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Model Minority: Do the Math. The Myth and The Consequences.

Model Minority, Do the Math, Documentary film, trailer, JadeLuckClub, Jade Luck Club

Check out the trailer here.
By co-producers, Teja Arboleda and Darby Li Po Price.

Model Minority: Do the Math reveals the impact of the model minority myth on the experiences and perspectives of Asian American (AA) college students. The myth is a complex and contradictory stereotype of AAs as academic over-achievers. While many believe the stereotype is positive, it causes many problems. Asian Americans are overlooked for affirmative action and academic assistance. Tracked by parents, counselors, and social expectations to excel in math-intensive fields, despite their preferences, they struggle to balance personal goals and mental health. 

The myth diverts attention from systematic structural racism by emphasizing individualism, and pitting AAs against other groups. Viewed as too competitive and taking over colleges, AAs face racial resentment, discrimination, and hate crimes. Model Minority overcomes misconceptions of AA students.

Model Minority timely coincides with national priorities and debates on how to increase educational performance and economic participation. It engages school reform, equal opportunity, multiculturalism, race, parenting, and democracy.
We will compare the experiences and perspectives of AA college students, faculty, and staff of various ethnic backgrounds in Boston, Chicago, Berkeley and Oakland. In Chicago and Boston, AA students and communities are less numerous, and less integrated into campus curriculum and life than in Berkeley and Oakland. The narrator will reveal connections between personal stories and the myth.

Outcomes: To increase understanding of how the model minority myth impacts AAs. Increase knowledge of the diversity of AA experiences, viewpoints, aspirations, abilities, and needs. Include AAs in debates about educational reform, equal opportunity, and affirmative action.

Model Minority Myth – Workshops

In conjunction with using the documentary in the classroom, consider having us facilitate discussion on your campus or workplace.

In The Works

Recently presented at Univ Chicago, IL, November 1st, and at the National Association for Multicultural Education national conference, in Chicago, on November 3rd. 2011.
Continue the discussion on our FaceBook page, Model Minority Myth Buster here.

 

Here’s another video on same topic:

In Chapter 8 of 18, Korean American Community Foundation (www.kacfny.org) executive director Kyung Yoon shares why it is so important to disspell the Asian-American model minority myth. As a stereotype, the myth misleads communities, limiting need awareness, leading to resource allocation shortfalls. View more at http://www.captureyourflag.com.

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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

 

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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.

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Linsanity: Chink In the Armor Fallout

LinSanity ice cream, Linsanity, Jeremy Lin, race and LinsanityYes, there is a new flavor of ice cream named Taste the Lin-Sanity. Does Jeremy Lin get a cut? He should!

The frenzy that is Linsanity has yet to peak and it seems to disregard game by game results by Mr. Lin. Indeed, it’s moved into a new level such that Linsanity has a life of its own. Paramount to this is the question of race, image of Asian Americans of themselves as much as how the rest of the world perceives us, and the bastion of what was always Ebony and Ivory, the NBA. Is it weird to be in year 2012 and have a new hero much like Jackie Robinson was to the sport of baseball or Tiger Woods to golf?

Jeremy Lin is more like Jackie Robinson to me, and the hopes and dreams of Asian Americans seemed pinned to his success. What are our dreams exactly? It can be simply for a young Asian American hapa to make the NBA like my young friend Tom in 4th grade. Finally, he has a role model that he can relate to. It’s also a coolness factor. That Asian American men actually are sexy, strong, and confident despite Madison Avenue messaging that only Asian women are sex symbols.

And what do you think of Chink in the Armor? My friends, the musical group The Slants, are probably chuckling. Our world is now so PC that they — The Slants — an Asian American dance band (and very good, check them out) are denied trademark rights because they dare to denigrate themselves with racial slurs. To be honest, Chink in the Armor is a clever play on words. Very headline worthy. Catchy too. Is it too honest? That people view Lin as a Chink? Do they view him that way or was this just a headline grabber for readership? I would like to think the writer who was fired is not even racist. That’s entirely possible.

There is a whole new huge world out there that is now suddenly interested in basketball who never paused the channel before and it extends beyond the U.S.A. That Lin can engage the Asian community both here and in China is a marketer’s dream. With his squeaky clean image juxtaposed with his on court swagger, this is a new world of media images we’ve never seen before. I think it will start to extend beyond basketball. Maybe there will finally be an Asian Old Spice guy. Maybe Asian actors will be cast beyond doctors and techno geniuses.

What do you think? Did Chink in the Armor bother you or did it just bounce off your armor? Does it bother you that Linsanity is not just about his basketball ability but his race or do you accept that it’s a package deal? Do you think the hype IS caused by race? I’d love to get your opinion!

 

ESPN has swiftly fired the writer responsible for publishing a post about the Knicks Friday loss with title, “Chink In the Armor.” The headline went up at 2:30 am and ran for exactly 35 minutes before it was taken down.

ESPN released the following statement apologizing for the lapse in judgement:

Last night, ESPN.com’s mobile web site posted an offensive headline referencing Jeremy Lin at 2:30 am ET. The headline was removed at 3:05 am ET. We are conducting a complete review of our cross-platform editorial procedures and are determining appropriate disciplinary action to ensure this does not happen again. We regret and apologize for this mistake.

ESPN anchor Max Bretos has also been suspended for 30 days for asking, “If there is a chink in the armor, where can Lin improve his game?” while on the air. Whoops, shoulda just gone with a simple, “You Lin Some, You Lose Some.”

from Gawker

Some more interesting articles sent by friends. Thanks Tai, Nathalie and Tim!

Linsanity: A Marketer’s Dream from CNN

“From a marketing perspective for the Knicks, Lin’s popularity is proving a boon — last week his No.17 jersey was outselling those of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.”

Is Linsanity Hype Caused by Race? from CNN

“Floyd Mayweather Jr., the famed boxer, caused controversy when he said the other day, ‘Jeremy Lin is a good player but all the hype is because he’s Asian. Black players do what he does every night and don’t get the same praise.'” Lin is the first Chinese-American to not just get on the court but make a major impact in the NBA. That is huge. 

Asian Harvard Grad Somehow Succeeding In New York; Or, Why I Love Jeremy Lin from DeadSpin

“Jeremy Lin, a charming 23-year-old with an economics degree from Harvard College, has somehow become the city’s ultimate underdog and talisman.”

Just Lin, Baby! 10 Lessons Jeremy Lin Can Teach Us Before We Go To Work Monday Morning from Forbes

“The Jeremy Lin story is incredibly popular because we can all see a little bit of ourselves in this man’s struggles and now successes.”

1. Believe in yourself when no one else does.

2. Seize the opportunity when it comes up.

3. Your family will always be there for you, so be there for them. 

4. Find the system that works for your style.

5. Don’t overlook talent that might exist around you today on your team.

6. People will love you for being an original, not trying to be someone else.

7. Stay humble. 

8. When you make others around you look good, they will love you forever.

9. Never forget about the importance of luck or fate in life.

10. Work your butt off.

May we all learn from Jeremy Lin and be better for it.

 

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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.

 

 

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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.
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Celebrating Japanese Internment Act Day with KidLit, YA and Adult Lit Books

Kira Kira, Cynthia Kadohata, Japanese Internment, WWII, Japanese American, Internment camp, Japanese relocation, It seems a little weird to celebrate this day since it’s a shameful day in American history  but it needs to be remembered. My mother was relocated as a result of this act and was the sole surviving member of her family when restitution was made, conveniently, decades later when most of the interned were dead.

Japanese-American internment was the relocation and internment by the United States government in 1942 of approximately 110,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese who lived along the Pacific coast of the United States to camps called “War Relocation Camps,” in the wake of Imperial Japan‘s attack on Pearl Harbor. The internment of Japanese Americans was applied unequally throughout the United States. Japanese Americans who lived on the West Coast of the United States were all interned, while in Hawaii, where more than 150,000 Japanese Americans composed over one-third of the territory’s population, 1,200 to 1,800 Japanese Americans were interned. Of those interned, 62% were American citizens.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the internment with Executive Order 9066, issued February 19, 1942, which allowed local military commanders to designate “military areas” as “exclusion zones,” from which “any or all persons may be excluded.” This power was used to declare that all people of Japanese ancestry were excluded from the entire Pacific coast, including all of California and most of Oregon and Washington, except for those in internment camps. from Wikipedia

Please support the Japanese American National Museum who keeps these memories alive. I will be donating all proceeds I make from my Amazon Associates account for the month of February to them (which isn’t much but I guess it’s the thought that counts!).

Picture Books

 The Bracelet by Yoshiko Uchida

So Far from the Sea by Eve Bunting

A Place Where Sunflowers Grow by Amy Lee-Tai

Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki 

 

Middle Grade Chapter Books

A Jar of Dreams by Yoshiko Uchida

Journey To Topaz: A Story Of The Japanese-American Evacuation by Yoshiko Uchida

Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata

 

Young Adult Literature

Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata

 

Drawing from Memory by Allen Say

 

Adult Literature

When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka

Desert Exile: The Uprooting of a Japanese-American Family by Yoshiko Uchida

Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki

Letters from the 442nd: The World War II Correspondence of a Japanese American Medic (Scott and Laurie Oki Series in Asian American Studies) by Minoru Masuda

Only What We Could Carry: The Japanese American Internment Experience by Lawson Fusao Inada

Vanished: Lompoc’s Japanese, Of One Hundred Families Only Two Returned by John McReynolds

Making Home from War: Stories of Japanese American Exile and Resettlement by Brian Komei Dempster

No-No Boys  by John Okada

Looking Like the Enemy: My Story of Imprisonment in Japanese American Internment Camps by Mary Matsuda Gruenewald


By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans by Greg Robinson

Impounded: Dorothea Lange and the Censored Images of Japanese American Internment by Dorothea Lange

Last Witnesses: Reflections on the Wartime Internment of Japanese Americans by Erica Harth

Japanese American Internment Camps (Cornerstones of Freedom: Second) by Gail Sakurai

What Did the Internment of Japanese Americans Mean? (Historians at Work) by Alice Yang Murray

The Children of Topaz: The Story of a Japanese-American Internment Camp: Based on a Classroom Diary by Michael O. Tunnell

Strawberry Days: How Internment Destroyed a Japanese American Community by David A. Neiwert

Democratizing the Enemy: The Japanese American Internment by Brian Masaru Hayashi

The Gem of the Desert: A Japanese-American Internment Camp by Margaret Bane Eberle

I am an American: A True Story of Japanese Internment by Jerry Stanley

 

Book Club Book

Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

To view any books more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

 

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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.

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Remembering Gordon Hirabayashi, Japanese-American civil rights hero

By Stephanie Siek, CNN

(CNN) –  Twelve years before the U.S. Supreme Court decided separate was inherently unequal, and five months after a Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Gordon Hirabayashi took a stand that he believed would validate his rights as a citizen of the United States.

Gordon Hirabayashi WWII Asian American Rights Activist Japanese American HeroThe son of Japanese immigrants, Hirabayashi lent his name to a landmark court case that challenged the U.S. government’s policy of treating anyone of Japanese descent as a potential enemy during World War II. Hirabayashi, 93, died January 2 in Edmonton, Alberta, after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for several years, according to his son. Hirabayashi’s former wife, Esther, died hours later at a different medical facility in Edmonton. Hirabayashi was cremated, and a Quaker memorial meeting for worship is scheduled for Friday at the Edmonton Japanese Community Association.

“It’s a sad day, but I think all of us in the family are happy to see the recognition Gordon’s getting,” said his nephew, Lane Hirabayashi, a UCLA anthropologist who is co-authoring a biography of Hirabayashi with his father, Hirabayashi’s brother. “This can also be a time that people reflect on what happened. That’s really important.”

Hirabayashi resisted a government policy that treated people of Japanese descent as second-class citizens with fewer rights. He was a 24-year-old student at University of Washington when he defied an executive order from President Franklin Roosevelt that mandated an 8 p.m. curfew for all people of Japanese descent living on the West Coast. The curfew was a precursor to the roundup of 120,000 Japanese-Americans and legal residents for transportation to internment camps.

Hirabayashi, an American citizen, intentionally violated the curfew and turned himself in to the FBI. He was arrested, convicted and sentenced to serve 90 days in a prison camp in Arizona. However, the local government told him that they lacked the money to transport him there from Washington state. Intent on serving his time, Hirabayashi hitchhiked to the facility instead.

He took his 1942 challenge of World War II-era restrictions on Japanese-Americans all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark case of Hirabayashi v. United States. But in 1943, the court unanimously ruled that military necessity justified imposing an ethnicity-specific curfew. Hirabayashi served time in prison and in a work camp before being granted a pardon in 1947.

It would take until 1986 for a U.S. district judge to rule that Hirabayashi’s conviction was tainted by the U.S. government’s withholding of evidence that would have proved Japanese-Americans were not a threat. It took until 1987 for his curfew conviction to be overturned.

“He certainly instilled in me a strong belief in the values of integrity, and honesty, and justice,” said Jay Hirabayashi, his son. “And sticking up for what you believed in, guiding your life by principles of respect for all kinds of people regardless of race or beliefs or religion, or sexual orientation. He was totally an enlightened man in that way.”

In 1944, he married his girlfriend Esther Schmoe, who was white, shortly before serving a one-year prison term for resisting the military draft. A devout Quaker, Hirabayashi had earlier registered as a conscientious objector, citing his pacifist beliefs. But when the military asked him and other draft-eligible Japanese-American men to sign a discriminatory pledge forswearing allegiance to the Japanese emperor – to whom, as U.S. citizens, they had never had allegiance to in the first place – Hirabayashi refused. His twin daughters were born while he was in jail.

After being released, Hirabayashi went on to earn his Ph. D. in sociology at the University of Washington, and taught at American University of Beirut and the American University of Cairo before moving to the University of Alberta in Canada in 1959. He remained there, eventually becoming a department chairman before his retirement in 1983. Much of Hirabayashi’s professional work focused on minorities and their integration as well as social change in the Middle East.

“He was a great lecturer, so whenever I did something wrong, like get in trouble with school – he was a pacifist, so he never used any physical punishment, it was all words,” Jay Hirabayashi said. “He’d lecture me, sometimes for hours. In the beginning I’d be sullen and angry, but after a few hours I’d be in total agreement with him.”

In addition to his son and nephew, Gordon Hirabayashi is survived by his wife, Susan Carnahan, daughters Sharon Yuen and Marion Oldenburg, all from his marriage to Esther, brother James, sister Esther, also known as Tosh Furugori, nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

In telling his story to researcher Peter Irons, in the book “The Courage of their Convictions: Sixteen Americans Who Fought Their Way to the Supreme Court,” Hirabayashi said the 1980s re-trials were a form of vindication.

“When my case was before the Supreme Court in 1943, I fully expected that as a citizen the Constitution would protect me,” Hirabayashi said. “Surprisingly, even though I lost, I did not abandon my beliefs and values. And I never look at my case as just my own, or just as a Japanese American case. It is an American case, with principles that affect the fundamental human rights of all Americans.”

Thank you Gordon Hirabayashi! Without you, there would never have been an public apology and restitution to those who were wrongfully relocated during WWII (INCLUDING MY MOM!!) just for being of Japanese descent!

To examine any of these picture or chapter books depicting the Japanese American Internment more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

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Best Asian Dolls for Asian American and Pacific Islander Little Girls

best asian doll for adopted asian chinese korean baby toddler jadeluckclub jade luck club asian doll familyI know I am too late for the December holidays … oops, that month was a blur! My girls were never that into dolls though we had our share of the American girls including the Asian American San Franciscan Julie. Still, it’s nice to know that there are a range of great Asian and Eurasian dolls at price points much below that of the American Girl Dolls. I’ve researched the best Asian dolls for children including doll families for doll houses.

In browsing all the doll choices at Amazon labeled Asian, I was struck by the multitude of Asian baby dolls for children. These did not exist when I was little. I wonder if this market niche will continue to grow as the Asian market overseas has more purchasing power? I was also surprised by the specificity of the dolls: Asian baby dolls with Down’s Syndrome (?!) and also Tipi from Laos. Interesting, huh? What do you think of all these choices? And, do your kids have a favorite Asian baby doll? Please share!

$11

 To examine more closely or purchase, please click on ANY image of doll.

$23

$42 (Asian doll with Down’s Syndrome)

$14 for the Asian Family, great for doll houses

 $11

$17 for entire extended family

$22 for a plastic Marvel family

$35

$15

$20

$35

$36 but she also teaches you to dress yourself

$25 Tipi is from Laos, interesting…

 $43 Barbie goes Geisha

$30 Barbie also goes to China

To examine more closely at Amazon or to purchase, please click on image of doll.

 

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