Topics & Articles

Home

Culture

Ethnic Groups

History

Issues

Links

Viet Nam



Search

or Browse the Archives

or Gets Posts by Tags



Most Popular Books on Asian-Nation

Miscellaneous

All posts copyright © 2001- by C.N. Le.
Some rights reserved. Creative Commons License

The views and opinions expressed on this site and blog posts (excluding comments on blog posts left by others) are entirely my own and do not represent those of any employer or organization with whom I am currently or previously have been associated.

Blog powered by WordPress


Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

June 16, 2016

Written by C.N.

Links, Jobs, & Announcements #80

Here are some more announcements, links, and job postings about academic-related jobs, fellowships, and other opportunities for those interested in racial/ethnic/diversity issues, with a particular focus on Asian Americans. As always, the announcements and links are provided for informational purposes and do not necessarily imply an endorsement of the organization or college involved.

Call for Submissions: Asian and Latin American Intersections

© Corbis

Call for Papers: Between Asia and Latin America: New Transpacific Perspectives
Edited by Andrea Bachner (Cornell University) and Pedro Erber (Cornell University)

Asia and the Americas no longer occupy the disconnected extremes of an imagined map. Nor do they continue to embody the antipodes of East and West, framing Europe as the symbolic center. Rather, accelerated by recent geopolitical and global economic shifts, the Transpacific has emerged as a space of intense transcultural movements and exchanges, reviving the “swarmlike buzz of activity” around and across the perimeter of the Pacific that Claude Lévi-Strauss had pitted against “the great Atlantic silence” prior to the “discovery” of the Americas (Tristes Tropiques 297). And yet, most approaches to the cultural interactions of the Transpacific remain limited by a focus on the Northern part of the Americas, often equating the label of “American” implicitly (or explicitly) with the US. Recent exciting work on the Transpacific that has started to include Latin America, thus troubling not only easy divisions of East and West, but also of North and South, often divided into and thus limited by the perspectives of specific disciplines, such as Asian-American studies, Latin-American Studies, or diaspora studies.

This special issue will gather different emerging approaches to the intercultural study of Asia and Latin America with the aim of rethinking the Transpacific as a method, a lens for comparison, rather than simply an area or a region. The emergence of new Transpacific perspectives signals the myriad possibilities of new transregional frameworks that challenge conventional geopolitical models of comparative studies. Consequently, we invite essays that approach the real and imagined spaces of the Transpacific between Asia and Latin America from a wide variety of perspectives and disciplines. We especially welcome work that reflects critically and creatively on the multiple possible meanings, methodologies, and mappings of the Transpacific and that pays attention to alternative links between Asia and Latin America: from diaspora, textual circulation, and cultural exchanges to uneven dialogues, compelling analogies, or conceptual affinities.

Submission deadline: August 1, 2016

Please submit queries to verge@psu.edu. For more information about the journal, see https://www.upress.umn.edu/journal-division/journals/verge-studies-in-global-asias.

Call for Submissions: Women of Color Academics

Call for Papers: Creative Works by Women of Color Academics
Deadline for abstracts: Sept. 30, 2016

Description:
In this book, we will feature narratives of women of color academics who embody what we call academic bravery. These are women who have demonstrated courage in their scholarship, teaching, mentoring, service, activism, and leadership, despite the potential professional risks. As with any academic, these scholars work in contexts wherein academic cowardice is the norm; despite rewards for productivity, creativity, and innovation, scholars are implicitly rewarded to a far greater extent for “playing it safe,” remaining “objective,” detached and apolitical in their work, and refusing to challenge the status quo in academia and beyond. These conservative norms pose constraints on marginalized scholars, namely women of color, who pursue academic careers to liberate themselves and their communities. Despite the stereotype that college campuses are liberal, social justice utopias, the academy has increasingly become a risk-averse and conservative profession.

“But some of us are brave…”

Submissions:
In this forthcoming edited volume, we aim to celebrate the bravery of women of color academics in the 21st century. We invite women of color scholars to reflect on their courageous acts as researchers, teachers, mentors, administrators, advocates, activists, and entrepreneurs, no matter the professional risks. All contributions should explicitly reflect upon risk-taking, speaking up and out, challenging oppressive norms, surviving and thriving, overcoming professional and personal obstacles, innovation, and/or entrepreneurship. We strongly encourage potential contributors to 1) inspire women of color (academic or not) and other marginalized people and/or 2) to offer specific strategies for women of color academics to harness their bravery. We welcome submissions of personal narratives in the form of:

  • Essays
  • Poems
  • Visual art
  • Short screenplays
  • Other creative works

While these narratives may cite empirical work, and we welcome empirically-based essays, the focus of the book is not to advance scientific inquiry on a particular topic but to validate the common struggles women of color experience in the academy. The book is intended to give voice to a frequently silenced segment of the academy by making visible and honoring courageous work that often goes unnoticed or is even penalized. The hope is that many contributors will find this book a place to publish work that may be otherwise “homeless.”

Potential Contributors:
We invite the full diversity of women of color academics, including Black/African American, Latina/Hispanic, Asian/Asian American, Pacific Islander, Native American/American Indian, Arab/Arab American, Muslim, and immigrant women. We use a broad and inclusive definition of “woman of color,” thus welcoming trans and cisgender women of color; queer, pansexual, bisexual, lesbian, asexual, and heterosexual women of color; women of color with and without disabilities; religious and nonreligious women of color; women of color of diverse body sizes; and, first-gen, working-class, and middle-class women of color. In addition, we welcome women of color scholars from all academic disciplines, all career stages, and all post-PhD/terminal degree careers (e.g., alt-ac, post-ac, contingent faculty, non-tenure track, and tenure-track faculty).

Submission Guidelines:
The deadline for abstracts is September 30th, 2016. Submit your abstract (400 words or less) and a short biography electronically to academicbravery@gmail.com. Accepted abstracts will be invited as full-length submissions, which are due by February 17th, 2017. Full papers should be submitted as Microsoft Word documents that are double-spaced and use 12-point Times New Roman font; they should range from 15-25 pages, plus references in APA style.

About the Editors:
Dr. Manya Whitaker is an Assistant Professor of Education at Colorado College where she teaches courses focused on social and political issues in education. Her areas of expertise include urban education, culturally relevant pedagogy, and developmentally appropriate teaching. In her Connecting Learning Across Social Settings (CLASS) lab, Dr. Whitaker conducts research concerned with how to best prepare teachers to teach culturally and linguistically diverse students. She is the founder of Blueprint Educational Strategies, an educational consulting business that provides workshops for teachers and administrators, as well as guidance and advocacy for families. She is also a blogger and regular contributor for Conditionally Accepted.com – an online career advice column and community for marginalized scholars. She can be reached by email at manya.whitaker@coloradocollege.edu.

Dr. Eric Anthony Grollman is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Richmond in Virginia. Their research focuses on the impact of prejudice and discrimination on the health, well-being, and worldviews of marginalized groups – namely trans and queer people, people of color, and women, especially individuals who are members of multiple oppressed groups. Dr. Grollman is also an intellectual activist who focuses on making the academy a more just, humane, equitable, and accessible place. They are the founder and editor of the blog, ConditionallyAccepted.com, which is now a weekly career advice column for marginalized scholars on Inside Higher Ed. They can be reached by email at egrollma@richmond.edu.

June 6, 2016

Written by C.N.

In Memory of Muhammad Ali

This past Friday, June 3 2016, Muhammad Ali passed away at the age of 74. More than being regarded as the greatest boxers ever, Muhammad Ali is remembered as one of the most significant, famous, and celebrated athletes of all time. His legacy transcends his accomplishments inside the boxing ring and also encompasses his tradition of political activism, outspoken support of disadvantaged and underrepresented groups, and his inspiring life history as a role model, social critic, and social conscience of U.S. society.

Portrait of Muhammad Ali by John Stango

As with almost all public figures, Muhammad Ali was also a controversial and polarizing figure in U.S. history. Perhaps the most controversial episode for which he was known was his resistance to being drafted to fight in the Viet Nam War. His immense impact on the Asian American community is perhaps best represented by his famous quote at the time, “I ain’t got no quarrel with the Viet Cong. No Viet Cong ever called me nigger.”

After refusing to be inducted into the U.S. military on April 28, 1967, he was convicted of a felony and all of the major boxing associations stripped him of his title and prevented him from competing professionally for over three years. During this period, he was widely denounced and vilified by much of the U.S. as a traitor to the country, with the hostility magnified even more because he was a Black man.

However, in 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned his felony conviction. Despite the public criticism of his refusal to be drafted, Muhammad Ali never wavered in his refusal to participate in the Viet Nam War and continued to work in support of the Civil Rights Movement and efforts toward social justice around the world. He stood his moral ground and in his own words, “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”

Time eventually heals all wounds and in recent decades, Muhammad Ali rightfully became known as of the most towering and revered Americans of the late twentieth century. In addition to the multitude of statements and tweets commemorating his life from athletes, public figures, and others around the world, I would like to share some excerpts from a fellow sociologist, the well-renowned Professor Harry Edwards of U.C. Berkeley (edited for length):

It is only when a GIANT passes from among us and we stand blinking and rubbing our eyes in the glaring reality of our loss that we come truly to appreciate how much we all have really been just living in his shadow. So it is with Muhammad Ali: he was an athlete of unparalleled brilliance, beauty, and bravado at a time when black athletes . . . were expected to be silent, self-effacing “producers,” not loquacious, verbose entertaining performers in the arena. . . .

He influenced people from the most powerful (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy, for example) to the most naive students and “draft vulnerable” youths to rethink their positions on the issue of “war and peace.”

He was the model for a generation of “activist athletes” relative to the questions of athlete political relevance and involvement. He taught us all by word and example that there can be no “for sale” sign, no “price tag” on principles, human dignity, and freedom, among so many of his other contributions. . . . “The Greatest” doesn’t begin to truly capture the magnitude and measure of his broad scope, contributions and legacy.

Along with millions of Americans and billions of people around the world, I will remember Muhammad Ali as a truly inspiring, transformative, and monumental person who was a tremendously courageous trailblazer for professional athletes, African Americans, Asian Americans, and the entire human race. Rest in peace, champ.

March 17, 2016

Written by C.N.

Chris Rock at the Oscars: An Asian American Mother’s Critique

By now, you’ve heard of the controversy surrounding how all the acting nominees at the 2016 Academy Awards were entirely White, with no actor of color nominated. And you probably saw host Chris Rock’s take on the situation throughout the Oscars awards ceremony. And hopefully you saw the skit in which three Asian American children were used as props for a rather weak and ultimately offensive skit.

Chris Rock anti-Asian skit © Robert Deutsch

Lots of people and many Asian Americans have rightfully called out Chris Rock’s skit as downright racist. One of the best critiques (in my biased opinion) comes from fellow Asian American professor, UMass Amherst colleague, and my wife Miliann Kang in her piece at Contexts magazine, titled “An Asian American Mother’s Question to Chris Rock and the Academy.” An excerpt:

Out walked three Asian American children, wearing tuxes and thick glasses. Chris Rock introduced them as accountants from the prestigious firm of Pricewaterhouse Coopers—Ming Zu, Bao Ling, and…David Moskowitz? Then anticipating the pushback, he added that if anyone was upset they should “just tweet about it on your phone that was also made by these kids.”

I looked over at my sixteen year-old daughter who looked stunned. Was this really happening? She loves Chris Rock. She loves movies. We were right there with him, so what happened? . . .

These are the oldest tricks in the racial playbook -— kick the next person down on the rung. Divide and conquer. Shame and blame. Dump the pain on someone else. I know Chris Rock did not create these problems, and he has done much to try to address them. And whether or not Chris Rock made racist jokes about Asians, Hollywood would still have a race problem. But on this night, he also added to them. . . .

I thought we were further along than this. I thought my child would not have to endure the same inane, stupid racist jokes that I grew up with, not on the playground, not in the movies, not on a night that was supposed to highlight the importance of diversity in the movies.

Again, I am obviously biased since the author happens to be my wife, but I think her valuable contribution to the discussion of this incident is to both put it in the larger institutional context of the U.S. racial landscape while also personalizing its effect on our family as well.

January 20, 2016

Written by C.N.

New Books: Asian American History and Achievement

As the spring semester gets underway at many colleges and universities around the country, that means that new groups of students get their first introduction to Asian American Studies. With that in mind, these recently-published books provide some more details and sociological context about the history and contemporary dynamics of the Asian American community.

The Asian American Achievement Paradox, by Jennifer Lee and Min Zhou (Russell Sage Foundation)

'The Asian American Achievement Paradox' by Lee and Zhou

Asian Americans are often stereotyped as the “model minority.” Their sizeable presence at elite universities and high household incomes have helped construct the narrative of Asian American “exceptionalism.” While many scholars and activists characterize this as a myth, pundits claim that Asian Americans’ educational attainment is the result of unique cultural values. In The Asian American Achievement Paradox, sociologists Jennifer Lee and Min Zhou offer a compelling account of the academic achievement of the children of Asian immigrants.

Drawing on in-depth interviews with the adult children of Chinese immigrants and Vietnamese refugees and survey data, Lee and Zhou bridge sociology and social psychology to explain how immigration laws, institutions, and culture interact to foster high achievement among certain Asian American groups. For the Chinese and Vietnamese in Los Angeles, Lee and Zhou find that the educational attainment of the second generation is strikingly similar, despite the vastly different socioeconomic profiles of their immigrant parents. Because immigration policies after 1965 favor individuals with higher levels of education and professional skills, many Asian immigrants are highly educated when they arrive in the United States.

They bring a specific “success frame,” which is strictly defined as earning a degree from an elite university and working in a high-status field. This success frame is reinforced in many local Asian communities, which make resources such as college preparation courses and tutoring available to group members, including their low-income members. While the success frame accounts for part of Asian Americans’ high rates of achievement, Lee and Zhou also find that institutions, such as public schools, are crucial in supporting the cycle of Asian American achievement. Teachers and guidance counselors, for example, who presume that Asian American students are smart, disciplined, and studious, provide them with extra help and steer them toward competitive academic programs.

These institutional advantages, in turn, lead to better academic performance and outcomes among Asian American students. Yet the expectations of high achievement come with a cost: the notion of Asian American success creates an “achievement paradox” in which Asian Americans who do not fit the success frame feel like failures or racial outliers. While pundits ascribe Asian American success to the assumed superior traits intrinsic to Asian culture, Lee and Zhou show how historical, cultural, and institutional elements work together to confer advantages to specific populations. An insightful counter to notions of culture based on stereotypes, The Asian American Achievement Paradox offers a deft and nuanced understanding how and why certain immigrant groups succeed.

A New History of Asian America, by Shelley Sang-Hee Lee (Routledge)

'A New History of Asian America' by Shelley Sang-Hee Lee

A New History of Asian America is a fresh and up-to-date history of Asians in the United States from the late eighteenth century to the present. Drawing on current scholarship, Shelley Lee brings forward the many strands of Asian American history, highlighting the distinctive nature of the Asian American experience while placing the narrative in the context of the major trajectories and turning points of U.S. history. Covering the history of Filipinos, Koreans, Asian Indians, and Southeast Indians as well as Chinese and Japanese, the book gives full attention to the diversity within Asian America.

A robust companion website features additional resources for students, including primary documents, a timeline, links, videos, and an image gallery. From the building of the transcontinental railroad to the celebrity of Jeremy Lin, people of Asian descent have been involved in and affected by the history of America. A New History of Asian America gives twenty-first-century students a clear, comprehensive, and contemporary introduction to this vital history.


Keywords for Asian American Studies
, edited by Cathy J. Schlund-Vials, K. Scott Wong, and Linda Trinh Võ (NYU Press)

'Keywords for Asian American Studies' edited by Schlund-Vials, Wong, and Vo

Born out of the Civil Rights and Third World Liberation movements of the 1960s and 1970s, Asian American Studies has grown significantly over the past four decades, both as a distinct field of inquiry and as a potent site of critique. Characterized by transnational, trans-Pacific, and trans-hemispheric considerations of race, ethnicity, migration, immigration, gender, sexuality, and class, this multidisciplinary field engages with a set of concepts profoundly shaped by past and present histories of racialization and social formation.

The keywords included in this collection are central to social sciences, humanities, and cultural studies and reflect the ways in which Asian American Studies has transformed scholarly discourses, research agendas, and pedagogical frameworks.Spanning multiple histories, numerous migrations, and diverse populations, Keywords for Asian American Studies reconsiders and recalibrates the ever-shifting borders of Asian American studies as a distinctly interdisciplinary field.

Asian Americans on Campus: Racialized Space and White Power, by Rosalind S. Chou, Kristen Lee, and Simon Ho (Routledge)

'Asian Americans on Campus' by Chou, Lee, and Ho

While there are books on racism in universities, few examine the unique position of Asian American undergraduates. This new book captures the voices and experiences of Asian Americans navigating the currents of race, gender, and sexuality as factors in how youth construct relationships and identities. Interviews with 70 Asian Americans on an elite American campus show how students negotiate the sexualized racism of a large institution. The authors emphasize the students’ resilience and their means of resistance for overcoming the impact of structural racism.

The Making of Asian America: A History, by Erika Lee (Simon & Schuster)

'The Making of Asian American History' by Erika Lee

In the past fifty years, Asian Americans have helped change the face of America and are now the fastest growing group in the United States. But as award-winning historian Erika Lee reminds us, Asian Americans also have deep roots in the country. The Making of Asian America tells the little-known history of Asian Americans and their role in American life, from the arrival of the first Asians in the Americas to the present-day.

An epic history of global journeys and new beginnings, this book shows how generations of Asian immigrants and their American-born descendants have made and remade Asian American life in the United States: sailors who came on the first trans-Pacific ships in the 1500s; indentured “coolies” who worked alongside African slaves in the Caribbean; and Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, and South Asian immigrants who were recruited to work in the United States only to face massive racial discrimination, Asian exclusion laws, and for Japanese Americans, incarceration during World War II.

Over the past fifty years, a new Asian America has emerged out of community activism and the arrival of new immigrants and refugees. No longer a “despised minority,” Asian Americans are now held up as America’s “model minorities” in ways that reveal the complicated role that race still plays in the United States. Published to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the passage of the United States’ Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 that has remade our “nation of immigrants,” this is a new and definitive history of Asian Americans. But more than that, it is a new way of understanding America itself, its complicated histories of race and immigration, and its place in the world today.

December 11, 2015

Written by C.N.

Online Survey: Asian American Men and Discrimination

Below is a solicitation for respondents for an online survey about experiences of discrimination by Asian American men. As always, the announcement is provided for informational purposes and does not necessarily imply an endorsement of the research study being conducted.

I am emailing you for distributing my survey on Asian American men’s experiences of discrimination on your blog. I am currently a doctoral student in counseling psychology at Indiana University Bloomington and collecting data for a research project. This survey intents to understand how Asian American men experience discrimination differently from Asian American women or men of other races.

The survey is at https://iu.co1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_3UER7XUajCH56w5.

This is a anonymous survey that investigates Asian American men’s experiences of discrimination based on both of their gender and race. Eligible participants are Asian American men who are 18 or older, either born and raised in the U.S. or immigrated to the U.S. at age 10 or younger. The survey takes 30 minutes to complete and each participant has the chance of winning a $20 Amazon gift card after completing the survey.

This study has been approved by Indiana University’s Institutional Research Board. The results of the study will be used to develop scales that measure Asian American men’s experiences of gendered racism. Please consider this request. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at liu323@Indiana.edu or my dissertation advisor Dr. Joel Wong at joelwong@Indiana.edu . Thank you very much!

Thank you,
Tao Liu, M.S. & M.A.
Doctoral Student in Counseling Psychology
Indiana University Bloomington

December 1, 2015

Written by C.N.

Online Survey: International Separation During Childhood

Below is a solicitation for respondents for an online survey about Chinese Americans who were internationally separated from their parents. As always, the announcement is provided for informational purposes and does not necessarily imply an endorsement of the research study being conducted.

We are seeking Chinese Americans for a new paid research study that looks at international separation between parents and children. You may qualify if you: 1) are 18 years or older; 2) lived in China, Taiwan, or Hong Kong as a child for at least six months while both of your parents were in North America; and 3) can speak about your experiences at length.

You will receive a $30 Amazon gift card for filling out an online survey and participating in a phone interview. The researchers are affiliated with Wellesley College, Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center, and the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Please visit http://goo.gl/forms/2Q4N9aKYt2 for more details. Thank you from the Family Development Research Team!

International Separation Study

November 16, 2015

Written by C.N.

Deportations Punish Children Most

The following is a post written by my colleague (and wife) Miliann Kang, Associate Professor of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies, at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. It was originally published at The Conversation.

Our national identity as a welcoming destination for immigrants is being eroded by our fear of undocumented immigrants – fears that are increasingly impacting children.

The fourth GOP debate again revealed the fault lines in the Republican Party and in the country around immigration. Donald Trump called for mass deportations, while Jeb Bush argued such a policy would tear communities apart.

The fact is: such deportations are already happening, in record numbers. Experts are divided about what the impact of President Obama’s 2014 executive order will be. Will the granting of temporary status be outweighed by the increased enforcement measures?

In the meantime, families continue to live in fear, especially those with children.

When we deport their parents, we reinforce the rhetoric that “anchor babies” are a drain on the system by turning them into public charges. I have been thinking a lot about these left-behind children as my teaching at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and research on immigration intersects with their very real stories.

1.6 Million Kids

In September, five-year-old Sofía Cruz captured headlines and sympathy when she delivered a letter to Pope Francis pleading for comprehensive immigration reform.

Rewind five years. Then seven-year-old Daisy Cuevas stole hearts by telling Michelle Obama that “Barack Obama is taking away everybody who doesn’t have papers” and “my mom doesn’t have any.’ Her family then went into hiding.

Sofía’s and Daisy’s only crime is being born to parents who lack proper papers. That and being brown, or yellow.

In Forgotten Citizens: Deportation, Children, and the Making of American Exiles and Orphans, Luis Zayas, dean of the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work, underlines the extent of the problem:

In the span of eight years, our nation’s decision to deport 3,165,426 unauthorized immigrants has affected about 1,582,711 citizen-children. … Legislators who promote increased enforcement effectively increase family disruption and separation; citizen-children are collateral damage.”

Potentially as many citizen-children are living abroad in exile, as their parents grapple with taking them to countries where they have never set foot or leaving their children in the US.

Sammy is a teenager I recently met who was born and raised in the Southwest. His parents were living in the US, working and raising their children, until they were stopped for a traffic violation, or audited for taxes, or turned in by a teacher or medical provider, or any of the mundane ways that undocumented status gets uncovered.

Now Sammy is living with foster parents. They are kind and genuinely interested in his well-being. Sammy is doing his best to adjust to a new school and community. His parents communicate with him regularly, but they can’t be here to help him learn to drive, prepare for the SAT or nurse him through his first heartbreak.

In Loco Parentis

An anti-deportation protester shouts at Obama © Jason Reed/Reuters

I am glad Sammy has someone in loco parentis – in place of a parent – to help him weather the normal teen dramas, and the exceptional challenges of his situation. But I also think we as a society are “loco” for refusing to fix an immigration system that makes so many parents unable to parent their own children.

The Economic Policy Institute’s Facts About Immigration and the U.S. Economy states:

“Immigrants have an outsized role in US economic output because they are disproportionately likely to be working and are concentrated among prime working ages. Indeed, despite being 13% of the population, immigrants comprise 16% of the labor force.”

In recognition of this reality and to create a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants, Congress introduced the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007, but failed to pass it.

As these studies show, we rely on immigrant labor to care for our children, elders and sick, but do not provide sufficient legal pathways for them to do this work, then vilify them for breaking the law and deport them. Many people have heard about the massive increase in deportations, but ignore them or convince themselves that they are necessary. The argument goes that these are criminals and potential terrorists, rather than our neighbors and our coworkers.

We are in a moment where we may be able to see these children, and their parents, as people and citizens, but we have had many of these moments and they have passed without action. It’s time now to move away from this crazy loco parentis.

August 18, 2015

Written by C.N.

Online Survey: Asian American Fathering

Below is a solicitation for respondents for an online survey about parenting practices among Asian American fathers. As always, the announcement is provided for informational purposes and does not necessarily imply an endorsement of the research study being conducted.

My name is Zuzanna Molenda-Kostanski and I am a doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program in the Department of Professional Psychology and Family Therapy at Seton Hall University. I am interested in gaining a better understanding of the experiences of Asian American men as fathers by exploring how certain factors, including acculturation, gender-role conflict and parenting self-efficacy may impact father’s involvement with children. I would like to invite you to participate in my study.

The study consists of a survey that is quick and easy to fill out. You can complete it online at your own convenience, and it may take approximately 15 minutes to complete.

Participation in this study is completely voluntary and anonymous. The survey will not ask you for any identifying information about you and you are free to withdraw at any time. Additionally, any information gathered from the study will be kept on a USB memory key and stored in a locked secure office that will only be accessible to myself and my research advisor, Dr. Laura Palmer.

If you are at least 18 years old and are willing to participate in this study please click on the following link:
https://shucehs.co1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_5uJYdeSa6QVoVrn
Your consent to participate in the study is indicated by clicking on the link and completing the survey. The survey will be running between August 2015 and January 2016.

If you have any questions about the study please feel free to contact me or my research adviser using the contact information provided below. This study has been approved by the Seton Hall University Institutional Review Board.

Thank you for your time and consideration of your participation in my study.

Zuzanna Molenda-Kostanski, M.A.
Counseling Psychology PhD Program
Seton Hall University
Zuzanna.molendakostanski@student.shu.edu

Laura Palmer, Ph.D.
Counseling Psychology PhD Program Seton Hall University
psych@drlaurapalmer.org

Mary F. Ruzicka, Ph.D.
Director of Institutional Review Board
Seton Hall University
Mary.Ruzicka@shu.edu

June 22, 2015

Written by C.N.

Interesting Statistics for Immigrant Heritage Month

I must admit that I did not know that June is Immigrant Heritage Month. Up until now, I thought that although the U.S. recognizes all sorts of historical occasions with their own official month that we did not have a month to celebrate the contributions of immigrants to the U.S., despite the U.S. supposedly being the “Land of Immigrants.” I was therefore surprised to learn that 2014 was the first year that we officially celebrated June as Immigrant Heritage Month. Better late than never, I suppose.

At any rate, to mark this occasion, the Census Bureau released the infographic below that highlights some important demographic data and trends about the U.S.’s foreign-born population in 2010 compared to 1960.

If you are interested, the Census Bureau also has a more detailed summary report titled “The Foreign-Born Population in the U.S.: 2010” as well. Here are some highlights regarding the U.S.’s foreign-born population in 2010, with some comparisons to the U.S.-born population:

  • In 2010, more than 1 in 4 foreign-born residents lived in California.
  • Over 80% of the foreign-born population was between the ages of 18 to 64, compared to 60% for the U.S.-born population.
  • However, the native population had a higher proportion under the age of 18 than the foreign-born population. About 27% of the native population was under age 18, compared with 7% of the foreign born. This difference reflects the fact that children of immigrants born in the United States are, by definition, native.
  • More than three-fourths (77%) of foreign-born households and almost two-thirds (65%) of native households were family households.
  • A higher proportion of foreign-born (55%) than native (48%) households were maintained by a married couple. Among the regions of birth, householders born in Asia (63%) and Oceania (62%) were the most likely to be in a married-couple household. Within Latin America, households with a householder born in Mexico were the most likely to be maintained by a married couple (58%).
  • The average size of foreign-born households (3.4 persons) was larger than that of native households (2.5 persons). One reason for this difference is that a higher proportion of foreign-born family households (62%) than native-born family households (47%) included children under the age of 18.
  • Additionally, a higher proportion of foreign-born family households (10%) than native-born family households (5%) were multi-generational households with three or more generations living together.
  • Fifteen percent of the foreign-born population spoke only English at home. An additional 33% spoke a language other than English at home and spoke English “very well.”
  • In terms of educational attainment, among the foreign born aged 25 and older, 68% were high school graduates or higher, including 27% who had a bachelor’s degree or higher. By comparison, 89% of the native born aged 25 and older were high school graduates, including 28% who had a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • Foreign-born males (79%) were more likely to be in the labor force than native males (68%). In contrast, native females (60%) were more likely to have participated in the labor force compared with foreign-born females (57%).
  • The median household income of foreign-born households in the 12 months prior to being surveyed was $46,224, compared with $50,541 for native households. The difference in income was larger when focusing only on family households: the median income was $62,358 for families with a native householder and
    $49,785 for families with a foreign-born householder.

Finally, we sure to look through Asian-Nation’s list of best documentaries about immigration, arranged by category:

June 16, 2015

Written by C.N.

Links, Jobs, & Announcements #79

Here are some more announcements, links, and job postings about academic-related jobs, fellowships, and other opportunities for those interested in racial/ethnic/diversity issues, with a particular focus on Asian Americans. As always, the announcements and links are provided for informational purposes and do not necessarily imply an endorsement of the organization or college involved.

Call for Submissions: Intersectionality and Public Policy

© Corbis

Call for chapters for an edited volume on Intersectionality and Public Policy
Olena Hankivsky (Simon Fraser University), and Julia Jordan-Zachery (Providence College)

Intersectionality is concerned with simultaneous intersections between aspects of social difference and identity (e.g., race, gender, class) and forms of systematic oppression (e.g., racism, sexism, classism) at macro and micro levels and their varied impacts. Central theoretical tenets of intersectionality are: human lives cannot be reduced to single characteristics; human experiences cannot be accurately understood by prioritizing any one factor or constellation of factors; social categories such as race/ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and ability are socially constructed and dynamic; social locations are inseparable and shaped by interacting and mutually constituting social processes and power structures that are influenced by time and place.

Grounded in black feminist scholarship and activism (e.g., Collins, 1990; Combahee River Collective, 1977; hooks, 1984) and formally coined in 1989, by black legal scholar Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, intersectionality has been used across a significant number of disciplines. Diverse scholars have drawn on intersectionality to challenge inequities and promote social justice, as have government policy actors, human rights activists and community organizers. Indeed, while it is easier to simplify research, policy analysis and practice by labeling people into single or separate (e.g., female, male), rather than multiple and interlocking categories (e.g., poor, female immigrant of colour), it is increasingly apparent that this way of utilizing one category is limited in its ability to accurately represent the complexity of social life (Hankivsky et al., 2012). Against this backdrop, intersectionality is now recognized as a significant research and policy paradigm for bringing about necessary shifts in how social issues and related inequities are understood and addressed.

Simultaneously, an ongoing challenge is how to operationalize intersectionality, especially in relation to policy analysis. Until very recently, strong claims were made that effective methodologies do not exist. The situation is, however, rapidly changing. Scholars are advancing conceptual clarity, precision and guidance for intersectionality applications, in both research and policy. Nevertheless, advancements in the context of public policy are in nascent stages (e.g. Lombardo, Meier and Verloo 2009; Manuel 2006; Parken and Young 2010; Hancock 2011; Hankivsky and Cormier 2011; Hankivsky, 2012; Wilson 2013; Jordan-Zachery and Wilson 2014) and there is a pressing need for knowledge development and exchange in relation to empirical work that demonstrates how intersectionality improves public policy.

The goal of our edited collection is bring together international scholars to consider the state of the art of intersectionality in the context of policy research and analysis. Special consideration will be given to submissions from developing and transitional country contexts. We are looking for submissions that reflect on key challenges, possibilities and critiques of intersectionality-informed approaches across a variety of policy sectors, including but not limited to health, education, social policy, the environment, and the economy.

200 word abstracts of your proposed chapter submission are due August 1 2015. Please send your abstracts to BOTH Olena Hankivsky oah@sfu.ca, and Julia Jordan-Zachery jjordanz@providence.edu. All invited authors will be notified by August 31, 2015 and completed chapters will be due by December 1, 2015.

Call for Papers, Graduate Students: Intergenerational Collaborations

Amerasia Journal, Special Issue Call for Papers
Intergenerational Collaborations: Graduate Student Scholarship in Asian American Studies

Guest Editors:
Professor Yến Lê Espiritu (University of California, San Diego) and Professor Cathy J. Schlund-­‐Vials (University of Connecticut)

Publication Date:
Summer/Fall 2016

Due Date:
Paper submissions (6,000 – 7,000 words, inclusive of endnotes) due September 1, 2015

Since finding a permanent publishing home at UCLA’s Asian American Studies Center Press in 1971, Amerasia Journal has served as a scholarly hub for Asian American Studies. Slated for publication in Summer/Fall 2016, marking the journal’s forty -­‐ fifth anniversary, this special issue of Amerasia Journal brings together graduate student scholarship and faculty mentorship — two foundational components of the field of Asian American Studies. The issue is innovative in two ways: it is devoted exclusively to graduate student work, and it pairs graduate student authors with senior scholars who will provide guidance during the revision process.

The guest editors will be responsible for selecting the papers to be sent out for review, and for connecting graduate student authors with appropriate senior scholars in the field. Such “intergenerational” collaborations represent an Amerasia “first,” and the editors are guided by the desire to increase both access for and representation of graduate students in the field’s leading interdisciplinary journal.

As a key frame, the editors in part return to the journal’s mission statement, which reflects the founding, revisionary tenets of a field born out of civil rights movements and international liberation struggles. The open nature of this call for submissions — which takes seriously the diversity of Asian American Studies scholarship— echoes the innovative, multidisciplinary work that has been a hallmark of Amerasia Journal. Understanding that Asian American Studies has grown considerably over the past four decades, the editors ask possible contributors to situate their work within and beyond the context of this originating mission and multifaceted vision.

Submission Guidelines and Review Process:

The guest editors, in consultation with the Amerasia Journal editors, reviewers, and potential mentors, will make the decisions on which submissions will be included in the special issue. The review process is as follows:

  • Initial review of submitted papers by guest editors and Amerasia Journal editorial staff
  • Papers approved by editors will undergo blind peer review
  • Accepted projects will be assigned an appropriate mentor, who will work with the writer to develop and revise the submission; this process should begin and go through the last few months of 2015
  • Revision of accepted papers and final submission for production

Please send correspondence and papers regarding the special issue to the following addresses. All correspondence should refer to “Amerasia Journal Intergenerational Collaborations” in the subject line.

Contacts:
Professor Yến Lê Espiritu: yespiritu@ucsd.edu
Professor Cathy J. Schlund-­‐Vials: cathy.schlund-­vials@uconn.edu
Arnold Pan, Associate Editor, Amerasia Journal: arnoldpan@ucla.edu

Call for Papers: Cross-Racial and Cross-Ethnic Personal and Group Relationships

A special issue of Societies
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 September 2015

Special Issue Editors:
Dr. Silvia Dominguez
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115, USA
Website: http://www.drsilviadominguez.com/
E-Mail: s.dominguez@neu.edu

Dr. Cid Martinez
Department of Sociology, Sacramento Sate University, Sacramento, CA 95819-6005, USA
Website: http://www.csus.edu/soc/department/faculty1/martinez.html
E-Mail: martinec@saclink.csus.edu
Phone: +916 278 6694

In the face of an increasingly complex society, people seek out and form relations with those whom they feel safe and comfortable and perceive to be similar. As a result, racial and ethnic groups form their own distinct social networks that are separated and isolated from others, limiting information and awareness and the ability to develop consensus to address community problems and promote mobility. Homogenous networks also limit the ability of affluent groups to appreciate and address the social barriers of less fortunate groups. They are thus more likely to reinforce negative views of minorities, and the poor. Frequently, inter-racial/ethnic division is the norm rather than the exception.

In fact, very few people have access and/or opportunity to develop cross-racial, or ethnic relationships due to the long lasting high levels of racial and ethnic segregation. Nevertheless, we know that Asians and Latin Americans have high rates of intermarriage, which signifies the emergence of networks that cross ethnicity and or racial lines. This special issue provides a window into the social mechanisms that foster cross ethnic and cross-racial and ethnic networks. What makes people develop heterogeneous networks across race and ethnicity? What do people gain from these heterogeneous networks?

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Societies is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 300 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.

Call for Submissions: Annual Meeting of the Association for Asian American Studies

2016 Calls for Papers: Gateways, Ports and Portals: Re-imagining Points of Departure for Asian American Studies
2016 Association for Asian American Studies Conference
April 27-30, 2016, Miami, Florida

Submissions due by: October 16th, 2015

Co-chairs:
Chris Lee (University of British Columbia) and Crystal Parikh (New York University)

Inspired by the city of Miami’s nickname –- “the Gateway to Latin America’ -– the 2016 conference asks participants to consider how forms of movement, transit, and exchange have shaped Asian America. If Asian American Studies has been frequently conceived as an intellectual, institutional, and political point of arrival, how would identifying alternative points of departure reconfigure our conceptions of the field? How might relocating origins and destinations not only change our notions of what the field is, and what it might become, but also the “gateways, ports, and portals” that enable our research, teaching, and activism?

Florida is an especially apt site to consider overlapping encounters between empires and other forces of modernity. Its intersecting histories of indigeneity, slavery, labor migrations, and refugee resettlements call for comparative approaches that place Asian American Studies in different continental, hemispheric, and, even planetary configurations. The state has been a key site in overlapping circuits of workers, intellectuals, artists, social movements and capitalist systems, reflecting its close connections to the Atlantic and Caribbean worlds.

In turn, the changing environmental conditions along Florida’s coastlines and the Everglades prompt us to look to ecocritical approaches that interrogate “the human” as the primary subject and scale of ethnic studies. As one of the hardest hit housing markets on the U.S. eastern seaboard during the 2008 financial crisis and ensuing recession, the conference location asks us to consider how contemporary forces of finance and speculative capital urgently call for critical, institutional, policy, and activist analyses and responses that question our conceptions of vulnerability, risk, crisis, and recovery.

As a key electoral swing state, Florida further prompts an examination of Asian Americans’ role in political contests, coalitions, and consensus-building. While the proportion of its population that identifies as Asian American is relatively small, Miami is a metropolis with remarkable racial diversity. This might inspire us to consider how comparative perspectives can inform and challenge the research and teaching agendas of Asian American Studies.

These questions call for intellectual conversations across the humanities, social, and physical sciences, as well as professional fields such as public policy, law, public health, and education.

Our 2016 conference theme thus invites participants to reflect on how disciplinary gatekeeping and entryways inform, but also restrict, the ways in which we undertake Asian American Studies. What innovative approaches, such as comparative, multilingual and/or interdisciplinary frameworks, has Asian American Studies remitted not only to traditional academic disciplines, but fields such as American, postcolonial, and diaspora studies among others?

How does the growth of Asian American Studies outside the borders of the United States demand a deeper interrogation of the often unacknowledged (US) nationalist biases of the field? We accordingly invite participants from all disciplines to submit proposals that engage seriously with questions and productive possibilities of collaboration and conflict, as we shuttle across the imagined spaces of Asian America.

We welcome scholarship, cultural work, as well as political activist submissions for the 2016 AAAS conference. Proposals for mentorship or professionalization round tables, panels, or workshops are also welcome. All submissions and proposals are due Friday, October 16, 2015. Please note: Participants may only appear in the program twice and only in different roles.

Program Questions? For specific questions regarding type of sessions, submission guidelines, or other programmatic issues, please contact the Program Committee Co-Chairs: Chris Lee (Chris.Lee@ubc.ca) and Crystal Parikh (Crystal.Parikh@nyu.edu).

May 26, 2015

Written by C.N.

New Books: Educational Success and the Model Minority Image

As a follow up to my recent post titled “The Affirmative Action Debate Among Asian Americans,” these recently-published books provide some more details and sociological context regarding Asian American academic and socioeconomic success, as well as how these achievements affect their position in the larger U.S. racial landscape.

The Color of Success: Asian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority, by Ellen D. Wu (Princeton University Press)

'The Color of Success' by Ellen D. Wu

The Color of Success tells of the astonishing transformation of Asians in the United States from the “yellow peril” to “model minorities” — peoples distinct from the white majority but lauded as well-assimilated, upwardly mobile, and exemplars of traditional family values — in the middle decades of the twentieth century. As Ellen Wu shows, liberals argued for the acceptance of these immigrant communities into the national fold, charging that the failure of America to live in accordance with its democratic ideals endangered the country’s aspirations to world leadership.

Weaving together myriad perspectives, Wu provides an unprecedented view of racial reform and the contradictions of national belonging in the civil rights era. She highlights the contests for power and authority within Japanese and Chinese America alongside the designs of those external to these populations, including government officials, social scientists, journalists, and others. And she demonstrates that the invention of the model minority took place in multiple arenas, such as battles over zoot suiters leaving wartime internment camps, the juvenile delinquency panic of the 1950s, Hawaii statehood, and the African American freedom movement. Together, these illuminate the impact of foreign relations on the domestic racial order and how the nation accepted Asians as legitimate citizens while continuing to perceive them as indelible outsiders.

By charting the emergence of the model minority stereotype, The Color of Success reveals that this far-reaching, politically charged process continues to have profound implications for how Americans understand race, opportunity, and nationhood.

Redefining Race: Asian American Panethnicity and Shifting Ethnic Boundaries, by Dina Okamoto (Russell Sage Foundation)

'Redefining Race' by Dina Okamoto

In 2012, the Pew Research Center issued a report that named Asian Americans as the “highest-income, best-educated, and fastest-growing racial group in the United States.” Despite this optimistic conclusion, over thirty Asian American advocacy groups challenged the findings, noting that the term “Asian American” is complicated. It includes a wide range of ethnicities, national origins, and languages, and encompasses groups that differ greatly in their economic and social status. In Redefining Race, sociologist Dina G. Okamoto traces the complex evolution of “Asian American” as a panethnic label and identity, emphasizing how it is a deliberate social achievement negotiated by group members, rather than an organic and inevitable process.

Drawing on original research and a series of interviews, Okamoto investigates how different Asian ethnic groups created this collective identity in the wake of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. Okamoto documents the social forces that encouraged the development of this panethnic identity. The racial segregation of Asians in similar occupations and industries, for example, produced a shared experience of racial discrimination, which led Asians of different national origins to develop shared interests and identities. . . . According to Okamoto, ethnic organizations provided the foundation necessary to build solidarity within different Asian-origin communities. Leaders and community members who created inclusive narratives and advocated policies that benefited groups beyond their own moved their discrete ethnic organizations toward a panethnic model. . . . As Okamoto shows, the process of building ties between ethnic communities while also recognizing ethnic diversity is the hallmark of panethnicity.

Redefining Race is a groundbreaking analysis of the processes through which group boundaries are drawn and contested. In mapping the genesis of a panethnic Asian American identity, Okamoto illustrates the ways in which concepts of race continue to shape how ethnic and immigrant groups view themselves and organize for representation in the public arena.

Servitors of Empire: Studies in the Dark Side of Asian America, by Darrell Y. Hamamoto (NYU Press)

'Servitors of Empire' by Darrell Y. Hamamoto

Forcing a fundamental rethinking of the Asian American elite, many of whom have attained top positions in business, government, academia, sciences, and the arts, this book will be certain to generate a good deal of controversy and honest discussion regarding the role Asian Americans will play in the new century as China and India loom ever larger in the world economic system. Not since the large-scale infusion of scientists and engineers fleeing Nazi Germany has there been such a mass importation of intellectual labor from U.S. client states in Asia.

One of the specialized tasks assigned to this group is to build the technetronic infrastructure for the new world order command and control system. Servitors of Empire is not intended to fan the flames of suspicion and paranoia aimed at Asian Americans, but serves to illuminate the way in which highly trained knowledge workers are being employed to bring sovereign nations such as the United States under centralized rule made possible through advances in bioscience, IT, engineering, and global finance.

The Good Immigrants: How the Yellow Peril Became the Model Minority, by Madeline Y. Hsu (Princeton University Press)

'The Good Immigrants' by Madeline Y. Hsu

Conventionally, U.S. immigration history has been understood through the lens of restriction and those who have been barred from getting in. In contrast, The Good Immigrants considers immigration from the perspective of Chinese elites—intellectuals, businessmen, and students—who gained entrance because of immigration exemptions. Exploring a century of Chinese migrations, Madeline Hsu looks at how the model minority characteristics of many Asian Americans resulted from US policies that screened for those with the highest credentials in the most employable fields, enhancing American economic competitiveness.

The earliest US immigration restrictions targeted Chinese people but exempted students as well as individuals who might extend America’s influence in China. Western-educated Chinese such as Madame Chiang Kai-shek became symbols of the US impact on China, even as they patriotically advocated for China’s modernization. World War II and the rise of communism transformed Chinese students abroad into refugees, and the Cold War magnified the importance of their talent and training. As a result, Congress legislated piecemeal legal measures to enable Chinese of good standing with professional skills to become citizens. Pressures mounted to reform American discriminatory immigration laws, culminating with the 1965 Immigration Act.

Filled with narratives featuring such renowned Chinese immigrants as I.M. Pei, The Good Immigrants examines the shifts in immigration laws and perceptions of cultural traits that enabled Asians to remain in the United States as exemplary, productive Americans.

Citizens of Asian America: Democracy and Race during the Cold War, by Cindy I-Fen Cheng (NYU Press)

'Citizens of Asian America' by Cindy I-Fen Cheng

During the Cold War, Soviet propaganda highlighted U.S. racism in order to undermine the credibility of U.S. democracy. In response, incorporating racial and ethnic minorities in order to affirm that America worked to ensure the rights of all and was superior to communist countries became a national imperative. In Citizens of Asian America, Cindy I-Fen Cheng explores how Asian Americans figured in this effort to shape the credibility of American democracy, even while the perceived “foreignness” of Asian Americans cast them as likely alien subversives whose activities needed monitoring following the communist revolution in China and the outbreak of the Korean War.

While histories of international politics and U.S. race relations during the Cold War have largely overlooked the significance of Asian Americans, Cheng challenges the black-white focus of the existing historiography. She highlights how Asian Americans made use of the government’s desire to be leader of the “free world” by advocating for civil rights reforms, such as housing integration, increased professional opportunities, and freedom from political persecution. Further, Cheng examines the liberalization of immigration policies, which worked not only to increase the civil rights of Asian Americans but also to improve the nation’s ties with Asian countries, providing an opportunity for the U.S. government to broadcast, on a global scale, the freedom and opportunity that American society could offer.

May 20, 2015

Written by C.N.

The Affirmative Action Debate Among Asian Americans

You may have heard that a coalition of about 60 Asian American organizations recently filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, alleging that Harvard University and other Ivy League schools systematically discriminate against Asian American applicants using affirmative action. This complaint follows two similar lawsuits filed in federal court last November that allege the same charges of discrimination against Asian Americans using affirmative action.

Specifically, the complaints allege that Harvard and other universities around the country that use affirmative action policies ultimately discriminate against Asian American applicants by, among other things, imposing a quota that artificially limits the total number of Asian Americans admitted, and by forcing Asian American applicants to achieve higher GPAs and SAT or ACT scores in order to have an equal chance of admission compared to non-Asian applicants.

© Radius Images/Corbis

Before I continue, I want to reiterate that I strongly support affirmative action. Rather than detailing the multiple reasons why affirmative action ultimately benefits the Asian American community, I refer you to the recent post on AsianAmericanCivilRights.org that contains a concise summary of the arguments in favor of affirmative action, along with a list of more than 135 Asian American organizations that support affirmative action. Further, you can download copies of two studies by academics that provide even more detailed arguments about affirmative action and specifically, how “negative action,” rather than affirmative action, explains the inequalities Asian Americans face in college admissions:

  • Chin, Gabriel, Sumi Cho, Jerry Kang, and Frank Wu. 2003. “Beyond Self-Interest: Asian Pacific Americans Toward a Community of Justice.” (PDF)
  • Kidder, William C. 2006. “Negative Action Versus Affirmative Action: Asian Pacific Americans Are Still Caught in the Middle.” (PDF)

These articles also get into how claims of discrimination play into the model minority image of Asian Americans, how affirmative action has been used repeatedly as a ‘wedge’ issue to divide communities of color by conservative actors, and to impart a superficial “honorary White” status onto Asian Americans and to use our community as an example that African Americans, Latino Americans, and Native American Indians should follow. So instead of elaborating on these aspects in detail, the purpose of this post is to provide an historical and sociological context for us to understand why some Asian Americans oppose affirmative action.

As I have written on previously, affirmative action is one of, if not the most divisive issue within the Asian American community (up there with interracial dating and marriage). As such, I am not surprised that many Asian Americans are passionately opposed to affirmative action. I also understand why they are so opposed.

The first factor that helps us to understand why many Asian Americans are against affirmative action is that, more than likely, those Asian Americans who oppose affirmative action tend to be recent immigrants. This is an important distinction because, as recent immigrants, they are less likely to be familiar with the U.S.’s unfortunate history and ongoing legacy of systematic inequality and discrimination against groups of color, particularly African Americans.

Instead, these recent immigrants are more likely to see the U.S. in very idealized ways, specifically as the “Land of Opportunity” where, if they just work hard enough and achieve the highest test scores and GPAs, they will be able to achieve “The American Dream” of economic, if not social, success. In other words, many recent Asian American immigrants see the U.S. as a pure meritocracy, where those with the highest ‘objective’ qualifications should reap the biggest rewards.

Unfortunately, this view of the U.S. as a pure meritocracy is rather simplistic, naive, and fails to consider the multitude of institutional mechanisms that historically, have given members of certain groups a systematic advantage over others, and how such advantages (and disadvantages) have accumulated and become reinforced year after year, decade after decade, generation after generation. As many supporters of affirmative action would rightly point out, even if a student is extraordinarily intelligent, motivated, and hard-working, s/he may not have access to certain economic resources and educational opportunities to maximize their talents and skills to succeed.

Based on this idealized, simplistic, and meritocratic view of U.S. society, these recent Asian American immigrants who oppose affirmative action are likely to think that if their child has higher SAT or ACT scores and/or a higher GPA than other applicants, then their child should be admitted, end of discussion. To them, any other factor besides ‘objective’ measures such as test scores and GPA are irrelevant. They would scoff at suggestions that factors such as applicant’s life experiences, increasing demographic diversity in the student population, or racial identity can be considered (even though the U.S. Supreme Court has consistently concluded that it is constitutional to consider all such factors in college admissions).

Many of these recent Asian American immigrants who oppose affirmative action also come from professional or upper-income backgrounds. This tends to reinforce and perpetuate their meritocratic mentality of how the world, and U.S. society in particular, should work. In other words, they are likely to think, “If I worked hard and became successful, then why can’t everybody else can do the same.” Also perhaps because these Asian immigrants tend to come from a racially homogenous country, they are not likely to be aware of, or even care about, the history of systematic racism against African Americans, Latino Americans, Native American Indians, and other Asian Americans (such as those from refugee backgrounds in Southeast Asia from and therefore do not have the same levels of human capital) here in the U.S., and how the legacy of racism still hurts the chances of these groups of color even today.

If nothing else, this debate over affirmative action within the Asian American community should illustrate once and for all that Asian Americans are not a monolithic category and that instead, there are numerous differences across ethnicities, human capital and social class, generation, and political ideologies. With this mind, I completely understand why some Asian Americans are opposed to affirmative action. I just think that their arguments are misguided, too narrowly-focused, and completely miss the larger sociological and historical context that continues to frame the contentious dynamics of race and ethnicity in U.S. society today.