Asian American Numbers Rise

* Re "Growing Asian Enrollment Redefines UC Campuses," Dec. 27:

Although Asian Pacific Americans may benefit numerically from the rollback in affirmative action admissions at the UC schools, this does not mean that Asian Pacifics should support the wholesale abolishment of affirmative action policies. Affirmative action ensures that campuses reflect the diversity of the state's population. Students need educational experiences that are multiculturally rich if they are to live and work in California with people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds.

Although Asian Pacifics comprise one-third of the UC undergraduate student population, their growing numbers in education do not mean that they are faring as well in the workplace. In fact, Asian Pacifics with college degrees earn almost 11% less than comparably educated whites. Overall, they receive fewer promotions despite being more educated or skilled. Certainly, if Asian Pacific UC students would like to secure jobs and equitable salaries upon graduation, they and their parents should wholeheartedly support affirmative action programs.

From the late 1800s until 1965, because many Asian Americans were achieving economic success in business and farming, unfair laws were implemented which prohibited or limited the number of Asians who could immigrate to America. Nothing indicates that history will not repeat itself. To help prevent this type of backlash, Asian Pacifics and others must advocate for access to education and jobs for all.

BONNIE TANG, Staff Attorney

Asian Pacific American Legal Center

Los Angeles

* The Dec. 27 article opens up with the sob story about white student James Frank, who lost the student body president elections to Chinese American Michelle Tsui. The use of Frank as an example of white students' suffering belittles the very painful history of systematic discrimination against Asian Americans in this state and in this nation--through hostile immigration laws, being barred from owning land, being denied citizenship, to name a few.

Ignoring this history makes it quite easy to recycle the model-minority myth of Asian Americans time and time again. Within this formulation, Asian Americans come flooding through UC gates with high GPAs, threatening to raise grade curves, and dominate the student council. Asian American students seem undeserving and power-hungry in this narrative. The model-minority myth fails to take into account the fact that being at these high schools and UC schools is quite an achievement for many poor immigrant kids.



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