The first Asian American fraternity was formed in upstate New York around the time of World War I to combat the racial discrimination that Asian college students faced. Basically, because Asians were excluded from the white people’s clubs, the guys decided to form their own. In the late 40s, a group of Japanese American women in Southern California formed the first Asian American sorority to support one another in the face of anti-Japanese sentiments and racism.

After the murder of Vincent Chin in the 80s, Asian American fraternities and sororities wereat the helm of college-level coalitions pushing for federal prosecution of the perpetrators. They organized vigils, raised money, passed out pamphlets to inform people of what happened, back before the days of YouTube, Facebook, and blogs, and led protests. 

By the 90s, the idea of starting your own cultural interest Greek (“Asian Greek”) went viral and today there’s a gazillion of them. In the 90s, Asian Greeks led the charge on many campus political fronts. They had the clout to round up crowds of Asian Americans to rally for change. Many of those fraternity brothers and sorority sisters were activists. They challenged white-dominant student associations when minority interests were subjugated. I recall one incident during my stint in college where this happened and the Asian Greeks united in a positive and uplifting way that did bring about change.

So where are the Asian Greeks today?

Are they the superheroes that the Asian community turns to when shit gets racist? Heck no. The Asian Greek voice has been silent in the wake of the last decade’s eyelid pulling, Asian-men-shoot-up-schools stereotyping, racist receipts, abysmal APIA voter turnout, and the other daunting social and civil issues Asian Americans face in 2013. I do not deny thatindividuals who happen to be affiliated with an Asian fraternity or sorority have contributed, but there has been no national scale mobilization, which these organizations are highly capable of if they’d only give a damn. Re-imaging popular (effeminate) conceptions of Asian masculinity is still unfinished business for APIA activists and I would think Asian fraternities would feel a personal stake in doing more to be positive public Asian male role models.

If asking 20-somethings to be superheroes is a tall order (and it is not, because social change has always begun with the 20-somethings who were brave enough to stand up and protest), then what about simply upholding their organization’s own stated purpose–fostering brotherhood or sisterhood. Here’s the reality: every one of the Asian Greeks is battling with internal strife, scandal, gossip, backstabbing, and cliques within the cliques that inevitably exclude one sorry individual who then retaliates and the cycle of internal strife, scandal, gossip, and backstabbing perpetuates itself. While that may not be unique to Asian Greeks, it does call into question what the purpose is for institutionalizing a racial distinction of brotherhood when the tenets of brotherhood can’t even be maintained.

Now what is unique to Asian Greeks: a weak alumni/alumnae support network. The discrepancy becomes apparent among the Greek alums in my age range. Most non-Asian Greek organizations have members who are still actively involved up to their sixties. Those who live near a university where a chapter of the organization is established will still fund-raise for the undergraduate chapter. These alums serve as mentors and are still involved with the organization on day-to-day operations. The national board of directors of these organizations are, well, old, because the organization succeeds at keeping the old ones caring, whereas in Asian Greeks, the national board of directors are seated with more 20-somethings who haven’t one clue what they’re doing. They simply don’t have the life experience to steer a national brotherhood or sisterhood.

It is a constant struggle among Asian Greeks to keep their alums caring. Granted, many of the non-Asian Greeks we’re talking about were formed in the 1800s while most Asian Greeks have only a few decades on them, but that itself does not explain the impotency of Asian Greeks today. The worst part of all: the most professionally successful members of the Asian Greeks end up resenting the organizations and not only have no interest in giving back to their organization, but don’t even want to disclose their affiliation with Asian Greeks. More than anyone, these are the alums who need to return and guide the Asian Greeks.

When was the last time you heard a positive news story about Asian Greeks? Notwithstanding mainstream media, independent grassroots and community-based outlets can’t even find a positive spin on the ongoings of Asian Greeks today. Instead, we get stories about alcohol-fueled pledging activities gone fatally awrydozens of themdrunk driving that leads to one fraternity brother accused of involuntary manslaughter of a fellow brother, and of course the recent fiasco of Asian Greeks in blackface and posting videos of it on the Internet.

Then when a white fraternity at Duke threw a racist Asian themed party, where were the Asian Greeks? Several of them exist on that campus. Yet it was the Student Association and a multicultural collective of activists who called foul. The Asian fraternities and sororities didn’t lead. Heck, did they even follow? I would expect the Asian Greeks to be the loudest voice of protest, but they weren’t. And when bills are presented to the highest echelons of our government that will directly affect Asian Americans, where are the Asian Greeks to be leaders and inform the rest of their community about it?

What about Ms. Wallace’s “Asians in the Library” rant? Asian Greeks could have gotten together to collaborate on creative responses to Ms. Wallace’s rant. They could have issued public statements against it. They could have done something to show that they’re aware of continued racism against Asian Americans and are actively taking a stand against it. Where were the Asian Greeks then? Considering the exorbitant amount of time pledges are required to spend at the campus library, I’m sure Ms. Wallace’s hostility against Asians included the Asian Greeks. Earlier this month President Obama acknowledged the surging hate crimes against South Asians. There is a significant percentage of South Asians in these organizations, so are the Asian Greeks doing their part in any way? Are they being leaders for our community?

Perhaps most tragic of all, where was the Asian Greek advocacy when Pvt. Danny Chen was brutally harassed and beaten for being Chinese American, and subsequently shot to death? When a hate crime happens against our community, I absolutely expect the Asian Greeks to be loud about it. These are social and cultural organizations, not to mention activism and civil rights advocacy are their legacy. Today, these Asian Greeks take their social aspect seriously but not their other roles. Then the few times we do get to hear about them in the news, it’s always a WTF.

I do not write this to condemn Asian Greeks. I write this to critique them. There needs to be an active engagement in the politics and social issues that involve Asian Americans. These fraternities and sororities are in the best position to mobilize on a large scale in response to iniquities and offenses against Asians. There are many baby steps these organizations could do to foster activism in their future generations:

  • Pledges need to stand up publicly against an incident or condition that denigrates Asian Americans. Screw poorly written essays in pledge books. Make them do something public. Teach them about protest and advocacy. Make them use their voice. Pledging is about character building. Use the opportunity to build their characters.
  • Establish a top down system where an officer at the national executive level can issue orders to mobilize all chapters of the organization when duty and moral obligation as an Asian American leader calls for it. All you organizations, after all, claim to be leaders in your community. Right?
  • Instead of channeling all of your focus on getting a banner of your Greek letters hung up at this year’s China Night, Korea Night, Asian Night, or whatever, channel some of that focus on how to get your Greek letters in the news associated with positive action. I am totally in favor of shameless self promotion, but while you’re at it, why not try to do some public good? Promote your letters in conjunction with a public statement that takes a stand against a racist act or hate crime. Recruit the most talented members of your organization to produce quality social media and again, go ahead and make sure the public knows that it’s coming from your organization.
  • Consider appointing someone in your organization as a publicist or public image strategist who will help with positive PR for your organization, showing the public how your organization is actively upholding its mission and purpose. Since we are still an ethnic minority, you as a public figure represent the community, for better or for worse, whether you want to or not. So positive promotion of your letters is in fact positive promotion for all of us.

Asian Greeks must change if they want to remain relevant today. It isn’t enough to put on meaningless “cultural workshops.” It isn’t enough to wake up Saturday morning for a walk that half your organization doesn’t even have a vested interest in. Instead of promoting your own letters with gaudy felt banners, promote the Asian American community at large. Do that by being a public figure. Let your organization’s voice be heard loud and clear when shit gets racist.

Be the leaders among men you say you are. Educate the community about Pan-Asian culture as you claim as your mission. If you don’t do that, then there is absolutely no reason for the existence of Asian Greeks today, especially considering how they bring more negative press to our community than they do positive.

The author went HARD! There’s a lot I agree with about this, what do you think?

Who: Everyone and Anyone!

What: In the first two weeks of April, join your campus in creating a banner asking the military to change their attitude towards discrimination and hazing amongst their members, pushing for these issues to be acknowledged, recognized and taken seriously in court trials. Have your members of your campus sign it with your own creative ways to express your beliefs, culture and ideas!

More details will come, but for now plan on wearing RED on APRIL 11. Take a picture of your campus representation wearing red and send it here.

The Department of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Irvine invites applications for a part-time Non Senate Faculty position with primary responsibility in teaching an upper division interdisciplinary course in Asian American Studies for academic year 2012-13. Base salary per course is $5,746. The service dates are as follows: Fall Quarter 2012 (09/24/12 to 12/14/12) or Spring Quarter 2013 (03/27/13 to 06/14/13). 

We are looking for applicants who can teach the following courses:
• Asian American Media & Arts (115)
• Asian American Family (133)
• Asian Americans and Education (139)
• Asian Americans and the Law (140)
• Asian American Women (162)
• Asian American Women’s Film (163)

Please see the General Catalogue at http://www.editor.uci.edu/catalogue/hum/hum.4.htm#courses for descriptions of these courses.

Applicants with a Ph.D. preferred. Applicants who are ABD or have a M.A., M.F.A., or equivalent will be considered. UC graduate students must have filed their dissertation or have a degree in hand by mid-August 2012 to be eligible to teach in Fall 2012 and by mid-February 2013 to be eligible to teach in Spring Quarter 2013. Preference will be given to applicants who can teach in the Fall quarter. You may apply for one, some, or all courses, but please note that all course availability is subject to budgetary approval.

The Department of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Irvine offers a major, minor, a graduate emphasis, and contributes to the Ph.D. Program in Culture and Theory. 

Please send the following materials via e-mail attachment to Jim Lee at jkl@uci.edu by March 20, 2012:
• Cover letter
• Curriculum vitae
• Teaching evaluation summaries (no raw data needed)
• Complete sample syllabi of the course(s) you are proposing
• Indicate quarters available (Fall/Spring)
• Two letters of recommendation, sent directly from the recommender

titotito:

asiansnotstudying:

The University of California system is enrolling record numbers of out-of-state and international students who pay almost twice that of in-state residents — but are they squeezing out high-achieving Asian American applicants?

I feel like the author could’ve been more specific in the title because he was not talking about all Asian Americans. I had a problem with this statement:

Asian-Americans already are being displaced by University of California admissions policies that give preference to first- generation college students. 

It goes on to say how these policies “benefit  low-income Latino and African-American students over middle-income Asian- Americans whose parents went to college.” Is this assuming that there are no Asian Americans who are first-generation college students? Also, what about Asian Americans who aren’t “middle-income” or whose parents don’t have college educations?

This following statement also raised some ire for me:

Veronica Zavala’s son Brandon is a senior at Diamond Bar High School, about 30 miles east of Los Angeles. As an A student and the son of taxpayers and a state employee — Brandon’s father is a prison guard — he should be able to attend a University of California school, she said.

“There’s no reason why someone from another country should come and take my son’s spot,” Zavala said.

Brandon should be allowed to pursue a college education, be it at a University of California school, a community college, or another institution of post-secondary education. His mother’s reasoning as to why he should be able to go to a U of C school frustrated me, mostly the part of being the “son of taxpayers.” That and her saying there’s no reason someone from another country should take his son’s spot, I feel, reflect xenophobic views and are attacking towards international students and undocumented students.

(Source: blog.angryasianman.com)

benjaminfang:

Fascinasians: How Ivy Leagues Avoid Diversity

fascinasians:

Back in March, as colleges began to herald their newly admitted classes for PR purposes, the Ivy League schools got to patting themselves on the back.

The Harvard Gazette bragged that Harvard’s newest batch of accepted students included record numbers of blacks and Latinos. Brown said its…

Finally being on a college campus and seeing “college diversity” for the first time, I realized how disappointed I felt about this. I always expected college to be a place where diversity and acceptance were prevalent, but I haven’t seen much of that yet. Instead, what I see is judgement, stereotyping, and condescension.

But maybe that’s my fault. I thought that college was a place where the old high school drama and semantics would be replaced by an honest eagerness to learn about other cultures, search for identity, and challenge preconceived notions about how the world works. I was and probably am still naive, and somehow dreamed up a hyper-romanticized idea about college. Now that the reality of it isn’t matching up with my vision, I am becoming increasingly uneasy about my next four years here.

Asians and Asian Americans make up the largest minority group here in my school, less than 10% of the entire student body. The school is largely white demographically, but it has the right intentions when it comes to diversity, or at least that’s what I think.

The public communications program I am a part of in my school is 35% male, and 21% people of color. 21%. In most of my classes, I see mostly white females occupying the seats in the classroom or lecture hall. Sometimes I think that I benefited from affirmative action because of the lack of people like me here in the program. And I think 21% is a rather pathetic number when talking about diversity in a college school. This needs to change.

(Source: GOOD)

Back in March, as colleges began to herald their newly admitted classes for PR purposes, the Ivy League schools got to patting themselves on the back.

The Harvard Gazette bragged that Harvard’s newest batch of accepted students included record numbers of blacks and Latinos. Brown said its admitted class was “the most racially … diverse“ in the school’s centuries-long history.  Dartmouth shared actual percentages, declaring that a full 44 percent of its newest class was composed of students of color. Coincidentally, that was the same percentage of minorities in Penn’s freshman class.

Numbers like these might lead someone to believe that diversity is no longer an issue at America’s most elite colleges. Like everyone else, students of color have long strived to make it to the Ivy League, where the education and connections can set a person up for life. Now, evidently, huge numbers of minorities are getting their chance. When nearly half of an Ivy League school’s accepted class is made up of people of color—America as a whole is only 47 percent non-white (PDF)—aren’t we nearing perfect equality? If only.

It turns out the Ivy League’s racial diversity stats are only half the story. People in search of egalitarianism at places like Harvard and Columbia shouldn’t just be asking what color students are, but where they’re from, too.

Call it the Ivy League’s dirty little secret: While America’s most elite colleges do in fact make it a point to promote ethnic diversity on their campuses, a lot of them do so by admitting hugely disproportionate numbers of wealthy immigrants and their children rather than black students with deep roots—and troubled histories—in the United States.

The problem, of course, isn’t that black immigrants are going to Ivy League schools in large numbers; educational success should be applauded no matter where the student is from. But the large numbers of African immigrants on American college campuses, coupled with the remarkably small numbers of native blacks on those same campuses, calls into question the effectiveness of America’s affirmative action programs. While affirmative action started as a system to right the wrongs of slavery and institutional anti-black racism, helping wealthy immigrants who weren’t here for those struggles doesn’t serve any of the program’s original intentions.

“Very few black students [at Harvard] were able to be categorized under the term ‘just black,’” says Joy Alison Cooper. Cooper graduated from Harvard in 2006 and is now a Fogarty Scholar doing clinical research in Nairobi, Kenya. “There was an overrepresentation of Africans,” she says, “and specifically Nigerians. Nigerians were so numerous that in my senior year, my best friend helped start the Nigerian Students Association.”

The statistics are striking: Though African immigrants, many of them from Nigeria and Ghana, make up less than 1 percent of America’s total population, first- and second-generation black immigrants comprise 41 percent of all black students at Ivy League schools, according to 2007 research from teams at Princeton and Penn. Another study, this one published in Sociology of Education in 2009, found that immigrant blacks attended select colleges at almost four times the rate of native-born African Americans. Outside of the Ivy League, almost 44 percent of African immigrants graduated from a four-year college, compared to just 18 percent of native blacks.

None of this would matter if black Americans and their immigrant counterparts were gunning for the Ivies from a level playing field. But they’re not. Data shows that African immigrants, Nigerians in particular, are far wealthier and more highly educated than many Americans of any race. In 2000, when the median household income for African Americans was about $30,000, the median income for Nigerian immigrant families was more than $45,000 (PDF). Where education is concerned, in 2007,African immigrants were likelier to have obtained a college or graduate degree than any other immigrant population, and 20 percent likelier than the U.S. population as a whole.

It’s easy to chalk these numbers up to the myth that immigrants work harder than native blacks, but studies say that’s wrong. According to the aforementioned sociological research from 2009, immigrant students don’t value education more than native blacks or perform significantly better academically. Rather, they have the financial resources required to get a leg-up into the highest echelons of academia.

“When we compare immigrant blacks to African Americans from similar family socioeconomic backgrounds, we find no significant differences between them in their chances of attending college,” says Pamela Bennett, one of the study’s authors and an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins. “Our findings indicate that [African immigrants] have greater resources, in the form of family structure and private school attendance, that are universally helpful in providing opportunities to go to college.” (“Family structure” means that African immigrants are less likely to live in single-parent households than native blacks.)

Teresa Wiltz, senior editor of black politics and culture website The Root, graduated from Dartmouth in the 1980s. She says that a lot of her black peers did benefit from programs helping low-income minorities, but the African immigrants with whom she went to school were very affluent. “There was a group of Ethiopian students there, two of whom were the relatives of [Ethiopian Emperor] Haile Selassie,” she tells me. “Yes, they came from highly privileged backgrounds, but they were also exiles thanks to the revolution there. There was also a group of Ghanaian students—all men.”

Emails and phone calls to Brown, Yale, and Princeton requesting interviews about their admissions processes went unanswered. Emails to members and former members of Harvard’s Nigerian Student’s Association also went unanswered. Harvard senior communications officer Jeff Neal wrote in an email, “Harvard College seeks to admit the most interesting, able, and diverse class possible, regardless of individual background. … There are no quotas of any kind. We rely on teachers, counselors, headmasters, and alumni to share information with us about applicants’ strength of character, their ability to overcome adversity, and other personal qualities—all of which play a part in admissions decisions.”

In his book The Trouble With Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality, University of Illinois at Chicago English professor Walter Benn Michaels laments that colleges have abandoned real affirmative action programs in order to promote a more general sense of diversity, which presumes that all black people are alike regardless of income or place of birth. “The trouble with diversity … is not just that it won’t solve the problem of economic inequality,” he writes, “it’s that it makes it hard for us to even see the problem.”

For her part, Cooper, the Harvard graduate, says what she observed in black immigrant students wasn’t more smarts or a lot more money, but a will to succeed that hadn’t been quashed by decades of oppression. “Descendants of slaves came here on a ship as chattel, not on a plane or inner tube with hopes of an American dream,” she says. “Honestly, I believe it’s difficult to strive for better when you already live in what people name the American dream, but what you have lived is a nightmare.”

photo via (cc) Flickr user Patricia Drury

(Source: GOOD)

welcome to one admissions!

This is One Admissions, a service dedicated to helping high school students obtain an edge in the competitive college application process. Having just recently graduated ourselves, we know that the college application process can be one of the most stressful periods of your high school career. Selecting the place where you will begin your new life is difficult. It is more than just picking a name off a list or applying to wherever your best friends are going, it is about determining the school that will satisfy your needs and interests. This process is about finding where you belong.

As the newest generation of Asian Americans like Kim seek college admission, the landscape they face shifts continuously. Some schools have historically held Asian Americans to a higher standard, whereas others have opened their doors and held out enticing offers to attract more Asian American applicants. Then there’s the University of California, whose new rules could sway its admissions toward more inclusion of historically underrepresented Asian ethnic groups — at the expense of some Asian American groups that have traditionally been admitted in high numbers. 

Caught in the middle are students focusing on the balancing act of matching their own attributes and career interests with the academic programs and student preferences of colleges. But Asian Americans also deal with the added challenges of meeting higher academic standards, disproportionately applying to the most competitive majors, and picking a school that welcomes them and values diversity.

Often, several factors limit admissions for Asian Americans at elite universities, making it harder for seemingly qualified applicants to get in. Dan Golden, the author of The Price of Admission, which documents the advantages given to white applicants at elite universities, believes subtle quotas for Asian Americans come from three primary factors.

First, many seats at these schools are simply not available for Asian Americans because few are children of large donors, are athletes or are relatives of alumni, otherwise known as legacies. These groups receive preference in the admissions process and typically comprise about one-third of an entering class. Moreover, Asian Americans are not typically considered for affirmative action, unless the applicant hails from traditionally underrepresented groups, such as Southeast Asians. 

“For most elite schools, close to half the seats on average go to somebody with an admissions preference,” Golden said. This means that most Asian Americans, as well as working- and middle-class whites, compete on only their merit for about half the seats available in any freshman class.

Read more here

China’s Ministry of Education is ready to offer full scholarships to American students who wish to pursue their university degrees in China.

The program officially kicked off in April when Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed the China-US Consultation on People to People Exchange agreement, even though the actual offering of scholarships started last year.

From 2010 and 2013, the program provides tuition and living allowance to up to 10,000 American students who enroll in universities in China for undergraduate or postgraduate degrees, said Zhang Jin, a secondary secretary in charge of the education exchange program. Students enrolled in joint-degree programs between Chinese and American universities also may be eligible.

"We hope the scholarships will encourage American students to delve into China studies and other subjects in China in earnest," Zhang said.

The scholarships will also give some support to US President Barack Obama’s call to send more than 100,000 Americans to China to learn the Chinese language and culture, she said.

The Chinese government will also pay miscellaneous fees to cover books, internships, registration, on-campus accommodations and medical insurance, she said.

The scholarships constitute part of China’s plan to attract some 500,000 foreign students to study in China by 2020. The number of US students in China is expected to become one of the largest.

China’s central government provided 800 million yuan ($123.9 million) in scholarships to international students last year and local governments offered about 110 million yuan in scholarships, according to Zhang Xiuqin, director of the Education Ministry’s department of international cooperation and exchange.

The scholarships benefited 22,390 international students last year, 22.7 percent more than in 2009.

The number of foreign students in China has risen dramatically, from 110,844 in 2004 to a record 265,090-plus last year, according to the latest statistics released by the ministry.

International students can find more information at www.studyinchina.edu.cn.

Li Xing reported from Washington and Chen Jia from Beijing.

(Source: )