The Majority Of Harvard’s Admitted 2021 Class Is Nonwhite — But Is That Something To Celebrate?

U.S. universities smudge their diversity statistics with the inclusion of international students.

Photo by Caroline Culler/Wikimedia Commons.

I went to college at a school that advertised itself as one of the most diverse in the country. When I arrived on campus, however, I realized that what amounted to “diversity” for this school was the recruitment of wealthy international students — and there rarely seemed to be any meaningful interaction between the international student body and the domestic one.

This is what came to mind when I saw a news story about Harvard’s incoming class. According to the admission numbers, Harvard’s accepted class was majority nonwhite (a previous headline on the original Boston Globe story mistakenly noted that it was the first time to happen — it’s, in fact, the second time. A correction clarified that Harvard has not yet “seated” a majority nonwhite class). Here’s the CNN breakdown:

“Of the 2,056 students accepted for the class of 2021, 50.8% do not identify as white. Of the admitted students, 22.2% are Asian-American, 14.6% are African-American, 11.6 are Latino, 1.9% are Native Americans, and Native Hawaiians are 0.5%. First-generation students make up 15.1% of the admitted class.”

These numbers, unfortunately, give no insight into the economic demographics of the admitted students, nor do they offer any insight into nationalities (we know of at least two wealthy women of color who made the cut — Harvard freshmen Malia Obama and Yara Shahidi). According to the Harvard website, international students comprise 12.4% of the newly admitted students, a significant portion (a Harvard representative we reached out to could not offer more information).

In 2011, writer Cord Jefferson wrote that it was the Ivy League’s “ dirty little secret” for inflating diversity statistics. “While America’s most elite colleges do in fact make it a point to promote ethnic diversity on their campuses, a lot of them do so by admitting hugely disproportionate numbers of wealthy immigrants and their children rather than black students with deep roots — and troubled histories — in the United States,” he wrote. While many universities have programs like Harvard’s Undergraduate Minority Recruitment Program, low-income students, for example, suffer from structural disadvantages that prevent them from entering schools like Harvard — economic struggles that keep them from being able to afford application fees and tuition or tutors and study aids.

The discussion on what qualifies as diversity is an important one to have, especially in light of recent events. Last week, the Trump administration announced it was pursuing an inquiry into “race-based discrimination” in college admissions, an investigation supposedly impelled by a complaint filed in 2015 by 64 Asian American groups who accused U.S. universities of imposing higher standards of entry for Asian students. It’s a development that has many social justice and equality advocates worried that the Department of Justice is using this complaint to justify a possible attack on affirmative action initiatives. It’s a misguided target, given that affirmative action policies benefit white woman more than any other demographic group.

Anytime I see a news story about diversity, I remember a talk by Angela Davis I attended at USC. “I have a hard time accepting diversity as a synonym for justice,” Davis told the audience back then. “Diversity is a corporate strategy. It’s a strategy designed to ensure that the institution functions in the same way that it functioned before, except now you have some black faces and brown faces. It’s a difference that doesn’t make a difference.”

via David Leavitt / Twitter and RealTargetTori / Twitter

Last Friday, GOOD reported on an infuriating incident that went down at a Massachusetts Target.

A Target manager who's come to be known as "Target Tori," was harassed by Twitter troll David Leavitt for not selling him an $89 Oral-B Pro 5000 toothbrush for a penny.

He describes himself as a "multimedia journalist who has worked for CBS, AXS, Yahoo, and others."

Keep Reading
via David Leavitt / Twitter

Anyone who has ever worked in retail knows that the worst thing about the job, right after the pay, are the unreasonable cheapskates who "want to talk to your manager" to get some money off an item.

They think that throwing a tantrum will save them a few bucks and don't care if they completely embarrass themselves in the process. Sometimes that involves belittling the poor employee who's just trying to get through their day with an ounce of dignity.

Twitter is rallying around a gal named Tori who works at a Target in Massachusetts after she was tweet-shamed by irate chapekate, journalist, and Twitter troll, David Leavitt.

Keep Reading
via Haldean Brown / Flickr

In a typical work day, people who smoke take more breaks than those who do not. Every few hours they pop outside to have a smoke and usually take a coworker with them.

Don Bryden, Managing director at KCJ Training and Employment Solutions in Swindon, England, thinks that nonsmokers and smokers should be treated equally, so he's giving those who refrain from smoking four extra days to compensate.

Funny enough, Bryden is a smoker himself.

Keep Reading