Are Asians The New Jews?

March 4th, 2010 | 2 comments | Posted by Jen

The ever-thoughtful Jeff Yang posed an interesting question in his Asian Pop column last week: “Is it really kosher to call Asians the ‘new Jews’?”

[photo via The NY Times]

Jeff’s piece on the Judasian connection focuses on the parallels between the two cultures, particularly when it comes to education, both in how it’s valued and how it’s been an area where both groups have experienced a similar kind of discrimination (in the form of admissions quotas).

He interviews one James Chen, founder of a college guidance firm called Asian Advantage College Consulting, which specifically helps Asian American college applicants work around admissions quotas–that tend to judge Asians as a homogeneous group–by teaching them how to stand out among their ethnic peers.

“Our whole focus is on helping Asian American high school students get into great colleges,” says Chen. “And the biggest thing we have to address is that most of our clients come to us having been steered toward math and science, playing piano and violin, and hoping to become doctors or engineers. That’s what their parents have pushed them towards.”

“We always say: DON’T BE YOURSELF. And by that we mean, break the Asian Robot mold. If they’re young enough, we push them to get away from math clubs and science contests. Choose things that are out of the box for Asian students. Drama. School musicals. Go to Shakespeare Camp. Join the newspaper. And absolutely play a sport!”

So, in other words, there’s a company that caters solely to Asian kids to help them be kinda cool and arty and unique and not the nerds their parents want them to be, so that they have a better chance to get into the best college, so that they can be…the nerds their parents want them to be.

Huh. That sounds awfully familiar.

Are Asians the new Jews, or are Asians really just the new…Asians?

[The Asian-Jewish connection: Is it really kosher to call Asians the "new Jews"?]

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2 Responses to “Are Asians The New Jews?”

  1. canadian says:

    Asians aren’t the new Jews, because Jews are the new Jews :)

    I know… I’m one.

  2. canadian says:

    Jokes aside, it’s an interesting, thought-provoking article (and you chose a lovely picture to introduce your post). It’s disheartening to think that Asians may be facing the same prejudices as Jews years ago. One can only dream of a world where race is not a factor. (It’s not in Canada, by the way… we don’t put race on our government papers, and there is no affirmative action.)

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