Harvard virtue-signals: DoJ brief finds that 45% of its black and Latino admissions got in on race

Imagine being a talented black or Latino applicant who got into Harvard University.  Now there's news that 45% of the blacks and Latinos were found to have been admitted on race over merit, according to a new Justice Department brief, which credibly argues that Harvard engaged in illegal "race-balancing."

According to J. Christian Adams at PJMedia:

Almost half of all blacks and Hispanics who attend Harvard were admitted because of illegal racial preferences in admissions according to a brief just filed by the Department of Justice.

The Department of Justice filed the brief in a federal lawsuit filed by Students For Fair Admissions. It says Harvard's race-based admissions process violates federal law. 

Every employer is going to be looking at your diploma and wondering if you were part of the 45%.

This is a pretty nasty burden to throw onto the talented 55% who got in on merit alone.  Everywhere they go, they'll be suspected of not being Harvard material but for the color of their skin.  Make a mistake at work?  It's because of the Harvard affirmative-action advantage.  What an ugly thing to have to worry about for the rest of your life, solely because you are black or Latino.  It's the typically lefty good intentions and virtue-signaling that in the real world does blacks and Latinos absolutely no favors.

According to the DoJ brief:

The school considers applicants' race at virtually every step, from rating applicants to winnowing the field of applicants when attempting to avoid an oversubscribed class. And its inclusion of race in the analysis frequently makes a dispositive difference. The district court found that Harvard's use of race was "determinative" for "approximately 45% of all admitted African American and Hispanic applicants." ADD84. Moreover, Harvard meticulously tracks and shapes the racial makeup of its emerging incoming class throughout the process, continuously comparing the new class's racial composition with that of the previous year. 

The DoJ brief argued that the funnily consistent number of admissions among minorities proved there was some intense "racial balancing" going on, which, it notes, is explicitly unconstitutional in a university that takes massive federal funding:

These numbers speak for themselves. The minimal variation, including in the percentages of underrepresented minorities that Harvard seeks to benefit, over a multi-year period is much narrower than the 6.6-percentage-point range in underrepresented minorities the Supreme Court sustained in Grutter.

Asian-Americans, of course, were the ones knocked out on the old subjective "personality" factor, with Harvard apparently claiming that most have bad ones:

 Second, Harvard's process imposes a racial penalty by systematically disfavoring Asian-American applicants. It does so in part through the subjective personal rating that admissions officers apply with minimal guidance or supervision. That rating produces consistently poorer scores for Asian Americans. Harvard did not prove that the personal rating is race-neutral. 

The DoJ brief notes that the personality rating is a big one in determining who gets admitted — applicants who got 1s and 2s, the highest ratings, were 80% of the incoming class:

With the personal rating excluded, both experts' models show Harvard's program inflicts a statistically significant penalty against Asian-American applicants.

So what is there to unpack here? 

Minorities are getting shortchanged on the values of their diplomas, now that news is out that their admission, unlike those of the others, was disproportionately based on race over other more qualified applicants.  That's the impact of Harvard's white leadership looking to virtue-signal at the top instead of confront failing black schools and poor cultural outcomes in Great Society–poisoned black and brown cultures.

We see a lot of the effects of this affirmative-action shortchanging in lower-tier schools, which often feature huge dropout rates of minority students who as admitted minorities, cannot keep up with the other kids in the classes.

We don't see that pattern at Harvard — the 2019 statistics show that 99.04% of black students, or 103 out of 104 graduate (presumably within the 6-year time period noted), and 98.68% of Hispanics — 150 out of 152 — do the same.  Whites, by contrast, have a 97.6%, or 733/751 rate, and Asians have a 97.73%, or 733/751 rate. Students of mixed race have a 96.19%, or 101 out of 105 graduation rate.

All pretty hunky-dory, but it's possible this is being manipulated to keep the virtue-signal going.

The DoJ charges that racial bean-counting is continuous at Harvard.  It's also noteworthy that the school has a gargantuan "diversity" staff — which needs to somehow keep busy.  Might it be that these students are expressly guided to be graduates over other students?  That's one possibility. 

Another way the graduation rate can be manipulated is through grade inflation and gut majors.  Are these ultra-high black and Latino graduation rates the result of the students taking easy majors?  Such as a major that ends in "studies"? Well, to take one benchmark, about half the student section of Harvard's African-American Studies department, based on appearances, is African or African-American, or about 13 out of 27 students. That would be about 10% of the black student body, a rather disproportionate enrollment. 

The Harvard physics department, by contrast, doesn't feature faces of its students as the African-American Studies department does. The site features a gigantic eight-person committee on 'diversion and inclusivity' though, but no student facebook listings, quite unlike the African-American Studies page. A jaunt to the Harvard 'Women in Physics' section, though, features 22 female faces, nearly all students, it appears, and none apparently African-American or Latina, in the two pictoral line-up photos showing 22 faces and 25 faces. They all appear to be white, South Asian, or East Asian. Since I couldn't find any information about what black and Latino students are majoring in, the photos serve as a suggestion, particularly since the physics page has a 'diversity and inclusion' link that the African American Studies section does not, suggesting the school thinks someone might notice.

But something probably even more significant was brought up by Henry Louis Gates of all people: It's not the ghetto kids getting into Harvard under the checkbox of 'black' - it's the rich and upper middle class black kids -- and the children of African or Caribbean immigrants, who have a significant work ethic and sense of excellence, probably putting a lot of them in the 55%.

The race-balancing going on at Harvard seems to be primarily a subsidy to the rich black and Latino kids who enroll when admitted, as this academic sums up

University of Illinois professor Walter Benn Michaels put the question most bluntly when he said, "When students and faculty activists struggle for cultural diversity, they are in large part battling over what skin color the rich kids have."

And that does seem to be going on with the Harvard race-balancing, using the richer kids. That is supported by the fact that only 76% of blacks admitted to Harvard actually go to the school. Harvard itself attributes that to the appeal of historically black colleges such as Howard University and full scholarships offered by other ivy league schools. The Journal of Black Higher Education thinks it's black kids going to high-grade selective state schools, which serve their needs better. The admissions committee, it seems, is throwing things at black kids that a lot of them might not really want. Some may see themselves as more successful at Howard University, or U.C. Santa Barbara, and meet more people in the same boat as themselves.

Meanwhile, over at Harvard, a combination of gut majors, grade inflation, and admitting the rich kids with the requisite background to at least minimally sudceed at Harvard seems to be what keeps the Asian-American kid with poor immigrant parents from the Flushing or Jackson Heights neighborhoods in Queens from getting in - which is fundamentally discriminatory, and a nasty surprise to their American dreams. All because of those supposed bad personalities.

The DoJ fundamentally shows how kids of all races are getting shortchanged by Harvard's racial bean counting, which far from serving kids, serves as a sop to the whites who run these programs -- to virtue-signal to other whites. It's nonsense. Racialism by any other name is still racism. The black and Latino kids get shortchanged, and so do the Asians. The case shows that Harvard needs to scrap that whole thing and move to race-blind admissions more than anything else, or else go without federal funding. Better still, they might just start speaking out on why ordinary African-Americans are condemned to such bad union-run schools that keep them from out of the competition at Harvard as richer kids with the same skin color glide right in.

Image credit: Original art by Monica Showalter, shareable Instagram.

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