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:

  • Religion
  • State building
  • Profit
  • 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.

Adverts: From Black Power/Grad Skool Rulz


Written by fabiorojas

August 5, 2013 at 4:24 am

Posted in education, fabio

4 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Aren’t many Asians just much more focused on integration than other immigrant groups? That would seem to be a much simpler explanation for why an otherwise wealthy and educationally successful group of immigrants choose not to delineate and cordon. They’ve had every other incentive to develop Asian colleges — there is rather strong evidence of systematic discrimination of Asians at top colleges, given that they essentially crush whites on right-tail high-school and extracurricular achievement.

    Asian cultures may be more prone to integrate because they lack the recent historical experience with Western imperialism that black and brown Americans feel repercussions of (though of course there is variance among black and brown populations on preferences for integration). And I’m excepting important exceptions like the Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Pacific Islanders, who have.


    Graham Peterson

    August 5, 2013 at 3:33 pm

  2. Perhaps a good comparison case for the lack of API colleges would be Gallaudet University. I don’t know much (really anything) about the school’s history, but today it serves as a focal point for deaf culture and the subgroups therein. It would be interesting to consider the advocacy and political context of Gallaudet’s founding to the lack thereof (?) in support of Asian Americans.



    August 5, 2013 at 3:53 pm

  3. I still think trying to conceptualize this issue with the category “Asian Americans” is a waste of time.


    Big Z

    August 5, 2013 at 5:35 pm

  4. “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:”

    Culture (defined in broad terms) has absolutely no role – or only a residual one – on this?



    August 5, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: