Photo by Yoann Siloine on Unsplash

White Supremacy in Action: Discrimination Against Asians in Undergraduate Institutions

The issue of discrimination against Asians in Ivy League schools has been publicized for several years and has come to the forefront because Asians, as a group, perform at higher levels in particular areas than white people as a group. For that matter, Asians are performing better as a group than other ethnic and racial groups of people. The particulars which are discussed typically underline the disparity in SAT scores.

For socioeconomic purposes, this issue has come to the forefront because Asians as a group perform at higher levels than white people as a group. The SAT, which has been around since 1926, was specifically written to keep a wide range of peoples of color (POC) out of universities — and thus deplete their opportunities for success — and was effective for decades at doing exactly that. The Asian dilemma with regard to university matriculation is framed as an anti-affirmative action dilemma, pitting Asians against the primary recipients of affirmative action, often African-Americans (after white women), as a decoy. As a result, certain Asians perceive African –Americans and other recipients of affirmative action as the cause of their loss of opportunity instead of perceiving this loss accurately, as it is embedded in the larger context: the way in which rich white people extort universities to accept their child despite what is often inferior performance.

This is a display of (wealthy) white privilege which underlines the deep-seated investment in maintaining white supremacy. This onerous reality is the fundamental reason for attenuation of Asian opportunity: the continued devotion of rich white people in buttressing their power, no matter how little evidence of intrinsic performance is exhibited, because white supremacy benefits them.

The SAT testing process has been around for almost a century. It was originally written to deliberately exclude people of color and to favor white people. It worked. It has always presented a challenge to people of color relative to white people; this is hardly surprising since this was at least part of its purpose. Interestingly, despite decades of previous efforts to underline the ways in which the SAT discriminates against people of color, no real attention was paid to the issue until it presented a challenge to white people: in the form of superior testing of Asians. At this point, white supremacy — and the white people who blindly subscribe to it — realize that it no longer serves its purpose: ie, keep white people on top through institutionalized white supremacy even if it involves behavior that is questionable at best and that may involve bribery.

If the actual reason for eliminating the SAT was to help give historically oppressed peoples the opportunities of which they have been — and still are, to some extent — deprived, it would never have been written in the first place. The current outcry is about 93 years late. Unless, of course, the SAT existed to help white people, and now that it may place their positions in jeopardy, is no longer serving its purpose. The superlative scorers could have been of any racial or ethnic nonwhite background; the fact that we happen to be Asian is largely an aside. The real threat is simply that a group of POC— whoever they are — may have equal opportunity and, as a result, may perform at higher levels. Suddenly, after almost a century, white people as a group have had an epiphany and (conveniently) realized that the SAT is discriminatory — a mere almost one hundred years later, and after having brought it into existence for this very purpose.

This stance is only taken after white people, as a group, were no longer dominant over everybody else in that particular context. The fact that only one group, Asians, need to perform at higher levels in order to provoke this backlash indicates the deep investment whites have as a group in ultimate power and dominance, their need to be Number One in all leadership settings and to guarantee that no other group has true opportunity. (Tokens, as usual, are welcome since they make white people look nice.)

White supremacy: if the rules don’t favor white people, change ‘em.

The second salient component of the discrimination against Asians is the absurd conflation of Asian discrimination with affirmative action. This is utilized as a decoy to Asians such that they blame African-Americans, the primary beneficiaries of affirmative action (after white women) for Asian exclusion from Ivy League schools. This form of scapegoating is tiresome and grossly overused, and only indicates a lack of fundamental moral response.

The actual facts illustrate a vastly different reality: rich white people are taking these positions through a complicated system of bribery/extortion which consistently allows them the opportunity to use ‘legacy’ to matriculate their under-performing children to these universities at rates of approximately 30% (undergraduate admissions). This whopper of a favor, one which will certainly help their success in the future given the inordinate gravity that an IL education is given, is handed to a group of people who already have a massive amount of privilege in multiple arena, in return for money, or ‘donations’. When anybody else behaves this way, it’s called ‘extortion,’ and it’s considered a felony. When rich white people extort, however, it’s called ‘donation.’ Formal affirmative action policies, on the other hand, only affect approximately 3% of these admissions, and these are typically for people with a wide range of deeply-entrenched institutionalized difficulties which persist due to white supremacy.

Unfortunately, a number of Asians perceive this situation as a battle with affirmative action policies and other minorities rather than yet another attempt of certain white people as a group, operating in the context of white supremacy, to maintain the status quo in the face of what is their own increasingly subpar performance relative to the stamina of others. That this may be unintentional or subconscious is not nearly as relevant as the egregious fact that it exists, that it shouldn’t, and certainly that Asians — or any POC — should NOT subscribe.

By subscribing to this distraction, Asians refuse to acknowledge not only that African-Americans are highly subordinated in our society, but also that all POC are derogated to some extent as a result of the same construct: white supremacy. This attitude upholds white denial and further scapegoats African-Americans, a stance that is frankly embarrassing when exhibited by a person who is victimized as a POC. Ultimately, this attitude damages any POC— Asian or other— because it upholds white supremacy.

Nicole Gon Ochi, one of the lawyers representing some Asian students, takes a different stance which acknowledges that all people of color are discriminated against and that the ‘affirmative action’ conflation is merely a distraction. “Asians are discriminated against by privileged Whites,” she stated several years ago, summing it up nicely. I infer from this statement that she understands that all POC’s are subordinated in a white supremacist society.

As members of a white supremacist society, all non-black POC should cultivate awareness for the way in which white supremacy locates black people as opposite white due to its core binary nature. As a result, part of the manipulation which takes place in the larger collective behavior is to frame certain minorities as ‘intrinsically better’ than black people, thus ‘recruiting’ POC’s and further subjugating African-Americans.

This behavior seems the crowd psychology equivalent of ‘splitting,’ in which deceptive maneuvering is used to separate people who might otherwise find commonalities so that they cannot connect and take note of their oppression. In the case of discrimination against Asians, the notion that affirmative action is ‘stealing’ positions from them (thus framing African-Americans and other minorities as thieves) is used to distract from the reality: rich white people are stealing these positions, and they are doing so through sanctioned felonious behaviors which ultimately result in a cycle of self-deception. Because rich white people have much of the power, their self-deception allows them to maintain it by pretending that was has been stolen has actually been ‘earned.’

As a result, the cycle continues: yet another crop of rich white people with an IL degree are indiscriminately plopped in leadership positions despite a dearth of actual leadership traits and the lack of moral value that comes when one allows oneself to commit crimes and then lie to oneself about them. This is our current dilemma: white supremacy in action:

1. Only promote contexts which help white people as a group, especially rich white people (the SAT). Once the privilege starts leaking out in really obvious ways — typically in the form of underperformance which reveals privilege and its attendant lack of stamina — pull out the bait ‘n switch: the SAT doesn’t matter anymore because it’s racist against minorities. This statement includes both the routine transmogrification of (fill in the blank — in this case, the SAT) so that it benefits white people PLUS a convenient lie that frames it as a favor to POC.

2. When another group of nonwhite peoples outperforms white people on an objective basis, like the SAT, (subjectively higher performance slides by on the power of de facto white supremacy), find a way to erase that success (eliminate the SAT) and then make sure a decoy (affirmative action) is used to prevent Asians from realizing the real source of the oppression and to blame other minorities;

3. ‘Split,’ as it is known in psychology or ‘pit’ (against each other) as it is known in classic Macchiavellianism. Specifically, in this case, prevent Asians from acknowledging that they are also POC, and thus discriminated against, by generously allowing us into the group and creating a common enemy of other minorities.

This sort of Macchiavellian maneuvering is not a context in which Asians need participate. I would urge all Asians — all people of color, for that matter — remember that active and enthusiastic participation in white supremacy of the sort described above is a choice. Pitting and splitting should not work on those of us who have been subjected to the vagaries of white supremacy, and all POC’s are in that category. The assertion that a tiny dribble of affirmative action is the barrier to Asian opportunity is a form of amoral Macchiavellian strategizing. It operates to isolate the most vulnerable members of society and is yet another way that white supremacy sustains itself.