Two years ago, the brother of actress Mindy Kaling published a confessional book describing how he posed as an African-American in order to gain admission into medical schools whose rigorous academic standards made his acceptance as an Indian-American virtually impossible. With affirmative action back in the news recently thanks to a (misreported) New York Times story about the Trump Justice Department potentially investigating claims of discrimination against whites (in truth, the possible inquiry was about alleged unfair treatment of Asian students), Vijay Chokal-Ingam appeared on CNN to discuss his experience. After summarizing how he overcame a subpar GPA by presenting himself as black, "JoJo" ripped affirmative action as codified racism and said he hopes President Trump will put an end to the practice, which he provocatively compared to Lincoln's abolition of slavery:
Trump has actually supported affirmative action policies, but Chokal-Ingam reasons that the president's conservative judicial picks and DOJ will undermine and eventually kill off what he calls legalized racial discrimination. Reacting to the news that for the first time ever, a slim majority of Harvard's incoming freshman class identifies as non-white, Chokal-Ingam expressed skepticism over the statistic. Borrowing Trump's famous (and deserved) derisive nickname for Elizabeth Warren, he cited the "Pocahontas factor," speculating that some significant number of students likely laid claim to dubious racial statuses in order to increase their chances of getting into the prestigious university.
On the question of race-based affirmative action vis-a-vis college admissions or corporate hiring, I have long abhorred the current regime -- which was once much more defensible -- as outmoded and unjust. Why should a wealthy Latino student from Beverly Hills or an affluent black student from Greenwich receive special advantages over a dirt poor white kid from Appalachia, whose family has been ravaged by the opioid epidemic? And why is it okay to make things substantially harder for some people of color (Asians) than others? Reaching these decisions based on skin color is antithetical to Martin Luther King's dream of a colorblind society. Race-based affirmative action should be stamped out; socio-economic affirmative action should replace it. It's simply undeniable that advantaged students from well-to-do communities have many more resources available to them than their underserved peers, creating a systemically uneven playing field. Offering a leg up to applicants who hail from from substantially less privileged families or communities is fair. I'd add that diversity of experience and thought are more valuable and enriching than "diversity" as defined purely by skin color. Plus, it's likely that a ripple effect of socio-economic affirmative action would also encourage some racial diversification, so long as certain communities remain disproportionately disadvantaged.
I'll leave you with this statistic, via Gallup last summer. While many in the media freaked out over the Times' misleading report, most Americans would be quite pleased to see racial presences and factors banished from the college admissions process -- including a majority of blacks and a super-majority of Hispanics:
Gallup: Majorities of whites, Hispanics & blacks all oppose using race as factor in college admissions. How would newsrooms poll on this Q? pic.twitter.com/AadYMDHY28— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) August 10, 2017
In total, fully 70 percent of Americans believe race should not be a factor in admissions decisions, favoring a "merit only" rubric. As ever, the elite media and their liberal social circles are extraordinarily out of touch with much of America.