Tag Archives: Asian

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

 

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Asian American Writers’ Workshop Winners, Scholarships for Adopted Korean Kids

Marie Myung-Ok Lee Asian American author writer JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club

From Marie Myung-Ok Lee, A founder of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop

If you’re like most Asian Americans, you grew up in an immigrant family. Your mother and father struggled to make ends meet. They raised you. They relied on you for English. Maybe you were a reader, but it never occurred to you that you should be able to recognize them and yourself in the movies you watch and the novels you read. Maybe you thought you could become a writer and tell that story. You thought that studying in school and working hard on your manuscript were enough to get you published, but you didn’t realize that writing is the easy part of being a writer.

  • Did you know that than only 5% of the reviewers and the authors reviewed in The New York Times Book Review and C-SPAN’s After Words are writers of color?
  • You could turn to local arts groups for support, but these organizations get their financial support and programmatic priorities from foundations, grantmakers and large donors. Did you know that three-fourths of the top 100 foundations have zero Asian Americans board members? In fact, none of the top 100 foundations employ an Asian American executive director, president, or CEO.
  • Did you know that less than half of 1% of philanthropic dollars goes to Asian Americans—even though Asian Americans comprise one in 20 Americans and more than one in ten New Yorkers? Those that do fund Asian American groups almost entirely focus on direct service organizations. Almost no philanthropic dollars are invested in the infrastructure of Asian American arts.

Our culture is losing the majority of the stories and ideas of the fastest growing ethnic group in America—Asian Americans. Here’s where you come in. Where foundations and publishing houses have failed, you can step in and make an investment that says that, like us, you believe that the Asian American story deserves to be told. Please donate.

They also have great Writing Workshops if you are in NYC.

These are the scholarships and contests listed on Marie Myung-Ok Lee‘s Facebook page. Follow her to get updates.

Scholarships for Adopted Korean Children.

Pen New England contest for children’s book writers.

Got the volunteer jones? http://OccupyWriters.com/ needs new volunteers. “Bookish, familiar w/ broad range of writers, able to devote some time. write occupywriters@gmail.”

p.s. Here are books by author Marie Myung-Ok Lee and other great and Award Winning Asian American Children’s and Young Adult authors:

 To examine or purchase ANY book, please click on image of book.

Here are winner from the Asian American Writer’s Workshop:

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

1998

 

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

List of Winners
2010
Paul Yoon Once the Shore Sarabande Books, 2009
Minal Hajratwala Leaving India: My Family’s Journey From Five Villages to Five Continents HoughtonMifflinHarcourt, 2009
Ronaldo V. Wilson Poems of the Black Object Futurepoem Books, 2009
Jason Koo * Man on Extremely Small Island C&R Press, 2009
2009
Jhumpa Lahiri Unaccustomed Earth Knopf, 2008
Sesshu Foster World Ball Notebook City Lights Books, 2008
Leslie T. Chang Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China Spiegel & Grau, 2009
2008
Mohsin Hamid The Reluctant Fundamentalist Harcourt, 2007
Vijay Prashad The Darker Nations New Press, 2007
Sun Yung Shin Skirt Full of Black Coffee House Press, 2007
Ed Lin * This Is a Bust Kaya Press, 2007
2007
Linh Dinh Borderless Bodies Factory School, 2006
Amitav Ghosh Incendiary Circumstances: A Chronicle of the Turmoil of Our Times Houghton Mifflin, 2006
Samrat Upadhyay The Royal Ghosts Houghton Mifflin, 2006
Gene Luen Yang* American Born Chinese First Second Books, 2006
2006
Jeff Chang Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation Picador USA, 2005
Rattawut Lapcharoensap Sightseeing Grove Press, 2005
Shanxing Wang Mad Science in Imperial City Futurepoem Books, 2005
Ed Bok Lee * Real Karaoke People New Rivers Press, 2005
2005
Brian Leung World Famous Love Acts Sarabande Books, 2004
Suketu Mehta Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found Alfred Knopf, 2004
Srikanth Reddy Facts for Visitors Univ of California Press, 2004
Ishle Yi Park * The Temperature of this Water Kaya Press, 2004
2004
Mei-mei Berssenbrugge Nest Kelsey St. Press, 2003
Monique Truong The Book of Salt Houghton Mifflin, 2003
Vijay Vaitheeswaran Power to the People Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2003
Patrick Rosal * Uprock, Headspin, Scramble and Dive Persea Books, 2003
2003
Walter Lew Treadwinds: Poems and Intermedia Texts Wesleyan University Press, 2002
Meera Nair Video: Stories Pantheon Books, 2002
Julie Otsuka When the Emporer Was Divine Alfred A. Knopf, 2002
Ed Lin * Waylaid Kaya Press, 2002
2002
Alexander Chee Edinburgh Welcome Rain Press, 2001
Luis H. Francia Eye of the Fish: A Personal Archipelago Kaya Press, 2001
Christina Chiu Troublemaker and Other Saints Little, Brown and Company, 2001
Don Lee * Yellow W.W. Norton, 2001
2001
Ha Jin Bridegroom and Other Stories Pantheon, 2000
Eugene Gloria Drivers at the Short Time Motel: Poems Penguin, 2000
Akhil Sharma An Obedient Father Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 2000
Nick Carbo * Secret Asian Man Tia Chucha Press, 2000
2000
Eric Gamalinda Zero Gravity Alice James Books, 1999
Chang-rae Lee A Gesture Life Riverhead Books, 1999
Bino Realuyo * Umbrella Country Ballantine, 1999
1999
Susan Choi The Foreign Student HarperCollins Publishers, 1998
Arthur Sze The Redshifting Web: Poems 1970-98 Copper Canyon Press, 1998
1998
Mei-mei Berssenbrugge Endocrinology Kelsey Street Press, 1997
Lois-Ann Yamanaka Blu’s Hanging Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1997

 

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Casual to Deadly: Anti-Asian American Racism from Racism Review

Private Danny Chen dead from anti-Asian racism military JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club

Private Danny Chen

“Why are Asian Americans disproportionately targeted for abuse?

A harmonic convergence of factors. There’s the perception — and in some cases, the reality — of the “nerd” stereotype. The trinity of social awkwardness, physical frailty and academic overachievement has always served as a magnet for bullies.

There’s the rising tide of animosity toward immigrants, particularly those from predominantly countries that are seen as emerging rivals of the United States, like China and India.

There’s the plain old fact that those who are “different” in obvious ways — appearance, name, faith, accent — are often the focus of unwanted attention in environments where fitting in is prized, like high school. Or the military.

And especially among immigrants and the children of immigrants, there’s the reality that cultural and familial expectations push them to submit to bullying rather than being “disruptive” or succumbing to “distraction.” from CNN

 

My Twitter friend @CalvinHyj had retweeted this from Racism Review. I have to say that after I read it, I couldn’t stop thinking about Private Danny Chen all day, and reading the article put a knot in my stomach. My husband just sent me this link to CNN by Jeff Yang:  Opinion: What the deaths of two soldiers say about anti-Asian bullying which gives further insight into this incident and another suicide from bullying to  Lance Corporal Harry Lew.

I grew up in a beach town in Southern California, with about a 9% Asian American population. Now, I live in a suburb of Boston, and again — deliberately — with about a 9% Asian population. Yet, I still experienced a few incidences of racism — in 7th grade someone called me a Jap. This probably coincided with studying WWII but I can’t really remember.  When I came to Boston in the late 1980s, I remember going to the Boston Public Library and a black kid yelled racial slurs at me. My boyfriend at the time was with me. He is also Asian American but from Queens and commuted to NYC every day for school. This was child’s play for him and it didn’t even phase him. I was angry but passive.

These days, I do not experience racism, and so this article really stunned me.

How about you? What do you make of this article and how does this fit into your world? Would you discourage your child from entering the military in general? How about after reading this article. Please share.

———————-

By Jessie

From casual to pandering to deadly, there have been several disturbing reports about anti-Asian American racism in the news. In the more casual forms of racism, it seems that the whole using someone’s name as a way to retrieve an order at fast food places has gone horribly awry. About a month ago a Chick-Fil-A cashier at a store in Irvine, California assigned racist names to two customers and even typed them into the printed receipts (images here). And, just in the past few days, a woman went into a Papa John’s pizza chain in New York City and got called a racist name on her receipt (see that receipt here). Here’s an idea – maybe we could just go back to the “we’ll call your number when your order is ready?” system.

AngryAsianGrrlMN sums this up well when she writes:

This is the kind of casual racism that isn’t talked about, but that Asian people deal with on a regular basis.  We are the invisible minority, and we rarely get the kind of attention that other minorities do.

I’ll just state the obvious here and point out that these incidents didn’t happen in the distant past or some rural backwater, but in supposedly tolerant, cosmopolitan urban areas in the present, putatively post-racial era.

The pandering form of anti-Asian American racism is coming through, not surprisingly, the presidential campaign. John Huntsman, Republican candidate and former Ambassador to China, is fluent in Mandarin and, rather remarkably, spoke Chinese during the Republican presidential debate recently.  Huntsman and his wife have also adopted children from China and India.  All this “foreign-ness” has proven too tempting for some of his political opponents who are using these facts to pander to peoples’ racism and xenophobia.  As AngryAsianMan notes:

“It’s an election year, so you know what time it is. Racist campaign ads! This latest gem is from someone claiming to be a Ron Paul supporter, attacking Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman for his un-American” values. … Here we go with another round of equating China with all things evil. Complete with an extra Oriental soundtrack — never has Mandarin made to sound so sinister. [This video] is one of the most unabashedly racist attack ads we’ve seen in a while.

The ad asks whether Huntsman’s values are “American” values or Chinese?  And, then rather sinisterly photoshops Huntsman into a portrait of Chinese leader Mao Zedong while thoroughly mixing the fear-mongering metaphors and comparing him to the “Manchurian Candidate.” This kind of strategy is what some people refer to as “dog whistle racism,” in other words, political campaigning  that uses coded words and themes that appeal to conscious or unconscious racist concepts and frames. For example, the terms ‘welfare queen,’ ’states’ rights,’ ‘Islamic terrorist,’ ‘uppity,’ and ‘illegal alien’ all activate racist concepts that already exist within a broader white racial frame.

Among the most disturbing news are the details that are emerging surrounding the death of Private Danny Chen in October, 2011. Chen, 19, grew up in New York City’s Chinatown, and is thought to have committed suicide in Afghanistan after enduring racial taunts and bullying (although some now question whether it was suicide at all). A group of his superiors allegedly tormented Chen on an almost daily basis over the course of about six weeks in Afghanistan last fall. They singled him out, their only Chinese-American soldier, and spit racial slurs at him: “gook,” “chink,” “dragon lady.” They forced him to do sprints while carrying a sandbag. They ordered him to crawl along gravel-covered ground while they flung rocks at him. And one day, when his unit was assembling a tent, he was forced to wear a green hard-hat and shout out instructions to his fellow soldiers in Chinese.ethnic slurs. At other times, they forced him to do push-ups or hang upside down with his mouth full of water.

New York Magazine has an extensive piece about Chen’s experience, including his letters home from the military.  Here’s some of what he wrote to his parents:

“Everyone knows me because I just noticed, I’m the only chinese guy in the platoon,” he wrote home. His fellow recruits called him Chen Chen, Jackie Chan, and Ling Ling. But, he added, “Don’t worry, no one picks on me … I’m the skinniest guy and weigh the least here but … people respect me for not quitting.”

Four weeks later, the Asian jokes hadn’t stopped. “They ask if I’m from China like a few times day,” he wrote. “They also call out my name (chen) in a goat like voice sometimes for no reason. No idea how it started but now it’s just best to ignore it. I still respond though to amuse them. People crack jokes about Chinese people all the time, I’m running out of jokes to come back at them.”

The eight men later charged in connection with his death are all white and range in age from 24 to 35; they include one lieutenant, two staff sergeants, three sergeants, and two specialists. Danny’s parents, of course, are inconsolable at the loss of their only son.

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Affirmative Action Case Splits Asian Americans: Are You For or Against?

Affirmative Action Asian Americans API AAPI JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club Asian American Community legal case Bakke

Asian American lawyers have taken a strong stand on university affirmative action

in the case to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court this week — and on opposite sides of the issue.

This is an old article (from 2003) but the issue of Affirmative Action as working for or against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders has not gone away nor sorted itself out. What do you think of Affirmative Action? Please vote and share your thoughts.

Here are some quotes from the article:

  • ” .. .some critics of affirmative action say Asian American students may be put at a disadvantage if universities give preference to applicants who are black or Latino.
  • …the high court’s record regarding Asians is spotty too.
  • When legal scholars cite the high court’s worst equal-protection rulings of the 20th century, they often point to Korematsu vs. U.S., the 1944 decision that upheld the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.”
  • In the 1970s, when the Supreme Court first took up the issue of college affirmative action, Asian American lawyers strongly supported admission policies that gave an advantage to minority students. At that time, Asian students qualified for this preference.
  • By the early 1980s, the soaring admission rates for Asian Americans prompted university officials to drop them from the minority category.
  • [Asian critics of affirmative action] Their brief to the Supreme Court describes diversity rules in the San Francisco public schools that limited the proportion of Chinese Americans to 45% of a school’s enrollment.
  • But proponents of affirmative action stress that they are not in favor of quotas or ceilings.
  • … opinion surveys show that most Asian Americans support affirmative action.”

For all posts on Affirmative Action and AAPIs, please click here.

Affirmative Action Case Splits Asian Americans

THE NATION

University’s policy, set for debate in high court, is seen as needed and as limiting, lawyers say.

March 30, 2003|David G. Savage | Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Asian American lawyers have taken a strong stand on university affirmative action in the case to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court this week — and on opposite sides of the issue.

The San Francisco-based Asian American Legal Foundation agrees with the white plaintiffs and urges the court to end race-based admission policies.

“The Constitution protects individuals, and individuals should not be judged on their race,” says Alan Tse, a San Francisco lawyer.

But the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium, a coalition of 25 Asian civil rights groups, sides with the University of Michigan and urges the court to preserve affirmative action.

“This is about fairness and equal opportunity. Asian Americans benefit from diversity. They are not hurt by it,” says Julie Su, a lawyer for the Asian Pacific American Legal Center in Los Angeles.

The division of opinion reflects, in part, the history and status of Asian Americans.

They are a racial minority group that has suffered from racism and blatant discrimination.

However, some critics of affirmative action say Asian American students may be put at a disadvantage if universities give preference to applicants who are black or Latino.

“My sense is that most Asians are supportive of affirmative action generally, especially in employment and business. But the situation is a bit muddier for higher education,” said Bill Lann Lee, a San Francisco attorney who led the Justice Department’s civil rights division in the Clinton administration.

While most civil rights law focused on discrimination against blacks, the Supreme Court’s earliest civil rights rulings dealt just as often with exclusionary laws against Chinese people in California.

The Constitution was amended after the Civil War to stop Southern states from mistreating the newly freed slaves and to require the “equal protection of the laws.” This amendment, the 14th, passed with high hopes but was steadily weakened by the Supreme Court and did little to help blacks.

However, federal judges in California — and the Supreme Court itself — invoked the new equality standard in the 1880s to strike down laws that excluded Chinese people from government jobs, from fishing in state waters and from operating laundries in San Francisco.

But the high court’s record regarding Asians is spotty too.

When legal scholars cite the high court’s worst equal-protection rulings of the 20th century, they often point to Korematsu vs. U.S., the 1944 decision that upheld the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

In the 1970s, when the Supreme Court first took up the issue of college affirmative action, Asian American lawyers strongly supported admission policies that gave an advantage to minority students. At that time, Asian students qualified for this preference.

Allan Bakke, a rejected white applicant, had sued UC Davis Medical School, claiming discrimination.

In response, the university conceded that it set aside 16 of its 100 slots for members of a “minority group,” which it defined as “blacks,” “Chicanos,” “Asians” and “American Indians.”

In 1978, the court struck down this “quota” as unconstitutional, but also said a university may consider a student’s race in order to create diversity.

By the early 1980s, the soaring admission rates for Asian Americans prompted university officials to drop them from the minority category.

“These programs ended when they were no longer needed. And there was no longer a need for Asians to be included,” said Lee, the former civil rights chief.

But Asian critics of affirmative action say they fear that a Supreme Court ruling would allow colleges and universities to put ceilings on the number of Asian American students.

Their brief to the Supreme Court describes diversity rules in the San Francisco public schools that limited the proportion of Chinese Americans to 45% of a school’s enrollment.

The rules also limited the number of Chinese students who could gain admission to the city’s elite Lowell High School.

When some Chinese American students were turned away from their neighborhood elementary schools, parents sued in federal court, and the school district agreed to abandon the policy.

“We fought the San Francisco schools for five years over this, and the only protection we had was the constitutional principle against race-based laws,” Tse said.

If the Supreme Court says the University of Michigan is entitled to raise or lower the number of minority students, the ruling could allow public schools to do the same, he said.

But proponents of affirmative action stress that they are not in favor of quotas or ceilings.

“They are trying to bring up examples of strict numerical limits, but that’s not what we are talking about. Affirmation action is about opportunities,” said Su, the Los Angeles lawyer. “I think it’s unfortunate they have tried to pit Asian Americans against other communities of color.”

She said opinion surveys show that most Asian Americans support affirmative action.

In 1996, 76% of Asian American voters in California said in an election exit poll that they voted against Proposition 209, the ballot measure that barred the state from giving “preferential treatment” to any person because of race or ethnicity.

University of California officials say the change in admission policies has had little, if any, effect on the number of Asian American students.

In 1997, before Proposition 209 went into effect, Asian American students accounted for 33.2% of the students admitted to the nine UC campuses. In 2002, they accounted for 33.8% of those admitted.

Asian Americans are the second-largest minority group in California, behind Latinos. In the 2000 census, Asians made up 11% of the state’s population, while Latinos were 32% and blacks 6.7%.

Nationwide, Latinos accounted for 12.5% of the population, blacks 12.3% and Asians 3.6%.

Divided opinion on affirmative action is not limited to Asian Americans. A similar debate has taken place among Jewish organizations.

The American Jewish Committee, which opposed the use of quotas in the Bakke case, filed a brief this year supporting the University of Michigan.

“Flexible goals aimed at increasing the numbers of minority students at a given university are not the same as unconstitutional quotas,” the group says.

However, the Anti-Defamation League filed a brief on the other side.

“While strongly sympathetic to the goal of increasing the numbers of minority students in our nation’s selective universities, the ADL continues to adhere to the principle that school admissions programs must be race neutral,” it says.

The high court is scheduled to hear arguments in the Michigan case Tuesday.

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The Importance of the Asian-American Vote But Only If We Actually Vote

This is from Jesse Washington’s blog. How important is the Asian-American vote? Just ask Newt Gingrich. His failing battle plan rested on appealing to Asian-Americans: “Although his presidential campaign has all but imploded, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has at least one more big plan to boost his chances in the Republican primaries: an appeal to Asian-American voters. His staff already has him committed to a new batch of outreach efforts in Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in Hawaii, California, and—at the end of August—Virginia.”

 

What are the stats for the Asian-American vote? 

The National Asian American Survey (NAAS), a project of Rutgers, UC-Berkeley, UC-Riverside, and USC, is the first nationwide political opinion poll of Asian Americans, and can be found at: www.naasurvey.com. The Asian-American vote turns out to be critical in tight races such as these:

Minnesota
In a state where candidates are separated by about 3 points, AAPIs can affect this state’s results. 59,000 Asian American voters made up 2% of Minnesota voters in 2004, and also made up more than half of the Asian American CVAP, a proportion larger than the national AA average.

Virginia

In 2004, approximately 45,000 Asian Americans voted, making up about 1.4% of Virginia’s 3.1 million voters. Eligible AA voters may make up only 3% of the state’s voters, but are still critical to such a tight race. Jim Webb’s won his 2006 race by 7,231 votes, an indication that AAPI eligible voters can impact the outcome in Virginia.

Washington
In 2004, approximately 169,000 AAPIs voted in Washington, making up about 5.9% of the state’s 2.85 million votes. Washington’s 300,000 eligible AAPI voters make up 7% of the state’s 4.2 million CVAP (2004). AAPIs could impact the outcome in Washington, with only a few points separating the candidates.
By JESSE WASHINGTON
AP National Writer
October 26, 2008

LORTON, Va. (AP) — For a long time, says Loc Pfeiffer, his fellow Asian-Americans were passive participants in American politics. But things are changing.

“Asians don’t like confrontation or being adversarial, but that’s politics,” says Pfeiffer, a 41-year-old lawyer who was 6 when his parents brought him to America from Vietnam.

“The more we’re raised and bred here, the less likely we are to be passive. So much of our culture, it’s a very, very obedient culture. … You don’t argue with the government. You don’t argue with Big Brother. There’s the assumption that you give up all your individual rights for the whole. Which is astounding to me, because I’m American now.”

An assertive Asian America matters, especially in places like Virginia and Nevada, swing states where Asians have been growing in numbers and influence.

With a booming population of highly educated, increasingly Americanized voters, this former “silent minority” is entering the most engaged and visible era of its political history.

The number of Asians in the United States has grown 25 percent in the last seven years, to 15 million, said Jane Junn, an associate professor of political science at Rutgers University. Educated people are more likely to vote, and 50 percent of the Asian population has a college degree, compared with 25 percent of the U.S. population, Junn said.

“There comes a point where there’s a critical mass,” said Junn, whose parents were born in Korea. “When you’re only one person out of 100, you’re very self-conscious about (becoming politically active). But there is power in numbers.”

Asian attitudes toward the two presidential candidates are as varied as the nations stretching from India to Malaysia to Japan, lumped into one racial category by the U.S. Census.

Yet some say Barack Obama’s rise from humble origins resonates with many Asians who value education and hard work as the keys to success and have been forced to fit their heritage into an American framework.

In a recent column for the San Francisco Chronicle, writer Jeff Yang was even inspired to riff on President Clinton’s honorary black membership and ask if Obama’s background – parental academic pressure, struggle for identity, guilt-wielding mother, Harvard education – would make him the first Asian-American president.

“So much of what we deal with is the notion of being outsiders, foreigners, of being outside the social dialogue of the United States,” Yang said in an interview. “You look at Obama and those are some of the same aspersions and slanders being cast at him. He’s kind of the closest thing we can have legally to an immigrant in the White House. He’s somebody who understands this journey that Asian-Americans and other immigrants have made.”

Obama also spent much of his youth in Hawaii, with its Asian-American majority, and in Indonesia. Obama’s half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, is the daughter of his white mother and an Indonesian businessman, and has helped reach out to the Asian-American community.

Yang added that his Taiwan-born parents, who had never voted for a Democratic presidential candidate, were seriously considering Obama.

News of Yang’s Obama proclamation inspired hearty laughter at the gathering of a half-dozen lawyers at the home of 65-year-old Paul Nguyen in Lorton. Although many had voted Republican in the past, all but one planned to vote for Obama.

When Nguyen said Asians had to learn the American political system and form a bloc to demand something in return for their votes, the conversation bubbled over:

“We never ask for anything. We always work for what we get.”

“We’re too diverse. You can’t bring the Filipinos, the Koreans, the Japanese, everybody all together.”

“We’re still in the infancy of our presence here.”

“Now we’re more active, more aware. Over the last 10 or 20 years it’s happened very slowly.”

In the past, Asians were largely overlooked during past presidential campaigns because of their widely varied nationalities and concentration in the reliably Democratic states of California and New York.

Now, both campaigns have national Asian outreach efforts. In Virginia, Obama’s campaign is focusing on sending language-specific volunteers to register voters from particular countries. The McCain campaign’s priority is securing the support of community leaders from the Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese, Indian and Filipino communities.

Although no Democratic presidential candidate has won Virginia since Lyndon Johnson in 1964, polls show Obama edging ahead. Meanwhile, the state’s Asian population has grown from 3.7 percent in 2000 to 4.8 percent in 2006, above the national average of 4.4 percent.

Virginia’s Asians are concentrated in the D.C. suburbs, where the Asian population reaches as high as 16 percent in Fairfax County, as well as the Norfolk area, where the naval operations have attracted Filipinos.

There are roughly 300,000 voting-age Asians in Virginia, and about 100,000 registered Asian voters, according to estimates from the Obama and McCain campaigns.

In 2006, after incumbent Republican Sen. George Allen was caught on tape using the slur “macaca” to describe an Indian from the opposing campaign, he lost to Democrat Jim Webb by 7,231 votes out of 2.37 million ballots cast. Seventy-six percent of the Asian vote went against Allen.

In the past, many Asians nationally have leaned Republican because of the party’s record of fighting Communism, support for small business owners, and emphasis on personal responsibility and family values.

A Vietnamese group from northern Virginia recently endorsed McCain at a rally attended by about 200 people. Some Asian supporters point to McCain’s military service, Vietnam imprisonment, an adopted daughter from Bangladesh, plus his support in the Senate for issues such as free trade and visa waivers.

Tuyet Duong, who has been canvassing undecided Vietnamese voters for the Obama campaign, said many people she talks to are voting based on the candidates’ life stories rather than the issues, and the fact that McCain fought in Vietnam strikes a powerful chord.

Yet Asian voters nationwide appear to be favoring Obama, the Democrat, in greater numbers than the 54 percent who voted for Democrat John Kerry in 2004.

This could be explained by President Bush’s unpopularity, Obama’s recent rise in the polls amid the economic implosion, or the fact that Obama’s Senate chief of staff and legislative director are Asian. But it also has something to do with a new generation of Asian-Americans.

Two-thirds of U.S. Asians are foreign-born. Their American-born children are now thriving, many in professions like medicine, law and high-tech industries. English is the first language of this second generation. And they have landed squarely in the Obama sweet spot of young and educated supporters.

“I’ve lived my life trying to be kind of race-neutral,” said Michael Chang, 34, who was born in Washington, D.C. to Korean parents. After his father died when he was 10, Chang’s mother sent him to law school and his sister to two doctoral degrees, all on a legal secretary’s salary.

Chang, who is married to an Italian immigrant, plans to vote for Obama because he likes his stance on the issues and because he’s younger. He also believes that Obama’s background, coupled with his rejection of racial rhetoric, makes him more relatable for younger, mainstream Asians.

“I’m proud of my heritage, said Chang, “but I think of myself as American.”

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U.C. Berkeley: Little Asia on the Hill. Where is the Diversity?

UC Berkeley LIttle Asia on the Hill New York Times JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club

  • This fall and last, the number of Asian freshmen at Berkeley has been at a record high, about 46 percent.
  • What is troubling to some is that the big public school on the hill certainly does not look like the ethnic face of California, which is 12 percent Asian, more than twice the national average. But it is the new face of the state’s vaunted public university system. Asians make up the largest single ethnic group, 37 percent, at its nine undergraduate campuses.
  • In California, the rise of the Asian campus, of the strict meritocracy, has come at the expense of historically underrepresented blacks and Hispanics. This year, in a class of 4809, there are only 100 black freshmen at the University of California at Los Angeles — the lowest number in 33 years. At Berkeley, 3.6 percent of freshmen are black, barely half the statewide proportion. (In 1997, just before the full force of Proposition 209 went into effect, the proportion of black freshmen matched the state population, 7 percent.) The percentage of Hispanic freshmen at Berkeley (11 percent) is not even a third of the state proportion (35 percent). White freshmen (29 percent) are also below the state average (44 percent).
  • Asians at Berkeley in at least one way: they are predominantly first-generation American. About 95 percent of Asian freshmen come from a family in which one or both parents were born outside the United States.
  • ACROSS the United States, at elite private and public universities, Asian enrollment is near an all-time high. Asian-Americans make up less than 5 percent of the population but typically make up 10 to 30 percent of students at the nation’s best colleges:in 2005, the last year with across-the-board numbers, Asians made up 24 percent of the undergraduate population at Carnegie Mellon and at Stanford, 27 percent at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 14 percent at Yale and 13 percent at Princeton.
  • Today, he [Daniel Golden] writes, “Asian-Americans are the odd group out, lacking racial preferences enjoyed by other minorities and the advantages of wealth and lineage mostly accrued by upper-class whites. Asians are typecast in college admissions offices as quasi-robots programmed by their parents to ace math and science.”
  • As if to illustrate the point, a study released in October by the Center for Equal Opportunity, an advocacy group opposing race-conscious admissions, showed that in 2005 Asian-Americans were admitted to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, at a much lower rate (54 percent) than black applicants (71 percent) and Hispanic applicants (79 percent) — despite median SAT scores that were 140 points higher than Hispanics and 240 points higher than blacks.
  • Asian enrollment at his (UC Berkeley) campus actually began to ramp up well before affirmative action was banned.
  • In November, the United States Supreme Court heard a case questioning the legality of using race in assigning students to public schools in Seattle and Louisville, Ky. Voters are also sending a message, having thrown out racial preferences in Michigan in November, following a lead taken by California, Texas, Florida and Washington. Last month, Ward Connerly, the architect of Proposition 209, announced his next potential targets for a ballot initiative, including Arizona, Colorado, Missouri and Nebraska.
  • “We shouldn’t be calling these studying habits that help so many kids get into good schools ‘Asian values,’ ” says Mr. Liu, himself a product of Yale College and Harvard Law School. “These are values that used to be called Jewish values or Anglo-Saxon work-ethic values. The bottom line message from the family is the same: work hard, defer gratification, share sacrifice and focus on the big goal.”
  • Chancellor Birgeneau says he finds the low proportion of blacks and Hispanics appalling, and two years into his tenure, he has not found a remedy. To broaden the pool, the U.C. system promises to admit the top 4 percent at each high school in the state and uses “comprehensive review” — considering an applicant’s less quantifiable attributes. But the net results for a campus like Berkeley are disappointing. His university, Dr. Birgeneau says, loses talented black applicants to private universities like Stanford, where African-American enrollment was 10 percent last year — nearly three times that at Berkeley.
What do you think of the ethnicity make up of UC Berkeley? Is it too Asian? Ask a Korean thinks that red lining Asians may be a good thing (gasp!). All my posts on Don’t Identify as Asian When Applying to College are here.
———————

Published: January 7, 2007, New York Times

By TIMOTHY EGAN

WHEN Jonathan Hu was going to high school in suburban Southern California, he rarely heard anyone speaking Chinese. But striding through campus on his way to class at the University of California, Berkeley, Mr. Hu hears Mandarin all the time, in plazas, cafeterias, classrooms, study halls, dorms and fast-food outlets. It is part of the soundtrack at this iconic university, along with Cantonese, English, Spanish and, of course, the perpetual jackhammers from the perpetual construction projects spurred by the perpetual fund drives.

Too Many? Not Enough? Some say Asian-Americans are being denied spots at top colleges to keep their numbers in check (Asians make up 5 percent of the population). [*Actually 5.6%.] Click for percentages of Asian undergraduates at selected colleges.

Education Life

“Here, many people speak Chinese as their primary language,” says Mr. Hu, a sophomore. “It’s nice. You really feel like you don’t stand out.”

Today, he is iPod-free, a rare condition on campus, taking in the early winter sun at the dour concrete plaza of the Free Speech Movement Cafe, named for the protests led by Mario Savio in 1964, when the administration tried to muzzle political activity. “Free speech marks us off from the stones and stars,” reads a Savio quote on the cafe wall, “just below the angels.”

There are now mostly small protests, against the new chain stores invading Telegraph Avenue, just outside the campus entrance, and to save the old oak trees scheduled for removal so the football stadium can be renovated. The biggest buzz on Telegraph one week was the grand opening of a chain restaurant — the new Chipotle’s, which drew a crowd of students eager to get in. The scent of patchouli oil and reefer is long gone; the street is posted as a drug-free zone.

And at least on this morning, there is very little speech of any kind inside the Free Speech Cafe; almost without exception, students are face-planted in their laptops, silently downloading class notes, music, messages. It could be the library but for the line for lattes. On mornings like this, the public university beneath the towering campanile seems like a small, industrious city of über-students in flops.

I ask Mr. Hu what it’s like to be on a campus that is overwhelmingly Asian — what it’s like to be of the demographic moment. This fall and last, the number of Asian freshmen at Berkeley has been at a record high, about 46 percent. The overall undergraduate population is 41 percent Asian. On this golden campus, where a creek runs through a redwood grove, there are residence halls with Asian themes; good dim sum is never more than a five-minute walk away; heaping, spicy bowls of pho are served up in the Bear’s Lair cafeteria; and numerous social clubs are linked by common ancestry to countries far across the Pacific.

Mr. Hu shrugs, saying there is a fair amount of “selective self-racial segregation,” which is not unusual at a university this size: about 24,000 undergraduates. “The different ethnic groups don’t really interact that much,” he says. “There’s definitely a sense of sticking with your community.” But, he quickly adds, “People of my generation don’t look at race as that big of a deal. People here, the freshmen and sophomores, they’re pretty much like your average American teenagers.”

Spend a few days at Berkeley, on the classically manicured slope overlooking San Francisco Bay and the distant Pacific, and soon enough the sound of foreign languages becomes less distinct. This is a global campus in a global age. And more than any time in its history, it looks toward the setting sun for its identity.

The revolution at Berkeley is a quiet one, a slow turning of the forces of immigration and demographics. What is troubling to some is that the big public school on the hill certainly does not look like the ethnic face of California, which is 12 percent Asian, more than twice the national average. But it is the new face of the state’s vaunted public university system. Asians make up the largest single ethnic group, 37 percent, at its nine undergraduate campuses.

The oft-cited goal of a public university is to be a microcosm — in this case, of the nation’s most populous, most demographically dynamic state — and to enrich the educational experience with a variety of cultures, economic backgrounds and viewpoints.

But 10 years after California passed Proposition 209, voting to eliminate racial preferences in the public sector, university administrators find such balance harder to attain. At the same time, affirmative action is being challenged on a number of new fronts, in court and at state ballot boxes. And elite colleges have recently come under attack for practicing it — specifically, for bypassing highly credentialed Asian applicants in favor of students of color with less stellar test scores and grades.

In California, the rise of the Asian campus, of the strict meritocracy, has come at the expense of historically underrepresented blacks and Hispanics. This year, in a class of 4809, there are only 100 black freshmen at the University of California at Los Angeles — the lowest number in 33 years. At Berkeley, 3.6 percent of freshmen are black, barely half the statewide proportion. (In 1997, just before the full force of Proposition 209 went into effect, the proportion of black freshmen matched the state population, 7 percent.) The percentage of Hispanic freshmen at Berkeley (11 percent) is not even a third of the state proportion (35 percent). White freshmen (29 percent) are also below the state average (44 percent).

This is in part because getting into Berkeley — U.S. News & World Report’s top-ranked public university — has never been more daunting. There were 41,750 applicants for this year’s freshman class of 4,157. Nearly half had a weighted grade point average of 4.0 or better (weighted for advanced courses). There is even grumbling from “the old Blues” — older alumni named for the school color — “who complain because their kids can’t get in,” says Gregg Thomson, director of the Office of Student Research.

Mr. Hu applied to a lot of colleges, but Berkeley felt right for him from the start. “It’s the intellectual atmosphere — this place is intense.”

Mr. Hu says he was pressured by a professor to go into something like medicine or engineering. “It’s a stereotype, but a lot of Asians who come here just study engineering and the sciences,” he says. “I was never interested in that.”

But as the only son of professionals born in China, Mr. Hu fits the profile of Asians at Berkeley in at least one way: they are predominantly first-generation American. About 95 percent of Asian freshmen come from a family in which one or both parents were born outside the United States.

He dashes off to class, and I wander through the serene setting of Memorial Glade, in the center of campus, and then loop over to Sproul Plaza, the beating heart of the university, where dozens of tables are set up by clubs representing every conceivable ethnic group. Out of nowhere, an a cappella group, mostly Asian men, appears and starts singing a Beach Boys song. Yes, tradition still matters in California.

ACROSS the United States, at elite private and public universities, Asian enrollment is near an all-time high. Asian-Americans make up less than 5 percent of the population but typically make up 10 to 30 percent of students at the nation’s best colleges:in 2005, the last year with across-the-board numbers, Asians made up 24 percent of the undergraduate population at Carnegie Mellon and at Stanford, 27 percent at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 14 percent at Yale and 13 percent at Princeton.

And according to advocates of race-neutral admissions policies, those numbers should be even higher.

Asians have become the “new Jews,” in the phrase of Daniel Golden, whose recent book, “The Price of Admission: How America’s Ruling Class Buys Its Way Into Elite Colleges — and Who Gets Left Outside the Gates,” is a polemic against university admissions policies. Mr. Golden, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, is referring to evidence that, in the first half of the 20th century, Ivy League schools limited the number of Jewish students despite their outstanding academic records to maintain the primacy of upper-class Protestants. Today, he writes, “Asian-Americans are the odd group out, lacking racial preferences enjoyed by other minorities and the advantages of wealth and lineage mostly accrued by upper-class whites. Asians are typecast in college admissions offices as quasi-robots programmed by their parents to ace math and science.”

As if to illustrate the point, a study released in October by the Center for Equal Opportunity, an advocacy group opposing race-conscious admissions, showed that in 2005 Asian-Americans were admitted to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, at a much lower rate (54 percent) than black applicants (71 percent) and Hispanic applicants (79 percent) — despite median SAT scores that were 140 points higher than Hispanics and 240 points higher than blacks.

To force the issue on a legal level, a freshman at Yale filed a complaint in the fall with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, contending he was denied admission to Princeton because he is Asian. The student, Jian Li, the son of Chinese immigrants in Livingston, N.J., had a perfect SAT score and near-perfect grades, including numerous Advanced Placement courses.

“This is just a very, very egregious system,” Mr. Li told me. “Asians are held to different standards simply because of their race.”

To back his claim, he cites a 2005 study by Thomas J. Espenshade and Chang Y. Chung, both of Princeton, which concludes that if elite universities were to disregard race, Asians would fill nearly four of five spots that now go to blacks or Hispanics. Affirmative action has a neutral effect on the number of whites admitted, Mr. Li is arguing, but it raises the bar for Asians. The way Princeton selects its entering class, Mr. Li wrote in his complaint, “seems to be a calculated move by a historically white institution to protect its racial identity while at the same time maintaining a facade of progressivism.”

Private institutions can commit to affirmative action, even with state bans, but federal money could be revoked if they are found to be discriminating. Mr. Li is seeking suspension of federal financial assistance to Princeton. “I’m not seeking anything personally,” he says. “I’m happy at Yale. But I grew up thinking that in America race should not matter.”

Admissions officials have long denied that they apply quotas. Nonetheless, race is important “to ensure a diverse student body,” says Cass Cliatt, a Princeton spokeswoman. But, she adds, “Looking at the merits of race is not the same as the opposite” — discrimination.

Elite colleges like Princeton review the “total package,” in her words, looking at special talents, extracurricular interests and socioeconomics — factors like whether the applicant is the first in the family to go to college or was raised by a single mother. “There’s no set formula or standard for how we evaluate students,” she says. High grades and test scores would seem to be merely a baseline. “We turned away approximately half of applicants with maximum scores on the SAT, all three sections,” Ms. Cliatt says of the class Mr. Li would have joined.

In the last two months, the nation has seen a number of new challenges to racial engineering in schools. In November, the United States Supreme Court heard a case questioning the legality of using race in assigning students to public schools in Seattle and Louisville, Ky. Voters are also sending a message, having thrown out racial preferences in Michigan in November, following a lead taken by California, Texas, Florida and Washington. Last month, Ward Connerly, the architect of Proposition 209, announced his next potential targets for a ballot initiative, including Arizona, Colorado, Missouri and Nebraska.

When I ask the chancellor at Berkeley, Robert J. Birgeneau, if there is a perfect demographic recipe on this campus that likes to think of itself as the world’s finest public university — Harvard on the Hill — he demurs.

“We are a meritocracy,” he says. And — by law, he adds — the campus is supposed to be that way. If Asians made up, say, 70 percent of the campus, he insists, there would still be no attempt to reduce their numbers.

Asian enrollment at his campus actually began to ramp up well before affirmative action was banned.

Historically, Asians have faced discrimination, with exclusion laws in the 1800s that kept them from voting, owning property or legally immigrating. Many were run out of West Coast towns by mobs. But by the 1970s and ’80s, with a change in immigration laws, a surge in Asian arrivals began to change the complexion of California, and it was soon reflected in an overrepresentation at its top universities.

In the late 1980s, administrators appeared to be limiting Asian-American admissions, prompting a federal investigation. The result was an apology by the chancellor at the time, and a vow that there would be no cap on Asian enrollment.

University administrators and teachers use anguished words to describe what has happened since.

“I’ve heard from Latinos and blacks that Asians should not be considered a minority at all,” says Elaine Kim, a professor of Asian-American studies at Berkeley. “What happened after they got rid of affirmative action has been a disaster — for blacks and Latinos. And for Asians it’s been a disaster because some people think the campus has become all-Asian.”

The diminishing number of African-Americans on campus is a consistent topic of discussion among black students. Some say they feel isolated, without a sense of community. “You really do feel like you stand out,” says Armilla Staley, a second-year law student. In her freshman year, she was one of only nine African-Americans in a class of 265. “I’m almost always the only black person in my class,” says Ms. Staley, who favors a return to some form of affirmative action.

“Quite frankly, when you walk around campus, it’s overwhelmingly Asian,” she says. “I don’t feel any tension between Asians and blacks, but I don’t really identify with the Asian community as a minority either.”

Walter Robinson, the director of undergraduate admissions, who is African-American, has the same impression. “The problem is that because we’re so few, we get absorbed among the masses,” he says.

Chancellor Birgeneau says he finds the low proportion of blacks and Hispanics appalling, and two years into his tenure, he has not found a remedy. To broaden the pool, the U.C. system promises to admit the top 4 percent at each high school in the state and uses “comprehensive review” — considering an applicant’s less quantifiable attributes. But the net results for a campus like Berkeley are disappointing. His university, Dr. Birgeneau says, loses talented black applicants to private universities like Stanford, where African-American enrollment was 10 percent last year — nearly three times that at Berkeley.

“I just don’t believe that in a state with three million African-Americans there is not a single engineering student for the state’s premier public university,” says the chancellor, who has called for reinstating racial preferences.

One leading critic of bringing affirmative action back to Berkeley is David A. Hollinger, chairman of its history department and author of “Post-Ethnic America: Beyond Multiculturalism.” He supported racial preferences before Proposition 209, but is no longer so sure. “You could argue that the campus is more diverse now,” because Asians comprise so many different cultures, says Dr. Hollinger. A little more than half of Asian freshmen at Berkeley are Chinese, the largest group, followed by Koreans, East-Indian/Pakistani, Filipino and Japanese.

He believes that Latinos are underrepresented because many come from poor agrarian families with little access to the good schools that could prepare them for the rigors of Berkeley. He points out that, on the other hand, many of the Korean students on campus are sons and daughters of parents with college degrees. In any event, he says, it is not the university’s job to fix the problems that California’s public schools produce.

Dr. Birgeneau agrees on at least one point: “I think we’re now at the point where the category of Asian is not very useful. Koreans are different from people from Sri Lanka and they’re different than Japanese. And many Chinese-Americans are a lot like Caucasians in some of their values and areas of interest.”

IF Berkeley is now a pure meritocracy, what does that say about the future of great American universities in the post-affirmative action age? Are we headed toward a day when all elite colleges will look something like Berkeley: relatively wealthy whites (about 60 percent of white freshmen’s families make $100,000 or more) and a large Asian plurality and everyone else underrepresented? Is that the inevitable result of color-blind admissions?

Eric Liu, author of “The Accidental Asian: Notes of a Native Speaker” and a domestic policy adviser to former President Bill Clinton, is troubled by the assertion that the high Asian makeup of elite campuses reflects a post-racial age where merit prevails.

“I really challenge this idea of a pure meritocracy,” says Mr. Liu, who runs mentoring programs that grew out of his book “Guiding Lights: How to Mentor and Find Life’s Purpose.” Until all students — from rural outposts to impoverished urban settings — are given equal access to the Advanced Placement classes that have proved to be a ticket to the best colleges, then the idea of pure meritocracy is bunk, he says. “They’re measuring in a fair way the results of an unfair system.”

He also says Asian-Americans are tired of having to live up to — or defend — “that tired old warhorse of the model minority.”

“We shouldn’t be calling these studying habits that help so many kids get into good schools ‘Asian values,’ ” says Mr. Liu, himself a product of Yale College and Harvard Law School. “These are values that used to be called Jewish values or Anglo-Saxon work-ethic values. The bottom line message from the family is the same: work hard, defer gratification, share sacrifice and focus on the big goal.”

Hazel R. Markus lectures on this very subject as a professor of psychology at Stanford and co-director of its Research Institute for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. Her studies have found that Asian students do approach academics differently. Whether educated in the United States or abroad, she says, they see professors as authority figures to be listened to, not challenged in the back-and-forth Socratic tradition. “You hear some teachers say that the Asian kids get great grades but just sit there and don’t participate,” she says. “Talking and thinking are not the same thing. Being a student to some Asians means that it’s not your place to question, and that flapping your gums all day is not the best thing.”

One study at the institute looked at Asian-American students in lab courses, and found they did better solving problems alone and without conversations with other students. “This can make for some big problems,” she says, like misunderstandings between classmates. “But people are afraid to talk about these differences. And one of the fantastic opportunities of going to a Stanford or Berkeley is to learn something about other cultures, so we should be talking about it.”

As for the rise in Asian enrollment, the reason “isn’t a mystery,” Dr. Markus says. “This needs to come out and we shouldn’t hide it,” she says. “In Asian families, the No. 1 job of a child is to be a student. Being educated — that’s the most honorable thing you can do.”

BERKELEY is “Asian heaven,” as one student puts it. “When I went back East my Asian friends were like, ‘Wow, you go to Berkeley — that must be great,’ ” says Tera Nakata, who just graduated and now works in the residence halls.

You need only go to colleges in, say, the Midwest to appreciate the Asian feel of this campus. But Berkeley is freighted with the baggage of stereotypes — that it is boring socially, full of science nerds, a hard place to make friends.

“About half the students at this school spend their entire career in the library,” one person wrote in a posting on vault.com, a popular job and college search Web site.

Another wrote: “Everyone who is white joins the Greek system and everyone who isn’t joins a ‘theme house’ or is a member of a club related to race.”

There is some truth to the image, students acknowledge, but it does not do justice to the bigger experience at Berkeley. “You have the ability to stay with people who are like you and not get out of your comfort zone,” says Ms. Nakata. “But I learned a lot by mixing it up. I lived in a dorm with a lot of different races, and we would have these deep conversations all the time about race and our feelings of where we belong and where we came from.” But she also says that the “celebrate diversity aspect” of Berkeley doesn’t go deep. “We want to respect everyone’s differences, but we don’t mix socially.”

Near the end of my stay at Berkeley I met a senior, Jonathan Lee, the son of a Taiwanese father and a mother from Hong Kong. He grew up well east of Los Angeles, in the New America sprawl of fast-growing Riverside County, where his father owned a restaurant. He went to a high school where he was a minority.

“When I was in high school,” he says, “there was this notion that you’re Chinese, you must be really good in math.” But now Mr. Lee is likely to become a schoolteacher, much to the chagrin of his parents, “who don’t think it will be very lucrative.”

The story of Jon Lee’s journey at Berkeley is compelling. As president of the Asian-American Association, he has tried to dispel stereotypes of “the Dragon Lady seductress or the idea that everybody plays the piano.” His closest friends are in the club. It may seem that he has become more insular, that he has found his tribe. But Mr. Lee says he has been trying to lead other Asian students out of the university bubble. Once a week, they go into a mostly black and Hispanic middle school in the Bay Area to mentor students.

For the last five semesters, Mr. Lee has worked with one student. “I take him out for dim sum, or to Chinatown, or just talk about college and what it’s like at Cal,” he says. “We talk about race and we talk about everything. And he’s taught me a lot.”

The mentoring program came about not because of prodding by well-meaning advisers, teachers or student groups. It came about because Mr. Lee looked around at the new America and found that it looked very different from Berkeley. And much as he loves Berkeley, he knew that if he wanted to learn enough to teach, he needed to get off campus.

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Asian Americans Hit the Bamboo Ceiling in Corporate America. Here’s Why.

Asian Americans Hit the Bamboo Ceiling JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club

Thank you to Marc from the Diversity: A World of Change  LinkedIn Group who gave me this video, Asian Americans Hit the Bamboo Ceiling, from BNET, The CBS Interactive Business Network. The primary speaker is Jack Lee, Partner; Minami, Tamaki, LLP; San Francisco.

His bio:

Mr. Lee received his undergraduate education at the University of California at Berkeley graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1973. He earned his Juris Doctor from the University of California, Hastings Law School in 1976.

Mr. Lee has extensive experience litigating complex employment, antitrust, consumer and civil rights class actions in federal and state courts throughout the United States. He has prosecuted precedent-setting class action discrimination cases against major Fortune 500 corporations and governmental entities, attaining some of the most significant monetary settlements in the history of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Jack Lee Partner Minami Tamaki San Francisco JadeLuckClub Bamboo Ceiling for Asian Americans in Corporate America?

Here’s the link: Asian Americans Hit the Bamboo Ceiling

 

The video is 16 minutes so these are the notes I took while watching it. Some of the notes are from the video, others are questions that came to my mind as I listened. If you can get through 16 minutes (I know that it’s long for the uTube generation), please leave me a comment on your take. Thanks!

p.s. There is one thing about Corporate Boards that I do know. The first one is hard to get, but once you are in the “club,” it’s not so hard to get more. Because, guess what, the other board members that you interact with all hang with other Corporate Board member types, and they recommend the people that they know. It’s not exactly an “Old Boys Club,” it’s just like filling a job. You recommend the people you know and respect who have done that job well for or with you.

p.p.s. If you like this post you might like, Do Asian Americans Have Real Clout in America? How many Asian American CEOs, Politicians and Billionaires?

Why? Are we too passive? Not leaders? We don’t conform to the “Dominant Stereotype?” We don’t stare down? We don’t throw down? We don’t toot our own horn? Too humble? Is this our own fault? Is there a culture of intolerance that hurts us? Is this not our fault? Tiger Mom phenonmenon– we are pushed to value education but this doesn’t translate to Corporate America? Why? Why aren’t we rising through the ranks if we get into the best schools? Being a top student is very different from being a CEO. We don’t have the interpersonal skills to be a CEO? Lack of mentoring by Corporate America because there are no role models at the top?

Asian Americans have reported themselves as being more ambitious than others. 25% of Asian Americans feel discriminated in the work place, yet we don’t complain. We don’t file law suits. We don’t speak up.

It’s not like Asians are not competent running a company if you look at companies in Asia. Is one style of management better than another (Asian versus Other)? No.

What needs to happen for Asian American to move up? What needs to change? This is the same story that women have faced in Corporate America.

 

4 Comments

Affirmative Action Hurts Asians and Caucasians: What To Do About It

Affirmative Action Hurts Asians and Caucasians Whites JadeLuckClub Ivy League Discrimination of Asians

 

 “Espenshade discovered that when comparing applicants with similar grades, scores, athletic qualifications, and family history

for seven elite private colleges and universities:

whites were three times as likely to get accepted as Asians;

Hispanics were twice as likely to win admission as whites,

and African-Americans were at least five times as likely to be accepted as whites.”

The more that I read about Affirmative Action, the more I realize how complex the issue is. Yes, it does appear to be quite true that top Asian Americans students have tougher odds when applying to elite private colleges because there are simply too many of them applying to a set number of spots. This wasn’t always the case when Affirmative Action was put into place, but with Tiger Moms hard at work, Tiger Children of Chinese/Korean/Japanese descent particularly applied in great numbers to Ivy Leagues and other top schools. While the percentage of Asians at top schools continues to rise, the number of highly qualified Asian applicants goes up still higher causing this imbalance.

Yet, Affirmative Action is needed in the corporate world where Asian Americans still battle the bamboo ceiling. The conundrum is that no Asian American group is willing to take up the battle cry for getting still more Asian American kids into elite private colleges but there are serious repercussions for not addressing this. Asian American students face immense pressure on many fronts (think Tiger Mom!) to outperform their Asian peers in order to get into top colleges and the result is mental health issues including depression and suicide. If you want stats on that, I can pull them for you. Just leave me a comment.

What to do? Changing laws requires serious and ongoing pressure and I don’t see that happening within our own community. My solution is quite simple. Opt out of the race question. It’s optional anyway.

IF YOU ARE HAPA: DON’T CHECK ASIAN. Options for you include: mixed race OR Caucasian. Realize that checking Asian hurts your chances for admission so why do that?  Checking mixed race or Caucasian will help you get in AND it’s completely correct. And, by removing yourself from the Asian box, you decrease the number of Asians in that giant pile of applications.

IF YOU ARE ASIAN: DON’T CHECK ASIAN. Options for you include: undisclosed OR skip question entirely. “But what if my name outs me?” is a common question. My answer: no one in admissions is shaking your family tree for your true ethnicity. They are, by the way, giving your entire application about three minutes of their time. That includes reading your essays and letters of recommendation. Don’t sweat it. Also realize that hapas can have Asian names and qualify for Caucasian. There’s actually no way to tell your ethnicity short of researching your family history.

Objections to this pragmatic approach include being proud of one’s ethnicity and not hiding true stats of Asians. My pragmatic answer is: you can assert your ethnic identity AFTER you get in. This is, after all, your goal, right?

For all posts on Don’t Identify as Asian When Applying to College, click here. I welcome your reactions, comments and feedback!

 

8/17/10 International Business TimesAsian-Americans in the Ivy League: A Portrait of Privilege and Discrimination


By Palash R. Ghosh

Reflecting their growing social and economic prominence in the U.S., Asian-Americans are disproportionately represented at the most elite universities in the land, relative to their numbers in the total population.

While “Asians” — defined broadly as people who can trace their ancestry to East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Pacific Islands — account for only about 5 percent of the U.S. populace, they are believed to represent up to 20 percent of the enrollment at the top Ivy League schools.

However, the irony is that if the admission criteria and process in all U.S. universities were completely fair and equitable — that is, based purely on academic qualifications — the Asian weighting in the elite colleges would likely be significantly higher.

In an article in the Boston Globe, Kara Miller, a history professor at Babson College, wrote that Asian-Americans score an average of 1623 — out of a possible 2400 — on SAT tests. By comparison, Hispanics and blacks average 1,364 and 1,276 on the SAT, respectively, while whites average 1,581.

Quite a conundrum, indeed. Are Asians being celebrated and rewarded for their hard work, intelligence and success? Or are they being discriminated against?

It depends on who you ask.

Consider what happened in California — a state with a very high Asian population of about 13 percent — in late 1996. Voters passed Proposition 209, a referendum that essentially revoked Affirmative Action measures and deemed that entry into public colleges — including the huge University of California (UC) system — should be entirely race-blind.

“A direct consequence of this was that the percentage of Asian-Americans at universities like Berkeley, UC-Irvine, and UCLA immediately skyrocketed,” said Stephen D.H. Hsu, a professor of physics at the University of Oregon in Eugene.

“At those institutions, the Asian-American representation currently approaches 50 percent.”

Not surprisingly, the passage of “209” led to a political backlash and resentment against Asian-Americans — from whites, but particularly from African-Americans and Hispanics, who saw their numbers plunge at these institutions.”

The administration at UC is now under significant pressure to remove the current system, Hsu noted. “They’ve responded to the criticism by tweaking the admission process,” he said. “Test scores are not weighted as heavily as high school GPA, and the top few percent of graduates at each high school are admitted to UC, even if, in absolute terms, they are not as strong as higher scoring students from top high schools.” *

Of course, Hsu adds, Asian-Americans are generally happy with things as they are — since they both find it fair and beneficial to them. Moreover, California’s top two private schools, Stanford University and California Institute of Technology (Caltech) also boast disproportionately high Asian-American representation.

“At my alma mater, Caltech, which has a heavy focus on science and engineering and a completely meritocratic admission process, Asian-Americans account for 30 percent-40 percent of the student body,” Hsu added.

Hsu concludes that Affirmative Action probably hurts both whites and Asians since it arbitrarily takes class slots away from them.

This is quite ironic since Asian-Americans have long been discriminated in most other ways throughout their long history in this country. The word “quota” is controversial and politically-charged; one must be careful when using it.  However it’s difficult not to conclude that some elite universities do indeed impose a quota — officially or subconsciously — upon Asian enrollment in order to control their numbers at some specified levels.

Consider a recent study undertaken by Thomas Espenshade, a Princeton sociologist. He calculated that in 1997 African-Americans who achieved scores of 1150 scores on two original SAT tests had the same chances of getting accepted to top private colleges as whites who scored in the 1460s and Asians who scored perfect 1600s.

Or put it another way, Asian applicants typically need to score an extra 140 or so points on their SATs to compete “equally” with white students. Miller of Babson College also wrote that “most elite universities appear determined to keep their Asian American totals in a narrow range. Yale’s class of 2013 is 15.5 percent Asian American, compared with 16.1 percent at Dartmouth, 19.1 percent at Harvard and 17.6 percent at Princeton.”

However, white students are similarly victimized by admission policies at some elite schools.  Espenshade discovered that when comparing applicants with similar grades, scores, athletic qualifications, and family history for seven elite private colleges and universities: whites were three times as likely to get accepted as Asians; Hispanics were twice as likely to win admission as whites, and African-Americans were at least five times as likely to be accepted as whites.

Moreover, if all elite private universities enacted race-blind admissions, the percentage of Asian students would jump from 24 percent to 39 percent (similar to what they already are now at Caltech and Berkeley, two elite institutions with race-blind admissions; the former due to a belief in meritocracy, the latter due to Proposition 209).

What Asian-Americans are enduring now is reminiscent of the travails of American Jews in the 1930s and 1940s, when colleges like Harvard and Yale imposed quotas to limit their numbers at these elite institutions. And like many of those Jews from seven or eight decades ago, numerous Asian-American students today come from poor, humble immigrant households.

Perhaps the bottom line in all this discussion is that entry into and success in top-flight schools — regardless of the surrounding circumstances and controversies — are pushing more and more Asian-Americans into prominent positions in corporate America, Wall Street and even the corridors of power in Washington D.C.

*An article I read which I will post on if I find it again said that the UC System is taking the top 3 graduates in terms of grades and scores from every high school in California, even if these candidates score lower than candidates who scored higher but ranked lower at their [competitive] high school.

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Why You Shouldn’t Identify as Asian When Applying to College UPDATED

MItchell Chang UCLA professor JadeLuckClub Why you shouldn't identify race when applying to college if Asian

 In October 2006, Inside Higher Ed reported that at the annual meeting of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, admissions officers and high school counselors readily admitted that bias against Asian Americans continues to be a real problem — so much so that some even recommended that Asian Americans should not identify their race in their applications.

I am posting a series of articles as I discover them, though they are not all new, regarding the politics of Asian Americans applying to elite private colleges. It seems to me that this is very similar to what happened to Jews 60 years ago where “ceilings” were placed. These days, Jews make up approximately 30% of Ivy League students, though religious affiliation isn’t tracked or reported in terms of college admits. Think about that! The Jewish population in America is believed to be 1.7% according to Wikipedia.

This puts a new spin on whether or not Asians should have a ceiling; that we are “over-represented” in terms of number of Asians in the U.S. versus at the Ivy League. It’s just that you can’t readily identify who is Jewish either by looking at them, or even by examining their surnames, particularly for Interfaith families.

Professor Chang, at UCLA, has an interesting article that comments on the negative impact of Amy Chua’s Tiger Mom book has on perpetuating the stereotype of Asian Americans as over achieving because of overbearing parents. He has an interesting quote which I have bolded at the top of this post that Admissions Officers and High School Counselors readily admit to an Anti-Asian bias to the point that some, like me, recommend against identifying race in their college applications.

The more I read about this, the more I realize that nothing will happen if there isn’t pressure for change. Hence, I am posting and encourage readers to make up their own minds. Is this racism? What do you think?

If you want to read all the posts on Don’t ID as Asian When Applying to College, click here.

p.s. For parents who think that Amy Chua’s book can be used as a parenting manual to get their kids into Harvard and Yale like her oldest, Sophia, realize this: her daughter is a double legacy as Harvard as both her parents went there. Her mother went to Harvard for both undergraduate and law school. Her father for law school. Sophia also doesn’t have to put herself into the most competitive group when applying to college. Since her father is Jewish, she can check either the “Mixed Race” OR the “Caucasian” box which (if you read all the articles on the bias against Asian Americans at elite private colleges) alone greatly  improves her chances for admittance. Add in bonus points for being a legacy which often makes the difference between acceptance and rejection.

As for Yale, children of employees at private colleges get special consideration that may increase their odds even more than a legacy. Sometimes the college has a set policy. For example, Boston College, Tufts College and University of Southern California are not only are more lenient on applicants who are children of employees, but any employee that has worked at the college for five years also gets a free ride for their child. At Boston College which is in the town I live in, this is so enticing on both accounts that parents will give up their own businesses to time a job at Boston College. Why not?! This makes great financial sense if you have many children. Grad school is also included! This can be up to $1 million dollars in savings for four children!

At other schools, the advantage for children of employees may be more tacit. When the pool of applicants for say Harvard is universally strong, there isn’t much difference between someone who gets accepted or rejected. Being a legacy can be the tiebreaker. Or knowing someone in the Admissions department which is easier to pull off if you work at that university.

My point is that Amy Chua has widely publicized where her daughter was admitted, not where she was rejected. Admission into Brown University or Stanford, for example, for Sophia would be a better indicator that Tiger Mom parenting is a sure thing into the Ivy League simply because she doesn’t have a “home field” advantage there.

————————-

1/27/11 UCLA TodayTiger mom adds to stereotype that burdens Asian American students
Mitchell J. Chang is a professor of education and Asian American studies.
His op-ed appeared originally in the Sacramento Bee’s Jan. 26, 2011 edition.


The Wall Street Journal published an essay this month by Yale University law professor Amy Chua titled, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior,” bringing national attention to the methods by which Asian American parents raise high-achieving children. Within a week, the essay received more than 6,500 comments on the newspaper’s website, catapulting her previously unnoticed book, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” up the New York Times‘ list of best-sellers. Chua’s essay is considered controversial largely because it stresses a rigid parenting style based on tough love — the “Tiger Mother” — that goes against what she considers more typical “Western” styles that emphasize self-esteem and self-discovery. Parenting strategies aside, what has been overlooked is how this essay unintentionally undermines Asian American college applicants by perpetuating an erroneous stereotype.

High-achieving Asian Americans have been struggling against an “Asian tax” in college as well as graduate school admissions for over three decades.

In the late ’80s, the federal government investigated charges that Asian American college applicants faced a higher admissions bar than other groups. They concluded in 1990 that Harvard admitted Asian American applicants at a lower rate than white students despite the fact that Asian American applicants had slightly stronger test scores and grades.

The federal government also inspected other elite universities, including some UC campuses where Asian American enrollment dropped despite increased numbers of highly qualified applicants. Federal investigators found that admissions staff at these elite universities had stereotyped Asian American applicants in characterizing them as quiet, shy and not “well rounded.”

In October 2006, Inside Higher Ed reported that at the annual meeting of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, admissions officers and high school counselors readily admitted that bias against Asian Americans continues to be a real problem — so much so that some even recommended that Asian Americans should not identify their race in their applications. Admissions officers reportedly complained on a regular basis that they didn’t “want another boring Asian.”

Meeting participants also reacted to a November 2005 Wall Street Journal article, which reported that white families were leaving top public schools as districts became “too Asian,” apparently referring to a shift in the emphasis of after-school programs away from a sports focus and toward an academic one.

Now comes Chua’s characterization of the “Tiger Mother,” adding to what it means to be “too Asian.” This image contributes to an already problematic stereotype by suggesting not only that most Asian  Americans are high-achieving, but also that their achievements are due to overbearing parents.

Her characterization can further tax Asian American college applicants by reducing the chances that they will be viewed as self-starters, risk-takers and independent thinkers — attributes that are often favored by admissions officers but rarely associated with Asian American applicants. If the “Tiger Mother” image leaves a lasting impression and is applied broadly beyond Chua’s own experiences, this characterization can advance a one-dimensional view of Asian Americans that minimizes their achievements and overlooks their diversity.

With any luck, those involved with admissions in higher education fully recognize the shortcomings of Chua’s essay and understand that the story of high achievement for Asian Americans is as varied as the number of college applicants. If they don’t and the “Asian tax” rises instead, we will hopefully be reading about the determination of Asian American parents to eliminate discriminatory admissions practices, rather than essays about an obsession with raising hyper-achieving kids. Ideally, the public will be just as concerned about the former as they have been with the latter.

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The Sartorialist: Best Dressed Asian Men (and one adorable Asian Gal)

Black Hat Older Asian Eurasian Gentleman Style Old Man Style Stylist Asian Men The Sartorialist JadeLuckClub JadeLuckClub most stylist Asian Americans American MenI am a little obsessed with the street fashion blog, The Sartorialist. I love it! When I saw this image that Scott Schuman posted on April 11 for a Wayfarer post, I found myself mesmerized by this couple. Who are they? The story I made up in my mind is this: they are famous actors in Japan and are visiting NYC where Scott shot them. They get annonymity here but they are like KPatz in their home country…

Am I right or totally off base? But isn’t she ADORABLE? with her cute bob and there is something kinda cool going on with her man … the cig, the Wayfarers and the baggy pants are working for me. Plus they match!

The Sartorialist Wayfarers Well Dressed Cute Asian couple JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club Celebrating Asian Americans

But this Old Man Style shot is a keeper.

Old Man Style Asian Older Gentleman Man JadeLuckClub well dressed Asian men Jade Luck Club

Especially contrasted with this Chinatown Old Man Style. The Sartorialist says, “Straw hat, Playboy belt buckle, Dior women’s sunglasses, gold teeth -Priceless”

Sartorialist Old Man Style Chinatown JadeLuckClub

“Old Man Style is hard to beat. Gentlemen of a certain generation learned how to wear their clothes not let their clothes wear them.”

Old Man Style Chinatown Older Stylist Asian Men The Sartorialist JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club Celebrating Asian American Creativity Diversity Street Fashion Style Success Best

“A Gentleman’s Style”

Gentleman's Style Older Stylist Gentleman Asian The Sartorialist JadeLuckClub Well Dressed Older Asian Men

To me, this older stylist gentleman looks Asian. What do you think? The Sartorialist just called this “Black Hat” and “Old Man Style…4th Avenue, Brooklyn.”

Black Hat Older Asian Eurasian Gentleman Style Old Man Style Stylist Asian Men The Sartorialist JadeLuckClub JadeLuckClub most stylist Asian Americans American Men

He notices all the details! Do you follow The Sartorialist? If you start, it’s easy to become obsessed! I should know!

Are you stylish and Asian (even partially)? Send me your photo and I’ll do a posting of Stylish Asians. JadeLuckClub (at) gmail (dot) com. (You actors out there, please submit!)

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