Fred Reed is one of America’s most readable columnists. He used to be a real, live journalist, but he finds it easier in retirement to crank out occasional observations about the insanity of government in the United States.
In his latest piece, he considers the implications of racial quotas, also known as “racial profiling acceptable to liberals.” What if these laws were applied to advanced education? (Oops. I forgot. They are.)
Here is a hypothetical scenario.
The Look Like America bill, originally H.R. 1533, seemed a perfectly ordinary piece of feel-good legislation when proposed by Barack Osama Obama. “Our diversity is our strength,” he said. “We must increase the representation of minorites in our institutions to reflect our diverse population and ensure the fairness for which America stands.” Congress passed the bill without reading it. It was the sort of thing one passed. Besides, there was no money involved, and the bill was not obviously anti-Semitic.
Not obviously. But then one of the obscure policy shops that abound in Washington, the Committee for Ethnic Piety, filed suit against Harvard for noncompiance. The proximate cause was an article in the Harvard Crimson, the school newspaper, about a course called Math 55, the hardest math course at the univrsity and thus, Harvard liked to think, in America. The students in Math 55, reported the Crimson, were 45 percent Jewish, 18 percent Asian, and 100 prcent male. The class didn’t, said the Committee for Ethnic Piety, look like America.
It certainly didn’t.
What would Harvard do? Form a committee.
The first and most ticklish hurdle was The Jewish Question. Jews were two percent of the American population. At 45 percent in Math 55, they were over-represented by a factor of over twenty. The injustice was undeniable. Two percent of a class of twenty-five meant that Math 55 should contain half a Jew. It would then look like America. The Jewish students would have to go.
As news of the proposed ethnographic hecatomb spread across the country, alarm erupted among the prejudiced. Over seven hundred departments of engineering across the country protested. They could see where Looking Like America was going. Math departments, Silicon Valley, the National Institutes of Health—all reeked of injustice, meaning Koreans, Jews, Indians, and Chinese, and were conscious of sin. They didn’t Look Like America. They Looked Like Math 55. In the Bay area, the proportion of geniuses from India in computing was alarmingly high. Some laboratories Looked Like the Punjab. These malefactors knew well that the coming of justice would gut their enterprises.
We all know what comes next.
The paucity of females in Math 55 was easier to address. Harvard had already established that there was no difference in mathematical ability by firing a president who thought there might be. Since ability didn’t exist and was found equally in everyone, the sexual balance was quickly rendered equitable by eliminating entrance requirements.
Harvard then set about the intricate matter of making the class thirteen percent black, sixteen percent Hispanic, a tenth of a percent Iroquois, and so on.
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