Editor’s note: This story was written by a high school student in Northwest Asian Weekly Foundation’s Summer Youth Leadership Program. This story is part of a special back-to-school issue.
By Melinda Dang
Asian American students are often labeled as the model minority because of their high rates of success throughout schools in America.
Although admissions offices defend that the review process during admissions is fair, some will admit that bias does still indeed exist. For example, Jon Reider, a counselor at University High School in San Francisco claims that the bias is real. In an interview with HigherEd.com, Reider cited his previous job at Stanford University’s office of admissions to be proof that the bias against Asians persist.
He stated that the office did a study some years ago in which they compared Asian and white applicants with the same overall academic and leadership rankings. Asian students were less likely to be admitted than white students. Many critics may argue that the lack of specifications within the study question the integrity of the findings themselves.
The Wall Street Journal also published an article highlighting the perception of working against Asian students. White families were reported to be leaving notable public schools because the districts became too Asian. Although 42 percent of Asian Americans have at least a college degree, statistics don’t explain that not all ethnicities within the Asian community are the same.
For every Chinese American or South Asian who has a college degree, the same number of Southeast Asians are still struggling to adapt to their lives in the United States. Vietnamese, Laotian, and Cambodian Americans have far lower rates of getting a college diploma than the Chinese population alone.
Many people believe that since Asians as a whole seem to be doing so well, Asian Americans are in less need of services such as bilingual education, bilingual government documents, and public assistance.
It is also ironic that the Asian American label of being the model minority can actually backfire. In the 1980s, many more Asian Americans were applying to colleges than before. As a result, many universities began to reject Asian students. Asian Americans were accusing universities such as UC Berkeley, UCLA, Stanford, Harvard, Princeton, and Brown of imposing a limit on their admission numbers. ♦