- Kenny Xu, a board member for Students for Fair Admissions, engaged in a heated discussion with CNN host Abby Phillip over the issue of affirmative action, arguing for a merit-based system rather than race-influenced admissions.
- Xu stood his ground when Phillip proposed the inclusion of socio-economic factors in admissions, countering that this approach inevitably lowers admission standards, potentially harming students it aims to help. He supported his claim with data showing that Asian students need significantly higher SAT scores for the same chance of admission as black students.
- The debate mirrors the arguments made in a Supreme Court case, where Justice Clarence Thomas argued for a ‘colorblind’ constitution that focuses on individual achievements over race. The segment abruptly ended when Phillip found herself unable to counter Xu’s data-backed arguments.
A CNN segment came to a sudden halt when host Abby Phillip found herself unable to rebut the factual arguments put forth by Kenny Xu, a board member for Students for Fair Admissions and advocate for fair college admissions.
During the discussion, Xu championed the principle of merit-based admissions, insisting that academic excellence, rather than race, should be prioritized in college applications.
He questioned the relevance of a university calculating a prospective student’s “level of diversity,” and stressed that applicants should be judged on their merits such as their work ethic, study habits, SAT scores, and grades.
Phillip, however, proposed the consideration of “other factors,” including a student’s socio-economic background.
Xu was quick to respond, arguing that such an approach inevitably leads to an altered standard of admissions for applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds compared to those from privileged ones.
Xu further argued that these relaxed standards could ultimately hinder the success of the very students they were designed to help.
His stance, he says, is supported by admissions data, which shows Asian students have to score considerably higher on the SAT to have the same chance of admission as a black student.
Caught off-guard by Xu’s argument, Phillip abruptly ended the segment, expressing her thanks to Xu for his perspective.
Indeed, Xu’s argument finds backing in the admission data from Harvard.
Despite having the highest average standardized test scores among all applicant demographics, Asian students had the lowest admission rate.
In contrast, black applicants who had the lowest average test scores enjoyed the highest admission rate.
Justice Clarence Thomas, in his concurring opinion on the Supreme Court case, argued that while American society may not be “colorblind,” our laws should strive to be.
He cautioned against trying to counter social racism with government-imposed racism, arguing that this leads to a “never-ending cycle of victimization.”
Instead, Thomas proposed that the government should focus on the individual achievements of its citizens, echoing the same argument made by Kenny Xu during the abruptly-ended CNN segment.
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