By Arturo R. García
The image above was taken from an article published over the weekend in Very Noice, the online component of The Harvard Voice, a “student life” magazine dealing with “5 People” one encounters at job recruitment events. If you look at the piece now, however, you won’t see “The Asian,” described thusly:
You can always spot the Asian contingent at every pre-interview reception. They dress in the same way (satin blouse with high waisted pencil skirt for girls, suits with skinny ties for boys), talk in the same sort-of gushy, sort-of whiny manner, and have the same concentrations and sky-high GPAs. They’re practically indistinguishable from one another, but it’s okay. Soon, they will be looking at the same Excel spreadsheets and spend their lunch talking about their meaningful morning conversations with the helpdesk of Bloomberg. Uniqueness is overrated when you make six-figure salaries.
A Racialicious reader who attends the school sent us the screencap above from the original version of the piece Saturday evening. However, the reader emailed us later that evening saying the Voice’s editor, identified on the site as April Sperry, contacted readers saying “this piece was uploaded by an anonymous contributor without anyone else’s knowledge.” As our reader noted, this seems “bizarre,” considering the piece wasn’t taken down at that point.
That same evening, this comment allegedly appeared with the piece:
Note from the Writer: Clearly, I’ve been censored, which in itself is an interesting reflection on free speech in America. If you couldn’t tell that this article was satire, then we have bigger problems than me being “offensive.”
(If you are curious to know what the fifth stereotype is, just take a quick look around the room. JK!)
That fifth stereotype, which has not been removed from the article, is “The Hipster”:
The alternative kid spends most of their 20 minutes at the reception standing in a corner, mocking the Asian ass-kissers in their heads, and secretly hating themselves for being there and “selling out.” Make no mistake, at the end of the day, a plump job advising global conglomerates on how to expand their businesses is still far more desirable than manning the cashier at Petsi Pies, or slaving it out at some advertising internships. In 2005, 47% of Harvard graduates went into the finance and consulting industries. The figure last year (according to The [Harvard] Crimson was 22%, and you wonder how many of the 78% nearly died trying.
As the aforementioned Crimson, the school’s student newspaper, reported, the “Writer’s” whiny note was later removed. Also, comments were temporary deleted and disabled, and the byline was changed from “The Voice Staff” to “Anonymous.”
Last but not least, the “Asian” was replaced by “The Super-Interviewee”:
You’re bound to run into a few people over and over again at any kind of receptions: Hedge funds, investment banks, consulting firms, Abercrombie & Fitch, Taser International etc. You name it, they are there. They cast a wide net from New York, NY, to Columbus, OH, all the way to Scottsdale, AZ. It does not matter as long as the benefits packages are okay. They probably look very similar to one another – satin blouse and tight pencil skirts for girls, suits and skinny ties for boys. They probably major in Government, Psychology, or Economics. They probably have a sky-high GPA. They probably wrote their admission essays to Harvard about their passion saving children in Africa. Now, they spend their Wednesday afternoons (just before job applications are due) writing about how much they would love to either manage tens of billions of dollars in assets for the Trumps or create a new line of monogrammed sweatpants for Australian teenagers.
It’s okay. Passion is overrated when you make a six-figure salary. Besides, the African children can wait, right?
And the “Asian ass-kisser” joke remains on the site as of Tuesday morning.
Sperry addressed the incident in a column published late Monday night, with an opening line that is by now standard to this kind of incident:
First and foremost, an apology is in order. To anyone who was offended or in any manner hurt by the comments about Asian students in the recruiting process, The Voice is deeply sorry. No readers should feel attacked or singled out in a negative manner by our content.
Sperry also said the staff “did not collaborate to conceptualize or write this article.” Yet it was an unidentified staff member who accepted the piece, published it, and “mistakenly attributed it to the staff as a whole,” even while the staff doesn’t agree with the opinions presented.
As of Monday night, Sperry said, she did not know who wrote the piece, or why comments on it were temporarily disabled.