Battlepanda: The other white flight


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The other white flight

This WSJ article starts off just like any other article about white flight:
Over the past 10 years, the proportion of white students at Lynbrook has fallen by nearly half, to 25% of the student body. At Monta Vista, white students make up less than one-third of the population, down from 45% -- this in a town that's half white. Some white Cupertino parents are instead sending their children to private schools or moving them to other, whiter public schools. More commonly, young white families in Silicon Valley say they are avoiding Cupertino altogether.

But then you get to this paragraph and find out that this time the whites aren't in flight from blacks, but from Asians.
Whites aren't quitting the schools because the schools are failing academically. Quite the contrary: Many white parents say they're leaving because the schools are too academically driven and too narrowly invested in subjects such as math and science at the expense of liberal arts and extracurriculars like sports and other personal interests. . ."
My favorite paragraph:
Some whites fear that by avoiding schools with large Asian populations parents are short-changing their own children, giving them the idea that they can't compete with Asian kids. "My parents never let me think that because I'm Caucasian, I'm not going to succeed," says Jessie Hogin, a white Monta Vista graduate.
I don't get it. Do parent always struggle to move their kids to a school where they are as close to the middle of the class as possible? Or is it only an issue when race becomes involved? The pride of "Little Suzy is always getting the highest score in the class" becomes the doubt of "Is she getting dragged down by her substandard school?" when it is obvious that most of her classmates are black. What might otherwise be construed as "Johnny really needs to brush up on his trigonometry" becomes "Ack! He's being crushed by a class full of Math Machines!" when his classmates are predominately Asian.

This also got me thinking about a subject I've always felt puzzled by -- the reverse affirmative action that discriminate against Asians in the Californian education system. I can understand a program that seeks to redress historical discrimination and continuing inequities by giving black students (a disadvantaged group) an edge. But since Asians have never been a privileged group compared to the rest of the population in the U.S., what is the rationale behind setting a higher bar for them, unless it's just to make everybody else feel more comfortable about not having too many asian faces in the class?