Compare and Contrast, part II

But [Ron] Unz does not stop there. He goes on to report that nearly 20 percent of the Harvard College student body is Asian-American, and 25 percent to 33 percent is Jewish, though Asian-Americans make up only 3 percent of the U.S. population and Jewish-Americans even less than 3 percent. Thus, 50 percent of Harvard’s student body is drawn from about 5 percent of the U.S. population!

When one adds foreign students, students from our tiny WASP elite and children of graduates, what emerges is a Harvard student body where non-Jewish whites — 75 percent of the U.S. population — get just 25 percent of the slots. Talk about underrepresentation! Now we know who really gets the shaft at Harvard — white Christians.

Pat Buchanan, “The Dispossession of Christian Americans”

In Canada, by contrast, a race-blind university admissions process isn’t leading to the underrepresentation of minorities. On the contrary, the normal Canadian university practice of admission based on academic achievement has resulted in the over-representation of non-whites on campus. A 2005 Statistics Canada study found that 54% of visible minority Canadians aged 24 to 26 reported having attended university, versus just 38% of the non-visible minority population…..

Five years ago, I had the opportunity to spend some time at the U of T faculty of law. It’s the most competitive law school in Canada, drawing the best students from across the country. While I was there, a group of students began calling on the school to become more diverse and representative in hiring and admissions. Five years ago, to see if their complaints jibed with reality, I flipped through the school’s online student directory.

A quick eyeballing suggested that the complaining students were probably right about the lack of racial representativeness — though not quite as they had imagined. For example, the student body appeared to be as much as one-third Jewish, making Jews hugely overrepresented relative to their tiny percentage of the Canadian population. Visible minorities were 16% of the Canadian population in 2005, but seemed to account for a higher proportion of U of T law students. And non-Jewish whites, who make up more than 80% of the Canadian population, looked to be less than 50% of the law school’s student body.

— Tony Keller, “Finding the white students on campus is easy. Where’s the pub?”

Once More into the Trenches

According to the National Post and Maclean's, this is the typical white student.

There’s diminishing return, I recognize, in minutely critiquing every article produced by the “‘Too Asian?’” controversy. Tony Keller, the former managing editor of Maclean’s has written a very sprightly but wrong-headed article for the National Post on the issue. It takes a slightly different angle to the issue than that of Maclean’s, but not totally different. The problems I have with Keller are largely the problems I’ve already outlined, on several occasions, against Maclean’s (briefly, some very facile stereotyping, an unwillingness to look at the role of class, and also an unawareness that the type of program students are in influences what type of social life they have). Since I’ve already made these points, I’ll not re-iterate them.

 

There are a few quirky things in Keller’s article that rubbed me the wrong way: to float the idea that whites are underrepresented in elite programs, Keller comes up with the curious phrase “non-Jewish whites.” Now, as any historian will recognize, the whiteness of Jews is a historically contingent phenomenon: but since roughly the Second World War, it’s been commonplace in North America to accord the privilege of whiteness to Jews. Outside the far right, this is a widely shared consensus. So I don’t think it’s worthwhile to start talking about “non-Jewish whites.”  

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