Letter: ?The model-minority myth is objectionable

TO THE EDITOR:

In a lawsuit being filed against UNC-CH, Edward Blum, the director of the Project on Fair Representation alleges that the University has a “racial preference” for underrepresented minorities and then writes, “Sadly, Asians in particular are being discriminated against at UNC because lesser-qualified African-Americans, Hispanics — and even whites — are gaining admissions at the expense of better qualified Asians.”

Blum is invoking the model-minority myth. The idea that Asian-Americans are smarter and more qualified than their browner and blacker fellow minority students.

Do not be fooled by Blum’s rhetoric. First, we should ask: Where is he getting his statistics?

Trying to pit Asian-Americans against American Indian, African-American, and Latino students is a divide-and-conquer tactic that is as old as the racial preferences that UNC participated in from its founding to the last decades of the 20th century when African-Americans were barred from attending Carolina. These are the racial preferences that have literally colored UNC for most of its life as a public state school.

One way to address the decades of inequality in admissions that UNC participated in from its founding through the last decades of the 20th Century is to have programs that address its past racial preferences for white candidates and to have programs that will ensure its current and continuing diverse student body.

Jennifer Ho

Associate Professor

English & Comparative Literature

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