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“The interviewees in my study who were most angry about affirmative action were those who had relatively fewer marketable skills — and were therefore most dependent on getting an inside edge for the best jobs. Whites who felt entitled to these positions believed that affirmative action was unfair because it blocked their own privileged access.”—
“…despite complaints about “reverse discrimination,” my research demonstrated that the real complaint is that affirmative action undermines long-established patterns of favoritism.”
Five ugly extremes of inequality in America
1. $2.13 per hour vs. $3,000,000.00 per hour
A comparison of top and bottom salaries within large corporations is much less severe, but a lot more common. For CEOs and minimum-wage workers, the difference is $5,000.00 per hour vs. $7.25 per hour.
2. A single top income could buy housing for every homeless person in the U.S.
On a winter day in 2012 over 633,000 people were homeless in the United States. Based on an annual single room occupancy (SRO) cost of $558 per month, any ONE of the ten richest Americans would have enough with his 2012 income to pay for a room for every homeless person in the U.S. for the entire year. These ten rich men together made more than our entire housing budget.
3. The poorest 47% of Americans have no wealth
At the other extreme, the 400 wealthiest Americans own as much wealth as 80 million families — 62% of America. The reason, once again, is the stock market. Since 1980 the American GDP has approximately doubled. Inflation-adjusted wages have gone down. But the stock market has increased by over ten times, and the richest quintile of Americans owns 93% of it.
4. The U.S. is nearly the most wealth-unequal country in the entire world
Out of 141 countries, the U.S. has the 4th-highest degree of wealth inequality in the world, trailing only Russia, Ukraine, and Lebanon.
Yet the financial industry keeps creating new wealth for its millionaires. According to the authors of the Global Wealth Report, the world’s wealth has doubled in ten years, from $113 trillion to $223 trillion, and is expected to reach $330 trillion by 2017.
5. A can of soup for a black or Hispanic woman, a mansion and yacht for the businessman
Minority families once had substantial equity in their homes, but after Wall Street caused the housing crash, median wealth fell 66% for Hispanic households and 53% for black households. Now the average single black or Hispanic woman has about $100 in net worth.
“To be clear, I do not have a problem with increased protection or security. Who’s to say that a shooting won’t occur at the next student party? It could happen, God forbid, and I understand why USC wants to be prepared. My issue lies within the selective surveillance of minority-hosted parties, as if crimes only happen among high concentrations of melanin. Hundreds of criminal offenses, including sexual harassment, rape and assault happen every Thursday night on Greek Row, a undeniably white establishment. Yet, the culprits of the Department of Public Safety Crime Reports distributed to USC students and faculty, seem to be strictly limited to Black and Latino males (6’2-6’5 in dark hoodies).”—I’m a Scholar, Not a Criminal: The Plight of Black Students at USC
Why The "Model Minority" Myth Is Damaging & Other Angry Asian American Rants
As of 2010, the Asian American median household income is reported as $66,000 to the average white American’s $54,000. Additionally: 49% of us, Asian Americans, are bachelor’s degree holders, which is apparently 18% more than the number of whites who hold such degrees. These figures are straight out of the widely distributed article by Pew Research Center from June 2012. Shortly after this study was released, a spew of other “news” articles surfaced and found their way onto my Facebook Newsfeed. Suddenly, the Asian American presence was important to my white friends and I found them claiming enlightenment and quoting the statistics from these articles. I wanted to scroll on by, but I could not let it go without voicing a few of my opinions on the topic.
“Why do these articles bother you? Surley, you must be delighted to see your people making progress in this country!”
You know what bothers me? No one cares about the Asian American community other than Asian Americans. The perpetuation of the “Model Minority” myth makes us pariahs in the realm of people of color. Sometimes, a combination of this myth and self-loathing takes a hold of some of our own and they don’t even fight for our voice. When Asian Americans talk about our struggles with racism in this country, we have to be doubly aggressive in our attempts to be heard and taken seriously.
And now these white research scientists and journalists are sitting around writing up garbage pseudoscience titled, “Asian Americans: Fastest-Growing Racial Group,” and “The Rise of Asian Americans.” They might as well be titling them “Watch Out, Those Asians Are Multiplying! Goddamn China!”
To me, all of these articles just sound like white American rhetoric to discount the Asian American community’s experience as a marginalized and oppressed population. My white friends’ reactions after reading those articles were essentially: “Good for you!” like a condescending pat on the back.
The figures I presented above are not, in any way, shape, or form, proof that Asians “have it good.” We are less than 5% of the national population. This number is reflective of the Asian American representation in my own life. I work in an academic research laboratory as the only Asian American in a staff of 15 people. I am often the only person of color, let alone Asian American, in a classroom at my university. I was handpicked to attend an advocacy practicum at the United Nations as the only Asian along with 19 other women. I also recently interned at a non-profit organization where just 4 of their 100 employees (including myself) were Asian American.
So when I invited a white friend of mine to a party I was throwing and the first response I got from her was: “Am I going to be the only non-Asian there?” I laughed in her face.
I didn’t feel the true weight of being a racial minority until I started college. Everything here is a stark contrast to the bustling Asian immigrant hub that was my hometown. Suddenly, everyone was white: from professors to employers and basically anyone else who could have a profound impact on the direction of my professional career. It’s a constant struggle to maintain my Asian American identity while still trying to remain “favorable” to these white people who can give me a lousy job or a recommendation.
You want to compare white statistics to those of Asian Americans? You want to hear about our immigrant parents earning a decent living despite all the odds stacked against them? How about the college students who are terrified of not being able to finish their education because their families might be deported? Can I tell you about the times when grown men and women threw around racial slurs and mocked my parents’ broken English, while the 9-year-old-me felt tormented for not standing up for them? Fuck your statistics.