Page Title
Guest Column
Asian Americans, “the New Jews”? A Historical Perspective on “Diversity”
From The 80-20 Collective Leadership

After repeated failures at the Court, “racial balancing” proponents rephrased it into an ostensibly well-intentioned
“diversity” program, to be forcefully implemented through “racial preferences”.  After all, how can anyone be against

However, even an ardent supporter of “racial preferences” such as Kevin Carey found the current practice troubling:

“Elite colleges too often meet their diversity goals by enrolling minority students from privileged backgrounds while
offering few spots to poor students of any kind. Meanwhile, some appear to have dusted off their "don't admit too many
Jews" playbooks from the 1920s in order to limit Asian enrollment, AGAIN on the grounds of "diversity," since, to the
white people who run things in this country, people of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Cambodian, Thai, Malaysian,
Vietnamese, Filipino, and various other origins apparently all kind of seem the same.”

“Academically outstanding”, “economically successful”, “politically inactive”, “socially awkward”, “meek” “invisible” “not
well rounded”. Are we talking about Asian stereotype? No, these are the same descriptions heaped on the Jews 90
years ago to limit Jewish college enrollment. Indeed Asian Americans has become “the New Jews” [1].

A comparison between Jewish and Asian Americans in higher education offers some historical perspectives that the
high ideal of “diversity” was often used as a pretense to further not-so-lofty institutional objectives. From 1900-1950,
academically proficient Jewish students were considered a “problem” by the elite schools, and their population had to
be kept at 10% through the application of “geographic diversification” policy [2]. Today, through their political activism,
Jewish students are no longer classified as a minority, and are allowed to compete on a merit basis. Currently, 25% of
the students in some elite schools are Jewish [3] out of a total Jewish American population of 6 million. In contrast,
17% of the students in the elite schools are Asian [4], out of a total Asian American population of 15 million. Asian
Americans are a minority, whose percentage has been rather consistently managed to be below 20% through the
application of a “racial diversification” policy. The irony is that the higher presence of Jewish students does not appear
to diminish campus diversity.

The Jewish example is a good template for two reasons: (1) All people should be allowed to compete based on
broadly-defined individual merits, without harmful effect to “diversity”. (2) Group status could only be improved through
political activism. By taking the 80-20 EF survey and bringing the issue to the Supreme Court, we are writing history

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[1] “The Price of Admission”, by D. Golden (Three River Press, 2006), “the New Jews” are covered in Chapter 7.
[2] “The Chosen, the Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale and Princeton” by J. Karabel
(Mariner Books, 2006), “the Jewish Problem” are covered in Chapters 3 & 4.
[3], % of Jewish students in some Ivy League school are: Columbia 30%, Yale 27%, Harvard
25%, U Penn 25% Cornell 23%, and Brown 22%.
[4] “Do colleges Redline Asian-Americans” by Kara Miller, Boston Globe, Feb 8, 2010.