dana Y. Takagi

The Abilities and Achievements of Orientals in North America (1982) Philip E. Vernon

The Creative Elite in America (1966) Nathaniel Weyl

The Geography of American Achievement (1989) Nathaniel Weyl



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