Archive | Don’t ID as Asian for College RSS feed for this section

Some Asians’ college strategy: Don’t check ‘Asian’

Asian Americans don't check Asian, college applications, race questionTao Tao Holmes, daughter of a Chinese mother and white father, chose not to check “Asian” on her Yale application. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
December 4, 2011Lanya Olmstead was born in Florida to a mother who immigrated from Taiwan and an American father of Norwegian ancestry. Ethnically, she considers herself half Taiwanese and half Norwegian. But when applying to Harvard, Olmstead checked only one box for her race: white.”I didn’t want to put ‘Asian’ down,” Olmstead says, “because my mom told me there’s discrimination against Asians in the application process.”For years, many Asian-Americans have been convinced that it’s harder for them to gain admission to the nation’s top colleges.

Studies show that Asian-Americans meet these colleges’ admissions standards far out of proportion to their 6 percent representation in the U.S. population, and that they often need test scores hundreds of points higher than applicants from other ethnic groups to have an equal chance of admission. Critics say these numbers, along with the fact that some top colleges with race-blind admissions have double the Asian percentage of Ivy League schools, prove the existence of discrimination.

The way it works, the critics believe, is that Asian-Americans are evaluated not as individuals, but against the thousands of other ultra-achieving Asians who are stereotyped as boring academic robots.

Now, an unknown number of students are responding to this concern by declining to identify themselves as Asian on their applications.

For those with only one Asian parent, whose names don’t give away their heritage, that decision can be relatively easy. Harder are the questions that it raises: What’s behind the admissions difficulties? What, exactly, is an Asian-American — and is being one a choice?

Olmstead is a freshman at Harvard and a member of HAPA, the Half-Asian People’s Association. In high school she had a perfect 4.0 grade-point average and scored 2150 out of a possible 2400 on the SAT, which she calls “pretty low.”

College applications ask for parent information, so Olmstead knows that admissions officers could figure out a student’s background that way. She did write in the word “multiracial” on her own application.

Still, she would advise students with one Asian parent to “check whatever race is not Asian.”

“Not to really generalize, but a lot of Asians, they have perfect SATs, perfect GPAs, … so it’s hard to let them all in,” Olmstead says.

Amalia Halikias is a Yale freshman whose mother was born in America to Chinese immigrants; her father is a Greek immigrant. She also checked only the “white” box on her application.

“As someone who was applying with relatively strong scores, I didn’t want to be grouped into that stereotype,” Halikias says. “I didn’t want to be written off as one of the 1.4 billion Asians that were applying.”

Her mother was “extremely encouraging” of that decision, Halikias says, even though she places a high value on preserving their Chinese heritage.

“Asian-American is more a scale or a gradient than a discrete combination . I think it’s a choice,” Halikias says.

But leaving the Asian box blank felt wrong to Jodi Balfe, a Harvard freshman who was born in Korea and came here at age 3 with her Korean mother and white American father. She checked the box against the advice of her high school guidance counselor, teachers and friends.

“I felt very uncomfortable with the idea of trying to hide half of my ethnic background,” Balfe says. “It’s been a major influence on how I developed as a person. It felt like selling out, like selling too much of my soul.”

“I thought admission wouldn’t be worth it. It would be like only half of me was accepted.”

Other students, however, feel no conflict between a strong Asian identity and their response to what they believe is injustice.

“If you know you’re going to be discriminated against, it’s absolutely justifiable to not check the Asian box,” says Halikias.

Immigration from Asian countries was heavily restricted until laws were changed in 1965. When the gates finally opened, many Asian arrivals were well-educated, endured hardships to secure more opportunities for their families, and were determined to seize the American dream through effort and education.

These immigrants, and their descendants, often demanded that children work as hard as humanly possible to achieve. Parental respect is paramount in Asian culture, so many children have obeyed — and excelled.

“Chinese parents can order their kids to get straight As. Western parents can only ask their kids to try their best,” wrote Amy Chua, only half tongue-in-cheek, in her recent best-selling book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.”

Read More…

2 Comments

The unintended consequences of racial preferences

image from American Civil Rights Institute

… what if many of the minorities used in this process[Affirmative Action] are injured by it? 

In six devastating words, the Heriot-Kirsanow-Gaziano brief distills the case against the “diversity” rationale for racial preferences: “Minority students are not public utilities.”

Now, it seems, that Affirmative Action action hurts the very minorities that it was created to assist. And not just Asian Americans, who have been hurt by racial quotas at top colleges and universities that served as an invisible “upper quota” keeping qualified applicants OUT based on race alone. So it seemed the beef with Affirmative Action was limited to Asian Americans and only with regard to college admissions. And we were unwilling to fight the good fight. But not anymore. Will the rules change if African-Americans are affected negatively by Affirmative Action? There’s change in the air … and it’s just a matter of time until this outdated policy gets rewritten for the new millennium.

And for the record, the policy should be based on socio-economics and not on race. Race is outdated, people. Let’s get with the program.

Here are some quotes from the article:

  • The Supreme Court faces a discomfiting decision. If it chooses, as it should, to hear a case concerning racial preferences in admissions at the University of Texas, the court will confront evidence of its complicity in harming the supposed beneficiaries of preferences the court has enabled and encouraged.
  • … institutions of higher education have a First Amendment right — academic freedom — to use race as one “plus” factor when shaping student bodies to achieve viewpoint diversity. Thus began the “educational benefits” exception to the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws.
  • Liberals would never stoop to stereotyping, but they say minorities necessarily make distinctive — stereotypical? — contributions to viewpoint diversity, conferring benefits on campus culture forever.
  • In 2003, when the court ruled on two cases arising from University of Michigan undergraduate and law school racial-preference policies, the court contributed more confusion than clarity. It struck down the undergraduate policies as too mechanistic in emphasizing race but upheld the law school’s pursuit of educational benefits from a “critical mass” of certain approved minorities.
  • Sander and Taylor report: “Research suggests a similar pattern nationally; scholars have found that the use of large racial preferences by elite colleges has the effect of reducing diversity at second-tier schools.”
  • Another study showed that even if eliminating racial preferences in law schools would mean 21 percent fewer black matriculants, there would still be no reduction in the number of blacks who graduate and pass the bar exam.
  • There are fewer minorities entering high-prestige careers than there would be if preferences were not placing many talented minority students in inappropriate, and discouraging, academic situations: “Many would be honor students elsewhere. But they are subtly being made to feel as if they are less talented than they really are.”
  •  … diversity bureaucracies on campuses will continue to use minority students as mere means to other people’s ends, injuring minorities by treating them as ingredients that supposedly enrich the academic experience of others.

The full article bu By George F. Will, published November 30, 2011, is here.

 

4 Comments

Asian Americans for Affirmative Action

Affirmative Action, Asian, Asians, Asian Americans,There are two sides to every point of view and this is the side of Asian Americans who are in favor of Affirmative Action. Which side are you on? This article is from The Nation. The full article is here. Bullet points below.

Asian Americans for Affirmative Action

The Nation on January 8, 2007 – 5:09 PM ET
  • Sunday’s NYT Education supplement ran a cover story by Timothy Egan about Asian Americans and affirmative action. Focusing on UC Berkeley — where Asians have grown to 41% of the student body since Proposition 209 banned racial preferences in 1997 — Egan observes that the end of affirmative action and the implementation of a “pure meritocracy” in admissions spells hugely disproportionate numbers of Asians at elite colleges and drastic shortages of Hispanics and African Americans. Berkeley, he concludes somewhat ominously, is the future of higher education.
  • Asian Americans comprise roughly 5% of the US population but represent anywhere from 13-40% of undergraduates at many top schools: 27% at MIT, 24% at Stanford, 17% at UT Austin, 13% at Columbia, 37% in the UC system as a whole and so forth. In contrast, only 3.6% of Berkeley’s freshman class are African American and only 11% are Hispanic — way below state population levels.
  • Egan’s right about the numbers, but he misses the mark on many other measures. First, he underplays the differences between “brain drain” Asian Americans and more recent, less affluent, less educated Asian immigrants.
  • Egan cites a 2005 study by Thomas J. Espenshade and Chang Y. Chung that finds that, without affirmative action, Asians (and not whites) would fill the vast majority (80%) of spots reserved for African Americans and Hispanics at elite universities.
  • …despite the possibility that Asian Americans may be the group most “disadvantaged” by affirmative action, they consistently, vigorously and overwhelmingly support it at the polls.
  •  Why do we continue to support a policy that apparently “harms” us? One answer is that it doesn’t, at least not always and not equally. Connerly and his minions — who have anti-affirmative action initiatives brewing in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri and Nebraska — have focused their message almost exclusively on admissions, and not on public employment and state contracts, even though affirmative action applies to those arenas as well, arenas in which Asian Americans are often underrepresented.
  • But racial group interest aside, I have a hunch that Asian Americans support affirmative action because the legacy of discrimination against Asians — from the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to Japanese internment to the crucifixion of Wen Ho Lee to post-9/11 roundups of brown folk — is seared into our collective memory.
  • The last question I’ll raise is: What’s up with white people? If abolishing affirmative action would gain whites little in the admissions game (and then mostly to the ruling class of whites) and if Asian Americans reap most of the benefits of what Egan calls a “pure meritocracy,” then why is it that only white people as a group vote to end affirmative action?
  • If Berkeley is indeed the future of America, then neither maintaining nor abolishing affirmative action will preserve this American future as a white refuge. But keeping (and restoring) affirmative action will provide, however imperfectly, space for not just the yellow, but also for the brown, the red and the black.
0 Comments

Tacit Asian American Quotas at Tufts and Other Colleges Revealed

Tufts University, Anti Asian American discrimination, Affirmative Action
A reader who teaches at Tufts University sent me this chain of emails that demonstrate the tacit exclusion of Asian Americans at their college. What do you think? Does this kind of subtle exclusion happen around you?
p.s. For more posts on Why You Shouldn’t Identify as Asian American When Applying to College, please go here.
I just want to bring your attention to this event and am deeply disturbed by the fact that in their brochure for this event, the organizer mentioned this forum is (particularly for African-American, Hispanic/Latino and American/Indian/Alaska Native individuals), and not Asian Americans.  I remembered there is CABA and I think someone from that group should attend the event and alert the organizer regarding the situation – I just can’t believe they omit Asian Americans!!
The Event:
New England Science Symposium on Sunday 4/1 at the Josph B. Martin Conference/Harvard Medical School on 77 Avenue Louis Pasteur
And the point of view from a professor at Tufts:
To share 2 cents of mine with you: Asian students consist of 12% of Tufts University population where I have been teaching since 1987 even though we have only 4.43% of population in the US and 5.3% in Massachusetts. So it is not surprising that Asian is not counted as minority in terms of academic activities. That does not mean we should give up. The Asian percentage dropped from 16% several years ago to about 12% now. We were concerned but can do little.

“A visit to the University of California’s most selective campuses shows how very well Asian-American kids do academically: While Asian Americans constituted 14 percent of the state population in 2008, this fall they made up about 40 percent of the freshman class at UCLA and 37 percent of the entering class at University of California, Berkeley.

But it’s not just in California, and it’s not just in college. The 2000 Census found that 44 percent of Asian Americans had a bachelor’s degree, compared with 26 percent of the white population. Their outsize presence in higher education — critics charge some universities with enforcing tacit Asian-American quotas — has made their success legend.

In the latest report of scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, standardized tests administered to U.S. elementary and secondary students, finds Asian-American students have overtaken white students’ scores in reading at the high school senior level. Asian Americans had already topped white scores at the fourth-grade level in 2007 and the eighth-grade level in 2009.

Of course, there are many ethnic subgroups of Asian Americans. So a word of statistical caution: Research on parenting practices has mostly focused on East Asians — Chinese, Japanese and Koreans. University of California and U.S. Census statistics, on the other hand, include many other smaller subgroups, such as Filipinos, South and Southeast Asians, Indonesians and Pacific Islanders.” By Kathy Seal

And the response back:

 

Hi Chien-Chi,

Thanks for forwarding us this info.  We should definitely contact the organizers and find out what their thinking is.  I won’t be surprised if they say that Asian Americans are not under-represented in this profession/area, hence justifying their particular solicitation of the rest of the minority groups.  It’s an opportunity for us to think about whether that’s still okay.  It’s a good time to have our own thoughts cleared and voice them – I’m referencing the public attention brought out from a few incidences related to Jeremy Lin.  It’s about time.

Fei

 

0 Comments

Affirmative Action Policies Strand Asian Americans

Dr. Ed Chin, reverse discrimination, affirmative action, asian americansWhat is your stand on Affirmative Action? Have Asian Americans “outgrown” this supposedly social equalizer? Is this policy outdated? Does this hurt us more than help us? The Supreme Court is set to rule on it so things may change. Dr. Ed Chin, a voice for why Affirmative Action hurts Asian American when applying to colleges makes the case that it hurts us by creating exclusionary quotas. I agree with him. What do you think?

 

Letter: Affirmative action policies strand Asian-Americans

By Dr. Ed Chin   |   June 15, 2000

The biggest injustice in admissions to the elite colleges today is being placed on Asian Americans, not on whites and not on Jews, and most certainly not on non-Asian minorities (i.e., blacks, Latinos and American Indians) who benefit from their race or ethnic background alone. The previous injustice against Jews historically has been, by and large, eliminated by the abolition of their exclusionary quotas after World War II to the elite colleges. They now represent 10 (at Princeton) to 35 (at Penn) percent of each of the eight Ivy League colleges’ and of the other elite colleges’ student populations. Jews represent 2.5 percent of the total United States population.

The whites are the majority who make the policies and the Asian Americans are the ones who pay the biggest price by being excluded by upper limit quotas for past injustices instituted on all minorities by whites.

Asian Americans were also victims of past racist exclusionary policies created by whites and Asian Americans have not asked for redress to this past injustice. Yet, Asian Americans must pay the penalty and bear the “pain” disproportionately as compared to whites for past policies which they have no part in creating, and they are punished simply because some have succeeded in bettering themselves without the advantages of special programs in spite of tremendous odds against them.The only quotas that exist today are the exclusionary (upper limits or caps) quotas for Asian Americans and the inclusionary (preferential treatment based on race or ethnic background alone) quotas for non-Asian minorities.

This exclusionary quota is similar to the one imposed on Jews pre-WWII which was eliminated by these elite colleges and the Ivy League. So, why should this exclusionary quota exist for Asian Americans in our present day and time? This is the result of reverse discrimination.

Of course, whites must bear some of the “pain” to make room for the non-Asian minorities in the zero-sum game of admissions, but not in any way close to the extent that Asian Americans must bear because of the higher admission standards, as compared to the whites’ admission standards, that they have to meet in order to gain entrance to theseschools. Asian Americans are not on a level playing field with whites because of these double standards and they “have to be better” than any other group, including the white majority, to redress past injustices for which they were not responsible and, in many cases, of which they were victims.

This is ironic, totally unfair and, in my opinion, contrary to the laws of this country. This goes against the basic tenets of our Constitution.

We need admissions data from these schools on all the criteria and standards that they use, both academic and non-academic, to judge the admissions process’ fairness. These institutions have been reluctant to open their files to present this information voluntarily until they are faced with legal action from an individual or a class action suit charging them with reverse discrimination-particularly against Asian Americans. This course of action must be seriously considered now, since no one in power, i.e. politicians or university administrators, has addressed this injustice.

Affirmative action based on race alone creates more problems and inequities among the races and ethnic groups than it solves and resolves. If affirmative action policies are to be continued, they should be based on socioeconomic class, not on race alone. These types of policies would transcend all races and groups. Those who would benefit the most would be the non-Asian minorities, but not exclusively, because they are the most represented in the lower economic classes and are truly disadvantaged. Anyone, of any race or group, in the higher economic classes would not and should not gain an advantage.

Dr. Ed Chin

Shorthills, N.J.

1 Comment

Will Affirmative Action Stand? Supreme Court to Rule.

Supreme Court, Affirmative Action, JadeLuckClub, Jade Luck Club, Thank you to my Mom Friend Nathalie for sending and resending me this link when the first few failed to open. Finally, it seems, the Supreme Court is going to review affirmative action programs in a dance balancing a presidential election year with a politically hot issue. Will limiting o eliminating affirmative action programs benefit Asian Americans who apply to college? Probably not, but it’s a step in the right direction.

For more posts on Why You Shouldn’t Identify as Asian When Applying to College, please go here.

Here is the full article by  By MARK SHERMAN of the Associated Press.

The main points are here:

  • The Supreme Court is setting an election-season review of racial preference in college admissions, agreeing Tuesday to consider new limits on the contentious issue of affirmative action programs.
  • A challenge from a white student who was denied admission to the University of Texas flagship campus will be the high court’s first look at affirmative action in higher education since its 2003 decision endorsing the use of race as a factor.
  • A broad ruling in favor of the student, Abigail Fisher, could threaten affirmative action programs at many of the nation’s public and private universities, said Vanderbilt University law professor Brian Fitzpatrick.
  • Justice Samuel Alito appears more hostile to affirmative action than his predecessor, Sandra Day O’Connor. For another, Justice Elena Kagan, who might be expected to vote with the court’s liberal-leaning justices in support of it, is not taking part in the case.
  • The Texas Legislature adopted the Top Ten Percent law after a federal appeals court ruling essentially barred the use of race in admissions. Texas said its updated policy does not use quotas, which the high court has previously rejected. Instead, it said it takes a Supreme Court-endorsed broader approach to enrollment, with an eye toward increasing the diversity of the student body.
  • Before adding race back into the mix, Texas’ student body was 21 percent African-American and Hispanic, according to court papers.

    By 2007, the year before Fisher filed her lawsuit, African-Americans and Hispanics accounted for more than a quarter of the entering freshman class.

    Fisher’s challenge says the Top Ten Percent law was working to increase diversity and that minority enrollment was higher than it had been under the earlier race-conscious system.

  • The case is Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, 11-345.

 

 

0 Comments

Harvard/Princeton Targeted in U.S. Asian-American Discrimination Probe (Bloomberg)

Harvard Asian American discrimination Princeton JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club

“The prevailing college admission policy artificially places highly qualified Asian-American applicants to compete against each other rather than against the general pool of all applicants, instilling such a fear that many Asian-Americans hide their own racial identity” on applications, the committee stated in December.” from Bloomberg

 

Finally, someone is willing to file a complaint with the Department of Education on the lopsided Affirmative Action policy for college and universities that now pits all Asian Americans against each other despite the fact that Asian Americans come from with vastly different socio-economic backgrounds. This is the latest article in a whole string of articles since this issue has been brewing for several decades. For all the articles on how Asian Americans face discrimination when applying to top colleges and universities, please go here.

Highlights from the Bloomberg article are below. The full article is here.

  •  The department’s Office for Civil Rights is investigating a complaint it received in August that Harvard rejected an Asian- American candidate for the current freshman class based on race or national origin, a department spokesman said.
  • The new complaints, along with a case appealed last September to the U.S. Supreme Court challenging preferences for blacks and Hispanics in college admissions, may stir up the longstanding debate about whether elite universities discriminate against Asian-Americans, the nation’s fastest- growing and most affluent racial category.
  • Asian-American applicants have to outperform their counterparts from other backgrounds on the SAT to gain entry to elite universities, recent studies show.
  • “Clearly, both whites and Asian-Americans are discriminated against vis a vis African-Americans and Latinos,” said Roger Clegg, the center’s president. “At some of the more selective schools, Asians are also discriminated against vis a vis whites.”
  • Because many Asian-Americans come from families that arrived in the U.S. relatively recently, they are less likely than whites to qualify for preference as alumni children, Clegg said. “Stereotyping takes place too” of Asian-Americans, he said.
  • If all other credentials are equal, Asian-Americans need to score 140 points more than whites, 270 points higher than Hispanics, and 450 points above African-Americans out of a maximum 1600 on the math and reading SAT to have the same chance of admission to a private college, according to “No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal,” a 2009 book co-written by Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade.
  • There are 14.7 million Americans of Asian descent only, plus 2.6 million who are multiracial including Asian, according to the 2010 U.S. census. The combined 17.3 million comprises 5.6 percent of the population, up 46 percent from 2000. Median household income for single-race Asian-Americans exceeds $65,000, compared with a national average of $50,000. Half of those 25 and older hold college degrees, almost double the national average.
  • It also documented that Harvard admitted Asian-Americans at a lower rate than white applicants even though the Asian- Americans had slightly stronger SAT scores and grades. Nevertheless, the agency concluded in 1990 that Harvard didn’t violate civil rights laws because preferences for alumni children and recruited athletes, rather than racial discrimination, accounted for the gap.
3 Comments

Asian Americans and Affirmative Action from Brown University: Peeling Away the Layers of Complexity

Brown University JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club Asian American Diversity Affirmative Action Discrimination Admissions

“Contrary to the myth of the “model minority,” Asian Americans do not constitute a monolithic ethnic group…

 For example, the overall poverty rate for Asian Americans in 1990 was one percent above the average of the total U.S. population;

this statistical mirage obscures the reality of many ethnic groups that fall under the Asian American title. “

This is from The Brown Spectator, a student publication from Brown University. For all other posts on Why You Shouldn’t Identify as Asian When Applying to College, please go here.

Some key points:

  • At opposite ends, 66.5 percent of Chinese Americans were enrolled in a college, whereas only 26.3 percent of Laotian Americans were as well. In fact, Chinese, Japanese, Asian Indian, and Korean Americans were more than twice as likely to be enrolled in college as Hmong, Guamanian, Samoan, Hawaiian, and Laotian Americans.
  • In fact, it has been the allegations of possible quotas or limitations in Asian American admission and enrollment to prestigious public and private institutions that has fueled this educational controversy. Beginning in the early 1980s Asian Americans were recognized in the press for their surprisingly large presence in college populations. Their rise in many of the country’s most prestigious and selective universities drew attention of much of America. U.S. News and World Report described Asians to be “flocking to the top colleges,” noting that “they make up about 10 percent of Harvard’s freshman class and 20 percent of all students at the Julliard School.
  • Suddenly, Asian Americans found themselves being compared to the Jews in the 1920s and 1930s when Jewish students were vilified as “damn curve raisers” because of their outstanding performance and were thus restricted by quotas on their admissions to undergraduate universities.
  • In 1983, Brown was the first school to receive and respond to formal complaints about of discrimination against Asian Americans. Brown director of admissions Jim Rogers declared, however, that the “vast majority of Asian Americans applying here, 70-75 percent, are premedical students. The question is not one of race, it’s academic balance.”
  • Conservatives in particular have employed the example of Asian Americans to focus criticism on affirmative action. For example, in the 1980s Reagan administration official Reynolds blamed affirmative action for the discrimination against Asian Americans. Referencing GPA and SAT scores, Reynolds argued, “there has been substantial statistical evidence that Asian American candidates face higher hurdles than academically less qualified candidates of other races, whether these candidates be minorities (black, Hispanic, Native American) or white.” Reynolds saw both discrimination and diversity as “two sides of the same bad coin, affirmative action.” In his 1988 article in the New Republic, James Gibney reiterated this argument, “if Asians are underrepresented based on their grades and test scores, it is largely because of affirmative action for other minority groups. And if blacks and Hispanics are underrepresented based on their fraction of the population, it is increasingly because of the statistical overachievement of Asians. Both complaints can’t be just, and the blame can no longer be placed solely on favoritism towards whites.”

——————-

Asian Americans and Affirmative Action

By Connie Wu on November 10, 2003

The Brown Spectator has joined with other college political publications to form the Alliance of Collegiate Editors (ACE), hoping to generate cross-campus dialogue on political issues. The first topic we will discuss is class-based affirmative action. This is the third entry; for the first entry, see Sam Barr’s post at HPR; for the second entry, see John Gee’s post at PPR.

The civil rights movement espoused an ideal that all Americans should embrace: the creation of a color-blind society in which persons are judged by their merits as individuals, not by their membership in a particular racial group. Thirty years later, the legacy of the civil rights movement is bitterly contested and America remains a color-conscious society. Contemporary affirmative action policies—on the parts of government and private institutions—are central to understanding the “great American dilemma” as it endures into the 21st century. Although affirmative action proponents endeavor to implement the vision of the civil rights movement, their policies have polarized Americans according to racial divisions, creating the phenomenon of the “angry white male.” This black and white dichotomy tends to dominate the debate over affirmative action. An examination of the Asian American dimension will offer new insights into such an enduring issue. Understanding the complicated relationship between Asian Americans and affirmative action requires an analysis of Asian Americans as a distinct racial group. Contrary to the myth of the “model minority,” Asian Americans do not constitute a monolithic ethnic group.

Educational and economic statistics reveal a dramatic degree of polarization within among Asian American groups. For example, the overall poverty rate for Asian Americans in 1990 was one percent above the average of the total U.S. population; this statistical mirage obscures the reality of many ethnic groups that fall under the Asian American title. For in comparison to the total U.S. population, Pacific Islanders were 4 percent above the average poverty rate, Vietnamese were 12.6 percent above the average, Laotians were 21.6 percent above the average, Cambodians were 29.5 percent above the average, and Hmongs were 50.5 percent above the average. These Southeastern Asian groups often have higher poverty rates because they usually arrive on American soil as refugees.

Moreover, in a report for the American Council on Education, Shirley Hune and Kenyon Chan found that 55.1 percent (almost double of other groups of color) of Asian Americans ages 18-24 were enrolled in college during 1990; however, this statistic did not reflect the complexity of their enrollment rates. At opposite ends, 66.5 percent of Chinese Americans were enrolled in a college, whereas only 26.3 percent of Laotian Americans were as well. In fact, Chinese, Japanese, Asian Indian, and Korean Americans were more than twice as likely to be enrolled in college as Hmong, Guamanian, Samoan, Hawaiian, and Laotian Americans.

This evidence exposes the lack of homogeneity among the ethnicities that comprise Asian Americans. Clearly, Asian Americans occupy both ends of the political and social spectrum according to different origin, language, culture, religion, and other factors such as educational attainment and personal income. This internal heterogeneity produces a variety of reactions to the issue of affirmative action.

The affirmative action debate for Asians in higher education is especially different from the black-white paradigm. In fact, it has been the allegations of possible quotas or limitations in Asian American admission and enrollment to prestigious public and private institutions that has fueled this educational controversy. Beginning in the early 1980s Asian Americans were recognized in the press for their surprisingly large presence in college populations. Their rise in many of the country’s most prestigious and selective universities drew attention of much of America. U.S. News and World Report described Asians to be “flocking to the top colleges,” noting that “they make up about 10 percent of Harvard’s freshman class and 20 percent of all students at the Julliard School. In California, where Asians are 5.5 percent of the population, they total 23.5 percent of all Berkeley undergraduates.” Newsweek even asked rhetorically in an article, “Is it true what they say about Asian American students, or is it mythology? They say that Asian Americans are brilliant. They say that Asian Americans behave as a model minority, that they dominate mathematics, engineering, and science courses—that they are grinds who are so dedicated to getting ahead that they never have any fun.”

By the mid 1980s, allegations spread across the nation that policies were being adopted to curtail the number of Asian Americans being admitted to institutions of higher learning through the imposition of quotas. Suddenly, Asian Americans found themselves being compared to the Jews in the 1920s and 1930s when Jewish students were vilified as “damn curve raisers” because of their outstanding performance and were thus restricted by quotas on their admissions to undergraduate universities. So began the attack on liberalism’s cornerstone affirmative action policy.

In 1983, Brown was the first school to receive and respond to formal complaints about of discrimination against Asian Americans. Brown director of admissions Jim Rogers declared, however, that the “vast majority of Asian Americans applying here, 70-75 percent, are premedical students. The question is not one of race, it’s academic balance.” Insiders at Brown, including Asian American students and staff, argued that based on various comments made by admissions officers, it was clear to them that decisions were often racially motivated. Thus, the Brown Asian American Students Association (AASA) made a case of racial discrimination before Brown’s governing board—the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees delegated the task of investigating the claims to the Committee on Minority Affairs (COMA) to examine AASA complaints. The COMA investigation found that the disparity in admission rates between whites and Asians were an “extremely serious” problem, as were the attitudes of some officials in the admissions office. According to then Assistant Dean Bob Lee, interviews of admissions officers substantiated many of the claims about racial discrimination brought forth by the AASA. Director Rogers was said to have joked that they could reduce the admitted class by deleting the first 10 Kims off the top of the list. An independent review board study by the Committee on Admission and Financial Aid confirmed COMA’s findings of racial discrimination. Brown was only one of a few prestigious schools that admitted bias against Asian Americans and promised reform in their admission policies.

Perhaps the most important landmark case for Asian Americans, however, was that of the University of California Berkeley. Between 1987 and 1988, Berkeley’s treatment of Asian American admission policies generated a national controversy. Assistant Vice Chancellor Travers and President Gardner staunchly defended Berkeley’s admissions policies and their effect on Asian Americans, especially when they added the criteria of an ambiguously subjective category called “supplemental criteria.” Accusations against Berkeley claimed that the supplemental criteria category was being manipulated to keep down the number of Asian American admissions. Travers and Gardner claimed that Asian Americans were “overrepresented” based on number that matriculated to Berkeley in comparison to the graduating high school population. Their overrepresentation, they argued, undermined the diversity on campus. Admissions officers throughout the country defended affirmative action by depicting admissions as a zero-sum game. They were alarmed by the declining black enrollment statistics, which had been triggered by a scale back in affirmative action after the 1978 Bakke case.

These cases dramatize the dilemmas raised by the pursuit of diversity. Conservatives in particular have employed the example of Asian Americans to focus criticism on affirmative action. For example, in the 1980s Reagan administration official Reynolds blamed affirmative action for the discrimination against Asian Americans. Referencing GPA and SAT scores, Reynolds argued, “there has been substantial statistical evidence that Asian American candidates face higher hurdles than academically less qualified candidates of other races, whether these candidates be minorities (black, Hispanic, Native American) or white.” Reynolds saw both discrimination and diversity as “two sides of the same bad coin, affirmative action.” In his 1988 article in the New Republic, James Gibney reiterated this argument, “if Asians are underrepresented based on their grades and test scores, it is largely because of affirmative action for other minority groups. And if blacks and Hispanics are underrepresented based on their fraction of the population, it is increasingly because of the statistical overachievement of Asians. Both complaints can’t be just, and the blame can no longer be placed solely on favoritism towards whites.”

Conservatives have found an especially sympathetic ear for campaigns against affirmative action among Asian Americans in California. Kenneth Lee’s article “Angry Yellow Men” conveys the sentiments of Asian in California. During Bob Dole’s presidential campaign, he delivered his only anti-affirmative action speech to a 2000 member receptive audience of Vietnamese Americans in Little Saigon, California. In fact, Dole’s reception typifies many Californian Asian sentiments. The fact that the receptive audience was a Vietnamese one, statistically poorer and less educated, reveals the power of the manner in which affirmative action is propagated to ethnic audiences. In 1993, the California Policy Seminar conducted a poll that found that 2/3 of Asians oppose affirmative action. Moreover, the National Conference of Christians and Jews determined that Asians in California identified more with whites than with any other racial groups. It is no wonder, then, that in 1996, 40 percent of Asians voted for Proposition 209, a California measure outlawing preferences based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, education, or contracting. Not all Asian Americans, however, face the dilemma of Asians in California. In fact, a large coalition of 28 Asian American groups filed an amicus curiae brief in support of the University of Michigan’s affirmative action policy.

This third perspective reveals that affirmative action spawns division not only between racial groups, but also among ethnic groups. As America becomes an increasingly multiracial country, the example of Asian Americans testifies to the unique conflicts created by race-based public policies that are implemented in multiracial contexts.

0 Comments

Do Legacy Preferences Count More Than Race When Applying to Elite Colleges?

legacy college applicants huge advantage over sought after minorities JadeLuckClub jade luck clubWell, if you think that checking the box for Asian will help you get into elite private college,  you need to know about the SAT “tax” for Asians because we’re “over-represented” at top colleges. If you need to read up on this, click here. If you are Asian (or not) but a legacy, how does this factor into the admissions formula? Read on to find out… This is from The Chronicle on Higher Education. The full post is here.

Key quotes:

  • A new study by Harvard University researcher Michael Hurwitz finds that legacy preferences are larger than previously thought.
  • …“primary legacy” candidates (sons and daughters, as opposed to siblings, nephews, nieces, or grandchildren) see a whopping 45.1 percentage point increase in the chances of admission. What this means, as Ashburn explains, is that if a non-legacy applicant with a certain set of credentials has a 15 percent chance of admissions, a primary legacy applicant with identical credentials would have a 60 percent chance of getting in.
  • … being an under-represented minority increased one’s chances by 27.7 percentage points.
  • …  colleges gave no preference to low-income students.
  • To be clear, comparing Hurwitz’s findings on legacies with Bowen’s findings on race is imperfect, given the different methodologies. But further research is certainly warranted to find out whether the 45-percentage-point boost provided primary legacies is, in fact, larger than the boost provided to racial minorities.
  • Research finds, in short, that legacy preferences are more significant than previously believed, yet their fundamental rationale (raising money) is flawed.

Do Legacy Preferences Count More Than Race?

January 6, 2011, 4:08 pm

By Richard Kahlenberg

 

0 Comments

The True Picture: Asian Americans Who Need Help But Don’t Get It!

Hmong girls Asian Americans at poverty line JadeLuckClubTiger Mom Amy Chua’s daugher, Tiger Sophia bragged on her blog that she checked “Asian” on her Harvard application because she knew that the standard was higher:

Q: There was a recent article that said Asians are less likely to check the “Asian” box when applying for colleges due to fear of discrimination. Some half-Asian/half-white applicants only indicate their white ethnicity. What are your thoughts on that, and how did you answer that question when applying to colleges?

A: I checked Asian. I had heard it was harder to apply as an Asian, so as a point of pride, I had to say I was Asian. Would you feel good about yourself knowing you lied to get in on lowered standards?

Well, I have two things to say about that:

1) Tiger Sophia, you may have checked Asian which does have a “tax,” however you also got big bonus points for being a legacy many times over. The upshot is that you had help getting in unlike these Asian Americans below who live at the poverty line and don’t have Ivy League parents with deep pockets.

2) By checking Asian when, actually, you are of mixed race, you have taken a spot away from those who don’t have the benefit of applying to a less competitive race slot. Thanks to you, someone who life could be completely changed did not get a spot.

I am not berating you Tiger Sophia; you are a cub, after all. But I wanted to highlight the complexity of the Asian American and Pacific Islander conundrum when it comes to high stakes college admissions. And, as it is diligently spelled out and heavily researched, “Disaggregated data by AANHPI subgroups are urgently needed.” In normal English, this means 2nd/3rd/4th generation Asian American from wealthy suburbs who are mostly of Japanese/Chinese/Korean/Southeast Asian heritage should not be in the same category as those Asians (Hmongs/Cambodians/Vietnamese/Laotians) who live in poverty. These two groups should not be competing for the same resources, namely jobs and spots at highly competitive colleges. Yes, this is obvious but it’s exactly what is happening RIGHT NOW!

Read on more more details. And please chime in!

———————-

Summary of “The State of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Education in California” Report
OVERVIEW

California has the largest and most diverse Asian American (AA) and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) population in the nation. This report on the state of AANHPI education in California highlights the achievements and challenges in public K-12 and public postsecondary education (especially the limitations in available education data on AANHPI subgroups), and provides recommendations for policymakers and community advocates

SUMMARY OF MAJOR FINDINGS

1. Particular AANHPI* subgroups have disproportionately high rates of dropping out of high school and do not have high school diplomas.

  • Hmong have the largest proportion (45%) in the state (25 yrs and older) with less than a high school diploma among all racial/ethnic groups.
  • About 40% of Cambodians and Laotians (25 yrs and older) have less than a high school diploma, which is double the state rate.
  • Pacific Islander students in grades 9-12 have high dropout rates, with about one-fifth estimated to drop out over a four-year period.

2. Poverty and/or limited English proficiency heighten the risk for dropping out of high school and college/university. Most Asian American subgroups are limited English proficient, and specific AANHPI subgroups have very high poverty rates

  • Over 40% of Vietnamese, Koreans, Hmong, Cambodians, Taiwanese, Chinese, and Laotians report limited English proficiency, which is double the state rate.
  • A quarter of Hmong and Cambodians live in poverty, about double the state rate, and about one fifth of Tongans live in poverty, more than one and a half times the state rate.

3. The proportion of AANHPI professional educators is less, and in some cases, far less than the proportion of AANHPI enrolled students in the public K-12 system and postsecondary institutions.

  • Asians, Filipinos, and Pacific Islanders are 5%-7% of all K-12 personnel in the state, but Asians, Filipinos, and Pacific Islanders are 12% of K-12 student enrollment.

4. Financial aid is vital but not sufficient for student retention and success for AANHPI college students. Data on financial aid were not available by AANHPI subgroup or for the California State Universities, making comparisons difficult if not impossible.

  • At the University of California, Asian students are the largest group among all racial/ethnic groups with parent income less than $45,000, but though they receive similar dollar amounts in grants as other students, smaller proportions of Asian students receive scholarships compared to other racial/ethnic groups.

RECOMMENDATIONS
1. Disaggregated data by AANHPI subgroups are urgently needed.
2. More data and analysis are needed to determine the obstacles to retention, success, and graduation for AANHPI subgroups.
3. Pipeline programs to higher education need to target AANHPIs.

* Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI)

2 Comments
Page 1 of 41234