Sardonic Sistah Says

Observations… Ruminations… Ponderances… & Rants from Another Perspective

Less Than Perfect

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Being thought of as the perfect minority has its drawbacks. 

For instance, how many people can see the need for a college to specify Asian ethnicities when Asian Americans seem overrepresented on the campus. 

Not many.  I am sure it will be hard to drum up sympathy. 

It’s exactly what they want to do at the UCLA.  Pacific Islanders aren’t doing as well as their brethern and they are collecting signatures to petition legislators and the Board of Regents to make the university change how they collect admissions data.  They believe this would help to bring to light the educational barriers facing certain Asian populations.

According to the LA Times education levels are low for some Asian minorities.  “For example, 66% of Hmong, 58% of Laotians and 56% of Cambodians have not completed high school, according to a recent report compiled by the Asian Pacific American Legal Center based on census data and estimates. But 30% of Asian Indians and 22% of Pakistanis have advanced degrees.” LA Times 22Jul07

“People assume it’s this model minority community that is highly educated,” said Karin Wang, vice president of programs for the center to an LA Times reporter. “That is true for some of the community but not all pockets of our community.”

Pacific Islanders are Asians but they are also different from mainland Asians.  They are generally people from the islands in the Pacific like Guam, Hawaii and New Zealand.  Filipinos also consider themselves to be Pacific Islanders.  Seperated from mainland Asia, Pacific Islanders have their own cultures and histories.

Just like in California, Pacific Islanders are floundering in other states as well.  In May a report from the Pacific Island Women’s Association in Seattle showed that Pacific Islanders are more likely to live in poverty and have a higher teen pregnancy rate than  other racial group in the state of Washington.  The Seattle Times reports that “Asians and Pacific Islanders rank differently according to many health and socio-economic indicators. Yet they are usually grouped together in many governmental and other reports, masking the smaller group’s weaknesses.”

I’m not exactly sure how this will change the view of many non-asians.  Many people already worry that there are more Asians on college campuses than there are in the American population.  How will it serve the rest of the population if others (white students, black students) loose out to boost Asian numbers on the yard?  Or will the Asian community be split if students whose heritage is from mainland Asia lose spots to those whose heritage is from the Pacific Islands?

It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.  No one ever said diversity was going to be easy.

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Written by rentec

4 August, 2007 at 8:34 pm

Posted in asians, poverty

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