10+ AsAm professors and a couple of workers in other professions posted on our poster board. ALL except two complained that they have to work 50% harder to receive equal treatment. Shocking! But that is a reality that our children should know. Please forward it to them.
The professors have diverse ethnic backgrounds: Indian-, Japanese- and Chinese-Ams.They work for diverse types of universities: Stanford, Columbia, U. of Kentucky, U. of Alabama, Huntsville, and Kansas State U.
How do I know? I see their e-addresses, although they are not published.
Many referred to Louis, the Ivy prof. who said he has to work 50% harder in order to receive equal treatment in his work environment. That letter is shown at the very end of this e-newsletter for your reference.
Given the severity of discrimination against AsAm professors in universities, our Board will meet in 6 days to discuss how to help these besieged profs. For now, here is our suggestion:
Organize! Be open about it. Otherwise, others, who may sense your trepidation, may try to stop you. Establish a system-wide AsAm professorial association. There is strength in numbers. You'll be richly rewarded. :-)
When membership is large enough, then subdivide into campus locations, further subdivide into colleges, & departments. The finer the divisions the more sharing of commonalities, provided that the smallest unit hasat least 10 professors &/or staff. Select a system-wide association president who isboth prestigious (no vulnerabilities) and a good fighter (effectiveness). Of the two, a good fighter is more important.
Suggested First Action: Request to meet with your university's President/ Chancellor to talk about your concerns, after having established your internal consensus. UseRobert's Rules of Orderto help get to a consensus.
The posts of professors & others are shown below in chronological order. You may detect that I gradually used stronger language in my feedback as I increasingly learnt from the comments about the terrible situation against AsAm profs in the academic world. The sum of those comments induced me to make the above boxed suggestion, and call a Board meeting to discuss possible further assistance to our esteemed professors.
Thank you Louis for sharing your experience. It seems like we need to develop our children to become more outgoing, outrageous, and outspoken to have a seat at the table and to make sure things are fair for everyone. For commenting on #1
I think Louis spoke out the truth most of us knew. Ask every office of Diversity, Access, and Equal Opportunity, the discrimination in the hiring process is more severe than any undergraduate admission. The reason college admission is the target right now is only that it's so blatant in your face. There are hard measures to compare, and there is a large number of statistical samples to analyze. The discrimination is undeniable. As Professor Louis said, the college administrations are highly educated and sophisticated. They will never use a racial slur and they are cautious about even "micro-aggression". Generally, that change of heart will take efforts for generations, but I am optimistic about it. We just need to do it one step a time. Jerry For commenting on #2
Thanks, Louis, for your thoughts. This is very important to hear, even if we may have known it on some level already and even if it has been stated before in different ways. I am a retiring tenured faculty at a 2nd tier elite college. I feel I have been treated well by the college, but I can attest to the reality of what you say from my experience as a faculty member and the experience of Asian-American and Asian students that I have heard from. There is a growing Asian American generation of articulate, charismatic individuals (with great personalities) that are much more aware of the political and social reality today, preparing to make a difference, and looking for support and guidance negotiating the kinds of issues you are outlining. For commenting on #3
It is all the same, professional consulting is no difference. The average White has better chance to getting the job than a superior immigrant Chinese in my field. Even Chinese afraid to use me because they afraid that my work may not be accepted; they know that because they are being discriminated. I have to find clients of average people instead of the higher up in the system. For commenting on #4
This is so true. I am holder of a fake chair in an ivy league universities . Racism and discrimination are so prevalent in most ivy league at all levels. I have a chair because of a benevolent department chair once but my salary etc is below the average salary of a university professor chair even though I am member of academies and winner of all top awards. For commenting on #6
I salute those people like Dr. Woo who had the courage to speak about the truth. It is just un-American to discriminate Asian Americans on College Admimission. In fact, I think it is illegal. Judging people based on race, using "liability or personality" as an excuse is unacceptable. I am in the position of selecting students for the field I work in. I select students based on characters and merit, in stead of race concious policy. Although some of my colleagues accuse me of selecting too many Chinese students, I told them that they [students I picked] had the best overall perfomance in terms of interview, community service, GPA, reference letter, etc. To deliberatively not to select them is against my conscience. I had discussed this issue with my boss who is white, and she supports my de ... more ...
You are a ROLE MODEL for the AsAm community. Seeing the large number of adult workers and professors sensing discrimination in their workplaces, 80-20 EF will discuss this topic again next week. Indeed I am studying the feasibility of allocating new resource giving all AsAm adult workers a helping hand to eliminate such discriminations against them. But it is not a promise, we need to study cost effectiveness and if that came out OK, I'll still need to get my Board's approval to start a new initiative. SB For commenting on #9
Dear SB, Thanks for the newsletter. I totally agree with the faculty, Louis, who wrote the letter. The discrimination against Asian descends is on display every level along the way. Although my oldest daughter graduated in STEM from an Ivy League school of her choice, the racial challenge is still ahead of her; let alone my youngest daughter who is subject to the known biased college/graduate school admissions several years later than her sister. Someone mentioned that we are the new Jews. Perhaps it is true and we can learn from the Jews as well. Regards, Chih-Ching For commenting on #8
In the early 21st century, I met a Chinese-American, who received his bachelor degree from a southern Taiwan Province university. After decades of struggle, he became a university president at a private university in California. He told me privately that as the head of that university, he had to work three times harder than his colleagues, in order to earn respect from other non-ethnic Chinese professors. In this connection, he said his son was born, raised, and educated in America, and he earned his Ph.D. degree in law from UC, Berkeley. Yes, his son still has to work three times harder than his colleagues, in order to be respected from the latter. Well, discrimination is still everywhere, and many, if not most, academics play petty politics. We all should make efforts to wipe the ... more ...
Hi Dr. Woo, While I agree with Louis' assessment that the 50% issue is a lot larger, I do not necessarily agree with his/her action plan. And please do not let it demise what you and 80-20 are doing in tackling the college admission issue. As a Chinese proverb states "All Thousand Mile Trips Start With a Tiny First Step." We have to start somewhere. And that's exactly what you and 80-20 have been doing, even though it might be a "tiny first step." But this tiny first step is so important and is historical. You have my wholehearted appreciation and full support! Thanks, Yeqing For commenting on #11
Dr. Woo I will never join an organization, including universities, that don't see me as a worthy partner, and I see them as a worthy partner. Life is too short to waste with superficial, unfair, dumb and hurtful people, and organizations. This is the advice I give my sons. You keep up the good fight. Mike For commenting on #12
Dear "Afraid": Please forgive me in that I just posted your email, although tI didn't reveal your name. I hope that you will forgive me in saying to YOU that people like YOU have partially caused our problems. YOU DON'T HAVE THE COURAGE OF YOUR CONVICTION. THAT IS WHY PEOPLE ARE ENCOURAGED TO STEP ON YOU, and AsAms like YOU! I've intentionally exposed myself in public in the hopes that that my fellow Asian Americans will get the message: S.B. doesn't seem to be in trouble although he has always DISPLAYED IN PUBLIC that he had the courage of his convection. I am not an exhibitionist nor a masochist. However, some fool needs to encourage our AsAms to speak their convictions, let it be me, if I have to do so. SB For commenting on # 14
Dear Dr. Woo, I certainly wish the Harvard students well in their lawsuit, but as Louis points out, even with their Harvard degrees they will face discrimination in their future jobs. Personality factors are a subtle means of discrimination that are used by white academics and their minority supporters to dismiss Asian American faculty. I speak from experience as a former part-time faculty member in a distance-learning program in a progressive college. After receiving a positive evaluation from an all-white committee, the chair wrote of her intention to dismiss me. The faculty then wrote a second evaluation with Asian American stereotypes labeling me as quiet, lacking leadership, and teaching in a prescriptive manner although I have rave student evaluations. One peer evaluator wr ... more ...
Dear Another Anonymous: WHY ARE WE SO AFRAID? PEOPLE WHO WANT TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF US COULD SENSE OUR FEAR, AND ARE THEREFORE ENCOURAGED TO STEP ON US. Here is my academic experience. I was an Asset. Prof. when I organized a Union (collective bargaining) at the U. of Delaware. After a campus-wide vote, I became the founding president of the Faculty Union, its chief spokesperson and chief negotiator. A few years later, I was appointed by DE's governor to be a Trustee of the same univ.. I receive some threats, none was carried out. Later I ran and became Lt. Governor of DE. Stand up for yourself, 80-20'll help. SB For commenting on #16
I read your recent newsletters on the topic with great interest. I applaud your efforts in bringing greater awareness to these issues. I'm a tenured faculty at one of these elite universities mentioned in your newsletters.....
What you're perhaps unaware of is that the discrimination Asian undergraduates face pervades all levels of the academia. In fact, it's worse for graduate admissions --- I know it for a fact because I'm the graduate admissions chair in my department. And it's not limited to students; in my opinion, the higher up it gets, the more severe the discrimination.
In matters of hiring, tenure, promotion, appointment to endowed chairs, selection for leadership positions, etc, Asian faculty are consistently side-lined and face steep odds compared to colleagues who are white or other politically-connected minorities. In an interview in the Chinese media many years ago, an eminent professor in my field said that he had to work 150% as hard as his white colleagues to achieve the same level of recognition. Back then I was just a student but over the years I've increasingly found his assertion to resonate with my own experience.
I'm disappointed that the news media tends to go after politicians and celebrities who blurt out mild racial slurs in public, ......
What really matters is that 50% gap: accomplishments of Asian faculty and students are routinely discounted and those of their white compatriots routinely inflated. For college admission, the gap is attributed to "personality" but it's just part of a much larger problem that exists at other levels in the academia, and presumably in other professions as well. Focusing on just a tiny aspect of this problem in the context of college admission is missing the forest for the trees --- even if those Asian applicants do get into Harvard, they are still going to have to deal with such discrimination at every step in their future careers.
This 50% gap is what needs to be eliminated for a fairer America, and it is much trickier than simply calling out somebody for using racial epithets. My white colleagues will never be caught with an outright display of even the slightest tinge of racist behavior; they probably won't even consciously discriminate against somebody for racial reasons --- they are simply too well-educated for such antics. But when decisions are taken collectively in a white-majority department, the result is all the same --- better qualified Asians candidates consistently get passed over for relatively mediocre white candidates.
I'm writing under a pseudonym but if you ever want to tackle this larger issue instead of focusing on college admission, I would be pleased to lend my support.
Thank you for taking the time to read my email. Sincerely, Louis"
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S. B. Woo
President and a volunteer for the past 20 years
80-20 Educational Foundation, Inc, a 501 C-3 organization,