Ron Unz’s meritocracy article is an important analysis of discrimination against non-Jewish Whites in admission to elite universities. But you wouldn’t know it by following his recent writing and public presentations. For example, a recent article posted on National Review Online (“Racial Quotas, Harvard, and the legacy of Bakke“) focused entirely on his findings on Asian Americans. No mention of non-Jewish Whites.
This obvious omission did not go unnoticed. In “The Minimum Wage, Immigration, and Affirmative Action“, Unz mentions “a prominent conservative hardliner, someone very critical of the Republican establishment, who wondered why my sole focus had been on Asians, rather than on the white victims of affirmative action in college admissions.”
I suspect that the conservative hardliner is concerned about the effects of Ivy League practices on non-Jewish White Americans, and, in any case, that is certainly my concern. But Unz doesn’t touch on this issue, preferring instead to chastise Republicans for focusing on quotas rather than other more subtle and less rigid forms of racial preference. I agree that the Republicans have avoided addressing racial presferences. But in his reply Unz makes it sound as though there is no problem at all with White enrollment:
On average, white percentages have declined substantially over the last twenty years, but so has the white fraction of the college-age population, and the two trends have generally moved in parallel. The range of white percentages across the Ivy League in 1990 was roughly as wide as the range today, with no sign of collusion or “quotas” in either case.
But in his original article Unz showed that Asians aren’t being discriminated at all in terms of the admission to Harvard compared to Whites ( including Jews and Whites in one category). The ratio of Asian Harvard students compared to the Asian share of National Merit semifinalists is 63%, whereas for Whites (including Jews) the comparable ratio is 61%. That is, both groups are represented at Harvard at just over 60% of what they would be in a completely meritocratic system; the shortfall from a meritocratic result is due to affirmative action for Blacks and Latinos, as well as international students and students who don’t declare their race.
So Asians are not being discriminated against compared to Whites at all, if Jews are included in the White category.
So which group has suffered losses with the rise of smart Asians and affirmative action for Blacks and Latinos? The answer is clear:
In the three decades since I graduated Harvard, the presence of white Gentiles has dropped by as much as 70 percent, despite no remotely comparable decline in the relative size or academic performance of that population; meanwhile, the percentage of Jewish students has actually increased. This period certainly saw a very rapid rise in the number of Asian, Hispanic, and foreign students, as well as some increase in blacks. But it seems rather odd that all of these other gains would have come at the expense of whites of Christian background, and none at the expense of Jews.
Unz notes similar trends at the other Ivies.
But the point is that Unz doesn’t even have a case that Asians are being discriminated against at Harvard or the other Ivies unless Jews are separated from non-Jewish Whites—and indeed, that is how he develops his argument in the original paper. ”Once we begin separating out the Jewish portion of Ivy League enrollment, our picture of the overall demographics of the student bodies is completely transformed.”
Based on reported statistics, Jews approximately match or even outnumber non-Jewish whites at Harvard and most of the other Ivy League schools, which seems wildly disproportionate. Indeed, the official statistics indicate that non-Jewish whites at Harvard are America’s most under-represented population group, enrolled at a much lower fraction of their national population [18%] than blacks or Hispanics, despite having far higher academic test scores.
Indeed, Unz’s analysis implied that, compared to Jews, non-Jewish Whites are represented at Harvard at 1/15th of the level they would be in a meritocratic system. On the other hand, compared to Jews, Asians are underrepresented at 1/7 of the level they would achieve in a meritocratic system. It is indeed obvious that Asians are being actively discriminated against. But only compared to Jews, and certainly not when compared to non-Jewish Whites. Indeed, non-Jewish Whites are discriminated against more than twice as much as Asians when compared to Jews. I don’t see any other possible explanation besides ethnic networking for this “wildly disproportionate” overrepresentation of Jews compared to non-Jewish Whites.
This suggests that, if Asians sue Harvard for underrepresentation, they could only make their case if they claim underrepresentation compared to Jews, not Whites as a whole. I rather doubt they will do that.
It also suggests an explanation for the finding that Asian enrollment has been capped at around 16% since the early 1990s even as the Asian percentage of the population has risen: Affirmative action has increasingly cost Asian enrollment just as it has cost non-Jewish Whites. According to Unz, if admission to Harvard from 2007-2011 was meritocratic, Asians would be 25.4% of Harvard instead of 16% (on the assumption that Asians are represented at 63% of what they should be based on NMS results). At the same time, the Jewish plus non-Jewish Whites would increase from 44% to 72% in a meritocratic system (i.e., making up for the finding that Whites are admitted only at a level of 61% of what they should be in a meritocratic system). So if Harvard enrollment of Asians was increased to 25%, and Jewish plus non-Jewish White enrollment was also increased to 72%,to bring it in line with NMS results, there would be almost no room for affirmative action admissions for Blacks and Latinos, not to mention international students.
Asian activists who see Unz’s results as solely implying a need for more Asian students are clearly not looking at the complete picture.
And unfortunately, Unz is now encouraging them in this direction. It would be outrageous indeed if Unz’s results are used solely to encourage more discrimination against non-Jewish Whites by resulting in higher Asian admissions which, assuming affirmative action remains in place, could only come from Jews and non-Jewish Whites. Given the obvious indications of Jewish ethnic networking, the likely result would be that Jewish levels would stay the same or even increase but there would be an even more drastic decline in non-Jewish Whites, probably to less than 10%.
Indeed, that is exactly what has happened. Consider the following quote from Unz’s original article, featured in my earlier comments on Unz:
Between 2000 and 2011, the relative percentage of college-age blacks enrolled at Harvard dropped by 18 percent, along with declines of 13 percent for Asians and 11 percent for Hispanics, while only whites increased, expanding their relative enrollment by 16 percent. However, this is merely an optical illusion: in fact, the figure for non-Jewish whites slightly declined, while the relative enrollment of Jews increased by over 35 percent, probably reaching the highest level in Harvard’s entire history. Thus, the relative presence of Jews rose sharply while that of all other groups declined, and this occurred during exactly the period when the once-remarkable academic performance of Jewish high school students seemed to suddenly collapse.
So it’s not the case that White enrollment has been declining at Harvard over the last decade in parallel with demographic trends as long as Jews are included in the White category. And of course the big message is that Jews are completely immune from the effects of affirmative action and the declining percentage of Whites in the college-age population. Indeed, on the face of it, all other groups are losing out while only Jews are increasing.
Unz’s figure showing racial trends in the college-age population since 1970 shows that Whites have indeed been declining, mostly because of the boom in the Hispanic population. But non-Jewish Whites still represent around 60% of the college-age population. You’d just never know it by looking at Ivy League enrollments.
Quite clearly Unz must know that talking about White enrollment without separating Whites and Jews leads to a completely inaccurate picture. Indeed, combining Jewish and non-Jewish Whites is exactly the procedure used by Ivy League universities to hide the gross overrepresentation of Jews compared to non-Jewish Whites. Jewish overrepresentation compared to non-Jewish Whites has long been obvious based on IQ results (see my previous comments on Unz); given the collapse in Jewish academic achievement documented by Unz, the discrimination against non-Jewish Whites is egregious indeed.
Unz may think that suppressing the effects of the current admissions regime on non-Jewish Whites may be the price of obtaining greater visibility and influence—even though his findings on discrimination against Asians at Harvard only make sense in comparison to Jews, and even though Asians are more than twice as likely to be admitted to Harvard as to non-Jewish Whites after correcting for representation among National Merit Semifinalists.
So far as I am aware, Unz has never been invited to discuss his findings apart from the evidence for discrimination against Asians. The obvious discrimination against non-Jewish Whites never appeared in the two discussions in the New York Times or in this account of a forum featuring Unz at Yale. I rather doubt that discrimination against non-Jewish Whites came up at a presentation by Unz at the Yale Law School, co-sponsored by the Asian-American Law Students Association and the Federalist Society.
In his NROnline column, Unz notes that
S. B. Woo, founding president of 80-20, a national Asian-American advocacy organization that strongly supported President Obama’s reelection, participated in the New York Times forum, entitling his contribution “Discrimination Is Obvious.” He argued that “the credibility of elite colleges suffers” when they deny the clear evidence that they “set a quota for Asian students,” and he claimed that “America’s core value of equal opportunity is being trampled.” Liberal and left-wing pundits from publications such as The Atlantic and The Washington Monthly have similarly ridiculed Harvard’s blatant dishonesty in the matter.
But obvious discrimination against non-Jewish Whites is not an issue with any of these commenters. And it now seems to have disappeared from Unz’s public pronouncements. Non-Jewish Whites are the invisible, voiceless majority.
Why did Unz raise the question of non-Jewish Whites only to abandon it? Something has clearly happened.
Let’s hope that the publisher of an important mainstream conservative journal does not feel obliged to continue to ignore his own findings.