Galling: New York Times Blind to Racial Bias at Yale, Sees It in Improv and Trump

August 18th, 2020 11:57 AM

The New York Times eagerly scours college campuses for racism and reliably finds it, which makes Saturday’s story defending Yale University (named after a slave-trader) even more fascinating. Reporters Anemona Hartocollis and Giulia McDonnell Nieto Del Rio fought the possibility of racial discrimination against Asian-Americans in Yale’s admission process, instead suggesting racism on the part of the Trump administration: “Yale Students Denounce Discrimination Accusations.” The text box turned the tables: “Charges are a way to ‘pit minority groups against each other.’” 

Siddarth Shankar, an Asian-American student, sees nothing wrong with the admissions process, which is perhaps not surprising, given that he made it in.

Now he sees the Trump administration’s accusation that Yale discriminated against Asian-American and white applicants, leveled against the university by the Justice Department’s civil rights division on Thursday, as unfathomable and divisive.


Yale students widely criticized the administration’s finding, which came two years after a complaint was filed against the university by a group called the Asian American Coalition for Education. Most said the administration had lost credibility on racial matters long ago, undermining any analysis it might produce on the use of race and ethnicity in college admissions.

“When I talk to my Asian-American friends, this is not what we wanted,” said Alec Dai, a Yale senior from New York City whose parents immigrated from Guangzhou, China….

Well, they got in, didn’t they? Perhaps they're the wrong people to ask about an unfair admission process….

“For the great majority of applicants, Asian-American and white applicants have only one-tenth to one-fourth of the likelihood of admission as African-American applicants with comparable academic credentials,” the department said.

The paper found an Obama bureaucrat to criticize the “rushed” finding, and a politically correct student, well-versed in made-up ethnic terminology, to make their own race-obsessed points.

“Anti-Blackness and systematic racism and oppression, especially for Black Americans, is the more pervasive and the most important thing that we need to focus on right now,” [Mary Chen] said….“That’s not something that is considered in discussions about affirmative action,” she said. “It’s always continuing the demonization of Black and Latinx students, as taking a spot from a deserving white or Asian student.”

Yet after strenuously denying racial discrimination at Yale, the Times is eager to uncover phantom racism on the Trump front, displayed on Saturday’s front page in a piece co-written by “roving culture reporter” Melena Ryzik, “Trump Traffics in a Racist Trope With a Decades-Long History,” featuring the president tossing about his usual insults of political opponents, this time at Joe Biden’s vice presidential pick Kamala Harris (“a mad woman” and “angry”).

On Sunday, the paper fought racism on the strangest front for humorless policing -- stand-up comedy. The Arts & Leisure section’s front page featured a hostile profile of Second City, the legendary Chicago home of improvisation, reduced to a “bastion of whiteness.” Ryzik co-wrote that one also.

The ominous first line suggested Times reporters don’t understand how humor works.

What happens when a comedy institution realizes that a punchline is not worth a performer’s pain? Isn’t part of comedy risking offensiveness?

But for many performers of color, Second City was not a Valhalla: it was a trial. They tell stories of being demeaned, marginalized, tokenized, cast aside or worse.


During one performance, one of the stars, Peter Kim, recalled, he turned to the audience for an improv prompt. “What’s a small thing that makes you feel annoyed?” he asked. A white man seated beside a Latino man yelled out, “Sitting next to a Mexican!” It wasn’t an isolated incident. “We were telling our stage manager, our house manager, our producers -- we had almost a weekly meeting about this. And they would assure us every single time, ‘We’re on your side, we’re going to police the house better, we’re going to kick them out,’” said Kim, who had also been physically grabbed by patrons.…

Policing the audience for offensive improv prompts? Sounds like a tense night out. And don’t successful comedians have to deal with hecklers all the time?

The paper’s “woke” hypersensitivity to bogus racism charges, while denying actual racial discrimination at Yale University, is galling.