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  • Culture Clash in Academia?
  • Posted By:
  • Karen W.
  • Posted On:
  • 06-Jun-2009
  • Racism has been relevant in various cultures across the globe. It is not limited to only different cultures but also people belonging the same culture.

    Racism has also permeated in the education system also. This glass ceiling problem exists very much in the American education system. It persists maximum amongst the Asian American students.

    But some say that things are improving slowly. Nothing is perfect though. Over the last twenty years, it has been seen that many Asian students have been elected as university presidents and chancellors. But they are few and far between. Also there are very few of them in top institutions. Of course the institutions have been pat with their excuses saying that though the Asian American Students are very well qualified but they are not fully acculturated for administrative positions.

    Similar cases like that of s. Alice Huang can be heard from various Asian Americans. Ajit Varki, a cellular and molecular medicine professor at the University of California, in San Diego has a few things to share too. He came to America some thirty years ago and he describes his experience as a double whammy. This is so because he looked down upon for being both a foreigner and a foreign medical school student.

    He had topped the medical colleges back home, but because American universities were concerned, they were skeptical of his performances back home also because they did not think much of the foreign universities or colleges. Varki finally made it through various obstacles in academics and became the first foreign student to become the President of the American Society of Clinical Investigations and the editor of the Journal of Clinical Investigation. He does say that the things have changed in the past three decades and that the students now have a easier access to things on the West Coast. The west coast is more preferable than the east coast to the Asian students. For now about 30 percent of the student population in America comprises of Asian American students.

    But the acculturation argument still persists. Now the new generation of Asian American students state that they are born and raised in America and therefore, have a right to be elected at the same high posts as the Americans. This has definitely weakened the argument. It would be difficult on the part of the institutions to deny the current batch of Asian American students for this. As they cannot even state that these students are not Americanized.

    Things might have changed for the second and the later generations of Asian American students but today also the current generation has to face such problems.  This maybe because the first generation had to work very hard and therefore, they succeeded. Their second generation worked even harder. But the later generation may have become more laid back and therefore have to face problems now.

    If problems like this continue to persist in USA, students might look for different options where they are easily accepted and has a friendlier atmosphere. But this will harm the whole infrastructure of USA and they will loose their edge as world leaders.

    Although the later generation Asian Americans appears to be not suffering from the problem of same stereotypes, studies have proved the fact that the fifth generation does not do as well as compared to their immigrant ancestors. This issue is known as the "immigrant vigor."
    "The immigrants face the challenges head on and succeed, and their immediate children see it and work just as hard.” It’s now more of a generational than a cultural issue."







 

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