As admissions season gets underway, nearly 20,000 hopeful students will vie for a spot in the Georgetown University Class of 2022. Last year, a mere 15.4 percent of the 21,465 applicants were accepted.

In this admissions cycle, Georgetown should evaluate applicants on their merit alone by ceasing the practice of race-based affirmative action in its admissions process. This practice not only discriminates against particular demographics of students, specifically against fully qualified Asian students, but also perpetuates racist attitudes toward Asians.

This editorial board believes that all students deserve a fair chance to be admitted to competitive universities based only on their merit as applicants.

Affirmative action in university admissions was first implemented in the 1960s to redress the significant disadvantages that minority students often faced as a result of centuries of starkly discriminatory policies. Nevertheless, lifting up some minority groups by disadvantaging others does not achieve the idea of racial justice that this policy set out to accomplish.

In August, it was reported that the Department of Justice would begin investigating affirmative action policies at universities. It is widely believed this investigation will focus on a lawsuit against Harvard University that alleges discrimination against Asian-Americans under Harvard’s affirmative action policies.

The topic of affirmative action has also been extensively debated at the Supreme Court level. Most recently, the 2016 Fisher v. University of Texas case held that the University of Texas at Austin’s use of race-based affirmative action as part of a holistic assessment was acceptable as long as it supported educational diversity.

But empirical data demonstrates this discrimination against Asian-American students. A study conducted by Princeton University shows that applicants of comparable qualifications who identify as Asian must score 140 points higher on the SAT than white applicants to have the same chance of admission to private colleges, as The New York Times reported.

Proponents of affirmative action argue that this disparity is a result of universities’ desire to maintain holistic and diverse classes, which requires consideration of more than just academic ability.

However, the blanket discrimination against Asian-American students in the admissions process ignores the enormous diversity within this label. This diversity undermines the argument that affirmative action is intended to foster greater diversity in universities.

Looking past the label of “Asian-American,” it becomes  evident that there are historically disadvantaged populations in the group itself. Thirty percent of all Americans over the age of 25 have a bachelor’s degree, according to the Pew Research Center. While 72 percent of Indian-Americans have a bachelor’s degree or a higher degree, the numbers are anemic for  Laotian-Americans, at 16 percent, and Bhutanese-Americans, at 9 percent, the center found.

Moreover, as The New Yorker explains, the diverse class argument would only be plausible if Asian-American applicants overall were significantly less likely than other applicants to have the particular, often abstract, nonacademic qualities that universities look for, such as leadership and a willingness to take initiative. This notion only serves to perpetuate the racist myth of the “model minority,” which uniformly depicts all Asian-American students as academically achieving individuals who are stunted in other areas.

In addition, a comparison of Asian-American enrollment at universities before and after they ceased affirmative action policies indicates that the policy disproportionately hurt this group of students, as is clear from the work of David Colburn, a professor and former provost at the University of Florida.

Colburn’s work found that at selective public universities that ended race-based affirmative action, such as the University of Florida and the University of California, Berkeley, the proportion of Asian Americans increased dramatically after the policy’s termination.

For example, the proportion of Asian American freshmen at Berkeley rose to from 37.3 percent in 1995 to 46.6 percent in 2005. California barred affirmative action in university admissions processes in 1996.

As is empirically evident, affirmative action discriminates against Asian-Americans. The system of college admissions masks itself as a meritocracy but in practice is suppressing a historically marginalized minority group in the name of racial justice.

Those who champion affirmative action in the name of racial justice fail to recognize that discrimination against one minority group to elevate other groups is not an acceptable means to an end; as such, race-based affirmative action must end.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

61 Comments

  1. how do you write this entire POS without mentioning legacy admissions once?

  2. Dennis Joyce says:

    sucks hate it

  3. Right to the point!

  4. And the fact that Georgetown’s student population is majority white. Do not use AAPIs as a wedge for this type of race based discussion.

  5. Maggie Pang says:

    Strongly support!!! Finally, there is a famous School standing out and say this! Thank you, Georgetown University.

  6. Thank you, and back to what it supposed to be. George Town University will get the best brains, and increase its ranking fast.

  7. I’m African American but would like to see an end to race-preferences.

    The reality at Georgetown is that most of the black students are either wealthy or African/Caribbean Immigrants.

    Why doesn’t Georgetown recruit black students from SE DC? Why don’t they form partnerships with DC public schools like George Washington does?

    I’d rather see a process that actually looks at metrics like family net wealth, concentrated poverty neighborhoods, and single parent households. We could still get black/latino students without all this legal mess.

    • Do you understand that universities receive many tax privileges and in return are obligated to be engines of economic development that serve Americans first? That means addressing the effects of historical injustice and. reducing poverty among African Americans, who are one of the founding races of this country. Asians are more recent arrivals and their interests cannot take preference over African Americans.

      The university was never intended to be reserved for students with the highest test scores. It was intended to enlighten society’s leaders, produce well-rounded indivudual citizens (that is why we have university athletics), and create new knowledge. Get it?

      • What is called “founding race”? Should the so-called “founding races” have more rights or privileges over other races? Isn’t each individual citizen is equal regardless of his or her race and ethnicity as the Constitution guarantees? The “Holistic Evaluation” in admissions is a Charade. The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars tells annually that Asian Americans are not Nerdy. Remember! America’s idea is meritocracy.

        • The English and Grench are the founding races of modern Canada. They have more rights than any other ethnic groups. That is why Asians and eastern Europeans have to learn English and French to live in Canada. It is why. judicial appointments to the Canadian Supreme Court are designed to balance English and French representation ( not Asians).

          East Asians and South Asians cannot show up in America, learn English to honor the founding race of Anglo-Saxons, but shove the black founders of this country aside and promote themselves to the head of the line. Why should black taxpayers pay more so Asians can get ahead by monopolizing university seats you already have a disproportionate share of.

          • Racism at its finest. Asians, Blacks, English, native Americans, etc. are all equal Americans under the law. “Founding race” smacks of paternalism and the “white man’s burden.”

            You have to accept that Asian-Americans are just as much citizens in this country as the “black taxpayers” you speak of.

          • Founding Races theory is same as White supremacy.

      • Do Asian Americans have the so-called white guilty? Why should they pay the highest price for that? The rationale of addressing the effects of historical injustice just can not hold water.

      • Asian Americans experienced exclusion (ethnic cleansing and pogrom) by law from the United States between 1880 and 1965, and were largely prohibited from naturalization until the 1940s. They chose to work hard instead of complaining.

        • You are such a racist…Asian Americans are Americans and they should enjoy the same rights as African American. Which law in this country gives you higher status than other races?

          • If we are all equal, why are most of us required to speak English?

            Again, merit does not necessarily mean “highest test score”. It can mean “best all-rounder”, “best at overcoming obstacles”, etc.

            In the Western world, the university was intended to be a COMMUNITY of DIFFERENT KINDS OF INTERESTING AND ACCOMPLISHED PEOPLE, not just a collection of Bill Gates clones.

            Oxford University reserves seats for Rhodes Scholars. These are not the scholars with the highest test scores in the applicant pool. They are individuals who combine excellence in athletics, leadership, and other skills with some academic ability.

            Cambridge University in the UK reserved a place for Prince Charles, to influence his thinking as a future leader. Georgetown did the same for King Felipe of Spain. The Western University has always sought to offer guidance to society’s leaders. Not just students who memorize solutions to exam questions.

          • RW, Sorry my reply was intended for Chad99999 above and it is here by mistake.

          • Your comment changes the subject. The point of the issue is that “race” should not be a factor in admissions. That means no one will be benefited or disadvantaged only because of his or her race. @ Ewart

      • The statement that “Asians are more recent arrivals” and therefore deserve less preference is not only wrong, it’s unbelievably racist.

        It’s the perpetual foreigner effect—based on our appearance alone, we are “less-American” than other citizens and are afforded less rights? An American citizen is an American citizen; all deserve to be treated equally.

      • You are such a racist…Asian Americans are Americans and they should enjoy the same rights as African American. Which law in this country gives you higher status than other races? Every citizens in this country have equal rights which is a foundation of this country. Shame on you and you don’t deserve to be in this country.

      • Founding races? One race’s interests over another? Which country do you live it? What you are advocating is essentially an apartheid society where African Americans receive preferential treatments over others.

        The attitude and the concept implied in your comment are antithesis to American ideals.

    • Jake I agree with your comments in general. But Schools like Georgetown is never about helping the poor or seek class mobility. It’s to compare/label kids already within the upper middle class.

    • Right on!
      Race-based AA is just using the affluent African American to give the University a good name of diversity. It did nothing to address “the effects of historical injustice and. reducing poverty among African Americans”, as the other commenter mentioned,

  8. So effectively what I’m seeing here is “End affirmative action where minorities are unfairly affected but don’t end affirmative action in cases where the white demographic is unfairly affected.” This is trash.

    • It should be color blind, and give consideration of social economic status, first-generation college grad, etc.

      • So let me get this straight: You want to use a “test scores” excuse to reduce the black student population? Last time I checked, just 6% of GU students were black. There are more than twice as many foreign students, and more Asian-American students than blacks, even though GU is situated in a region with an enormous black population.

        Why should an American university reserve twice as many seats for foreigners as for black Americans in a heavily black region? Are you nuts? And don’t tell me they pay higher fees, because black slaves built this country and ALL university students are subsidized in one way or another. No foreign student pays the FULL COST of his or her education, only the variable cost.

        • There are obviously confounding factors— Georgetown is renowned for its international focus and large international presence; Howard, the nation’s premier HBCU, is located mere miles away from Georgetown. A better question would be why do you assume admissions based solely on test scores and individual merit would lower the amount of black students? Are you assuming black students underperform on academic metrics? Isn’t that the bigotry of lowered expectations

          • AfAm Hoya '12 says:

            Unfortunately it’s not bigotry or lowered expectations, it’s been studied & reported that generally black students do perform lower on standardized tests. This is not due to lack of intelligence but more often lack of resources. In California schools where the Asian student body increased, the black student population decreased to zero. We wouldn’t need affirmative action if they’re weren’t soany racial biases and obstacles that excluded black Latinos and many Asian groups from elite education in the first place.

            (Excuse all typos, the comment box on my phone is extremely small)

  9. When some People didn’t make any improvement after 35 years of AA’s help, there must be something wrong……

    • Affirmative Action started in 1960s. Back then it was necessary and reasonable as a temporary measure to “jump start” for minorities to enjoy the same opportunities in education etc. However, the “jump start” has been more than half century. It is being grossly abused and has become an unconstitutional “racial quota” in reality. In a long run, this just won’t do any good for this country as a whole.

  10. Darrel Harb says:

    Go for it, Asians. Wake up and get connected to politics. With the Left you will always be put at the end of the line. They have no use for successful minorities.

  11. Vincent White says:

    I agree. Legacy admissions are clearly are greater issue than affirmative action admissions which now based upon Supreme Court decisions cannot soley be based on race but must take a myriad of factors into account like economic circumstances. While legacy restrictions do not have the same restrictions.
    This article failure to delve into all factors of all applicants admitted at Georgetown leads me to believe à certain bias was inherent prior to even writing this opinion piece.

    • That is because race factor subjects to stricter scrutiny than legacy factor. You have to solve the injustice problem step by step.

  12. The overt racial discrimination in medical school admission against Asian Americans who are politically voiceless and powerless is appalling. See the report link here: http://www.aei.org/publication/new-chart-illustrates-graphically-racial-preferences-for-blacks-and-hispanics-being-admitted-to-us-medical-schools/

    • Darrel Harb says:

      It *is* appalling, but Asians are politically voiceless by choice.

      • Even if by choice, that isn’t a legitimate reason to racially discriminate a certain group of people.

        • Of course it’s not legitimate, but now that you’ve made that moral judgment, what good does it do you? The first step to Asians not getting stepped on is a fair number of them saying, “hey, stop stepping on me!” A hundred more articles like this one would be a good start.

          • Darrel, your comments are victim-blaming at its finest. “Asians are politically voiceless by choice?” Try, Asians have been subject to centuries of racial discrimination and forced second-class citizen status by the ruling elite. Think Chinese exclusion, Japanese internment, police abandonment of Koreans during Rodney King. Don’t blame Asians for being voiceless, especially not when this article is about another form of societally accepted imposed discrimination.

          • Darrel Harb says:

            The flip-side of “victim-blaming” is victim-excusing. When you lower standards for a group because of past injustice you make that group into permanent victims.

            Not all Asian-Americans experienced the horrible treatment you describe. The most common legitimate complaint of oppression of current Asian Americans is what they experienced in their countries of origin, such as Vietnamese and Chinese Americans under communism. Whatever the history of a particular Asian family, Asians as a group in the USA are proof that family culture can triumph over environment. Given that Asians as a whole make more than 20% more money than Whites, I don’t think it’s reasonable to blame the lack of political representation of Asians on past American injustices. Asians can clearly excel in what they value, and my opinion is that they should value their political voice more highly. I’m therefore encouraged by this article, and by the several comments by Asians that show a guiltless and fearless rejection of affirmative action.

            The other problem with your interest in scoring up Asian historical complaints is that you already know that you lose this game. As long as the left is doing the identity politics stacking thing the game will be rigged against Asians *because* of their success.

            The perversions of identity politics aside, some Blacks *do* have a unique claim in this country. Asian families have recovered from their histories because, for the most part, they were allowed to keep their families. Black families were destroyed by this country’s slave trade. This reality just makes it that much more sick that affirmative action for Blacks does nothing but extend historical injustices.

  13. Taylor Davis says:

    You could’ve just walk straight up to black students on campus that you deem as inadequate and yell “LEAVE” instead of writing this article. As one of those students, they both have equal effect.

  14. Darrel Harb says:

    I assume the author would not do that because the author is probably not racist and would probably not assume that any particular Black student is individually unqualified. However, the general suspicion against Black students not being qualified, given affirmative action, is a matter of math, not racism. In the absence of affirmative action assuming Black students are less qualified *would be* racism. That’s what affirmative action does: racism becomes statistics.

  15. https://www.amazon.com/Almost-Black-Medical-School-Pretending/dp/1483576043

    Almost Black: The True Story of How I Got Into Medical School By Pretending to Be Black

    Check this true story out. This great country and all people/races will benefit if we give equal opportunities instead of trying to enforce equal results. Thanks to Georgetown Univ. for your brave editorial in exposing this injustice that has been going on for more than 30 years. Your article seemed intentionally omitted the facts that for Ivy League Univ. admissions, for SAT, not only Asian Students have to score 140 points higher than white students, they also have to score 267 points higher than Hispanic students and 450 points higher than African American students. Is that due to Political Correctness?

    The truth is this: African American communities do not receive the help they truly need by this kind of AA policies. Not only these policies benefited majority the elite class of their community, but the students who go to universities beyond their abilities often end up at the bottom of student pool (cannot keep up with the challenge of academic work) and either fail or suffer undeserved mental pressure for a long time. They can do much better in another school. Univ. of Texas Austin is an example.

  16. Insightful!

  17. Our spaceships won’t fly higher because of your skin color;

    our submarines won’t dive deeper because of your skin color.

    BUT, if you put the incapable people on building spaceships or submarines just because of their skin colors, then, spaceships will explode and submarines will sink. Think about it, only the weak wants the protection of AA.

  18. Zhi-Long Chen says:

    “As is empirically evident, affirmative action discriminates against Asian-Americans. The system of college admissions masks itself as a meritocracy but in practice is suppressing a historically marginalized minority group in the name of racial justice.”

    Well said.

    Race-based admission policy hurts not only Asian-American students, but also those who were less qualified but got admitted to the same or even better colleges anyway. Those students are more likely to struggle during their college years and less likely to graduate from college than their Asian-American peers. I am quite sure it is also empirically evident that Asian-American college students have the highest graduation rate than other race groups, for obvious reasons – they are most qualified. So race-based admission policy hurts everybody.

  19. I get there are potentially good reasons for affirmative action for underrepresented minorities. I don’t think Asians should be discriminated against versus their White peers, though. There is no plausible explanation for the latter, other than racism. It’s unfortunate that I counsel my half-Asian, half-White sons to consider marking White on their applications (it’s just as true as their marking Asian, after all), to increase their chances of getting into the school of their choice.

  20. Thank you, Georgetown University for speaking up! Our nation will be much better without race based admission.

  21. Brave heart says:

    To those who think SAT score is the only thing Asian students do better:

    Please understand that SAT score is only one of the measurements of college admission process. It really does not matter which bar/tests you use to measure the students, Asian American students are intentionally and unfairly discriminated against. If you look for leadership qualities or music talents or community services, the Asian American students have them! But it did not matter. Skin color has become more paramount than any other factor, period.

    As a society, should we promote merit-based system or socialist-based equal outcome system? Would you watch NFL or NBA if they are AA enforced? When you need a heart surgeon, do you care what skin color or the skill set the surgeon has?

    The hard truth that is difficult for the African American Community to face, which really needs some courage from their leaders to speak out, is the fact that 72% of new born African American children are born out of wedlock. While Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are at 17%. No fathers. Family, family, family! This is the key factor why Asian American kids perform better in school. Should the kids be punished in college admission process because their fathers marry their mothers?

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2013/jul/29/don-lemon/cnns-don-lemon-says-more-72-percent-african-americ/

    • Well said!

    • If family structure (i.e.single parent family) is the hidden cause for their poor academic achievements, why it doesn’t affect the sports or physical related achievements, like NBA or NFL? There should be some other sensible theories to explain the phenomenon.

  22. Brave heart, good point, should the NFL and NBA draft follow affirmative action?

  23. Pingback: LETTER TO THE EDITOR: We Are Not Your Racial Wedge

  24. better than u says:

    this is bad content^tm and u should feel bad

  25. Whether you admit it or not, or whether it is politically correct to say it, not everyone was created with the same talent. For any parent with multiple children, they know their kids are born with different gifts.

    Overall, African Americans have better physical abilities that make them more gifted for certain sports than Asian Americans or other races. This is a fact — we’re talking about percentage-wise, nothing racist or anything here. For any sport, if a kid with certain gift perseveres in it, with some good luck, he/she can excel at it. But we are talking about ‘in general’ here. Therefore, yes, NFL and NBA will always have more African American players in them, because they are selected by merit.

    What should make people think is: Asian Americans accept the fact that NFL and NBA have most players who are African Americans. There is no complain about it from their community. Why not the same on college admission from others?

    Another reason is cultural related. Asian parents do not want to see their kids get injured in sports and usually avoid getting kids into aggressive sports. That reduces opportunity for participation. Basketball is a little safer and hence you can occasionally see players like Jeremy Lin who went to Harvard and became professional NBA player. Yet, unknown to many, he runs into lots of discrimination from other players who are of different color. Recently, he put up some hair-do similar to African American players, and some famous player bashed on him and was really mean to him.

  26. One thing we often forget is that, a lot of things are by choice, which is related to culture or tradition. For example, you rarely see any girls from Asian American community participate in Cheer-leading in schools (please, we only talk about percentage, not individual case here), and that is because Asian parents do not encourage their kids to participate in such activities due to many reasons. Of course, there is always some Asian kids do it, but not often.

    For figure skating, it’s especially true. We see some Chinese American kids do it, but seldom Indian American kids. It is all related to parenting/expectation/tradition/culture etc… Again, every sport or category has exceptions, we only talk about general case here.

    Majority or almost all Asian parents push their kids in school, so it’s no surprise that much higher percentage of Asian American students outperform any other race percentage wise. It has something to do with families — their values and choices. And Asian American parents sacrifice a lot for their kids. It is even common that parents put off divorce in order to wait for the kids to enter college so as not to affect their school performance. I know of Asian parents who went through divorce and never told their sons who are in high school. The couple lived peacefully together in the same house to maintain harmony and not create distress for their kids – though legally they have divorced each other. Neither parent looked for another companion and their sons both went into Ivy League schools. Only after that, they learned that their parents had divorced.

    So one can not only look at the end result and complain that it is not fair. There are so much commitment, dedication, sacrifice and perseverance that Asian American community possess in order to achieve what they have. And it deserves recognition and fair treatment.

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