Larry Elder

Li filed a complaint with the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, with the matter currently under review. On his college applications, Li left blank his country of origin and his race, although he did put down his citizenship and listed Chinese as his first language spoken and the language spoken at home. Inquires about his race, said Li, "[S]eemed very irrelevant to me, if not offensive."

Why did he sue? Li said he wants to "send a message to the admissions committee to be more cognizant of possible bias, and that the way they're conducting admissions is not equitable."

A study of the University of Michigan's 2005 applicants by the Center for Equal Opportunity documented the hit that white and Asian students take because of race-based preferences. In an apparent desire to increase the number of blacks and Hispanics, the school admitted Asian applicants with a median SAT score of 1400 (out of a possible 1600 for the test in use at that time). This made the Asian median 50 points higher than the median for admitted white students; 140 points higher than Hispanics; and 240 points higher than blacks. Of Asian students with 1240 on the SAT and a high school GPA of 3.2 in 2005, only 10 percent got into Michigan. But 14 percent of whites with those stats were admitted, as were 88 percent of Hispanics and 92 percent of blacks.

What's more, the "boost" given to Hispanic and Latino students by racial preferences often backfires. Peter Kirsanow, a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and a black attorney, said, "Would college administrators continue to mouth platitudes about affirmative action if their students knew that preferential admissions cause black law students to flunk out at two-and-a-half times the rate of whites? Or that black law students are six times less likely to pass the bar? Or that half of black law students never become lawyers?"

What took Asians so long to figure this out and file more lawsuits?

Perhaps Asians remain unaware of the damage these policies do to their own admission possibilities. Perhaps they consider themselves a discriminated minority, and thus support programs to "offset" the negative effects of their perceived opposition. Or perhaps they feel that despite the negative effect of race-based preferences on their own possibilities of admission, they feel sympathetic toward to the "need" to "help" blacks and Hispanics. Who knows?

In any case, 17-year-old freshman Jian Li now attends Yale. Not a bad foundation for a future. Just ask Yale law school grad and former President Bill Clinton, who, by the way, supports race-based preferences.

Larry Elder

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