Thoughts Regarding Affirmative Action and the Model Minority

At this point, you’ve heard how Trump is trying to push for investigations regarding affirmative action and how colleges are “discriminating” against whites during the admissions process. Read here if you haven’t.

(this post is also coming really late, as I should be blogging about what recently happened this past weekend with regards to Charlottesville, but I feel that I need to post this first. anyway…)

It’s not the first time that affirmative action policies have been put under governmental scrutiny. It’s also not the first time that Asian Americans have been used as a “prop” in the affirmative action battle. In addition, this brings up discussions regarding Asian Americans as the “model minority.”

What is the model minority? According to Wikipedia, it is “a demographic group (whether based on ethnicity, race or religion) whose members are perceived to achieve a higher degree of socioeconomic success than the population average. This success is typically measured relatively by income, education, low criminality, and high family/marital stability.”

Asian Americans are often denoted as the “model minority,” because it appears that through hard work, they can overcome the racial discrimination and be successful, but not as successful, as their white counterparts. The idea of meritocracy comes into play, because with hard work and dedication, you can achieve anything you want and overcome hardships and challenges. So, if you simply work hard, everything will be okay, right? Well, no…

To Asians and Asian Americans out there reading this, I urge you to not embrace the “model minority” label. I urge you to not put yourself above other minorities. Being labeled as the “model minority” is detrimental, because it still highlights how we are below the white majority. It also pits us against other minorities, essentially telling them that they, too, can overcome racism if they simply work hard. It undermines and dismisses the racism that minorities experience.

All races experience racism differently. I want you all to understand that. I recognize that blacks in America are experiencing racism differently than how Asians in America experience racism in America. I, as an Asian, do not understand the trials and tribulations that they (blacks) and their ancestors have gone through with regards to slavery, and to this day, still experience. I apologize for my ignorance and for my inaction. I apologize for assuming that all of us minorities share the same experiences of being minorities in America and for thinking that we can easily come together to take down white supremacy. I still think that we can come together and take down white supremacy. But, to think that I can relate to how other minorities experience life on a day to day basis is ignorant. And I apologize.

Going back to affirmative action policies, I think the Trump administration is wasting time making the statement that whites are being treated unfairly. Really? REALLY? Without affirmative action, there would be no diversity in colleges and universities. I think it is key that these affirmative action policies stay put. College is one of the most pivotal times in a person’s life, one that molds and shapes how that person thinks and one that influences where they go in life.

At the university I go to, it’s still majority white. You can see the pie chart below that details the “diversity” of my university.

Screen Shot 2017-08-13 at 23.26.08
Stats taken from my university’s website, but I recreated the pie chart in Tableau, because I didn’t like how it was done on my university’s website. Yes, the decimals are percents. 

Diversity stats probably look similar at other colleges and universities in America. I think colleges and universities aren’t doing enough in rounding up a diverse student population. More should be done, so that we, as people of color, can get a good mix of other people’s experiences.

Those are some quick thoughts I had (and long overdue…so, I apologize if these thoughts are kind of sporadic) regarding affirmative action and model minority. I will definitely write another post about model minority (a better one, too…) at some point in the future, because that label is problematic.


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