TUESDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2021
The way we look to Others: How does our infallible tribe occasionally look to The Others? In particular, how do we look to Others with regard to issues concerning gender and race?
Being able to answer such questions isn't always one of our tribe's strongest skills. For today, consider something we read at New York magazine's Intelligencer site.
James D. Walsh was doing the honors, dropping a series of bombs on "the finest schools." The headlines on his interview piece read like this:
Harvard Has Too Much Money to Have So Few Students
Scott Galloway on elite universities’ unethical obsession with exclusivity and prestige.
At this site, we aren't big fans of the finest schools, but at one point we were struck by something Walsh said. It struck us as an odd thing to say—and we suspect that we may know how this looks to some Others:
WALSH (10/25/21): There are indications that things are changing at elite schools. Harvard, while still very white, is more diverse now than it was. Amherst announced it was dropping its admissions advantage for children of alumni. Are there regulatory fixes that could expedite these changes? Some have suggested requiring schools to spend 8 percent of their endowment annually, or earmarking a set percentage on tuition.
That was one of the questions Walsh posed to his interview subject. That said, is it true that Harvard is "still very white?"
Skillfully, we decided to check the demographic stats on the Class of 2025.
Weirdly, Harvard is one of those schools which doesn't acknowledge having admitted any "white" students. Still and all, the famous school does acknowledge such "admission statistics" as these:
A Brief Profile of the Admitted Class of 2025
Asian American: 25.9%
Hispanic or Latino: 12.5%
Native American: 1.1%
Native Hawaiian: 0.5%
According to those numbers, at least 55.9% of all admissions went to kids who aren't officially "white." At most, that means that 44.1% of all admissions went to kids who are "white."
Do those numbers make you think that Harvard is "still very white?" There is no one correct answer to that, but we'd be inclined to say "no."
Admittedly, that's just one set of numbers. At a second site, we found a breakdown in the demographics of Harvard's undergraduate student body. We're using the categories the site itself used:
Harvard University Undergraduate Racial-Ethnic Diversity Breakdown
Black or African American: 8.6%
This site counts "International" students as a separate (rather large) category. By this site's reckoning, American non-Hispanic whites constitute 37.6% of the undergraduate student body. Limning it a different way, they're slightly more than 40% of all American undergrads.
Looking at numbers like these, does it seem to you that Harvard is "still very white?" There's no perfect way to answer that question, but when we toss off such claims in the way Walsh did, we suspect we know what some of The Others will think:
Some of The Others will think that Harvard is actually bringing in a very diverse student body.
But so what, some of The Others will think. Nothing will ever be good enough for our grasping progressive tribe.
Some of The Others will think they see unyielding "racial" dogmatics being enacted Over Here in our tribe. That's the way it may seem to some Others.
Do you think that those Others are wrong? Can you squint your eyes in such a way that they may have a germ of a point?