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The Curse of the Model Minority

Last month, I came across an article titled “Do colleges redline Asian-Americans?” and I still haven’t been able to get it out of my mind.

Do colleges really set a higher standard for Asian Americans? If this is true, as the article implies, the same must hold true for places of employment, no?

When I applied for colleges, or whenever I applied for jobs, I always happily volunteered my ethnicity on application forms. After all, my last name is nothing but Asian. But at the same time, I knew that being Asian gave me a slight disadvantage.

(Going slightly off tangent, I have always envied my Filipino-American friends for their Hispanic-sounding surnames. You can’t deny that they are more likely to be offered an interview because the college/company would like more diversity in their communities.)

Berate me all you want, but I have never been a fan of affirmative action for this reason (ETA: to be more specific, afirmation action based on race.). I strongly believe that people should be accepted to colleges and be offered jobs based on merit, not ethnicity.

Previous generations of Asian Americans have given up so much so that their kids (and grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc) can have the same opportunities as the Caucasians of this country. I know Asians have come a long way in America, but what is the point if we are considered “model minorities” who are held to a higher standard solely based on our race?

It sucks that my kids will have to earn better grades than their white friends just to be accepted to the same schools. Or that I, as well as my many intelligent, creative, and outstanding Asian-American peers have been subjected to this reverse discrimination all our lives.