Ah, Princeton

by Kieran Healy on January 18, 2007

Exhibit A, Yale freshman Jian Li. He filed a civil rights complaint against Princeton for “rejecting his early application”:http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/archives/2006/11/13/news/16544.shtml, alleging bias against Asians in Princeton’s admissions process. Exhibit B, an “Op-Ed”:http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/archives/2007/01/17/opinion/17109.shtml by “Lian Ji” in the _Daily Princetonian_’s joke issue. An excerpt:

bq. Hi Princeton! Remember me? I so good at math and science. Perfect 2400 SAT score. Ring bells? … What is wrong with you no color people? Yellow people make the world go round. We cook greasy food, wash your clothes and let you copy our homework. Brown people are catching up, too but not before the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Plus, two Princeton professors showed that racial preferences for black people and Hispanics hurt admission opportunities for me. I mean, Asians in general. The Great Wall Street Journal support my case. What more you want? … Princeton claims that it increase diversity by rejecting an Asian-American. You make joke?

I think that penultimate sentence should read, “Princeton claim it increase diversity,” not “claims that.” If you’re going to write Chinglish, at least make an effort.

What I like about these cases is the Kabuki-like quality of it all … here come the angry protests, there are the inevitable anti-PC people, here is the Dean late at night with a stiff drink, here’s the Asian guy who says he thinks it’s just hilarious and what’s the big deal, and so on. Let the fun begin.

I wrote a column for the _Daily Princetonian_ for a while in grad school, and as I recall (from the hate mail I got), the kids weren’t nearly so easily amused if you “made fun”:http://www.kieranhealy.org/files/columns/clones.html of their “beloved traditions”:http://www.kieranhealy.org/files/columns/bicker.html, “odd religious movements”:http://www.kieranhealy.org/files/columns/crusade.html or “high grades”:http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/Content/1998/03/09/Edits/column.html. Some things are sacred, you know. Oh, and I once wrote a piece in “broken English”:http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/Content/1998/02/03/Edits/edits1.html as well, so I know whereof I speak.