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Asians - Too Smart for Their Own Good? - NYTimes.com


Asians Too Smart for Their Own Good NYTimes com

Source: www.nytimes.com

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As the journalist Daniel Golden revealed in his 2006 book “The Price of Admission,” far more attention has been devoted to race-conscious affirmative action at public universities (which the Supreme Court has scaled back and might soon eliminate altogether) than to the special preferences elite universities afford to the children of (overwhelmingly white) donors and alumni.

For middle-class and affluent whites, overachieving Asian-Americans pose thorny questions about privilege and power, merit and opportunity. Some white parents have reportedly shied away from selective public schools that have become “too Asian,” fearing that their children will be outmatched. Many whites who can afford it flock to private schools that promote “progressive” educational philosophies, don’t “teach to the test” and offer programs in art and music (but not “Asian instruments,” like piano and violin). At some of these top-tier private schools, too, Asian kids find it hard to get in.

At highly selective colleges, the quotas are implicit, but very real. So are the psychological consequences. At Northwestern, Asian-American students tell me that they feel ashamed of their identity — that they feel viewed as a faceless bunch of geeks and virtuosos. When they succeed, their peers chalk it up to “being Asian.” They are too smart and hard-working for their own good.

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