Archive for April 28, 2006

Health expert explains Asian and Asian-American students’ unique pressures to succeed

Though the Cornell student suicide rate mirrors the average on campuses nationwide, 13 of the 21 Cornell student suicide victims since 1996 have been Asian or Asian-American. The victim count is sobering considering that only 14 percent of the total Cornell student body are self-identified Asian-Americans. A total of 15 percent of all Cornell students are from overseas, but the number of Asians among them is not known.

Asian-American/Asian students, especially males, are under unique pressures to meet high expectations of parents by succeeding in such traditional predetermined careers as medicine and engineering, said Dr. Henry Chung ’84, assistant vice president for student health at New York University (NYU) and executive director of the NYU Student Health Center, speaking to faculty and staff, and separately to students, on campus April 13. In addition, he noted, immigrant groups feel pressures due to sacrifices made by family members for their children’s benefit. Females also face career pressures of Western society while having to maintain traditional female roles.


Cross-race Identification Not Easy?

WASHINGTON – In a recent episode of “The Sopranos,” Tony Soprano dreamed that he’d been slapped by a Buddhist monk who mistook him for another white man who’d swindled him.

“All Caucasians look alike,” explained the unapologetic monk.

They often do, it turns out, at least to people who aren’t Caucasian. For that matter, blacks often look alike to whites and Hispanics to Asians. It’s not that people of any one race are harder to distinguish; researchers say that individual features vary equally among races. Rather, it’s that people have problems telling people from another group apart.


The Real Racism

After my first year here, I’ve learned that it’s not Dartmouth’s white population that’s racist or exclusionary, but rather it’s the organized minority groups themselves. At the beginning of this year, I was given a Big Brother by the Dartmouth Asian Organization (DAO) to help me get settled, was put on the Asian Christian Fellowship (ACF) mailing list, and invited to numerous exclusively Asian functions. In the abstract, these seem to be ideal ways to help freshman adjust to a new school. In reality, however, such practices have quite a different effect.

Stereotypes heighten problems surrounding mixed identities

People often juggle multiple identities, and specifically for Americans there is duality between American heritage and that of their background culture.

Students and staff of all races and ethnicities gathered Wednesday afternoon for Dr. Richard Q. Shin’s lecture, titled “Asian-American Ethnic Identity Development: Let’s stop hating on each other and start working together.” The program, which was sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, stressed the importance of finding a cultural identity that balances both one’s Asian and American cultural influences.


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