Who is a Minority?

Saturday, October 09, 2004
When reading over a magazine that detailing admission statistics for some colleges I looked at the column for minority enrollment. Next to it was "****". What did "****" stand for? At the bottom it explained that this meant Asian-Americans were not included in the statistic. Why not?

This always confuses me. I used to be a supporter of affirmative action. I believe that there are definitely some people who are at a disadvantage to others. I believe diversity in a college community is a good thing as different ideas, viewpoints, and cutlures create to the overall learning experience. But I just don't get why Asian-Americans are singled out as the minority that doesn't count.

Asian-Americans make up a about 4% of the population compared to 77% white and 13% black. They earn high-school diplomas 87% of the time and college degrees 47% if time. The percentage earning college degrees is by far the highest of any population group.

But why is it that Asian-Americans receive no preference and are even excluded in population statistics for minorities? Are not Asian-Americans more of a minority than African-Americans? There is the argument that African-Americans have always been disadvantaged because of the social structure of America. But my family came to American with no money and unable to speak the language. You can't really start out much worse than that. In a generation my family was able to send all of its children to college and all have obtained some measure of success.

So what is it? I'm not so sure. I would love to hear other people's opinion.


David Cho said...

I really dislike the term "Asian American." The Asian continent includes cultures as varied as Norwegians are from Mexicans. There is very little in common between Koreans, for example, and Pakistanis, but people whose ancestry trace back to Asia lumped into a group called "Asian Americans"

It is, IMO, a PC term invented by liberals to lump loosely related people into one to create an illusion of a voting bloc even though the grouping is purely artificial and makes no sense anthropologically. They've done so successfuly with blacks (90% of African Americans vote Democrat), so by creating a bloc as such, they want to create a notion that it is an "Asian American" thing to always go with Democrats and that you are a sellout if you don't go with the flow. From talking with some of the kids involved in "Asian American" activism, it appears that the ploy is working.

Jen said...

As an SAT teacher, I see a lot of Asian students in my classes. (I agree that the term Asian is a bit too broad.) Obviously, generalizing about cultures is dangerous, but here goes: My Asian students (Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Indian, and Pakistani) tend to be more focused in their goals and their family life seems to be far more supportive of academic success than my non-Asian students. They seem to be held to a higher standard by their parents than are my white students. Sadly, I don’t have many black students, so I can’t really generalize about them except to say that the absence of black students perhaps speaks louder than their presence.

If my observations are close to the truth, and if Asians are more focused on personal responsibility and academic rigor, then it is completely unfair to discount their minority status when it comes to college admissions. You can’t reward a culture by marginalizing it.

T said...

After reading my blog again I want to clarify one thing. I am not suggesting that Asian-Americans should receive preference. In fact, I am saying quite the opposite. I am saying that nobody should receive preference based on race. Perhaps socio-economic situation would be a better indicator but not race. I am saying that it makes little sense to me that some "minorities" receive preferential treatment based on race but other "minorities" do not.