Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Asian Advantage

Nicholas Kristof, NYT
OCT. 10, 2015

THIS is an awkward question, but here goes: Why are Asian-Americans so successful in America?

It’s no secret that Asian-Americans are disproportionately stars in American schools, and even in American society as a whole. Census data show that Americans of Asian heritage earn more than other groups, including whites. Asian-Americans also have higher educational attainment than any other group.

I wrote a series of columns last year, “When Whites Just Don’t Get It,” about racial inequity, and one of the most common responses from angry whites was along these lines: This stuff about white privilege is nonsense, and if blacks lag, the reason lies in the black community itself. Just look at Asian-Americans. Those Koreans and Chinese make it in America because they work hard. All people can succeed here if they just stop whining and start working.

Let’s confront the argument head-on. Does the success of Asian-Americans suggest that the age of discrimination is behind us?

A new scholarly book, “The Asian American Achievement Paradox,” by Jennifer Lee and Min Zhou, notes that Asian-American immigrants in recent decades have started with one advantage: They are highly educated, more so even than the average American. These immigrants are disproportionately doctors, research scientists and other highly educated professionals.

(More here.)

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