Asian-Americans are the left's inconvenient minority
"There are dark stains on the history of this nation," writes Kenny Xu in the preface of his groundbreaking new book, An Inconvenient Minority: The Attack on Asian American Excellence and the Fight for Meritocracy. But the purpose of Xu's relevant and timely book is not to condemn America for its past, but to celebrate America for its triumphs.
Xu continues to say that "we should be proud to have made so much progress in mostly, though not completely, overcoming[.]"
The chief concern in America today is not how much farther we have to go to fulfill our original charter of freedom and equality for all, but just how far we have regressed in recent years from achieving this end. Americans fought a bloody civil war to right the wrong of slavery. Americans fought a non-violent Civil Rights Movement to end race-based segregation and discrimination.
All that progress is being undone and at a rapid rate. Xu identifies the root cause of America's rapid regression, writing, "[T]he attack on Asian-American excellence represents the decline of a larger concept in American society that has allowed its culture of excellence to prosper: meritocracy."
Xu achieves two critical things with his book: he shines a spotlight on the disturbing and unsung attacks against Asian-Americans, while also explaining how this is ushering in the decline of America as a whole.
The Asian-American community has long experienced discrimination. Recall that Japanese-Americans were put in internment camps as recently as World War II. But despite the real and known discrimination against the Asian-American community in America, hundreds of thousands emigrated to this country still. Xu writes, "Asians emigrate for a variety of reasons and motivations, but one thing unifies them: a desire to experience the American Dream."
This is a stark and important distinction between the Asian minority and other minority groups in America.
Unlike other minority groups — blacks and Latinos, for example — no welfare state or affirmative action generally exists for the Asian-American community. As Xu writes, "[Asians] don't have the victim capital that ambitious Black and Hispanic people can use to demand representation as a matter of morality." The upshot is that Asian-Americans are forced to work hard and forced to make it without welfare, on their own.
Xu explains how in 2020, "Thomas Jefferson [High School] accepted 486 students from a pool of 2,539 applicants. Seventy three percent of those admitted were Asians." Thomas Jefferson High School, in Virginia, "is widely considered the best high school for math and science" in the region.
Asian-American success is in itself a powerful argument against the welfare state and forced equity — racial quotas, etc. Most Asian-Americans succeed without government assistance. In fact, they succeed precisely because they don't depend on it.
Despite this, their success is not celebrated, but is under attack, and so is the American Dream. Elite universities like Harvard are leading the attack against Asian-Americans and the meritocracy.
Xu explains how at Harvard, "Asian Americans have the lowest admittance rate out of all the races despite having higher grades and test scores" and how they "suffer from the lowest acceptance rate for each SAT test score bracket, having to score on average 140, 270, and 450 points higher on average than their white, Hispanic, and Black counterparts for equal chances of admission."
At Thomas Jefferson High School, Xu writes that "the school board put forth the most drastic admissions policy they had ever done in the history of Thomas Jefferson High School: They created an admissions lottery," which would reduce merit admission to 100 out of the 480 spots.
The stated goal is to increase the number of black and Hispanic students there. But this doesn't address the problem. As Xu writes, "solving these problems requires addressing them at every level of education — not putting promising but underqualified black and Hispanic students through the meat grinder that is Thomas Jefferson High School for Mathematics and Science."
"Less than half of New York City students demonstrate proficiency in math and English by the eighth grade," writes Xu. This is despite the state spending a whopping $28,000 per student per year. Money isn't a substitute for ambition or success. The government schools aren't the solution; they are the problem. In fact, government interference is always the problem.
Collegiate and professional basketball courts are disproportionately occupied by black athletes. There is no successful effort underway to institute a racial quota in competitive sports so that the cosmetic makeup of the teams more accurately reflects America. Nor should there be. The meritocracy still exists in the competitive world of athletics, as it should everywhere else.
But Xu also digs well below the surface of statistics, providing concrete and specific examples of the unfair real-world consequences of the sacrifice of "meritocratic excellence for unmerited equity" on hardworking and legal Asian emigrants.
He tells the story of Daniel Tan, whose family immigrated to America from the Philippines after the 2008 Great Recession. Tan says his family came to escape the corruption of the Filipino government — to "find greener pastures." They chose America.
When Daniel applied to San Joaquin Delta College, he learned that "the 2011 California Dream Act gave in-state tuition to all DACA students, waiving non-resident tuition for them that Daniel would have had to pay his first year. The average in-state tuition at San Joaquin Delta College is $1,288 per year. For an out-of-stater like Daniel, it was $9,072 a year."
"How was this fair, Daniel asked himself," writes Xu, "when his mom was the one who fought for a visa to legally enter this country — and then the children of undocumented immigrants [sic], those who didn't go through the legal entry process, not only cut him and his mother in line for immigration but get a fat tuition cut on top of it?"
As Xu explains, "they took from those who worked hard and play by the rules to artificially grant spots for their preferred races."
Kenny Xu's book, An Inconvenient Minority, is exceptional. It couldn't arrive at a more critical time in our history, and it is the answer to Critical Race Theory. It should be mandated reading in our classrooms.
While Kenny Xu addresses the issue through the lens of the Asian-American experience, he importantly points out that, "where there is discrimination against Asian-Americans, there are likely greater problems beneath the surface."
"Meritocracy is not a party issue or a race issue. It is an American issue," writes Xu. He's right, and if we don't address this, America's culture of excellence will die, and America shortly thereafter.
Drew Allen is the host of the Drew Allen Show podcast. He is a Texas-bred, California-based and Millennial author, columnist, and political analyst. His work can be read and seen and heard at drewthomasallen.com.
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