The Asian American Achievement Paradox

Author: Jennifer Lee
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
ISBN: 9781610448505
Size: 17.34 MB
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
View: 82

Asian Americans are often stereotyped as the “model minority.” Their sizeable presence at elite universities and high household incomes have helped construct the narrative of Asian American “exceptionalism.” While many scholars and activists characterize this as a myth, pundits claim that Asian Americans’ educational attainment is the result of unique cultural values. In The Asian American Achievement Paradox, sociologists Jennifer Lee and Min Zhou offer a compelling account of the academic achievement of the children of Asian immigrants. Drawing on in-depth interviews with the adult children of Chinese immigrants and Vietnamese refugees and survey data, Lee and Zhou bridge sociology and social psychology to explain how immigration laws, institutions, and culture interact to foster high achievement among certain Asian American groups. For the Chinese and Vietnamese in Los Angeles, Lee and Zhou find that the educational attainment of the second generation is strikingly similar, despite the vastly different socioeconomic profiles of their immigrant parents. Because immigration policies after 1965 favor individuals with higher levels of education and professional skills, many Asian immigrants are highly educated when they arrive in the United States. They bring a specific “success frame,” which is strictly defined as earning a degree from an elite university and working in a high-status field. This success frame is reinforced in many local Asian communities, which make resources such as college preparation courses and tutoring available to group members, including their low-income members. While the success frame accounts for part of Asian Americans’ high rates of achievement, Lee and Zhou also find that institutions, such as public schools, are crucial in supporting the cycle of Asian American achievement. Teachers and guidance counselors, for example, who presume that Asian American students are smart, disciplined, and studious, provide them with extra help and steer them toward competitive academic programs. These institutional advantages, in turn, lead to better academic performance and outcomes among Asian American students. Yet the expectations of high achievement come with a cost: the notion of Asian American success creates an “achievement paradox” in which Asian Americans who do not fit the success frame feel like failures or racial outliers. While pundits ascribe Asian American success to the assumed superior traits intrinsic to Asian culture, Lee and Zhou show how historical, cultural, and institutional elements work together to confer advantages to specific populations. An insightful counter to notions of culture based on stereotypes, The Asian American Achievement Paradox offers a deft and nuanced understanding how and why certain immigrant groups succeed.

The Asian American Achievement Paradox

Author: Jennifer Lee
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
ISBN: 9780871545473
Size: 20.35 MB
Format: PDF, Mobi
View: 17

Asian Americans are often stereotyped as the “model minority.” Their sizeable presence at elite universities and high household incomes have helped construct the narrative of Asian American “exceptionalism.” While many scholars and activists characterize this as a myth, pundits claim that Asian Americans’ educational attainment is the result of unique cultural values. In The Asian American Achievement Paradox, sociologists Jennifer Lee and Min Zhou offer a compelling account of the academic achievement of the children of Asian immigrants. Drawing on in-depth interviews with the adult children of Chinese immigrants and Vietnamese refugees and survey data, Lee and Zhou bridge sociology and social psychology to explain how immigration laws, institutions, and culture interact to foster high achievement among certain Asian American groups. For the Chinese and Vietnamese in Los Angeles, Lee and Zhou find that the educational attainment of the second generation is strikingly similar, despite the vastly different socioeconomic profiles of their immigrant parents. Because immigration policies after 1965 favor individuals with higher levels of education and professional skills, many Asian immigrants are highly educated when they arrive in the United States. They bring a specific “success frame,” which is strictly defined as earning a degree from an elite university and working in a high-status field. This success frame is reinforced in many local Asian communities, which make resources such as college preparation courses and tutoring available to group members, including their low-income members. While the success frame accounts for part of Asian Americans’ high rates of achievement, Lee and Zhou also find that institutions, such as public schools, are crucial in supporting the cycle of Asian American achievement. Teachers and guidance counselors, for example, who presume that Asian American students are smart, disciplined, and studious, provide them with extra help and steer them toward competitive academic programs. These institutional advantages, in turn, lead to better academic performance and outcomes among Asian American students. Yet the expectations of high achievement come with a cost: the notion of Asian American success creates an “achievement paradox” in which Asian Americans who do not fit the success frame feel like failures or racial outliers. While pundits ascribe Asian American success to the assumed superior traits intrinsic to Asian culture, Lee and Zhou show how historical, cultural, and institutional elements work together to confer advantages to specific populations. An insightful counter to notions of culture based on stereotypes, The Asian American Achievement Paradox offers a deft and nuanced understanding how and why certain immigrant groups succeed.

Contemporary Asian America Third Edition

Author: Min Zhou
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 9781479829231
Size: 16.12 MB
Format: PDF, Docs
View: 82

Who are Asian Americans? Moving beyond popular stereotypes of the “model minority” or “forever foreigner,” most Americans know surprisingly little of the nation’s fastest growing minority population. Since the 1960s, when different Asian immigrant groups came together under the “Asian American” umbrella, they have tirelessly carved out their presence in the labor market, education, politics, and pop culture. Many times, they have done so in the face of racism, discrimination, sexism, homophobia, and socioeconomic disadvantage. Today, contemporary Asian America has emerged as an incredibly diverse population, with each segment of the community facing its unique challenges. When Contemporary Asian America was first published in 2000, it exposed its readers to the formation and development of Asian American studies as an academic field of study, from its inception as part of the ethnic consciousness movement of the 1960s to the systematic inquiry into more contemporary theoretical and practical issues facing Asian America at the century’s end. It was the first volume to integrate a broad range of interdisciplinary research and approaches from a social science perspective to assess the effects of immigration, community development, and socialization on Asian American communities. This updated third edition discusses the impact of September 11 on Asian American identity and citizenship; the continued influence of globalization on past and present waves of immigration; and the intersection of race, gender, sexuality, and class on the experiences of Asian immigrants and their children. The volume also provides study questions and recommended supplementary readings and documentary films. This critical text offers a broad overview of Asian American studies and the current state of Asian America.

The Diversity Paradox

Author: Jennifer Lee
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
ISBN: 9781610446617
Size: 10.58 MB
Format: PDF, Mobi
View: 80

African Americans grappled with Jim Crow segregation until it was legally overturned in the 1960s. In subsequent decades, the country witnessed a new wave of immigration from Asia and Latin America—forever changing the face of American society and making it more racially diverse than ever before. In The Diversity Paradox, authors Jennifer Lee and Frank Bean take these two poles of American collective identity—the legacy of slavery and immigration—and ask if today’s immigrants are destined to become racialized minorities akin to African Americans or if their incorporation into U.S. society will more closely resemble that of their European predecessors. They also tackle the vexing question of whether America’s new racial diversity is helping to erode the tenacious black/white color line. The Diversity Paradox uses population-based analyses and in-depth interviews to examine patterns of intermarriage and multiracial identification among Asians, Latinos, and African Americans. Lee and Bean analyze where the color line—and the economic and social advantage it demarcates—is drawn today and on what side these new arrivals fall. They show that Asians and Latinos with mixed ancestry are not constrained by strict racial categories. Racial status often shifts according to situation. Individuals can choose to identify along ethnic lines or as white, and their decisions are rarely questioned by outsiders or institutions. These groups also intermarry at higher rates, which is viewed as part of the process of becoming “American” and a form of upward social mobility. African Americans, in contrast, intermarry at significantly lower rates than Asians and Latinos. Further, multiracial blacks often choose not to identify as such and are typically perceived as being black only—underscoring the stigma attached to being African American and the entrenchment of the “one-drop” rule. Asians and Latinos are successfully disengaging their national origins from the concept of race—like European immigrants before them—and these patterns are most evident in racially diverse parts of the country. For the first time in 2000, the U.S. Census enabled multiracial Americans to identify themselves as belonging to more than one race. Eight years later, multiracial Barack Obama was elected as the 44th President of the United States. For many, these events give credibility to the claim that the death knell has been sounded for institutionalized racial exclusion. The Diversity Paradox is an extensive and eloquent examination of how contemporary immigration and the country’s new diversity are redefining the boundaries of race. The book also lays bare the powerful reality that as the old black/white color line fades a new one may well be emerging—with many African Americans still on the other side.

Partly Colored

Author: Leslie Bow
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 9780814787106
Size: 13.79 MB
Format: PDF, Docs
View: 98

Arkansas, 1943. The Deep South during the heart of Jim Crow-era segregation. A Japanese-American person boards a bus, and immediately is faced with a dilemma. Not white. Not black. Where to sit? By elucidating the experience of interstitial ethnic groups such as Mexican, Asian, and Native Americans—groups that are held to be neither black nor white—Leslie Bow explores how the color line accommodated—or refused to accommodate—“other” ethnicities within a binary racial system. Analyzing pre- and post-1954 American literature, film, autobiography, government documents, ethnography, photographs, and popular culture, Bow investigates the ways in which racially “in-between” people and communities were brought to heel within the South’s prevailing cultural logic, while locating the interstitial as a site of cultural anxiety and negotiation. Spanning the pre- to the post- segregation eras, Partly Colored traces the compelling history of “third race” individuals in the U.S. South, and in the process forces us to contend with the multiracial panorama that constitutes American culture and history.

Redefining Race

Author:
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
ISBN: 9781610448451
Size: 17.27 MB
Format: PDF, Kindle
View: 93

In 2012, the Pew Research Center issued a report that named Asian Americans as the “highest-income, best-educated, and fastest-growing racial group in the United States.” Despite this seemingly optimistic conclusion, over thirty Asian American advocacy groups challenged the findings. As many pointed out, the term “Asian American” itself is complicated. It currently denotes a wide range of ethnicities, national origins, and languages, and encompasses a number of significant economic and social disparities. In Redefining Race, sociologist Dina G. Okamoto traces the complex evolution of this racial designation to show how the use of “Asian American” as a panethnic label and identity has been a deliberate social achievement negotiated by members of this group themselves, rather than an organic and inevitable process. Drawing on original research and a series of interviews, Okamoto investigates how different Asian ethnic groups in the U.S. were able to create a collective identity in the wake of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. Okamoto argues that a variety of broad social forces created the conditions for this developing panethnic identity. Racial segregation, for example, shaped how Asian immigrants of different national origins were distributed in similar occupations and industries. This segregation of Asians within local labor markets produced a shared experience of racial discrimination, which encouraged Asian ethnic groups to develop shared interests and identities. By constructing a panethnic label and identity, ethnic group members took part in creating their own collective histories, and in the process challenged and redefined current notions of race. The emergence of a panethnic racial identity also depended, somewhat paradoxically, on different groups organizing along distinct ethnic lines in order to gain recognition and rights from the larger society. According to Okamoto, these ethnic organizations provided the foundation necessary to build solidarity within different Asian-origin communities. Leaders and community members who created inclusive narratives and advocated policies that benefited groups beyond their own were then able to move these discrete ethnic organizations toward a panethnic model. For example, a number of ethnic-specific organizations in San Francisco expanded their services and programs to include other ethnic group members after their original constituencies dwindled. A Laotian organization included refugees from different parts of Asia, a Japanese organization began to advocate for South Asian populations, and a Chinese organization opened its doors to Filipinos and Vietnamese. As Okamoto argues, the process of building ties between ethnic communities while also recognizing ethnic diversity is the hallmark of panethnicity. Redefining Race is a groundbreaking analysis of the processes through which group boundaries are drawn and contested. In mapping the genesis of a panethnic Asian American identity, Okamoto illustrates the ways in which concepts of race continue to shape how ethnic and immigrant groups view themselves and organize for representation in the public arena.