October 8, 2012

Affirmative action: Exotic India turns out to be just like the U.S.

From the New York Times:
With Affirmative Action, India’s Rich Gain School Slots Meant for Poor

Kuni Takahashi for The New York Times 
CHENNAI, India — The two women both claim that affirmative action cost them coveted spots at elite public universities. Both cases have now reached the Supreme Court. 
One of the women, Abigail Fisher, 22, who is white, says she was denied admission to the University of Texas based on her race, and on Wednesday, the United States Supreme Court is to hear her plea in what may be the year’s most important decision. The other woman is from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, and two weeks ago the Indian Supreme Court ordered that she be admitted to medical school pending the outcome of a broader court review. 
“When I came to know that I could not get into any medical college, I was really shocked,” C. V. Gayathri, the Indian student, said in an interview. “I didn’t speak to anyone for a week. I cried. I was very depressed.” 
Though the outlines of the two cases are similar, differences between how the world’s two largest democracies have chosen to redress centuries of past discrimination are striking. While affirmative action in the United States is now threatened, the program in India is a vast system of political patronage that increasingly works to reward the powerful rather than uplift those in need.

Exactly what purpose does the word "while" serve in that last sentence, other than that of Magician's Assistant? How does this differ from the U.S.?

From the New York Times eight years ago:
Top Colleges Take More Blacks, but Which Ones? 
Published: June 24, 2004

At the most recent reunion of Harvard University's black alumni, there was lots of pleased talk about the increase in the number of black students at Harvard. But the celebratory mood was broken in one forum, when some speakers brought up the thorny issue of exactly who those black students were. 
While about 8 percent, or about 530, of Harvard's undergraduates were black, Lani Guinier, a Harvard law professor, and Henry Louis Gates Jr., the chairman of Harvard's African and African-American studies department, pointed out that the majority of them -- perhaps as many as two-thirds -- were West Indian and African immigrants or their children, or to a lesser extent, children of biracial couples. 
What concerned the two professors, they said, was that in the high-stakes world of admissions to the most selective colleges -- and with it, entry into the country's inner circles of power, wealth and influence -- African-American students whose families have been in America for generations were being left behind.

Isn't the President of the United States of America a classic example of the Gates-Guinier theorem in action? He didn't decide he was black until his mid-20s.

On the other hand, the First Lady is an exemplary African-American, with all four grandparents descended from American slaves. But her expensive Harvard Law School education turned out to be mostly a waste as she dropped her law license long ago to go into the diversity business (other than she did meet her husband through her ill-fated law career).

The rest of the article about India is pretty interesting about how the affirmative action program in India has made being an Untouchable a coveted legal distinction. However, I can never quite tell  what to make of articles about the Indian caste system since the Indians in the American media almost all come from the upper castes. There are virtually no Untouchable-Americans.


Anonymous said...

I have no respect for affirmative action minorities - I saw a woman last night (black) wearing a harvard shirt, snooty and condescending.. i had to have a good chuckle to myself. i think most, if not all affirmative action babies like this insist they got in on their own merit. Yeah, right.

Anonymous said...

We're all equal!

eah said...

Top Colleges Take More Blacks,...

I note it does not say that more Blacks earned admission.

...but Which Ones?

Who knows? Or cares? They all look alike.

Anonymous said...

Only time I remember hearing about a low caste Indian in the US was from reading the background of the Tarasoff v. UC Regents case (established a duty for psychiatrists to warn potential victims).

Kevin B. said...

"The rest of the article about India is pretty interesting about how the affirmative action program in India has made being an Untouchable a coveted legal distinction. However, I can never quite tell what to make of articles about the Indian caste system since the Indians in the American media almost all come from the upper castes. There are virtually no Untouchable-Americans."

- Steve, you should understand this. What benefit would an African-American or a Native American get if they immigrated to China or India? None. There, they would have to get by on their talent. Much like an Untouchable would here. While minority status in the home country may entail being born into privilege, in another country that has no history with the minority, there is none.

Anonymous said...

>> There are virtually
>> no Untouchable-Americans.

Sure they are.

They're called Bangladeshis.

Carol said...

I read in a Thomas Sowell book written almost 30 years ago that there was affirmative action all over the world, usually in 3rd world countries whose native ruling class was trying to curtail the success of the Chinese. When a program didn't work the natives would just double down. They never give up!

You'd think we could learn from other countries, but noooo....

Anonymous said...

The coveted distinction is "backward class" (sometimes called "other backward class"or OBC) which is different from untouchable (now known as Dalit) which falls under "scheduled caste/schedule tribe" or SC/ST in the Indian parlance. The expansion of AA away from the original SC/ST beneficiaries took place as the BCs acquired political power. Something like the black + native American vs Hispanic distinction in the US in terms of reparations for original sin.

Anonymous said...

That article is either plain wrong and poorly researched (a cardinal sin in journalism) or dishonest when it claims that caste is '1500 years old, designed to allocate lbor in agriculture' or such like words.
The basis of caste is race.
Caste was introduced into India 3000 years or so ago by the Aryan invaders of India, who were of a completely different ethnicity to those who they conquered.
The belief is that the 'system' was really a mechanism for prserving germ lines and gene pools from admixture from stocks which were deemed radically different.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

If you think about it, that massive affirmative action system may be one reason why Indian Americans prize education so much, and why they are so obsessed with turning their kids into doctors. Because had they stayed in India, that would have been the one thing that was nearly impossible to accomplish.

rec1man said...

Steve, there is 3 types of reservation in India

7% for ST, Scheduled Tribals, can be of any religion, Hindu, muslim, buddhist, christian

15% for SC, Scheduled caste / Untouchables , must be of Indian religion

Nobody grudges these 22% reservation

The main grouse is the next block of reservations, Mandal reservations, 27% for mid-level castes , OBC, Other Backward castes, in many states, rich landlord castes such as Jats get this

This takes it to 49%
Fortunately the Indian Supreme Court banned any reservation above 49%

However in Tamil Nadu, There is a further block of 20% reservation for Forward Caste Dravidians, who cant compete with Tamil Brahmins , played on the Aryan vs Dravidian split to get another 20% quota, taking it to 69%

rec1man said...

"D. Sundaram, a retired professor of sociology from Madras University and a longtime member of Tamil Nadu’s now-disbanded Backward Classes Commission, defended the state’s quotas by saying that even three generations of wealth and power cannot reverse centuries of backwardness.

“The system has not been in place long enough,” Dr. Sundaram said."

3 generations of reservation in Tamil Nadu cant close the IQ gap with Tamil Brahmins

Noah172 said...

There are virtually no Untouchable-Americans

Hehehe. Depends on how you mean untouchable.

Bottom-caste Hindu? Sure, none in America.

Unassailable, beyond criticism, shrouded in politically correct taboo? Plenty of Scots-Irish (wink, wink) in America, especially in the niches that matter.

Anonymous said...

"the program in India is a vast system of political patronage that increasingly works to reward the powerful rather than uplift those in need."

Mayawati a firebrand female politician active in the most populous state of India, runs a party with sloganeering such as "tilak,taraju or talwar, inko maaro joote chaar".

(the dot(brahmins), balance(merchants) and sword, should be booted four times.)

rec1man's entry in 3.2.1..

peterike said...

Indians, especially Indian women, SWPL-ify better than anyone.

Anonymous said...

Good point in the last sentence, Steve. We need more Untouchable-Americans, pronto!

America should have a new Visa program designed to take a few million more immigrants every year from the absolute lowest strata of the poorest 3rd world countries.

Call it the Substrata Community of Underpriveleged Means Visa - or SCUM Visa for short.

After all, we know that as soon as an immigrant sets foot in the US, they automatically become just like us! (er, with an AA hand up...)

C'mon comrades - we can solve global poverty in no time!

PropagandistHacker said...

affirmative action laws stir up and maintain interracial hard feeling, thus inhibiting interracial mixing and breeding, thus maintaining differences over generations, thus helping those at the top to divide and conquer.

Anonymous said...

Thomas Sowell's book "Affirmative Action Around the World an Empirical Study" sheds a lot of light on other countries affirmative action programs including India.

According to Sowell, one of the distinguishing characteristics of India's affirmative action program is it's age. India's program, begun in colonial times by the British, is the oldest in the world and became constitutional in 1947 by the 14th amendment.

India's politicians, like those in every other affirmative action country, promised that the programs would be limited in both duration and scope. In India's case this was to be 20 years. But the programs are inevitably extended and expanded to include other groups.

This may be the reason why we don't have "untouchable americans" yet. Increased demographic fragmentation due to immigration will no doubt hasten the creation of an "untouchable" group here. It seems to be a factor in India of creating one there: without a dominant culture to keep a check on the reasonableness of affirmative action, every group increasingly vies for more government set asides at the expense of the nation as a whole (consider that India has hundreds of languages and dialects, and according to Sowell, the most widely spoken language is only spoken by 1/3 the population).

The United States by contrast has one of the youngest and least affirmative action systems in the world.

gcochran said...

Robert Stack

Big Bill said...

The Indians have had statutory affirmative action since 1948.

There are law suits that drag on for years attempting to resolve whether a particular person should be counted as a minority or not.

Rich Indians march in massive street demonstrations to protest set-asides for minorities in medical, law, and engineering schools.

And for all this thrashing about they cannot even make enough latrines (not to mention sewer systems) so their women and children don't have to squat right out in the open in front of complete strangers.

Send 'em all back home to clean up the 2500 year old cesspit they created. We put men on the moon. They are still working on outhouses. We don't need 'em.

Anonymous said...

While Affirmative Action is threatened? By what? Space Aliens looking to promote their own when they take over the Earth? Affirmative Action like Forced Busing is completely unpopular with the electorate and yet it marches on from strength to strength, year after year. The Bakke decision was nothing more than a speed bump for it. It is being imposed by universities and companies without explicit government threats that they should do so. It also has a huge indirect effect of killing aptitude testing in the country because no test worth anything doesn't produce "disparate impact". BTW, Thomas Sowell has been pointing out that preferential policies have always been hijacked by elites in every country that has them, including the US and he has been pointing it out since the mid-1980's. Not that anyone that reads the MSM would notice of course.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

The historical roots of caste in India resemble something from a science fiction novel.
Basically caste was devised to keep the genetics of an invading, conquering population from mixing with those of the conquered subjects - the religious taboo came later and was used as a 'cover' for the genetic rationale.
Why I say science fiction novel is this - the invading group phenotypically looked far, far different to the conquered group, they looked like an 'alien' people in fact. In terms of appearance the invaders looked down upon the conquered - and also some of their habits too - this is why caste is such an engrained strong taboo. It is a distant memory of those far off times. The rationale for it has largely gone, (all Indians are so mixed after 3000 years that they look basically the same), but the taboo persists.

Anonymous said...

"http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/0-55-of-every-consumer-dollar-spent-on-imports-from-china-goes-to-u-s-transporters-wholesalers-and-retailers/" - This is why the globalists want mexican truckers.

Anonyia said...

I don't know about there being no untouchable Americans. Indians have taken over all the subways in my state, and they appear to be of lower caste than the majority of other Indian immigrants. They even have a different "look" than the typical Indian STEM worker. They wear a lot of gold, too.

hannah said...

And the same thing in China; allthough with a twist:

"On the last day of August, Xiong Jing and two friends shaved their heads in Beijing to protest a growing trend in Chinese universities in which women increasingly must score higher than men to get in and face unofficial but widespread gender quotas that favor men.

The three women were outraged when the Education Ministry said in August that the practices were in the “national interest.”

"In science courses at the China University of Political Science and Law, the bar is at 632 points for women but 588 for men,” the newspaper said, providing other similar examples from other colleges."

New York Times

Anonymous said...

"But the greatest number of self-immolations took place in India in 1990, c. 200. The cause? Caste protests against quota-systems for untouchables… "

happens still.


Anonymous said...

Allot of consternation about Ivy league universities, while the African American elite allows Universities like Fisk to rot on the vine. The first generation the was freed sacrificed tremendously for Fisk.

You want a hilarious AA story. Here in New York City there is a cop that is technically African Royalty. His ancestors might have hunted down, captured, and sold African American's ancestors to White slavers. Now he's chasing'em down and locking up in Riker's and Sing sing instead of Goree Island Senegal. Or whatever the Ugandan equivalent was.

Prince Amoti was a Brooklyn cop.


rec1man said...

There are some untouchable Indians in the USA

Most Bangladeshi muslims are converts from Namasudra, a Dalit caste.

In UK, bangladeshi muslims are socio-economically near blacks

In USA, bangladeshi muslims have a socio-economic profile that is low

USA 2008 census survey data

College rate / Median Household Income

Indian = 70%, $90K
Bangladeshi = 49%, $49K

Besides this, about half the genes of Caribbean Indians have an untouchable origin

Anonymous said...

China also gives ethnic minorities a boost on their gaokao scores. As a result, when once one would be ashamed to admit that they weren't Han, now everyone is trying to figure out if grandpa might have been a Mongol or Manchu or Hui or whatnot to get their kid a boost on college admissions. This is however balanced out in practice by a university admissions system that gives local students a lower bar to clear for admission (and almost all the top universities just so happen to be in large cities with small minority populations).

Dr Van Nostrand said...

IF you really care about "untouchables" you can start by not referring to them as "untouchables" , they themselves loathe ,its like their n word ,they prefer to call themselves Dalits.

Dr Van Nostrand said...

Besides this, about half the genes of Caribbean Indians have an untouchable origin.

To be sure many of them are lower caste Indians from UP and Bihar(North central Gangetic plain states) but I dont know if they are "untouchable" which is something outside of the traditional four caste system.

Anonymous said...

Major oppressors of Dalit"Untouchables" are "Other Backward Castes", These OBCs projected "Brahmins" as the oppressor. Now these Dalits have discovered this.

There is gradation within Untouchables, "There are Untouchables to Untouchables"

In any case if one believes in entitlement, does not work, and is corrupt, one just wont progress. Indian government wont have the Money to support these policies.

Just around the corner even an Ivy League degree "without skills" wont be guaranteeing you a safe job for long.

Anonymous said...

Most Bangladeshi muslims are converts from Namasudra, a Dalit caste.

Bangladeshi_American Razib Khan's genetic profile as reported at the Harappa Project confirms his untouchable caste origins.

The majority of indian-americans belong to the Sudra Caste which is low caste in the hindu system, regardless of how successful they may be.

Anonymous said...

Here is an essay from an untouchable in America.

Dalits across the seas
The Black Indians
Growing up Dalit in the US, finding your roots, fighting for your identity
Thenmozhi Soundararajan


MaMu1977 said...

Why would anyone be surprised by this?
Oprah, with a net worth of $2+ billion dollars, issues the majority of her academic scholarships to the children of immigrants. When she decided to build a school, the Mississippi-born/Baltimore-honed/Chicago-enriched woman looked at her origins, then travelled a quarter of a planet away to teach "leadership". Choices like that aren't made in a vacuum.