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Author Topic: just curious as to why asians aren't URM  (Read 16920 times)

pop_tort

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Re: just curious as to why asians aren't URM
« Reply #30 on: July 22, 2006, 01:38:32 AM »
Another question that comes up is WHY are these asians overrepresented? Many of them came from just as disadvantaged backgrounds if not worse. Jeez, a good number of them come here not even knowing the language and still wind up more successful that the average "URM". By supporting AA, are we basically saying that certain groups are inferior and can't make it without help?

No, supporting AA is not saying that. There are several reasons why there is a disparity between Asians and other minorities. Nevertheless Asians ARE URMS in the area of law. While CA and HI firms and grad/law/medical schools might demonstrate a large amount of Asian students, this does not make Asians ORMS nationwide. Sure there are law schools and firms in San Francisco that have a higher percentage of Asian students and employees, but this is no reflection on the rest of the nation. I can guarantee you there are pleanty of firms in the Midwest with ZERO Asian attorneys, and at law schools outside of CA you can probably count the number of Asian law students on both hands (the same can often be done when it comes to Black and Latino students as well).


More is explained below... caution, harsh and honest words ahead....

Civil Rights and Immigration
Aside from the small amount of Chinese and Japanese Americans that were here during the early 20th century, most Asians did not begin to largely immigrate to the US until the late 70s and early 80s. By this time, much anti-discriminatory legislation was being PRACTICED and ENFORCED, and this worked to the benefit of Asians. Asian professionals were able to get jobs like anyone else, and since there were diversity quotas in companies, companies wanted people of color work in their business to deflect any accusations of being racist. So many professional Asians arrived at a good time.

As for poor and disadvantaged Asians, many who also came around this time came with assistance from the US government and from religious missionaries. Many of these people were refugees from wars in Southeast Asia. If they weren't getting aid by being refugees, they were getting help from religious organizations. These orgs were giving people free housing, food to eat, helping them find jobs and learn English.

This kind of assistance and good timing was a stepping stone that many Blacks and Latinos never had. And if there was any headway for Blacks and Latinos, it came at a painfully expensive plight. Sit through a semester of Con Law and then perhaps we can argue this point a little more (and don't come back with the "that was a long time ago" argument because if everything was just peachy, we won't be asking for race on law school applications or fuming about racial disparities or even posting on the topic of this very thread!). Additionally, there is a bit of favoritism among minorities which leads me to my next point.....

House Slave vs Field Slave
If you haven't heard the expression, it comes from a painful past when slaves with dark complexions were left to work in the fields, while multi-racial "white-looking" slaves were allowed to work in the houses of the master. Unfortunately this mentality still perseveres today. People will rave about Thandi Newton and Halle Berry, but don't have too much to say when it comes to Alek Wek or Iman. In many ways, this mentality has also spanned into a division of treatment between Asians versus Latinos and Blacks. Companies can claim they have diverse work settings because they have non-white staff who are Asians. Additionally, Asians have not had to battle as many constant negative stereotypes as Blacks and Latinos. Sure, there is the occasional "you talk funny and eat dog" comment (which is totally out of line) but you'll much sooner hear a 'good ol boy' say "I'll never higher 'a Black'/ 'a Latino'" before you'd hear him say anything against Asians. The annoying stereotypes that Asians are docile, soft-spoken, passive and hard working have in some ways worked to their benefit to wear the disgusting crown of "model minority."

In America, it's not about class - it's about money
In this country, we don't value class. What is class? Your social status, your educational level, your upbringing, etc. There are many professional and educated Blacks and Latinos who also immigrated to the US within the last 30 years, but negative stereotypes have overshadowed them. There are many doctors from Ghana an Nigeria, just as there are engineers and scientists from Peru and Panama. But the sad difference is that a discriminating person sees only the color of their skin and makes a judgment against them. They will question the soundness and validity of their education, or make their accent a big issue, or perhaps not even realize the they are disfavoring any of these candidates. People will see their brown and black skin and question if they should be driving a Mercedes of a BMW, when they are less likely to do that if there is an Asian driver behind the wheel.


It's not about lowing the bar - it evening the playing field
The problem today is that the field is not even. I think everyone wants to say that if you work hard, you will succeed no matter what color you are. Nice fantasy, but it's definitely not a simple reality.  That won't happen until we stop making race an issue in this country. And it won't happen as long as this "white / minority" and "us vs them" element is in existence. Until then, we have to consider the uneven playing field. If the US government didn't mandate against discriminatory practices, do you think law firms would have "diversity initiatives" all over their websites? Hell no! I mean people got sprayed with fire hoses and were beaten while fighting for this kind of stuff.

When you're blonde with blue eyes and walk in for a job, people don't hesitate because they once had ONE difficult/lazy/rude/unproductive employee with blonde hair and blue eyes. When you walk into a corner store, the owner doesn’t tense up even though he was once robbed by a man with blonde hair and blue eyes. When you're with your non-white friends, they don't ask you if you want to hear a racist joke about white people with blonde hair and blue eyes. When your good ole boy coworkers decide to go to the golf course to discuss promotions, they don't forget to include you because they don't want to be seen with blonde haired blue eyed people outside of work. Etcetera, ertcetera, etcetera.

Even though discrimination is not as blatant as it was in the past, the subtleties are still present. Additionally I feel that these subtleties have evoked a level of pain and hopelessness among many black and latino kids. Why try if no one wants you? Many black and latino youth have found the inner-strength to overcome this, but it seems that you don't really understand how it feels to be essentially be rejected in you own country by your very own countrymen. This is not to discount the experiences of Asians, since many have also experienced the same pain. Interestingly many Asians have had slightly/somewhat easier experiences in gaining acceptance into mainstream/ white America. Perhaps because of skin complexions, many Asians do not stand out as much in a white crowd. Colleague's eyebrows don't raise as high when you hire an Asian employee. You mother doesn't quite fall to the floor when she sees you walking up the driveway with your new Asian girlfriend - at least the grandkids will still kind of look white, right? Tough words, but the sad reality is that people still think this way.

Are we saying that certain groups are inferior and can't make it without help?
AA is the best magic wand we can find *at the moment* to deal with people who don't want people of color in their workforces, businesses, schools and communities. These are the people who consider other groups to be "inferior" and these discriminatory practices are unconstitutional. It doesn't mean it's the absolute correct answer, or the best solution for all eternity. The "help" that you speak of is just giving people access and fair consideration for opportunities that were once not available to them.

I can say there is hope, as the generations continue to grow wiser and less biased to people different from one another. A white kid today can bring home a Latino friend after school without it being the talk of the neighborhood. An Asian guy can take a Black girl to the prom without inciting a race riot. A White guy can walk down the street hand in hand with his Asian wife and people will walk by them without question. Howver, this amount social progress has not led us to racial utopia. The reality remains that many of the decision makers in major fields - be it law, advertising, fortune 500 companies, or the entertainment industry - still hold biases and practice subtle discrimination that flies under the radar. The AA wand creates a band aid on the wound of these practices. No one wants violate the civil rights act or get bad press for being discriminatory. AA gives these businesses (and even schools) a chance to save face and "do good", while giving a few more minorities a chance the would have otherwise not had.

Thanks for reading....

uesi

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Re: just curious as to why asians aren't URM
« Reply #31 on: July 24, 2006, 02:34:12 PM »
Thanks for the reply. While I do agree with most of your points, could you
please elaborate more on the "Civil Rights and Immigration" topic. Your post
should be considered as a whole so please excuse my narrow-minded reply on one
area. (mainly for benefit for those who wish to discredit arguements on the
basis of one point)

Did the existence of anti-discriminatory laws benefit Asians more than their
Black and Latino counterparts? Asians definately benefited from the existence,
practice and enforcement of these laws, but what about the other minorities? I
don't believe the difference between yellow and black skin is enough to explain
the preferential hiring of Asians over African-Americans, especially since
African-Americans as a whole possess a much greater mastery over the english
language.

As for the poor and disadvantaged Asians referred to, I had not in mind the
refugees and aided individuals, mostly the ravaged from the Vietnam war. I had
in mind the ones who left their countries looking for a better life, left due
to cutthroat competition, etc. These were the people that came here with not
more than a few dollars in their pockets, no family or government support, and
supported themselves through school. Their numbers are not so small as to be
discounted.

So regardless of an individual's past, whether their ancestors were refugees,
slaves, or just regular immigrants, would it be unreasonable to assume that the
present individual would be able to take advantage of more racially-fair
mindsets, be able to work hard, and make it on their own without having to fall
back on the "crutch" of AA.
 
 

pop_tort

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Re: just curious as to why asians aren't URM
« Reply #32 on: July 24, 2006, 09:40:28 PM »

Did the existence of anti-discriminatory laws benefit Asians more than their
Black and Latino counterparts? Asians definitely benefited from the existence,
practice and enforcement of these laws, but what about the other minorities? I
don't believe the difference between yellow and black skin is enough to explain
the preferential hiring of Asians over African-Americans, especially since
African-Americans as a whole possess a much greater mastery over the English
language.

Well, perhaps in some places there may be environments where African Americans are preferred over other minorities. In the south and the midwest, where there are not as many Asian Americans, the prejudice and discrimination is often worse for Asian Americans. In other cases, it's equally as bad for all people of color. Nevertheless, as I said in my earlier post, many of the stereotypes about Asian Americans have worked to their benefit in some ways, while African Americans and Latinos have had to battle a long  history and ferocity of many negative stereotypes. Additionally, racial prejudice tends to trump the mastery over English argument. The experiences of an Italian engineer compared to a Finnish engineer compared to a Taiwanese engineer compared to a Libyan engineer are all going to vary greatly - even if they have similar (but limited) mastery of English.


As for the poor and disadvantaged Asians referred to, I had not in mind the
refugees and aided individuals, mostly the ravaged from the Vietnam war. I had
in mind the ones who left their countries looking for a better life, left due
to cutthroat competition, etc. These were the people that came here with not
more than a few dollars in their pockets, no family or government support, and
supported themselves through school. Their numbers are not so small as to be
discounted.

True, this is definitely another group of Asian immigrants seeking a life with more opportunities. But the part certainly doesn't represent the whole, nor does it outweigh the number of other Asian immigrants faced with the circumstances that I mentioned earlier. I would still stand by the notion that the wealthy and professional Asian immigrants and amount of Asian refugees are collectively larger in number than the poor who came here without assistance. When you consider the costs and means to travel to the US, the economically disadvantaged Asians that you speak of are not as likely to come here. The refugees and aided individuals were offered a stepping stone that other minorities did not get to benefit from. This in turn provided a benefit to their children (many kids of our generation), many of whom have benefited from AA (by being low income, first to go to college, and offering cultural experiences such as being a translator for their parents).

So regardless of an individual's past, whether their ancestors were refugees,
slaves, or just regular immigrants, would it be unreasonable to assume that the
present individual would be able to take advantage of more racially-fair
mindsets, be able to work hard, and make it on their own without having to fall
back on the "crutch" of AA.

There is a lot of idealism in this point. Perhaps as our generation ages over the next 30 years and we move into the workforce, politics, and policy making, this mentality will stick. But it's still tough to say. In places like CA and NY where people are somewhat more racially tolerant, this may be more of a reality since kids our age have friends of different races, date/marry people of different races, and don't see race as so much of a big deal.

However, we also live in a country where
,

Even on an international front, people of color are facing difficulties from xenophobic behavior.

Despite your optimism, the sad reality is that even in today's world, "hard work" is just not enough....


mantis

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Re: just curious as to why asians aren't URM
« Reply #33 on: August 04, 2006, 06:11:48 PM »
My very first post ever...

Interesting comments by all and even though someone mentioned this story/book in the overall thread on Minority Topics, it seems good to post here:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5613964

I remember hearing the story on NPR and thinking, "Well, sure, they're interviewing all of the African American women... this doesn't apply to you because you're Asian and thus not a *real* minority."  Then I went to the website to send the link to a friend and read some of the stories.  "Then the partner left a message on my internal message system, and he was speaking gibberish, trying to sound like an Asian speaker."  Seriously!?!?  I really hope this woman has been in the legal field long enough to realize she should have saved the message, gone to her superiors and/or the EEOC...

In theory I should know better, having gone to a predominantly white school in a state that is considerably less diverse than California (what state isn't?).  Back in my undergrad days I even received a similar phone call.  Fortunately in my case I think the callers were drunken frat boys - a far cry from a partner and colleague in a law firm - but I was still pretty shocked.  Just some additional food for thought in terms of evaluating Asians as URMs.

stedwards03

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Re: just curious as to why asians aren't URM
« Reply #34 on: January 28, 2008, 04:30:28 AM »
URM status is given to those groups that are just that- under represented[/b in the legal field and law school. It is frustrating when people do not under stand this very simple distinction. According to 2006 U.S. Census estimates, asians account for approx. 4.4 percent of the population. In law school they are representedat slightly above 8 percent (11,308 of 141,031), according to ABA enrollment statistics for the 2006-2007 academic year. That is why they are not considered Under Represented Minorities.  ???

stedwards03

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Re: just curious as to why asians aren't URM
« Reply #35 on: January 29, 2008, 03:35:34 AM »
In regard to the comment made above by Mr. Mantis... your comment and link have nothing to do with the criterion by which people should determine if asians are URM... the fact is that they are OVER-represented in the legal field and law school. This is not to say that minority groups are not descriminated against...but we are talking about URMs.. I ask that you please stay on point.. we are supposed to be the future attorneys of this country.. it behooves us to be prudent, fair, and reasonable when coming to conclusions on such important issues.