A Good Question

With the facts of the widespread cheating scandal still unfolding, William McGurn makes a good point. For some years, most upper-tier universities have had an embarrassing problem in this era of affirmative action.

A higher percentage of Asian-Americans are qualified for entrance than other groups, far above their representative population  percentage.

In California, and particularly Sacramento, where the Chinese came first for the Gold Rush and then to build the first transcontinental railroad, there is a high percentage of their descendants.  

And they were certainly treated badly here in history. If you are ever in Sacramento, in addition to seeing Old Town and Coloma, you can have a nice drive down the Sacramento River 25 miles or so and see a unique town. Locke is the only town in America that was built by the Chinese for the Chinese. When I have taken visitors there, I have referred to it as a “living ghost town”.

A Good Question

And the reason it is called Locke is that George Locke was a rancher there, and Chinese by law weren’t allowed to own land.  They built it mainly from redwood from the San Francisco Panama Pacific Exposition that was closing, and George Locke leased them the land. We were told by a guide there that the main reason so many Chinese opened service industries in California, such as laundries and restaurants, was that many times they were run off the gold fields.

A Good Question1

Main Street, Locke.

I had dinner the other night with some long-time family friends. The wife was telling me how, as a child, her family was uprooted from their home and sent to Tule Lake during WW2.

I also have a good friend who came over from Hong Kong in the late 60s with nothing, and today is a very successful CPA.

So why do I mention all of this?

Today, both groups, despite terrible discrimination in years past, are doctors, lawyers, and respected members of society.

Both groups have traditionally had strong families who emphasized the value of education. Strong study habits were enforced.

So, how has one ivy league university handled this problem of so many qualified?

It all came together last Wednesday at the John J. Moakley U.S. Courthouse in Boston, where actress Felicity Huffman made her first court appearance since her arrest on charges she’d cheated her daughter’s way into college. The “Desperate Housewives” star stands accused of engaging the services of William Rick Singer to bribe an SAT proctor, who is alleged to have corrected her daughter’s answers to ensure a higher score. On Monday Ms. Huffman agreed to plead guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

In another Boston federal courtroom, a judge is expected to rule soon on a lawsuit accusing Harvard of discriminating against Asian-Americans. The suit, brought by Students for Fair Admissions, alleges that Asian-Americans, who on average score much higher on the SATs than black, Latino and white applicants, nonetheless have a lower rate of admission into Harvard than other racial groups.

Here’s the great unasked question: What’s the moral difference between Ms. Huffman’s getting her daughter into college with an SAT score she didn’t earn and Harvard’s institutionally elevating the lower test scores of whites, blacks and Latinos above the higher scores of Asian-Americans? [highlighting mine] In both cases the result is that some who earned high scores are excluded in favor of some who did not.

Indeed. What is the difference?

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