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re: maya's point, that's fine...but harvard has very few conservatives and in particular very few white evangelicals. but they're a big part of the country. isn't the discussion impoverished that way too? who cares? no one really

(also, first!?!?!)

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I love talking to conservatives at Harvard and am probably friends with way more right-leaning people than the average liberal college girl. Also Harvard essentially does rural/small state affirmative action too, so I think this point is overstated. It has more to do with the fact that young educated people are liberal -- many of my friends are left-wing kids from right-wing states! Also, college campuses do play a role in silencing conservatives (although this is overstated IMO). As a former debater, I'm very very pro-free speech and open discussion.

I think political ideology is pretty different from race though. Being conservative is a choice; being Black is not. I can't imagine discussing politics and history without hearing from a wide variety of lived experiences. How can we talk about policing without hearing from Black students? Female labor participation without female students? The Holocaust without Jewish students? As I said, the discussion becomes intellectually impoverished. Diversity matters.

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Jun 29, 2023·edited Jun 29, 2023

You seem to assume that personal experience is the most important element in intellectual discussion. What about you ability to think critically? To read and analyze ideas of people who aren't currently 18? Even the kind of knowledge and preparation you have to engage with certain materials effectively?

P.S.

A secondary point is to wonder whether the blunt category of "race" which would consider e.g. MY as representative of the "Hispanic experience" isn't insultingly reductive to achieve diversity of experiences?

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Intellectual abilities are also super important, and are most of the reason for admission to Harvard. I have never met a Black or Hispanic student who was not extremely qualified at the school. This is the whole point of holistic admissions -- consider everything

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As a teacher in one of your schools "sisters" i concur that excellent students come from all backgrounds. At the same time, however, not all ivy students are equally good. Some are better than others. I wonder whether more exclusively academic criteria wouldn't help produce a class that's even stronger, academically, overall? To use a rough approximation, what would happen if Harvard was composed exclusively of the students currently getting straight As at Harvard? Wouldn't that improve the level of the average class, and hence improve the Harvard educational experience overall?

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Who's "stronger" academically - a kid from a private school from a family that makes six figures that got all straight A's, and a 1600/2400 on their SAT's or a kid from an economically desolate area who has a single monther, but got nearly straight A's, and a 1450/2300 on their SAT's?

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The problem is that we need not resort to such hypotheticals; we know what the median black kid with those states who attends Harvard looks like!

They’re the academically capable but not brilliant child of middle-to-professional class parents.

If you want to actually help the latter kid, who is deserving regardless of race, then you need to mechanistically give *poor* children an advantage, full stop. Without regard to other characteristics.

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Jun 29, 2023·edited Jun 29, 2023

You need to distinguish the question of potential and actual abilities. How would you answer the question with regards eg to swimming ? Acting?

To my mind I’d want to take those who’ll do best, at least by senior year. If the gaps are too large for a student to do well at a rigorous environment, even though in a hypothetical better world they could have had they the resources - then that’s a genuine tragedy, not just for them personally but for the whole of society deprived of this lost potential. But it’s not something we can always fix when they’re 18. We need to fix k-12 education. We need massive wealth redistribution etc. and I’m for all of that, but there are no shortcuts, and attempting them may well do more harm than good.

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I work at another Ivy... I wouldn't say that the straight A students are necessarily the ones that are the most talented.

I suppose if we are to define academic success as the ability to get straight As at Harvard, then your idea holds up based on pure tautology. But I don't think the classroom made up of all the straight A students is going to be a classroom of better thinkers.

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Jun 29, 2023·edited Jun 29, 2023

I said "rough approximation". I wouldn't literally go by that, but, ideally, grades should reflect the quality of the work, and, at least in more advanced classes in the humanities, the quality of the work ought ot refelect the qulaity of the thinking (or at least the one the student is currently able and willing to share with the class - shouldn't that be the one that matters for the academic experience?)

P.S.

I have no problem with the suggestion that intersting life experience might help you become a kore interesitng thinker. My point is that we should judge people, directly, on how good/interesting they are as thinkers, no rely on some a priori assumption based on, at best, extremely rough correlations.

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I went to Northwestern for undergrad and Oxford for grad and I was far, far, far more impressed with Oxford's undergrads' depth of intellect/substance than I was NU. On the other hand, NU's grads are gonna rule the world of business so...

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Jun 29, 2023·edited Jun 29, 2023

Academic excellence is not the only thing that matters at college imo. There is so much learning that happens at a community level - in the dorm, among student-friend groups, in extracurricular activities, at parties etc.

So taking away institutions curation of diversity is, imo, a significant loss of educational freedom, both for those who would like to attend such institutions and for those who would like to educate in them, or those like myself who would like to support and promote such educational institutions focused on promoting cooperation rather than competition

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Jun 29, 2023·edited Jun 29, 2023

Sure they’re learning in the form etc , but it would benefit from selecting people based on the sharpest intellect rather than a “holistic” approach that dilutes that in favor of tons of irrelevant stuff (race being just one, if the most morally egregious).

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I feel pretty certain we could get better results on that front by eliminating legacy admissions than affirmative action.

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Why not both?

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Would Tim Scott have the same beliefs about policing if he didn't have the experience of regularly being pulled over for no reason? Intellect helps you navigate the world of ideas but those ideas have nothing to do with reality unless you also have life experience to shape them. That's the difference between a thought experiment and a real one.

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> Would Tim Scott have the same beliefs about policing if he didn't have the experience of regularly being pulled over for no reason?

no, but neither would a black 18 year old from a rich town who'd never been pulled over before.

if want you want is diversity of experience, filter on that. don't pretend race is the only possible option.

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founding

Is race all they’re looking at? A lot of people talk as though that’s the case, but I was under the impression that they actively consider geography, family wealth, and family educational background (ie, first generation student status).

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If the goal is having variety of voices, you would only need 5 or 6% of the undergraduate class to be black, in which case most 30 student classes would have a black voice.

That is a legitimate goal, but it hardly requires proportional admissions

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the political point is (to me) not that important, so i'll move to something where i think there is a major issue: religion. though i'm an atheist, i think cultural elites underweight the importance of religion in most societies because of their strong secularity. i don't think this matters for MIT or caltech, but since harvard educates ppl who go into gov. i think this probably a major problem if you care more than just 'book learning.'

i would argue religion is more important to most religious people than their race, and has just as much or more impact on their life and worldview. but perhaps others disagree and think white supremacy uber alles, idk

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I think we all need to be really careful about this. There are some religious people for whom religion shapes their lives and there are people who will answer "Christian" when asked, but who have never actually read the Bible, never go to church and for whom you wouldn't know until you asked.

Getting a fair representation of the variety of religious commitment is, well, the same sort of problem as Matt expressed in regard to race - it's very easy to recruit people who are Christian (or Muslim, or Hindu, or whatever) in the same way that Matt is Hispanic.

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It isn't even really at a denominational level, either. The denominations that believe that splitting (schism) is wrong - the episcopalians and the Catholics - have it worst, but most denominations have a mix of more liberal and more conservative/evangelical members.

Look at the Southern Baptists kicking out churches with female pastors - and the interesting fact that they had those churches inside the fold for 20+ years. It's genuinely hard to even identify the diversity of experience and commitment that there is in American religion, much less to generate a representative diverse sample of it.

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Plus there's the secret (at any rate my suspicion) that many pastors are more liberal than they let on to their congregations because 1) they've studied the Bible and religion academically, even in conservative seminaries and 2) they are dealing face-to-face with day-to-day struggles of their church members and pretty much have to learn the caring and supportive sides of their theology. (Although I'm not sure what the heck is going on with those SBC pastors. I think that's going to backlash in the next five years or so.)

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Harvard is also religiously diverse, although there's a lot of atheism b/c like w/ politics, young educated ppl are more atheist on average. This isn't a conspiracy; the school is pretty representative. Not sure what your point is? Diversity is generally important.

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Is it really all that diverse? How many that think LGBT+ is sinful? Lots of women wearing niqab? Lots who are not having sex before marriage? It's not just Christians or Muslims or Hindus, it's people who take the religion seriously, who attend a religious service multiple times a week and who try to live their lives by the demands of their faith.

I suspect that there is a much bigger percentage of Americans, even of young Americans who regard their faith in that manner than there are of Harvard students. It's not the atheists that I think people are concerned about, but rather the religious people who don't take it as seriously.

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Anecdata so take it with a grain of salt, but there's roughly 12-15 practicing Catholics at my (small, Northeastern, liberal arts) college of 3,000. Of the 12-15 of us there's probably three that do anything more than attend Mass weekly, though I'm not one of them so it's hard to say. I have to imagine that on both counts the college population is hugely out of whack with the country.

As an aside it's considered kinda gauche to say you're Catholic on our campus, so I wouldn't know the numbers if I wasn't regularly attending Mass and therefore wouldn't even really be able to guess at any other sect/religion's following.

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This is the sort of thing I mean when I talk about religious diversity. There may well be a reasonable proportion of Catholics in the sense of people who check the "Catholic" box on surveys, but not in the sense of people who actually attend Mass.

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Jun 29, 2023·edited Jun 29, 2023

Most educated young people in the US are pro LGBT and generally have more liberal attitudes, which makes sense that this is reflected in Harvard's student body. Also yeah I'm probably one of said "religious people who don't take it as seriously," a relatively secular Jew, and there's a lot of people like me in the Harvard applicant pool and at Harvard! literally nothing wrong with that; there's also plenty of Orthodox students

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Sure. But diversity would mean including some who don't.

There is a conflict in diversity here: if you want viewpoint diversity (and religious diversity, if it is to mean anything more than a nominal tickbox, has to create viewpoint diversity) then you will be faced with the problem that some viewpoints are hostile to some people. Can you include both someone who hates group X and a member of group X? But if you can't, then you weaken your viewpoint diversity.

Can you include both racists and black people? I think not. But that doesn't mean that you aren't losing something from your discussions by excluding racists. Can you include both homophobes and LGBT+ people? I think not, but you certainly are losing some diversity by excluding homophobes.

And you lose just as much diversity in a classroom discussion by allowing racists and homophobes as long as they keep quite about their racism and homophobia.

Finally, of course, there is one form of diversity that Harvard intentionally excludes: poorly educated people.

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I think what Just Some Guy, Richard, and myself are on about is that there is indeed nothing wrong with that but that we should also stop calling it religious diversity.

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Maya, just FYI, the percentage of Jews (of all stripes) at Harvard, is the lowest it's been in over a century.

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You've mentioned "young educated people" a few times in this thread but I think it's also doing a lot of work here in terms of mopping up the lack of view-point diversity. As Razib pointed out, that's probably fine at places like MIT and CalTech, but I think he's right that it creates some pretty big problems for society when government-centric schools do it. Perhaps we need to round up a bunch of evangelicals and keep them in a laboratory at Harvard's social sciences department... so that they can be observed and interacted with. I only partially joke.

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founding

Moving from teaching at USC to Texas A&M I’ve discovered a huge change on the religion issue. Even in upper division philosophy classes, where the students are mostly endorsing liberal/progressive political views, there are still a lot of highly religious people, in a way that there hasn’t been at other institutions I’ve been affiliated with.

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What do you mean by "young *educated* people are more atheist on average" Isn't that petitio principii? Are you claiming that the religious people are significantly more likely to be high school dropouts? If not, how, precisely, are they less "educated" than other college applicants? The fact is that the class at Harvard is , presumably, far more secular than the age-cohort as a whole, but the cause remains to be determined, and the fact that "elite educated" 22 year olds consequently are more secular cannot be used to reverse-engineer an explanation for this.

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Jun 30, 2023·edited Jun 30, 2023

It's not actually true that more-educated people are less religious; that's a widespread myth. Education is correlated with religiosity; people with graduate education are more religious than people with BAs, who are more religious than people with high school degrees, who are more religious than people who didn't graduate from high school.

The reason that it seems that it's true is that Harvard draws students from a very small social and geographic subset of the country. Harvard Law, which is more selective but draws more broadly across the country, is significantly more religious.

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Religious diversity is important to me because I'm concerned about cultural hostility to religion. This has been around for a couple of centuries with the rise of rationalism, but currently the more thoughtless among the population equate "organized religion" with 1) conservative political evangelicals 2) unwanted proselytizing and 3) the experiences of survivors of abusive religious situations.

I was recently informed in a NYT comment thread that the elite schools **are** religiously diverse. I tend to believe this, because any time I visit less illustrious campuses and read their bulletin boards, I see evidence of religious activities and groups.

Diversity doesn't just have to be face-to-face conversations. It can be walking through a campus and seeing posters for community centers for various groups, becoming aware of those groups and then hopefully becoming curious about the kinds of support people seek out and find.

As for religion, one of my "missions" in life is to suggest that people not resist exploring some kind of spiritual path just because it might be mocked by one's friends or because of a culturally preprogrammed internal response like "I can't go there because it would be irrational!" Religion is about a lot more than "believing as fact" some kind of supernatural proposition. (Another misperception floating around out there.)

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Your point is valid, but how would this work in practice? Attempting to capture religiosity and not just religious affiliation strikes me as impossible for a secular(ish) institution. Some private religious schools have applicants sign a statement of faith, but they're not shooting for diversity but rather the opposite.

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I think this would also be my critique of the Maya's assertion that "Harvard is also religiously diverse." It feels like box-checking. Like the guy whose grandmother is Episcopalian and who went to church on Easter as a kid checks the box for "Christianity". That's fine. I'm not mocking that at all. But it's also not constructive as diversity. He's going to have much more similar opinions to the peers he parties with than a devout Catholic convert who attends church three times a week. If we don't care about religious diversity, we should say that. And that might be okay. But I think we should stop pointing to stats that say "60% of such-and-such are Christians."

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To make a point that dovetails well with the theme of this article, there are actually a pretty decent number of evangelicals at all of these schools, but they are disproportionately Asian or black (and even more different from the caricature JSG references than David French is).

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Jun 29, 2023·edited Jun 29, 2023

The problem is I doubt most Harvard student actually encountered genuine religious diversity or ever interacted with too many seriously religious people. The US is so big, and so "bubbly" that most Harvard students aren't even truly *aware* that religious diversity exists. It's like living in 2d and not being able to even conceive of a third dimension. They think what they were raised to see as "diversity" is all there is, whereas you and I call it box ticking and have experienced some genuinely devout people who in many (not all) cases seriously offend our liberal values.

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Brand new subscriber here. Yes, I am an evangelical as well and people assume a lot about us that is not true. Or is not true of many of us. And yes, I have plenty of issues with the evangelical church today.

I think David French and Russell Moore represent Evangelicals more in the way I would like to see us represented.

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There's a Kellerite/Nationalist schism within the evangelical church that is long overdue and a very good thing.

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100% a good thing. It’s certainly given Mr. mel ladi and me more boldness in speaking up amongst our brothers and sisters in Christ. Our new young Pastor is not a nationalist, and that helps.

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I mean, considering Russell Moore & David French were both, to differing degrees, pushed out of the modern evangelical movement, I question whose wrong here.

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Where you're going wrong here is that because you are enough of a news junkie to subscribe to Slow Boring, you are equating "the evangelical movement" with *political evangelicalism*, but those are not the same thing. Both of those guys are still members in good standing at churches in Nashville that can't possibly be characterized as anything other than evangelical from a theological standpoint (Moore, obviously, is on the pastoral staff at his).

If you want to find out what the "evangelical movement" is, you need to visit a cross-section of evangelical churches and talk to folks, not read about them in The New Yorker.

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With due respect to evan bear, yeah, they’ve faced a lot of heat from the religio-political right, up to and including physical and economic threats to their person and their family. Both are seen as traitors by a twitter-loud segment of politicized evangelicals, most particularly the Trump-supporting ones. We could also talk about what Beth Moore (no relation) has faced as well.

R Moore, however, is the EIC of Christianity Today, long-standing flag ship magazine of many evangelicals (founded by St. Billy of Graham). French writes opinions for the NYT. They’ve not been ostracized, and both hold positions of significant cultural media power. As well, both are religiously orthodox in their beliefs.

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Like most normal people, most evangelicals don't follow politics at all or even read the news. In any demographic group, voting behavior tends to reflect the masses following the lead of the small subset of politics junkies within the community. This is not to say that there's disagreement between the masses and the opinion-leaders. Just that the masses are generally only superficially engaged with the issues.

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Jun 29, 2023·edited Jun 29, 2023

I have to say this is why I'm a fan of David French despite not sharing his politics. I grew up in a mainstream Protestant denomination and didn't get a good read on Evangelism, and he's filled out the picture in humanizing ways.

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I've attended both mainline and Evangelical churches at different points and think the difference between them is overstated by both sides. Yes, plenty of each group are loopy in each direction, but among the "normal" ones the main practical difference is high vs. low church, with little difference in teaching (except perhaps on gender issues).

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Agree. I am married to someone who grew up Southern Baptist in the rural South. There are definitely people who conform to the stereotype, but a lot do not. I have a knee-jerk reaction to religious stereotypes, though, because I am also a relatively progressive person who is also a practicing Roman Catholic for lots of complicated personal reasons.

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Exactly Evangelical culture is, well, culture. Religion, including rational secularism, are dominant aspects of culture, and every culture has positive and negative aspects. I just wish people would become aware of our natural tendencies to hypocrisy: If Muslim culture happens to be cool because Trump wouldn't allow anyone from those countries to enter the U.S., then why not adopt an equally open mind towards Evangelical Christianity?

For many of us, Christianity in its myriad forms is our cultural legacy, going back centuries. It makes more sense to at least try to understand it, because it has shaped who we are and what our country is.

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Even though there's a kind of overarching culture at those universities, every student's experience will of course be unique. It's interesting that the chief chaplain is an atheist, but a quick look at the Harvard chaplaincy page reveals quite a diverse bunch, with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship rating two chaplains. You can do a lot of personal spiritual exploration without worrying about Biblical inerrancy. (Wonder how those IVC chaplains handle those kinds of questions and conversations though.)

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Jun 29, 2023·edited Jun 29, 2023

I mean, there's currently pushback against Dearborn as they passed a law banning Pride flags or whatever.

But yes, the Muslim community is small, and the current prominent people in that community are currently progressive (Omar, etc.) However, if the socially conservative parts become more prominent, there will be more criticism of them.

But yes, as long as Evanglical's continue to support laws that limit the rights of young women and LGBT people, you're not going to be popular on a college campus. The other reality is that even a practicing Muslim (no alcohol, prays daily, fasts for Ramadan) on a college campus might have liberal views on laws regarding abortion, LGBT, etc. even if they're personally pro-life, etc.

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Like Conservative of "Liberals" :)

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Haha @ "a niece who went to college who will yell at them about stuff." Very few conservatives nowadays are unaware of their transgressions. It's what makes a lot of conservatives on social media annoying a la vice-signalling.

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I fear this may sound snotty and that is very much not my intent, but if it's very important to be around a diverse array of students to avoid such intellectual impoverishment, then top white students still have, and will continue to have, the option of voluntarily choosing to attend less elite/selective schools themselves.

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That said, as a practical matter, for the reasons The Boss here has articulated, I tend to doubt that the demographic makeup of the student bodies at these elite schools will change very much. The schools will reach similar results using proxies. The result won't be a shift across racial categories, but rather *within* each racial category, you'll get more students who do lots of nutty volunteer work and extracurricular activities (starting their own charitable nonprofits and whatever else), and fewer students who have great stats but opt out of the extracurricular rat race.

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This comment struck me: “How can we talk about policing without hearing from Black students?”

Why focus on Blacks in regards to policing? How can we talk about policing without talking to Asians? Why does a Black American have special insights? Particularly when you’re at Harvard? 45% of the Black students are from other countries. Right off the bat, 1/2 the Black students didn’t even grow up with American police.

Wouldn’t be great if we did have stereotypes like Maya has associating Blacks with law enforcement? How do we get there? Probably putting work into changing the data. Unfortunately young people like Maya do not want to take that journey instead they want to double down on the stereotype.

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Or sons and daughters of cops?

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I don't think being conservative is 100% a choice. At least at a population level. Andrew Yang talked a lot about how it's more like 50/50 innate/socialized. In any society you are going to have a significant portion of the population that is conservative in their outlook and it's good to recognize both the universality of that and the deep importance of having those people as part of the conversation in important places (in the same way you suggest having people of different races is also important).

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I am more lukewarm than others on AA (helps not to be an American!) - but I do wonder how much diverse opinions you get from someone who is basically the same as you in intelligence, personality types, and socioeconomic status except race.

For example, one wonders how many Black students at Harvard expresses the view on racism that Lil Baby does in his BLM song 'the Bigger Picture' (https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/atlanta-rapper-lil-baby-bigger-picture-song-1027815/), which is probably much more common in how working-class Black American men define and view racism.

If the goal is to increase the fractionalization of views - which is what the stated goal was under the policy, its not clear that race as consideration is sufficient (despite the costs).

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"How can we talk about policing without hearing from Black students? Female labor participation without female students? The Holocaust without Jewish students?"

These conversations also need to be able to happen *without* any students with personal experience. There are 12000 Rohingya in the US, or about .004% of the US population. Harvard has an undergraduate class of about 7000 students, and (as you note elsewhere on the page) its demographics correspond to the US population as a whole. But the statistically 1/4-person at Harvard who is Rohingya cannot spend their whole time at Harvard offering "local color" to classes on modern Myanmar and the Rohingya genocide.

The 30 Armenians have it a little better — if there's one class a semester, then each Armenian only needs to attend 1.5 semesters on the Armenian genocide. But what if they want to fulfill their Gen. Ed. requirement some other way? Will you *force* them to take the course (and thereby impoverish their education) for the greater good?

Humanities scholars use written descriptions of a person's experiences as a substitute for talking to that person precisely because it doesn't suffer from this problem: one can always copy a text. If Harvard can't teach students to extract lived experience from written texts, then Harvard is incompetent.

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Political ideology seems more important to discussions than race, though? People with different political views will have very different perspectives to offer, whereas a black progressive will probably make basically the same points as a white progressive.

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Hi, Maya. As a university lecturer in the UK in a wildly undiverse department (despite our best efforts; it’s a whole other story), I am actually regularly confronted with the problem of teaching on topics without the benefit of students representative of populations who are disproportionately affected by those topics. I agree that it is good to get input from students with direct experience of various phenomena like the ones you mention, but a) from the instructor’s point of view, we’re really trying to avoid tokenization or making students into avatars of communities they may or may not identify with (and even if they do, may not want to be called on to represent) and b) sometimes (like in my case) we just don’t have the relevant student experiences to draw on. But we can’t make our teaching contingent on the presence of that experience. To use one of your examples, the Holocaust is way too important to not teach it because there are no Jewish students present.

So I would offer a friendly disagreement that discussions on topics like those you mention are “impoverished” in the absence of direct testimony. Is that kind of immediate lived experience valuable? Of course. But it’s ultimately the instructor’s job to find a way of making material accessible to any student with the willingness to engage with it, and for us to have enough awareness of the range of opinions and perspectives that exist so that we can provide an intellectually rich environment for those discussions.

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Do you have a citation on the small-state/rural "boost"? The last time I looked into it (and it was a while ago) signs of "rurality" on an application like membership of FFA* usually hurt admissions chances at Ivies and similar schools.

*I'm sure someone will interject that FFA is a vocational program. It isn't - the name is historical. Some kids intend to become farmers, others welders, others geneticists or microbiologists or lawyers or a thousand other things.

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Jun 29, 2023·edited Jun 29, 2023

> I think political ideology is pretty different from race though. Being conservative is a choice; being Black is not.

In some sense this is correct and I totally hear your point, but in some other sense this feels incorrect. I do actually sometimes wish I had different political opinions than I do or at least that I felt less/more strongly about certain things. But I was pretty much born a neoliberal shill. I could force myself to vote against what I feel is correct I guess, but I don't remember making any choices here.

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Is there a large enough population of non-white students at Harvard right now to avoid tokenization in these discussions? And even if so, is tokenization is better than total lack of representation?

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Yes, Harvard is legitimately very diverse, the admissions office is good at achieving its goal.

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OK cool, I didn't know that. So yeah, this decision is indeed tragic for the student experience at Harvard and other institutions who are good at this.

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It is diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, religion, and geography. It heavily skews wealthy, though. The flip side is that the school can offer excellent financial aid to poorer and middle-class students because of the wealth of other students and alums.

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Yeah, the %s are pretty on par with the national averages -- I find it to be very diverse. But that is now (potentially) history. We'll see about race-neutral proxies

https://college.harvard.edu/admissions/admissions-statistics

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Maya, the ruling doesn't do what you claim it does. If a black student had an experience with policing, they can put that in their essay and get points for overcoming disadvantage and having potential beyond their measurable stats. What will be banned from here on is using the skin color directly, independent of whether they actually experienced material disadvantage. Universities will be asked to move beyond their shallow preoccupation with optics and do more real work to identify individuals with relevant life experiences.

What is your issue with that?

Also, how does fairness to Asian-American students figure into your view? Would you even have got into Harvard if you were Asian-American? You sound like a lot of progressives, that seem to wholesale ignore that this was a case brought be Asian Americans that were unfairly excluded.

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It also has far too few working-class students, whose perspective is likely to be at least as interesting and valuable as that of ultra-privileged kids who happen to have diverse pigmentation. The fact the so many in these institutions are hyper-focused on the supposed educational benefits from diversity deemed exclusively from the most arbitrary and superficial criteria, and care so little about actual differences in lived experience, speak volumes. This ruling is but the first step in a huge correction needed in American society, and especially the blindspots of the elites.

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I'm pretty opposed to the decision, but agree with you that we need to also prioritize socioeconomic diversity. Hopefully that will be a silver lining of this ruling as Harvard and other schools look to prioritize race neutral metrics that are socioeconomic proxies

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Why not adopt socioeconomic metrics for their own sake, regardless of race? How does race matte *per se* devoid of experience?

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For several reasons:

1) The lived experience of black and white people of the same socioeconomic stratum retain differences due solely or mostly to the way culture responds to their race: policing, hiring discrimination, cultural representation, etc etc. Exposing students to others with different experiences is a major goal of diversity programs.

2) Black people in particular experience economic disadvantage because of the particular injustices of slavery, segregation, Jim Crow, redlining, and discrimination in nearly every facet of cultural life. That's a generational injustice that simply is not a factor for poor white folks. Does it deserve redress?

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Jun 29, 2023·edited Jun 29, 2023

1. I’m skeptical of no. 1 esp with regards to far more salient things (eg where you grew up). The differences in experience and perspective between a black and a white child of pmc in an East coast wealthy suburb is negligible in comparison to either and a white person who grew up in Russia or even france.

2. This isn’t, strictly speaking, about race, but about the generational experience of a specific group of people (whose ancestors were victims of specific racist policies). If you want to help that group, for whatever reason (and I can think of many!) target them explicitly and specifically. The wrongs done to generational African Americans don’t justify a leg up for a Nigerian immigrant let alone for our own MY.

P.S.

I'd also repeat what I said elsewhere: "lived experience" is probably overrated in any case, with regards to its benefits for academic work. It has close to nothing to do with your success in STEM, and far less important for academic Humanities than is fashionable to claim in some circles. Moreover, to the extent that your "lived experience" makes you a better scholar, that should already be reflected in your work. In other words, its moot to debate what makes someone good at something. Maybe its "lived experience" maybe its genetics, maybe its a thousand other factors, most never to be disocvered - the point should be whether the work is good or not, whatever the reason.

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Jun 29, 2023·edited Jun 29, 2023

> Black people in particular experience economic disadvantage because of the particular injustices of slavery, segregation, Jim Crow, redlining, and discrimination in nearly every facet of cultural life. That's a generational injustice that simply is not a factor for poor white folks. Does it deserve redress?

No, not "black people in particular", a specific cohort of American black people whose ancestors were subject to these things. My friend whose parents immigrated to Canada from Nigeria, became diplomats, and moved to the US, did not experience any of that.

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Couldn't you effectively achieve both through socio-economic weighting though, given the disproportionate representation of black people in the lower rungs and from certain places? I mean Harvard could create quotas for inner-city folks of a certain income and end up with black applicants without ever having to specify an AA quota.

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How can race be devoid of experience? Like to the extent things like driving while black is a thing or security following people around a department store is a thing surely they’re not exempting Nigerians.

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In talking to African immigrants, at least anecdotally, I've heard that they experience discrimination in very distinct ways, including from US-born black people.

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founding

Different in many ways, but also overlapping in many ways.

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No, not surely. Immigrants very often look and dress differently and if you live in an area with a lot of them you can pick up on it quickly, even wrt Black immigrants. Some immigrant dress is very obvious, but even subtler patterns are noticeable if you know what to look for. A West African IT guy look that I can spot a mile away: wireless headset, 90s style cut of blue jeans, plain t-shirt and just a "different sort of face / hair" than most American Black people.

Of course there's something to the point you're making, and there are times the immigrant will be seen as just "Black". But race and ethnicity are confounded too much in the discourse with all the complexities of ethnicity are subsumed by over-simplistic Black/White thinking.

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And the best way to discover lower-class but college-ready students is universal SAT/ACT testing.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/14/upshot/how-universal-college-admission-tests-help-low-income-students.html

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Except now all the elite schools are shunning the sat because it exposes all their malpractices. It’s gonna get worse before it gets better, I fear.

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The president of Northwestern spoke in London on Wednesday to alums and was EXTREMELY (shockingly) candid about these topics. He basically said that test optional is the future (although not indicating his personal view of it), and also that the admissions office was going to do everything they could to continue affirmative action without actually being able to ask for students' races. Using zip codes as proxies, etc. I don't get too worked up about college admissions these days, especially given I live in the UK now, but I'm extremely, extremely disturbed at test optional policies, given how the "holistic admissions process" advantages students from upper middle and upper class backgrounds. Fine, include other stuff, whatever, but please at least consider test scores!

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It’s so blatantly unjust, and inefficient that I do believe it will fail, miserably, on all counts. What troubles me though is how we got tot he point that these people have this blatantly horrible obsession, and are unabashed in advocating for it. It’s the kind of jarring bigotry and unlawful conduct that hasn’t really been heard from my those kind of people since the 1930s…

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P.S. let me be clearer still. We live in an increasingly global world. The leading position of us academia isn’t set in stone and mandated by heaven. It was hard earned and will be lost if they give up on meritocracy and go full speed on bizarre anti intellectual niche obsessions.

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I would not say so. Working class people are generally less intelligent than those in higher classes, and intelligence is quite heritable. A fair and equitable admissions process should not sort people by anything except their capabilities.

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Jun 29, 2023·edited Jun 29, 2023

I tend to agree that judging purely on aptitude is the best approach, but at the same time argued that to the extent that we care about either "diversity" for its educational benefits (ultimately diversity of perspectives) or we care about justice-considerations in admissions, then in both cases class ought to matter far more than race.

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Intelligence has a genetic component, but there are highly intelligent people across the entire spectrum of humanity. What's interesting is discovering this by talking to people from different backgrounds and learning to recognize and appreciate uses of intelligence that might be quite different from those in our immediate culture.

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There absolutely are. They're just less common among the working class. I am against affirmative action because I think the most capable people should do the most prestigious things, not because I regard race as being uniquely bad.

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As far as I'm concerned, there's no way this could be known, given the cultural aspects of intelligence tests, the huge range of human cognitive capabilities and expressions of intelligence, and the expense of a full-fledged assessments.

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When I read comments like this I am reminded why Christopher Lasch is ultimate correct in his judgments.

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It’s untrue that Harvard couldn’t accept more working class students who would excel there because there’s a shortage of an intelligent pool to draw from.

The number of people who could excel at a place like Harvard *vastly* exceeds the size of their admitted class.

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Jun 29, 2023·edited Jun 29, 2023

Compared with graduates of private middle and secondary schools, it's harder for middle and working class students from public schools to come up to speed in a high-challenge university. In my day it took a couple of years to gain enough self-confidence to speak up in class and to write. These days I suspect advanced reading and concentrated study skills will also be an issue.

And then there's my brother who got into an Ivy League school (probably for geographic and economic diversity even then), majored in Physics and music so he wouldn't have to write, but ended up dropping out and becoming a journalist.

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Also, in terms of superficial skin color diversity, the best guesses I've seen are that only 10% of Harvard's Black students are "generational African Americans", the rest being foreign students or children of more recent immigrants. I suspect %s might be similar for the Hispanic and Native American she thinks she's benefitting from.

In other words, the status quo was a very different version of diversity than the one most AA-advocates claimed to be fighting for. If you want to benefit from exposure to underrepresented generational American ethnic groups and that's truly what you care about, Harvard was never the place for you.

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Really important point about generational African American representation -- huge issue for Harvard

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I did really enjoy learning about this via thought #11 as a discretely defined thing for the first time. It's something I've thought about in the abstract for a long time, and now I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one.

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For this reason I really think that nothing will upend the racial discourse in America more than mass immigration from Africa. Those immigrants' kids are going to do great, and it will totally scramble everything.

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Yes. Britain has reached the point where we have to operate two separate ethnic categories on the census and on diversity forms, one for Black (African) and one for Black (Caribbean). We effectively operate a third, which is Black (African) Muslims. Christian Black Africans do very well, Muslim Black Africans don't. This isn't anything intrinsic to the religions, it's that Muslim Black Africans are mostly Somali refugees who were often badly traumatised, while Christians are mostly West Africans (Ghanians and Nigerians, mostly) who arrived with lots of qualifications.

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Something that somebody posted here recently that really gave me a lot to stew on:

https://americanaffairsjournal.org/2021/08/why-are-racial-problems-in-the-united-states-so-intractable/

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I happen to be writing this from a college campus in a Southern state that is a quarter black. And, while the undergraduate study body comes close-ish to reflecting the state demographics, the black faculty, graduate students and postdocs are mostly (recent) African immigrants. (I am not sure how the HBCUs fit in, since they are relatively small.) The undergraduates are also mostly in-state, while the graduate students, faculty and postdocs are almost entirely from other states or countries, which is true of most public universities.

It seems to me that that difference with places like Harvard is that the student body is also mostly from other states / countries. So, to your point, they engage in the kind of superficial diversity that is driven as much by brand image as anything else.

To re-state the pipeline issue: The real question, I think, is where can one go to learn from a diverse faculty?

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founding

One relevant issue here is that academia is very cosmopolitan, and it’s never going to be representative of the region or location it is in. As long as regional minorities who end up in academia end up geographically dispersed like everyone else, it’s going to be very hard for local minorities to have significant representation - especially if they’re at all underrepresented even globally.

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Someone should explain that to the University of California.

https://dailybruin.com/2022/06/04/uc-aims-to-advance-faculty-diversity-to-reflect-california-with-new-initiative

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founding

Other than the initial chart comparing ucla faculty to students, all of that seems to be about getting more students from diverse California backgrounds into academia - not necessarily ending up in California, but anywhere (though it does seem like one thing they want is to create a reliable pipeline into community college jobs, which might more often hire local people).

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I can tell you from extensive first-hand experience that the headline is exactly accurate. They want the diversity of faculty to reflect the diversity of the undergraduate population. On its face is it about recruiting students into academia, because Prop 209 elicits Orwellian phrasing, but the policy directly affects hiring decisions—often over the objection of department hiring committees. Administrators really do view it as a problem that the faculty does not represent the students. As my first post indicates, I don’t disagree with that sentiment, but I also agree with you that academia is a cosmopolitan institution. It’s an intractable problem that puts faculty at odds with administrators.

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Not to mention that Ivy League admitted students from all racial backgrounds tend to come from the same income stratum (i.e. the top one).

Bertrand Cooper wrote a great piece about this a couple weeks ago: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/06/failure-affirmative-action/674439/

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I think this shows the fatal flaw that Lewis Powell first cast on this subject from SCOTUS when his opinion ended up being the binding one, in limiting affirmative action only on the basis of fostering diversity. Diversity comes in so, so many dimensions, and giving particular focus to only a few of them was always going to be doomed to failure. I appreciate the argument for racial affirmative action on the grounds of reparation much more to its straightforward nature of its goal.

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That was 100% not true of the law school. Big Mormon, conservative, and evangelical community.

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my understanding is mormons were big in the business school. but sure.

we have surveys of the undergrads tho https://features.thecrimson.com/2016/freshman-survey/lifestyle/

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13% identifying as somewhat or very conservative is pretty reflective of the national pool of 18 year olds. What is this supposed to show?

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Totally agree, as I responded above -- Harvard isn't discriminating against conservatives, the young educated person pool is just liberal. We should definitely promote free speech on campus though! Debate is good

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Maya, you keep stating that Harvard doesn't discriminate against conservatives and religious people. But The Crimson's poll cited above shows that Harvard's student body is DRAMATICALLY unrepresentative on both counts. See, e.g. https://news.gallup.com/poll/388988/political-ideology-steady-conservatives-moderates-tie.aspx. Your justification seems to be that "the young educated person pool" is "just liberal" and "more atheistic" on average. That is true but not even close to the extent of Harvard's student body. More relevantly, the "young educated person pool" is not racially representative either. Why is it ok, much less more important, for Harvard to use Affirmative Action to make its student body representative on race but not political ideologically or religion?

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Your link doesn't support your claim. 18-29 age group is 23% conservative. That's overall. Given that more educated voters skew left pretty starkly, 13% is not dramatically far off of what we'd expect from a random sample. Sure the plurality are moderate, but "moderates" are a well-established crapshoot.

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Because political and religious beliefs are contextual, malleable and nebulous. To wit, if I traveled back in time 30 years and talked to my younger self, we would both view the other's political and religious views as badly misguided.

The shifting definitions and atomization of racial that have accelerated in recent years are, I think, a big driver in the negative public opinions of affirmative action.

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Jun 29, 2023·edited Jun 29, 2023

The Gallup article linked below shows that ~23% of the age group identifies as conservative.

So they are roughly half as represented as they ought to be.

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You're looking at 18-29 year olds. For 19 year olds it's 13%:

https://news.gallup.com/poll/172439/party-identification-varies-widely-across-age-spectrum.aspx

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I am the person who linked to the Gallup Poll. You didn't read that right in a bunch of ways. That's the 13% difference between "democrat leaners" and "republican leaners". It's also from 2014. It also shows that 19 year-olds were slightly more republican leaning than the overall 18-29 year-old cohort.

I wish I hadn't linked to the gallup poll at all. FIRE and HERI have more recent, much more relevant data: surveys of enrolled college students. Among R1 schools in 2021, the ratios were 53% liberal, 26% conservative, 21% moderate according to FIRE. https://www.thefire.org/research-learn/2021-college-free-speech-rankings. According to the Higher Education Research Institute (whose 2019 survey is broader than R1), the mix was 37% liberal, 20% conservative, and 43% ‘middle of the road.’ https://www.heri.ucla.edu/monographs/TheAmericanFreshman2019.

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My guess is that the grand, grand majority of the national pool of 18 year olds have no strong ideology whatsoever.

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I doubt that is true of Harvard applicants though. Probably true for Middle TN State or CSU San Bernardino but not Harvard.

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Agreed, which I was talking about the national pool. College students in general are likely going to have more formed ideology, but it's just not on the mind of most people that age.

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No it isn't lmao

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It is if you just look at the subset who are strong academically.

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This is true. Harvard Law is much more conservative than people imagine. Yale and Stanford are the lefty zones.

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"Harvard has few conservatives" is tossed around a bit but I wonder if anyone's interrogated this recently. At least when I was there some 15 odd years ago, conservatives were outnumbered but also extremely vocal and punched well above their representation. The breakdown was something like 10% openly conservative, 25% openly liberal, and 65% indifferent.

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Heaven forbid a private university be allowed to value some things (say, racial or ethnic diversity) over others (sufficient numbers of ideological conservatives). Why, it's almost as if they can make their own decisions about what's important!

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Sure, but we can give an opinion on whether we think we should support their values or not.

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Sure, and the federal government can also decide whether it's comfortable giving gobs of money to private institutions making those decisions.

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Jun 30, 2023·edited Jun 30, 2023

I think you're right that demanding a seat at the table for ideological or religious conservatives doesn't make sense. To the extent that people are arguing for that (at a private uni) I'd agree with you. But I think a lot of the pushback in this thread is a) against the claim that Harvard is religiously diverse and b) making the point that a disproportionate number of senior civil and government roles are populated by Ivy leaguers and that their unfamiliarity with huge swaths of their subjects could be bad for society. The solution is obviously to round up a bunch of evangelicals and keep them in a lab at Harvard's sociology department.

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Jun 29, 2023Liked by Kate Crawford

First thing that I have to say is that I really appreciate Milan and Maya's takes being included as thoughts #4 and #5 that operate as a bit of point/counterpoint. I always like reading when there's respectful disagreements, that ultimately make our views stronger in the end. Thanks for the contributions, both of you!

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Thanks City of Trees! You are always very supportive of SB's young people

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Young people are pretty cool--almost by the "definition" of the slang term of cool.

And to bring this back around to diversity, I'm guessing with fairly high confidence that the median Slow Borer is Matt's age, someone like myself that's followed his work back to when he was younger. Generation and age also help to add differing perspectives to the table.

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founding

What percentage of us were born within 3 years of him?

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That's a good question! I was born within half a year of him.

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Bottom line treating people differently based on the color of their skin is wrong.

This is a big win!

Also agreed that we need to fix K-12.

Roland Fryer did an excellent Econ Talk podcast where he showed how to do it

https://www.econtalk.org/roland-fryer-on-educational-reform/

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"Indeed, in America there is a strange and powerful belief that if you stab a black person ten times, the bleeding stops and the healing begins the moment the assailant drops the knife. We believe white dominance to be a fact of the inert past, a delinquent debt that can be made to disappear if only we don’t look."

- Ta-Nehisi Coates

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Somehow I think taking from immigrant Asians to give to immigrant blacks will not heal the wounds of generational blacks who never applied to Havard in the first place.

And indeed I find it a strange ideological stance to pick which disadvantaged kids get help based on the ultimate source of the disadvantage, in all cases being out of their control. What is the reason the black kid who is a victim of red lining is more deserving than the white kid who's grandparents lost everything to some real estate scam or because the industry moved out of their town? I can see the point in differentiating based on ongoing discrimination but this is not the point Coates is making in this quote. Not all who bleed are black.

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I agree the issue is complex, but black people in particular were the subject of generations of systematic and deliberate theft of their wealth, and their descendants are absolutely disadvantaged by that theft. How do you address that very particular injustice? Maybe you don't! But then you can't pretend that America in any way embodies its ideals.

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First, you realize that generational wealth does not really exist to the extent you think it does. Before Germany and Japan roared to life as the economic powerhouses of the 60s-80s, they were bombed to the stone age, had 5% of their populations killed, disproportionately young men in the early prime of their life, and some multiples of those wounded, and then, at least for Germany, forced to make reparations payments. But in a generation they were arguably wealthier than they had been before WW2.

Most wealth, for most people, is created, generation by generation, not handed down. Asian people who almost all arrived post Slavery / Jim Crow / Redlining are plenty wealthy. Generational wealth doesn't really exist for the vast majority of Americans outside of a tiny sliver of the richest or few single or two child upper-income families that manage to do everything right for several generations in a row.

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Except Black Americans were explicitly denied the opportunity to generate wealth for the vast majority of American history or, if they were given that opportunity, it was at a massively smaller scope than that extended to white Americans.

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Do you believe for some reason that all white Americans possess intergenerational wealth at all, let alone intergenerational wealth going back 60 years?

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And you have no plan to give them wealth in any way that redress what happened to their ancestors or that would improve living standard now. The way to get wealth would be to create it, like Asian, and to some extent African immigrants are doing right now. Do well at school, two-parent household, stay away from criminal activity.

If you could generational black americans, on average, to do as well on those fronts as current West African Immigrants, who currently earn as much, on average, as white people, all these gaps would go away.

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63% of college students in the U.S. rely at least partially on funding from their parents to pay tuition and costs. The quality of neighborhood public K-12 schools is directly proportional to the average income in those neighborhoods. It need not be an inheritance we're talking about here. Why now, 10 generations after slavery ended, do the descendants of former slaves still have 10x less family wealth than the descendants of European immigrants from the same period?

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You believe all white Americans can trace their roots in the US back 10 generations?

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That and so much wealth has been created relatively recently. There are some initial positioning advantages granted from certain types of wealth (land) but so much wealth today is the result of current activity not the past.

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I don't think justice for the dead from the dead is even possible. I don't know which American ideal it is thst we should bring racial grievance into the future. We definitely didn't fully embody our ideals during redlining and less so during the travesties that preceded it. But race blindness seems to me to be a movement towards our ideals and not away from them.

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"for the dead from the dead." Here's another Coates quote:

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In 2005, Wells Fargo promoted a series of Wealth Building Strategies seminars. Dubbing itself “the nation’s leading originator of home loans to ethnic minority customers,” the bank enrolled black public figures in an ostensible effort to educate blacks on building “generational wealth.” But the “wealth building” seminars were a front for wealth theft. In 2010, the Justice Department filed a discrimination suit against Wells Fargo alleging that the bank had shunted blacks into predatory loans regardless of their creditworthiness. This was not magic or coincidence or misfortune. It was racism reifying itself. According to The New York Times , affidavits found loan officers referring to their black customers as “mud people” and to their subprime products as “ghetto loans.”

“We just went right after them,” Beth Jacobson, a former Wells Fargo loan officer, told The Times . “Wells Fargo mortgage had an emerging-markets unit that specifically targeted black churches because it figured church leaders had a lot of influence and could convince congregants to take out subprime loans.”

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This seems like straightforwardly somewhere where we can punish wells and reward it's victims. Justice that doesn't need any complicated elements, assuming Coates has accurately reported this case. We have systems, and where they are lacking we should address those lacking, for this sort of thing. What we don't have, and I don't think can be had, are systems that address grievances of one race against another.

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So remedial action against Wells Fargo would be justified.

But that does mean you take action against a different bank

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So what? They lent money to people at mutually agreeable terms. That this was illegal at all is absurd.

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The reason Black people are ‘more deserving’ is because many of their ancestors were stolen from overseas and forced into slavery so white Americans could benefit from the wealth they produced and build a racial hierarchy that has only begun to be dismantled in the past few decades. And rather than compensate these descendants or make any kind of reparation, (white) America insists that it’s colour-blind now, so all of that stolen labour and wealth remains stolen.

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Stolen from individuals by individuals who are no longer among us. And to my understanding of the economics this stealing left the united states and its citizens as a whole poorer and not richer.

But you've avoided my point. What your demand cashes out to isn't a righted wrong because we are incapable of righting historical wrongs, it cashes out to helping some people and not others on grounds neither person had any hand in. The slavers of the past will be no worse off because you decided not to help someone who looked like them and the enslaved will not have had their condition improved at all because some member of a tribe from an entirely different part of Africa is given a leg up.

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Jun 29, 2023·edited Jun 29, 2023

I would wholeheartedly support a 100% inheritance tax and a college admission system that required proportional admissions from each economic wealth decile coupled with 100% tuition remission.

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I would agree that caring much more about parental wealth than racial democraphics would be good. I don't want to broach those other subjects.

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“Stolen from individuals by individuals who are no longer among us.”

Irrelevant. The United States, which was the institution that sanctioned this violence, is still around and bears responsibility for the ongoing consequences of its decision to endorse slavery.

“And to my understanding of the economics this stealing left the united states and its citizens as a whole poorer and not richer.”

Irrelevant. Most crime tends to create poor outcomes for perpetrators. That doesn’t absolve them of responsibility or mean that victims don’t deserve compensation.

“What your demand cashes out to isn't a righted wrong because we are incapable of righting historical wrongs, it cashes out to helping some people and not others on grounds neither person had any hand in.”

If you were to receive compensation for wage theft that you experienced and i didn’t because I wasn’t a victim, would it be reasonable for me to insist either we both get something or nobody does?

“The slavers of the past will be no worse off because you decided not to help someone who looked like them and the enslaved will not have had their condition improved at all because some member of a tribe from an entirely different part of Africa is given a leg up.”

I’m not really all that focused on improving outcomes for dead people, so I’m not sure what your point is here. My focus is on ensuring that people aren’t worse off today because a bunch of dead guys decided a long time ago their ancestors weren’t human.

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This game can be played forever and in all facets. We have all inherited our relative position from incomprehensible numbers of forces far outsider of our control. My position would be very different if 80 generations ago one person did one slight thing differently. We cannot possibly calculate the great ledger of rights and wrongs that have placed us in our positions. But what we can do is evaluate the cumulative effect of those slights and boons and they handily cash out to current day material circumstance exactly. Thus aid should be distributed based on current day material circumstances.

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And ironically, the descendants of those stolen and enslaved people are richer and healthier than the descendants of those who did the capturing who still live in Africa.

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Interesting that your argument here is basically the same as the one that slavery advocates were professing in the 19th century!

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I'm pro-reparations, but affirmative action is the worst reparations program ever. It barely benefits the intended recipients and amplifies the insult by rendering their own achievements suspect in the eyes of many.

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If there was one positive to the Trump years, it was how they demonstrably showed Coates to be the intellectual lightweight he is.

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Coates is definitely not a heavyweight but compared to like Ibram Kendi or Robin Diangelo he's a pretty serious person. I guess the better question is why are ideas that are so pervasive amongst academia so poorly defended in the popular discourse. Like there are a lot of smart people who think these things. But where's the equivalent to Slow Boring for them?

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Even if we fixed all of k12 tomorrow we would still be punishing 13 years more students with unfair exclusion from elite institutions.

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Nobody is being excluded.

There are still plenty of ways to help the disadvantaged. For example, low income based preferences.

You just can't do it on the basis of race.

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Oh and they eliminated the racial achievement gap in just a couple of years. Including at the high school level

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I haven't seen mentioned yet, amidst all the comments along the lines of "would you really want to go to a 50% Asian school", is that these are the exact same arguments which were used to justify Jewish quotas a century ago. Turns out that some groups are really strong academically.

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Rather, the arbitrariness of the invented category "race" or "ethnicity" means that in any given period this arbitraray category will not perfeclty align with other cateegories (e.g. academic aptitude). However, those misalignments are fluid, since the racial category is arbitrary. To put it in concerete terms - young American Jews today appears to be closer to the Americann meidian compared to their parents and grandparents - probably because they are farther away from the immigrant experience. "Asians" (and other racial groups of a similar immigrant-profile, e.g. Nigerians) are likely to undergo a similar process. It's not something inherent to the race, but each generatino is liekly to have its "Asians" or "Jews" which will change over time provided the system is meritocratic enough.

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I’ve been saying “Indians are the new Jews” for a while now

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They are also kicking-ass in stand-up comedy, which is very much what Jews in the 60s-80s were doing.

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ethnic_groups_in_the_United_States_by_household_income

Indian-American income levels are off the charts

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One has to ask what socioeconomic status Indian immigrants to the US had back in India before they emigrated. (I'm guessing most Indian immigrants to the US come from upper middle class backgrounds in India).

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To answer what question? Regardless, whatever their ses background was, I'd be highly surprised if it's vastly different from say, Korean immigrants or Filipinos or Nigerians.

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Jul 2, 2023·edited Jul 2, 2023

"To put it in concerete terms - young American Jews today appears to be closer to the Americann meidian compared to their parents and grandparents - probably because they are farther away from the immigrant experience."

I disagree with this. Jewish Americans still have higher rates than average of higher educational attainment in the US. 60% of Jewish adults in the US are college graduates, compared to around 40% for non-Hispanic whites. 28% of Jewish Americans have a post-graduate degree, as opposed to 11% overall. Jews are still highly represented in elite universities (Harvard is 10% Jewish, Yale is 12% Jewish, Columbia is 22% Jewish, MIT is 7% Jewish, etc, despite Jews making up around 2% of the population).

"probably because they are farther away from the immigrant experience."

I don't know if you can attribute the "immigrant" experience to the Jewish academic successes in the early 20th century. Otherwise, we'd expect that stereotype to extend to Italian-Americans and Irish-Americans were model minorities with respect to academic achievement, but we don't see that.

Instead, I think you can attribute it to several things specific to Jewish experience. Unlike many other poor immigrant groups arriving to the United States in the late 1800s, early 1900s, Jews were more likely to be urban, literate, and skilled (tailors, carpenters, etc), rather than rural, illiterate and unskilled. Furthermore, they came from a culture in which one of the major avenues to status in the community, other than money or yichus (lineage), was educational attainment in yeshivas (Torah learning academies) for men. Furthermore, the society valued women having employable skills, so that they could work to support their husbands in the Yeshiva. Even as the population secularized, education was considered a route to high status in the Jewish community, in ways that it wasn't in other immigrant communitiues.

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I don't think you're really disagreeing with his point, though, right? People bringing over their culture and adapting it is what I understand "the immigrant experience" to mean in this context. Most immigrant groups don't end up overachieving in education due simply to being immigrants, but they all do end up disproportionately in some niches and professions and not in others. And he didn't say American Jews are just like other White Americans, he just said they are trending in that direction.

I think the numbers you're providing also probably underrate that convergence. For example, the 60% / 40% college degree among adults includes senior citizens educated in an earlier generation much closer to the arrival of most Jews. It might looks a lot closer if we narrowed it down to people under 30. And the 10-20% Jews at Ivies might in large part be due to legacy admissions. Notably MIT, which relies the least on legacy, is only at 7%.

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Justice Thomas concurrence is 58 pages of fastballs. Straight flamethrower shit.

"The great failure of this country was slavery and its progeny. And, the tragic failure of this Court was its misinterpretation of the Reconstruction Amendments, as Justice Harlan predicted in Plessy. We should not repeat this mistake merely because we think, as our predecessors thought, that the present arrangements are superior to the Constitution.

The Court’s opinion rightly makes clear that Grutter is, for all intents and purposes, overruled. And, it sees the universities’ admissions policies for what they are: rudderless, race-based preferences designed to ensure a particular racial mix in their entering classes. Those policies fly in the face of our colorblind Constitution and our Nation’s equality ideal. In short, they are plainly—and boldly—unconstitutional." ~ Justice Thomas https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/22pdf/20-1199_hgdj.pdf

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He’s been waiting most of his life to write that opinion.

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Broken clock theory proven true!

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I mean, if there was a single line to sum up all of Thomas's jurisprudence it's that one right there about the misinterpretation of the Reconstruction Amendments.

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Jun 29, 2023·edited Jun 29, 2023

He, and maybe Gorsuch, believes the Priveleges and Immunities Clause actually means something.

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https://overcast.fm/+QLhXBAtSg

This episode is also great.

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Taught at a mid-level state university. Many first generation college students, mostly white and Black, because in the Midwest. My former students are flourishing, serving the community, raising their own healthy families. If the role of a college education is to create more elites, then more folks need to go to Harvard. If it is to create a better educated population and enable a stronger middle class, send your kid to a state school. (They'll still get into Harvard Law if they're motivated and smart enough.) And almost by definition, they'll have a more diverse college experience, which is important in the real world.

Also, quality early childhood education is a stepping stone to success in K-12 for many children and families.

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I think the lack of explicit discussion about the special status of a few schools in a quasi-aristocratic role in American life makes this debate kind of weird.

Like state schools are just not doing the same thing as like 5-10 special ones that are about who will be in charge.

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This is for me yet another argument for making the elite schools much much bigger.

If they were the size of tier-1 state schools (of UT@Austin or Texas A&M or a UF, or OSU, or Minnesota-Minneapolis, or Berkeley, or UCLA) then there would be less competition to get in, but far more competition between the elite graduates.

Sure, it might mean that graduates of the Ivy League plus MIT, Caltech, Stanford and Chicago dominate the upper reaches of American society even more than at present, but they would also be a vastly bigger group of people - 200,000 or more in each class across those elite institutions.

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I agree with you. But these elite universities get their elite status from exclusivity: low enrollment and high rejection.

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I don't quite know what the mechanism would be to advance such a policy. I've heard Malcom Gladwell talk about tinkering around the tax code to advance similar goals but it sounds awfully complicated and prone to an enormous amount of oversight costs and gaming.

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Yeah, I don't know how you do that with private schools either, other than just persuasion.

With public ones, it's easy of course, the elected governments just require them to do so.

I suppose you could put some sort of limits on research grants and make those dependent on numbers of undergraduates per class? And then gradually lower them so Harvard needs to add 1,000 students to each class in order to maintain its research funding.

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I mean, by the standards of the rest of the world, we're actually pretty good at this. Like, there hasn't been a non-Oxford/Eton/etc. Prime Minister in UK in seemingly forever, and the elite top schools in France really do run everything, for example.

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I mean I get the sense this is true, though admissions to those institutions is a rather contentious public policy debate in almost all societies and our high level of individualism and diversity makes it worse.

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Almost like we shouldn’t have them.

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One of my major criticisms of Obama was his idea that somehow putting only Ivy grads in charge that everything could be fixed.

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Yes, I agree of course you don’t get to be in charge because you went to Harvard. But If you went to two state schools even with all that same drive you would have less chance to get those opportunities that fall into the laps of a small number of elite school students.

This is a lottery within a lottery but going to most state schools is to be denied the opportunity to be so fortunate.

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It's both.

The reason opportunities are given to Harvard graduates is because getting into Harvard is a strong signal of intelligence, ambition, energy and connections but also that means that people with comparable intelligence, ambition, energy and connections who don't get into Harvard don't get so many opportunities. Harvard themselves will tell you that for every student they admit, there are two or three who are just as good. Many of them will get into another elite institution, but the ones that don't are genuinely disadvantaged relative to those of the same abilities that do get into elite universities.

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As much as I appreciate Milan and Maya, I would dearly love it it Matt walked the walk and SB's next intern came from a fine state school.

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“we weren’t the ones doing slavery or Jim Crow”

I fully support the people who did slavery and Jim Crow having to surrender their slots in Harvard’s freshman class of 2024.

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Jun 29, 2023·edited Jun 29, 2023

I'm puzzled by this line of reasoning. If the police brutalize someone unjustly, the settlement for that person comes from public funds, even though the public was not the one doing the brutalizing. Isn't this how reparations work in general?

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founding

Proposing a system where LeBron James, as one example, gets reparations money from the government while the white steelworker in Milwaukee only pays taxes is a loser for the Party.

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Huh? If LeBron James gets beat up by the police you're saying he shouldn't receive a settlement if the settlement money comes from white taxpayers?

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I don’t think he means a legal settlement based on a harmful act against an individual, I think he means cutting someone a check because they’re black.

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No, what they are saying is if someone of LeBron’s racial background was beat up 100 years ago by police that LeBron does not have a claim to compensation for that past harm done to a third party 100 years ago.

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African Americans didn't have equal