Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Discrimination against Asian-Americans in college

I have written before about discrimination against Asian-American students in various colleges.  This, apparently, is an ongoing problem, so much so that businesses have opened to help prospective college students... look less Asian.

From the Boston Globe:
Brian Taylor is director of Ivy Coach, a Manhattan company that advises families on how to get their students into elite colleges. A number of his clients are Asian American, and Taylor is frank about his strategy for them.
“While it is controversial, this is what we do,’’ he says. “We will make them appear less Asian when they apply.”
[James] Chen founded Asian Advantage College Consulting 20 years ago in response to what he considers bias against top Asian students in elite college admissions. His firm, which is based in Alameda, Calif., also has clients on the East Coast, he says, including Boston.
“The admissions officers are seeing a bunch of people who all look alike: high test scores, high grades, many play musical instruments and tend not to engage in more physical sports like football,” Chen says.
If students come to him early in high school, Chen will direct them to “switch to another musical instrument” or “play a sport a little bit out of their element.” 
And for the college essay, don’t write about your immigrant family, he tells them: “Don’t talk about your family coming from Vietnam with $2 in a rickety boat and swimming away from sharks.”
To put it mildly, this sort of thing makes me see red, and I like to think that it would do so even if my daughter wasn't Asian.  We tell kids to work hard in school, to get good grades, to take harder classes, to study, to go out for sports and other extracurricular activities, to volunteer after school, all with the goal of getting into the best schools to give them a leg up when they enter the job market.  

But not if they are Asian.

The article continues:
In a 2014 lawsuit against Harvard and the University of North Carolina, the nonprofit Students For Fair Admission allege that both schools discriminate against Asian applicants in favor of less qualified African-American and Latino students. The suit cited a 2009 Princeton University study of seven top colleges that concluded an Asian applicant needed an average 1460 SAT score to be admitted, while whites with similar academic qualifications needed 1320, Hispanics 1190, and blacks 1010.
Harvard’s general counsel, Robert Iuliano, defended the school’s admissions policy. “As the Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized, a class that is diverse on multiple dimensions, including on race, transforms the educational experience of students from every background and prepares our graduates for an increasingly pluralistic world,” he said.
Ironically, that our daughter is adopted and has an Anglo name may work to her advantage: no admissions officer will automatically shuffle her application to the bottom of the pile as he might if her last name was Chen or Liang or Qi.
We come then to the question presented: does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other "tangible" factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does.
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954)

Who knew that we'd gone back to 1953? 

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