July 17, 2008

LA Times: "Why do Asian students generally get higher marks than Latinos?"

Hector Becerra of the LA Times visits a high school near downtown LA that has basically no whites or blacks, and asks students and teachers "Why do Asian students generally get higher marks than Latinos?"

Lincoln Heights is mostly a working-class Mexican American area, but it's also a first stop for Asian immigrants, many of them ethnic Chinese who fled Vietnam.

With about 2,500 students, Lincoln High draws from parts of Boyle Heights, El Sereno and Chinatown.

Both the neighborhood and student body are about 15% Asian. And yet Asians make up 50% of students taking Advanced Placement classes. Staffers can't remember the last time a Latino was valedictorian.

"A lot of my friends say the achievement gap is directly attributable to the socioeconomic status of students, and that is not completely accurate," O'Connell said. "It is more than that."

But what is it? O'Connell called a summit in Sacramento that drew 4,000 educators, policymakers and experts to tackle the issue. Some teachers stomped out in frustration and anger.

No Lincoln students stomped out of their discussion. Neither did any teachers in a similar Lincoln meeting. But the observations were frank, and they clearly made some uncomfortable.

To begin with, the eight students agreed on a few generalities: Latino and Asian students came mostly from poor and working-class families.

According to a study of census data, 84% of the Asian and Latino families in the neighborhoods around Lincoln High have median annual household incomes below $50,000. And yet the Science Bowl team is 90% Asian, as is the Academic Decathlon team. ...

Asian parents are more likely to pressure their children to excel academically, the students agreed. ...

The journalist winds up with the usual George W. Bush-style postmodernist explanation -- the soft bigotry of low expectations. If only everybody would just assume the two groups are equal, then they would be.

Try and falsify that proposition!

Of course, the long article doesn't mention the two dread letters, but, on the other hand, there is a lot of evidence that Chinese tend to overachieve and Mexican-Americans tend to underachieve relative to their IQs. Family expectations and pressure are certainly a plausible explanation for over vs. underachievement.

The subtler question that I want to focus on, though, is whether it's better, all else being equal, for Hispanics to be in a school that's 85% Hispanic and 15% Chinese or in a school that is 100% Hispanic?

That's a tough problem for social science to crack since all else is never equal. If the school was really bad, it wouldn't be 15% Asian -- the Chinese parents would get their kids out. So you can assume that Lincoln isn't a really awful, dangerous school like, say, Jefferson, where there were brown vs. black race riots a few years ago. Not a lot of Chinese at Jefferson. (Here's Roger D. McGrath's 2005 American Conservative article on Jefferson High. By the way, I don't think there are many high schools that are perpetually 85% black and 15% Asian -- it sounds unstable -- but I could be wrong.)

I don't have much of a hunch what a good study would find. I could see it going either way. Having 15% Asians around might help the smart, nerdy Hispanics find friends, and might keep better teachers around the school. (Good teachers like to teach -- i.e., to impart learning -- so good teachers gravitate toward schools with good students -- i.e., those more able and willing to be taught.) Being 15% Asian means there are enough advanced students around to justify advanced classes.

On the other hand, having an "academic-dominant minority" of Asians in a high school may well further racialize attitudes toward studying. If your name ends in Z and you are a student at Lincoln, what's the point of setting out in 9th grade to be valedictorian? No Hispanic has been valedictorian at Lincoln H.S. since the mind of man runs not to the contrary. To study hard is to act Asian, to betray La Raza. If Mexican students tried to beat the Chinese at their own game, and failed, well, that would just prove the Chinese are smarter. So it's better for Mexican racial self-esteem to make sure nobody even tries, to proclaim that studying is just something Asians high school students do because they're, uh, no good at tagging and getting pregnant.

That's basically what the most respected institutions in our society -- the LA Times, the State Superintendent of Schools, etc. -- tell them to think, right? That there can't possibly be an innate intelligence gap between the Mexicans and the Chinese, because if there were, it would be the worst thing in the history of the world. It would mean that Hitler was right, that Nazis should rule America. So, to prevent a Nazi takeover, the Hispanic students will do their part by screwing off instead of studying. (It's not hard to persuade teens not to study.)

In contrast, at a 100% Hispanic school like Garfield or Roosevelt (nearby East LA schools that don't include Chinatown -- Jaime Escalante taught AP Calculus at Garfield), well, somebody Hispanic has to be valedictorian each year. So, trying to be valedictorian there, while nerdy and uncool, is likely to be less racially fraught than at an integrated school.

As I said, I don't really know which way it would go. People have similarly argued over this type of question concerning Historically Black Colleges for a long time -- is a black kid with an 1100 SAT score better off at Howard where he'd quite competitive academically or at Georgetown, where he'd feel like Michelle Obama did at Princeton and Harvard Law School?

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer


halfbreed said...

It's just unfortunate the Hispanics don't have that good old
"legacy of slavery" to fall back on.

neil craig said...

How do Phillipinos score. They are culturaly Hispanic, genetically Mongoloid but without the 2 millenia of evolution within a literate & bureaucratic (in a nice way) society of China.

Anonymous said...

It's probably a mistake to assume that IQ is the only biologically hereditary trait that's academically important. The capacity for hard work, concentration, and enduring boredom could also be hereditary. And aren't East Asians stereotypically supposed to be good at hard work and patience?

BGC said...

"whether it's better, all else being equal, for Hispanics to be in a school that's 85% Hispanic and 15% Chinese or in a school that is 100% Hispanic?"

It is a valid question - but whatever the answer it will very likely be probablistic and 'on average'.

Surely some students will do better/ be happier in the first, and some in the second, type of school.

This is a question that is unavoidable in life for anyone who is not at the very bottom or the very top of the status hierarchy, from childhood right through, it comes up again and again: big fish in a small pond vs. small fish in a big one.

My obeservation is that different people have different preferences and satisfactions and respond to different incentives.

WRT Schools - this kind of decision is best left to the choice of the parents - who have at least some incentive to match the child's scholarly and personal interests to the nature of the school.

Henry Canaday said...

In the public schools of New York City in the middle years of the 20th Century, anecdotal evidence suggests that the presence of Jews prompted gentile white kids to conclude that: a) Jews were smarter; but b) effort, planning and ambition paid off.

Apparently, before all American life became politicized by the dueling theories of intellectuals, it was possible for even teenagers to hold two slightly dissonant ideas in their brains at the same time: life is unfair, but you better make the best of it.

That was a different America. For one thing, the penalties for failing to notice reality, such as ending up in low-paying dead-end jobs or getting whisked off the streets fast for engaging in petty crime, were much more obvious. That is, real consequences counted far more than self-esteem, preoccupation with who made valedictorian and so forth, for both kids and teachers.

rightsaidfred said...

I wonder if anyone has tracked 1100 SAT minority students from Howard and Harvard and compared their achievements later in life.

Joe Schmoe said...

I live in Alhambra, a community which is about 70% Asian and 30% Hispanic. Everyone knows that the Asian kids are smarter, but no one seems to be particularly troubled by this. Hispanics don't seem nearly as insecure about stuff like this as blacks; there is no "brown is beautiful" movement that I am aware of, and Hispanics have not constructed an elaborate hispano-centric alternative history -- they built their own pyramids, so they don't need to take credit for the ones in Egypt.

Every time a reporter sets out to do a story on race relations, he or she will inevitably force it into the familiar template of black/white relations. But where Hispanics and Asians are concerned, that template isn't accurate. You could tell that LA Times reporter who wrote the article was trolling for racial tension, but was frustrated when he couldn't find any. When he pointed out that the Science Bowl team was 90% Asian, the Hispanic kid he interviewed replied, "look at the statistics. It's true." LOL.

In light of this, I think Hispanic kids would clearly benefit from a school that is 15% Asian school -- hands down. At a school that is 15% Asian, there will be real academic standards. The school won't turn into a completely degenerate government employment center with a joke PC curriculum.

In a school that's 15% Asian, the really bright Hispanic students will benefit from having peers, but all of the students will benefit from the fact that some semblance of academic rigor will be maintained.

KDeRosa said...

The subtler question that I want to focus on, though, is whether it's better, all else being equal, for Hispanics to be in a school that's 85% Hispanic and 15% Chinese or in a school that is 100% Hispanic?

I've run the data for a somewhat similar question. Do low-SES students fare better in high-SES schools.

See here and here.

The answer appears to be that they perform slightly better in higher SES schools, but the differential is probably explainable by the fact that the low-SES students in high-SES schools are not quite as poor as the low-SES students in low-SES schools.

Hibernia Girl said...

OT - I happened to be reading about the people of Madagascar last night -- and I had no idea that the population there is made up of the descendants of Malay migrants (who arrived ca. 1st C A.D.) and African settlers from the mainland (as well as some Arabs & Indians).

The interesting part is that it's the descendants of the Asians who dominate the island economically and politically, out-competing the Africans:

"Malay features are most predominant in the central highlands people, the Merina (3 million) and the Betsileo (2 million); the remaining 16 tribal groupings are coastal peoples (côtiers) who are predominantly of East African origin, with various Malay, Arab, European and Indian admixtures.... Malagasy society has long been polarized between the politically and economically advantaged highlanders of the central plateaux and the côtiers along the coast." [link]

Here's the president of Madagascar.

Horatio said...

My high school was about 50% Hispanic, 15% Korean, 10% Chinese, 20% black and 5% Caucasian (mostly Arabs, Pakistanis, Afghans and Indians). Subtract a bit from each group to get ~2% others, mostly Africans and non-Hispanic mixed. About half of the Hispanics were Mexican.

We actually had a Hispanic valedictorian, but only because my school counted AP courses the same as all others. He took the standard non-honors load and aced everything. He certainly was not an idiot but there were plenty of kids in my AP courses who deserved it more. Predictably, the technical AP courses were mostly Asian and the Hispanics in those courses were mostly white, like me. The more language intensive AP courses were heavily black, most of whom were in the magnet program for law.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Steve Sailer: studying is just something Asians high school students do because they're, uh, no good at tagging and getting pregnant

Thank goodness for Urban Dictionary - otherwise I'd be darned near illiterate these days.

Peter said...

One thing the linked article points out is that the Asian students tend to have come from better off pre-immigration backgrounds than the Hispanics, even if their families are struggling to adapt to American life:

Latino and Asian families in Lincoln Heights were essentially in the same socioeconomic boat, she said, but Asian immigrants were more likely to have been more affluent and had better education opportunities in their native countries.

Focusing on current socioeconomic status may confuse the issue. It makes the two groups seem equal when they really aren't.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Steve Sailer: People have similarly argued over this type of question concerning Historically Black Colleges for a long time -- is a black kid with an 1100 SAT score better off at Howard where he'd quite competitive academically or at Georgetown, where he'd feel like Michelle Obama did at Princeton and Harvard Law School

A little off-topic, but isn't it odd how Michelle graduated from HLS in the spring of 1988, and Barack enrolled at HLS in the autumn of 1988?

It's almost as though Michelle went to an admissions officer at HLS and said, "Hey, I know this really cool African-American guy who sent in an application - do you think you could you dig it out of the pile and give it an eyeball for me?"

There's a law professor at Santa Clara University School of Law, named Steve Diamond, who was a supporter of Hillary Clinton during the primaries, and who wrote a fascinating essay about what was going on in Chicago in the mid-to-late 1980s, titled Who "sent" Obama?

Diamond's thesis is that Barack had met William Ayers's father, Thomas Ayers [and possibly William Ayers's brother, John Ayers] through some involvement with the Chicago public schools reform movement, circa 1986/1987, and that William Ayers's wife, Bernardine Dohrn, was working at Sidley & Austin in that timeframe [Wikipedia says that Dohrn worked at Sidley & Austin from 1984 to 1988].

The "official" story seems to be that Barack didn't meet Michelle until the summer of 1989 [see e.g. here and here], but if you conjecture that Michelle might have been clerking at Sidley & Austin during her summers off from HLS [maybe the summers of 1986 and 1987], then it's not too difficult to imagine that the Ayerses & Dohrn might have been responsible for introducing Barack & Michelle in that timeframe.

And if this is true - if Michelle knew Barack circa 1986/1987, and if she had pulled some strings with HLS admissions to look at Barack's application - then Michelle would have ridden her brother Craig's coattails to Princeton [on the strength of Craig's basketball scholarship], and then Barack would have ridden Michelle's coattails to HLS.

PS: Diamond does acknowledge that another family lurking behind the scenes here is the Minows - Newton Minow was a partner at Sidley & Austin, and his daugher, Martha Minow, is a professorette at HLS, and there was another daughter, Nell Minow, who may have been involved with putting Barack in touch with Martha.

Anyway, it's a real witch's brew of characters here - the Ayerses, Dohrn, and the Minows [themselves possibly as radical as the Ayerses] - who seem to have left their imprints all over the young, impressionable proteges, Barack & Michelle.

PPS: Boy, if anyone could get an honest interview with Michelle, then I sure would like them to ask her when she first stepped foot in Sidley & Austin [was it in 1986, or in 1989?], and when she first met Bernardine Dohrn.

Has Michelle already done her stint on The View with Elisabeth Hasselbeck? Because that would have been the perfect time to ask the question - we'll probably never get another opportunity like that.

Anonymous said...

Thank-you for this insightful post.

kurt said...

My observation is that Asians and Hispanics seem to get along, both socially and in business. Both cultures are "face" cultures (Asian more than Hispanic) where one is supposed to show an element of respect and reserve during initial contact. They are both cultures where connections (guanxi) form the basis of both social and business life. The down side is that both cultures have a traditions of corruption.

San Jose and the southern end of silicon valley is an example of an Asian/Hispanic mixed community. For the most part it works and the crime rate is lower than most other metro areas of similar population.

I went to some night clubs in downtown San Jose several times last year. I did not feel an edgy vibe at all. All of the clubs I visited had 50% Asian and 50% Hispanic customers. I was the only white person and there were maybe 2 African Americans around. The African-Americans looked like they felt even more out of place than I did. The places were actually quite calm and everyone seemed to be quite respectful.

Following the L.A. riots of 1992, there was lots of political rhetoric in the media about how the Asian communities should work with the African Americans to help them overcome their problems. This never happened. over the intervening time, many of the black neighborhoods slowly became Hispanic (mostly Mexican, some Central American) and the Asians simply rebuilt their stores and businesses amongst them. The Asians got on much better with the Hispanics than they did with the African-Americans.

In my own life, both personal and in business, I tend to get on better with Asians and Hispanics better than I do with either whites or blacks. Of course, I lived as an expat in Asia for 10 years and my wife is Japanese.

Anonymous said...

but, on the other hand, there is a lot of evidence that Chinese tend to overachieve and Mexican-Americans tend to underachieve relative to their IQs. Family expectations and pressure are certainly a plausible explanation for over vs. underachievement.

But conscientiousness is also relevant for outcomes, and it is not independent of genetics.

How much is left when you correct for genetics? I'd wager not much, at least not much in the way of societally controllable shared environment.

One thing people don't recognize is that "eliminating hope" can be a *good thing*. I had my hope to be an NBA player eliminated a long time ago. That prevented allocation of wasted resources. Similarly, giving up hope in this context means not throwing money and hours down a rathole.

Argent Paladin said...

Well, they could try the college strategy and just add one point to the gpa of all Hispanics, as "affirmative action". That way, some would have a fighting chance of becoming valedictorian. Wouldn't do much for race relations, though. And the Chinese parents would probably whisk their kids out. But it would be in the name of equality!
On another note, Spanish is much, much closer to English than Chinese, or SE Asian languages. And even in math assessments there are a lot of word problems. So one can't appeal to language differences, socioeconomic background, or even family structure as I would think the differences would not be that great and could definitely be controlled for.

Anonymous said...

"Julie Loc, the daughter of a seamstress and a produce-truck driver, said that if she gets a B, her parents ask whether she needs tutoring. She said her father used to compare her to other people's children, noting their hard course loads or saying, "They have a 4.3 [grade-point average]. Why do you only have a 4.0?' "

George said his mother, a Mexican immigrant, has high expectations for him too, but she is not so white-knuckled when it comes to school. She wants him to do well -- he's now thinking of college -- but the field of endeavor is up to him.

"She said, 'I came here to do better for you,' " he said. "But that's about it. Being happy and getting by, that's what she wants."

As Fred Reed has noted Mexicans are usually happy to get by and have enough for their basic family needs. In contrast to the entrepreneurial overseas Chinese (I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of the "Vietnamese" are actually Chinese from Vietnam) who are driven (by a competitive instinct emanating from their peers and parents) to excel.
As far as whether Hispanic nerds would do better in a majority Hispanic school or one with a sizable Asian/Caucasian contingent, I think there is no question, they will do best in the school that challenges them the most. Although the AP program at Lincoln is 50% Asian the other 50% is Hispanic which is probably a large enough population for the academically minded Mexican students to form a social circle.

James B. Shearer said...

You could also ask what type of school is best for the Asian kids.

Anonymous said...

is whether it's better, all else being equal, for Hispanics to be in a school that's 85% Hispanic and 15% Chinese or in a school that is 100% Hispanic?

I think the real question relates to the Asians. Is it better for an Asian kid to be surrounded by 100% Asians or 85% Hispanics?

We have this relentless focus on how we can help the lower IQ. But the lower IQ, for the most part *can't be helped*.

Yet the high IQ *can* be hurt.

I say this as an Asian kid who had to go to school with some of these idiots. It would be great to raise your hand once in a while to state the correct answer in math class without black and Hispanic kids throwing coins at you and beating you up after class. It would be great to have a high school experience where you didn't have to walk home from school because bus stops and buses were occasions to get bashed in the head with a handy Trapper Keeper. It would be great to have a school where I didn't have to lie to my parents about the humiliating bruises everyday.

And, yes, it was totally racial. There weren't enough Asians for us to band together, and moreover no one told us to. If I was the big brother of a kid in that situation, though, I'd tell him to find his Asian friends, organize, and travel in packs for protection. I'd want to say that any black kid who attacks you gets 10X in return at a time of your choosing. We're smart, so we wouldn't get caught, but they would have the numbers and we wouldn't actually be able to take all of them. The solution, I guess, is to move away...but what if your parents can't afford that? Homeschool, perhaps.

Anyway. I made it out of there on scholarship, but I still seethe with anger at the animals who attacked me and my friends on a daily basis when we just wanted to do math and learn. I wish things had been different, but I'm not afraid to admit that they drove me to a lifelong hatred. F*** them and the liberals who defend them and weep over them. They are animals, utter animals and a society which does not recognize this is doomed.

I've already given up on this country, I have no beef with the whites but I can see the writing on the wall. My parents sold before the housing market collapse and have already gone back and I will be following them after I graduate.

Anonymous said...

In a world with AA, the talented tenth of Hispanics do not fare as well (in college admissions) in a school where they can be easily crowded out of the top %10.

As for peer group, even in those 100% hispanic high schools with 3k students, there ought to be at least 30-40 students with IQs above 115 - enough to fill Jaime Escalante's classes.

Anonymous said...

Interesting discussion. Some IQ related questions I had -

1) Can we estimate Michelle Obama's IQ based on SAT score of 1100?

2) Can someone tell me what the harm is in putting people together in a school or workplace with a 110 IQ with those of a 120 IQ?

Is there a big difference here ? I understand that a 130 IQ guy will overwhelm a 105 IQ. Not to mention having nothing in common probably. But I have more trouble discerning 110 vs 120, 115 vs 120, etc. Are these picayune differences ultimately?

3) I understand "verbal IQ," but what exactly is "performance IQ"? Is this just how fast/efficient the brain operates?

In today's cognitive elite society, would we rather have minorities have a "superior" verbal IQ or performance IQ?

JeremiahJohnbalaya said...

I wonder if anyone has tracked 1100 SAT minority students from Howard and Harvard and compared their achievements later in life.

Somewhat related: There were posts on this very site w/in the last year on a study that indicated that there are about 8% fewer black lawyers b/c of affirmative action. The idea being that so many were dropping out of colleges in which they had been placed (via AA) but where not capable of staying in.

In otherwords they could have become lawyers at, eg, Howard, but ended up dropping out of Harvard.

guest007 said...

James B. Shearer,

Thomas Jefferson High School in Fairfax Virginia demonstrates that the best high school for Asian is a school that is about 50% white and 50% Asian. That gives the school enough white families to keep the PTA and booster clubs going so that the school can have outstanding extracirriculars and enough Asian kids to push everyone alone. If you notice, Hispanics and Blacks are basically absent

Anonymous said...

Good teachers like to teach -- i.e., to impart learning -- so good teachers gravitate toward schools with good students -- i.e., those more able and willing to be taught.

This is most pithy summary of the educational job market I've ever seen. Yet so much "school reform" rests on the idea that this isn't true. In my experience as well, I'd say it'd take enormous income differentials to pry good teachers away from good schools to go to lesser ones, provided that the lower salary is still enough to make ends meet.

Until this year, I ran an AP history program that I started. I loved teaching that group, but the rest of my schedule was made up of increasingly out of control kids. I spent more and more of my time doing discipline related issues, while the kids who wanted to learn in those class suffered. So I quit rather than deal with those students any longer. It would have taken a substantial raise (25%) or a promise to not have those classes for me to consider staying. I would rather work for less money and teach good students than get paid more to be frustrated and angry.

Anonymous said...

It probably doesn't matter much ...

However, I wonder if we are seeing more reprehensible black on white violence because of the internet effect or because blacks are becoming emboldened by Obama's seeming success?

delon said...

A minor point Lucius Vorenus:

One does not "clerk" at a law firm, but rather for a judge. Clerkships and associate positions at firms are two different things.

More on topic:

I went to a public high school that was roughly 50% hispanic, 25% black, 25% white, and some negligible percentage asian. There are often hispanic valedictorians and salutatorians. The honors program is based strictly on merit, according to the results of a test administered in 7th grade. The honors classes were much whiter than the non-honors, but blacks and hispanics were by no means uncommon in them. Nor did they seem to feel alienated from their non-honors peers.

David said...

The Chinese are keeping them down somehow.

Search, search, search for the now-hidden oppression. Search, I say!

Unequals getting along is intolerable, unjust. Perhaps we can tax Chinese parents so that their average income falls to that of Hispanic parents, and encourage Chinese and hispanics to interbreed.

Absurd? It's the same policy of equality governmental and cultural leaders have long pursued in regard to other ethnic groups.

steve wood said...

That was a different America. For one thing, the penalties for failing to notice reality, such as ending up in low-paying dead-end jobs

On the contrary, Henry, I think the penalties for that are far more obvious today. In 1950, that dead-end job may well have been in a unionized factory, with lifelong job security, benefits, and a pension. The chance of that happening these days is almost nil. Furthermore, the standard-of-living gap between the working class and the middle class was narrower, so the contrast was less painful.

You could tell that LA Times reporter who wrote the article was trolling for racial tension, but was frustrated when he couldn't find any. When he pointed out that the Science Bowl team was 90% Asian, the Hispanic kid he interviewed replied, "look at the statistics. It's true."


George said his mother, a Mexican immigrant, has high expectations for him too, but she is not so white-knuckled when it comes to school. She wants him to do well -- he's now thinking of college -- but the field of endeavor is up to him.

This sounds like a classic North/South divide, like the ones that prevail(ed) in Europe and the US. You know what I mean: the stereotypes that say Northerners are hard-working but overly materialistic, smart but prone to overlook “the good things in life” due to overwork or a tendency to overvalue material success; while Southerners are relaxed, fun-loving and cheerful, very much devoted to la dolce vita but not particularly smart or productive. (In the US, this stereotype applies more to the coastal/Delta plantation culture than the Scots-Irish highlands, just as in Europe it applies more to central and southern Italy and Andalusia in Spain than to northern Italy or Barcelona.)

And, except for a few unpleasant moments in 1860s et seq., the two groups generally coexist in relative harmony, maybe in part because they are complementary. Very smart, hardworking Southerners usually go North to achieve what they can’t at home, while rich and/or lazy and/or retired Northerners head South to enjoy the sweet life.

The thing is, neither side is “right.” The world has plenty of room for both. Making money is great, but if you had to retire to either Korea or Chile, which one would you choose?

One thing people don't recognize is that "eliminating hope" can be a *good thing*.

It depends on the hope being eliminated. If it's both unrealistic and extraordinary - like becoming an NBA star - then, yes, it's good to eliminate it and let people get on with their lives. If the hope is unrealistic but COMMON - such as achieving a middle-class lifestyle, then taking away the hope because of a factor beyond individual control is a recipe for bitterness and social unrest.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what Mr. Sailer thinks of the conversation between James Watson and Henry Louis Gates where Watson claims he has a rather low IQ.



Anonymous said...

Finally, a story about race with more depth than "Other races are dumb and isn't the world stupid for refusing to 'get' it?".

Peter said...

It sounds as if when races are mixed in high schools, the most troublesome combinations in terms of potential violence are blacks + whites and blacks + Hispanics. Whites + Hispanics is more likely to lead to separation, with the two groups mixing little if at all, but not much violence. Whites + Asians get along okay with a fair degree of mixing, while blacks + Asians and Hispanics + Asians are similar to whites + Hispanics (little mixing but not much violence).

Sideways said...

I wonder what Mr. Sailer thinks of the conversation between James Watson and Henry Louis Gates where Watson claims he has a rather low IQ.

"when I went to the University of Chicago at 15, so I could never decide whether I did well on the test or whether my mother was a friend of the person who gave out the scholarships. (Laughter) "

Yeah, it's entirely possible the university admitted a stupid 15 year old as a favor.

Anonymous said...

As I said, I don't really know which way it would go.

Hahahahahahaha. No kidding, Steve. LOL.
Yes, there is so much confusion when it comes to educating the offspring of alien races. Such a quandary.

What a perplexing dilemma. What to do... what to do... what to do... what should the white man do... in order to provide massive numbers of non-whites with a better life in his country?

Should Whitey consider quitting the job of alien education? Oh, no, that would be unthinkable. Whitey would sooner slit his wrists then step aside and let Mother Nature sort it out --much better to force the taxpayers to sort it out through the mechanism of an incompetent bureaucracy.

If any American from 100 years ago were reading this missive from Steve Sailer, the recipient would assume the message was coming from another planet --and the recipient would be right.

'Hmm... the white people of the future appear to be trying to get Mexicans and Chinese to perform equally in a school where we are not even present... that is a question that occupies great minds of the day'.

Hahahahahahaha. Whitey is a dead man walking. It's f_cking OVER. The white culture cul-de-sac has been realized. The only thing left is for the culture to devour itself in a death spiral frenzy like an immune system attacking its own body.

Put up a headstone on Whitey's grave and mark it 'THE PEOPLE OF EARTH ALWAYS DISAPPOINTED ME, SO I MOVED ON'.

Anonymous said...

"If you had to retire to Korea or China, which one would you choose?"

The country that provided me with a hot wife. My college town is full of Koreans, but the only Chilean I remember meeting was a TA in an international politics class who was very blonde but not that attractive.

Anonymous said...

The liberal order is coming down. All they can do is lie and hope that people don't find out the truth. There's a perfect storm coming to America. Within the storm is a mix of continuing advances in racial scientific understanding, the rise of whites becoming more disgruntled about diversity, economic volatility, and open borders. Make sure to vote Obama in 2008.

bigboy said...

Hibernia girl wrote:

“The interesting part is that it's the descendants of the Asians who dominate the island economically and politically, out-competing the Africans”

The Malagasy are all descendants of East Africans and Malays. The highlanders may have more Asian admixture compared to the lowlanders who may have more African. Many lowlanders do in fact have visible Asian admixture (some look like Tiger Woods), and some highlanders have visible African admixture.

From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madagascar
“Recent DNA research shows that the Malagasy people are approximately of half Austronesian and half East African descent, although some Arab, Indian and European influence is present along the coast. Malagasy language shares some 90% of its basic vocabulary with the Maanyan language from the region of the River Barito in southern Borneo.
Subsequent migrations from the East Indies and Africa consolidated this original mixture, and 36 separate tribal groups emerged. Austronesian features are most predominant in the Merina (3 million) ; the coastal people (called c�tiers) are of more clearly African origin. The largest coastal groups are the Betsimisaraka (1.5 million) and the Tsimihety and Sakalava (700,000 each). The Vezo live in the southwest. Two of the southern tribes are the Antandroy and the Antanosy.”

Truth said...

"In other words they could have become lawyers at, eg, Howard, but ended up dropping out of Harvard."

Untrue. Law programs are notoriously boilerplate. One studies the same curriculum at Harvard as one does at Southwest Michigan. The differences are that at at a 'well regarded' university the expectations are that the graduates will become Supreme court justices, legal scholars, Wall st. representatives, etc, whereas at a smaller school, the lawyers are taught to well, practice law; e.g, do nuts and bolts work to pay the bills.

This means that an Ivy league contract law class may lend itself to more discussion about what was done by John Quincy Adams in 1808, and a Southwest Michigan law college class may focus upon learning the statutes, but ultimately all law schools prepare their students to pass the same tests.

Additionally, the problem with Ivy league graduate programs is not getting out, it's getting in. Once they deem you enter it's rare for one to be unable to pass the coursework.

Josh said...

First,Hibernia Girl,that pic of the president of Madagascar looks scarily like Jerry Mathers--the Beaver. (This is prob a reference non-Anericans may not get) Secondly,I wonder how this affaects dating and sex?? A Mexican guy of my acquaintance was found to be dating a Chines girl for a while,and the combo kinda surprised me. I dont suppose its common. These were "college-age" people(tho only the girl was in college). They did'nt last long.from what I heard the girls family and friends were strong;ly opposed. One strange anecdote i heard was that given that the boy lived with his family in a crowded apartment,they had been known to have sex inthe same room as the father was sleeping in,(the father was an Indian from Oaxaca,and believe me,their attitude toward sex would not be characterized as Puritan...) and the father enjoyed watching the proceedings.I wonder how kids of different ethnicities mix.

jody said...

i still think it's funny that short, fat brown mestizos are passed off as hispanics.

might as well say that black americans are anglo-saxons.

i'll never not comment on this. it's absolutely, positively stupid, and makes no sense at all, especially on a blog that is supposed to be about "digging deeper into race".

master_of_americans said...

jody, in the U.S., the word "Hispanic" conventionally refers to mestizos. Americans tend to be confused by Latin Americans who are not mestizo. That said, there is potentially a lot of variation within the category of "mestizo", and it is well worth taking note of that.

rec1man said...


The New White Flight

In Silicon Valley, two high schools with outstanding academic reputations are losing white students as Asian students move in. Why?


CUPERTINO, Calif. -- By most measures, Monta Vista High here and Lynbrook High, in nearby San Jose, are among the nation's top public high schools. Both boast stellar test scores, an array of advanced-placement classes and a track record of sending graduates from the affluent suburbs of Silicon Valley to prestigious colleges.

But locally, they're also known for something else: 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.

White students are far outnumbered by Asians at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, Calif.

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.

The two schools, put another way that parents rarely articulate so bluntly, are too Asian.

Cathy Gatley, co-president of Monta Vista High School's parent-teacher association, recently dissuaded a family with a young child from moving to Cupertino because there are so few young white kids left in the public schools. "This may not sound good," she confides, "but their child may be the only Caucasian kid in the class." All of Ms. Gatley's four children have attended or are currently attending Monta Vista. One son, Andrew, 17 years old, took the high-school exit exam last summer and left the school to avoid the academic pressure. He is currently working in a pet-supply store. Ms. Gatley, who is white, says she probably wouldn't have moved to Cupertino if she had anticipated how much it would change.

In the 1960s, the term "white flight" emerged to describe the rapid exodus of whites from big cities into the suburbs, a process that often resulted in the economic degradation of the remaining community. Back then, the phenomenon was mostly believed to be sparked by the growth in the population of African-Americans, and to a lesser degree Hispanics, in some major cities.

But this modern incarnation is different. Across the country, Asian-Americans have by and large been successful and accepted into middle- and upper-class communities. Silicon Valley has kept Cupertino's economy stable, and the town is almost indistinguishable from many of the suburbs around it. The shrinking number of white students hasn't hurt the academic standards of Cupertino's schools -- in fact the opposite is true.

This time the effect is more subtle: Some Asians believe that the resulting lack of diversity creates an atmosphere that is too sheltering for their children, leaving then unprepared for life in a country that is only 4% Asian overall. Moreover, many Asians share some of their white counterpart's concerns. Both groups finger newer Asian immigrants for the schools' intense competitiveness.

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.

The white exodus clearly involves race-based presumptions, not all of which are positive. One example: Asian parents are too competitive. That sounds like racism to many of Cupertino's Asian residents, who resent the fact that their growing numbers and success are causing many white families to boycott the town altogether.

"It's a stereotype of Asian parents," says Pei-Pei Yow, a Hewlett-Packard Co. manager and Chinese-American community leader who sent two kids to Monta Vista. It's like other familiar biases, she says: "You can't say everybody from the South is a redneck."

Jane Doherty, a retirement-community administrator, chose to send her two boys elsewhere. When her family moved to Cupertino from Indiana over a decade ago, Ms. Doherty says her top priority was moving into a good public-school district. She paid no heed to a real-estate agent who told her of the town's burgeoning Asian population.

She says she began to reconsider after her elder son, Matthew, entered Kennedy, the middle school that feeds Monta Vista. As he played soccer, Ms. Doherty watched a line of cars across the street deposit Asian kids for after-school study. She also attended a Monta Vista parents' night and came away worrying about the school's focus on test scores and the big-name colleges its graduates attend.

"My sense is that at Monta Vista you're competing against the child beside you," she says. Ms. Doherty says she believes the issue stems more from recent immigrants than Asians as a whole. "Obviously, the concentration of Asian students is really high, and it does flavor the school," she says.

When Matthew, now a student at Notre Dame, finished middle school eight years ago, Ms. Doherty decided to send him to Bellarmine College Preparatory, a Jesuit school that she says has a culture that "values the whole child." It's also 55% white and 24% Asian. Her younger son, Kevin, followed suit.

Kevin Doherty, 17, says he's happy his mother made the switch. Many of his old friends at Kennedy aren't happy at Monta Vista, he says. "Kids at Bellarmine have a lot of pressure to do well, too, but they want to learn and do something they want to do."

While California has seen the most pronounced cases of suburban segregation, some of the developments in Cupertino are also starting to surface in other parts of the U.S. At Thomas S. Wootton High School in Rockville, Md., known flippantly to some locals as "Won Ton," roughly 35% of students are of Asian descent. People who don't know the school tend to make assumptions about its academics, says Principal Michael Doran. "Certain stereotypes come to mind -- 'those people are good at math,' " he says.

In Tenafly, N.J., a well-to-do bedroom community near New York, the local high school says it expects Asian students to make up about 36% of its total in the next five years, compared with 27% today. The district still attracts families of all backgrounds, but Asians are particularly intent that their kids work hard and excel, says Anat Eisenberg, a local Coldwell Banker real-estate agent. "Everybody is caught into this process of driving their kids." Lawrence Mayer, Tenafly High's vice principal, says he's never heard such concerns.

Perched on the western end of the Santa Clara valley, Cupertino was for many years a primarily rural area known for its many fruit orchards. The beginnings of the tech industry brought suburbanization, and Cupertino then became a very white, quintessentially middle-class town of mostly modest ranch homes, populated by engineers and their families. Apple Computer Inc. planted its headquarters there.

As the high-tech industry prospered, so did Cupertino. Today, the orchards are a memory, replaced by numerous shopping malls and subdivisions that are home to Silicon Valley's prosperous upper-middle class. While the architecture in Cupertino is largely the same as in neighboring communities, the town of about 50,000 people now boasts Indian restaurants, tutoring centers and Asian grocers. Parents say Cupertino's top schools have become more academically intense over the past 10 years.

Asian immigrants have surged into the town, granting it a reputation -- particularly among recent Chinese and South Asian immigrants -- as a Bay Area locale of choice. Cupertino is now 41% Asian, up from 24% in 1998.

Some students struggle in Cupertino's high schools who might not elsewhere. Monta Vista's Academic Performance Index, which compares the academic performance of California's schools, reached an all-time high of 924 out of 1,000 this year, making it one of the highest-scoring high schools in Northern California. Grades are so high that a 'B' average puts a student in the bottom third of a class.

"We have great students, which has a lot of upsides," says April Scott, Monta Vista's principal. "The downside is what the kids with a 3.0 GPA think of themselves."

Ms. Scott and her counterpart at Lynbrook know what's said about their schools being too competitive and dominated by Asians. "It's easy to buy into those kinds of comments because they're loaded and powerful," says Ms. Scott, who adds that they paint an inaccurate picture of Monta Vista. Ms. Scott says many athletic programs are thriving and points to the school's many extracurricular activities. She also points out that white students represented 20% of the school's 29 National Merit Semifinalists this year.

Judy Hogin, Jessie's mother and a Cupertino real-estate agent, believes the school was good for her daughter, who is now a freshman at the University of California at San Diego. "I know it's frustrating to some people who have moved away," says Ms. Hogin, who is white. Jessie, she says, "rose to the challenge."

On a recent autumn day at Lynbrook, crowds of students spilled out of classrooms for midmorning break. Against a sea of Asian faces, the few white students were easy to pick out. One boy sat on a wall, his lighter hair and skin making him stand out from dozens of others around him. In another corner, four white male students lounged at a picnic table.

At Cupertino's top schools, administrators, parents and students say white students end up in the stereotyped role often applied to other minority groups: the underachievers. In one 9th-grade algebra class, Lynbrook's lowest-level math class, the students are an eclectic mix of whites, Asians and other racial and ethnic groups.

"Take a good look," whispered Steve Rowley, superintendent of the Fremont Union High School District, which covers the city of Cupertino as well as portions of other neighboring cities. "This doesn't look like the other classes we're going to."

On the second floor, in advanced-placement chemistry, only a couple of the 32 students are white and the rest are Asian. Some white parents, and even some students, say they suspect teachers don't take white kids as seriously as Asians.

"Many of my Asian friends were convinced that if you were Asian, you had to confirm you were smart. If you were white, you had to prove it," says Arar Han, a Monta Vista graduate who recently co-edited "Asian American X," a book of coming-of-age essays by young Asian-Americans.

Ms. Gatley, the Monta Vista PTA president, is more blunt: "White kids are thought of as the dumb kids," she says.

Cupertino's administrators and faculty, the majority of whom are white, adamantly say there's no discrimination against whites. The administrators say students of all races get along well. In fact, there's little evidence of any overt racial tension between students or between their parents.

Mr. Rowley, the school superintendent, however, concedes that a perception exists that's sometimes called "the white-boy syndrome." He describes it as: "Kids who are white feel themselves a distinct minority against a majority culture."

Mr. Rowley, who is white, enrolled his only son, Eddie, at Lynbrook. When Eddie started freshman geometry, the boy was frustrated to learn that many of the Asian students in his class had already taken the course in summer school, Mr. Rowley recalls. That gave them a big leg up.

To many of Cupertino's Asians, some of the assumptions made by white parents -- that Asians are excessively competitive and single-minded -- play into stereotypes. Top schools in nearby, whiter Palo Alto, which also have very high test scores, also feature heavy course loads, long hours of homework and overly stressed students, says Denise Pope, director of Stressed Out Students, a Stanford University program that has worked with schools in both Palo Alto and Cupertino. But whites don't seem to be avoiding those institutions, or making the same negative generalizations, Asian families note, suggesting that it's not academic competition that makes white parents uncomfortable but academic competition with Asian-Americans.

Some of Cupertino's Asian residents say they don't blame white families for leaving. After all, many of the town's Asians are fretting about the same issues. While acknowledging that the term Asian embraces a wide diversity of countries, cultures and languages, they say there's some truth to the criticisms levied against new immigrant parents, particularly those from countries such as China and India, who often put a lot of academic pressure on their children.

Some parents and students say these various forces are creating an unhealthy cultural isolation in the schools. Monta Vista graduate Mark Seto says he wouldn't send his kids to his alma mater. "It was a sheltered little world that didn't bear a whole lot of resemblance to what the rest of the country is like," says Mr. Seto, a Chinese-American who recently graduated from Yale University. As a result, he says, "college wasn't an academic adjustment. It was a cultural adjustment."

Hung Wei, a Chinese-American living in Cupertino, has become an active campaigner in the community, encouraging Asian parents to be more aware of their children's emotional development. Ms. Wei, who is co-president of Monta Vista's PTA with Ms. Gatley, says her activism stems from the suicide of her daughter, Diana. Ms. Wei says life in Cupertino and at Monta Vista didn't prepare the young woman for life at New York University. Diana moved there in 2004 and jumped to her death from a Manhattan building two months later.

"We emphasize academics so much and protect our kids, I feel there's something lacking in our education," Ms. Wei says.

Cupertino schools are trying to address some of these issues. Monta Vista recently completed a series of seminars focused on such issues as helping parents communicate better with their kids, and Lynbrook last year revised its homework guidelines with the goal of eliminating excessive and unproductive assignments.

The moves haven't stemmed the flow of whites out of the schools. Four years ago, Lynn Rosener, a software consultant, transferred her elder son from Monta Vista to Homestead High, a Cupertino school with slightly lower test scores. At the new school, the white student body is declining at a slower rate than at Monta Vista and currently stands at 52% of the total. Friday-night football is a tradition, with big half-time shows and usually 1,000 people packing the stands. The school offers boys' volleyball, a sport at which Ms. Rosener's son was particularly talented. Monta Vista doesn't.

"It does help to have a lower Asian population," says Homestead PTA President Mary Anne Norling. "I don't think our parents are as uptight as if my kids went to Monta Vista."

Write to Suein Hwang at suein.hwang@wsj.com

Anonymous said...

May i put forth a theory?

If you are a person with SAT score of 1100 and you are offered the choice between going to a school where everyone has an SAT of 1100 or going to an ivy league school where the average is 1500, i think the correct choice depends on your personality

if you are a "Salesman" type personality, the type that finds it easy to make friendships with those different than you, I think you are well served to go to the ivy league school and get a job coming out of school that takes advantage of the connections you have built among the wealthy and soon to be wealthy

if you are less socially comfortable, less outgoing, and generally less happy-go-lucky, you are better off going to a school that matches your intellectual ability - you will find a career that is a good fit for your intellect

by the way i think the same rule applies no matter what race you are - there are plenty of lacrosse and hockey players with sat scores of 1100 that are offered a spot in the ivies -

J. said...

Steve Sailer slipped one of his sneaky elisions by. Michelle Obama was concerned about the social isolation of African-American students at Princeton. She did well academically at both Princeton and Harvard Law School. Both Obamas are very bright people who actually achieve their goals.

As for school integration, it would be best for the country if most students attended racial and economically integrated schools. Americans will swim or sink together as the current recession makes clear.

David said...

We've been sinking together for a long time, J. School kids dragged down by ghetto types, the coming-apart of a civilized nation. Thomas Jefferson once famously wrote, "The two races [black and white], equally free, cannot live in the same government."

And no, this government is not eternal, any more than a marriage is. Divorce exists, and a significant number of people on every side want one.

Anonymous said...

Only one reason, Asians are hardworking and value the educational system. I remember being in public school with many Latinos and they would always ask why are you trying so hard, party more...who cares about school. Our society says to everyone...hey you don't need to study or do well in life. Just breed and have more children, we will support you. Why would someone strive for more when all they know is one way of life and have a safety net...this is the mentality. Asians on the most part started migrating to the United States in large numbers only within the last 30 years...but look how far they have come in the short time frame.