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Comments by YACCS
Friday, May 19, 2006

My kids are really special

Their kids will be geniuses

Nick Kristoff writes this weird column about how smart Asian kids are, leaving out one, tiny, minor detail.

Mrs. Kristoff is Chinese-American.

Therefore, the following words would apply to................his own fucking kids

The Model Students

Trang came to the United States in 1994 as an 11-year-old Vietnamese girl who spoke no English. Her parents, neither having more than a high school education, settled in Nebraska and found jobs as manual laborers.

The youngest of eight children, Trang learned English well enough that when she graduated from high school, she was valedictorian. Now she is a senior at Nebraska Wesleyan with a 3.99 average, a member of the USA Today All-USA College Academic Team and a new Rhodes Scholar.

Increasingly in America, stellar academic achievement has an Asian face. In 2005, Asian-Americans averaged a combined math-verbal SAT of 1091, compared with 1068 for whites, 982 for American Indians, 922 for Hispanics and 864 for blacks. Forty-four percent of Asian-American students take calculus in high school, compared with 28 percent of all students.

Among whites, 2 percent score 750 or better in either the math or verbal SAT. Among Asian-Americans, 3 percent beat 750 in verbal, and 8 percent in math. Frankly, you sometimes feel at an intellectual disadvantage if your great-grandparents weren't peasants in an Asian village.

So I asked Trang why Asian-Americans do so well in school.

"I can't speak for all Asian-Americans," Trang told me, "but for me and my friends, it was because of the sacrifices that our parents made. ... It's so difficult to see my parents get up at 5 each morning to go to factories to earn $6.30 an hour. I see that there is so much that I can do in America that my parents couldn't."

Uh, that's very nice, but you could say the same about many high achieving students from many backgrounds. Every year, you have some kid from a hardscrabble background who does well.
But why didn't he ask her how difficult it would be to see her parents walk through the old minefield to pick rice every day, because that's the alternative.

What about all the Vietnamese and Koreans in the......US Army. You know, the ones that need money for college. I guess they must be average.

But what I find so amusing about this, his waxing lyrical about Confucianism and how Asian parents demand more, is that he's leaving out his fucking wife and kids. Of course, left out is the implication that black, latino and even white parents are demanding less.

Of course, he didn't include the story of the Asian engineering student who walked into the East River a day shy of graduation from Columbia. All those expectations can have some nasty consequences.

If you're going to be patronizing, at least tell the reader of your personal interest in the subject.

posted by Steve @ 4:05:00 PM

4:05:00 PM

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