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Occidental Observer July 2010


Steve Sailer has an important blog at VDARE.com quoting from Russel K. Nieli's essay on No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal: Race and Class in Elite College Admission and Campus Life by Thomas Espenshade and Alexandria Radford. It's no surprise that there is affirmative action for Blacks and Latinos: "To have the same chances of gaining admission as a black student with an SAT score of 1100, an Hispanic student otherwise equally matched in background characteristics would have to have a 1230, a white student a 1410, and an Asian student a 1550."

Unfortunately, the authors lump Jews and non-Jews into the White category, but combining their results with what we know about Jewish admissions to elite universities yields some interesting results.

In a 1998 op-ed ("Some minorities are more minor than others"), Ron Unz pointed out "Asians comprise between 2% and 3% of the U.S. population, but nearly 20% of Harvard undergraduates. Then too, between a quarter and a third of Harvard students identify themselves as Jewish, while Jews also represent just 2% to 3% of the overall population. Thus, it appears that Jews and Asians constitute approximately half of Harvard's student body, leaving the other half for the remaining 95% of America" (See also Edmund Connelly's take.)

A 2009 article in the Daily Princetonian ("Choosing the Chosen People") cited data from Hillel, a Jewish campus organization, that with the exception of Princeton and Dartmouth, on average Jews made up 24% of Ivy League undergrads. (Princeton had only 13% Jews, leading to much anxiety and a drive to recruit more Jewish students. The rabbi leading the campaign said she "would love 20 percent"—an increase from over 6 times the Jewish percentage in the population to around 10 times.)

Jews therefore constitute a vastly disproportionate share of the population classified as White at elite universities. Data from an earlier study by Espenshade show that around half of the students at elite universities are classified as White, suggesting that Jews and non-Jews classified as White are approximately equal in numbers. (Given that students from the Middle East are also classified as White, there is the suggestion that Jews outnumber non-Jewish students of Christian European descent.)

One might simply suppose that this is due to higher Jewish IQ. However, on the basis of Richard Lynn's estimates of Ashkenazi Jewish IQ and correcting for the greater numbers of European Whites, the ratio of non-Jewish Whites to Jews should be around 7 to 1 (IQ >130) or 4.5 to 1 (IQ > 145). Instead, the ratio of non-Jewish Whites to Jews is around 1 to 1 or less. (See here.)

So there must be some other reason besides IQ that Jews are such a large percentage of the population classified as White at elite universities.

Espenshade and Radford show that there is discrimination against poor Whites and against non-urban Whites—exactly the population groups that are least likely to be Jewish. There is a "a general disregard for improving the admission chances of poor and otherwise disadvantaged whites."

When lower-class whites are matched with lower-class blacks and other non-whites the degree of the non-white advantage becomes astronomical: lower-class Asian applicants are seven times as likely to be accepted to the competitive private institutions as similarly qualified whites, lower-class Hispanic applicants eight times as likely, and lower-class blacks ten times as likely. These are enormous differences and reflect the fact that lower-class whites were rarely accepted to the private institutions Espenshade and Radford surveyed. Their diversity-enhancement value was obviously rated very low.

One possible explanation is that the desire for better off students reflects the universities' desire to have students who are better able to pay their way, so that more money can be diverted to less well-off non-Whites. Nieli points out that this "cannot explain why well-qualified lower-class whites are not at least offered admission without financial aid. The mere offer of admission is costless, and at least a few among the poor whites accepted would probably be able to come up with outside scholarship aid." Right.

Nieli suggests that the real reason that rejecting less well-off Whites benefits the university is because it raises the yield score (the ratio of those accepted to those who enroll) and lowers the acceptance rate (the ratio of applicants received to those accepted) on the theory that less well-off Whites would not be able to afford to attend without scholarship money that the university wants to reserve for non-Whites. This makes them look good to the rating agencies.

This explanation seems rather ad hoc. Quite a few less well-off Whites would doubtless be willing to take out loans in order to satisfy their dream of an education at an elite university. To be convincing, Nieli should at least have some data supporting his theory. Even an anecdote or a colorful story gleaned from an academic cocktail party would be nice.

The other finding is

what might be called an urban/Blue State bias against rural and Red State occupations and values. This is most clearly shown in a little remarked statistic in the study’s treatment of the admissions advantage of participation in various high school extra-curricular activities. In the competitive private schools surveyed participation in many types of extra-curricular activities — including community service activities, performing arts activities, and "cultural diversity" activities — conferred a substantial improvement in an applicant’s chances of admission. The admissions advantage was usually greatest for those who held leadership positions or who received awards or honors associated with their activities. No surprise here — every student applying to competitive colleges knows about the importance of extracurriculars.

But what Espenshade and Radford found in regard to what they call "career-oriented activities" was truly shocking even to this hardened veteran of the campus ideological and cultural wars. Participation in such Red State activities as high school ROTC, 4-H clubs, or the Future Farmers of America was found to reduce very substantially a student’s chances of gaining admission to the competitive private colleges in the NSCE database on an all-other-things-considered basis. The admissions disadvantage was greatest for those in leadership positions in these activities or those winning honors and awards. … Excelling in these activities "is associated with 60 or 65 percent lower odds of admission."

It’s interesting that the bias against Red State interests holds even when controlling for other variables such as family income. These students are being rejected not because of their family income but because of their attitudes and interests–a finding that casts doubt on the yield rate/acceptance rate explanation for the bias against less well-off Whites as well.

These data strongly suggest that Jewish overrepresentation at elite universities has nothing to do with IQ but with discrimination against non-Jewish White Americans, especially those from the working class or with rural origins. It would be interesting to see the dynamics of the admissions process. How many admissions officers are Jewish? And, whether or not they are Jewish,what pressures are they under to admit Jewish students? The brouhaha that engulfed the Princeton campus because Jews were "only" overrepresented by around 6.5 times their percentage of the population suggests that there is considerable pressure for high levels of Jewish admission. The Daily Princetonian ran four front-page articles on the topic, and the New York Times ran an article titled "The Princeton Puzzle." (See here; the original NYTimes article is here.) Clearly anything less than 20% Jewish enrollment would be met with raised eyebrows and perhaps intimations of anti-Semitism.

The big picture is that this is a prime example of the corruption of our new elite. As noted previously, the poster child for this corruption is the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. The fact that she is a Princeton graduate now makes even more sense given that when she went to Princeton the percentage of Jews was around 18% — more in line with the de facto affirmative action policies favoring Jews that we see now in most Ivy League universities.

Whatever else one can say about the new elite, it certainly does not believe in merit. The only common denominator is that Whites of European extraction are being systematically excluded and displaced to the point that they are now underrepresented in all the important areas of the elite compared to their percentage of the population.