Speaker 0 00:00:00 Hello everyone. And welcome to the 95th episode of the Atlas society asks. My name is Jennifer Anja, Grossman. My friends call me JAG. I'm the CEO of the Atlas society. We're the leading organization, introducing young people to the ideas of Iran in fun, creative ways like animated videos and graphic novels. Today, we are joined by Kenny zoo, uh, before I even get into introducing our guest. I want to remind all of you who are watching us, whether you're here with us on zoo, on Facebook, on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, uh, you can use the comments section to type in your questions or comments. We will try to get to as many of them as we can. So, uh, Kenny Zhou is the author of an inconvenient minority, the attack on Asian American excellence and the fight for meritocracy. He is the leading critic of identity politics and, uh, an important of race based admissions at colleges like my Alma mater Harvard, he's the president of color, us United. He advocates for the simple idea that ordinary Americans want race out of the equation in their personal and professional lives. Kenny, welcome again. Thanks for joining us.
Speaker 1 00:01:28 Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it.
Speaker 0 00:01:31 So first, Kenny, I'd love to just start with your story where you grew up, uh, when you became interested in the issue of fairness and college admissions and what prompted you to write the book?
Speaker 1 00:01:44 Sure, absolutely. So I grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and then I moved to Princeton New Jersey when I was in high school. Uh, when I was in Richmond, I enrolled in various different enrichment programs, public school enrichment programs. I was in public school, my entire life. I went to three Chopt elementary, which was a gifted math program for fourth graders. Then in sixth grade, I went to an IB program. Um, and then in ninth grade I went to Maggie Walker governor's school for government studies in Richmond, which is still in my opinion, it was one of the best years of my life. Then when, uh, I transferred because my parents took a different job. My dad has small business. He was a small business owner. Um, but that was struggling. So he took a banking job instead. And I moved to Princeton, New Jersey where I was surrounded by other people who were obviously in the college hotbox, the college admissions hotbox, uh, basically, so to speak.
Speaker 1 00:02:48 And, um, you know, when you think the word, what do you think of the word Princeton, right? What do you think of, oh, you think of excellent, right? You think of, oh, the epitome of excellence. You think of the best researchers, that kind of thing. Well, I lived in Princeton and, you know, there were people and, and one thing was for sure, everybody was obsessed with elite colleges. There is no question about it. Um, but that doesn't mean everybody was excellent. Um, there were varying degrees of games that people would play at my high school to get into elite colleges, either them or their mom or their dad would do it. For example, from a very young age, there's this one guy at our high school whose mom and dad enrolled him in squash. Uh, why would you play squash? You know, um, because it's, so it happened the top Ivy league colleges had squash teams and it boosted his chances of getting recruited into one.
Speaker 1 00:03:50 Um, there's another person who definitely used their race to get into Stanford and wrote specifically about her race. Um, there is another person who was the child of a Princeton professor, um, who got into Princeton because his dad was a professor and these kids were not the smartest kids in the class. Everybody knew it, they weren't even close to the snort, smartest kids in the class, the smartest kids in the class for usually the Asians who were, um, you know, the, uh, who, you know, were the top math students in the class, the top science students in the class took the highest level courses. And usually they didn't come from wealthy families. By the way, they usually came from middle to upper middle class families. Um, and they just worked, they just studied their butts off. And I, I saw a fundamental injustice that was brewing around me, uh, that, that gave me this idea, this initial urge to write this book about not just college admissions, but really like, what do we value as a culture? Now, what kind of culture are we progressing or evaluating excellence, or are we valuing, or are we starting to come into this corrupt, bureaucratic culture where people get to play games to get into the prestigious spots? And what does that have to do with the rest of their country that sparked the inspiration for my book and inconvenient minority?
Speaker 0 00:05:16 Well, it's made quite a splash. And, um, you also, uh, don't hold any punches when it comes to critical race theory. That's an issue that we've focused on a lot at the Atlas society, uh, especially with the scholarship of professor Jason Hill, one of our senior scholars and an upcoming draw my life on critical race theory, uh, which will be spicy. Um, now critical race theory contends that systematic racism and therefore one's ethnic or racial origin is the determining factor, um, affecting one's prospects in life. But Asian Americans have excelled academically, professionally, despite historic oppression and discrimination. So how does CRT attempt to resolve this paradox?
Speaker 1 00:06:12 Exactly. I mean, Asian Americans are the inconvenient minority, so to speak because they are a minority and under leftist racial thoughts under an ideology of racial victim-hood Asians should be at the bottom, but they're not. Um, they don't come with wealth. They don't come with social connections. They don't come with generational privilege. But what they do is that they work really hard. They study twice as many hours as the average care. They also have lower discipline rates. They have lower crime rates, they have higher two parent family structures. This is culture. Like these are things that anybody of any race can adopt and they do. Um, and so they inconvenience critical race theory. In fact, there, they just prove it. They prove that critical race theory can't be true because why would a white supremacist nation let a minority get ahead of white people that doesn't make any sense yet Asians are ahead of white people on socioeconomic status and on bachelor's degree attainment, it doesn't make any sense.
Speaker 1 00:07:19 Um, so here's the way that critical race theorists try to resolve it. They make up this claim that Asian Americans are what they call white, adjacent white adjacent. So they make this claim that, that white people actually do preferentially treat Asians compared to other races. Um, they're Asians are used as a model minority and Asian suffer from white privilege. Um, this claim is both, it's a claim made solely to reinforce the bogus narrative that they have in their head, because if you really think about it, um, there's no reason why a there's no incentive and critical race theory is based on like this idea of incentives, right? Like what incentivizes the white person to treat a black person in this way. There's no incentive for a white person to preferentially treat an Asian person over a black person. Um, they're, they're Asian people are minorities and they have been historically discriminated against, and there's no evidence to say that they preferentially treat Asians in any way. Um, so it doesn't make any sense to me. Um, but that's how critical race do is try to resolve it.
Speaker 0 00:08:40 So, uh, what do you make of the argument that Asian Americans exceptionalism is due to immigration policies, which give preferential treatment to the highly skilled? I think that's one of the ways in which, uh, the, the CRT crowd tries to explain a way this paradox.
Speaker 1 00:08:59 Yeah. And I was, and I was, you know, preparing for, um, you'd ask that question. There is a body of thought that says that Asian Americans have this, um, that the United States selectively immigrates, Asian Americans, only the high skilled ones. That's actually not true. Um, Asian Americans actually have the exact same family-based immigration rate as a Hispanic student. Um, and the merit-based immigration rate for Asian Americans is about the same as Hispanics are. Um, so, and by the way, the Asians who came to this country who are, who were immigrated, not based, not selectively. So who immigrated based on refugee status. For example, there are a ton of Vietnamese immigrants who came during the eighties and the nineties who were, you came to this country with, uh, under refugee status. So they were not selectively immigrated here. They're not chosen, they're chosen because of war because of casualties.
Speaker 1 00:10:04 And usually these, these came from very little education. In fact, 80% of these Vietnamese refugees couldn't even speak English. So these are not like high selectivity Asian Americans, but if you follow the past of these Vietnamese immigrants, these immigrants came from basically nothing and no poverty. And their kids now graduate from a higher, at a higher rate from college than even white Americans. And they also have the lowest, one of the lowest rates of poverty among all Asian Amir among all Asian in there. Um, so no, it's not based on selective immigration. It's actually based on culture, uh, that, that that's the reason why Asian Americans are able to progress their society.
Speaker 0 00:10:52 I want to remind all of you who are watching on our various platforms to go ahead and type in your questions for Kenny, we're going to try to get to as many of them as possible for those who are watching us on YouTube, you may have seen that we've enabled the donation function. So if you are a regular at our weekly webinars, or you're particularly enjoying this, or just want to support the work of the Atlas society, give it a shot, try it out. Um, and, uh, we appreciate the support. So, uh, Kenny, you, you mentioned also, I mean, a lot of the book does focus on this reverse discrimination happening in, in, uh, academic settings. But you also mentioned that despite their academic and professional successes Asian-Americans are still relatively unrepresented in, um, most sections of the American intelligentsia, including politics and the media, what are your some, what are some of your thoughts for why that might be,
Speaker 1 00:12:00 And in sports too? And I think that that just kind of shows how ridiculous this equity ideology is, or the idea that you would want proportional representation across all fields and all races. Um, no different cultures prioritize different things. And by the way, the great thing about America is that, I mean, you guys are say, it's great. Or you can say it's totally chaotic, but either the great or chaotic thing about America is that one trait of yours does not determine your destiny in this country. So people like to say, yeah, well people with bachelor's and graduate degrees earn higher incomes and people with bachelor's degrees who aren't higher incomes with people with high school graduate degrees. Yeah. But have you looked at the variants? I mean, have you looked at the immense various, there's still like, like 35% of bachelor's degrees, like still earn less than the average high school diploma person.
Speaker 1 00:12:55 So there's a lot of variances in this country. Education does not necessarily determine your success. Asian Americans have chosen to bet on education where their own financial stability and success, and that bet has paid off in any economy in which knowledge and information is valued significantly, uh, for Asian Americans. But, um, as I argue in my book and inconvenient minority, um, we might be reaching a point in our culture where an educational meritocracy is not actually going to be valued moving forward in America where things like your race, where things like your backgrounds, your connections, your family status, where your ability to politically agitated are going to become more important factors towards your own individual social status in the next 20 years than even things like your education, um, or your educational background. And that is something where Asian Americans are really low at. So I do fear if you ask the question, you know, are Asian Americans, um, what, what's the future of Asian Americans? I am fearful for Asian Americans in this country because if they rely too much on their own education and in culture that is increasingly valuing other things, then, um, they will, their status will deteriorate in American society.
Speaker 0 00:14:36 So when, when you talk about, uh, the under-representation of Asian Americans in some of these elite circles, um, is there a chance that there may be some other factors at work, uh, here at the Atlas society, we focused a lot on philosophy on, on values and on vices, things like resentment and envy, is that possibly at play as well in terms of, um, the traditionally elite, uh, people that may feel that, um, Asian-American excellence is threat.
Speaker 1 00:15:19 Definitely, definitely. I think folks at the Atlas society would probably understand this better than the average American elite. Resentment is real resentment against success is real resentment against heck academically high cheating populations is real. And by the way is not limited just to Asian-Americans Jews were also resented for their high academic weight as well. Harvard had a quota against Jews too. Um, now Jews had better political organization in Asians, and so they were able to agitate their way out of it. Um, Asian Americans are currently agitating their way, hopefully out of it and hopefully for the synchrotron country, but you have to understand, um, there is a school in Northern Virginia called Thomas Jefferson high school, which had talk about in the first chapter of my book, where it was a top math and science. It is the top math and science school in the nation.
Speaker 1 00:16:15 And number one, ranked number one in the nation, Northern Virginia Fairfax county, the school in 2020 was 73% Asian American, okay. 73% Asian American. And so, you know, there was Ben, George Floyd got killed and there's whole, there were all these ideas about diversity and systemic racism just got flooded out into the discourse. And, you know, you know, who took advantage of those ideas, school boards, the Fairfax county school board was composed of a lot of liberals and represented a lot of progressives who were resentful of the fact that Asians were taking their spots, not just from blacks, but from rich white people as well from their own kids. And so they created a proposal to dramatically limit the number of Asian Americans at Thomas Jefferson high school. They created a proposal to turn the admissions process into a lottery system, into a lottery system. Oh my gosh.
Speaker 1 00:17:22 You know, so the percentage of Asians went down from 73% to 50% in one year and it's going to continue to go down. Um, now something that, and that happened because of resentment against Asian excellence. And if Asian Americans aren't educated and aware about this, that more that's going to happen. Now, fortunately, this happened after my book was published. It lawsuit was filed against Thomas Jefferson high school and the plaintiffs of that lawsuit recently won. And I don't know what add direct action is going to be prescribed as a result of that. But, um, I think people are waking up to this
Speaker 0 00:18:07 Speaking of legal actions. One of the other cases that you cover in the book is the, um, the suit that is against, again, my Alma mater, um, it's a suit that was filed by students for fair admissions. Uh, so for our viewers, could you sum up why that case is so important, uh, what it's revealed so far and where it currently stands in the court system,
Speaker 1 00:18:36 Students for fair admissions versus Harvard, is it challenged, Harvard's race conscious admissions policies that disproportionately discriminate against agents? So what do I mean by disproportionately discriminate against Asians at Harvard university and Asian-American has to score 440 points higher on the sat to have the same chance of admission as a black person and 150 points hired, had the same chance of admission as a white person, Asians under completely merit based admissions would make up about 43% of Harvard university. Instead they make up in the years of the suit, they made up less than 20%. That's a 50% discrimination penalty. Um, and so done under an explicitly race cautious system. Um, people need to understand, people need to know this and they say, and people will say, oh, well, everybody's equally talented. Everybody. You know, Harvard has, has, has a, could fill their entire class with people with perfect sat scores and perfect grades and everything like that. But that's actually not true that the premise of that is actually not true. Um, um, actually actually speaking, there is a merit talent differential that Harvard is willing to sacrifice a pretty significant one, um, in order to get the racial composition that they want. Um, you know, the percentage of kids in this nation who score above 1500 on the sat, do you know the racial demographics of that 55% aging, 30%, 35% white? Um, I think like 5% biracial, maybe like 3% Hispanic and 2% or less black.
Speaker 1 00:20:38 So there is a talent differential at the top that is racially inequitable. But if Harvard to admit, you know, 15% blacks, 15% Hispanics, you know, 15% Asians, then they are compromising on talent. They are compromising with talent. And so that's what the suit is really all about. This is the larger issue about the Harvard lawsuit. The larger issue is not just over a few admissions spots, but it's about how much are we really going to value excellence in our country anymore?
Speaker 0 00:21:17 All right, well, I have some more questions of my own, but we are getting quite a few coming in from our various, um, platforms on social media. So I'd love to get them involved in the conversation. A whole kin Mendell on Facebook asks, uh, something that I was thinking about as well. He says that the media had a big narrative last year, that racism towards Asians was at an all time high. Is it? And is it, uh, is the way in which it's portrayed by the media reflective of the current reality in terms of where those, um, that that violence may be coming toward,
Speaker 1 00:22:00 Um, at an all-time high? Um, I mean, I don't know. I mean, I would look at the Chinese exclusion act in the late 18 hundreds. I would look at Japanese and tournaments. I think that racism hat was took on a worst form then, um, it may be at a local, you know, maximum for there for the time that we're, that we're at right now. I don't really know. Um, hate crimes against Asians did go up in 2020 and 2021. But part of that is because people were reporting more hate crimes or, or were reporting more crimes as hate crimes. You understand that when you report a crime, you have the options report as a hate crime. You don't have to report it as a big crime. And part of the reason why people reported it as hate crime more recently is because there's, you can get extra financial punitive damages from calling it a hate crime.
Speaker 1 00:22:53 Um, because then you could get, you can get both criminal and civil damages. Um, so people, I think there is a little bit of an exaggeration to the narrative that's going on right now, but don't get me wrong crimes against Asians in general, went up as well. Crimes against every group went up in 2020. I mean, we were in the middle of a pandemic in the middle of social movements. Like black lives matter violence across the nation was going up. The most dispiriting thing that I saw in the media is narrative about racism against Asians is that they tried to tie it to white supremacy, which is the dumbest thing, like the most idiotic thing anybody could ever, anybody could ever say about what was going on in 2020, in 2021. Um, you look at the data, you look at the FBI perpetrators, those who committed crimes against Asians, 28% black, 25% white, um, all the others, Hispanic and Asians, whites are not even the plurality of the, of the, of the perpetrators of violence against agents. So you cannot call this a crime of white supremacy. And I think part of the reason why that whole thing died down so quickly is because the media took a little bit of a rigorous look at the facts. They realized that it doesn't fit their narrative.
Speaker 0 00:24:17 All right. Uh, okay. On Twitter, Hannah, our asks is race-based admissions standards or quotas a new thing, or has it been an issue for a long time?
Speaker 1 00:24:32 It's been an issue for a long time, Ana, um, but, and I'll just trace like briefly for you guys, the history of race-based admission. So colleges and universities have always had a kind of moral guilt about them. They feel responsible for having enough black people in their college to look good or to comply with the law or something like that. And what they often ignore is the effect that their race based admissions would actually have on the black person that they preferentially admit, um, which in many cases in the studies that that are just better that have been conducted on this, continue to reinforce this conclusion, black kids who are admitted into universities in which they're not competitively qualified for programs in which they're not competitively qualified for tend to graduate lower at lower rates, higher dropout rates, higher discouragement rates, um, tend to actually graduate the bottom of the class, not at the top.
Speaker 1 00:25:38 And actually it tends to reinforce racial segregation on campuses as well. So it's actually bad from a diversity angle as well. And I'll tell you why they, they, um, segregate campuses more because people self-select into similarly, academically achieving groups. So if the lowest achieving students in your college happened to be black, then the self-selection is also going to take a racial angle as well, which is really bad from the principle of integration and from the principle of increasing integration in society. So I see no, uh, this, this practice has been happening since 19, since the 1960s. It was justified through 1979 decision called Regents, California versus Baki runner versus Ballinger in 2003, um, continued that and students for fair admissions versus Harvard provides the most pressing challenge against race-based admissions, because it clearly shows that the race-based now is not just, um, directly offending a privileged white group, but now it is affecting another minority as well.
Speaker 0 00:26:51 That's fascinating. Um, on Instagram is mom ass has a question exactly about that. How deeply rooted is race-based admissions in colleges? Is it a nationwide or is it stronger in some parts of the country than others? Like, you know, maybe the elite colleges,
Speaker 1 00:27:14 Well, it's rooted far enough that the top colleges collude to produce certain racial outcomes. So this is not just a Harvard thing. This is, you know, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Yale, MIT, all of them have race based admissions practice. You know how I know that because there are colleges that are, that are actually banned from using race based admissions. So we actually have control colleges that are of equal rigor. And I would call that are of equal or even higher rigor than these Ivy league colleges, there's colleges or California Institute of technology. Caltech is one of the biggest ones. And if you look at the percentage of Asians at the Ivy league colleges, it goes like this. Whereas in Caltech, it goes like that. And those of you who are not listening on video, basically it plateaus with Ivy league colleges at around 15 to 20% Asian for the next 20 years, between 1990 and 2010.
Speaker 1 00:28:22 And with Caltech, it goes up between 1990 and 2010, because they're banned from using race and admissions by the Californians, uh, under proposition 2 0 9. And so CA Caltech it's about 43% agent, by the way, during that same period of time, Caltech has advanced from like number 20 in the world university rankings to number five in terms of research output per student. So that is the, their, their ability to attract highly qualified Asian talent has benefited their university. It hasn't hurt them. It's actually increased their prestige. Whereas these other universities are coasting off their endowments that they're quickly losing the meritocratic foundation that secured their prestige in the first place.
Speaker 0 00:29:10 Fascinating. So, uh, you mentioned a little bit, um, when we had that question about the violence and you talked about how it was falsely presented as being a function of rampant white supremacy and how that wasn't true. Looking at the, uh, actual statistics. Um, so, you know, president Donald Trump of course, was, uh, also accused of inflaming, um, white supremacy, but, uh, at the same time he was, um, famously tough on China. He singled it out and his policies on trade. And also with the Corona virus. Do you think his, his rhetoric alienates, uh, some Asian American voters who might have otherwise agreed with this policy, how, how do you see the relationship between, uh, Donald Trump and, um, Asian-Americans as, as, uh, voting, uh, force?
Speaker 1 00:30:18 Well, I wouldn't have called it the Wolf flu, you know, uh, if I were Donald Trump, which there's no one else in the entire world who is Donald Trump. So, um, I wouldn't have called it the China virus. I don't think it helped, but no, it wasn't the sole cause of crimes against Asians going up. Are you kidding me? That's completely ridiculous. Um, crimes against remember crimes against every racial group went up in 2021. Um, now one thing I will give credit to the former president of is he was one of the first presidents to distinguish and I, I was watching his Twitter during this whole time. Um, he, right after he talked about China virus, he did sort of, he gave, he said, I'm really proud of our countries, Asian Americans. Um, and so he did make that distinguishment between our countries, Asian Americans and the Chinese communist party, um, which is really different.
Speaker 1 00:31:23 And I think that that, that distinguishment needs to be understood by your listeners. Um, there are Asian Americans in this country who have lived here for three and four generations and have zero connection or hair or zero connection to what their racial or what their racial skin color indicates. And this, this, this goes with my larger colorblind philosophy, which is you shouldn't make assumptions about people based on how they look. It doesn't matter what, how they were privileged, depressed should make any assumptions whatsoever. Let them tell their story to you. Um, you know, this, this is really important, uh, to, to understand that Asian Americans are in this country are actually quite a diverse people with a lot of different personalities, dreams, and desires.
Speaker 0 00:32:23 Well, um, speaking of this, the relationship between Trump and, um, Asian Americans, I had the chance to check out a few of the rallies, um, truck, truck rallies, those kinds of things. And one of the biggest shocks for me, which probably just reveals, you know, my own misconceptions was how many Asian-Americans were at truck routes. And a lot of them were actually, um, Chinese immigrants. And I, I was just completely ended my assumptions and I had the chance to talk to a few of them. And, uh, they have bad experiences in China. They, they felt that, um, actually what Trump was saying about China in terms of, um, its oppression and, and it's an unfair, uh, perhaps, um, taking, uh, trademark material, that kind of thing. So they, they, that was something I had not expected, but I open it. All right. Well then politically, you know, Asian-Americans, we also mentioned Jews that they had been victims of, of reverse discrimination at, at Harvard and other places. Uh, but, uh, both, uh, of course, Asian Americans have become a key constituency for the democratic party, despite its adoption of policies that seem inimical to the interests of Asian-Americans as small business owners, as high achieving upwardly, mobile professionals. What do you think contributed to that party alignment? And do you see any evidence of it shifting?
Speaker 1 00:34:14 So I don't buy that Asians are aligned with the democratic party is people, especially the left would like to promote to you. A number one reason is why, why is because Asians are the least likely population that you can vote. So, yeah, out of the ones that vote who predominantly are second generation Asian Americans who are well assimilated into American society who have attended colleges that have indoctrinated them, let's face it. They were indoctrinated just like a lot of college students today. Um, Asian-Americans are actually probably prone. Second gen my generation Asian-Americans are probably more prone to indoctrination the average American because they have anxieties about assimilating. They, they want to feel loved. They want to feel popular. They want to feel like they're a part of this country and posting the black square on Instagram makes them feel like they're a part of this country.
Speaker 1 00:35:08 Um, so that's one factor I would ascribe to the proportion of Asian-Americans who do vote for Democrats. But let me tell you most Asian Americans, the majority of Asian Americans don't even vote. Um, a lot of them aren't citizens. Um, I'm not saying they're illegal. Some of them are illegals. Um, but most of them are like in the process towards citizenship or just don't really have interest in citizenship. We're here on a green card or a visa, something like that. Um, the ones that can vote, um, you know, sometimes they're just not interested in what are they most interested in, interested in getting their kids to, into college. They're interested in educating their kids. That's why when the left came after education, like when the left started abolishing these gifted programs and changing the admissions processes of low high school in San Francisco and Thomas Jefferson high school, when the Harvard case came out, that's what blew up Asian Americans.
Speaker 1 00:36:11 Oh my gosh. Like that has created more political activity among Asian-Americans and you've ever seen in this country, did you see that San Francisco school board was three school board members were just recalled, you know, who led those charges to recall the San Francisco school board that's right. Asian Americans. They came out of San Francisco's Chinatown out of, out of corners, out of little storefronts at a places you've never seen before, highest turnout for Asian Americans ever in a school board recall election. So yeah, when education is under threat, Asian-Americans are going to come out of the woodwork. Now they're already politically mobilized. And I do think that that's going to bear a, um, a pardon from the democratic party.
Speaker 0 00:37:07 Well, hopefully they will act in their rational self-interest though. I do take your point that, uh, you know, if you are doing everything you can to get into Harvard, to get into Yale, to get into the Ivy league and to these elite universities, uh, where the CRT nonsense is, um, just over the top and you're studying hard and you want to get the good grades and you want to be a part of that elite where, uh, you've been underrepresented. I can see where there may also be genuine, you know, belief in, um, in this kind of identity politics, uh, rubric, but, but also just a willingness to, to belong. So, all right. More questions here coming in, Jason on Instagram asks with the Harvard case and others, why haven't we seen a bigger push for meritocracy?
Speaker 1 00:38:08 That's a good question. Well, um, I am leading a push from meritocracy, so you can join me at color, us united.org, where we fight for a colorblind meritocracy, particularly against the woke attack on meritocracy. We fight corporations like American express that are trying to impose racial quotas and employment and CRT in schools. And other thing we're fighting for, which is basically teaching people, stop being excellent, start playing a victim, um, is w why isn't there a larger movement for meritocracy? I think it's because people in the past, and again, I'm trying to revive the term meritocracy, but people in the past have confused meritocracy with the kind of extremely harsh view of the world in which your value is dependent upon what you bring to society. Um, look, I'm a Christian, so I don't think your value is dependent upon what you bring to society. And that enables me actually to stand on my own two feet and to say, yeah, I think people should be treated on the basis of merit because that's what makes for the most productive society. That's what makes for a better for society for everybody. Um, but no, I don't believe that your value is determined by what you bring to society in a metaphysical sense or in a spiritual sense. Um, so I think once we get rid of that conception of meritocracy, I think more people are going to come and align themselves with these principles.
Speaker 0 00:39:51 And Jason, I might also add from an objectivist perspective that, uh, we're our culture, our intellectual class is still very much in the grips of altruism of this self sacrificing moral ideal, uh, where we, um, we feel that those who are in need, those who are broken, those who, uh, can, can show some kind of disability, uh, deserve more attention than those who are bringing the most, um, who are providing value to society, who, who are excellent. So I do also believe that in addition to the activism, in addition to these examples that we do need to return to a culture of excellence, um, and, uh, and reject this, this idea that, uh, that need isn't a claim is a claim on ability. If, if we're really going to see a true turn to, um, to celebrating and honoring, uh, that the, the best and the finest and, and the most talented and the most productive among us. So, uh, more questions here. Um, so Syria SMD on Twitter asks what is the response to leftists saying that meritocracy denies the lower scoring, uh, the chance to succeed like others. So I guess it would be w w w w w w maybe the attack on testing on scoring altogether.
Speaker 1 00:41:38 Yeah. Well, I don't know. I don't know. So I don't know the commoners intentions with the, or like where she's coming from with the question, but I'm going to interpret as follows. Um, basically people who score lower and might still have other valuable characteristics that should be factored in the admissions process from a merit based perspective. I agree with that. I mean, I totally agree with that. I don't think that you necessarily should evaluate things just based on standardized test scores. Although I actually do, I actually give a counterexample in my book, um, the specialized high schools in New York admit people solely on the basis of standardized test scores. Like actually, um, what they do is that they take every it's very simple system. There's no mediator whatsoever. They just take the people who score the highest X scores, and they admit them that's it.
Speaker 1 00:42:35 And it turns out that those are the most prestigious schools in New York city, despite the fact that there's ample choice for other gifted and talented programs that have more holistic based processes. It turns out the ones that come from this just sat schools called the SHS 80, which is the standardized tests. Those specialized high schools are actually produced, produced the, um, the highest quality applicants, according to some arguments, um, in terms of most Nobel prize winners, the most, um, laureates, the, the, the top math and science engineers, the most in demand jobs. So, you know, you could, I know, I know it doesn't sit well with a lot of people here, but, um, testing is valuable, you know, testing is valuable. And the reason why is because testing, especially standardized testing gives you access to two sources of information, one a person's inherent intelligence. Um, I also known as IQ where there is variation between people and then to a, person's willingness to work hard to have the discipline, to actually study for a test and both characteristics are meritorious. So do I think it should be the only thing to evaluate somebody? No, but do I think it should be included in evaluations? Yes, absolutely.
Speaker 0 00:44:02 Rocket whiz on Instagram asks whether you think that using language in the first place like Asian American or African-American perpetuates identity politics, whether we should get away from, uh, just identifying ourselves as hyphenated Americans in general, but the place of our origin by, by our, our ethnic group and just focus on each other as individuals.
Speaker 1 00:44:32 That's a good question. I think we should. Um, I think that, I think that you should practice that, um, my solution to solving whatever vestiges of implicit racism that whites might have against other populations in which there is a trust me, it is just Investedge. But if you feel like you have a problem, you should, you should invest yourself and you should pay attention to stop referring to people as African-American Asian, American, Latino, American, and start referring to people by other characteristics. Um, you know, that, that, that fellow over there who handed me lunch or that nice person over there, kind of person over there, I think that will, will help. Um, and eventually we can get rid of these categories, which were arbitrarily made to ferment division racial narrative forever.
Speaker 0 00:45:37 You've also in your book, Kenny, you talk a little bit about some of the stereotypes of Asian Americans, um, and mentioned that perhaps the biggest stereotype or the biggest issue is, is invisibility. What did, what did you mean by that?
Speaker 1 00:45:56 So, I mean, that Asian Americans are not as present and mainstream American culture as some Asian-Americans would like would refer us to be, um, and I think that's changing. Um, I think it's definitely changing and I wouldn't go too far with this narrative. Like, I don't think I'm invisible. Like I really don't, you know, I'm not like that progressive Asian writer that just says, oh man, like, because I'm Asian, everybody just looks at me like I'm just smart or something like that. No, I, I have a lot of other characteristics that I bring to the table and that people should acknowledge. Um, that being said, I recognize the fact that Asian Americans, we lack a cultural, we lack in like a, like a cultural matrix, a fully developed cultural matrix, the way other groups, including African Americans have been able to develop in this country at a far more substantial rate.
Speaker 1 00:47:03 And part of that is just because we lack history in this country. Part of that is because America is a country where you need to speak out to get what you want. And China was a country where if you spoke out during the cultural revolution, it was a good way to get your head cut off. Um, so Asian Americans do have to relearn some of these cultural principles of political organizing and grassroots organizing and speaking out and not being to share your opinion, um, so that they can continue to make a mark on society the way that they want to see themselves in society.
Speaker 0 00:47:39 So, Kenny, you mentioned your work at color, us United. Tell us a little bit about the organization, how it started, what it does and how people can get involved.
Speaker 1 00:47:50 Absolutely. So color us United was started in 2021 to fight the divisive racial ideologies that are propagated by organizations like black lives matter. We all want to solve the diversity problem. There's no question America as issues that stem from race and diversity, but embracing racially based ideologies is not the way to resolve that. And as soon as we saw black lives matter and stop Asian hate, get billions of dollars in government and corporate funding, we realized there needs to be a counterweight to them, um, with better accounting standards. Um, and that is color us United. We are that response. And we also want to make you feel, we also want to make it easier for people to actually have opinions on these kinds of things without being branded or racist. Um, so as such, you know, corporations that conduct these mandatory diversity trainings that are so censorious and that censored people, um, or non-profits that are asking people to repent for racism like the salvation army did last year, we fight those as well.
Speaker 1 00:49:03 We organize them. We organized 17,000 salvation army donors. Last year, we'd lowered their fundraising by a substantial amount, and we want to force them to rescind their anti-racism document, accusing their members of being racist solely for existing while white, you know, and ultimately we want to, you know, empower the person we want to let corporations know, Hey, it's not just the progressive black lives matter types that have a voice in this discourse. Now listen to the ordinary American and that's color us United. So color us united.org, sign up, get involved with our initiatives. Um, we want to make your voice known in the racial discourse.
Speaker 0 00:49:44 Great. Well, we will put that in the chats on all of these platforms. Uh, we had one last question, Mandy. No, on Facebook asked if you could explain deep inequity from your tweet a bit more.
Speaker 1 00:50:03 Wow. Mandy, no, as has been following me, that's very, I'm very flattered. Deep inequity is this idea that
Speaker 1 00:50:17 Black people have suffered from racism so long that they've internalized that racism within their very core. They're very psychology. And so it's basic. It is going to be impossible to create true equity and things like at least within the next hundred years, it's going to be impossible to create true equity in, um, the black population in certain roles like education and stuff like that. Um, without the use of explicit racial quotas, because it's just so internalized the, they feel so victimized on the inside by a systemically racist country. And so I posed this question to my, to my Twitter audience, who I regularly interact with. I have one of the most engaged Twitter followings, and I'm just very blessed to know that. Um, but basically asked them, do you think deep, deep inequity is a thing, you know, do you think that racism that the whole, um, spread of generational racism get so internalized in a person that it's going to be really, really hard to dig out of?
Speaker 1 00:51:25 Um, and I've gotten, I've gotten mixed responses. I'm still developing my opinion on that. I think that people in the Alice society, um, should start thinking about that as well and make your own opinion. Um, but here's just what I do know, increased fixation on your racial consciousness leads to paralysis it, um, it does lead to lower self-confidence, um, studies show that it does lead to, um, you know, increase self-consciousness in a bad way. You know, it, it, it does lead to, um, more inaction. Um, and it does lead to an overall more negative view of American society that prevents the kind of optimistic can-do nature that produces generations of entrepreneurs, businessmen, and people who can be productive in society. And it can ultimately provide wealth, not only to their country, but to themselves as well. So I do think that, um, whatever it takes, we have to get rid of this horrible mentality that teaches people that, uh, American society is horribly and irreducibly stacked against them.
Speaker 0 00:52:37 All right. So we are going to make sure that we'll put your Twitter handle in there. So is that primarily where people can find you?
Speaker 1 00:52:46 Yeah, you can find me on Twitter. You can also, uh, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, you can also find me, um, at inconvenient minority.com where you can check out a little more about myself by my book, for sure though. Um, that's where you can find out a lot about the ideas that we're talking about here today and inconvenient minority.
Speaker 0 00:53:09 Well, thank you so much, Kenny. Uh, this has been very illuminating. I think an issue that has been too neglected, uh, not well understood. So this has been very helpful and, and bringing some of these, uh, issues to light and, um, getting others to join in, in the fight for, for meritocracy and a culture of achievement. So thank you, Kenny. Thanks, uh, to the rest of you who have joined us on the various platforms, thanks to those of you who may have tried out our new donation function on YouTube. Uh, and of course you can always go to the Atlas society to, um, support our work and to sign up for our newsletter so that you will always get notices of the many, many clubhouse chats, uh, our live webinars, our seminars, and other programs that we have for students and for general audience. So go to the Atlas society to sign up for that among those are a, um, clubhouse chat we're going to be having in 30 minutes with one of our senior scholars.
Speaker 0 00:54:24 I mentioned earlier, Jason Hill is doing a two part series on iron Rand and sex. So that's going to be coming up. Um, let us know if you want a clubhouse invite, we can send it to you and also make sure that you're going to be joining us next week. We are going to be interviewing in this space, Peter Diamandis, uh, he of course, was our honoree. We received the lifetime achievement at our gala two years ago, and we are going to be talking to him about as many books, his philosophy of abundance and how technology can create a, uh, a more abundant and more hopeful future. So I will see you next week. And again, Ken, thanks for joining us. Thank you.