Regarding the May 16 news article “Duke professor’s remarks bring ire”: Duke professor Jerry Hough’s simplistic assertion that Asian-American success is due to our “desire to integrate” and “working doubly hard” is a myth he uses to bludgeon African-Americans for supposedly not doing the same.
In fact, many (far from all) Asian immigrants are a highly educated elite who are uniquely positioned and recruited to benefit from the high-tech economy. Their education level is higher than any other group in the United States, including U.S.-born Asians or whites. This unusual sociology is a result of U.S. immigration law.
The racist Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 (extended to all Asians in 1924) allowed entry only to the sons and wives of Chinese merchants, an obvious class bias. When the civil rights movement forced the de-racialization of immigration laws starting in 1965, these new laws not only allowed Asian immigration to explode, but also ensured that most Asian immigrants would be an educated elite needed by the new economy.
Most people work hard. But hard work, by itself, has never been enough to ensure success in a society where racism is deeply embedded and economic inequality is burgeoning. Let’s join together to fight inequality rather than blaming the victim.
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