Discrimination Against Asians In College Admissions

http://onpoint.wbur.org/2013/03/11/asian-discrimination

46 minutes of aradio show about Descrimination against Asians in college students

In just days now, spring college admissions letters will start to flow.  Here’s a wrinkle you may not have thought of.  A lot of Asian-Americans, with high scores and high grades, feel they’re not getting an even break.  Feel that top colleges are tapping the brakes on Asian-American admissions to hold down Asian-American enrollment.

Meaning an Asian-American kid, they say, has to clear an unfairly high bar to get in.  In the age of Tiger Mom talk and affirmative action angst, that’s a volatile charge.

This hour, On Point:  college admissions, and the Asian-American factor.

-Tom Ashbrook

 

Guests

Carolyn Chen, director in Asian American Studies at Northwestern University, where she is also professor of sociology. In December she wrote an op-ed in the New York Times titled, “Asians: Too Smart for Their Own Good?

Rod Bugarin, has spent more than 15 years in admissions offices at selective schools, including Wesleyan, Brown and Columbia. In the New York Times’ Room for Debate pages, he wrote a response to Carolyn Chen’s op-ed: “Scores Aren’t the Only Qualification.”

David Hollinger, professor of history at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught since 1992.

The Good, Racist People

By TA-NEHISI COATES

 

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Last month the actor Forest Whitaker was stopped in a Manhattan delicatessen by an employee. Whitaker is one of the pre-eminent actors of his generation, with a diverse and celebrated catalog ranging from “The Great Debaters” to “The Crying Game” to “Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai.” By now it is likely that he has adjusted to random strangers who can’t get his turn as Idi Amin out of their heads. But the man who approached the Oscar winner at the deli last month was in no mood for autographs. The employee stopped Whitaker, accused him of shoplifting and then promptly frisked him. The act of self-deputization was futile. Whitaker had stolen nothing. On the contrary, he’d been robbed.

 

The deli where Whitaker was harassed happens to be in my neighborhood. Columbia University is up the street. Broadway, the main drag, is dotted with nice restaurants and classy bars that cater to beautiful people. I like my neighborhood. And I’ve patronized the deli with some regularity, often several times in a single day. I’ve sent my son in my stead. My wife would often trade small talk with whoever was working checkout. Last year when my beautiful niece visited, she loved the deli so much that I felt myself a sideshow. But it’s understandable. It’s a good deli.

Since the Whitaker affair, I’ve read and listened to interviews with the owner of the establishment. He is apologetic to a fault and is sincerely mortified. He says that it was a “sincere mistake” made by a “decent man” who was “just doing his job.” I believe him. And yet for weeks now I have walked up Broadway, glancing through its windows with a mood somewhere between Marvin Gaye’s “Distant Lover” and Al Green’s “For the Good Times.”

In modern America we believe racism to be the property of the uniquely villainous and morally deformed, the ideology of trolls, gorgons and orcs. We believe this even when we are actually being racist. In 1957, neighbors in Levittown, Pa., uniting under the flag of segregation, wrote: “As moral, religious and law-abiding citizens, we feel that we are unprejudiced and undiscriminating in our wish to keep our community a closed community.”

A half-century later little had changed. The comedian Michael Richards (Kramer on “Seinfeld”) once yelled at a black heckler from the stage: “He’s a nigger! He’s a nigger! He’s a nigger!” Confronted about this, Richards apologized and then said, “I’m not a racist,” and called the claim “insane.”

The idea that racism lives in the heart of particularly evil individuals, as opposed to the heart of a democratic society, is reinforcing to anyone who might, from time to time, find their tongue sprinting ahead of their discretion. We can forgive Whitaker’s assailant. Much harder to forgive is all that makes Whitaker stand out in the first place. New York is a city, like most in America, that bears the scars of redlining, blockbusting and urban renewal. The ghost of those policies haunts us in a wealth gap between blacks and whites that has actually gotten worse over the past 20 years.

But much worse, it haunts black people with a kind of invisible violence that is given tell only when the victim happens to be an Oscar winner. The promise of America is that those who play by the rules, who observe the norms of the “middle class,” will be treated as such. But this injunction is only half-enforced when it comes to black people, in large part because we were never meant to be part of the American story. Forest Whitaker fits that bill, and he was addressed as such.

I am trying to imagine a white president forced to show his papers at a national news conference, and coming up blank. I am trying to a imagine a prominent white Harvard professor arrested for breaking into his own home, and coming up with nothing. I am trying to see Sean Penn or Nicolas Cage being frisked at an upscale deli, and I find myself laughing in the dark. It is worth considering the messaging here. It says to black kids: “Don’t leave home. They don’t want you around.” It is messaging propagated by moral people.

The other day I walked past this particular deli. I believe its owners to be good people. I felt ashamed at withholding business for something far beyond the merchant’s reach. I mentioned this to my wife. My wife is not like me. When she was 6, a little white boy called her cousin a nigger, and it has been war ever since. “What if they did that to your son?” she asked.

And right then I knew that I was tired of good people, that I had had all the good people I could take.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates, a senior editor at The Atlantic, is a guest columnist. Nicholas D. Kristof is on book leave.

 

 

Catholic Inquisition 2013 in Toronto area: Catholic parents disgusted by letter sent from parish priest containing provocative questions

think the catholic inquisitions ended in the 19th century? think again. i read somewhere on the internet that a catholic official wants to restart the inquisitions.  i pity the sheeple who still call themselves  Roman Catholics.

 

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Have I committed adultery or fornication?

Have I become intoxicated?

Have I been disobedient or disrespectful to my husband?

Have I taken active part in any non-Catholic worship?

Some parents in two Durham region Catholic schools were shocked when their elementary schoolchildren came home bearing a letter from their parish priest that included provocative questions. The letter, a call to return to Catholic practices, came with a two-page “examination of conscience” and invitation to reflect on sins before going to confession.

Other sins included: “Have I done unnecessary servile work (physical labour) or shopping on Sunday?” and “Have I denied my spouse his or her marriage rights?”

Complaints from parents have led the Durham Catholic District School Board and Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto to review their practice of sharing information between parishes and schools, says the board’s acting director of education Mitch LePage.

The letters, from Rev. Charles Forget pastor of Saint Leo the Great Catholic Church, in Brooklin, Ont., were sent in sealed envelopes to students at St. Bridget and St. Leo Catholic schools, he said.

The letters and the adult-focused list of sins, were intended for parents, not children. Two parents who contacted the Star said the letters were not sealed.

“We will be reviewing how we can continue to support all the parishes in our jurisdiction in a manner that is collaborative and invitational to everyone,” LePage said.

“There was a more pastoral way to welcome people back to the church,” said Neil MacCarthy, spokesperson for the archdiocese. “You have to find the most caring way.” Forget declined to be interviewed, MacCarthy said.

But the letter had the opposite effect on some families. One parent, who asked not to be named, says because of the letter she is withdrawing her children at the end of the term and will send them to public school.

“Made for an interesting conversation, where my kids were asking what abortion and masturbation were — since it came in an unsealed envelope addressed to no one, and they read it,” the parent said in an email. “Hardly appropriate material for a kindergarten to grade 8 school.”

If the letters were mailed and addressed to adults, “this would be a non-issue.”

Another parent said Forget’s letter seemed a throwback to the church of the 1940s. “I thought it was disgusting. The school didn’t even proofread it before it came to the kids.”

She, too, asked not to be named. “The church is authority and you don’t buck authority,” said the 37-year-old mother of two. “And a lot of people bite their tongues and hope someone else will fight the battle for them.”

She added: “There is a new school being built and we are having a lot of discussions. ‘Are we switching schools?’ ”

In his letter, sent at the end of February, Forget wrote: “If you are a Catholic and are not attending Mass each Sunday it is a serious and grave sin for it is the breaking of the Third Commandment — to “keep holy the Sabbath Day” … If you have children, this same sin may be passed to your children as well …”

He acknowledged that his words “seem blunt, but these are strange days when we are seeing the steady erosion of faith and morals …”

He concluded his letter: “Pray about it. Do not be afraid. Come, be reconciled!”

LePage said complaints from parents have been “not much of a response.” The two schools have a combined population of 1,100 students. Only seven parents called the schools’ principals, and two called the school board, he said.

Different Catholic organizations have different guides to examining conscience before going to confession, called the sacrament of reconciliation. Some reflect a social justice perspective: “Am I disproportionately concerned for my own good at the expense of others?”

Some are for children: “Have I talked back to parents, teachers or other adults?

“Have I pouted and been moody?”