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Asian Academia

It’s not right for any student to lose ownership of their accomplishments.

Elizabeth Hoyt

January 08, 2013

Asian Academia
You work hard for your grades and accomplishments. But, imagine a world where your accomplishments aren't attributed to you, or your hard work, but to your race. Unfortunately, this is the world Asian-Americans are finding themselves in all too often when it comes to the education sector. Affirmative action, and laws in the like, are supposed to protect and help minorities, but what happens when it begins to work against them?

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According to a 2009 sociology study, Asian-Americans are actually becoming underrepresented at selective universities. Shockingly, white students were up to three times as likely to be admitted to schools with the exact same academic record as Asian students. Simply stated, your chances of entering the same school will be significantly lower as an Asian student than as a white student with the same record. Why is this? Many believe that Asian students are held to an unfairly higher standard. Post-1965, once immigration laws were reformed, talented immigrants from many nations have come to America for a better life. It seems as though we are nothing if not harder on their children for following in their parents’ hard-working footsteps.

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Many of the nation’s Asian-American youth are the best and the brightest – considering the fact that Asian-Americans comprise of nearly six percent of the nation’s population yet are up to 18% of the attendees at Ivy League schools. This is not to stay that stereotypes don’t play a role here. Certainly, every body of people is diverse and is comprised of individuals with varying strengths, weaknesses and accomplishments. However, with facts like the aforementioned, it’s a trend that difficult to ignore and too unfair to turn a blind eye to. In fact, white parents have admittedly opted out of school systems that have become “too Asian,” in fear that their children simply could not compete. Other private schools are notoriously difficult in admitting Asian students, where many white parents would likely protest due to competition.

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Asian-American students have admitted to feeling like outsiders and, at times, feeling ashamed of their heritage. They’ve described themselves as being seen as “faceless,” “geeks,” and, when they do have great success, feel their peers attribute it to “being Asian.” It’s not right for any student to lose ownership of their accomplishments. Accomplishments are just that, and should be valued as such, no matter what the student’s race, gender or whatever else. This no longer sounds like a blip, this is an issue. All students should be created equal, but some have said Asians are "too hard-working" or "too smart for their own good". We beg to differ. Furthermore, a student’s last name, or first for that matter, shouldn't equate to the scrutiny he or she is under or the opportunities he or she is afforded. In a just world – the world our academic departments should strive for – a student who’s a white pianist, who won a scholarship for science academics, in addition to being Valedictorian, should be afforded the same opportunities as an Asian-American student with the same academic background. If we can’t expect that from the institutions preparing students for the real world, how can we ever begin to expect fairness to take place in the real world once they’re in it? The truth is, we can’t.

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