Defending Kwasi Enin: A High Achiever
by Clarence Page
For this astounding feat, you now get to be pilloried where no good deed goes unpunished, on the Internet.
That's an unfortunate part of the price one pays for being both black and bright in the age of affirmative action.
As one of the more printable responses posted on Reddit put it, "With better credentials than the guy in the article my white fiance only got into two Ivy schools, and I only got into 1 Ivy with similar scores. 2,250 (Enin's SAT score) is not that great, and frankly I think that this kid is going to have a hard time keeping up if he goes to a school like
We'll see. In fact, Enin hardly sounds like an academic slacker. His SAT score of 2,250 out of a possible 2,400 puts him in the 99th percentile for college-bound African-American seniors nationwide, according to the SAT's website, and the 98th percentile of all college-bound seniors.
"Hell, I'm an Asian-American who got 2210 on my SAT," wrote one of Enin's defenders,
Enin also ranks 11th -- well within the top 2 percent -- of his class of 647 at
But SAT scores and class rankings are only the beginning of the admissions process at elite colleges these days, not the final arbiter. Since applicants to the Ivies are like
It is not for nothing that the Ivies are called exclusive. Acceptance rates range from a mere 14 percent at
Faced with a flood of 98th- and 99th-percentile achievers in test scores, admissions officers put a premium on other factors, including racial and ethnic diversity. Exclusivity has its advantages, but no college these days wants to be perceived as too white.
By that standard, race would be an obvious plus-factor for Enin, but not his only one. He also is a shot putter who sings in his school's a capella group, plays the viola and volunteers at
After all of that good-faith effort on his part, I am less troubled by how much race might have weighed in Enin's favor than I am relieved by how little it appears to have weighed against him.
What all of us Americans should find troubling is not
In that regard, both sides of the college admissions debate are missing what may be the most significant aspect of Enin's success: He's a child of immigrants. His parents are nurses who emigrated from
Similar cases help to explain a startling development that
The lesson? Culture matters.
Americans are reluctant to talk about culture for fear of raising suspicions of racism. But, as
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Article: Copyright © 2014, Tribune Media Services.
"Defending Kwasi Enin: A High Achiever"