We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The Students For Fair Admissions Case

Lionel Shriver, writing in the Spectator:

For American schools, the sole purpose of turning ‘diversity’ into a crowning educational asset has been to disguise the affirmative action that these same universities once openly pursued and now can legally enforce only by calling the practice something else. Fifty years ago, the notion took hold in the US that racial equality would never evolve naturally, but had to be socially engineered by giving historically disadvantaged groups an active leg up, especially in higher education. Bald racial quotas and substantially lower admission standards for minorities became commonplace. Yet using racism to combat racism obviously doesn’t sit easily with the 1964 Civil Rights Act, so multiple previous cases of this nature have ended up in the Supreme Court — whose rulings on the matter have been, to use a technical jurisprudential term, a big mess.

She goes on to explain:

What makes the Students for Fair Admissions case different is that it’s not white high school students with excellent records objecting to being shafted. Asian applicants to Harvard with dazzling grades and perfect test scores, who play the violin, speak four languages, volunteer for the Big Brothers programme, captain the volleyball team, adopt rescue dogs and memorise the value of pi to 31.4 trillion digits have still received rejection letters in droves.

Asians are doing too well and have to be stopped. They work too hard. They are too disciplined. They are too willing to make short-term sacrifices to reach long-term goals. They are too inclined to obey their parents. They stay up too late studying and get up too early to resume studying. Obviously it’s not fair.

The author goes on to point out what a clearly absurd situation this is. Asian-Americans remind us that culture counts, a point that economists such as Thomas Sowell have repeatedly pointed out.

One thought that occurs to me is that Asian-Americans who are denied entry for reasons of “positive discrimination” (towards African Americans, to be blunt about it) are increasingly likely to attend places more open to them, just as Jews, who fell foul of Harvard’s admissions prejudices for being “too focused on their studies” ended up forming institutions such as New York University (NYU), one of the greatest American universities. At the same time, this saga reminds me of the insight at which US economist Bryan Caplan arrived that much of the value of a university degree – in terms of the bump to earning power – from some places hinges around its “sheepskin” effect rather than because of the knowledge acquired by a student.

As an aside, I recall reading a few years ago this renowned book about the “Tiger Mom” phenomenon. And there is story about the rigour of mathematics education in Singapore.

The US lawsuit about Harvard admissions has gone to appeal and could end up in the Supreme Court. And that is where the debate is going to go full blast, because the ugly truth about “affirmative action” (aka, positive discrimination) will come out, and with it, the absurdity of the egalitarian idea itself. I remember a passage from Robert Nozick’s book, Anarchy, State and Utopia, where he pointed to the central fallacy of much egalitarian thinking, namely, the way that arguers for equality of starting points draw the false picture of athletes about to run in a race towards an end point. As the late Prof. Nozick argued, if life was like that, then anyone who came from a supportive, comfortable background would be forced to wear poor shoes or carry weights to give those from difficult backgrounds – such as those born in broken homes with no education stimulation – a “fair start”. (In real-life athletics, this desire for fairness explains the row about men who undergo sex-change operations and compete in women’s athletics events, benefiting from their higher testosterone levels. It also explains why drug abuse is a big deal in sports.)

But, as Prof Nozick said, life is not a race towards a fixed point. It is about people exchanging things with one another and transferring things/values to those whom they choose, such as parents encouraging children to read, or play a musical instrument, or play outside on their own and develop self confidence, etc. Only a person taking a zero-sum view of the world can object to such exchanges.

A final thought: there is no reason why a private organisation could not set out quotas or other, entirely arbitrary rules of admission. If it did so honestly, then it might for example have to say that “Hardworking Asian students from supportive homes might not get in because we have to ensure enough students from favoured group A and B who aren’t as capable and hardworking get a chance because of diversity”. Such a stance would, conveyed clearly, let everyone know that having a degree from such a place is compromised in such a way, and employers and others could judge such an institution accordingly.

Here is an article in the Wall Street Journal, saying that Asian-Americans are being treated as Jews were treated by US higher education more than half a century ago. (Behind paywall.)

23 comments to The Students For Fair Admissions Case

  • Eric

    But, as Prof Nozick said, life is not a race towards a fixed point. It is about people exchanging things with one another and transferring things/values to those whom they choose, such as parents encouraging children to read, or play a musical instrument, or play outside on their own and develop self confidence, etc. Only a person taking a zero-sum view of the world can object to such exchanges.

    The world is full of those kinds of people. The socialists I talk to online freely admit relative wealth is more important to them then absolute wealth, and they would rather have less if it meant nobody else had vastly more. I confess it all seems very petty and childish to me, but that’s the way they feel.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    . I confess it all seems very petty and childish to me, but that’s the way they feel.

    That also explains why they aren’t easy to dissuade. Telling people who are burned up with jealousy and resentment to get a life and more philosophical point of view is hard to do. However, in a healthy political climate, the claims of bitter, sour people should be relatively easy to resist. In today’s victim culture, it is getting more difficult.

  • bob sykes

    One way out is strict, detailed, rigid quotas for all groups: racial and ethnic, religious, sex and gender, political, etc. Generally, any category you can think of should have a share in admissions equal to its share in the population. Admissions department would have to fill the quotas from the applicant pool without any adjustments. For example, the US is 30% nominal Catholics and 2% nominal Jews, so Harvard would be required to admit 30% Catholics and 2% Jews, no more and no less.

    I would apply the quotas to faculty hires, as well. The US is 40 to 45% Republican, so the Harvard faculty would have to be 40 to 45% Republican. One might consider applying the quotas down to the department level, so Harvard’s department of women’s studies would be 50% male.

  • Rob

    such as parents encouraging children to read, or play a musical instrument, or play outside on their own and develop self confidence, etc. Only a person taking a zero-sum view of the world can object to such exchanges.

    Actually, I think the motivation is even more base than that – they just have a nihilistic view of their culture and detest anyone who supports it or seeks to advance it. Just sad, angry people, really.

  • Jim

    @bob sykes: thats my argument too, which is a version of the Alinsky concept of making your opponent live up to their own ideals. If equality of outcome is a ‘good thing’ then apply it universally, as you suggest. Which of course it isn’t at the moment, its only applied where the Left want it to be. Force them to sack half the primary school teachers and find men to do the work.To sack half the NHS and find more men to work in that too. Which of course they can’t do, so the whole principle becomes discredited. Which is the aim of course, but you don’t say that at the start………

  • bobby b

    From a law-firm-hiring point of view, what they’ve mostly accomplished is to take away the fungible quality that used to reside within degrees from the same college or law school.

    Used to be, if you looked at a resume from, say, a UIC John Marshall Law School graduate, who had an ending 3.8 GPA, you knew exactly what you were getting. You knew that the quality and output of that lawyer’s work during school placed him at a certain, knowable, level.

    With (first) Affirmative Action and (then) “Diversity Points”, that channel of information went away. If you saw a black Inuit female graduate with a 3.8gpa on her resume, you had no idea how much of that was due to “adjustments.” Student records became more like “climate data” than a true record of anything. The adjusting could overwhelm the information.

    Since 2003, when the US Supreme Court decided Grutter v. Bollinger, schools have been casting about for the replacement to AA. Justice O’Conner wrote that opinion, and noted in it that there would be no further need for Affirmative Action in 25 years. She wrote that as a hard deadline, which was her way (I think) to say “but I’m not dealing with that question today, and don’t ask me about it again until 2028.”

    But on that day, presumably there’ll be no more “we need to grant more opportunity to those who have had less of it” – it will change to “all students prosper when surrounded by diversity.”

  • Stonyground

    This kind of positive discrimination is racist in two ways. Firstly it discriminates against people on the grounds of race. Secondly it is an actual admission that some races are inferior and therefore need a leg up. Why are people who claim to be against racism such racists?

  • Fraser Orr

    @bobby b
    Used to be, if you looked at a resume from, say, a UIC John Marshall Law School graduate, who had an ending 3.8 GPA, you knew exactly what you were getting.

    An honest question — since I really don’t know. Why would you care when hiring a lawyer? Why would you not simply judge them on their performance on the bar exam? That, after all, is what actually matters. But as I type this, perhaps you have answered already. Perhaps the value of a lawyer is not entirely on his mastery of the law but on his work ethic, and perhaps success in the bar exam is not a reliable measure of work ethic? Anyway just curious.

    I guess it is just part of my broader question regarding the sheepskin effect. Would that sheepskin not be better issued through standardized testing? For sure I think that is true in the professions. It may be true in Science and Engineering disciplines, though they change so rapidly they are more difficult to test. And frankly almost any other type of undergraduate degree doesn’t really matter.

    It also comes from my current situation with a High School Senior applying to college. It is quite horrifying. The cost is just dreadful, the process is opaque and dishonest, and the value of the product is more and more dubious (especially with regards to the cost) and the college culture itself is horrifying. I wonder every day if I am doing my kid a disservice sending him to that cesspool.

    I think (and if I am honest, I also hope) that these institutions will collapse into their own irrelevance long before Justice O’Connor’s 25 year limit.

    And I also think, as I have said before, the root of this and almost every other problem in the United States is the school system. Were these black kids’ parents given a choice over which school their kids go to, if they could pull them out of the system that traps kids in big buildings with criminals and teachers who don’t, can’t or won’t teach, then these kids would have a much better shot at closing the achievement gap. To give these black kids college places or degrees that they don’t earn on academic merit or effort, is in many ways doing them a disservice. If you get a law degree you didn’t earn, when you go work at Bobby’s firm and they ask you to work 80 hours a week for three years, and where people’s liberty and property is on the line based on your performance, you are simply going to get crushed and people are going to get hurt if you don’t know how to work hard, understand difficult things and concentrate.

    The fix is not to lower the standard for them, but to raise the academic merit and effort they can muster. And it is the failure of the public school system (or parts of it) that is responsible for that. Typical liberal fix — paper over the cracks in a totally unfair way to hide a problem that they themselves have caused.

  • bobby b

    Fraser Orr
    October 14, 2019 at 5:15 pm

    “Why would you care when hiring a lawyer? Why would you not simply judge them on their performance on the bar exam?”

    The bar exam result tells you very little. In Minnesota, it’s a two-day trial by fire. Here’s the current syllabus:

    “Day 1

    The written portion of the exam is administered on the first day of the Minnesota bar exam. The written portion of the bar exam consists of the Multistate Performance Test (“MPT”) and the Multistate Essay Exam (“MEE”). You will have three hours to answer two MPT questions. You will have three hours to answer the six MEE questions.

    Day 2

    The Multistate Bar Exam (“MBE”) is administered on the second day of the Minnesota bar exam. The MBE is a multiple-choice test containing 200 questions. The MBE is split into a morning and afternoon session. Each session consists of 100 questions. You have three hours to complete each session.”

    You never know which subjects will be tested and which will be ignored. Students cram for everything, and then the exam hits some very small subset of topics. Plus, generally a prospective employer is only going to see an overall “pass/fail”. The bar exam only serves to weed out the bottom third or quarter (or, if you’re in a lock-out state like CA, three-quarters.)

    Different schools have different strengths and weaknesses. If I want someone well-grounded in theoretical conlaw, for instance, I’ll look at some schools, while if I want someone learned in the practical aspects of litigation, or UCC, or . . . whatever . . . there are schools where those things shine. Once you know what kind of education you’re looking for in candidates, you go to the grads of those schools, and you can then begin to rely upon the relative rankings that happen within that school, and then transcripts become important. Which elective courses did Johnny take? Lots of technical, statute-oriented stuff? Crap like “entertainment law” or “womyns’ place in the law”?

    In my world, the ideal candidates went to the fairly practical-oriented schools, took technical legal-interpretation courses, appellate practice courses, and then also concentrated in several fairly esoteric areas (and this is all in addition to the common courses in contracts, torts, basic legal writing, etc.), and they did well in all of those courses. The bar exam result communicates none of that information.

  • bobby b

    Part 2, I guess:

    “Would that sheepskin not be better issued through standardized testing?”

    They sort of do that now, in law. Whereas we used to take a state-specific bar exam, now most states use what’s called the Multi-state exam. Since every state’s body of law is different, the standardized bar exam can only really test on underlying theory – common-law roots that spawn the differing state statutes and the like.

    But that only gets covered in the basic survey-level courses. It’s in the elective courses that you start getting specialized state-specific knowledge, and if you allow students to take different concentrations, you’d need a different “standardized test” for each possible permutation of concentrations.

    Legal ed is actually very specialized. As an employer, standardized tests don’t help me much. Am I looking for someone to help in a real estate practice? Counseling for EPA compliance? Crim defense or prosecution? Chasing small-to-medium insurance claims? Defending the same? Doing due-diligence doc review for a mergers and acquisitions practice? Elder law? Patent law? The testing that I’ve seen might tell me if I had a good general-practice candidate, but that’s about all. It would be like trying to choose amongst medical intern candidates for neurosurgery by looking at a GP standard test.

    Heck, I’ve taken a pool of candidates and conducted my own faux-bar-exam to help choose when I needed someone already up-and-running in one area. (“Write what you know about “occurrence.” You have two hours. Go.”)

    – – –

    I don’t envy you the college search experience. Went through the same agonizing three times. Two tried it – one an A student in high school – and both hated it and left and ended up doing things they enjoy. The third knew better than to waste the time, and now does neat things in the NSA and will be in high demand all her life. If you’re going to make a quarter-million-dollar “investment” like college, you had better know exactly why you’re doing it and where you’re going. Most don’t ever know that, much less at 19. The hardest part is violating our social norm – “I’m not making my kid go to college – I’ve failed!”

    And, after watching a bunch of very nice, hard-working people get dumped into programs way over their heads (due to a lack of rigor in their undergrad and high school educations) and fail to prosper, I really really hate AA. You want to write appellate briefs on chemical-eng patent law, and you never learned proper English grammer and never had a chemistry course offered to you? Good luck.

  • Julie near Chicago

    George Reisman has a short piece out on Kindle for 99¢, entitled “Freedom of Opportunity Not Equality of Opportunity.” Which I think is precisely the point, but “Freedom” needs to be clarified, because the whole argument is that what I would mean by “Freedom of Opportunity” does not assume “Equality of Opportunity,” whereas A.A.-type folks would argue that the two amount to the same thing. That is, somebody with a heft of 98 lb. just doesn’t have the freedom to choose try out for the Bears: Practically, freedom of opportunity to try out is denied him.

    Of course one counterargument is that if you deny everybody the right to try out for the Bears, the “opportunity” is equal (being 0 for everybody), which is not the case for F. of O. Just as, if no one can own anything then all are equal in wealth. But that sort of taking-to-the-logical-extreme is pretty thin gruel, even for me and even though it’s true enough.

    But this is Dr. Reisman we’re talking about, so I imagine he has something interesting to say on the subject. I hope he demolishes that argument.

    Per Amazon, the thing is taken from his Master Tome, Capitalism. I have this on some machine or other, one of which (the G4 PowerBook) actually still works reliably, and on a hard disk somewhere. Perhaps I’ll get around to reading it before the Great Frog calls, along with the Compleat Hume and the Compleat Kant. Also the Compleat Kolakowski (I have all three volumes, in print!, thankyouverymuch.)

    https://www.amazon.com/FREEDOM-OPPORTUNITY-NOT-EQUALITY-ebook/dp/B00VW8RJ26/ref=rtpb_4/134-7407028-7455122?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B00VW8RJ26&pd_rd_r=7a3ed3c9-cd6f-4e6d-acb7-9150f1a5e77f&pd_rd_w=M76N0&pd_rd_wg=xA1mG&pf_rd_p=f64fe19f-cff5-4efb-8b9c-4e918cb79723&pf_rd_r=KJ45ND3HX9VVG1FZZ7ZY&psc=1&refRID=KJ45ND3HX9VVG1FZZ7ZY#customerReviews

    .

    [An explanation:

    I almost always use the full URL because I’m told that not everyone can see his alleged destination by “mousing over,” and I skip shortened URLs because you can’t even tell where you’re supposed to end up, save for tinyurl.com, which allows you to set your browser to check at tinyurl.com to show where you’ll end up…which means an extra step, but at least you don’t have to go there blind. I see it as a matter of courtesy if nothing else. –I don’t know how prevalent is the problem of phoney URLs these days.

    [If the Team wants me not to do this, I will stop. I know that the style guide for those who write the O.P.’s specifies “hidden” URLs, like this, possibly on the grounds that they look more “professional,” or that they litter up the text less; the latter is certainly true, at least in cases such as this one.]

  • Fraser Orr

    Thanks for the detailed explanation Bobby b. My question would be though, why couldn’t they have more specific bar exams? The way that works in many other professions, medicine for example, would be that you would get a basic medical degree, and then when you go on to specialize you would become board certified in the specific specialty that you want to work in (surgery, internal, pediatrics etc.) and even after that you can get additional specializations in, for example, cardiac surgery, or pediatric oncology.

    Seems to me that the same would be possible for the law also.

    I mean, a large part of the purpose of certification is to offer a summary to those who can’t judge for themselves. If I am going to get heart surgery I don’t know enough to judge between two doctors. But I can use a certificate from a reliable certificating authority to determine which are judged by experts as competent (much, BTW, as you do when you get an https certificate for your web site.)

    But if I go to a lawyer what do I really know? I have to go on very soft things like the reputation of the law firm, recommendation from a friend etc. How do I know that Joe Lawyer, even though he might be a member of the state bar, knows squat about contract law? He might have spent his whole time chasing ambulances or in petty criminal defense.

    However, if there was a certification in contract law from the National Lawyers Association, I could at least use that as a proxy to make some determination. (FWIW, it is one of the few things that I like about unionization of blue collar workers. If he is a union plumber you know that he is at least reasonably competent.)

    (Sorry I know this is way off topic, but I guess nobody here is going to much disagree with the OP premise that non academic discrimination in college admissions is horrifyingly unjust, a big cover up, and perhaps those given preference are often the most damaged by it. Though perhaps this last point is arguable. If Harvard has 1,000 slots and there are 10,000 people capable of taking up these slots, racial discrimination within that pool, wrong though it might be, may well not actually produce unnecessary failure in the preferred candidates.)

  • Mike Owens

    The vast majority of actual racial injustice in the US would be eliminated immediately if government and academia simply stopped using skin color as a method for arbitrarily forcing individuals into categories. Until then, the vast majority of racism in the US will be practiced by government and academic race hustlers who use skin color to objectify people.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Julie, fortunately I have the mighty tome, Capitalism, on my shelf at home and will look this up.

  • Mr Black

    Why can’t these Asians go back to Asia and study? Demanding a place in your guests home while refusing to leave is… strange. Why should American collages have to ask Americans to take 3rd and 4th priority so foreign kids can take those spots ahead of them?

  • Why can’t these Asians go back to Asia and study? (Mr Black, October 15, 2019 at 10:46 am)

    While that might be a reasonable and legal policy towards those Chinese nationals who use their time at US universities to shout down and inform on supporters of Hong Kong, the ‘Asian’ students of the court case are US citizens – many of several generations standing – who are being punished for not having assimilated well enough to lose their work ethic (or the politics that can go with having a work ethic), and so would crowd out those minorities the university wants to favour if the university did not indulge racial discrimination against them.

    These are Asian-Americans in the same way that black US citizens are African-Americans. The race of a US citizen applicant can easily be worth plus (African-American) or minus (Asian-American) 150 SAT points to their admission.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Mr Black: Why can’t these Asians go back to Asia and study?

    Many were born here and are US citizens, and are as entitled to apply to places of higher learning in the US as anyone else born there is. It is a country of immigrants, you twat.

  • neonsnake

    perhaps those given preference are often the most damaged by it.

    I agree that it’s arguable, and I’m inclined to want to argue it – however, as a concrete example:

    Back in roughly 2003-ish, I was senior manager on a patch of (now defunct) mobile phone shops in East London, and I and another senior manager were interviewing for a bunch of trainees. We’d recently been trained in how to interview, and one of the things we had drilled into us was that if a candidate was unsuccessful, you needed bloody good written evidence of why not – especially in the case of protected classes, so that they couldn’t sue you for discrimination.

    So, late in the day, we’re interviewing this lad. Me and my colleague, two young blokes being put up in a local hotel (of dubious quality, but with a decent expense account), were paying less and less attention, we’d got enough suitable candidates, when this lad we’re interviewing says the word “partner” in a fashion that sets off my gaydar. My colleague and I exchange a glance, and suddenly start paying attention to every flaw in the interview, because we don’t want to get accused of discrimination. I’ve no idea, now, whether we’d have offered a job or not, but we very swiftly started noting down everything he did wrong, in a way we hadn’t done before. It’s arguable that his sexuality cost him a role.
    Now, what we did wasn’t right. – not by any stretch. We should have been doing that all along – I’m not going to defend that. But it is arguably a natural reaction.

    (Possibly trivial side-note: at the time, I was dating a bloke. My colleague was aware, and it led to an awkward conversation later that night in the bar over whether his actions in the interview meant he was “subconsciously” homophobic or some other nonsense – even though I’d done it too. My colleague absolutely wasn’t homophobic, much like 99 point whatever % of the population, but it made him feel very awkward, poor lad)

    While Affirmative Action isn’t quite the same thing over here as it is in the UK, you can guess that I’m also really really not a fan.

  • Paul Marks

    The sickening hypocrisy and just blatant LYING of the judge who found for Harvard in this case.

    The basic point of the 1964 Act was supposed to be to open institutions to talent and hard work – regardless of RACE.

    Now one can argue over whether the government should have the power to do that, although Harvard is happy to accept taxpayer money (via government backed student loans) – but the law, right or wrong, is plain. And the judge has urinated on the law – to him Harvard has a “fine admission program”, indeed it is fine to discriminate in favour of some people (such as black people) because of their RACE, and right to discriminate against other people (such as Asian people) because of their RACE.

    The “liberal” elite are exposed in all their vileness – and, of course, their own children (regardless of being anti “white privilege”) get into Harvard and other elite universities (even if their children are morons) and get “good degrees” and nice jobs in government and Corporate America.

    The whole system, and not just the academic system, is RIGGED.

    Jobs should not go to people on the basis of where they went to university or who their parents are – an economy that is like that is an economy that is really just a Federal Reserve Credit Bubble. A lot of it is not really about production, ability and work. And such an economy can not last.

    “You have said that so many times Paul” – true indeed, it has lasted vastly longer than I thought it would.

  • The sickening hypocrisy and just blatant LYING of the judge (Paul Marks, October 15, 2019 at 8:23 pm)

    Who says activist judge says liar – it comes with the territory, along with a social justification for all the filthy things they do.

    Thomas Sowell has done a good job of documenting how some of those involved in the 1964 act never had the slightest intention of honouring the assurances given to get it passed. Discriminating against Asian-Americans for being a minority who discredit the PC narrative is just another example of the lefty law of merited impossibility: “That will never happen (and when it does, you’ll deserve it).”

  • Mr Black

    Johnathan, if you’d said “a nation of white, western European, Christian immigrants” then you’d have been basically right. I don’t recall a period in US history when they opened the door to mass immigration from outside this group and Americans would not have stood for it even if the government had tried.

  • Mr Black (October 16, 2019 at 5:56 am) at this very moment, despite Trump’s efforts, the US is experiencing serious illegal immigration and has done for a long time, so Americans are in effect still “standing for it”. I am not up-to-date on wall progress but I’ll venture a guess that it sure isn’t finished yet.

    Only in our generation has massive tolerance of illegal immigration been the norm. As late as the 1950s, president Eisenhower rather easily reversed an earlier attempt at it. But legal immigration of Asian Americans has been tolerated at periods. It began in the 1800s but was ended at the turn of the century. A “gentleman’s agreement” with Japan ended immigration from there by the Japanese government forbidding emigration to the US, thus avoiding the ‘humiliation’ to Japan of the US banning it. Less important China was not so delicately handled – Chinese immigration was simply banned. (The difference was important for recent Japanese immigrants who could bring over their wives and families.) Immigration became possible again after WWII.

    The effect was that immigration from Japan to the US tended to be good from the PoV of cultural aspects we on this blog notice, despite its being un-PC to notice them. The first post-Meiji-restoration generation in Japan was very pro-US. Busts of Abraham Lincoln were common in Japan and US ideals were respected. The cut-off in immigration was (very broadly) coincident with a gradual change to anti-Americanism in the next generation. In WWII, Japanese-American citizens, descended from this first generation, were consistently loyal to the US, despite being suspected, interned, etc., whereas Japanese-Brazilian citizens, descended from a later generation, were pointedly disloyal to Brazil (who eventually joined in WWII on the allied side) and loyal to Japan, despite never being offered the slightest suspicion or restriction by Brazil’s government. Had the Brazilian generation been the one naturalised in the US, we (except for the PC of course) would be taking a rather different attitude to the internment.

    (To be fair, the US government would have had to know much more than one could reasonably expect about evolving Japanese culture to know that the US Japanese could be trusted although the Brazilian Japanese could not. On the other hand, the US government could have been expected to know that the programme was strictly unconstitutional as it affected US citizens.)

    In more recent times, there was much immigration from Korea and from Vietnam, despite the efforts of the PC to prevent it – e.g. Joan Baez in 1975 called the orphan airlift a sham and demanded that all 50,000 of them be sent back to Indochina (where most would have died at the hands of the communists).

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Johnathan, if you’d said “a nation of white, western European, Christian immigrants” then you’d have been basically right. I don’t recall a period in US history when they opened the door to mass immigration from outside this group and Americans would not have stood for it even if the government had tried.

    Priceless. In my initial response I noted that Asian-American students were born here. Many came in legally, as Niall has pointed out. So that does rather bugger up your argument. Many of the Jews, Italians, Poles etc who came into the country did so under a legal programme that the first-wave population from Western Europe “stood for”.

    I suggest you familiarise yourself with basic facts of American history. Take a leaf from Asian students, and do the work.

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