The New Whites? Asian Americans Sure Aren’t Earning Like Whites

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For Asian Americans, that old “Model Minority” idea continues to weigh us down and delete us from the diversity conversation.

Last year, when the Pew Research Center called Asian Americans the “highest income, best-educated … racial group in the United States,” it became even harder to elicit sympathy.

But now comes new information from a report released last month: “Asian American Education and Income Attainment in the Era of Post- Racial America” published recently by the Teachers College Record of Columbia University.

The study by Alejandro Covarrubias and Daniel Liou draws from the latest U.S. Census data to show how, when data about Asian Americans is disaggregated, you’ll see the truth about the so-called “Model Minority.”

Are Asians really the “Nouveau Whites”?

Not when you actually compare earning power and educational attainment.

It’s just one of the many findings in the report but the one I find most to the point.

Want to know the cost of racism? Check out these income gaps:

Based on a simple baccalaureate degree, Whites outearn Asian Americans by 20 percent.

Whites with a BA earn $56,131.

Asian Americans with a BA just $46,723.

It’s a little less of a gap when it comes to associate’s degrees.

Whites make $39,425.

Asian Americans just $34,668.

That’s a 14 percent discount to hire an Asian.

If you have just a high school diploma, it’s worse: a 19 percent difference.

Whites earn $28,728.

Asian Americans just $24,121.

And, if you are a high school dropout, the discount because of race becomes incredibly high.

White dropouts earn $18,518.

Asian American dropouts earn $13,494.

That’s a whopping  37 percent less, for not being White.

The poll shows that Asian Americans can do better with a master’s or professional degree.

Asian Americans actually out-earn Whites by 2 percent:

Whites: $79,139.

Asian Americans: $81,038.

But that trend does not continue in higher ed in the teaching and research ranks.

With a doctorate, Whites out-earn Asian Americans by 9 percent.

Whites: $106, 983

Asian Americans: $98,421.

The income gaps are even worse when you look at Asian American women.

A female Asian American doctorate earns just $77, 767 on average, compared with an Asian American male with a master’s or professional degree at $100, 334.

And when you compare the Asian woman to White American men and White American women, the results are even more dramatic.

The upshot: The study establishes a real pecking order and shows that sexism can easily make up for any watered-down racism.

Model Minority? There’s still a lot of racism in the income gaps between Whites and Asian Americans.

See policy brief here: http://aaldef.org/Asian%20American%20Education%20Attainment%20and%20Earning%20Power.pdf

See full report here:

http://www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?ContentID=17279

Emil Guillermo writes on issues of race for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (www.aaldef.org/blog)  Like him at www.facebook.com/emilguillermo.media or follow him on twitter @emilamok.

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