Amid wide-ranging efforts, from the White House to America’s top universities, to progress social equality, American-Chinese author Kenny Xu said he believes the NFL and NBA are prime examples of why artificially inflating racial equality doesn’t work in the best interests of any group.
He pointed to the two sports as representing segments of American society that have not been pressured to fill race quotas like some educational institutions.
“I mean, in the NBA, it’s 75 percent black. Nobody is saying we want 15 percent Asians, we want 6 percent Asians in the NBA. It doesn’t work like that,” Xu told The Epoch Times on Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida.
“You are chosen based on how you perform. And I think that’s a great thing. I mean, we shouldn’t be advocating for equity there necessarily. It’s a performance-based system; that’s what makes it work. And that’s what makes it fair too,” he added.
In recent years, Asian Americans have accused Ivy League colleges like Harvard University of discriminating against them as the institutions attempt to provide opportunities to underrepresented racial groups.
Xu said that while there isn’t a system of perfect meritocracy, trying to solve the current racial disparities in academic achievement among American youths by artificially inflating educational opportunities based on skin color is “a dangerous idea.”
“It raises this fundamental tension, I think, in our society, especially in our woke culture, which is what happens when you privilege the narrative of certain minorities over others, because Asian Americans are often second class in the left’s racial narrative today,” Xu said.
He added that Asian Americans have inconvenienced the left’s narrative of privileged whites and oppressed people of color.
“Although they’re a person of color, and they have experienced racism and discrimination in this country,” Xu said of Asians. “I think the recent wave of anti-Asian attacks prove that to be completely true, they have experienced racism—they still perform at a level that is comparable to whites, and even higher than whites in things like grades, average SAT test scores, average income, and those kinds of things. And so they inconvenience the narrative of the left because … they’re supposed to be oppressed, and supposed to play victims.”
Xu put the academic competitiveness of Asians down to their culture, which views education with great importance.
In his soon-to-be-published book “An Inconvenient Minority: The Ivy League Admissions Cases and the Attack on Asian American Excellence,” Xu said he references a situation he learned about from a math professor that hurt the reputation of a top U.S. university because it saw negative outcomes for both the “privileged” and “underprivileged” race.
He said a black woman was admitted to arguably the top math PhD program in the world based on her skin color. But the opportunity immediately turned to struggle for the woman who was “good at math, but she wasn’t great.”
“Even though … the admissions officers wanted to let her in because she had this amazing story because she was a preferred race, she struggled immediately at this top level math PhD program, and she eventually left very bitter,” Xu said. “It’s very sad.”
But he added: “There’s another side to this that people don’t often see … It’s that whose spot is that person taking there? She’s taking the spot of somebody who could have not only just benefited from the program, but provided a great benefit to that program, who had the necessary qualifications, who was denied just because he was a certain race or because his face looked Asian.
“This is why, you know, in my book I try I make the strongest case possible, using Asian Americans, for why in order to heal our culture of excellence, in order to be able to have our country be able to move in the place that we need to move, we need to come back to these ideas of meritocracy,” he said.
On the contrary, Xu said it was “pretty interesting” that standardized tests for entry into the U.S. Army, which are not biased toward any race, appear to have worked in the favor of black Americans who chose that profession.
“Black Americans who come to the military are disproportionately likely to have stable careers and stable families the rest of their life,” he said, adding, “There are programs to help you if you are not at the level that it needs to be, but at some point, you have to pass the standardized process to be able to get into the Army.”