The Quiet Minority
Issues of race, racism and ethnic discrimination have plagued the country for decades. The roots of discrimination for Blacks go back to the practice of Slavery, while Hispanics continue to lay historic claim to vast areas of the Southwest. The issue of slavery was dealt with in a bloody war between north and south, culminating with the Emancipation Proclamation and passage of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution. The issue of legal discrimination was largely addressed in the Civil Rights movement and laws passed in the mid-1960s. The territorial dispute between Mexico and the United States over Texas was put to rest with the Treaty of Hidalgo in 1848, concluding the Mexican-American War.
Clearly, there have been historic racial and ethnic problems our country has had to deal with, and has done so at great cost and loss of life. In further attempts to resolve matters, programs like Affirmative Action and other preference programs have been instituted to the detriment of White Americans and others who had nothing to do with Mexican land matters or slavery! Nor has any Mexican or Black person alive today been directly involved in those historic wrongs. Boundaries have been long settled and unfair discrimination has been outlawed for 60 years. Still, the complaints and accusations persist among minorities. Except for Asians.
Along with other nationalities, Irish, German and other immigrants faced discrimination and attacks upon arrival in this country. Over time, most aggression and hostility subsided as these groups assimilated into an American culture - assimilation being the great equalizer. It is the refusal, or inability, of some minority groups to assimilate that is at the root of continued complaints of unfair treatment. To fully embrace the freedom and independence that is America requires that one BE American. That is, one must speak the language, assume the cultural norms, embrace the values, pledge their allegiance and generally make the effort to fit in.
The values of America include freedom, independence and personal responsibility. When Blacks call for more government assistance and shirk personal responsibilities, they will naturally feel left out. When Mexicans and other Hispanics make little effort to speak English and maintain a stronger allegiance to their countries of origin than to America, they too will feel put upon.
The fact is, discrimination has too often become a canard; white privilege has become a generic “fall guy;” and special preference has become a crutch. The fact is, Asians too have been discriminated against, going back to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the miscegenation (interracial marriage) laws that persisted through the mid-19th century. Asians were abused as low-priced labor in the railroad construction days as much as Mexicans were as migrant Braceros in the 1950s. Asians were enslaved in internment camps during WW II and their property immorally and illegally taken from them. Arguably, their conditions were not as horrific as many Black slaves, but they were enslaved nonetheless.
“Asian” is a broad term of reference, of course, and includes Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese and others, making observations someone anecdotal – but the same can be said for “Hispanics,” “Blacks” and “Whites.” All observations are generalities, and not all members of a racial or ethnic group or nationality can be tarnished with the same brush, or promoted with the same achievements. Still, there are some interesting comparisons.
Looking at the population by racial/ethnic composition, Whites (non-Hispanic) comprise 62.2%; Hispanics, the largest “minority” comprise 17.4%; Blacks are 13.2% and Asians are 5.4%. (U.S. Census, 2015 estimates) By virtually every standard, Asians achieve higher “positive” performance in proportion to their percent of the population, and exhibit lower “negative” attributes in the same manner. Consider the following, both subjective and objective comparisons:
When an Asian person is treated unfairly, even in the extreme, such as a questionable death in the course of criminal behavior, Asians don’t riot in the streets and use the event as an excuse for wide-scale theft, attacks and property damage, such as seen in Ferguson, Mo. and now taking place in Baltimore, MD.
Many cities have “Chinatown” sections, with many quite famous like San Francisco’s Grant Street area. Similar restaurant and commercial districts exist with other Asian groups, but I have never seen a mob of Asian demonstrators with public displays of anti-American sentiment, waving flags of their native country, while burning or trampling American flags.
Illegal Immigration: Asians comprise less than their population proportion, while Hispanics are about five times their representation. Illegal Hispanics in the country total 75%, of the estimated 11,430,000 (government estimate - many place that number much higher). Mexicans are almost 60% of the total, while Asians are about 5%.
Family Values: While sharing the decline in marriage rates exhibited by society generally, Asians still marry at a rate of 80-85%. This compares to Whites (84%), Hispanics (75%) and Blacks (67%). They also tend to stay married, providing greater stability in the family structure. With divorce rates stabilizing in all groups after about age 30, the rates are: Whites (40%), Blacks (48%), Hispanics (35%) and Asians (22%). The rates for unwed mothers is even more telling. The rate among Blacks leads at 68%, followed by Hispanics at 43% and Whites at 26%. Asian unwed mothers comprise 11% of their number of mothers.
Probably the most telling aspect of Asian exceptionalism is in education. Almost 50% of Asians hold a bachelor’s degree compared to 27% of the general population. 14.4% of Asians hold a master’s degree and 4.1%, a doctorate. Compare this to: Whites (8.5% and 1.8%), Blacks (6.1% and .8%) and Hispanics (3.5% and .7%). In addition, observation shows that a far higher percentage of Asians pursue education in science, mathematics, engineering and technology. Look at the graduation rosters from most any university and you will see a preponderance of Asian surnames in those fields.
In general, both according to various studies, census data, and anecdotal observation, I believe it is safe to say that Asians have higher household income, less crime, lower welfare participation (2.1% of food stamp recipients), more successful business start-ups, and better assimilation into American cultures, including English speaking. My observation is that Asian individuals coming to this country, regardless of age, have their children speaking perfect English, with no discernable accent and proper grammar in the first native generation. In contrast, many from Hispanic backgrounds fail to achieve that level of English in 3-4 generations, and a great many Blacks continue to speak in a street dialect, with poor pronunciation and grammar, after 8-10 generations.
There are many reasons why Asians are the “quiet” minority; why they are not out rioting, marching for special treatment, demanding reparations, or denigrating their new home country of America. They are too busy studying, starting businesses, pursuing advanced degrees, raising children in stable family environments, and accomplishing things without government assistance.
Those who continue to whine, demand, make excuses and riot might take note.
“As a ten-year-old kid, I looked at signs that said, ‘Attention: all those of Japanese ancestry—alien and non-alien…’ I looked at these signs and said, ‘Who is non-alien?’…and that is why I cherish the word ‘citizen.”
– Norman Y. Mineta, Former US Congressman and Secretary of Transportation