Letters to the Editor: The ‘open secret’ of anti-Asian bias in college admissions
It is no secret that Asian-Americans face barriers to higher education. According to the American Council on Education, only one in six Asian-Americans attends a 4-year university and only 9 percent of Asian students attend a 4-year college.
A growing body of evidence suggests that this bias persists at the top of the academic food chain, and that it is deeply rooted in the culture and traditions of our society.
For example, over the past decade, I’ve been to many Asian-American churches and I’ve noticed that these sites have a very different feel in their membership from the ones where I was raised. In some congregations, the Sunday prayer is held in Asian languages, whereas in some churches, the prayer is in English.
While I am sure that some of these churches have a very diverse membership, I am convinced that some of the diversity has much to do with the fact that the church culture is deeply influenced by the culture as a whole.
In other words, the diversity of Asian-American religious expression is not about skin color, but rather about different interpretations of Christian cultural norms.
In fact, I have noticed that when I try to explain the diversity of Asian-American culture to more conservative or traditional church members, they seem to be offended.
Why the bias in the college admissions process? According to the Council on Asian American Affairs, Asians are not as diverse as we would like to think.
Asian Americans are more likely to be single, less likely to marry, and more likely to have child out of wedlock as compared with their white counterparts. Their higher rates of singlehood (almost 2 million Asian Americans live single-parent lives within the United States) also translate into higher rates of drug and alcohol abuse, as well as a higher propensity to engage in criminal activity.
This is why the University of California system has set an admission goal to increase their enrollment with Asian students for the next four years by 14 percent.
In an article in the New York Times, UC President Janet Napolitano explained that she wanted the University of California system to be the largest and most diverse public university system in the world.
But despite the efforts of Chancellor Henry Yang, Asian-American students still make up 6 percent of the enrollment, and are not considered for the