Hi Meltingpot Readers,
My friend Jesse Washington, recently penned an interesting article for the Associated Press on a fairly recent trend of Asian students trying to "hide" their Asian heritage when applying to college. Although most colleges would deny it, there seems to be a higher threshold Asian applicants have to meet in regards to their grade point average and SAT scores. Since Asian students in general out perform Whites, Blacks, Latinos and Native Americans on tests and in grades, in order for colleges not to have a disproportionate number of Asians in their classes, they make it harder for them to get in. Or at least that seems to be the case. Most schools don't want to go on the record saying this is true. But students, parents and high school guidance counselors seem to think it is and thus this new trend.
So, how does one hide the fact that they are Asian? Well, a person can not check the "race box" on the application, but an Asian surname pretty much ruins that trick. So, who is really playing the race game here? It's the kids who only have one Asian parent. The Asian mixies. The Hapas, if you will. The ones who can "pass for White," as did the handful of kids interviewed in the story.
On the one hand, I feel for any kid who is discriminated against because of his ethnic background. Especially if that discrimination comes from über achievement! How does that feel? 'Uh, We're sorry but you and your people are just too smart. We don't want you here at our institution of higher learning.' (sigh)
But on the other hand, the meltingpot in me chafes at the idea that these kids are passing for White. And my discomfort with it has nothing to do with college admissions. Any time a person feels the need to cover up/hide/deny the colored part of their heritage in order to get ahead, is a tragedy. I don't have any solutions to offer these kids in this horrible predicament, but I know for a fact that lying about who you are can never lead to good things.
So Meltingpot readers, what do you think Asian kids should do when facing discrimination in the admissions process? What do you think our colleges and universities should do to address the problem? And, should a kid with only one Asian parent, be placed in the same category of Asian as the kid with two? Isn't this tricky?
I'm totally listening.