Tag Archives: Asians

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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Anti Asian American Racism Perpetrated by Other Minority Groups: Black Racism by Ying Ma

Black African American Racism against Asian Americans JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club

If you are a minority, can you be racist?

This is a thorny topic that Asian American activists don’t want to talk about: racism by African Americans in inner cities across America against Asian Americans. Because I grew up in a suburb of California, I personally am not familiar with this but I have to say that since I have been blogging about how Asian Americans are discriminated against by elite private colleges and universities, the most extreme responses from my alumni group (Harvard Alumni in LinkedIn) have come from the African Americans who find the success of Asian Americans to be very threatening in the college admissions arena.

Ying Ma’s article is very interesting in that it sums up what is most Asian about all of us: we Asian Americans are culturally raised to be  non-confrontational whether this means ignoring vicious bullying to not acknowledging racism from another minority group. Even our activists are intimated into silence, acceptance and/or denial that African Americans harbor resentment of Asian Americans which manifests into bullying, harassment and acts of violence. Could it be that African Americans prejudice stems from our “Model Minority” success that reflects back on them, making them look bad? Or just that a minority group that is successful is to be resented? Will Latino Americans also receive this same treatment as they continue to improve their economic status?

What do you think of this article? Have you been the target of black racism? Do you think this exists? Do you think it should be acknowledged and confronted? Do you find that this is subject that makes Asian American leaders very squirmy and uncomfortable? Is this idea that minorities unite against racism a pipe dream? Please comment!

 

Nov/Dec/1998 Fresh Thinking About Race in America

Black Racism
by Ying Ma

In what passes for discussions on race these days, small problems are often blown up large, while real traumas are completely ignored. For instance, despite what President Clinton’s “Race Initiative” panel has said, the very rawest racial conflicts in present-day America don’t even fit into the tidy mold of white-majority-oppressing-colored-minority that activists constantly promote. Though civil rights groups and most of the media studiously ignore this fact, the nations most fractious racial battles are now conflicts between minority populations. Particularly horrific is the animosity directed at Asian Americans by blacks in low-income areas of urban America .

At age ten, I immigrated from China to Oakland , California , a city filled with crime, poverty, and racial tension. In elementary school, I didn’t wear name-brand clothing or speak English. My name soon became “Ching Chong,” “Chinagirl,” and “Chow Mein.” Other children laughed at my language, my culture, my ethnicity, and my race. I said nothing.

After a few years, I began to speak English, but not well enough to trade racial insults. On rides home from school I avoided the back of the bus so as not to be beaten up. But even when I sat in the front, fire crackers, paper balls, small rocks, and profanity were thrown at me and the other “stupid Chinamen.” The label “Chinamen” was dished out indiscriminately to Vietnamese, Koreans, and other Asians. When I looked around, I saw that the other “Chinamen” tuned out the insults by eagerly discussing movies, friends, and school.

During my secondary school years, racism, and then the combination of outrage and bitterness that it fosters, accompanied me home on the bus every day. My English was by now more fluent than that of those who insulted me, but most of the time I still said nothing to avoid being beaten up. In addition to everything else thrown at me, a few times a week I was the target of sexual remarks vulgar enough to make Howard Stern blush. When I did respond to the insults, I immediately faced physical threats or attacks, along with the embarrassing fact that the other “Chinamen” around me simply continued their quiet personal conversations without intervening. The reality was that those who cursed my race and ethnicity were far bigger in size than most of the Asian children who sat silently.

The racial harassment wasn’t limited to bus rides. It surfaced in my high school cafeteria, where a middle-aged Chinese vendor who spoke broken English was told by rowdy students each day at lunch time to “Hurry up, you dumb Ching!” On the sidewalks, black teenagers and adults would creep up behind 80-year-old Asians and frighten them with sing-song nonsense: “Yee-ya, Ching-chong, ah-ee, un-yahhh!” At markets and in the streets of poor black neighborhoods, Asians would be told, “Why the hell don’t you just go back to where you came from!”

When it came time for college, I left this ugly world for a beautiful school far away. Finally, it was possible to pursue a life without racial harassment backed by the threat of violence. I chose not to return to my old neighborhood after college, but I am often reminded of the racial discrimination I endured there. On a bus not too long ago I saw a black woman curse at a Korean man, “You f—ing Chinese person! Didn’t you hear that I asked you to move yo ass? You too stupid to understand English or something?”

In poor neighborhoods across this country Asians endure daily racial hatred just as I did. Because of their language deficiencies, their small size, their fear of violent confrontations, they endure in silence. Unlike me, many of them will never depart for a new life in a beautiful place far, far away. So each day they grow more bitter against a group that much of America refuses to acknowledge to be capable of racism: African Americans.

In a fair and peaceful world, racial harassment will be decried without regard to its source. The problem today is that prominent black leaders rule out even the possibility of black racism. Activists like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson intone that racism equals “prejudice plus power,” and that since blacks in America lack power, they are simply not capable of practicing racism against anyone. John Hope Franklin, chair of President Clinton’s race panel, angrily insists that racism is something suffered, not dished out, by blacks. Many black professors, writers, polemicists, and politicians repeat the same mantra. What might appear to be black racism, writes syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts, actually boils down not to racism but to acts of crime and rudeness from the perpetrators, and tough luck for the recipients.

Rationalizers of black racism ignore the fact that identical actions inflicted by whites would be universally decried as intolerable. Ultimately, their arguments simply grease the skids for further traumatizing of “unlucky” victims. And to real-life casualties of racial animosity, motivation is not especially relevant. Loss is loss. Pain is pain.

Unfortunately, Asian Americans and especially their leaders have failed to speak out on this matter. Complaints from wounded individuals regularly boil into public view, however. In mid-August, I attended a crowded press conference held in New York’s Chinatown to discuss Indonesia s history of discrimination against ethnic Chinese (which peaked this May in a wave of bloody anti-Chinese riots). One woman at the event began to hysterically scream out her frustrations over black American racism against Asians. The woman, Mee Ying Lin, shouted, “Chinese suffer from racial discrimination by blacks every day. We should help persecuted Chinese overseas, but why is no one dealing with our own troubles in America ?”

Rose Tsai, head of the San Francisco Neighbors Association, and candidate for a seat on the citys Board of Supervisors, suggests that everyday Asians rarely defend themselves against ghetto racism because “Asian culture is just not that confrontational. Asians are unlike blacks who got to where they are in politics by being militant.”

Tsai explains that Asian involvement in politics is at a nascent stage, that it is difficult for her organization even to convince Asian immigrants to vote, let alone make a political stink against racial harassment. “Asians are just not used to standing up for our own rights,” says another Bay Area Chinese activist with frustration.

That might explain the quiescence of recent immigrants who speak imperfect English. But what about the growing cadre of Asian activists? They are far from passive or non-confrontational. In just the past two years, organizations like the Asian American Legal Defense Fund, the National Asian-Pacific American Legal Consortium, the Organization for Chinese Americans, and others have voiced loud condemnations of “racism” in American society. But they have focused on events like the recent investigation of Asian donors of illegal campaign funds, the Republican opposition in Congress to Bill Lann Lees nomination as director of the Office of Civil Rights, a cover drawing for National Review that showed the President, Vice President, and First Lady dressed in Manchurian garb, and even a recent cover photo for this magazine that showed a handsome Asian male scowling angrily at the camera.

If vocal Asian activists are able to work themselves into a frenzy attacking everyday political tussles and editorial cartoons for their alleged racist motivations, they are obviously capable of confrontation. Why then do we never hear these national activists condemning black racism against Asians in our inner cities?

Some Asian-American activists say the reason they have not confronted anti-Asian racism among blacks is because the tension does not exist on the national level, but is merely confined to some local areas. Karen Narasaki of the National Asian-Pacific American Legal Consortium claimed in a recent interview that black animosity is different in each city and ought to be handled differently in each case by local organizations. David Lee, executive director of one such local organization, the San Francisco Voters Education Committee, concurs: “There may be a few communities and a few areas where tensions existso it is better for community groups rather than a national organization like the Organization of Chinese Americans to deal with such problems.”

Representatives of national Asian organizations also cite resource constraints to explain their quiescence. They say black-Asian clashes are not a serious enough national issue to expend scarce time and money on.

There is a difference, however, between not being able to expend effort and not wanting to. Asian activists on the national level also matter-of-factly justify black racism in inner cities as a direct result of competition between Asians and their black neighbors over limited economic resources. Narasaki, while acknowledging she is not an inner city expert, insists that many black and Asian conflicts “have to do with the lack of economic opportunities” in cities. Echoing this refrain, Stanley Mark, program director of the Asian American Legal Defense Fund, asserts that “we can’t talk about race without talking about economic disparities.”

In this vein, Asian activists consistently mention that racial problems occur when Asian merchants move into predominantly black neighborhoods and flourish. The vicious year-long black boycott of a Korean store in Brooklyn in 1990, and the looting and burning of Korean stores in south-central Los Angeles during the 1992 Rodney King riots serve as shining examples of conflicts linked to economic disparities.

The excuse of economic disparities fails miserably to justify violence and harassment, however. For some observers, it also brings up memories of Nazi persecution of Jews, African attacks on Indian merchants, and recent murders, rapes, and robberies of ethnic Chinese in Indonesia . All of these atrocities were committed against people deemed economically well off by larger masses facing difficult times.

In any case, the economic disparities rationale falls apart in the many instances where racism flourishes in the absence of class differences. At San Francisco’s Hunters Point public housing complex, for instance, low-income Southeast Asian residents, who are in the minority, have consistently encountered racial harassment from their black neighbors. Racial slurs, physical threats, violence, and destruction of property have festered for years. Philip Nguyen of the Southeast Asian Community Center, who has worked on the case for years, notes that there are no economic differences between the Asian and black families in the complex. The Asians, he says, are very quiet and have made every effort to befriend the black residents, yet serious friction has persisted for ten years.

Joe Hicks, executive director of the Los Angeles City Human Relations Commission, painstakingly tried to bring blacks and Asians together after the Rodney King riots. He believes that “much of the hostilities are due to blacks jealousy of Asian economic success, a sense of alienation, and the self-perpetuating belief that blacks will always lose out in the racial equation in America .” He adds that “certainly economics gives a basis to many of the problems,” but asserts that “even if tomorrow we can have a level playing field for both racial groups, we would still have animosity and racial strife” because prejudices would still remain.

Asian activists who are not otherwise inclined to ignore prejudice are often strangely anxious to apologize for black racism. In interviews, they note that Asians harbor many prejudices against blacks too. This explanation, however, has no power to explain the kind of harassment I and many others like me experienced as young immigrant children beginning life with no animus toward anyone.

Asian prejudice toward blacks surely exists. But whatever biases might be harbored in the minds of Asian immigrants, many of whom had never seen a black person before arriving in the U.S., they certainly don’t rate at the level of destroying black people’s property, scaring their elderly folk, or threatening and assaulting their children the kinds of pressures Asians in many urban areas now endure routinely. Asian youths in particular typically start out with little or no inclination to distrust or dislike African Americans. Young Asians are usually far more willing than their parents to accept a new country and new friends, including black ones. In many cases, it was only after innumerable frightening chases, assaults, and humiliations that Asian attitudes toward blacks turned defensive. Those of us whose open minds were confronted with hostility and hatred will never accept the insulting assertion that our suffering resulted from our own prejudices.

It seems that leaders of the Organization of Chinese Americans, the Asian American Legal Defense Fund, and related groups are disconnected from the real concerns of many of the Asians they claim to represent. David Lee, whose Bay Area organization is attempting to promote local dialogue among minority journalists, believes that a fundamental disconnection exists between the national Asian spokesmen and the new majority of Asians who are recent immigrants. The prominent Asian civil rights leaders, he notes, tend to be American born, to speak little of their ethnic languages, and to be unable to read the local ethnic newspapers. Many of them do not know or understand the problems in low income areas, because they live comfortable middle-class lives. And so “it is not surprising that they are silent about black-on-Asian discrimination,” Lee summarizes.

Bong Hwan Kim, executive director of the Korean Youth and Community Center in Los Angeles and an active member of the Black-Korean Alliance that attempted to bring African- and Korean-Americans together in the eight years before the south-central riots, describes a disconnection in the Korean community between first-generation immigrants and acculturated second generation residents with less familiarity with inner-city life. After the shops of Koreatown were looted or burned, he reports, the more suburbanized Koreans pushed inter-ethnic bridge-building efforts, while the first-generation immigrants who toiled in menial jobs, bridled at having to sit across the table from those who looted and burned their property. Meanwhile, few of the prominent national Asian organizations even condemned the violence perpetrated against Koreans in L.A.

Stanley Mark of the Asian American Legal Defense Fund argues in defense of the national Asian organizations that people hear less from the Asian leaders about black-on-Asian racism than white-on-Asian racism simply because there is less of the former than the latter. Mark insists he knows of no case where an Asian was seriously hurt or killed by a racist black American.

Underlining the disconnect between national and local perceptions, Liu Yu-xi, an organizer of the New York coalition of Chinese Americans that mobilized hundreds of thousands of normally politically apathetic Chinese to protest Indonesian violence against Chinese residents, chuckled at Stanley Marks ignorance of cases of black racism. Liu, who has known of many racially motivated physical attacks against Chinese in New York , observes, “Such crimes are reported often in the local Chinese papers, but the national Asian activists obviously do not know how to read Chinese.”

When asked why prominent Asians have said little about racial harassment by African Americans, Bill Tam of San Francisco s Chinese Family Alliance flatly stated, “I think they are afraid to say anything.” To him, it appears that Asian leaders are often fearful of the national black leadership. National Asian organizations generally follow the lead of black civil rights groups like the naacp so slavishly, another Bay Area activist told me, that even when the latters stances (for instance, on quotas and preferences) are opposed to the interests and beliefs of many Asian citizens, the Asian activists don’t challenge their allies.

Rose Tsai of the San Francisco Neighbors Association was a little more blunt: “Most Asian leaders do not wish to acknowledge that there exists a problem because they do not want the minorities to fight amongst themselves.” As a result, national Asian spokesmen speaking for their brethren are without any inkling of the real problems they face, or what kind of racism is dragging them down. Recognizing the complex issues between blacks and Asians, Philip Nguyen of the Southeast Asian Community Center has a simple proposal: “Fight, not against or for any group, but against racial discrimination.”

Ying Ma, who immigrated to the United States in 1985, is a research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York .

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How Diversity Punishes Asians, Poor Whites and Lots of Others

Russell K. Nieli professor at Princeton University JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club How Diversity Punishes Asians Poor Whites and other groups

Russell K. Nieli received his Ph.D. in political philosophy from Princeton University and currently works for Princeton’s James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions. He has been a lecturer in Princeton’s Politics Department and for ten years was an academic adviser to Princeton freshmen. This is from Minding the Campus: Reforming Our Universities.

Some interesting quotes:

  • A diverse college campus is understood as one that has a student body that — at a minimum — is 5 to 7 percent black (i.e., equivalent to roughly half the proportion of blacks in the general population).
  • As a secondary meaning “diversity” can also encompass Hispanics, who together with blacks are often subsumed by college administrators and admissions officers under the single race category “underrepresented minorities.”
  • Asians, unlike blacks and Hispanics, receive no boost in admissions. Indeed, the opposite is often the case, as the quota-like mentality that leads college administrators to conclude they may have “too many” Asians.
  • Indeed, there is probably no other area where college administrators are more likely to lie or conceal the truth of what they are doing than in the area of admissions and race.
  • On an “other things equal basis,” where adjustments are made for a variety of background factors, being Hispanic conferred an admissions boost over being white (for those who applied in 1997) equivalent to 130 SAT points (out of 1600), while being black rather than white conferred a 310 SAT point advantage. Asians, however, suffered an admissions penalty compared to whites equivalent to 140 SAT points.
  • Espenshade and Radford also take up very thoroughly the question of “class based preferences” and what they find clearly shows a general disregard for improving the admission chances of poor and otherwise disadvantaged whites.
  •  I suggest a different approach: elite colleges should get out of the diversity business altogether and focus on enrolling students who are the most academically talented and the most eager to learn. These students should make up the bulk of their entering classes. Call it the Cal Tech Model since the California Institute of Technology seems to be the only elite institution that comes close to realizing such an ideal.

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

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By Russell K. Nieli

When college presidents and academic administrators pay their usual obeisance to “diversity” you know they are talking first and foremost about race. More specifically, they are talking about blacks. A diverse college campus is understood as one that has a student body that — at a minimum — is 5 to 7 percent black (i.e., equivalent to roughly half the proportion of blacks in the general population). A college or university that is only one, two, or three percent black would not be considered “diverse” by college administrators regardless of how demographically diverse its student body might be in other ways. The blacks in question need not be African Americans — indeed at many of the most competitive colleges today, including many Ivy League schools, an estimated 40-50 percent of those categorized as black are Afro-Caribbean or African immigrants, or the children of such immigrants.

As a secondary meaning “diversity” can also encompass Hispanics, who together with blacks are often subsumed by college administrators and admissions officers under the single race category “underrepresented minorities.” Most colleges and universities seeking “diversity” seek a similar proportion of Hispanics in their student body as blacks (since blacks and Hispanics are about equal in number in the general population), though meeting the black diversity goal usually has a much higher priority than meeting the Hispanic one.

Asians, unlike blacks and Hispanics, receive no boost in admissions. Indeed, the opposite is often the case, as the quota-like mentality that leads college administrators to conclude they may have “too many” Asians. Despite the much lower number of Asians in the general high-school population, high-achieving Asian students — those, for instance, with SAT scores in the high 700s — are much more numerous than comparably high-achieving blacks and Hispanics, often by a factor of ten or more. Thinking as they do in racial balancing and racial quota terms, college admissions officers at the most competitive institutions almost always set the bar for admitting Asians far above that for Hispanics and even farther above that for admitting blacks.

 

“Diversity” came to be so closely associated with race in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Bakke decision in 1978. In his decisive opinion, Justice Lewis Powell rejected arguments for racial preferences based on generalized “societal discrimination,” social justice, or the contemporary needs of American society as insufficiently weighty to overrule the color-blind imperative of the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause. That imperative, however, could be overruled, Powell said, by a university’s legitimate concern for the educational benefits of a demographically diverse student body.

Virtually all competitive colleges after Bakke continued with their racial preference policies (“affirmative action”), though after Powell’s decision they had to cloak their true meaning and purpose behind a misleading or dishonest rhetoric of “diversity.” Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, a critic of racial preferences, accurately explains the situation: “The raison d’etre for race-specific affirmative action programs,” Dershowitz writes, “has simply never been diversity for the sake of education. The checkered history of ‘diversity’ demonstrates that it was designed largely as a cover to achieve other legally, morally, and politically controversial goals. In recent years, it has been invoked — especially in the professional schools — as a clever post facto justification for increasing the number of minority group students in the student body.”

While almost all college administrators and college admissions officers at the most elite institutions think in racial balancing and racial quota-like terms when they assemble their student body, they almost always deny this publically in a blizzard of rhetoric about a more far-flung “diversity.” Indeed, there is probably no other area where college administrators are more likely to lie or conceal the truth of what they are doing than in the area of admissions and race.

Most elite universities seem to have little interest in diversifying their student bodies when it comes to the numbers of born-again Christians from the Bible belt, students from Appalachia and other rural and small-town areas, people who have served in the U.S. military, those who have grown up on farms or ranches, Mormons, Pentecostals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, lower-middle-class Catholics, working class “white ethnics,” social and political conservatives, wheelchair users, married students, married students with children, or older students first starting out in college after raising children or spending several years in the workforce. Students in these categories are often very rare at the more competitive colleges, especially the Ivy League. While these kinds of people would surely add to the diverse viewpoints and life-experiences represented on college campuses, in practice “diversity” on campus is largely a code word for the presence of a substantial proportion of those in the “underrepresented” racial minority groups.

The Diversity Colleges Want

espenshade.jpgA new study by Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade and his colleague Alexandria Radford is a real eye-opener in revealing just what sorts of students highly competitive colleges want — or don’t want — on their campuses and how they structure their admissions policies to get the kind of “diversity” they seek. The Espenshade/Radford study draws from a new data set, the National Study of College Experience (NSCE), which was gathered from eight highly competitive public and private colleges and universities (entering freshmen SAT scores: 1360). Data was collected on over 245,000 applicants from three separate application years, and over 9,000 enrolled students filled out extensive questionnaires. Because of confidentiality agreements Espenshade and Radford could not name the institutions but they assure us that their statistical profile shows they fit nicely within the top 50 colleges and universities listed in the U.S. News & World Report ratings.

Consistent with other studies, though in much greater detail, Espenshade and Radford show the substantial admissions boost, particularly at the private colleges in their study, which Hispanic students get over whites, and the enormous advantage over whites given to blacks. They also show how Asians must do substantially better than whites in order to reap the same probabilities of acceptance to these same highly competitive private colleges. On an “other things equal basis,” where adjustments are made for a variety of background factors, being Hispanic conferred an admissions boost over being white (for those who applied in 1997) equivalent to 130 SAT points (out of 1600), while being black rather than white conferred a 310 SAT point advantage. Asians, however, suffered an admissions penalty compared to whites equivalent to 140 SAT points.

The box students checked off on the racial question on their application was thus shown to have an extraordinary effect on a student’s chances of gaining admission to the highly competitive private schools in the NSCE database. To have the same chances of gaining admission as a black student with an SAT score of 1100, an Hispanic student otherwise equally matched in background characteristics would have to have a 1230, a white student a 1410, and an Asian student a 1550. Here the Espenshade/Radford results are consistent with other studies, including those of William Bowen and Derek Bok in their book The Shape of the River, though they go beyond this influential study in showing both the substantial Hispanic admissions advantage and the huge admissions penalty suffered by Asian applicants. Although all highly competitive colleges and universities will deny that they have racial quotas — either minimum quotas or ceiling quotas — the huge boosts they give to the lower-achieving black and Hispanic applicants, and the admissions penalties they extract from their higher-achieving Asian applicants, clearly suggest otherwise.

Espenshade and Radford also take up very thoroughly the question of “class based preferences” and what they find clearly shows a general disregard for improving the admission chances of poor and otherwise disadvantaged whites. Other studies, including a 2005 analysis of nineteen highly selective public and private universities by William Bowen, Martin Kurzweil, and Eugene Tobin, in their 2003 book, Equity and Excellence in American Higher Education, found very little if any advantage in the admissions process accorded to whites from economically or educationally disadvantaged families compared to whites from wealthier or better educated homes. Espenshade and Radford cite this study and summarize it as follows: “These researchers find that, for non-minority [i.e., white] applicants with the same SAT scores, there is no perceptible difference in admission chances between applicants from families in the bottom income quartile, applicants who would be the first in their families to attend college, and all other (non-minority) applicants from families at higher levels of socioeconomic status. When controls are added for other student and institutional characteristics, these authors find that “on an other-things-equal basis, [white] applicants from low-SES backgrounds, whether defined by family income or parental education, get essentially no break in the admissions process; they fare neither better nor worse than other [white] applicants.”

Distressing as many might consider this to be — since the same institutions that give no special consideration to poor white applicants boast about their commitment to “diversity” and give enormous admissions breaks to blacks, even to those from relatively affluent homes — Espenshade and Radford in their survey found the actual situation to be much more troubling. At the private institutions in their study whites from lower-class backgrounds incurred a huge admissions disadvantage not only in comparison to lower-class minority students, but compared to whites from middle-class and upper-middle-class backgrounds as well. The lower-class whites proved to be all-around losers. When equally matched for background factors (including SAT scores and high school GPAs), the better-off whites were more than three times as likely to be accepted as the poorest whites (.28 vs. .08 admissions probability). Having money in the family greatly improved a white applicant’s admissions chances, lack of money greatly reduced it. The opposite class trend was seen among non-whites, where the poorer the applicant the greater the probability of acceptance when all other factors are taken into account. Class-based affirmative action does exist within the three non-white ethno-racial groupings, but among the whites the groups advanced are those with money.

When lower-class whites are matched with lower-class blacks and other non-whites the degree of the non-white advantage becomes astronomical: lower-class Asian applicants are seven times as likely to be accepted to the competitive private institutions as similarly qualified whites, lower-class Hispanic applicants eight times as likely, and lower-class blacks ten times as likely. These are enormous differences and reflect the fact that lower-class whites were rarely accepted to the private institutions Espenshade and Radford surveyed. Their diversity-enhancement value was obviously rated very low.

Poor Non-White Students: “Counting Twice”

The enormous disadvantage incurred by lower-class whites in comparison to non-whites and wealthier whites is partially explained by Espenshade and Radford as a result of the fact that, except for the very wealthiest institutions like Harvard and Princeton, private colleges and universities are reluctant to admit students who cannot afford their high tuitions. And since they have a limited amount of money to give out for scholarship aid, they reserve this money to lure those who can be counted in their enrollment statistics as diversity-enhancing “racial minorities.” Poor whites are apparently given little weight as enhancers of campus diversity, while poor non-whites count twice in the diversity tally, once as racial minorities and a second time as socio-economically deprived. Private institutions, Espenshade and Radford suggest, “intentionally save their scarce financial aid dollars for students who will help them look good on their numbers of minority students.” Quoting a study by NYU researcher Mitchell Stevens, they write: “ultimate evaluative preference for members of disadvantaged groups was reserved for applicants who could be counted in the college’s multicultural statistics. This caused some admissions officers no small amount of ethical dismay.”

There are problems, however, with this explanation. While it explains why scarce financial aid dollars might be reserved for minority “twofers,” it cannot explain why well-qualified lower-class whites are not at least offered admission without financial aid. The mere offer of admission is costless, and at least a few among the poor whites accepted would probably be able to come up with outside scholarship aid. But even if they couldn’t, knowing they did well enough in their high school studies to get accepted to a competitive private college would surely sit well with most of them even if they couldn’t afford the high tuition. Espenshade and Radford do not address this conundrum but the answer is easy to discern. The ugly truth is that most colleges, especially the more competitive private ones, are fiercely concerned with their ratings by rating organizations like U.S. News & World Report. And an important part of those ratings consist of a numerical acceptance rate (the ratio of applicants received to those accepted) and a yield score (the ratio of those accepted to those who enroll). The lower the acceptance rate and the higher the yield score the more favorably colleges are looked upon. In extending admissions to well-qualified but financially strapped whites who are unlikely to enroll, a college would be driving both its acceptance rate and its yield score in the wrong direction. Academic bureaucrats rarely act against either their own or their organization’s best interests (as they perceive them), and while their treatment of lower-class whites may for some be a source of “no small amount of ethical dismay,” that’s just how it goes. Some of the private colleges Espenshade and Radford describe would do well to come clean with their act and admit the truth: “Poor Whites Need Not Apply!”

Besides the bias against lower-class whites, the private colleges in the Espenshade/Radford study seem to display what might be called an urban/Blue State bias against rural and Red State occupations and values. This is most clearly shown in a little remarked statistic in the study’s treatment of the admissions advantage of participation in various high school extra-curricular activities. In the competitive private schools surveyed participation in many types of extra-curricular activities — including community service activities, performing arts activities, and “cultural diversity” activities — conferred a substantial improvement in an applicant’s chances of admission. The admissions advantage was usually greatest for those who held leadership positions or who received awards or honors associated with their activities. No surprise here — every student applying to competitive colleges knows about the importance of extracurriculars.

But what Espenshade and Radford found in regard to what they call “career-oriented activities” was truly shocking even to this hardened veteran of the campus ideological and cultural wars. Participation in such Red State activities as high school ROTC, 4-H clubs, or the Future Farmers of America was found to reduce very substantially a student’s chances of gaining admission to the competitive private colleges in the NSCE database on an all-other-things-considered basis. The admissions disadvantage was greatest for those in leadership positions in these activities or those winning honors and awards. “Being an officer or winning awards” for such career-oriented activities as junior ROTC, 4-H, or Future Farmers of America, say Espenshade and Radford, “has a significantly negative association with admission outcomes at highly selective institutions.” Excelling in these activities “is associated with 60 or 65 percent lower odds of admission.”

Espenshade and Radford don’t have much of an explanation for this find, which seems to place the private colleges even more at variance with their stated commitment to broadly based campus diversity. In his Bakke ruling Lewis Powell was impressed by the argument Harvard College offered defending the educational value of a demographically diverse student body: “A farm boy from Idaho can bring something to Harvard College that a Bostonian cannot offer. Similarly, a black student can usually bring something that a white person cannot offer.” The Espenshade/Radford study suggests that those farm boys from Idaho would do well to stay out of their local 4-H clubs or FFA organizations — or if they do join, they had better not list their membership on their college application forms. This is especially true if they were officers in any of these organizations. Future farmers of America don’t seem to count in the diversity-enhancement game played out at some of our more competitive private colleges, and are not only not recruited, but seem to be actually shunned. It is hard to explain this development other than as a case of ideological and cultural bias.

This same kind of bias seems to lurk behind the negative association found between acceptance odds and holding leadership positions in high school ROTC. This is most troubling because a divorce between the campus culture of its universities and its military is poisonous for any society, and doesn’t do the military or the civilian society any good. The lack of comfort with many military commanders that our current president is said to have seems to be due not only to his own lack of military experience but to the fact of having spent so many of his formative years on university campuses like Harvard, Columbia, and the University of Chicago, where people with military experience are largely absent and the campus culture is often hostile to military values and military personnel.

In an attempt to find out what kind of diversity exists — or doesn’t exist — on the Princeton University campus, I once asked students in a ten-member discussion group to raise their hands if they knew one or more Princeton undergraduates who had served a year or more on active military duty (in the late 1940s or early 1950s, of course, undergraduates at Princeton would have encountered legions of such people coming back from WWII and the Korean War). I made it plain that I wasn’t asking if the students had a close friend or roommate who was a veteran, just a single person with military experience that they had at sometime encountered during their Princeton undergraduate careers. Only one student — a female — raised her hand: this student once met someone who had served in the Israeli military. On a second occasion I asked this question to a larger group and again only one hand went up — this student once met a Princeton undergraduate who had served in the Turkish military.

Many universities, including Princeton, are interested in enrolling foreign students, along with students from disparate regions of the U.S. But the more competitive private universities seem to have little interest in diversifying their student bodies when it comes to people who have served in the American military or people who intend to make a career out of military service. Even if they don’t shun such people, or hold their military service or aspirations against them, they clearly don’t seek them out or court them the way they do “underrepresented” racial minorities. And while many universities host college-level ROTC programs (often for financial reasons), the military/civilian relationship on campus is usually far from amicable.

Military veterans and aspiring military officers, like poor whites and future American farmers, are clearly not what most competitive private colleges have in mind when they speak of the need for “diversity”. If nothing else the new Espenshade/Radford study helps to document what knowledgeable observers have long known: “diversity” at competitive colleges today involves a politically engineered stew of different groups. drawn from the ingredients selected by reigning campus ideology. Since that ideology is mainly dictated by the Left, it is no surprise that the diversity achieved is what the larger American landscape looks like when it is viewed through a leftist lens. I suggest a different approach: elite colleges should get out of the diversity business altogether and focus on enrolling students who are the most academically talented and the most eager to learn. These students should make up the bulk of their entering classes. Call it the Cal Tech Model since the California Institute of Technology seems to be the only elite institution that comes close to realizing such an ideal. Or call it the U.S. Olympic Team Model, or the Major League All-Stars Model, since it is based on the same strict merit-selection principle governing our Olympic sports teams and our major league baseball all-star teams. Let the diversity chips fall where they may and focus on recruiting the most intelligent, most creative, and most energetiic of the rising generation of young people. In my naive way this is what I always thought elite universities were supposed to be about.

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High-achieving Asian-American students are being shut out of top schools around the country. Is this what diversity looks like now?

No Longer Separate No Longer Equal Asian American Discrimination Applying to College JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club I am posting a series of articles on the issue of Asian Americans who apply to elite private colleges because it seems that there is a “ceiling” on Asian Americans.

This article references Professor Mitchell Chang whose op-ed article I posted last week. It’s here.

There is argument that Asian Americans are over-represented because with a population of 5.6%, we make up around 17% of Ivy League colleges. I’m not so sure this is something to accept quietly. What about you? What do you think?

All my posts on this issue are here in a category off the navigation bar called Don’t ID as Asian When Applying to College.

I will be posting an article that I’ve found on this topic once a week for the next several months. For anyone who feels that this is an incorrect assessment of what is happening with regard to Asian Americans who apply to elite colleges, I welcome your comments and links to relevant research or articles. I am happy to post rebuttals.

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4/17/11 Boston Globe MagazineCompetitive disadvantage.  College Confidential.High-achieving Asian-American students are being shut out of top schools around the country. Is this what diversity looks like now?”

by Jon Marcus

Grace Wong has felt the sting of intolerance quite literally, in the rocks thrown at her in Australia, where she pursued a PhD after leaving her native China. In the Boston area, where she’s lived since 1996, she recalls a fellow customer at the deli counter in a Chestnut Hill supermarket telling her to go back to her own country. When Wong’s younger son was born, she took a drastic measure to help protect him, at least on paper, from discrimination: She changed his last name to one that doesn’t sound Asian.

“It’s a difficult time to be Chinese,” says Wong, a scientist who develops medical therapies. “There’s a lot of jealousy out there, because the Chinese do very well. And some people see that as a threat.”

Wong had these worries in mind last month as she waited to hear whether her older son, a good student in his senior year at a top suburban high school, would be accepted to the 11 colleges he had applied to, which she had listed neatly on a color-coded spreadsheet.

The odds, strangely, were stacked against him. After all the attention given to the stereotype that Asian-American parents put enormous pressure on their children to succeed – provoked over the winter by Amy Chua’s controversial Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother – came the indisputable reality this spring that, even if Asian-American students work hard, the doors of top schools were still being slammed shut in many faces.

And parents aren’t happy about it. “The entry barriers are higher for us than for everybody else,” says Chi Chi Wu, one of the organizers of the Brookline Asian American Family Network. “There’s a form of redlining or holding Asian-American students to higher standards than any other group.”

Although Asian-Americans represent less than 5 percent of the US population (and slightly more than 5 percent in Massachusetts), they make up as much as 20 percent of students at many highly selective private research universities – the kind of schools that make it into top 50 national rankings. But, critics charge, Asian-American students would constitute an even larger share if many weren’t being filtered out during the admissions process. Since the University of California system moved to a race-blind system 14 years ago, the percentage of Asian-American students in some competitive schools there has reached 40, even 50 percent. On these campuses, the so-called “model minority” is becoming the majority.

High-achieving Asian-Americans may be running into obstacles precisely because they work so hard. Mitchell Chang, an Asian-American studies professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, suggests that the attention given Chua’s book will only make things worse. “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,” Chang wrote in a January Op-Ed in The Sacramento Bee.

Even though the Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that universities can continue to consider race in admissions in the interest of diversity, admissions officers deny they’re screening out Asian-Americans. However, in researching their 2009 book No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal, Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade and researcher Alexandria Walton Radford examined data on students applying to college in 1997 and found what looks like different standards for different racial groups. They calculated that Asian-Americans needed nearly perfect SAT scores of 1550 to have the same chance of being accepted at a top private university as whites who scored 1410 and African-Americans who got 1100. Whites were three times, Hispanics six times, and blacks more than 15 times as likely to be accepted at a US university as Asian-Americans.

What about the argument that, in relation to the general population, Asian-Americans are already overrepresented at universities? “It’s both true that Asians are overrepresented and that they’re being discriminated against,” says Stephen Hsu, a professor of physics at the University of Oregon who speaks out against discrimination he says Asian-Americans face in university admissions. Both things can happen at the same time, he says.

Hsu and others allege that universities are more concerned about boosting black and Hispanic enrollment than admitting qualified Asian-Americans, and that old-fashioned xenophobia comes into play as well.

“My personal perspective is that if institutions are using race to keep Asian-American students out, it’s based on a fear [among non-minorities] that these ‘other’ students are taking over our institutions or taking ‘our spots’ at the best institutions,” says Sam Museus, a professor in the Asian-American studies program at the University of Massachusetts at Boston.

At Harvard, the overall acceptance rate for the incoming class of 2015 was 6.2 percent, a record low. William Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid, says that among different racial groups, there are “not radical differences” in the proportions of students who got in.

“We’re looking for excellence, first and foremost. And there’s excellence in every community in America and certainly lots of excellence within each one of the minority communities,” Fitzsimmons says. “We would not be doing our jobs if we were not looking for the best applicants from a wide variety of backgrounds.”

Asian-Americans represent 17.8 percent, or 383, of the students admitted to Harvard last month, which is up from 14.1 percent a decade ago. During the last five years, however, the proportion there and at other Ivies has remained relatively flat or increased only slightly, even after an Asian-American student at Yale filed a federal complaint in 2006 against Princeton, where he applied but was not accepted, alleging it discriminated against him because of his race. Despite perfect SAT scores and nine Advanced Placement courses, the student said he was also rejected by Harvard, Stanford, the University of Pennsylvania, and MIT. (That complaint has not been resolved, a US Department of Education spokesman says.)

By contrast, at California’s competitive – and race-blind – state schools, Asian-Americans are much better represented: 52 percent of the student population at the University of California at Irvine, 40 percent at Berkeley, and 37 percent at UCLA. (The ban on admissions committees considering race was upheld by a federal judge in December.)

The difference suggests that, where considering race is allowed, elite universities may be handicapping Asian-American applicants. “They just all sort of magically end up with under 20 percent Asian students,” Hsu says. One Princeton lecturer has asked if that number represents the “Asian ceiling.”

This issue has gotten some recent attention in the United States, but much more across the border in Canada, where it stirred a national controversy in the fall when students in a Maclean’s article asked whether Canadian universities were becoming, as the headline put it, “Too Asian?” With spiraling Asian enrollments, the magazine reported, Canadian universities were becoming “so academically focused that some [non-Asian] students feel they can no longer compete or have fun.” Some white students told Maclean’s they wouldn’t choose the University of Toronto because it has so many Asians. “You can’t really overestimate the power of stereotypes,” Museus says. (A university spokeswoman reports it hasn’t seen a backlash.)

In the end, Wong’s son got into most of the colleges he applied to, including Boston University, UMass-Amherst, Ithaca College, and Drexel University. But other Asian-American high school seniors in this singularly competitive corner of the country – not only the children of middle- and upper-income parents in Brookline and other expensive suburbs, but also sons and daughters of low-income families such as Southeast Asian refugees in cities including Lowell – have had a traumatic spring.

“These kids are getting pretty immense pressure from their families, because there is some truth to the idea that Asian families value education highly as a way of progress and success,” says Museus. “Then they’re getting pressure from this competitive environment that exists around Boston. On top of that, they’re getting pressure from this stereotype, which sets up the expectation that they always have to be the best. The pressure does facilitate success, up to a certain point. But it also gets to a point where it makes them feel that they can’t do anything right.”

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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.

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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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