School district gets in trouble: decides to count Asians as “whites” to highlight a bigger academic deficit between whites and people of color

February 17, 2021 • 12:30 pm

I’ve posted before on the conundrum that Woke Ideology gets into when a group is considered “of color” because of either its pigmentation or historical oppression, but then must face the palpable fact that some “groups of color” can be remarkably successful. Nigerian immigrants, East Asians, and Indians, for example, are high achievers in the U.S., at least if you judge by the American Standards of Success—income and academic achievement.

Here’s a plot from six years ago showing income data provided by the U.S. Census. I’ve put an arrow by the oppressor group, whites, yet every group above it is considered to comprise “people of color”, with Indian-Americans making about 1.7 times as much per household than white Americans.

The same holds for other measures of achievement, including standardized test scores and academic degrees. Here’s Wikipedia‘s chart from its article on “Racial Achievement Gap in the United States“. Once again, Asians are on top by a substantial margin, which is why colleges like Harvard have to lower the rankings of Asian applicants to keep them from numerically dominating the student population.

In light of these differences, whose causes are complex, it’s no surprise that the Woke get confused when it comes to Asians. While they’re generally seen as “people of color” because of a past history of oppression (and occasional bigotry now, like Asians getting denigrated for the “Kung Flu”), whatever oppression occurred in the past or is occurring now hasn’t materially affected the academic or pecuniary success of Asians. In every respect you can think of, they are “privileged.”

The dilemma was highlighted last November when, according to the libertarian site Reason.com (and verified elsewhere), a school district in Washington State decided to lump whites with Asians when judging academic achievement, implicitly counting Asians as “whites” by opposing their achievements with those of “students of color.” The report, which you can see by checking the links, includes this (all emphases mine):

In their latest equity report, administrators at North Thurston Public Schools—which oversees some 16,000 students—lumped Asians in with whites and measured their academic achievements against “students of color,” a category that includes “Black, Latinx, Native American, Pacific Islander, and Multi-Racial Students” who have experienced “persistent opportunity gaps.”

Most indicators in the report show that the achievement gap between white/Asian students and “students of color” is fairly narrow and improving over time. It would probably be even narrower if Asian students were categorized as “students of color.” In fact, some indicators might have even shown white students lagging behind that catch-all minority group. Perhaps Asians were included with whites in order to avoid such an outcome. (The superintendent did not respond to a request for comment.)

What the equity report really highlights is the absurdities that result from overreliance on semi-arbitrary race-based categories. The report also measured “students of poverty”—those who qualify for free or reduced-cost lunches—against non-poverty students, and unsurprisingly found a much more significant achievement gap. Students of poverty perform 28 percent worse on math tests, for instance. That socioeconomic category captures something real and meaningful in a way that the gerrymandered race category does not.

I can see no reason for lumping Asian-Americans with whites as “whites” except to increase the difference between the “white” and the “people of color” groups. Why they would want to do that, though? I will leave to your imagination.

But now, if you go to the first link—to the school district’s “equity report”—you won’t find the previously lumped data. Instead, you see the self-flagellation below, for when the school considered Asians as “titular whites,” they got into big trouble. I’m not sure who raised the alarum about this, but it resulted in this fulsome apology from the school district:

One of our district’s Strategic Plan goals is Continuous Growth – All Students, All Subjects. One of the outcomes we are working towards in this goal is to have an “increased growth rate of underperforming groups eliminating achievement and opportunity gaps.”

For this reason, in one of our previous online documents from 2019, titled “Monitoring Student Growth,” we evaluated the achievement data by “Students of Color” and “Students of Poverty.” In the document we grouped White and Asian students together and Students of Color in another category. While our intent was never to ignore Asian students as “students of color” or ignore any systemic disadvantages they too have faced, we realize our category choices caused pain and had racist implications.

After the report resurfaced in social media, we received an overwhelming public response. We appreciated the thoughtful and honest feedback we received from students, parents and community members, and commit to change how we look at achievement data in the future. We apologize for the negative impact and hurt our actions caused and have since removed the dated monitoring report from our website. The document from 2019 is the only place where we grouped White and Asian students together. All of our Policy Governance reports to the School Board, including student achievement and growth data, can be seen here.

Note the claim that there was “negative impact” and “hurt” associated with the report. Who would complain about harm? I’m not sure that Asians would consider themselves hurt by this action, except for those who insist on seeing themselves as victims. I suspect, then, that those who complained were non-Asian people of color, who want Asians to be grouped with them as the object of white oppression. But I’m only guessing.

The solution to this issue seems to rest on an honest categorization of the variables most associated with achievement. While “race” is one of them, it appears that class (“poverty”) is more important, at least at Thurston. I’m starting to think that my colleague Brian Leiter is right in arguing that, in these matters, race is way overemphasized to the neglect of class. They are correlated, of course, but there are the notable exceptions mentioned above.

What such a conclusion points to is that to achieve true equality, we have to level the playing field with respect to class more than race. That, of course, will still result in disproportionate help given to people of color, but so what? We just want every American to have the same opportunities.  (Of course, given the system of inherited wealth, that will be a tough row to hoe.). All I know is that to solve the problem of unequal opportunity, we first need to find out what causes it. And it can’t solely be systemic racism against “people of color.” If that’s your indictment, you must then to do what the Thurston school district did: count Asians as “whites”.

h/t: Luana

70 thoughts on “School district gets in trouble: decides to count Asians as “whites” to highlight a bigger academic deficit between whites and people of color

  1. I have seen the lumping of Asians with Whites on various occasions, usually to assert a narrative of racism.

    But what is really common is to leave Asians out of comparisons altogether, even Hispanics, so you have only Black/White comparison so as not to dilute narrative or received notions. (I rarely see comparisons between recent immigrants from Africa and African-Americans. Remember, that people in Africa may also be descendants of slaves and of the ravages of colonialism.)

    In terms of academic performance, the biggest gap is between Asians and everyone else. But I don’t think I have ever seen a chart like that.

    BTW, as a foreigner, I can tell you that income and academic achievement are celebrated as terms for success all over the world. And I believe it precedes the establishment of the United States.

    1. (I rarely see comparisons between recent immigrants from Africa and African-Americans. Remember, that people in Africa may also be descendants of slaves and of the ravages of colonialism.)

      Descendants of slaves and of the ravages of colonialism they may well be, but Africans who emigrate to the US to seek out educational or economic opportunities are a self-selecting group.

      By the same token, I’d bet that African-Americans who emigrate to Paris to study at the Sorbonne or to Zürich to work in the banking sector place well above average on standards of income and academic achievement.

      1. Those ravages are taught and thought to be constant parameters and indelible. So, yes immigrants may often be self-selecting. However, if the self-selection attenuates ravages, then it shows that the effects of those ravages can indeed be attenuated, if not totally erased.

        It’s really hard to find much admission of that in colonial, diaspora, post-colonial studies….or perhaps it’s there and I am not aware of it.

        So, if any reader knows of a nuance treatment, please share a link or reference!

        1. So, yes immigrants may often be self-selecting. However, if the self-selection attenuates ravages, then it shows that the effects of those ravages can indeed be attenuated, if not totally erased.

          Not necessarily. It could be the range and distribution of outcomes is pretty much the same in both places, and both with an average or peak well below “average American,” but the ones who migrate come from the successful tip of the curve. That wouldn’t really show any attenuation.

          The chance that a self-selected group comes from some unusual part of the overall distribution is exactly why we can’t typically generalize from a self-selected sample.

          1. I agree with you…but what I was trying to do is use the lense that I see used so often in these types of racial comparisons. Which often leave out the very sensible empirical thinking that you bring up.

      2. (I rarely see comparisons between recent immigrants from Africa and African-Americans. Remember, that people in Africa may also be descendants of slaves and of the ravages of colonialism.)

        Aren’t modern africans more likely to be the descendants of the people who captured and sold the slaves?

    2. > But what is really common is to leave Asians out of comparisons altogether, even Hispanics, so you have only Black/White comparison so as not to dilute narrative or received notions.

      This bothers me enormously. The narrative ignores all human groups other than white and black Americans. Unfortunately, it is now also spreading among young people in other countries due to the cultural influence of the US. Therefore, you can find young Brits, Irish and French who believe that the history of blacks in Europe is basically identical to that in the US*. This is obviously quite wrong: One has only to think of the Nazis who were all about killing white Jews and white Slavs. Would that even count as properly racist according to the narrative?

      * together with other weird beliefs, like thinking that there were wealthy baby boomers in Eastern Europe or that European police forces routinely use firearms.

    3. You wrote “as a foreigner”. Presumably that means you are not an American. Neither am I, but I don’t think of myself as a foreigner as I comment here an I don’t want to. Should I ? I don’t see writing on a website as setting foot in a country, even thought the creator of the website has a citizenship.

      Is the consensus against me ?

      1. I said as a “foreigner” despite the fact I have lived in the United States or my life…and would in fact be a foreigner elsewhere.

        But I was nonetheless socialized with differences than the vast majority of friends who are Americans and also coming to contact with Spanish speaking people from Central and South America, and also Asia (during my education). And again and again, success was measured by education and also financial achievement.

        However, I will say that family not infrequently was more important than those 2 things.

      2. Well, when someone comments on data that are collected, processed, and interpreted in another country. And that interpretation seems skewed, based on political and cultural influences that are particular, though not wholly unique, to that other country. Then I would say yes, in this context a non-American is a ‘foreigner’. As a Yorkshire man, I would certainly include myself in that category – though not for all issues on WEIT. It depends very much on the subject.

  2. I have known many Indian-Americans. Their immigrant ancestors almost always came from the highly educated elite of Indian society (e.g., doctors, engineers, etc.).

    This just points out the importance of “class” as it hard to compare a Mexican-American whose parents were uneducated illegal immigrants (“peasants” for want of a better word) with an Indian-American whose immigrant father was a pediatrician. Look at Kamala Harris’s background for example.

    1. Yes and I think many Indians come to Western countries with a lot of skills and money so they are already privileged as far as class, education, and wealth. I remember someone on Twitter saying that white people should be kinder to their Indian maids. I laughed and replied that all my Indian friends who had maids had white maids.

  3. I suspect, then, that those who complained were non-Asian people of color, who want Asians to be grouped with them as the object of white oppression. But I’m only guessing.

    My theory (which is mine) is that the “hurt” and “pain” was caused to Woke people who were upset at the inconsistencies of their ideology being highlighted.

    1. “Life IS pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”
      -the Dread Pirate Roberts

      I often find myself reaching for this quote, especially when I hear about complaints of vague and nebulous types of “pain” and “hurt”. I don’t QUITE completely agree with it, but it’s not TOO far wrong.

    1. I don’t think those two are mutually exclusive. I assume “average American” means the average for all the hyphenated groups combined, weighted according to their respective percentages of the US general population.

  4. I’m starting to think that my colleague Brian Leiter is right in arguing that, in these matters, race is way overemphasized to the neglect of class.

    Agreed, since we’ve known for a long time that dispersion within racial groups is much bigger than disparities between group means.

    What such a conclusion points to is that to achieve true equality, we have to level the playing field with respect to class more than race.

    Except that we can never attain that, since people are not blank slates and do differ in innate aptitude.

    Thus, regarding: “Students of poverty perform 28 percent worse on math tests …”

    The parents’ overall ability, including ability on maths tests, will be a major factor in their present income, and the children get the parents’ genes, so inevitably — when averaging over cohorts — children of poorer parents will tend to do less well on maths tests, even if there is perfect equality of opportunity.

    1. Re: your last paragraph. In my experience, except for the extremes, hard work typically matters more than inherent ability. IMO the vast majority of children of poorer parents will do just as well as the vast majority of children of wealthy parents, if they have a good learning environment and supportive education resources. The problem with the US system now is that the learning environment and education resources tend to be correlated with wealth, so of course the wealthy kids tend to do better.

      Now sure, we can expect big things from Terence Tao’s kids because of both his and his wife’s genes, and of course millionaires and billionaires can afford tutors the rest of us can only dream of. But again, those are the extremes. When you’re talking about the difference between a child of some middle class white collar worker making $31K (the US average) vs. $62k, any difference in outcomes is almost certainly more linked to the district they can afford to live in rather than any genetic contribution to them earning those respective incomes. If we start normalizing educational resources across districts, we’ll start seeing less difference in average outcome (at least iMO).

      1. … any difference in outcomes is almost certainly more linked to the district they can afford to live in rather than any genetic contribution …

        This is how many people think, but things like twin studies suggest that it is not true. Instead, twin studies find that genetic factors are more important than “shared environment”, where that means environmental factors that would be shared by siblings in the same household. Many people find this counter-intuitive, but it’s what the evidence points to. [E.g. link]

      2. Hypothesis: People who work hard but do not succeed are usually ignored, and successful people are often assumed to be hard-working.

        A pet peeve of mine, since I cannot stand claims of moral superiority from people that just got lucky. Among my relatives, birth complications and IQ predict job success quite well*. Laziness does not.

  5. Equal opportunity means that everyone gets the same chance to succeed, not that everyone is equally qualified. And yes, inherited wealth is a problem, so until you eliminate that, which is nearly impossible, you’re not going to have a level playing field for opportunity.

    1. My dad made a good living, and I went to a prep school. When people talk about the advantage of parental wealth, I think of all the kids I know who simply threw it all away, especially with drugs. I think a good home matters way more than wealth.

        1. According to the two French series I’ve been watching (Spiral and The Bureau), “pute!” and “putain!” seem to be les mots justes for just about any expletive these days, with the odd “merde” thrown in.. I still remember my high school French text in which the maid (la bonne) says “zut, alors!” and the translation was “Oh, bother!” Has anyone anywhere ever heard anyone say “Oh, bother”?

              1. All purpose, no. “Pute” is just an insult, at least to most people. We use “putain” a lot. It is almost never used to describe a person. It holds roughly the part of the American (anglophone ?) “fuck”, “motherfucker”, “damnit”. We use it when we are upset : “Putain : je suis en retard !” would be “Fuck, I am late.”, or to give inensity to our statements : “Putain, je sais de quoi je parle :” would be “Damnit, I know my shit !”.

                We would use neither “putain” nor “pute” to mean that a person lacks intelligence. We would say that a person is a “retard” by saying “débile”, or “crétin” for instance (provided we’re not dealing with whether or not the person is malevolent, otherwise “con”, “connard” is the right word).

                The insult “pute” would describe a person who is malevolent, regardless of whether or not that person is stupid. Occasonally used for men in which case the fact that it is feminine makes it more insulting. Of course, since it means prostitute, it is also used to describe in a condemnation fashion a woman of light customs. Come to think of it, it is also used to describe a person who will make light of any moral principle to garner a gain, as anglophones would “whore” : “Les artistes sont des putes”.

                Well, you made me realise that I knew more about the unwritten rules of these words than I thought.

              2. Merci pour ces détails, Damien.”Emmerder” is also a verb thrown around a lot in these shows, as well as “balancer” – to rat out someone. Is there any real distinction between the actual words “pute” and “putain”? Of course in Canada we have “poutine”😂

              3. “Emmerder quelqu’un” is bothering somebody, but bothering a lot since it means that you are immersing the person into shit, or covering the person with it.

                “Balancer” in a certain context, is indeed to rat out.

                A world class classical studies expert I used to know told me that “putain” was a declension of “pute”, the only one of two in the entire French language, the other one, interetingly, being “nonne” and “nonnain” (nun).

                There is a difference in the uses of “pute” and of “putain”. Other than what I have already written, I have difficulties pinpointing them. Colloquially, a prostitute is a “pute”, and never a “putain”, except in songs where it provides emphasis and an extra foot. However, there are subtelties that are hard to express when you’ve never thought about it (and are not a lexicograph) but that everybody understands. For instance, I remember a movie in which a wife lets her husband use her body for sex, after which she says tells him that she has become her husband’s “putain”. Using “pute” here would probably have given the idea that she was somehow malevolent. Strange as it is, it also sounds nobler, at least to me. These uses are rare and context dependent, and yet I understand them right away.

                Now, do you read French ?

              4. Yes, Damien, I do read French fairly fluently. I’m slowly making my way way through À la Recherche du temps Perdu (halfway through vol 2), and read many of the classics in college and beyond. A friend today was reminding me of the funny expression: “Elle pet plus haut que son cul,” and we were also recalling the pastry “pets de nonnes,” which don’t sound very appetizing.😬Do you live in France? I first learned French when I lived in Martinique ages 7 and 8.

              5. Reading “La Recherche”, as the happy few who do or did call it, is pretty impressive. I went all the way to the beginning of Albertine disparue.

                The expression is rather “Il (Elle) essaie de péter plus haut que son cul.” (trying to fart above one’s arse), we never say that anybody does it. Part of the point is that it is impossible. It means trying to present oneself as more important than one is.

                “Pet de nonne” (nun’s fart) is indeed the name of a pastry. One can speculate quite a lot about the etymology of the name :

                https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pet_de_nonne

                From the look of them and the recipe on the Internet, I am pretty sure I ate some last year under a completely different name.

                Fascinating as they are, intestinal gases should not be overused in a conversation.

                I live in France, in Paris actually.

                It is a pity this blog does not allow for private messages (which would probably be expensive) : much as I like chatting with you, I fear we may have strainedour dear host’s, Pr Coyne’s, benevolence and hijacked that thread quite to the limit of what is acceptable (unless it’s just you and me here, in which case s…w it, I declare the place a sovereign state).

    2. … inherited wealth is a problem, so until you eliminate that, which is nearly impossible, you’re not going to have a level playing field for opportunity.

      And yet the US is moving in precisely the opposite direction, what with all but eliminating, in 2017, the estate tax (or “death tax” in the Luntzian lingo Republicans pushed for the benefit of their fat-cat donor base).

    3. Nature (well, human nature) abhors a level playing field.

      Yes, I realise that that is an assertion, but people are not blank slates (a heretical view to some) and in identical situations (the level playing field) some will prosper more than others if only because of their genetic predispositions (a heretical view to some).

  6. How cute that the schoolboard’s apology regrets that it “caused pain and had racist implications”, rather
    than admitting that it was factually nonsense. Plain bullshit, apparently, no longer calls for retraction,
    unless it “caused pain” etc. etc.

    The initial deliberate misclassification reflects the conventional woke mindset, summarized by Duncan Moench in Tablet as follows:

    “In the progressive model, counteracting the thought crimes and behavioral failings of American heartlanders provides the mandate for their coastal superiors to monopolize power while pushing economic inequality to the periphery of legitimate social concern. Clinton- and Obama-style progressives would gladly usher in a world where everyone is employed at the woke Amazon-ExxonMobil-Kraft-Apple-Disney megacorporation complex. Even if most workers are systematically disempowered by this setup, there’s still justice in such a future as long as the corporate executive committee is allotted equitable “representation” to “marginalized” identities and the full range of gender expressions.

    …Today’s woke progressives demand Americans recognize cultural differences but never accept any differences in outcome. Representational correctness has become the greatest unifying orthodoxy among elites—so much so that even right-wing institutions and think tanks today refrain from confronting the utopianism that lies beneath it.

    …The increasingly aggressive—and probably often illegal—race- and gender-based hiring and admissions programs now common across college campuses are sold as the answer to everything that’s wrong in today’s monopoly heavy oligarchic America: police brutality, wage stagnation, rapidly declining enrollment in the humanities fields, you name it.

    Of course, none of these failures will be remotely improved by such an approach. Rather, these programs will only serve to further alienate America’s poor and working classes from the nation’s so-called progressive left. Who knows how to effectively fill out an application for a grant, fellowship, or merit scholarship using critical race theory panache—the working poor? New immigrants learning to speak English? Uh, no.

    …The supposedly valiant character of “allyship” provides a means for wealthy European American elites to claim to speak for everyone else while maintaining their role as master of ceremonies. When the working poor protest that they too face hardships and structural disadvantages, they can be conveniently condemned as racist enemies of progress. Now well into its second act, progressive racialism serves the same function it did in the Gilded Age: Hiding class and regionalist prejudice beneath cultural battles.”

    1. That seems like a lot of codswallop in with a few okay points. Do you really buy that Obama style progressives want everyone working at a Amazon-ExxonMobil-Kraft-Apple-Disney megacorporation complex?

      1. I agree that the reference to Clinton-and-Obama-style progressives is misdirected. But I think it
        applies correctly to the hordes of Diversity-Consultant-style progressives we find swarming through
        our university and corporate D/E/I offices, our Schools of Ed, and our School bureaucracies.

  7. Where are the Native Americans on that list? I mean the real aboriginal ones, as opposed to post-Colombian? Did I miss them?

  8. Another contributing factor to the income gap between whites and other groups is that demographically, the median white person is about 13 years older than the mean non-white person (44 vs 31). 30% of white people are 54 or older, but only 20% of non-whites. We all know that older people, more advanced in their careers, make more money, and this is a big difference.

    https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/07/30/most-common-age-among-us-racial-ethnic-groups/

    1. Yes, this is how economists look at it. This type of analysis also applies to gender. For example, women spend much more time outside the workforce. Thus, the average 35-year old lawyer, for example, has more legal experience than the average 35-year old female lawyer. As everyone knows income tends to increase with experience. Women also work fewer hours than men when they are in the labor force. Just one example:

      “[We] show that the weekly earnings gap can be explained by the workplace choices that women and men make. Women value time away from work and flexibility more than men, taking more unpaid time off using the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and working fewer overtime hours than men.” [Harvard Working Paper, Bolotnyy & Emanuel (2018)]

      When you adjust for such factors the gender pay gap becomes pretty small.

  9. While our intent was never to ignore Asian students as “students of color”

    I think the very first question in the next board/whatever meeting should be “okay, what was your intent? Sure, there’s a 90% chance of getting back a meaningless apology, but on the really odd chance they actually had some non-racist thinking behind it, let’s hear it.

    The solution to this issue seems to rest on an honest categorization of the variables most associated with achievement.

    I don’t mind if they honestly report variables that turn out not to be strongly associated with achievement. In some respects, they kinda have to do that: if they left out race, someone would ask about the correlation with race (and the same is probably true of many other factors). So just analyze all the data you get competently, report your analysis honestly, and let the results “fall where they may.”

    From a PCC comment:

    inherited wealth is a problem, so until you eliminate that, which is nearly impossible, you’re not going to have a level playing field for opportunity.

    Well, a strong and effective public school and public health system would be a very good start towards improving social mobility, and making class more about work and merit rather than your parents. Which is probably why conservatives often oppose them.

    1. Hear hear on that last point. It would be quite something if we could get both generally equitable and high quality public education independent of the property values in any given school district.

    2. I agree about access to high quality education and health. I think a lot of the institutions (particularly in the US) reflect the misguided ideology that if you’re wealthy you are successful in achieving great character so you should be awarded with health and education. Conversely, if you are not wealthy, you must be of ill character and do not deserve the benefits of the latter. We’ve seen this leads to disaster because the premise is so wrong and wasteful to discard so much human potential.

    3. “Well, a strong and effective public school . . . .”

      Perhaps coupled with a populace less anti-intellectual and more academic success-oriented (versus “bread and circuses”)?

      1. I’d say that’s not really the government’s business or responsibility. We’ll compel you to go to school as a means of mitigating familial pressures to prioritize other things above education. We’ll make sure you get good classes (both in quality and range) and teachers. But we’re not going to try and force you to like it.

  10. I try to take the viewpoint of one of the an Elect (McWhorter’s term for Woke, which I prefer), a response with the strongest terms MIGHT be “that is evidence that anti-racist policies are working…”. But what about descendants of slaves in the United States? “… we must increase the application of these anti-racist policies because they are working”.

  11. An Indian person I knew once disparaged white people all the time. This person was highly privileged. Huge house, lots of money, etc. I told this person that the white people referred to are white people that were above my class. I wasn’t like those white people because I wasn’t allowed into the club that this person moved in. I find that funny. And frankly it’s going to be hard on a lot of poor people (of all colours) because every time some kid from Harvard chastises people for being privledged because they are simply “white” they are actually demonstrating that they themselves are so blinded by their own privilege of wealth and connections that they don’t even see the poor whites beneath their social status. Their behaviour only pushes working class whites closer to the far right and that’s going to be disastrous for everyone.

    1. Yup. In the UK we have Priti Patel in charge of the Home Office, so our immigration policy can’t be racist, right? And Rishi Sunak, son-in-law of the billionaire co-founder of Infosys, as Chancellor of the Exchequer…

  12. Applicants’ family income, rather than skin colour or ethnic background, would be the obvious (but no doubt unacceptable) way to go…?

  13. I am afraid that conclusions are being reached that are unacceptable within their ideological framework, so the input data must be adjusted.
    That is not really how it is supposed to be done, especially if you want a clear and objective analysis of the problem, which will be used to formulate an effective solution.
    Of course, if your goal is revolution, you don’t want to solve any social problems. Happy people who see a clear path to further success make poor revolutionaries.

  14. “we received an overwhelming public response.”
    You can just see the author sitting at his desk, moving aside the broken glass and the brick projectile that broke the window from his desk.
    This is such madness.

    D.A.
    NYC

  15. It’s probably not what the school district had in mind, but most South Asian ethnic groups are traditionally considered “Caucasian”, and thus would be “white”. (I recall reading about an American court case in which the court torturedly ruled that Indians (from India) were Caucasians but not white.) “Asian” is not a racial group. In that continental area, there are “indigenous” people of three or more of the traditional races; this can be easily seen by just following news coverage of countries like Afghanistan, Nepal, or India.

    GCM

    1. I remember my mother, though she did not at the time see the world through a racial lense, telling me that the Indians (from India) were considered white. Their pigmentation made them visibly different of the other whites, but that was just skin-deep. Ethnically, they were white.

        1. So did my mother, sort of (she didn’t use the word “caucasian” which was pretty much unknown in France at the time). Race was not her deal. She was just passing on lore to me. I remember writing in a comment on this very blog that to my knowledge, the word race did not mean anything. I thought no scientist used it.

          The pigeonholing of people into races, sometimes defined to a dizzying hairsplitting extreme, that is done in the US (is it so in Canada ?) makes me very uneasy. With time I came to see how it could be useful and seen as a good idea to Americans. Sort of. but the unease remained.

          1. Not quite as bad in Canada, but it still exists. I had a Math teacher colleague from Guyana, very dark-skinned, who told me that there were something like 64 different gradations of color in his home country.
            So ridicule.

  16. “My mom would teach us mathematics at home. […]. We spent quite a bit on mathematics for only one reason : it’s because they were from Singapore, and they weren’t exactly sure if they were going to stay in the United States. And I remember my parents telling me : “Let’s make sure that you learn what all of your classmates in Singapore are learning, because if we go back to Singapore, that way you won’t be the bottom of the class”.

    – Po-Shen Loh, interview (1 of 3) with Eddie Woo, 22 January 2021, at t=1:36 : https://youtu.be/B2Z19_M_v9M

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