some asian american college applicants are leaving the 'asian' check box blank

Got bombarded over the weekend with this Associated Press article about college-bound mixed-race Asian American students who are choosing not to identify themselves as 'Asian' on their applications: Some Asians' college strategy: Don't check 'Asian.'

The idea is to get an edge at elite schools, where Asian Americans are perceptibly held to higher admissions standards than applicants from other ethnic groups. If standing out from the crowd means keeping quiet about being Asian, a lot of applicants are apparently leaving that check box blank:
For years, many Asian-Americans have been convinced that it's harder for them to gain admission to the nation's top colleges.

Studies show that Asian-Americans meet these colleges' admissions standards far out of proportion to their 6 percent representation in the U.S. population, and that they often need test scores hundreds of points higher than applicants from other ethnic groups to have an equal chance of admission. Critics say these numbers, along with the fact that some top colleges with race-blind admissions have double the Asian percentage of Ivy League schools, prove the existence of discrimination.

The way it works, the critics believe, is that Asian-Americans are evaluated not as individuals, but against the thousands of other ultra-achieving Asians who are stereotyped as boring academic robots.

Now, an unknown number of students are responding to this concern by declining to identify themselves as Asian on their applications.
Frankly, I find it troubling that anyone should feel forced to deny their ethnicity in a situation like this. But that's up to the individual applicant. Some students obviously will not have that luxury -- if your name is Chang or Wu or Nguyen, people are going to make their assumptions.

I have to wonder, isn't gaming the numbers just going to complicate things further down the line? And if an applicant is essentially a name, a check box and a test score, what's going to happen a school's administration realizes that the face of its student body is actually far more Asian than their records reflect? Or will it even matter, as long as the numbers skew a certain way on paper?

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