For months now, the lawsuit against Harvard University over its admissions practices has focused on the idea that affirmative action may be limiting opportunities for Asian Americans. Remove consideration of race, the plaintiffs argue, and Asian Americans will prosper.
New research, not focused on Harvard’s practices, offers a different perspective on that idea. The research looks at what happens to Asian Americans, compared to other groups, in terms of graduation and employment. Graduation is a big success, the research finds. Asian Americans, including those who attend the most prestigious colleges in the country, are graduating at rates above those of all other racial and ethnic groups. This is true of Chinese, Indians, Filipinos, Vietnamese and Koreans — the groups that make up 83 percent of the Asian American population. And the separate findings of success for each of those groups are important in light of criticism that much research on Asian Americans is not disaggregated. All of these groups are twice as likely as are white people to have college degrees, and Chinese are six times as likely.
But the picture changes dramatically when employment outcomes are considered. Those from Indian and Korean families are no more likely than their white counterparts to be in a professional or managerial position. Those from Vietnamese or Filipino families are less likely to have such positions than are white people. The only Asian American group to maintain its educational outcomes in employment is Chinese Americans….