Askhanazim Jewry, g, and Higher Education
Jaschik, S. 2007. ‘The Power of Privilege.’ Inside Higher Ed. April 11, 2007. Available online: http://insidehighered.com/news/2007/04/11/soares.
A treasured friend & trusted reader sent this article in, which discusses possibly antisemitic reasons for the introduction of the SAT test in Yale University. The piece spends a lot of time on the quirks of the New Haven, Connecticut school, so I’ll just quote one part of it and talk in more general terms:
If colleges more closely understand their histories, Soares said, they might be more likely to adopt truly progressive policies today. His book ends with a series of recommendations along those lines, not just for Yale, but for other elite colleges. He calls for affirmative action policies based on socioeconomic status, a de-emphasis on standardized testing, and the elimination of preferences that defy true meritocracy (such as those for legacies and athletes).
Favoring athletes, he said, makes very little sense if talking about the social mission of higher education. Even at top universities, this has become â€œthe doorway in,â€ and counter to the images many people have of athletics as a pro-diversity force on campuses, most of the beneficiaries are white. â€œWhat is it that athletics contributes to higher education? Why is it a part of higher education?â€ Perhaps showing the impact of his Oxford history, Soares noted that the admissions preferences offered by top American colleges make no sense to educators anywhere else in the world. â€œAt Oxford and Cambridge, you are not going to be admitted just because you are good on the rugby field.â€
Trying to discriminate against Jews by factoring in g (general intelligence would be odd, as Ashkenazim (“northern European”) Jews apparently have higher average g than most other races. This seems to be a result of intense selection pressure on Jews in the past thousand years, as cruel and mean regimes adopted policy after policy to limit Jewish mobility, wealth, and reproductive success. Average- and below-average Jews were selected against, while above-average Jews were selected for, by the European environment relative to other Europeans.
Thus, institutions of higher education used a variety of methods to keep Jews out, by defining merit as something other than general intelligence. From a century ago, Eastern universities used the idea of the “whole man” to discriminate against Jews. Because Jewish cultural traditional is relatively unathletic, Jewish history in Europe kept them seperated from the land and much physical exertion, and relatively higher rates of historical inbreeding (owing to ghetto living conditions), Jews were at a disadvantage under the “whole man” criteria. Likewise, modern affirmative action is a method of limiting the success of Jews and other market-oriented minorities.