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VICTOR JOECKS: Biden administration supports systemic racism against Asian students

The Biden administration supports systemic racism — when it’s directed against Asian students seeking admission to elite universities.

Last week, Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar urged the Supreme Court not to take up a case that seeks to prevent racial discrimination. At issue are the admission standards of Harvard University, which accepts federal funding.

In 2014, a group called Students for Fair Admissions sued the university, claiming it discriminated against Asian applicants. It’s not that Asian students don’t make it into Harvard. For the class of 2025, the school reports nearly 26 percent of admitted students are Asian. The claim is that even more Asian students would be accepted absent discrimination. Analyses of admissions data that came out during legal proceedings showed this to be the case.

Duke professor Peter Arcidiacono and other researchers found that treating Asian applicants like white students “would increase their admissions chances by roughly 19 percent.” That’s from a 2020 paper based on Harvard data produced in this lawsuit. In a 2018, Arcidiacono found a male Asian applicant with a 25 percent chance of admissions would see his “chances rise to 95 percent if he were treated as an African American.”

Harvard also systemically assigns Asian applicants a lower “personal rating,” which reduces their chances of getting into the elite institution.

In its defense, Harvard essentially claimed that Asian applicants really do have worse personalities than those of other races. Try to imagine the outrage if a conservative institution made a similar claim about a group of African Americans or Hispanics.

Harvard also asserts that students benefit from having a racially diverse student body. Current Supreme Court precedent allows colleges to consider race in their admission processes.

The Biden administration wants to keep it that way. Prelogar wrote the high court was “correct” in its 2003 decision that allowed race to factor into admissions. The plaintiffs want the Supreme Court to overturn that precedent and make college admissions race-neutral.

In contrast, the Trump administration filed an amicus brief in support of the lawsuit.

Just days into his term, President Joe Biden issued a memorandum opposing racism and intolerance against Asian Americans. It was a swipe at Donald Trump for tying China to the coronavirus. “My administration condemns and denounces acts of racism, xenophobia and intolerance against AAPI communities,” Biden’s memo said.

As this lawsuit demonstrates, however, those are hollow words. Biden’s administration is going to the mat to allow elite educational institutions to discriminate against Asian Americans. So much for tolerance.

Politically, Democrats have been successful in attracting support from Asian voters. A 2020 NBC exit poll found Asian voters preferred Biden over Trump by a 2-to-1 ratio. One suspects the percentage of Asian Americans who support discriminating against Asian students isn’t that large.

Biden is walking a political tightrope. Republicans should aggressively highlight his hypocrisy while emphasizing their commitment to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision. People — including college applicants — should be judged by their character not their skin color.

Contact Victor Joecks at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.

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