Sponsored Project

Schooling Asians

SoYun Roe

The affirmative action battleground has moved beyond Black and White to a new arena: Asian America. Though Asian Americans make up less than 5% of the national population, some say their percentages in higher education are too high, while others say they are too low. In 2012, a civil rights complaint challenged entrance-exam admissions to New York City's Specialized High Schools, where Asian Americans now predominate. In 2014, controversy over a proposed California constitutional amendment to restore race-based considerations centered around Asian Americans.SCHOOLING ASIANS will examine legal and political efforts to bolster or eliminate the consideration of race in school admissions. It will provide cultural context by examining the "Model Minority Myth" and "Tiger Moms." It will present historical context, like the 1983 report finding an informal ceiling on Asian American university enrollments, and parallels to the 1920s, when backlash against Jews at elite universities resulted in admissions practices still used today. Finally, the documentary will follow applicants for whom attending college is a deeply personal, not political, issue.Now that the majority of babies in the U.S. are "minorities," former approaches to race may no longer apply. Grounded in fact, humor and empathy, SCHOOLING ASIANS will add a unique perspective as it examines education and affirmative action through an Asian lens.