Don’t Check Asian

Thank you, Dali, for sending this article: Some Asians’ College Strategy: Don’t Check Asian. The article interviews some hapa Asian women with White last names (because their fathers are White) who decided to better their chances of getting into good colleges by checking the White box or not checking a race at all on the application. We’ve seen people who are full Asian actually change their last names to get around admission policy racism, but it’s probably a LOT easier to just be born with a White last name. What this also means is that if you’re an Asian American female who wants to do what’s best for your kids, it might make sense to just join the Club.

Overall, I think this is a good strategy for them. You gotta do what you gotta do. It’s just sad that this kind of racism is still legal in America.

 

108 thoughts on “Don’t Check Asian

  1. Yes, it is racist that Asians & Whites are victimized while lower-scoring Blacks and Hispanics get to increase their odds of admittance because of their race. But we must all bow to the diversity.

  2. At the risk of TMI, Hubby and I had a somewhat related discussion just yesterday night. And I don’t think I really understand how someone like him could hold such a position.

    He said if he had a daughter, he’d want her to marry white. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. After all we’ve chatted and ranted about over the years of activism, and dating, and marriage, and everything he and I have been through together, he could readily say something like that, with a totally straight face?

    He said she’d have a better life that way. I reminded him that I married Asian, and was doing just fine, thank you very much. Then you know what he said? He said, without missing a beat, “Yeah, but you could have done much better. And not only you, but your kids also, would in turn have a much brighter future, a much easier life.”

    Basically, he’s a member of the AFCC or Club or whatever you’ve been calling it. Isn’t that… nuts?

    This is the same guy who, over the last decade I’ve known him, has a razor-sharp radar for IR couples when we’re out. He can pick out the AF-WM pairing in any crowd, once upon a time to my great irritation. “Can’t we just enjoy a meal without…” This is the same guy with epic levels of nationalism for China and being Chinese, a guy whose always shown intense antagonism for Chinese women who marry white for status reasons. And now he wanted a daughter to do the same? Not only was he condoning it in this future, unborn daughter, but was highly encouraging it.

    The conversation ended with Hubby defending his statements. “My first loyalty is to my family, my wife and future kids. And marrying white will give my future kids a leg up in society.”

    Still couldn’t believe what I was hearing. So I said back, “My first loyalty is to my family, too, my husband and future kids. And I still think marrying someone with an acute sensitive and personal understanding of our community and culture will yield greater marital happiness.”

    Then he looked at me. “Are we arguing success versus happiness here?”

    What the heck gives?

  3. Oh, and on a much lighter note, I’m hosting a giveaway on the tz blog: http://tinyurl.com/7pxd34s. Anyone fitting those guidelines can qualify! =) I encourage the guys here with female significant others or lady friends to enter and you can give away both purse hooks to them.

  4. In theory wouldn’t it be best for these Asian women to marry black men so that their kids would have an even greater advantage in university entry?

  5. @tz

    That is pretty nuts.
    Nothing dramatically happened to your hubby recently?

    I like the article though, good insight.
    Of course, rather than attack the discriminary system, use it as an advantage that will placed them higher than applicants who are not ashamed to identified themselves as ethnically Asian.

  6. @N: I don’t think so, but I guess I can’t be sure. His remarks yesterday really took me by surprise and makes me wonder if something deeper is going on. =/

  7. GHX:

    In theory, yes. But Asian women who don’t want to piss of their parents don’t date brothas.

  8. I wonder how far someone can stretch the race checking thing without committing fraud. For example, someone can be “Hispanic” by culture since it is not an ethnic or racial category. Just about anything can therefore claim that they are Hispanic. Perhaps everyone can claim African-American, saying they come from Africa as they believe in the out of Africa theory.

    I also wonder what if someone where to join a lot of Black school-based racial advocacy groups, put those groups on their resume, & left the race question blank.

    A possible defense (if questions were to arise)would simply be “self-identification.” The form asks for the person to self-identify.

  9. tz:

    That’s incredible!

    I know the Chinese are practical-minded. I’m practical-minded. College admissions are racist, so I have no issue with a person subverting the system by checking “White” when they’re Asian. Yes, it’s lying, but if they weren’t so racist, these victims, I mean, students, wouldn’t have to lie.

    But to desire that your daughter marry White because of White privilege?

    To me, that’s way too much.

    And on the question of happiness vs. success: I don’t know if it’s possible to be successful if you’re choosing a spouse because you’re accepting the values of the system.

  10. And I hate to say what I’m about to say… but this is another good reason for the folks who just “have” to talk about “IR disparity” on dates and whatever, to check themselves.

    Much of this talking is just a sign of impotence and powerlessness, and those things lead to mental defeat.

  11. Yeah exactly, it sounds like the kind of behavior Linda was talking about… makes ’em think we’re all whiners. Kudos to you, tz, for being tolerant, but yes, do let him know that it bothers you, and it’s exactly that kind of behavior that continues to perpetuate us looking bad. It does sound like he really gave up—rather than fighting for our own empowerment, simply saying, “You know what, be as white as possible and you’ll have a great life!” And, you know, even if you “could have done better”, so what? Everybody can do better at anything, and nobody is perfect, but if you’ve found good and are doing well, what’s so wrong about that?

  12. Just to play devil’s advocate here, anyone aware of the studies that show without racial preference in college admissions there would be almost no Blacks in many ivy league law schools? I have only seen the studies on law schools but the same would likely apply for other schools, as long as they are very elite.

  13. If Tz’s husband could say this for his unborn daughters, could you even imagine what he’d tell his sons?

    What use is a life without hardship, where everything is provided for and given, made easy? Could such an existence truly create “success”?

    Where is the glory? Where is there built true power? Hardships and privation are an honor and privilege to overcome and triumph over.

  14. so this is why I didn’t get into Stanford?!! damn it, I checked the Asian box when I applied many years ago. I thought being Asian would give me a leg up in admissions since I would add to their “diversity.” I could have gotten away w/ checking white or nothing at all – my legal name happens to by atypical for Asian, so they may have assumed I was german or something. oh, the regrets….. lol.

    yeah, why do AM’s (in the US) automatically think white is easier and better….they’re just making it harder for themselves in life and everywhere else. I personally would want my future daughter to marry an AM or some other minority. I think minorities have a better awareness of things.

  15. They’re doing the right thing and helping other Asians in the process. If they are mixed and look white, they can put “white” and that will leave more room for Asians. There is no reason for a mixed Asian to put “Asian” down as they are not fully Asian and the limits apply to FULL Asians anyways. I think the best choice would be to put ‘decline to state’ or ‘mixed’ because that will give them a chance to be judged fully on their merits. How does the college know that they aren’t mixed with black or hispanic? There is a quota, but not a ceiling for those minorities. Colleges shouldn’t ask about race as far as I’m concerned. And if they get pressed for putting down ‘white’, they can always say that they look white, so it made sense to put that down. Why should the one drop rule work to always make a half-white person a minority? After all, if you look white, people are going to treat you that way even if you are half Asian. You’re not going to face the same social conditions as Asian people. That’s what these discrimination policies are meant to address discrimination based on APPEARANCE. There is discrimination towards those that “pass” once discovered, but most racial discrimination is based on appearance.

  16. Fun,

    “tz, is your husband aware of the privileged financial status of many Asian people?”

    It’s obvious that TZ’s husband isn’t aspiring to marry their daughter off to a guy who makes only $80k a year and that he doesn’t consider 80k to be the mark of “privileged financial status.” His wife is a high powered attorney in California, so it’s clear that his sights are set higher than that. He has probably moved beyond that himself. It’s so obvious that he’s not aspiring for the low end, so the fact that you’re bringing up, shows that you set your aspirations low. It also detracts from the quality of the conversation here.

    I don’t know if there is a good way to say this, and I feel a little strange bringing it up…but would it be possible to turn up the quality dial on your comments?

    Thanks.

  17. “It’s obvious that TZ’s husband isn’t aspiring to marry their daughter off to a guy who makes only $80k a year and that he doesn’t consider 80k to be the mark of “privileged financial status.”

    $80k individual income (in California) is decidedly middle class. But besides that, what the chart says is that there is a higher ratio of Asians who make around $80k. It is not saying that there are more Asians who make 80k. In fact there are many times more Whites bachelors in that income bracket than there are Asians, due to the disparity between population sizes in the US.

  18. tz,

    I find it strange your husband would say that even though my own father thought the same. Personally, I’d feel as if I let my daughter down if she married out.

  19. I don’t think that it matters what race you check in the college applicaition. The college adminssion can almost always figure out your race because the application asks where your parents were born. If both of your parents were born in Asia, what’s chance you are a black, spanish or white? At this point, most of the parents of the asian american college age kids are immigrants.

    Also, bigWOWO, would you please start a discussion about this:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/31/nyregion/after-soldiers-death-a-chinatown-family-seeks-answers.html?pagewanted=all

    While everybody is talking about Amy Chua, nobody cares about Danny Chen’s mom. As a Chinese American, I am so sad about this.

  20. First, to clear the seemingly self-deprecating statement “you could do better,” he merely meant income wise. Income wise he thinks I could have met a guy who makes more than he does, and the mere point of raising that was to parallel it with his hopes that his daughter meets a guy who makes more money than he does.

    (Again, with the Chinese, why is it always money, money, money?)

    It’s a culmination of all his personal experiences to date, I think, that leads him to say what he said. His experiences with the glass ceiling (bamboo ceiling?) in corporate has probably helped him to that conclusion. Also, our circle of friends and family members validate his perspective. From what I can gather, his parents never sincerely taught him he can be anything he wants to be so long as he works hard. I get the sense his parents’ attitude is “some people are just born lucky, and some are not.” In contrast, my parents have always taught me I already have everything it takes to get wherever I want, I just need to exercise the potential. So there’s a different upbringing there as well. I suspect that upbringing makes a difference, too.

    And BWW’s right: Hubby isn’t interested in his future daughter meeting a guy who makes $80K. He’s interested in getting his daughter into that 1%.

    Over the years, Hubby’s just gotten practical. He’s not young anymore. He’s pushing 35 and at that age, most people lose that activist spirit. Even so, I disagree with him. And it’s not that I’m against interracial relationships, I’m not. I’m against anyone settling on the notion that certain races = privilege and shaping their major life decisions around that notion. My fear is if this notion is engrained in Hubby, he will undoubtedly pass that notion on to our kids. (More reason not to have kids?)

    I hope we can reach a point where all APAs will teach their children liberty + your own intelligence = the only privilege you need to succeed in this world.

  21. “The college adminssion can almost always figure out your race because the application asks where your parents were born. If both of your parents were born in Asia, what’s chance you are a black, spanish or white? At this point, most of the parents of the asian american college age kids are immigrants.”

    When did this happen? That should be illegal as national origin is not used for affirmative action nor can it be used as a basis for admission. Race, on the other hand, is used, although I think that should be illegal. Something should be done about that as that is discriminatory and should be contested. Ever since California passed the proposition that made affirmative action in college admissions illegal, the schools have been trying to look for ways to get around that and still practice affirmative action by using essays asking applicants for their “stories of hardship”, etc.

  22. “It’s obvious that TZ’s husband isn’t aspiring to marry their daughter off to a guy who makes only $80k a year and that he doesn’t consider 80k to be the mark of ‘privileged financial status.'”

    and, “It’s so obvious that he’s not aspiring for the low end, so the fact that you’re bringing up, shows that you set your aspirations low.”

    I had no idea about the high powered lawyer part; that’s great. In any case, you come across as being smug, smarmy, condescending, and frankly quite elitist when you suggest I have low aspirations when I suggest that the top 10% is in fact financially successful. News flash: by definition being in the top 10% in terms of income is in fact successful, at least according to most Americans (the 25-75% bracket could be considered average or middle-class).

    bigWOWO, try treating your commentators with a little more respect. Not everyone considers $80k a year a marker of low aspirations.

    Real talk.

  23. Just to add to what I said, I suppose I would have low aspirations if I decided to become, say, a teacher, firefighter, or worker at a non-profit. To heck with personal happiness. I think you may find this story interesting:

    The businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The businessman complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied only a little while.

    The businessman then asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The businessman then asked, but what do you do with the rest of your time? The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos; I have a full and busy life, señor.”

    The businessman scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and I could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats; eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you would sell directly to the processor and eventually open your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City where you would run your expanding enterprise.”

    The Mexican fisherman asked, “But señor, how long will this all take?” To which the businessman replied, “15-20 years.” “But what then, señor?” The businessman laughed and said, “That’s the best part! When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.” “Millions, señor? Then what?” The businessman said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

    The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, “Isn’t that what I’m doing right now?”

  24. @ Fung: Great parable about the fisherman and the businessman. Hubby himself very much holds the same attitude as the fisherman. He’s always been like that. Work a little to gain enough, and then enjoy the rest of his time. However, ask that same fisherman who he’d prefer to marry his daughter off to: a guy just like himself with the same limit of aspirations, or a guy like the businessman? And I bet that same fisherman would prefer to marry his daughter off to the businessman.

    Hubby’s attitude is just that: for himself, one simple way is enough. But for his daughter, he wants better. Where this goes sad is what so many of us APAs still consider to equal “better.”

    How all this relates to the post: Hubby believes checking the “white” box will give his kid a better chance at getting into the school of choice than checking the “Asian” box, and how can you truthfully check the “white” box? Well. This whole article is sad for what it says about society’s status quo.

    I don’t believe in playing “by the rules” to win. Life is NOT a board game. And to the best extent that I can, that’s exactly what I’ll teach my children. Be proud, borderline arrogant about who you are and where you come from. Challenge rules and the status quo to put yourself in a place of success.

  25. @Tz

    Fully agree with the last paragrah. Instead of challenging why ‘checking white’ would be given advantages to ones ‘checking Asian’, People are even supportive of what they chose to do?

    It’s about time that the this whole adminstration officer/process BS is taken out. 10% of spaces reserved for the under-privileged, the 90% do a common exam and all you see is a number until the admission letter is sent out and printed. The exam papers are published online and a secondary process that allows some to challenge the results. Then you actually get a ‘fair’ and transparent process and not the ‘Oh, I didn’t like the body language he let off in the interview process, it didn’t show he’s capabale of being confident’.

    That way you actually get a transparent

    I personally think that admission officers should be wiped off the face of the planet (there’s no need for them) and some should even face charges for blatant discrimination.

  26. The problem is that when you “play by the rules” the rules will never change. If you keep on kissing up to the big White booty—just for a chance to share in the great White success story—it will only insure that you will end up a perpetual slave to second-class perceptions. The more that minorities scramble to become as close to White as possible, the more “Whiteness inflation” there will be, and the bubble of White superiority will never truly burst.

    Sometimes you have to take the long view, or else you can look forward to how ashamed your grandchildren will be that they are tainted with Chinese blood. Your great Grandchildren will hide the photos of their Asian progenitors, and your great, great, grandchildren will be the white guys making fun of Asians in school. Is that success? To become what you despise?

  27. Fun,

    Nice parable, but it’s got nothing to do with this conversation.

    $80k, as King mentioned, is middle class within that area. In the big cities of California, I can assure you it is NOT top 10%. Nor is it a privileged salary in those areas. I’m sure it’s a kingly salary in some places, but in no way would anyone marry another person based on race for just 80k.

    “Just to add to what I said, I suppose I would have low aspirations if I decided to become, say, a teacher, firefighter, or worker at a non-profit.”

    Nope.

    But if you think that $80k, regardless of what you do, will give you “privileged financial status,” you’re either shooting low, or you have no idea what you’re talking about. Given the smack that you’ve thrown at black people’s intelligence with your HBD theories, I thought I’d help you save face by assuming low aspirations.

  28. N:

    Agreed.

    King:

    Agreed. That’s why I think people should be making a big noise over this. It’s ridiculous how these subtle obstacles force us into Whiteness, but no one is saying nearly close to what needs to be said, namely, “I’m not White!”

    TZ:

    How all this relates to the post: Hubby believes checking the “white” box will give his kid a better chance at getting into the school of choice than checking the “Asian” box, and how can you truthfully check the “white” box?

    Well here’s an interesting ethical dilemma. Suppose I check “White.” I’m technically lying, and they can throw my application out for that. But the ethical problem is that the racist system subtly pushes me to lie, and if I weren’t Asian, I wouldn’t get any benefit from lying.

    As for me, I agree with you 100%. No need to play by the rules if the rules are racist. Instead, challenge them. Kinda like those guys on death row–don’t go willingly.

  29. Diane,

    Aight, I wrote one up for Danny Chen. It’ll go up sometime in the next day or two. I’ve got a bit of a backlog. This topic of people fudging their race is important, so I’m thinking of keeping it in top position at least until part-way into tomorrow. When the Chen article goes up, please comment. I haven’t followed it enough, but if you can lead a convo, would be much appreciated.

    As for having to disclose your parents’ birth, I don’t remember ever having to do that. The only time (I believe) you have to release info about your parents is when you’re applying for financial aid. And I agree with Stele–it’s discriminatory if they require it otherwise.

  30. I’m all for challenging the system, but on an individual level, I see nothing wrong with the mixed person being selective about which ethnicity they pick. Sure, being able to choose your ethnicity is something of a luxury, but you play the cards you are dealt in life. It can be noble to potentially sabotage one’s own interests for some higher notion of Asian identity, but not everyone feels they can afford to miss out on an opportunity because of a vague activist notion.

    If I say I’m white, that is no more or less truthful than saying I’m Asian. Some mixed people identify more with one side than another, and that has a lot to do with their upbringing and influences. I don’t think it’s anyone else’s place to say that a mixed person should identify as Asian if they don’t feel that really represents who they are.

  31. @bww – I think Fun thinks $80K will buy him a nice big tent at Zucotti Park and he’ll be set for the rest of his life since it’ll be rent free and utilities-bill free. Oh, and he’ll probably won’t be paying taxes, so it’s really $80K (not the $40K you really get after you pay your “fair share” of taxes). Besides, firefighters make more than that, especially when you take into account their overtime and their pensions. But I think i’m digressing from the original post. =)

  32. Questions for BigWowo.

    Do you believe that there should be an optimal racial diversity mix (say, in proportion to the population at large) at elite universities or do you think that optimal racial diversity is simply whatever racial mix is produced by an admissions process based primarily on academic merit? Just curious. I know you banned me from the conversation but I am interested in this conversation on purely academic grounds and will refrain from making inflammatory statements.

    As you know, the short term result of ending affirmative action at elite universities would be a substantial increase in the number of Asians combined with a substantial decrease in the number of non-Asian minorities with relatively little impact on the status of whites. This is unless a magical event happens where the elimination of affirmative action suddenly causes non-Asian minorities to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and make unprecedented gains on standardized tests since their low test scores were obviously caused by the soft bigotry of low expectations. You know as well as I do that this an unlikely scenario.

    Are you be OK with the idea that the majority of elite American universities (that are considered desirable by Asians, excluding places like Vanderbilt, Notre Dame, etc) will, for the short-term (20-30 years?) have demographics similar to UCLA/Berkeley?

    I am also in favor of eliminating preferences for athletes and making them meet the same academic standards as non-athletes for admission, but this would skew things even more Asian. Of course this would never happen given the irrational love of the ponzi scheme that is college football that we have in this country.

    To obtain racial parity at elite universities under a policy of non-discrimination (no affirmative action), all other racial groups (including whites) would have to raise their intelligence levels to that of Asians and concurrently raise their academic work-levels to that of Asians or Asians would have to become dumber and stop working so hard. Whether or not you believe in human neurological uniformity is irrelevant–let’s just say it is hypothetically possible to attain equality–but by whatever process (genetic engineering, eugenics, more education, funding, what have you) we choose it is not going to have an immediate effect and will take some time, perhaps a very long time. Do you believe in the ideal of racial parity ate elite universities or is it simply a non-issue for you?

    Let us not discount the fact that racial parity at elite universities would also mean a lot less Asians (we are over-represented by factors of 4-6 at elite universities now even with de facto discrimination). Is Cornell being 5% Asian, 13% black, 13% Hispanic, and 63% white something you would like to see? Or 40% Asian, 40% white, 5% black and 5% Hispanic? Or 50% Asian, 20% black, 20% Hispanic, and 10% white? (not all numbers add to 100% but you get the idea).

  33. @es

    Why don’t they check both white and Asian then? That’s a much more accurate representation of who they are.
    And they are more likely they will be considered more ‘qualitied’ than a full Asian because of their name/racial make-up anyway.

    Sorry mate, you can’t have it both ways. If someone is going to use their ‘whiteness’ to gain an advantage, I certainly hope they don’t whine about not being viewed as Asian Americans.

  34. bigWOWO,

    Thanks for posting Danny Chen’s story. I’ll comment on it later.

    My daughter is a freshman in college. So she went through the college application process this time last year. As far as I remember, the applicants have to disclose their parents’ birth places on the common app. Also the applicants have to disclose the names of colleges that their parents went to if their parents are college educated. Based on these information, any college admission can reasonably conclude the race of a given applicant. I think that it is a moot point to even discuss whether or not check the race box on the application.

  35. I guess what I meant is that for most asian american college applicants, it doesn’t matter what race box s/he checks, the colleges can figure out his/her race based on his/her parents’ information(currently, there are more asian american kids who have at least one parent born outside of U.S. than not).

  36. Dali,

    Sorry, not interested in wasting my time talking with Oriental Right/Asian of Reason. If you think there’s something to be gained by me talking to this guy, state your case here:

    http://www.bigwowo.com/2011/09/the-personal-and-the-political/

    Diane,

    Is that question on the common app obligatory? It would seem to me that you should be allowed to leave it blank–much the same way you don’t have to answer the race question. Otherwise it would be discriminatory. Not just against Asians, but against foster children and adopted children. On a mortgage application, for example, we’re required to ask what an applicant’s race is, but they aren’t required to tell us, and we’re not allowed to approve or deny the loan based on whether they answer or not.

    Looking forward to your response on Danny Chen.

  37. Linda:

    “I think Fun thinks $80K will buy him a nice big tent at Zucotti Park and he’ll be set for the rest of his life since it’ll be rent free and utilities-bill free.”

    My mind must be evil. In my head I’m imagining a guy standing on an upside-down trash can, yelling, “I’m the KING OF THE WORLD!”

    And yes, firefighters do make more than that. A lot of tenured teachers do too.

  38. bigWOWO,

    I am pretty sure that the question is obligatory on the common app. However, I will confirm that with my daughter tomorrow. Honestly, I never read her application(I guess I am not a good “tiger mom” 🙂 ).

    Diane

  39. Diane,

    You’re right!

    I just looked at the common ap, and while it says that it’s optional to list your race, it does NOT say that it’s optional to list your parents’ place of birth. I’m shocked! This HAS to be illegal!

  40. @BigWowo

    Okay, if you don’t want to address to Oriental Right, then can I ask roughly the same question? I think he does poses a question worth discussion.

    Based on my thoughts of the university admissions. I do see there three aspects university consider (backed by some experience of actually working in the admission office – a paper pusher job, but I get to see some of the inner workings).

    1. They want to be meritocratic. Accept the top and best students for their schools.
    2. They want to find future rich/influential elites. Self-interested aspect that a powerful alum more prestige and wealth back them.
    3. They want to make a diverse campus. This includes a campus not too dominated by any single race, including Asians.

    Cynics tend to say only #2 matters (or I guess really cynical is they are actively trying to keep us down, but I’m not assuming that), but I think the admissions process really do think about #1 and 3… and #2 too.

    One is a self-explanatory virtue. Three is regularly seen as a virtue too as a university wants their students to engage with people from all backgrounds (though in practice this means diversity in what state one is from and ethnicity, maybe socioeconomic class but I would be pulling out of my ass on that area). Two is a bit dubious, but at least I can find it understandable.

    So where am I going in all of this. Well, I guess do you want a purely meritocratic system or do you want to keep level of balance avoiding over representation? To note, I do imagine a surge in the number of Asian students in top school with the former. However, I do see some understanding that school wants to have some balanced diversity too and making a run at 40-50% Asian at many schools is not balanced at all.

    The #2 thing plays in a bit too in the question. I do believe schools do care of finding the future elites (the next great intellectual, businessman, politician, etc). From my understanding, we have underperformed in the “real world” compared to the academic world (isn’t there an article you wrote about this Bigwowo? I remember you did one before.). I would imagine that this would does disappoint the schools, assuming they think about that, and I think they do. Perhaps part of the solution is actually we need to make some strides in entrepreneurship and politics that we lack in. Show the high marks in school actually later translates into someone that actually influence the world or accumulates some large amount of prestige and/or wealth rather than another of hard working drone.

  41. “I do believe schools do care of finding the future elites (the next great intellectual, businessman, politician, etc). From my understanding, we have underperformed in the “real world” compared to the academic world (isn’t there an article you wrote about this Bigwowo? I remember you did one before.). I would imagine that this would does disappoint the schools, assuming they think about that, and I think they do.

    LMAO

    Thanks a lot for providing these guys with another reason to maintain their racist system. That being Asian means you’re not cut out for entrepreneurship and leadership the way white people are.

    NO.

  42. Asians can be kept out of positions of leadership and influence using the same tactic too: hold them up to a higher standard than you would for white people, so that only a MINISCULE number of them reach it, and white representation in these positions isn’t suddenly threatened.

    Then you can turn around and say “oh no… Asians are just bookworms and nerds, they aren’t assertive, strong, they can’t lead, they’re not creative. They are effeminate.”

    ROFL

  43. @ N:
    You can tick both? Sorry, I’m not all that familiar with how this stuff works in the States. In my country race is mostly irrelevant for applications except if you are Aboriginal.

  44. “My mind must be evil. In my head I’m imagining a guy standing on an upside-down trash can, yelling, “I’m the KING OF THE WORLD!”

    And yes, firefighters do make more than that. A lot of tenured teachers do too.”

    In the Midwest many teachers start in the $30k range. I am referring to the top 10%. $80k may not go far in CA or NY but overall for the country it is about the top 10%. So basically it is higher than the top 10% in some areas and lower than others. But to say that being in the top 10% is a marker of low-aspirations is clearly wrong in my view.

  45. @ Linda,

    Always cast invective towards people you don’t know, personal invective? You show your true colors.

  46. ^ I think the conversation would be improved if personal insults would be curved, wouldn’t you agree? I am quite pleased that you capitulated & changed your tone. 🙂

  47. um. how is this racism. don’t throw around the word if you don’t know what it means.
    racism
    [rey-siz-uhm]   Origin
    rac·ism
       [rey-siz-uhm] Show IPA
    noun
    1.
    a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.

    so you really think college admissions thinks blacks and hispanics are SUPERIOR to whites and asians? ha! don’t make me laugh. oh wait. too late

  48. Okay. Another white boy who needs a DICTIONARY to understand what racism is.

    This news is so old, I need a time machine to read it.

  49. Majo,

    You forgot to check Merriam-Webster:
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/racism

    : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
    2
    : racial prejudice or discrimination

    You just learned what racism means. This blog has educated another person. Victory.

  50. @ Fun – seriously, lighten up… jeez, someone is sensitive about what’s in their wallet.

    “In the Midwest many teachers start in the $30k range. I am referring to the top 10%. $80k may not go far in CA or NY but overall for the country it is about the top 10%. So basically it is higher than the top 10% in some areas and lower than others. But to say that being in the top 10% is a marker of low-aspirations is clearly wrong in my view.”

    Yes, $80K is a lot in many parts of the country. But it’s also NOT a lot in MANY parts of the country (LA, SF, NYC, DC, Boston, Miami, and all these cities suburbs – which include NJ, VA, MD, CT,) and many parts of the world. (think of any major city – London, Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong……) IN my previous comment that you took so personally, I wanted to point out the fact that the more someone’s paycheck rises – the more financial responsibilities come into the picture. And to many ignorant people in America, they think that after making a set wage, one is considered “wealthy” and life is much easier. It IS all relative. But don’t take offense when one person sees $80K as chump change. No one’s saying you have low aspirations. People are just pointing out that in their world, $80K doesn’t fly. And to get 6-figure incomes, one can’t stay living in parts of the country that don’t offer it.

  51. LMAO

    Thanks a lot for providing these guys with another reason to maintain their racist system. That being Asian means you’re not cut out for entrepreneurship and leadership the way white people are.

    NO.

    Can you give a less derisive response? I proposed it honestly and civilly. I was hoping to get a better response positively or negatively. The #2 point is based on the idea that universities have a self-interested aspect. It explains why having leadership (captain of the team, president of a club, founder of an organization) positions when applying to schools carries a surprising amount of weight. The care about it because alums who graduates and go to become rich and/or influential translates to bigger donations and more top student applicants. I’m not trying to justify a system here, but point out a thing that they consider motivated by their self-interest. I don’t see why bringing that out means I deserve a response like you gave.

    Asians can be kept out of positions of leadership and influence using the same tactic too: hold them up to a higher standard than you would for white people, so that only a MINISCULE number of them reach it, and white representation in these positions isn’t suddenly threatened.

    You are aware that your argument holds weight if we are kept at a miniscule number. But if you Google “Harvard Asian Admission rate” you’ll see that percentage is 23 percent. A quick look at Wikipedia shows the range at the schools is from 10-20%. Go to the campus, you’ll see we aren’t miniscule in number there. All of that still indicates we are actually still overrepresented.

    If we are under-performing to our academic performance, it is our performance after college, not at the admissions stage as we are not kept down to a miniscule number.

    Now I hope I get a better response this time than 4 letter acronyms.

    @Bigwowo

    I guess seeing you already wrote a comment, I’m guessing that you aren’t going to address me either, are you?

  52. BW:

    Are you okay with no racial discrimination at the very elite schools? This means lots more Asians and quite a few more Whites. It also means hardly any Blacks and some Hispanics. As a liberal creationist, what is your take?

  53. Fun:

    I’m a creationist?

    I cosign on what Linda said.

    Dreamer:

    “I guess seeing you already wrote a comment, I’m guessing that you aren’t going to address me either, are you?”

    Correcto-mundo. I’m sorry you had to take all that time writing your question. I’m sure it will come up again sometime in the future. Feel free to ask again if it does.

  54. @ Dreamer

    I KNOW you made those points in good faith but even so I DID have to LOL because you seem to have missed a key point:

    The admissions requirement for Asians is discriminatory and the reasoning is OPAQUE, to the point that even the admissions officers do not want to clarify how they make their decisions.

    Now here you are offering them some nice reasons and excuses for tearoom talk?

    Come on…

  55. Also, if they REALLY WANTED future leaders and donors for the college, and all that…

    Then maybe the HIGHER SAT scores would be LESS a factor than community participation and club/sport activities, would it?

    So maybe Asians would be getting in based not on ridiculously high SAT scores but for leadership and social conscience roles?

  56. I don’t quite understand many people here. May be I’m still too naive and ignorant about this country. Besides the question raised by Oriental Right, I have several more.

    1. Is it such a big deal to get into those top brand name college? Do you guys really think that going to an elite college will help you a lot more in your career? I though that top 50 schools are good enough for any kid, HYPS won’t give you much more advantage in life than the school ranked number 50, am I wrong?

    2. I thought that only Asian immigrant parents are obsessed with the brand name college, the second generations generally hate this kind of parenting and hate this stereotype. why do you guys care so much about this too? Don’t you think that trying to subvert the system by lying, changing a kid’s last name, etc., just prove to others and our kids that many negative stereotypes about us are true? Is it worthwhile to break the rules for such trivial things? Or this is really a big interest that worth us fighting for?

    3. Is it really good for this country, and for us, if those elite colleges take more Asians at the cost of Blacks and Hispanics?

  57. @ Chinese Mom

    It’s something that should be discussed because there are some politics that goes on behind the scenes with these schools.

    Moreover, if you are American, you have a right to talk about this because these Ivy League universities present themselves as for the American people.

  58. Also at point number 3,

    It doesn’t necessarily have to be at the expense of black and hispanic students. The number of white students could be reduced…. (I LOL’ed at the butthurt such a suggestion would provoke in white folks.)

    But there are alternatives, such as a transparent admissions requirement and processes for Asian students.

  59. I’m sorry you had to take all that time writing your question. I’m sure it will come up again sometime in the future. Feel free to ask again if it does.

    So, you don’t want to answer because it will likely give AOR the pleasure of an answer. Or you just don’t want to address me? Just want to double check.

    The admissions requirement for Asians is discriminatory and the reasoning is OPAQUE, to the point that even the admissions officers do not want to clarify how they make their decisions.

    Now here you are offering them some nice reasons and excuses for tearoom talk?

    Come on…

    First, I want to recommend “The Gatekeepers” book. I read it back when I was first trying preparing to apply and it helps a lot with they way they think. Second, I’m stilling writing in good faith here. I think what I wrote based from my experience and what I read (and another guy who have experience with the admission office from a nearby rival school) is reasonable.

    Then maybe the HIGHER SAT scores would be LESS a factor than community participation and club/sport activities, would it?

    I need to make a correction to a misunderstanding here. I meant that #2 is part of what they consider, but it is still a secondary consideration. They are still a school even though many are saying they are becoming more corporate. While I can suspect alum prestige and donations plays somewhere, I don’t think it is big enough for them to raise the standards just about that.

    I think #1 and #3 are the larger plays here. Which I think is reasonable speculation. Or you saying there’s a #4 – they just don’t like us or something?

    It doesn’t necessarily have to be at the expense of black and hispanic students. The number of white students could be reduced…. (I LOL’ed at the butthurt such a suggestion would provoke in white folks.)

    Is that a serious suggestion? If it is, that means instead of advocating a pure meritocratic system, you are suggesting we keep it the way thing are, but just make White and Asian be blind.

    While it technically works for us. Ethically, that’s not right either. I don’t see why it’s funny. I don’t find replacing one type of unfairness with a new type as right.

    I think more transparency would be reasonable. Though I don’t think it makes up the sense of unfairness that one have to score higher on the SATs to have the same chance as another race. Meritocracy is the main ideal in any society. Transparently letting a lower performing guy in over your higher performance feels kinda like a weak compensation.

  60. ChineseMom,

    Sure, the education itself might be just as good, but the brand name makes a difference.

    Look at the Supreme Court. Look at the President of the United States. Or for that matter, check out the education of investment bankers and lawyers at top banks and law firms. Schools act as a kind of ticket of entry into the top clubs. This isn’t to say that a person cannot succeed without such a degree, but it’s almost required.

    I don’t necessarily think it’s about the education. It’s about the recognition and connections, which can lead to better employment prospects, depending on where your child is headed.

    Dreamer:

    “So, you don’t want to answer because it will likely give AOR the pleasure of an answer. Or you just don’t want to address me? Just want to double check.”

    I already told you that I wasn’t going to address it, even before you asked the same question…again. Fortunately for you, there are people here who will discuss it with you.

  61. @chinese mom

    Personally I hate all the ivy league worshipping that goes on. It’s overrated in terms of their academic excellence.

    But the blatant racism in the admission process is something that shouldn’t exist in the modern age. This really goes beyond the ivy league but the non-transparent process that is university admissions. To the point where these mixed kids thinks that they will have an advantage of not identifying themselves as Asian.

    And I agree with Raquel, why are we taking away places from the blacks and Hispanics? Their numbers are minute in the ivy league – and not the 75 – 80% of the white student body?

    @dreamer

    From memory you’re a stats person.

    The key stat here is the number of Asian Americans admitted versus the number of applications from Asian Americans. Check the rejection rate against the rejection rate of white applicants.

  62. Fortunately for you, there are people here who will discuss it with you.

    You don’t have to be patronizing. If you don’t want to talk about it fine. I just found that to be an interesting question and want to know your opinion.

  63. @bigwowo

    The Ivy League is always more about networking – trying to get a foot into the old boys club.

    That’s a likely reason that their graduates are unlikely to challenge an existing unfair system and run the risk of pissing off the old white American men at the top of the network.

  64. Raguel,

    I used to think that this kind of system is unfair too. But after my kids entered the school, I understood more about what’s going on and changed my opinions.

    First of all, I don’t think much discrimination against our kids. There are only 7 Chinese and 1 Korean kids among this year’s graduating class of my kids high school, 4 of them are accepted by top 5 colleges(HYPMS), at least one accepted by other ivies like Cornell. Other years, we didn’t have such high yield to top 5 schools, but acceptance rates to top 20 colleges are very high.

    Secondly, I doubt that our kids are much better than those White kids with lower GPA and test scores(we don’t have many Black kids here) . White kids usually don’t care as much about brand name colleges as we do, invest more time in activities other than academics, and often are better than our kids in other areas( like people skill and communication skill).

    Thirdly, our kids generally have much narrower focuses, not very diversified in their interests, talents, experiences, etc. It is probably not good for either college or students if they accept too much of us.

    I really don’t see that we can go anywhere and gain anything by making more noise on this issue. Joining those who support Affirmative Action probably could at least help our image.

  65. @N,

    I don’t think it is as simple as blatant racism, and Caucasian students number at ivies are probably less than 60%, much lower than what you guessed.

  66. “Thirdly, our kids generally have much narrower focuses, not very diversified in their interests, talents, experiences, etc. It is probably not good for either college or students if they accept too much of us.”

    I know of many Asian students who participate in a number of extracurricular activities in addition to getting high GPA’s, test scores. The system needs to be fair to everyone. Generalizing about Asian kids to justify institutional racism doesn’t help anyone.

  67. @chinese

    I don’t have recent stats, I do remember reading about the % of minorities not reaching 30% at Cornell and Yale. And that’s not all to the picture anyway, the main stat we’ve should be looking at is the rejection rate versus other races.

    Any system that relies on factors outside a standardized scoring system is opened to discrimination if there’s no transparency.

  68. @ChineseMom:

    I take  offense to the following paragraph you wrote to Raguel. 

                 “Secondly, I doubt that our kids are much better than those.                                      White kids with lower GPA and test scores(we don’t have many Black kids here) . White kids usually don’t care as much about brand name colleges as we do, invest more time in activities other than academics, and often are better than our kids in other areas( like people skill and communication skill).”

    How do you know that white kids are better than Asian kids in the areas of people skill and communication skill? You know this from what? Personal experience? Scientific study?   I do recall, from the comments you posted here when Amy Chua was discussed last year, you believe white kids are better.          

    My daughter just graduated from high school last year. I have been volunteering for our local schools for the last 12 years in addition being the den leader of the cub scout here for 5 years. Even though there are not too many Asian kids in our high school (less than 5%), every year most of them go to top 25 colleges. Every single one of these kids had tons of extracurricular activities(running,swimming,tennis,theater,jazz band, marching band, debating …etc). In Junior and senior year, many of these Asian kids hold leadership positions in these clubs/activities. Otherwise, they won’t be able to get into the top colleges that they got in. These Asian kids are just articulate, just as communicative and personal as the White kids. 

    Like you, I grew up in China. Came to US after college. I suggest you to get more involved with your kids’ school PTAs. Do more volunteering work at your local schools, then you will have the opportunity to meet these Asian kids who have as much communication skills and people skills as the White kids have.

  69. @big,

    I agree that ivy league education will help in making useful connections and getting into top banks and law firms. But, too truly benefit from that and make something out of it, don’t you think one has to have good social skills and leadership skills? Are Asian kids strong in those areas? Right now in colleges, and even in high schools with sizable Asians, our kids tend to stuck together, what kind of connections do you think they can make?

    @N,

    I’m pretty sure that right now all Ivies have more than 30% minorities in their undergraduate student body. Only 40-50% students are White.

    @jstele,

    I didn’t mean that Asian students do not participate in extracurricular activities. What I meant is that Asian students’ extracurricular activities, interests, experiences are very similar, not as diversified as other ethnic groups and Whites.

  70. Diane,

    I really don’t understand why that paragraph offended you. If I did, then I’m sorry.

    You probably have mistaken me for somebody else. I came to this board after Amy Chua frenzy, around April of this year. I never commented in that thread, neither believe nor ever said that white kids are better.

    In my area, Asian kids have similar performances as your local high school, almost every body get accepted to top 25 universities. I used to be awed by the many leadership positions that some of the high school kids held. Now my daughter is in her sophomore years in high school, I know better. A lot of the varsity team captain and club president positions really doesn’t mean much. Don’t take me wrong here, those kids who want to take those positions are great students, only most of those positions have nothing to do with either leadership skills or people skills.

    http://www.bigwowo.com/2011/01/amy-chua-chinese-conceit-chinese-ignorance-and-the-24000-question/

    What make me think that Asian kids generally are weak in people skills and communication skills? Well, I have many many reasons and experiences for me to say that. It doesn’t have to be a scout leader or a PTA member to see how our Asian kids are doing and compare them to their peers. And I do volunteer a lot in my kids’ schools and their other activities. I don’t want to talk about the details of my personal experiences at this time, so I’ll just give you 3 simple evidences:

    1, If you have read Wesley Yang’s “Paper Tigers” in New York Magazine, you will know that a lot of the problems mentioned in the article are the indications and results of our kids lack of people skills, communication skills and leadership skills.

    2, One of the hottest topics on this board is IR disparity and how difficult is for AMs to get girls. I think lack of people skills, communication skills and leadership skills contribute a lot to this problem.

    3, Asian kids are generally low in popularity in middle and high schools, which I think is the direct result of those skills.

  71. Funny thing about all of this is white parents nowadays complain constantly about the difficulties of getting their kids into a great school.

    To these folks, unless your kids are:

    1. The heir of old money and with the name of Garrity Johnson IV

    2. Son/daughters of $$$ donars.

    3. Mensa level smart (top 1% IQ).

    Your kid’s chances of getting into a good school while being an above average intelligent white prole or middle class kid was lesser than that of a “comparable” Asian (whatever that means).

    I guess it’s a perception issue.

  72. Chinese Mom,

    You have argued that white kids are better at people skills than Asians. Making such a generalization is what’s offensive. The fact that you mention that some leadership positions don’t matter suggests confirmation bias. If Asians are the leaders, the position must really not require much skill at all. That is what you’re saying. What about all the white kids who are on the football team? You don’t lump all white kids together, so I don’t understand why you do that with Asians.

  73. @jstele,

    You took the words right out of my mouth, but you said them a lot better than I could. Thank you.

  74. Come on jstele, please don’t forget that I am a full blooded Asian, not a White, and I’m on an Asian blog, discussing Asian issues with Asians, not on a website for general public. Are you telling me that members on this site don’t have the guts to take a reflection and criticism from one of their own? If making a generalization is offensive, I don’t see how we can make any serious and meaningful discussion here. As I can see, generalization is everywhere on this board.

    Actually, I feel Diane’s assuming that I don’t do volunteer work at our local schools and telling me that I have to get involved in PTAs to meet Asian kids are offensive. But I assume that she didn’t mean to offend me and didn’t say anything in my above comment.

    And please read carefully about what I said:”I used to be awed by the many leadership positions that some of the high school kids held. Now my daughter is in her sophomore years in high school, I know better. A lot of the varsity team captain and club president positions really doesn’t mean much. Don’t take me wrong here, those kids who want to take those positions are great students, only most of those positions have nothing to do with either leadership skills or people skills.” If you interpret it as :”If Asians are the leaders, the position must really not require much skill at all”, then that is your problem.

  75. Chinese Mom,

    Then, what clubs would qualify for leadership opportunities? Does student government count? Because I know a number of Asians who served in that? Does cheerleading count? I’ve seen quite a few Asian cheerleaders at my school. It’s unfair to paint Asians in one way based on your limited experience with students in ONE community.

    Just because one is Asian does not mean that one cannot judge Asians unfairly.

  76. jstele,

    I don’t know what you want to say about white kids on the football team, but because you mentioned it, so I’ll talk a little bit about my son’s football experience.

    My son played 3 years youth football in our town’s football league now. I’ll say it is the best thing that ever happen to him, completely transformed him from an overweight wuss to a true athlete, made him much tougher mentally and strong physically, raised his self confidence and self-esteem tremendously. He built bond and enjoyed camaraderie with his teammates, found a sense of belonging and got to know what’s going on in the school and our towns . Along the way, he learned many valuable lessons from coaches and teammates that will benefit him for life.

    This year, there are two seniors from our town’s high school varsity football team have been recruited by top ivy schools. One of them not only is the mvp of the year, but also got 98% gpa, finished all the math courses that our high school can offer and currently taking online course from Stanford. He is my son’s role model now. So, please don’t generalize about football players. But even if you do, I won’t take offense at it:)

  77. @ChineseMom,

    Clearly, we have very different opinions of Asian kids in general even though we have a very similar background. I guess that we just have to agree to disagree.

  78. @jstele,

    I don’t know everything about every high school, so I can’t answer your question. My son is the student council’s VP of his middle school. I know he got that position easily without much competition and he doesn’t have much responsibility. My daughter participates in 3 high school sports, any senior student can get a captain position if they ask for it, the responsibility is just to hold pasta party at their homes.

    The three evidences that I offered has not much to do with Asian students in my community, and my statement about Asian kids based on a lot of things other than my observation of Asian kids in my area.

    People skills, communication skills and leadership skill have to be taught and cultivated, not be born with. Our 1st generation immigrants are weak in these areas due to culture and language barriers, so our kids grown up in disadvantage in acquiring those skills. I don’t think our kids need to be shamed about this, they did great job in many other areas, enough for them to be proud of themselves. We don’t have to be on top of everything to feel secure and proud.

  79. Hey ChineseMom,

    Sorry for the delay. Lots of activity on this board recently. Plus stuff happening off the board.

    @big,

    I agree that ivy league education will help in making useful connections and getting into top banks and law firms. But, too truly benefit from that and make something out of it, don’t you think one has to have good social skills and leadership skills? Are Asian kids strong in those areas? Right now in colleges, and even in high schools with sizable Asians, our kids tend to stuck together, what kind of connections do you think they can make?

    I agree that Asian kids tend to stick together. But White kids tend to stick together too! As do black kids!

    I actually don’t know much about people in that older age group today–my oldest is in kindergarten. But I do think it’s possible to develop these skills even among other Asians. Yul Kwon, for example, was a member of an Asian American fraternity. Yes, the most successful probably have to have connections with people of all races, but I think it’s true that most Asian people by default–even those who date out or join the AFCC–hang out with many Asians.

  80. @big,

    I agree that people tend to hang out with people of their own race. It is a good thing that Asian kids hang out a lot with other Asians, it will help them to form their racial identity. But I don’t think it would be good if they only hang out with Asians and not be able to make friends with people of other races.

    Right now, Whites are the majority and in power, they don’t care about us, so they don’t need to reach out and try to hang out with us. If we want to join those top clubs , because their members and clients are mostly White, we have to be able to make connections with them. Going to an elite university with too many Asians probably won’t help to cultivate this kind of abilities and make connections

    Even though Obama is a Black, he grew up in a White family and mostly white environment, and went to a White university. I think he is very White inside. Had he grown up in a Black family and gone to a university with some 30+% Black and hung out mostly with Black kids, I doubt he would be elected. Yul Kwon’s also grew up in a very White neighborhood and went to Stanford in 90’s (probably very white at that time).

  81. Whoa. While I appreciate Diane and jstele’s points, ChineseMom never said anything offensive nor do I think her generalization of “most” East Asian kids in American suburbia to be invalid. I don’t have children so that may eliminate me from this dialogue, but if I may, what’s wrong with what ChineseMom said?

    Most East Asian kids in American suburbia do seem to have weaker social and communication skills compared to their counterparts of other races, cultural backgrounds, and ethnicities (e.g., black, white peers…). Is that a generalization? Yes. Are there multiple exceptions? Yes. And?

    It’s important to confront and address that generalization and nurture our children with an awareness that it *IS* important to encourage their development of social and communication skills, an awareness than many of our first generation East Asian parents did not have. Was that, too, a generalization. Yes. Are there exceptions, like maybe jstele, Diane, and ChineseMom? Yes. And?

    Generalizations aren’t bad, depending on what they are used for and how cognizant we remain of the distinct exceptions. Generalizations help us catch bad patterns and improve on them. Rather than jump down one another’s throats with “yeah, well I bet you don’t volunteer” or “you love white people,” why don’t we attempt to understand where we each are coming from, the context of our experiences that have led to those conclusions, and treat each of such observations as valid (with possible weaknesses due to not all of us being able to know everything about everything, as ChineseMom glibly pointed out, i.e., “I don’t know everything about every high school”). Collectively, all of our narratives are the sum of the story. So it’s worth hearing.

    As for the importance of an Ivy League pedigree: Really, it’s the same as driving a Porsche or wearing only designer clothes. You use brand names to identify your intelligence, wealth, success, etc. etc. Are they accurate reflections of intelligence, wealth, success, etc. etc.? Of course not. But that doesn’t stop the general populace from jumping to those positive assumptions of us anyway. Hence, we choose the Ivy League.

    Some of us really do make our decisions based on quality, and then choose the Ivy League, the Porsche, or Carolina Herrera dress, but most of us do it for the dazzle. Oh well. Truth of the matter, whether you like it or not, they do dazzle. I didn’t attend any ivy leagues and have had to work much harder for my accomplishments. I pushed my younger sister into an ivy league as a result of my hardships and the fact is she’s having it a lot easier now. She’s not aggressively running around the country proving her worth to the top law firms; they’re lining up in front of her door with beautifully packaged offers. It is what it is.

  82. @tz,

    “I don’t have children so that may eliminate me from this dialogue, but if I may, what’s wrong with what ChineseMom said?”

    I wasn’t going to post comments on this thread anymore because clearly we will never agree.

    Since you asked “what’s wrong with what ChineseMom said?”, I must explain here. The idea that Asian American kids in general lack leadership skills, people skills and communication skills is in the minds of main stream Americans(If you read through over 8000 comments in response to the “Tiger Mom” article published on WSJ in January, then you know what I mean). Today’s Asian American kids will be tomorrow’s Asian American men and women in workforce. If we all agree with ChineseMom, then we shouldn’t complain about the discrimination that we encounter in college admissions, workplace promotions, …etc because we deserve it.

    Honestly, based on my personal experience, I believe that there are just as White kids who lack of these skills as Asian kids, percentage wise.

    Just my 2 cents.

  83. The problem I have with Chinese Mom’s assertions is that she is idolizing whites as some super race with no problems. She doesn’t mention the hazing that is common in sports or that a lot of white kids are into drugs, etc. It is her blanket generalization of Asian kids that bothers me. All the strengths that whites have are to be emulated while Asians should not be acknowledged for what we bring to the table is what she is really saying.

  84. Not sure what to think but I can’t take seriously any reference to the Paperr Tigerss article. The guy admits he doesn’t have any Asian friends and probably is only trying to date WFs. Anyone who idolizes PUA cannot be taken seriously. Funny thing is, that article didn’t generate 1 / 100th the controversy the Tiger Mom article did. I guess no one wants to open a magazine and look at the pictures. Whoever thought of doing that photo shoot really did the people they were talking about a disservice. They could have at least took better looking pictures.

  85. @jstele

    Can you show me where CM was exhibiting a tone of “white worshipping”? I re-read her post and didn’t seem to get a sense that she was going that route. If anything, I personally feel CM is one of the better posters on this blog and would be one of the last people to get swayed by the whitewashing wave.

    Overall, I think a lot of this talk about glass ceiling and Asians getting denied this and that are a bit overblown. I would be an idiot and extremely naive to think race is not an element. However, I have seen many instances growing up in an “asian majority” high school and college where the proverbial meek and unassertive behavior were clearly present and exhibited by Asian youths (both male and female).

    A few background about me:

    1. 1.5 generation AM

    2. 3.3 GPA in HS (granted it was from one of the top ranked high schools in California).

    3. Barely scraped a decent enough SAT score to luck myself into a college just outside the US News top 25 ranking. If college admins were denying Asians in large numbers and putting more artificial barriers from a GPA/SAT thrshold, I sure was not one of them.

    4. Partied too hard, drank too much, and chased too many skirts to just barely crack a 3.0 GPA at said non-top 25, much less non-top Ivy school.

    5. 7 years later, I find myself making 6 figures before the age of 30 and having surpassed many of my fellow Asian peers from high school and college. A lot of whom performed better than I did from an academic standpoint but 99% of them possessed the proverbial meek and unassertive behavior that I mentioned above.

    Think about it for a moment. If I had changed key point number 1 from “AM” to “WM”, many of you could have easily dismissed the key points as simple hubris from an undeserving WM cruising by on the aura of never ending white privilege.

    However, in more times than not, I have always achieved more than I deserve on paper simply despite being an AM which I could have swore was at the bottom of the totem pole socially.

    I know a lot of what I mentioned may sound cliche. However, I should be living proof that a deviation from being too academically IS evident in many Asians circles. And despite noble intentions from the parents, do end up causing harm psychologically and socially to their children in the long run. (NOTE: And as TZ noted… being a hard ass parent isn’t just confined to Asians as I know a number of Russian/Armenian/Slavic white parents exhibit the same iron fist tendencies).

  86. Ray,

    I agree with you on ChineseMom–I like ChineseMom’s posts, and I see no white worshipping. 🙂

    That said, I don’t think your stats are bad. I think they’re pretty good, especially if you went to a top California high school. I don’t think you faced a glass ceiling because your grades were good. Even if you faced a glass ceiling, your stats would probably get you past that.

    Think about this: 3.0 is a B. Which is a good average. 3.3 is even better, almost a B+. And if you went to a top Asian majority high school like Lowell, your B would be equal to an A anywhere else. A college just outside top 25 is also good. UCLA and UVA are tied for #25. Those are both EXCELLENT top rated schools. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, which is a top science school, is #45, which shows how close the top 50 are. Illinois U-C would be a “reach” school for most people. So wherever you went to school, you got a great education with a great name. This, of course, would put you in line for a job with a great salary, as long as you didn’t major in something non-lucrative like Asian American literature or French poetry.

    So I’m not sure that your example really disproves anything. Your accomplishments are quite good, much better than average.

    On a side note, I wonder what the average salary of a bigWOWO reader is. If you exclude the college students, include the techies and actors/film people, the mean is probably north of $80k.

  87. ChineseMom,

    It depends. Alumni at schools like Harvard usually go out of their way to help other grads, regardless of race. They’re building up the brand name for the future. So to a certain extent, business does help ease race relations.

    That’s the thing about elite “educations.” (“educations” purposely in quotes.) It’s like a club. I blogged about this earlier this year:

    http://www.bigwowo.com/2011/02/are-elite-educations-worth-it/

    Had Obama not had Harvard, Yale, Princeton, or Stanford somewhere in his education, he wouldn’t have been elected. But I think that’s true of most people–these days especially, you need one of those. And it has nothing to do with networking or education, but rather with that “brand name” thing that TZ describes.

    That’s why admissions ought to be available to everyone on an equal basis (with some exceptions due to economic circumstances). The club ought to be open!

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