Monday, February 08, 2010

It's not Racism

... that makes it hard for Asians to get into school. It's the cultural truths their stories tell, ones that we dare not speak. Dig this tidbit from a great article by Kara Miller on how Asians outperform other racial groups in the US, but can't seem to catch a break when it comes to college admissions.
A few years ago, however, when I worked as a reader for Yale’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions, it became immediately clear to me that Asians - who constitute 5 percent of the US population - faced an uphill slog. They tended to get excellent scores, take advantage of AP offerings, and shine in extracurricular activities. Frequently, they also had hard-knock stories: families that had immigrated to America under difficult circumstances, parents working as kitchen assistants and store clerks, and households in which no English was spoken.
The issue has nothing at all to do with racism and everything to do with our fear of speaking the truth about our culture. No one wants to be criticized by the cool kids who are living the non-judgmental, libertine life. If you look at census data, Asians have more intact families than other groups. They have the best SAT scores (avg - 1623). Blacks have the fewest intact families and have the lowest SAT scores (avg - 1276). It's got nothing to do with race and everything to do with behavior. Race just happens to be an easy way of categorizing people because our census data takes in that information and we all focus on it.

Imagine what would happen if we told the truth. Imagine what would happen if we just looked at factual admission requirements and took the best students regardless of race. We'd have to confront the fact that behavior is the dominant feature when it comes to success. You can't live the libertine lifestyle and succeed. Moral judgment has a place in society. Traditional families work better than broken ones.

We'd have to conclude that the prudes were right.

Better the Asians get screwed when it comes to college admissions than admit the prudes were right. In the meantime, we can all wring our hands about racism. With racism as the villain, no one has to change their behavior at all.

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