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Friday, November 24, 2017

ARE ASIANS SMARTER THAN AMERICANS?

This past week the U.S. Justice Department threatened to sue Harvard University if they did not by December 1 turn over certain documents related to a 2015 suit that charges Harvard's affirmative action policy discriminates against Asians.  It's simply this, Title VI of the 1964 Civil Right Act actually permits universities to enhance affirmative action by helping African Americans and Hispanics applicants get into college.  This has been historically allowed by the U.S. Supreme Court.  But conservatives contend that this type of affirmative action hurts White and Asian citizens.

Twenty months ago I posted on:


This was in follow-up to an 8 January 2013 article in this blog site on TWO JEWISH SURPRISES:
  • Jews, more than any other minority, ethnic or cultural, have been recipients of the Nobel Prize, with almost one-fifth of all Nobel laureates being Jewish. They make up 0.2 percent of the world population, but 54 percent of the world chess champions, 27 percent of the Nobel physics laureates and 31 percent of the medicine laureates. Jews make up 2 percent of the U.S. population, but 21 percent of the Ivy League student bodies, 26 percent of the Kennedy Center honorees, 37 percent of the Academy Award-winning directors, and 51 percent of the Pulitzer Prize winners for nonfiction.
  • According to a December 2012 New York Times article, written by a Harvard graduate, Ron Urz, at one time Ivy League schools in the 1920's denied the existence of a "Jewish quota."  Today, they deny there is an "Asian quota."  The irony to all this is that the exact reverse has occurred.  Now Jews are over represented at Ivy League schools.  Plus, Christian Whites have become a minority group.  What happened is that Asians are now the old Jews and Jews are the old whites!  A telling trend seems irrefutable:

Yale University’s undergrad student body is 27 percent Jewish (1,500 Jewish undergrads out of 5,477 total). Percentage-wise, it narrowly beats out its Ivy League rival Harvard University, which is 25 percent Jewish (1,675 out of 6,694 undergrads). But Cornell University and Columbia University both have more Jews in total — 3,000 and 1,800, respectively.

Remember, Jews are 2.3% of the U.S. Population.  This report sort of explains what has happened:


Thus, when you closely analyze the above, there appears to a surprising complication.  Jews, who are White, are definitely over-represented in Ivy League institutions.  This disparity seems particularly egregious in consideration of the following:
  • During the 1970's, well over 40% of the top Math Olympiad students were Jewish.  Since 2000 only 2.5% have been Jewish.
  • The most prestigious mathematics competition for American college students is the Putnam Exam.  Prior to 1950, 40% of winners were Jewish.  Since 2000 this percentage declined to 10%, but not one Jewish name in the top 40 students over the past seven years.
  • Regarding the Science Talent Search (once called Westinghouse, now Intel), which has been awarded since 1942, Jewish students got more than 20% of the prizes through the 80's, which declined to 15% in the 2000's, but in 2010 was only 7%.  Then, more recently, only one Jew among 30 awardees.  
  • In the Physics Olympiad, from 25% in the 1986-1997 period, down to 5% during the past decade.
  • There has been no Biology Olympiad Jew the past three years and zero also for the Chemistry Olympiad the past two years.
  • To quote:  "Taken in combination, these trends all provide powerful evidence that over the last decade or more there has been a dramatic collapse in Jewish academic achievement...

The above graphic is difficult to read, but here is an explanation:
  • Take California:  with 3.3% of the population, 4-5% of National Merit Scholars (NMS) are Jewish; the 13% Asians garnered 57%  of the NMS awards.
  • In New York, Jews, with 8.4% of the population, 21% of NMS; the 6% Asians got 34%.
  • All things considered, there should be five Asians for every Jew in Ivy League Schools, and at Caltech there are 5.5% Jewish students and 39% Asians, while in the five most selective California universities, 8% Jewish and 40% Asians.  Not so for the Ivies, where the Jewish population is 40% higher.
The bottom line is that more Asians "probably" deserve to be admitted into Ivy League schools.  However, with 5% of the U.S. population:
  • Harvard's freshman class this year was 22% Asian
  • MIT's freshman class was 26% Asian

Combined SAT Score, and Changes Since 2006, by Race/Ethnicity
GroupCombined Score 2015Change Since 2006
American Indian1423-27
Asian-American1654+54
Black1277-14
Mexican-American1343-28
Puerto Rican1347-16
Other Hispanic1345-26
White1576-6
Here is the dilemma.  What do you do to universities that admit Asians four to five times their population percentage, but penalize many more who should have been accepted if test score was the only criterion?  Cal Tech, for example, had 43% Asians in that same freshman class.

Who are these Asians?  I could not determine root country, but can surmise that the most of them were first generation Americans with parents from China and, less so, from India (they began coming earlier), with a good number of Koreans, very few Japanese (ancestors came to American too long ago and their great grandchildren are now mostly average), even fewer Vietnamese (same reason, plus there were not that many), etc.  I might add that most of the successful Jewish students now are primarily children of immigrants from Europe.  This actually is a great anti-Trump argument for admitting more immigrants.

Are Asians smarter than Whites?  The population size of China certainly provides more people with higher IQs:


Then there are those achievement test scores.  I suspect, though, that much of this Asian excellence has more to do with attitude reinforced by parental pressures and cultural standards, rather than natural brainpower.  BUT WHAT IS THE OPERATIVE DEFINITION OF SMART?  On that basis, one can argue that Asians are, indeed, smarter than Americans.

Tomorrow I'll delve into some personal experiences at Stanford, and how this institution has itself stumbled along with this issue.  How times have changed.  And, yes, when I first arrived on campus nearly 60 years ago I thought, maybe, I had chosen a junior college.

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