Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The New White Flight   posted by Razib @ 11/22/2005 03:36:00 PM

I didn't know this article in The Wall Street Journal was free, but it is, so I'll link to it: The New White Flight: In Silicon Valley, two high schools with outstanding academic reputations are losing white students as Asian students move in. Why? To some the article might be revelatory. This quote is very interesting to me:

Cathy Gatley, co-president of Monta Vista High School's parent-teacher association, recently dissuaded a family with a young child from moving to Cupertino because there are so few young white kids left in the public schools. "This may not sound good," she confides, "but their child may be the only Caucasian kid in the class."

Why should this matter? I don't know, I was the only non-Caucasian kid in most of my classes between the age of 6 and 18, and I wasn't traumatized, but perhaps whites aren't as ethnocentric and exclusionary as the Asian Americans which dominate this Cupertino High School (you know how well South Asians and East Asians cooperate! Hindi, Chini, Bhai Bhai!). From reading the article it seems to me that some Asian American parents, usually first generation immigrants, are bringing the "cram school" mentality to these shores. I'm all one for scholarship and academic competition, but to some extent I suspect that for the majority of kids this simply becomes a self-perpetuating cycle, like high stakes standardized testing.1 If I had a normal child, a kid below 3 standard deviations above the mean in IQ and without any specific drive and passion that could be optimized by attending these sorts of schools, I might also be hesitant to allow them to become ensconced in the kind of ends driven atmosphere sketched out above. I am skeptical that much value would be added to their cognitive toolkit over the long term in relation to the marginalization of normal avenues of socializing and the participation in common rites of passage which confer a sense of full citizenship. Nevertheless, I will be convinced at white terror of Asian American hegemony when I read about flight from Cal Tech, MIT and Berkeley, as Cal Poly, RPI and the Cal State schools start receiving Caucasian applicants who reject the former institutions because of their yellow cast.

But note throughout the article the transposition of subtle talking points and background assumptions normally utilized in articulation of the need for ethnic sensitivity toward members of underrepresented minorities in the context of whites. Over the last few years the cultural center has been tacitly cheerleading the transformation of this nation into a minority white polity where racial awareness is acceptable for minorities. It seems possible that a byproduct of these the two phenomena indicated above might be the organization of whites as a racial interest group. Society isn't a linear system, so who knows.

1 - Or the devaluation of a bachelor's degree in the United States because of widespread access to university educations, and the pressure from society for all children to at least make a go at it.