asian american colleges – it’s religion, stupid!
Final round of discussion on Asian American colleges. As I mentioned last time, I was not persuaded by the argument that Asian Americans had such a unique historical trajectory that no Asian American colleges were created. It’s an ad hoc argument, and not well supported by comparisons (e.g., lots of small groups had colleges; the population vastly expanded; etc).
But I did come to a new, consistent approach to the question. It starts with a question: why do colleges get created at all? Here are the answers:
- State building
- Technical preservation/development (think of all the institutes of technology/polytechnics)
- Professional training
You’ll notice that the extant Asian American colleges (a few small Korean schools and Hindu University) are religious. Then, since Asians have relatively weak political power in the US, the state building side of things isn’t in play. Finally, professional schools, for-profit institutions and technical institutes rarely cater to students on ethnic terms. In the end, I’d just point out that (a) the religious views of Asian Americans weren’t developed in ways that encouraged college building and (b) other religious groups, like the White philanthropists who bankrolled HBCs, didn’t frame Asians as a social problem to be solved.