Discrimination in Higher Education

This is  the season of college admittance letters. A reality I thank God that I don’t have to deal with again. (With teenage angst! For I often fantasize of returning to college. If David Foster Wallace was still alive!)  Recently one of the other Next Gen Bloggers pointed out this article “Confusion Over Anti Asian Discrimination.” The topic of discussion is that the elite institutions are being scrutinized for discriminatory practices in the admittance process.

 For further insight into these practices, check out “The Gatekeepers“.

 

 

 

I really appreciated the Steinberg expose as basically the one thing we can really do to get our kids ready to go to an elite institution is to encourage them to “shine” on their own (start up a charity, write a novel). In the “Gatekeepers” it was exciting to see the mind of the admissions officer as they searched for those few movers and shakers that they wanted to see on their campus. And what I got was that those kids who started their own charities, completed novels, or worked on the next great scientific discoveries were the ones they searched high and low for.  In fact a good buddy of mine attended Brown and he talked about these whiz kids and geniuses.  At the same time there were children of alumni, children of celebrities/rich and famous, the “scholarship” students.  My friend told me of “the gentleman’s “C”". We were talking about someone famous, who I remarked, “surely this person couldn’t have graduated from an Ivy?” And he told me about the gentleman’s C. Definitely elite schools are in “a league of their own.”

I know that I have read inflammatory Xangas by students who didn’t get accepted to their choice college, and jeolously write how they couldn’t believe that their “minority” friend (non-Asian) got into that same school.  I can admit, I was young once too.

I wonder though that we as a society strive too much for fairness. Life is not fair and perhaps a “no” from one school is a sign that God has something better. It’s not fair that Paul Gausol is 7′ and I am not…but perhaps God didn’t intend a pro NBA career for me!  A friend recently told their son – No, as he was accepted to an Ivy, but they as parents felt that their son was not ready to go all the way to the other coast. They wanted him closer to home. They told me, “is 18 some magical number that we can just send our children off on their own?”  I didn’t say anything as I thought of the Amish practice of rumspringa (which I guess I wouldn’t practice now that I am a father).  I wonder if there is something about sending off your child and see if they come back to the fold…

Ok, sorry for the tangents…but I sort of see the dilemna of the elite institution of higher learning. You have alumni that you admit because their children have an example, a network that will  help them succeed. They also want the “cream of the crop” students, and at the same time, yes they want diversity. And to get diversity, unfortunately they discriminate.

 edit–I guess as I use the word discriminate it is not in the most inflammatory usage of the word.

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Key Series: Why we need Asian Americans to be Asian Americans

Read this insightful series by DJ Chuang about why we need Asian Americans to be Asian Americans. It is a powerful introduction to many of the conversations we have here at Next Gener.Asian Church.

As DJ writes in his initial series post:

All to say that our American society needs more Asian Americans to be Asian American. It is to say that at this state of the union, we have too few. We certainly don’t have too many. We’d do well to have a few more to stand up and represent. We’d do well to think through and have more robust conversations about what it means to be Asian Americans. We’d do well to allow the richness of our Asian American’ness to overflow and not hide it under a bushel.

The disclaimers DJ writes at the outset are, alone, worth the price of admission:

[Read more...]

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book review – Many Colors by Dr. Soong-Chan Rah

[Review by Dr. Jack Lumanog]

Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church is the new book by Dr. Soong-Chan Rah.  This is a follow up to The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity.  His latest book both sounds the alarm for the need for the Church gaining cultural intelligence as well as some practical steps on how to get started.

The book is divided into three parts: Understanding Culture, A Constructive Cultural Paradigm and Cultural Intelligence in Action.  There were some parts of the book that were hard to get through – and probably because it was necessary groundwork to get through to the payoff of how do we see more multicultural involvement in our churches.

The book was an uncomfortable read in parts simply because I resonated with certain portions where Dr. Rah addressed Asian-American assumptions in a group dynamic. And, on the topic of uncomfortable parts, was where he shared some stories as it relates to minority culture and their food. He remarked how some caucasian students at his seminary reacted uncharitably when some Korean students shared some of their traditional food. I had that reaction from my neighborhood friends all growing up because of the very foreign look, feel, taste and smell of my very Filipino food that our family had to offer for dinner.

One of the most practical steps offered in the book is how our food and sharing meals and life together around a dinner table can help bridge the cultural gap that exists between us. He masterfully weaves in how Jesus did this with the Communion meal of bread and wine. Dr. Rah’s explanation of the life shared at the Communion table to the dinner table is well worth your time and attention.

For me, Dr. Rah’s The Next Evangelicalism is an important work as it gave me some resources to draw on in explaining the current problem in the Church as it relates to race relations. For his follow up work in Many Colors, essentially the same case is stated as he did in his first book but the presentation comes across more winsome – but just as compelling at the same time.

As an Asian-American pastor, I am thankful for Dr. Soong-Chan Rah for being a practical prophet for our times.  Not only speaking the uncomfortable truth, but for giving us in Many Colors some practical resources on how to get where we need to be as the Church in the 21st century.

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reflections of a Filipino-American Priest

[Review by Dr. Jack Lumanog]

I have been wrestling with what to post here for a few weeks since being invited to be a contributor to yellowfaith blog.  Being an Asian-American is not as cut and dried as you might think.  It’s a vast territory and there is not one particular experience to speak of.  When you add being a Christian in there too, it gets very, very complicated.  Perhaps the safest thing to do is just talk about my experience instead of attempting to unpack what it is to be an Asian-American Christian – as if it’s possible to do that in one blog post!

My experience first as an Asian-American, particularly as a first generation American with parents from the Philippines, can best be summed up as it is very much an honor/shame way of being brought up.  And, a win/loss is not just individual, it’s for the whole family.  In the Philippines, the word for shame is hiya. As one author put it:

a universal social sanction, creating a deep emotional realization of having failed to live up to the standards of society”. Of course, HIYA is to be avoided at all costs by Filipinos. The greatest insult is to say that someone is WALANG HIYA (WITHOUT SHAME).
-Alfredo Roces and Grace Roces, Culture Shock! – Philippines, 1992

Again, I can’t speak for all Asian-Americans, but I do know the honor/shame part to be very real.  My grades in school reflect not only on me, but on my family.  My behavior in public not only reflected on me, but my whole family.  My decision to leave the church I was raised in and decide to go elsewhere was not only a reflection on me, but my whole family.

My experience of growing up Asian-American was that in order to obtain honor and avoid shame, it involves a lot of DOING.  So, “be the best” in order to obtain honor.  If you don’t do your best, then comes the shame and it is not just your burden to bear – it’s upon us all.

Now, when one such as myself comes to a saving faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Redeemer … what now?  I prayed to receive Christ into my heart when I was 16 years old.  When I confessed Jesus as Savior and Lord, I know that I received His love, His forgiveness and His grace.  I’ve never been the same since that day, June 14, 1992, and I have been mission obsessed with bringing this message of the Gospel to as many people and places as possible.

In the midst of all this spiritual transformation, something that seems to be firmly embedded in me and something that I war against in the flesh is still this cultural honor/shame.  Because there is always a temptation to always be DOING.  When instead, there is a rest that comes in fully receiving Jesus’ work on the cross.  The cross covers my shame and my faith in Him brings me honor – in this life and in the life to come.  My laboring for the Kingdom of God cannot add to the cross or take away from the cross.  The cross is a reminder that everything has already been DONE by Jesus Christ and His sacrifice.

Simply put, the Christian life calls me  –  this child of immigrants who is constantly entrepreneurial, working for honor and avoiding shame at all costs  –  to lay down this war in the flesh at the foot of the cross.  Our Lord took upon Himself our shame (our sinful nature and even parts of our cultural identity that don’t create new life in Christ) and He raises us to new life in Him.  Thanks be to God.  Alleluia!  Alleluia!

—-


Dr. Jack Lumanog is Priest and Senior Pastor of Christ the King Anglican Church in Lansing , MI.  He serves in the Anglican Mission in the Americas as the Clergy Formation Advisor overseeing candidates in the process of ordination for the Heart of North America Region.  His website is here:  http://www.jacklumanog.com.

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Laying down tracks

For those of you who have been reading NG.AC for the last year or so might know where I stand on issues of conservatism negatively affecting the Asian American church. And in a most real way, it’s taking a toll on me…

I feel pretty lonely, ecclesially speaking, but I feel guilty for it. And it might be the Asian conscience within me telling me to “put up or shut up” but I just don’t know where to turn to. Although I would feel more of a theological connection to a mainline church, I honestly feel no ethnic, emotional, and social connection to what is usually a mostly white American congregation. Although I would feel an ethnic, emotional, and social connection to an Asian American church, I don’t find much theological affinity with them.

[Read more...]

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survey on Asian American women and physical activity

Received this request in the inbox; help spread the word to qualifying women if you’re so inclined.

Research is being conducted by the School of Nursing, University of Texas at Austin, about the attitudes toward physical activity among middle-aged women (40-60 Y/O).

The internet survey is related to women’s health studying how different ethnic groups and socioeconomic classes view physical activity. They are especially in need of participation from Asian Americans and low-income Asian-Americans.

Dr. Eun-Ok Im’s work involves conducting an Internet study on the attitudes toward physical activity among diverse ethnic groups of middle-aged women (40-60 Y/O). All women will benefit from participating in this study and with more participation they will be able to make their data more complete.

In this study, each participant will be reimbursed with a gift certificate of 10 dollars per Internet survey.

Please note that the survey will begin with some eligibility questions to determine if our study has fulfilled our sampling quota for an individual with certain characteristics.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about our study. Thank you so much for considering this study.

Sincerely,
e-MAPA Research Team
Hannah Lee, Research Assistantd
hannahlee0711@gmail.com
School of Nursing, University of Texas at Austin
1700 Red River, Austin, TX 78701

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ng.ac Tokback Thursday Jan. 14!

Alrighty, we’ve taken a break for the holidays and a couple Thursdays for good measure, so we’ll be back in the saddle with a couple of things to talk about on the docket.

First, I’m dying to hear a recap of Urbana, especially with DJ Chuang and ElderJ finally meeting face to face. Also, I really want to hear about the “Asian American” worship that led to the great discussion going on over at Joel Tang’s blog.

And although that might take up most of the time, for the upcoming Verge Conference (I’m very excited to attend btw), a question came to mind that I would love to hear your thoughts on. In Soong Chan Rah’s book, The Next Evangelicalism, he makes the point that immigrant churches offer a holistic missional approach (albeit to their own ethnic enclaves) that churches from the dominant majority can really learn from. So do you think that immigrant churches, your church can be classified as missional? Or do you feel like the have lessons to offer the missional church?

I don’t know if we’re going to get to all the questions, but I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of laughter, awkward muted silences, and eerie computer monitor light. The Tokback begins at the usual hour of 10pm EST / 7pm PST this Thursday night at DJ’s place, http://www.djchuang.com/tokbox. Put the kiddies down and get those webcams up as there’s no software or registration required. Spread the word and see you then!

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