Monday, December 5, 2011

Asian Students Not Checking "Asian"

Asian and part-Asian students, aware of the well-studied bias against high-performing Asian students in college admissions, are now avoiding checking Asian on their applications. Things are only going to get worse for Asian applicants: the Obama administration has recently relaxed restrictions on the use of race in college admissions, and in California specifically, Jerry Brown wants to go further. Of course, many of these students have ambivalent feelings about this.

Ambivalent Asian students: I'm going to solve this for you. Don't check Asian. Why is it okay for you to do this?

- First and foremost, because you're dealing with a badly immoral system. Let the admissions offices squeal all they want - the day they stop discriminating against you based on your race is the day you'll stop not checking your true background. If you woke up two centuries in the past, and the house you were in was harboring escaped slaves, would you lie to the police who came looking for them? Of course you would. Just like you're going to lie to the people who are treating groups of people differently today based on ethnic background.

- One concern seems to be that somehow students are "selling out", "selling their soul", or "turning their back on their community". Seriously? A mark on one piece of paper has that much effect on the identity you'll project in your life? Either don't complete that section, or say "not Asian", and forget about it. If your surname gives you away, then, and I mean this seriously, do a legal name change. Then change it back once you're in. Again, seriously. You have to weigh the annoying paperwork against the 250 SAT point advantage you'll get.

- From a purely selfish standpoint, I as an American adult want you to get into a good school where your potential is realized, based on your actual academic performance. Do it for me, and do it for yourself, for your country and future economy.

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