All-Asian bad; half-Asian good

“Harvard’s Chinese Exclusion Act” is a Wall Street Journal article about how Harvard discriminates against Asian applicants. Here are a few excerpts:

How much harder is it for an Asian-American applicant? Mr. Zhao and the complaint cite 2009 research by Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade that found an Asian-American student must earn an SAT score 140 points higher than a white student, 270 points higher than a Hispanic and 450 points higher than an African-American, all else being equal.

“Our children have to study much harder,” Mr. Zhao said late last month at a news conference. For young Asian-Americans, the perception that they must strive more than others only intensifies the competition for college admission. Then come the complaints from colleges that Asian-Americans focus too much on academics, and the cycle goes on.

But being half-Asian might be an advantage. Last fall I toured a prestigious liberal arts college campus with two friends (very comfortably retired from the financial services industry; dad is white and mom is Chinese-American) and their son. A student assured the boy that “there are a lot of special programs here for science students of color.” He checked “mixed race” on the application and was not only admitted, but was invited to an all-expense-paid summer program for “mixed race students.”

Is “never put down ‘full Asian’” a variation of the Tropic Thunder principle?

Kirk Lazarus: Everybody knows you never go full retard.
Tugg Speedman: What do you mean?
Kirk Lazarus: Check it out. Dustin Hoffman, ‘Rain Man,’ look retarded, act retarded, not retarded. Counted toothpicks, cheated cards. Autistic, sho’. Not retarded. You know Tom Hanks, ‘Forrest Gump.’ Slow, yes. Retarded, maybe. Braces on his legs. But he charmed the pants off Nixon and won a ping-pong competition. That ain’t retarded. Peter Sellers, “Being There.” Infantile, yes. Retarded, no. You went full retard, man. Never go full retard. You don’t buy that? Ask Sean Penn, 2001, “I Am Sam.” Remember? Went full retard, went home empty handed…

Philip Greenspun’s Weblog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *