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Ivy Jew update

Nurit Baytch posted a document, A Critique of Ron Unz’s Article “The Myth of American Meritocracy”, that is relevant to an ongoing discussion we had on this blog. Baytch’s article begins:

In “The Myth of American Meritocracy,” Ron Unz, the publisher of The American Conservative, claimed that Harvard discriminates against non-Jewish white and Asian students in favor of Jewish students. I [Baytch] shall demonstrate that Unz’s conclusion that Jews are over-admitted to Harvard was erroneous, as he relied on faulty assumptions and spurious data: Unz substantially overestimated the percentage of Jews at Harvard while grossly underestimating the percentage of Jews among high academic achievers, when, in fact, there is no discrepancy, as my analysis will show. In addition, Unz’s arguments have proven to be untenable in light of a recent survey of incoming Harvard freshmen conducted by The Harvard Crimson, which found that students who identified as Jewish reported a mean SAT score of 2289, 56 points higher than the average SAT score of white respondents. . . .

Unz’s analysis of Jewish academic achievement is predicated on his ability to identify Jews on the basis of their names, which proved spectacularly wrong for the one data set on which there exists confirmed, peer-reviewed data . . . This finding was not anomalous, as Unz tried to suggest, for I’ve been able to confirm that Unz also grossly undercounted the number of Jewish students in other data sets of high academic achievers . . .

Here’s the background. Several months ago we discussed a claim from Ron Unz that Ivy League colleges discriminate in favor of Jews, a claim that received wide attention after it was featured in the New York Times column of David Brooks. I originally reported statistical Unz’s claims uncritically (as did Tyler Cowen), but after hearing from Janet Mertz and Nurit Baytch, I came to the conclusion that some of Unz’s numbers were way off, enough to invalidate some of his larger points. After some exploration and discussion from all parties, it became clear that Unz had combined different data sources and used different rules of counting in ways that supported his hypothesis. This sort of thing happens: data can be slippery, and that’s one reason why open discussion and critique is so essential in much of science.

As part of our discussion, I posted elaborations and responses from Ron Unz and from Janet Mertz.

If you’re joining us right now, it might be best to start with our summary of the discussion as of 18 Mar 2013.

Baytch (who I described anonymously as a “correspondent” in my earlier post) wrote a long article; you can take a look at her introductory summary to get her key points. She goes into lots of detail in how she performed her estimates and comparisons, and lots more detail on various particular claims that Unz made in his article and in later discussion.

My take on all this is that it can be harder than it looks to do research using statistics. Unz’s original numbers appeared authoritative (enough so to fool Cowen, Brooks, and me, along with Unz himself) but they had big errors. To put it another way, Unz put in the effort to compile the statistics for his original article, and then Mertz and Baytch put in the effort to come up with cleaner, better numbers. That’s how things go in research. Many times, initial data seem to show something a pattern disappears in light of better data. As Mertz wrote:

Unz considered “five minutes of cursory surname analysis” a sufficient basis on which to claim an important unexpected discovery, i.e., a rapid collapse in Jewish very high-end achievement in the 21st century. Most unexpected discoveries are found not to be true when additional analyses are performed to test their validity.

It’s perfectly natural to get excited when one’s initial hypothesis is confirmed by an examination of some data, but the next step is to recognize that these exciting discoveries do not always hold up.

Unfortunately, our blog discussion of all this with Unz did not go so well, in my judgment because we were seeing a mix of two different modes of discourse. Unz, who spends so much of his time in the political arena, is used to politically-motivated criticisms and responds in kind, and so I think he sees the statistics provided by Mertz and Baytch as attacks to be dodged or parried rather than as useful information that can help him modify his understanding of the world. But for those of us how are not so invested in a particular position, Baytch’s article, and Mertz’s from a few months ago, should be helpful to anyone interested in further study of ethnicity and high-end college admissions.

The story that Jewish students are underperforming was plausible (to Unz, Cowen, Brooks, and myself) but is unsupported by the data. This isn’t the first time that someone has made a high-profile claim that collapses in light of a careful look at the numbers. It’s the nature of statistics (and science more generally) that a researcher can see some data and put all the pieces together to form an appealing theory that explains many disparate observations, only to find later that the pattern was explained by various combinations of errors, missing data, and wishful thinking.

P.S. As before, the question might reasonably arise: why do I continue to post on this topic? For an answer to this question, I refer you to the last part of this earlier post, the part entitled, “A couple more things (for now).”

P.P.S. Some of the commenters pick up on Baytch’s numbers from the Harvard Crimson. As Baytch discusses, these numbers are consistent with her argument; they are not the basis for her argument. In fact, when putting together this post, I was not sure whether to include that particular sentence in her summary, because I was worried that people would, on a quick read, think that this bit was central to her argument. But then I thought, numbers are good, and people can read the whole thing to get all the details. In any case, for those of you who don’t read the whole thing, Batch’s main effort is to use a consistent approach to counting Jewish names so as to get coherent numerators and denominators when computing ratios.

48 Comments

  1. Rahul says:

    The Harvard Crimson, which found that students who identified as Jewish reported a mean SAT score of 2289, 56 points higher than the average SAT score of white respondents

    I find the wide reliance on self reported metrics in social science studies a bit uncomfortable.

    Perhaps for religion there’s no other choice, but especially if you pair such questions couldn’t your conclusions be convoluted by too many other differential traits like caution, memory, modesty, prevarication etc.

    • Decker says:

      Its the harvard crimson buddy. A student newspaper. Not really social science, I think you’ll agree

      • zbicyclist says:

        A story in a student newspaper about self-reported test scores isn’t any kind of science.

        • Nurit Baytch says:

          To be clear, The Crimson’s SAT score data are not my primary argument. It’s an easily stated fact that supports my conclusion that there is no evidence that Harvard discriminates in favor of Jewish students, as asserted by Unz. I came to this conclusion long before I obtained the SAT score data from The Crimson, and most of my critique focuses on the following arguments:
          1. Performing Weyl Analysis (the distinctive Jewish name-scaling methodology to estimate Jewish population size) on the current (and publicly available) Harvard directory yields the estimate that 5-6% of Harvard undergrads are Jewish, which is even lower than Unz’s estimate of the % of Jewish National Merit semifinalists using Weyl Analysis (6-7%).

          2. Unz concluded that Harvard discriminates in favor of Jewish students by comparing Hillel’s Jewish enrollment figure of 25% to his finding that 6-7% of National Merit semifinalists are Jewish. However, I calculated that the correlation between a state’s National Merit qualifying score and its % of non-Jewish whites is negative, while the correlation between a state’s National Merit qualifying score and its % of Jews is positive (which is also the case for Asians). Due to this inherent bias in the National Merit data, the set of all National Merit semifinalists is a flawed proxy for the set of qualified Harvard applicants that over-predicts the “expected” percentage of qualified non-Jewish white Harvard applicants and under-predicts the “expected” percentage of qualified Asian and Jewish Harvard applicants.

          • highly_adequate says:

            Is the estimate of Jewish population size from the Weyl Analysis the estimate of the ENTIRE Jewish population size, or just the size of those who have the distinctive names? (And in either case, is the estimate counting someone of partial Jewish heritage as Jewish?)

            If the estimate you’re using is of the entire Jewish population size in a given group, then isn’t finding only 5-6% of Harvard students to be Jewish itself quite remarkable? Isn’t it a major dropoff from previous decades? (Apparently, the Jewish quota in 1926 at Harvard was 15%, and the percentage must have risen when the quota was lifted.) If these data don’t support the idea that Harvard has been biased, they would seem to support the larger point that there’s been a major decline in Jewish achievement at the student level, especially when combined with the comparable performance on the National Merit semifinalist level — which, I at least assume, is distinctly lower than in the past.

            What’s the situation here?

            • Andrew says:

              Highly:

              As far as I can tell, the Weyl ratio is not calibrated, at least not to the current U.S. population. So I don’t think you can take that 5-6% as an absolute estimate; it can really only be used to compare numerators and denominators.

              In any case, yes, I think there is widespread agreement that the proportion of high achievers in high school who are Jewish has declined in recent decades: two factors are that Jews are a lower proportion of the U.S. population than they used to be, and that there is a lot of competition from Asian-Americans. This came up in some of our previous blog discussions, where for example Unz was claiming a drop of over a factor of 17 in Jewish percentage of math Olympiad students, when the data showed a drop of a factor of 2 or 2 1/2.

            • Nurit Baytch says:

              Weyl Analysis yields an estimate of the number of Jews in a [large] data set based on the frequency with which specific distinctive Jewish names (like Cohen and Goldberg) appear. I discuss this in great detail here and here.

              It is evident that Weyl Analysis produces underestimates. According to The Harvard Crimson‘s Class of 2017 Freshman Survey, 9.5% of Harvard freshmen identify their religious affiliation as Jewish. Further discussion here:
              https://sites.google.com/site/nuritbaytch/#_edn12

              There has been a small decline in the % of Jewish National Merit semifinalists since 1987 (which is consistent with the decline in the high-school age American Jewish population), as I discuss here:
              https://sites.google.com/site/nuritbaytch/#_edn87

            • Steve Sailer says:

              Highly Adequate performs an excellent reality check by asking about the Jewish percentage at Harvard in the past.

              Let’s look at some historical numbers of the Jewish fraction of the undergraduate class. From the Jewish Virtual Library, “Harvard’s Jewish Problem:”

              “Jews at Harvard tripled to 21% of the freshman class in 1922 from about 7% in 1900.”

              So, 91 years ago, before the imposition of Harvard’s notorious Jewish quota that finally faded in the 1950s and 1960s, Jews already made up 21% of Harvard’s student body.

              All sorts of things have changed since 1922, but now at least we have a historical baseline.

              http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/anti-semitism/harvard.html

              • Nick Cox says:

                Historical perspective is rarely wasted.

                But the leading point of this thread and related threads, again and again, seems to be that these historical data aren’t worth a hill of beans if they weren’t produced in a way that can be compared like for like with recent data produced by explicit and defensible methods. I see precisely zero on that page that helps here in giving credentials for those figures. So, can we have any idea if that 7% or 22% is too high, too low, about right, beyond application of gut history?

                Naturally, if anyone can produce those credentials, or better data, that would be helpful.

  2. Nurit Baytch says:

    I agree with your concerns regarding self-reported data. Nevertheless, the ethnic/racial patterns in The Harvard Crimson‘s Class of 2017 Freshman Survey SAT score data are consistent with the mean SAT scores by race previously publicly disclosed by Harvard:
    http://www.thecrimson.com/article/1993/5/7/report-discloses-sats-admit-rate-pa/

    Also, the mean self-reported SAT score of Harvard freshmen overall was 2237, which was slightly lower than my prediction of 2250 based on Harvard’s officially disclosed 25th-75th percentile SAT score ranges and slightly higher than the mean score of students admitted to Dartmouth (2220). So I believe the self-reported SAT scores are fairly accurate.

  3. Rahul says:

    “My take on all this is that it can be harder than it looks to do research using statistics.”

    My cynical take on it is, “Priors matter!”: If Andrew authors a study concluding Bayesian Analysis performs better, be wary. If the Heritage Foundation comes with a study favoring low taxes, be wary. If Steve Sailer’s numbers reveal immigrants suck, be wary.

    In general, seemingly impartial research done be authors that have a legacy / history to favor a particular theory often ends up making more such “mistakes” than by someone more neutral.

    Sad part is that it’s really hard to get true third-party studies. Sometimes even originally impartial researchers often develop a conflict of interest merely to be consistent with their own previous findings.

    • Nurit Baytch says:

      Once again, I agree with your concerns, Rahul. I tried to address this by including a copy of my Mathematica notebook, so readers can see exactly how I performed my calculations.

    • Andrew says:

      Rahul:

      You’re too cynical for me. The advantage of science is that you can evaluate arguments directly! You can read my papers as is, no need for “third party studies” to decide if Bayesian methods are working for me. As for Unz’s study, all I can say is that I was ready to believe his numbers at first, and then I changed my views after seeing more details. I think it should be possible for Unz to accept the problems with his statistics while largely maintain his political agenda (with some changes, of course).

      • Rahul says:

        Andrew:

        The even bigger beauty of science is that arguments do not have to be evaluated in isolation but one can fruitfully use context to add value. To say that to you is perhaps preaching to the choir.

        Ergo, when someone like Unz asks us to believe his numbers (or analysis) my default priors are quite different than were it another researcher with no known political agenda.

        Intentionally blinding ourselves to past context throws out important information, I think. It’d be an unnecessarily self imposed naivete.

        So also, for arguments sake,a paper by a known Bayesian extolling Bayesianism carries less weight in my book than an identical pro-Bayes paper coming from a known to be frequentist.

        • Andrew says:

          Rahul:

          Yes, good point. On the other hand, when I extol Bayesianism, at least you know that I know what I’m talking about. If an anti-Bayesian starts extolling Bayesianism, you might be worried that he or she is mischaracterizing the concept.

          Regarding Unz: yes, he’s a political activist with a history of being interested in topics such as Jews and Ivy League colleges. On the other hand, his very interest in the topic means that he might put in the effort to get the numbers right. And of course Baytch is highly interested in the topic also, or she wouldn’t have put in so much effort to perform an exhaustive analysis.

          But, yes, I agree with your general point that arguments needn’t be evaluated in isolation.

  4. […] members (as pointed out by Prof. Janet Mertz). There’s now an update on Gelman’s blog here, which links to a more in-depth rebuttal of Unz by Nurit (which you can find directly here). […]

  5. Dubi says:

    One question I’m not sure was answered is how did Harvard themselves presumably know to discriminate in favor of jews. Assuming they don’t have access to a prospective student’s religion at the time of acceptance, we can only assume they will have to fall back on name recognition. Which would actually explain why Unz’s data had his results while subsequent and better examinations based on data that Harvard don’t have didn’t.

    (This is not to say Jews are favored in Harvard, just that I’m not sure the debunking strategy taken is legitimate in this case).

    • Nurit Baytch says:

      If it were true that Harvard were discriminating in favor of Jewish applicants, then we would expect over-admittance of Jews with obviously Jewish names and under-admittance of Jews with non-obviously Jewish names. Hence, applicants with the Weyl distinctive Jewish surnames would have higher acceptance rates than Jews in general. This also means that Weyl Analysis would overestimate the % of Jews at Harvard since there would be an elevated number of Jews with obvious Jewish surnames. That is, your observation actually strengthens my argument.

      Recall that Unz derived his enrollment ratios by simply comparing the % of Jewish National Merit semifinalists (6-7%) to Harvard Hillel’s Jewish enrollment figures (~25%). Instead, I used the same objective methodology on both data sets: Weyl Analysis yields the estimate that 6-7% of National Merit semifinalists are Jewish and that 5-6% of current Harvard College students are Jewish. Hence, there is no discrepancy.

      • Rahul says:

        One point that bothers me about Weyl Analysis is why are we satisfied with a metric being objective and consistent? Isn’t accuracy something that matters?

        Here we have a case where surely the Weyl metric is waaay off: Weyl Analysis shows ~5% of freshman as Jewish. OTOH based on Crimson data it is quite likely that the real numbers are closer to 15%. That’s three times as large.

        Now we don’t even know if Weyl consistently under-reports by a constant factor, do we? All I’m saying is it seems kind of shoddy to use a technique with no calibration at all (and calibration doesn’t seem that hard either!). Or am I ignorant and we do know in general what, say, 4% by Weyl means in real percent?

        Of course, “Unz used it so we did too” might be a defense but I wish someone actually did a more accurate estimation ouside of this “Was Unz wrong” debate.

      • Steve Sailer says:

        No, the concept of “disparate impact” or “adverse impact” has been well established in the law since the Supreme Court’s 1972 Griggs decision. It can be legally actionable for an employer to engage in seemingly neutral selection processes that turn out to have statistically different impact on protected groups.

        For example, if Harvard’s admission office was biased in favor of applications with socially liberal affiliations (e.g., the Gay-Straight Alliance) and against socially conservative affiliations (e.g., the Korean Christian Youth Chamber Orchestra), that would have disparate impact. Whether it’s legally actionable is another question, but the principal of disparate impact is clear.

        • Steve Sailer says:

          I’m sorry if my answer didn’t make clear I was responding to Dubi’s question:

          “One question I’m not sure was answered is how did Harvard themselves presumably know to discriminate in favor of jews. Assuming they don’t have access to a prospective student’s religion at the time of acceptance, we can only assume they will have to fall back on name recognition.”

          Disparate impact discrimination can be carried out in a wholly object, blind-graded fashion. For example, in 2009 case United States and Vulcan Society v. Fire Department of New York, a federal judge found the FDNY guilty of racial/ethnic discrimination for hiring by using a blind graded test of 50 questions on firefighting techniques. Judge Garaufis founds a “statistically significant” difference between blacks and Hispanics and whites on test scores, and that’s all the evidence he needed to throw out the FDNY’s hiring system.

          A statistically sophisticated observer might question Judge Garaufis’s thinking, but that’s the kind of decision we constantly see.

      • Steve Sailer says:

        “that 5-6% of current Harvard College students are Jewish.”

        I strongly, strongly doubt that the number of _ethnically_ Jewish undergrads at Harvard is no more than 6 percent.

        • Nurit Baytch says:

          I explicitly stated in the introduction: “Please note that I am not claiming that Harvard College is only 5-6% Jewish, but rather that Jews constitute a similar percentage of both Harvard College students and NMS semifinalists; that is, Unz underestimated the latter and used Hillel’s overestimate for the former.” I then emphasized in footnote 5 that I am not claiming that Harvard College is only 5-6% Jewish; I’m pointing out that using the same methodology on both the set of NMS semifinalists and the Harvard College directory gives similar results. As the percentage of Jewish undergrads at Harvard is undoubtedly higher than 5-6%, and Unz systematically underestimated the % of Jews in recent data sets of high academic achievers (yielding results within 0.1 percentage point of Weyl Analysis on the NMS names), it is evident that Weyl Analysis produces underestimates; i.e. Jews represent more than 6-7% of NMS semifinalists.

          I also cited The Harvard Crimson‘s Class of 2017 Survey, which found that 9.5% of Harvard freshmen identify their religious affiliation as Jewish, and estimated in footnote 12 that ~13% of Harvard freshmen are ethnically Jewish.

          • Steve Sailer says:

            I think you need to come up with a plausible explanation for why Harvard was 21% Jewish back in the Great Gatsby’s day, but would only be 13% Jewish today.

            • Nurit Baytch says:

              My piece is a critique of Ron Unz’s article claiming that Harvard discriminates in favor of Jewish students. Unz reached this conclusion by comparing the % of Jewish Harvard undergrads, as reported by Harvard Hillel, to the % of Jewish National Merit semifinalists, as determined by Unz’s subjective name inspection method, which gave results equivalent to Weyl Analysis by Unz’s own admission. I simply used the same objective, consistent methodology (i.e. Weyl Analysis) on both data sets, which showed that there is no discrepancy. As such, the exact % of ethnic Jews at Harvard College is not relevant, as we certainly don’t know the exact % of Jewish National Merit semifinalists.

              Variations in the historical percentage of Jews at Harvard College are clearly multifactorial. For one, according to Unz’s Appendix A, Jews comprised 3.2% of the US population in 1920 and 3.6% in 1927 vs 2.1% in 2011.

              • Steve Sailer says:

                But Jews were heavily discriminated against in 1920, both in terms of disparate treatment and less obvious disparate impact. Although Harvard’s quota on Jews wasn’t implemented about 1922, the number of Jews was previously still cut down by Harvard favoritism for legacies, preppies, and Protestants. For example, Harvard drew a very large fraction of its students back then from a small number of boarding schools for rich Protestants.

                So, you need a more plausible case for why Jewish enrollment at Harvard has dropped sharply since 1921. One argument might be that Harvard has affirmative action for students from out of the way places like Wyoming as well as the better known affirmative action for minorities.

                Still, I think the main issue is that Harvard has a much higher percentage today than in 1921 of people of mixed Jewish-gentile ancestry, which makes counting more methodologically confusing. Hillel, for example, has a very welcoming policy toward people who are vaguely Jewish, while other groups within the broad Jewish community tend to be much stricter about who is a Jew.

  6. Rahul says:

    In this controversy Hillel numbers seem complete nuts. And really insidious if everyone else is basing their numbers on Hillel.

    e.g. This source reports 30% Jewish students at Harvard

    http://reformjudaismmag.org/_kd/Items/actions.cfm?action=Show&item_id=1278&destination=ShowItem

    Jewish Currents Mag. reports 25% here:

    http://jewishcurrents.org/march-13-harvard-15693

    • Nurit Baytch says:

      Rahul, it looks like both webpages you posted are citing Harvard Hillel’s data. According to Unz’s Appendix D, your first link is from 2007. Harvard Hillel’s most recent “estimate” is that Harvard College is 25% Jewish, which is clearly a significant overestimate in light of the results of The Crimson survey.

      As reported by jweekly.com, “there is no standard system that Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life uses to count Jews. Some data comes from students who self-identify, other comes from admissions offices’ extrapolation or ‘guesstimate’ of those who identify plus those who don’t. Other campuses rely on historical data, and, most importantly, there isn’t a uniform definition of ‘who is a Jew.’”

      more info here:
      https://sites.google.com/site/nuritbaytch/#_edn88

      • Steve Sailer says:

        Harvard’s Hillel takes an inclusive, Big Tent approach to who qualifies as Jewish, rather like Israel’s Law of Return for who qualifies to immigrate. In contrast, Israel’s rules on marriage are narrowly drawn by Orthodox rabbis, casting out from Jewishness numerous Israelis, especially the Russian immigrants of the last 40 years, who qualify as Jews under the Law of Return, forcing them to fly to Cyprus to wed.

        Fortunately, social scientists don’t need to decide these prickly questions. They could objectively survey Harvard students and allow readers to come up with their own counts.

        For example, one simple way to garner objective sociological data would be to ask Harvard students: How many of your grandparents identified as ethnically Jewish, whether or not they were religious?

        0
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        For example, blogger Matthew Yglesias, who graduated from Harvard a decade ago, has a Spanish surname from his Cuban gentile paternal grandfather, but his other three grandparents were Ashkenazis. (This doesn’t mean they were necessarily religious. Amusingly, one of Yglesias’s grandfathers was the movie reviewer for the atheist Communist Party USA’s Daily Worker newspaper.)

        Considering the massive social science resources at Harvard, it’s striking that no academic seems to have carried out a survey of this fascinating subject that would seem so central to better understanding American elites in the 21st Century.

        • Nurit Baytch says:

          I asked Harvard Hillel how they obtained their estimates of Jewish undergraduate enrollment, and they indicated that Harvard used to collect religious preferences cards from freshmen but that this practice ended ~20 years ago. I did not receive a reply to my inquiry as to how Harvard Hillel currently estimates the percentage of Jewish students at Harvard College.

          • Steve Sailer says:

            Sounds like it’s long past time for a rigorous survey of Harvard students.

            I suspect that there must be at least one person at Harvard with the social science expertise to carry out a demographic survey.

            • Andrew says:

              Steve:

              As Baytch reports, the Harvard student newspaper did a survey of freshman asking these questions. It’s not clear to me that a research team could do much better than the Crimson at this job (and I say this as a Harvard faculty member myself with expertise in survey research). The tough thing here is to get a high response rate, and it could well be that the student newspaper would do better than any research team at getting responses.

              In any case, it’s good to get estimates from various sources, and Baytch’s estimates based on last names and other information seem pretty informative to me, especially for the purpose of comparing Harvard students to other groups such as various lists of high-achieving high-school students.

              • Steve Sailer says:

                The Harvard Crimson poll is specifically about religion, not ethnicity, which is, obviously, a major shortcoming when the issue at hand is understanding the ethnic background of Harvard students, a large fraction of whom are not religious.

                My proposal for a study asking about the ethnicity of each grandparent would provide much more information.

                Having read various articles and books giving behind the scenes looks at college admissions staffs, such as “The Gatekeepers,” my guess would be the typical staffer is unconsciously biased in favor of secular applicants, which would tend to hurt religious Jews.

              • Rahul says:

                @Sailer:

                To clarify, your thesis is Jews are discriminated against at Harvard? That’d be diametrically opposite Ron Unz who thinks they are favored at Harvard?

  7. Noah Smith says:

    Who.

    Even.

    Cares.

    It is 2013. The time for Jew-counting is long, long past. Ron Unz is a troll for trying to bring it back. Do not feed the trolls. Stop the Jew-counting.

    • Andrew says:

      Noah:

      Like it or not, David Brooks’s column has millions of readers.

    • Andrew says:

      Noah:

      To elaborate a bit: David Brooks didn’t just mention Unz in his column; Brooks gave Unz his Sidney award as one of the best essays of the year. Also, I would not characterize Unz as a troll. I think of a troll as someone who makes outrageous statements with the goal of provoking an angry reaction. Unz is a political activist who I think is making his claims in the context of attacks on the university system. To the extent that “Harvard discriminates in favor of Jews” is generally accepted by the NYT readership and others, this could have policy implications. And it’s hard to address Unz’s claim without doing a bit of Jew-counting.

    • P says:

      It’s 2013, and black-counting, Hispanic-counting, etc. are all the rage, with the respectability of many organizations judged on the basis of black and brown faces among their numbers. If Jews were counted in a similar manner, instead of being regarded as whites, social scientists would have to conclude that “white privilege” doesn’t amount to a hill of beans compared to “Jew privilege.” (White Protestants are probably the most underrepresented demographic in schools like Harvard.) If I had to go by the explanations usually offered for ethnic disparities by academics, I would have to conclude that there’s something mighty fishy about the Jewish numbers. (Personally, I think Jewish overrepresentation in most fields is, by and large, based on merit resulting from genetic superiority.)

    • Steve Sailer says:

      Dear Noah:

      Here’s the opening sentence of a yesterday’s column by a famous NY Times columnist:

      Twitter, Women and Power

      By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

      “Twitter is on schedule to go public as a company next month, a sparkling symbol of innovation, technology — and stale, old thinking reflected in a board of seven white men.”

      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/24/opinion/kristof-twitter-women-power.html?hp

      Counting white men on the Twitter board for the purpose of making a racist, sexist, and just plain embarrassingly stupid attack on white men qua white men appears to A-OK in our culture.

    • Steve Sailer says:

      Noah Smith says:

      “Who.

      “Even.

      “Cares.

      Jewish groups care, enormously. The American Jewish press and the Israeli press is full of articles counting the number of Jews at the top of this or that field. For example, here is Forbes Israel’s recent cover story enumerating the Jewish billionaires in the world

      היהודים העשירים בעולם
      המיליארדרים היהודים מהווים 11% מתוך רשימת המיליארדרים העולמית, והונם המשותף מגיע ל-812 מיליארד דולר. מי נמצא בפסגה, ובכמה מקומות הידרדר מארק צוקרברג?

      http://www.forbes.co.il/rating/list.aspx?en6v0tVq=FK

      You can use Google Translate to translate Forbes Israel’s list from Hebrew to English.

  8. Steve Sailer says:

    I don’t have any inside information on Harvard College admissions, but I do know that Harvard-Westlake prep school just north of Beverly Hills, the most academically prestigious private school in Los Angeles, was actively discriminating against East Asians in admissions at least as far back as 1981.

    This is likely relevant to Harvard College today because this was not some remnant of the past, but a response to the new demographic reality of a rapid growth of affluent East Asians in Los Angeles in the 1970s. A friend who was a teacher at Harvard prep school (and had a doctorate from Harvard U.) told me in 1981 that his school’s admission department required higher test scores and GPAs from Chinese applicants to keep them from filling up the school and reducing classroom discussions to “Will this be on the test?” In his view, Jewish students made for better classroom discussions than Chinese students.

    The Harvard prep school observations may be totally deplorable, but it’s likely that similar attitudes emerged among other elite institutions as the percentage of East Asians grew.

  9. […] 30Oct2013: It appears that Unz’s data was […]

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