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By Felicia J. Persaud

News Americas, FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Fri. July 6, 2023: When the Supreme Court cut affirmative action out of college admissions programs nationally on June 29th, and specifically at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, it did so based on a lawsuit brought by a group of Asian-American students, under the umbrella organization, Students for Fair Admissions, (SFFA), headed by a Jewish American man.

The students, mainly second-generation Chinese immigrants like Calvin Yang, joined the SFFA lawsuit because they felt they did not get into Harvard or Chapel Hill, because that slot went to someone else in the “minority.” In the lie they were sold, it’s because the colleges wanted to meet a diversity quota on Black and Latino students and so their high GPA and SAT scores did not matter, and so they were kept out from the coveted spot.

But the harsh reality is that Asian Americans who were party to this case were sold a lie that make them victims of the very system that helped them in the past, and which they have now fought to end.

Their enemy in this was not Affirmative Action but good old White privilege, and the data proves it. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research working paper series by Peter Arcidiacono, Josh Kinsler and Tyler Ransom, 43 percent of white students admitted to Harvard fell under the categories of “recruited athletes, legacy students and children of faculty and staff, a category known as ALDC.” This percentage also includes the “dean’s interest list,” consisting of applicants whose parents or relatives made donations to the university.  

They were not Black or Latinos, but White!

The research goes on to state that “recruited athletes’ preference” at elite institutions primarily benefits students from rich, white families, where Ivy League teams are heavy on sports with a country-club sheen, such as tennis, golf and lacrosse.

By contrast, the researchers said, no more than 16 percent of admitted students who were African American, Asian-American, or Hispanic fell into one of those favored categories. Yes 43 versus 16.

Meanwhile, here’s the real shocker! According to the researchers, roughly 75 percent of white students admitted from those categories identified as “ALDCs,” “would have been rejected if they had been treated as white non-ALDCs.”

Ironically the study’s statistics come from data made publicly available in the same SFFA case before SCOTUS, but the data was twisted for its own purpose.

Yet, the evidence of this is decades old. So much so that the Harvard class of 2021 was the first to be majority non-white in the school’s nearly 380-year history. But the school still lags far behind in economic diversity. As Harvard Magazine noted in 2017: “More than half of Harvard students come from the top 10 percent of the income distribution, and the vast majority – more than two-thirds – come from families in the top 20 percent.”

Of course, a report last April showed that Harvard’s ties to slavery were transformative in the University’s rise to global prominence, and included enslaved individuals on campus, funding from donors engaged in the slave trade, and intellectual leadership that obstructed efforts to achieve racial equality.

The Wall Street Journal has also reported that over the past five years, Princeton University, another Ivy League university, admitted 30% of its legacy applicants, compared to 7% of the general applicant pool.

Princeton’s roots to slavery are also well documented dating back to the 1700s when a slave sale took place on campus in 1766, and enslaved people lived at the President’s House until at least 1822.

The acceptance rate for legacies at Georgetown University and the University of Virginia is also roughly double the rate for the overall applicant pool. Research shows Georgetown University relied on Jesuit plantations in Maryland to help finance its operations. And in 1838, more than 270 slaves were sold to keep the school afloat. The University of Virginia utilized the labor of enslaved African Americans from the earliest days of its construction, in 1817.

Indeed, enslaved Africans labored to build institutions of higher learning in the United States, and the slave economy was involved in funding many universities.

Since Ivy League schools are overwhelmingly white, giving special status to the descendants of previous attendees are obviously a perpetuation of a different kind of discrimination – one that the small group of Asian American plaintiffs failed to address.

Instead, they attacked their fellow “minority” and immigrant heritage students, and turned back the clock on decades of selfless work done to ensure people of color could achieve some level of freedom.

In their selfishness and obliviousness, what they have now accomplished is a preservation of white privilege that will now ensure they too are kept out.

The writer is publisher of – The Black Immigrant Daily News. She can be reached at fe*****@ca*****.com

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