Is a review of The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton by Jerome Karabel. It was written by an academic for academics. Professor Karabel is a sociologist at the University of California at Berkeley. The title of the review is rather more pungent. It is also honest. The theme is that the goal posts were moved to keep Jews out of higher education.
In fact they failed and now it has gone the other way. Jews are keeping honest people out. Kevin MacDonald who is also an academic sociologist confirms Professor Karabel's thesis in Jewish overrepresentation at elite universities explained
Rigging the Admissions Game
By ADAM KIRSCH,
Special to the Sun| October 26, 2005
Americans' obsession with getting their children into prestigious colleges has long since spawned a galaxy of test-prep manuals and application strategy guides. Recently, however, this utilitarian literature has sprouted a more abstract and scholarly wing, as historians have turned their attention to the origins and hidden assumptions of the college admissions process. Books like Nicholas Lemann's "The Big Test," which chronicled the invention of the SAT, and Andrew Schlesinger's "Veritas," a history of Harvard University, have tarnished the image of elite universities as oases of meritocracy. Institutional self-interest, class privilege, and simple bigotry, we have learned, play a far greater role in higher education than any dean would like to admit.
Now comes Jerome Karabel's "The Chosen" (Houghton Mifflin, 720 pages, $28) to drive the lesson home once and for all. "The Chosen" is a work of intellectual genealogy in the Nietzschean sense, showing that a practice we take for granted - the way students apply and are chosen for the most elite universities - is neither timeless nor disinterested. Instead, it has evolved through a series of fierce battles over power, money, and ideology. As Mr. Karabel writes, "admissions policy is a kind of negotiated settlement among contending groups," in which "the meaning of merit has shifted in response to changing power relations among groups as well as changes in the broader society."
This conclusion, which Mr. Karabel supports through extremely detailed research in the archives of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, should not really come as a surprise. We would not be shocked to learn, for instance, that the federal budget is determined by "negotiation among contending groups": That is the definition of politics. But the widespread media attention already given to Mr. Karabel's book shows that we don't want or expect the college admissions process to be political - which is to say, human.
Indeed, the mystique of admissions, the huge space it occupies in the middle-class psyche, is owed to a tacit belief that it is above the ordinary bargaining that drives human affairs. Applying to college is perhaps the only moment in a modern American life when it is possible to believe that one's fate is decided by one's genuine worth as a person. When the anonymous admissions officer scans your carefully assembled dossier, he is not supposed to be assessing your bank balance, your Mayflower lineage, or even your ability to do well on a test; he is supposed to be measuring you. It is no accident that "merit," now the key concept in college admissions, was once a theological term. Christ's imputed merit was what allowed the believer to get into heaven; the high school senior's personal merit is what gets him into the Ivy League.
It is in this context that Mr. Karabel's findings seem so explosive. For he shows that the whole apparatus of college admissions as we know it today - the letters of recommendation, personal essays, lists of extracurricular activities, even handwriting samples and photographs - originated in nothing other than anti-Semitism. Before the 1920s, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton - the case studies of Mr. Karabel's book, chosen not just for their reputations but for the abundance of their archives - required applicants to take a test, and every young man who scored high enough was admitted. Allowances were made for athletes and the sons of alumni, of course, and financial aid was scarce, but the basic criterion for admission was concretely academic.
What doomed this system was the fact that too many Jews did well in it. In 1900, 7% of Harvard's incoming freshmen were Jews; by 1922, the figure was 21.5%. This struck fear into the heart of A. Lawrence Lowell, Harvard's Brahmin president, and not simply because of a snobbish distaste for Jews. Lowell feared that admitting too many Jewish students would result in massive WASP flight, as had already happened at Columbia. Mr. Karabel quotes a 1920s-era visitor to the Columbia campus, who noted with dismay that "there is ... a certain grubbiness about [the students]. One somehow expects them all to be Jews, for it is usually the Jewish members of such a group who lower the communal easy handsomeness."
Lest their own campuses succumb to such unhandsomeness, the leaders of what Mr. Karabel calls the "Big Three" colleges instituted an informal but rigid quota system. Open Jewish quotas were unpalatable to the faculty and invited criticism from the media, as Lowell discovered when he tried to impose one in the early 1920s, but anti-Semitism disguised by euphemism was more than acceptable.
Thus the admissions offices of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton began to screen out Jews under the premise of selecting for "character" and "leadership." The real motive is clear, however, from the questions Harvard began asking applicants in 1922: "Race and Color," "Religious Preference," "Maiden Name of Mother," "Birthplace of Father," and "What change, if any, has been made since birth in your own name or that of your father?" Armed with this crucial information, Harvard succeeded in slashing the percentage of Jews in its freshman class from 28% in 1925 to 12% in 1933.
Between the statistics he compiles and the correspondence he quotes, Mr. Karabel draws a chilling picture of the deliberate bigotry that infected America's places of higher learning. (President James Rowland Angell of Yale joked that the high number of Jewish applicants from the surrounding area could be dealt with by a "massacre confined to the New Haven district.") But Mr. Karabel also makes clear that, for administrators at the Big Three, anti-Semitism became the focus for a range of other concerns, including institutional marketability and the belief that their job was to cultivate not just intelligence but character. That character was more likely to be found at Groton than Bronx Science was implied by the very way the Protestant Establishment defined it.
And that is the central argument of "The Chosen." As he takes the story of Big Three admissions through the upheavals of the 1960s, the rise of coeducation, and the controversies over affirmative action, Mr. Karabel insists that the way the universities defined merit always depended on the kind of student body they hoped to attract. When they wanted rich WASPs, merit meant character; when they wanted future Sputnik designers, it meant brains; when they wanted higher minority enrollment, it meant diversity. The only constant, Mr. Karabel concludes, was money: Today, like a hundred years ago, the vast majority of students at elite colleges are from affluent homes. Not unless the class barrier were dismantled could a perfect meritocracy, so crucial to the promise of American life, become a genuine possibility.
It's a problem when Jews are insufficiently overrepresented. Even
though Jews didn't -- couldn't -- create a Harvard of their own, and
would laugh at any goy demanding overrepresentation in any institution
they could create. Today, when Jews control Harvard, the Christian
Whites they hate make up about the same percentage of each incoming
class as Jews, even though Jews are but 2% of the population whereas
Whites are 70%. Fair? No such thing. There's what's "good for Jews"
and the rest, commonly mislabelled "Anti-Semites".