Is it time for Asian Americans and Latino Americans to ask to be considered “white”? (a)

This is the next article in the series “Is it time for Asian Americans and Latino Americans to ask to be considered “white.” Please also read Razib’s  Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act on Affirmative Action.

This panel brought up the issue of affirmative action benefiting caucasians at the expense of people of Asian heritage. According to a 2004 analysis of 1990s data Asians on average needed 140 points more on the SAT (out of 1600) than caucasians all else being equal to have the same probability of admission to elite universities.

Do any readers support race base affirmative action that benefits caucasians at the expense of people of Asian ancestry? If so, can you please share why? I have rarely met Asians who give a strong intellectual case for race based  affirmative action that benefits caucasians at the expense of people of Asian ancestry other than the following arguments:

  • We don’t want to be personally called fascist, nazi, a supporter of the patriarchy, racist, bigoted, prejudiced, imperialist, colonialist, oppressor, hegemonic, exploiter, white supremacist (not joking, Asians are frequently called white supremacist . . . I don’t understand why) etc.
  • We don’t want Asians as a group being called fascist, nazi, supporter of the patriarchy, racist, bigoted, prejudiced, imperialist, colonialist, oppressor, hegemonic, exploiter, white supremacist etc.
  • We want to reduce the “evil eye” or jealousy towards Asians
  • We are guilty because of Asian privilege and Asian oppression of blacks and poor people (never met Asians over 22 who say this, but many K-12 rich Asians children believe this now)
  • This is our punishment because Asians are very fascist, nazi, supportive of the patriarchy, racist, bigoted, prejudiced, imperialist, colonialist, oppressive, hegemonic, exploitative, white supremacist etc. (never met Asians over 22 who say this, but many K-12 rich Asians children believe this now)
  • Xenophobic caucasians might attack us if we don’t support affirmative action.
  • Blacks might attack us if we don’t support affirmative action.


In the above discussion Asian Americans seemed afraid to share their actual views. Why are Asian Americans so scared?

To repeat, please share any other reasons you might have for supporting race based affirmative action that discriminates against Asians.

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18 thoughts on “Is it time for Asian Americans and Latino Americans to ask to be considered “white”? (a)”

  1. What is the purpose of lumping people together using immutable characteristics like skin color? To identify winners in liberal spoils system that they developed to combat the harsh reality that life does not produce equality in outcomes for all people. Liberals focus on taking money from the successful to give to the unsuccessful to make life “fair” ignoring the obvious fact that the one group of people who make a financial killing implementing “fairness” by fiat are liberal politicians.
    But the price of being on the democratic plantation is obedience. If a Hispanic man shoots a black teen age thug who has attacked him…he’s white. If those uppity Asians want to get into Harvard on merit alone? they’re now white too. And being a white man is bad, Hollywood, CNN and Hillary Clinton say so and they are like, you know famous?

    You have to understand the reason a young black man, son of a professional athlete and raised inside the cocoon that surrounds the richest .005% of the humans in history, deserves to go to Harvard with a hard earned 950 on his SAT’s while a young son of Chinese immigrants who worked in his parents restaurant since he was old enough to walk while earning a 4.0 gpa and a 1600 SAT’s doesn’t is because of slavery duh! Can’t you see how fair that is?

  2. Some degree of over- or under-representation is natural, but too much is unhealthy for a society. Without affirmative action, white people are represented more or less in direct proportion to their share of the population in the UC system. So when 40% of the student body is Asian at elite UCs in a state that’s only 15% Asian, that means massive under-representation of Blacks and Latinos at those universities. To put it another way, if strict racial quotas were put in place in the UC system, there would be fewer Asians, more Blacks and Latinos, and the same number of white people.

    Personally, I’d like to see affirmative action based on region and income bracket, with soft caps on the quotas. i.e. overachieving groups can exceed their region/income quota by up to 50% (the exact number would need tweaking though). That would strike a balance between making elite universities more representative, and trying not to distort the incoming talent pool too much.

    1. Caltech and the UC system do not discriminate on the basis of race and only provide affirmative action based on socio-economics.

      UC Berkeley is 21.3% caucasian and 14.6% American Latino [Note that with foreign Latino students the percentage is considerably higher.]
      UCLA is 26.3% caucasian and 21.3% American Latino [Note that with foreign Latino students the percentage is considerably higher.]
      Caltech is 27% caucasian and 18% under representative minority [likely almost all Latinos]

      When race based affirmative action was banned, caucasian enrollment at all three institutions plummeted. As the panelists above discussed, likely caucasian enrollment would fall if race based affirmative action were banned. Of course given the large caucasian underclass, caucasians would considerably benefit from socio-economic affirmative action.

      All three campuses have a large number of out of state students who pay full tuition [California residents get a massive tuition break at UCs]. Therefore they should be compared to the demographics of America as a whole.

      Latinos are seeing rapidly improving academic results and converging with caucasians. Latinos don’t need and generally don’t want race based affirmative action. Asians continue to break away and academically outperform caucasians by ever widening margins. Blacks in the US are continuing to see declining academic performance. I suspect that if the 8% of American blacks who are first or second generation immigrants were excluded, academic performance would be declining even faster.

      Why do you think that African ancestry academic performance is falling further and further behind Latinos, caucasians and Asians in North America? Why is Saharan African ancestry academic performance much lower than Latino/caucasian/Asian/Arab academic performance across Africa, Latin America, Asia, Europe, Australasia, Arabia and North America? What do you think our species can and should do about it?

      Fraxinicus, would you agree that every country should ban all race based affirmative action except for people of African ancestry? And that too should be banned 50 years from now? This is my position.

      There is a very long article on academic performance that is currently being edited and hopefully will be posted soon. It includes a lot of statistics.

      Can I ask you a broader philosophical point? What is wrong with a merit based system based on capacity and competence? Why is it wrong for one group to sharply outperform general society? Do we not share a common soul and common heart? Do we not celebrate the success of others? Do you not benefit from the success of others?

      For example, Indians are 2% of South Africa’s population. Blacks are 80.4% of South Africa’s population. Yet there are about 1 1/2 times as many Indian millionaires as black millionaires. Why is this so? Is this a bad thing? If so why? What can be done about it?

  3. It is my understanding that affirmative action exists to help the advancement of historically disadvantaged groups. In the US, African-Americans went through the experience of slavery and still face structural racism. Asian-Americans did not face this historical experience. For one thing, we were not brought to the country against our will. Slavery is America’s “original sin” and it seems right that some special consideration is granted those who were its victims.

    Race shouldn’t be the only factor used in college admissions but I am OK with it being used as one among a number of factors (socio-economic background should be another factor). Diversity in and of itself is a good thing.

    The problem with a purely “merit” based system is that it ends up reproducing hierarchies of privilege. Wealthy suburban parents can afford for their children to participate in SAT tutoring, college application coaching etc. These opportunities are not available to minority groups in the inner-city. This is inherently unfair, unless one believes that the wealthy kids are just smarter than the inner-city kids. Some system of redressing this is necessary.

    1. Kabir,

      I have issues with how affirmative action is implemented. It was meant to be for Native Americans and African Americans, i.e.. a descendant of slaves in THE US.

      As implemented now those who gain are Carribean (eg Colin Powell), African (eg Obama) and Latino/Hispanic immigrants. The immigrants ancestors may have been slaves in their home countries. However, their is no necessity for the US to right the wrongs in other countries. The first and formost is to right the wrongs that happened in the US.

      Elizabeth Warren; Did she get promoted at Havard as a diversity hire with a “minority background,”??

      I recall going to a Turner Fellowship (a minority program at Stony Brook) barbecue in 1989. Most of them looked very Caucasian to me. More so than the 2017 photograph below. Seems like they might have been self reported “minorities” without documentary proof, much like Elizabeth Warren

      1. There may well be problems with how affirmative action is implemented but in principle I think it is a necessary policy.

      2. Finally some sanity! Sbarrkum you’ve hit it on the nail. I have no problems against latinos/hispanics but why do they get special privileges over the rest of us when they are immigrants as well! They are european identifying/origin immigrants, they look to Spain (hello spanish is their language) and much as Americans and Canadians look to England. I think it has been the greatest con game where a obviously white/european hispanic/latino immigrant gets a pass on all the white guilt and can get affirmative action over a obviously non-white asian immigrant.

    2. The most bullshit thing is the legacy admissions, i dont know if other commonwealth/European colleges have it or not.

      1. Its a private university thing, some social and cultural continuity seems reasonable. Institutions ought to have some gratitude to their patrons, and moreover, the legacy kids always seemed smarter than the average anyway.

        1. Girmit, my understanding is that at Harvard “legacy” represent 13% of all undergraduate admittees and less in graduate school. A case can be made that “legacy” should drop to 10%. It would reduce undergraduate admittees some and not affect graduate admittees. However academically legacy students perform almost as highly as merit based applicants.

          Other elite schools also don’t accept many “legacy” students. For this reason I don’t support ending “legacy”. Rather capping it to about 10% . . . which wouldn’t make a big difference in undergraduate and no difference in graduate school.

          A far bigger issue is sports admittees. Sports students represent about 20% of the class in Harvard and often more than that at other schools. The worst culprit is American football with enormous rosters. These students on average have horrible academic credentials and performance. What should we do about them?

          We can’t ban them outright. Cal (Berkeley), Stanford, USC and UCLA are dependent on their football teams. As are the Ivy Leagues. But can the percentage of sports admittees be reduced to less than 20%? Can Football be soft capped to 50 students per incoming class? Or put differently, can Football students be forced to admit a low academic standard versus a virtually non existent academic standard?

          Currently in Harvard only 50% of students are admitted based on merit. And there are major issues in how “merit” is calculated. Even addressing this 50% would sharply increase the number of Asians admitted. A much bigger effect than reducing legacy admissions.

          Asians may not want to end legacy admissions because in the long run legacy admissions favor Asians. Asians think and behave long term. Fewer Asians in 2019 means far more Asian grandkids getting in.

          The question of race based affirmative action is more important in graduate school than undergraduate. What are everyone’s thoughts on graduate school race based affirmative action.

          Would it be fair to say that all readers at BP favor large scale affirmative action based on socio economics? I do.

          1. Although a fan of NCAA football, I’d agree that the recruiting and scholarship requirements can throw off the balance of a smaller college with too many meatheads. Regarding affirmative action based on socio-economics, I feel that its already taken into consideration at most elite universities. Racial groups are social groups to a great extent, and college application processes take into consideration whether a student is a first generation higher education prospect or not. The problem with having all applicants share family financial data is that it could undermine “need blind” practices and lead to MORE discrimination against poorer prospects. Broadly speaking, i don’t think the admissions process of private education institutions is a high priority matter of public policy. Good quality higher education is not a scarce resource in the USA, most 2nd-tier state universities have outstanding faculty by global standards, but they are completely unchallenged and under-utilized by their students.

        2. Girmit

          I understand the whole legacy systems having some kind on quotas like 5 percent. On average it makes up upwards to 10-20 percent in top colleges.

          1. i doubt the public taxpayer-funded institutions have legacies at all. I’d imagine all private universities have it to some extent, to encourage loyalty to one’s alma mater.

    3. How about historically excluded sections are given help with SAT ,application and interview coaching. That will level playing field to some extent with wealthy kids without changing merit basis itself.

      1. “historically excluded sections”
        We should stop using euphemisms and say “people of sub-saharran African ancestry”. In every country around the world I have seen data for, this is the primary challenge. Everyone else can be addressed with socio economic based affirmative action.

        “given help with SAT ,application and interview coaching”
        This is likely to have little effect on aggregate admissions. The math portion of the SAT is a veiled IQ test. I have not seen evidence in large data sets that SAT preparation services make a measurable difference in average scores (beyond what a student can freely obtain on the open internet or with a single SAT prep book). IQ can be changed. But the current schooling system and tutoring system is horrible at affecting IQ.

        Eastern philosophy claims to have ways to increase IQ. These need to be rigorously tested. Modern neuroscience is learning about how to increase IQ. Neuroscience is getting better at using Electro stimulation brain therapy and sound brain therapy to increase intelligence. Neuroscientists harvested these ideas in collaboration with Hindus and Buddhists. We have evidence that exercise increases IQ (which is consistent with eastern philosophy).

        Some long form essays are coming on how to increase academic performance by our sisters and brothers with sub-saharan haploid gene admixture.

        Let me test an idea:
        Should all applicants who wish to benefit from race based affirmative action provide their DNA results. Should they have to prove that they have more than a certain percentage of weighted sub-saharan haploid gene admixture to be eligible? What should the percentage be? 60%? 59%? Currently too many mixed race are gaming the system. The drawback is that people can edit their own DNA with CRISPR to meet the genome requirements. Then people can change their DNA ex-post however they want with CRISPR.

        Because of CRISPR, I feel that all race based affirmative action in the world needs to be banned within 50 years.

  4. The Social Justice line has been that Black under-representation is completely due to White people setting up systems that unfairly benefit themselves. If Asians come in post-1965 and end up dominating America’s elite institutions then that argument looks ridiculous.

    There’s already plenty of tension between Blacks and Asians in the US, it’s not unreasonable to think that there would be anti-Asian riots if they were seen as enemies of Social Justice.

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