‘Whatever you do, there will be always an Asian kid who does better than you’
The joke has been around in the Internet since I first encountered the digital world. The stereotype that ‘Asian kids are good at math’, for example, is fascinating for me because it’s partly true. Most of the Asian students admitting at my university study Economics or Business, Finance and Marketing. Finding one in Social Science field like me is a rare gem.
Asian kids always win high places at competitions such as International Mathematician/ Physics Olympiad. Among immigrants in the United States of America or in Europe, Asian migrants or Asian-born people prove to have better life standard, academic performance and employment opportunities compared to other ethnic groups. A 2010 Pew Research study showed that Asian households earning a median $66,000 a year vs. $49,800 for the average US household, a 32% difference. A 2013 Nielsen Research Report found that Asian American households have a median net worth of $89,300 compared to $68,800 for overall US households, a 30% difference. Meanwhile, roughly 49% of Asian Americans have Bachelor’s degrees vs. 28% of the general US population, a 75% difference.
It’s no doubt that the average Asian doing much better than average American in the USA and in many regions in the world. However, looking at the top of those fields, it’s predominantly Whites. This recurring topic has been under scrutiny for decades among Asian mass media and scientists, attempting to debunk the myth of excellence and creativity and what factors set individuals apart.
Why is that?