Since 1965, and especially after 1990, more skilled migrants have come to the United States from Asia than ever before. First, please give at least three examples of public laws that shaped these mig
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Since 1965, and especially after 1990, more skilled migrants have come to the United States from Asia than ever before. First, please give at least three examples of public laws that shaped these migration trends. Secondly, please discuss how highly educated and skilled Asian immigrants and their children have reshaped residential and educational patterns in the United States over the last five decades.
This is an essay questions with 5 paragraphs. I will post some useful articles for reference.
Since 1965, and especially after 1990, more skilled migrants have come to the United States from Asia than ever before. First, please give at least three examples of public laws that shaped these mig
|881 Interlopers in High Culture ©2009 The American Studies Association Interlopers in the Realm of High Culture: “Music Moms” and the Performance of Asian and Asian American Identities Grace Wang I n a series of articles about summer camps, the New York Times reported on the Perlman Music Program, a prestigious six-week instructional program led by the world-renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman. The article focused less on the teenagers who attend than on the efforts and ambitions of the “music moms” who enroll their children in advanced programs of music study. As the reporters note: “‘music moms’ seasons are far longer than those of soccer moms. Their financial payoffs are far smaller and more elusive than those of tennis moms. But they are every bit as competitive, protective, ambitious, and self-sacrificing.” The ethos of self-sacrifice emerges clearly in a comment offered by one of the article’s featured mothers, Mrs. Kim, who bluntly states: “First priority is Yoon-jee.” 1 For Mrs. Kim, this has meant living apart from her husband, a South Korean diplomat whose work required him to return to Seoul, so that her daughter, Yoon-jee, could continue her piano studies at the Juilliard School’s Pre-College Division. From the initial decision to enroll their children in music lessons to the continued labor of driving back and forth to music lessons, performances, auditions, and rehearsals, “music moms” are active architects of their children’s musical development. What the New York Times article makes clear is the integral part that parents—in particular mothers—play in the realm of classical music training. Indeed, to understand the broad context of Western classical music making, an examination of the role of “music moms” who facilitate and support their children’s musical pursuits is critical. Variations of the “stage mom” exist in many different realms, from competitive sports to beauty pageants. Yet, while the “soccer mom” typically brings to mind the image of a middle-class, white, suburban mother, as this essay reveals, the traits of sacrifice, pushiness, and determination embodied in the “music mom” have increasingly become as- sociated with being Asian. 2 The contemporary racialization of the “music mom” is not necessarily surprising given the large number of Asians and Asian Americans involved | 882 American Quarterly in classical music training in the United States. At leading music schools and departments, Asians and Asian Americans constitute from 30 to 50 percent of the student population. 3 The numbers are often higher at the pre-college level. At highly regarded programs such as Juilliard Pre-College, Asians and Asian Americans compose more than half the student body; the two largest groups represented are students of Chinese and Korean descent studying the violin or piano. 4 The growing participation of Asians and Asian Americans in classical music over the past few decades can be linked to multiple contexts: the historical deployment of Western classical music in East Asia, the economic ascension of East Asian nations, and the wave of educated and professional Asian immigrants who arrived in the wake of changes in American immigra- tion policies in 1965. 5 Still, socioeconomic and demographic shifts tell only part of the story. To explore how Asian American musicians and their families understand their own participation in classical music, I conducted interviews with parents at Juilliard Pre-College and with Asian American classical musicians living in New York City. 6 As a center for both music and immigration, New York offered an ideal focal point through which to examine the transnational travel of people, music, and cultural ideas and the ways that individuals use discourses of race and music in everyday, local contexts. I draw on these oral interviews—as well as mass media sources, attendance at concerts, and meetings held for Juilliard parents—to demonstrate how race, class, and cultural hierarchy circulate in the U.S. culture of classical music. While the characteristics associated with the self-sacrificing and competitive “Asian” mom in classical music appear, on the surface, to reproduce stereo- typical notions about racial difference, this essay suggests a more complex relationship between cultural practices and narratives. As I will show, the narratives that my interviewees tell about their involvement in classical music draw on a complicated, and sometimes contradictory, set of racial and musi- cal discourses. Racialized discourses about Asians and Asian Americans—as disciplined, hard-working, family-oriented, imitative, and zealous embracers of Western culture—map unevenly onto beliefs that classical music connotes an “international” or “universal” language, a site of transcendent beauty, a unique cultural property of the West, and a cultural system through which the power of the West is enacted and authorized. This essay asks: how do Asian Americans mobilize the multiple meanings contained in music to engage with and challenge their racial construction in the nation? And how do Asian parents—primarily first-generation Chinese and Korean mothers—choose from and reformulate available cultural narratives to articulate their own race and class positioning in the United States? 7 |883 Interlopers in High Culture In answering these questions, I draw on Pierre Bourdieu’s articulation of culture as a multidimensional field wherein groups and individuals compete to gain various forms of capital, and I extend his analysis to consider the transnational circulation of cultural capital. 8 Participating in a global cultural economy historically structured by Western dominance, Asian parents perceive Western cultural norms and capital as yielding the highest forms of recogni- tion on an international stage. At the same time, the declining interest paid to classical music in the contemporary U.S. context allows these parents to narrate their place within a field of culture that is marginal and prestigious as a critical way to set themselves apart from—and, indeed, above—mainstream American norms and values. Underpinning Asian parents’ involvement in classical music is a desire to be arbiters of high cultural knowledge and to inhabit cultural and class identities of their own choosing. Western Classical Music in East Asia [In Japan,] classical music was part of the mandatory education. . . . Everything was based on classical music. They just started making Japanese traditional music mandatory as well. So classical music is part of the culture. The fact that I grew up and didn’t know anything about Japanese traditional music is more of a surprise to many non-Japanese people. —Midori, violinist Midori’s observation that Western classical music—rather than Japanese traditional or art music—formed the basis of her music education reveals the extent to which Western music is part of both her own background and contemporary Japanese culture more broadly. Her characterization of Japanese traditional music as unfamiliar and “classical music” as unmarked (i.e., assumed to be Western classical music) blurs the boundaries of race and nation typically placed on ideas of musical ownership. Indeed, the strong educational structure and government support for Western classical music in Japan, Korea, and China have helped make East Asia a key site for the global circulation of Western music. Mainstream media reports have even begun pointing to East Asian performers and composers as preserving and revitalizing Western classical music in the contemporary period. 9 In 2007, the New York Times published a three-part series about Western classical music in China, pointing to the nation—which dominates the global market in the produc- tion of pianos and violins and boasts a staggering 30 million piano students and 10 million violin students—as the “future” of classical music. 10 Despite such pronouncements, in these media reports, the strength of classical music in East Asia is always deferred to the future. In the global market of classical music, the best schools and sites for a musical career still remain firmly in | 884 American Quarterly Europe and the United States, with East Asians traveling to these “centers” of the musical tradition. To understand the intensity of interest in Western classical music in East Asia, and to contextualize more fully the value and meanings that my in- terviewees ascribe to this musical form, it is useful to briefly historicize the dissemination of Western classical music in Japan, China, and Korea. In all three nations, Western classical music first arrived by way of Christian mis- sionaries and missionary schools but spread through government interventions that linked modernization with Western music principles. 11 Recognizing the pragmatic use of Western music for social and political purposes in East Asia helps to challenge, at the outset, beliefs about the transcendent or universal- izing properties of Western classical music. In Japan, classical music did not grow in popularity until the Meiji govern- ment (1868–1912) incorporated it into its military and educational system as part of a broader “national goal of catching up with the West.” 12 Driven less by aesthetic reasons than social and political concerns, the Meiji government sought to refashion the cultural and musical landscape of Japan as a means of winning respect in a Western-dominated world order. While Japan was not subject to literal colonial rule, unequal power relations shaped the terms and context of the spread of Western music in that country. Historian E. Taylor Atkins observes that “the Meiji government’s motivation for adopting Western music as the standard for the nation’s military and educational system was part of the larger program of importing Western culture and technology in order to achieve parity with Western nations and renegotiate unequal treaties.” 13 In this way the Meiji government deployed Western classical music in the service of political and economic goals. In China, state-directed reforms also facilitated the spread of Western music. Inspired by the successes of the Meiji government, Chinese national- ists introduced educational reforms based on Western principles as part of a broader project of nation building. Andrew Jones notes that by the late nine- teenth century, “musicians, cultural critics, and educators promoted music as a means of national mobilization, resisting Western imperialism, and fighting Japanese aggression. Musical modernization, moreover, was conducted not under the auspices of the bourgeoisie, but of the nationalist state.” 14 The social and political meanings attributed to Western classical music shifted during the Cultural Revolution (1966–76), when the performance of and study of European composers were banned for their association with foreign and bourgeois influences. However, large numbers of musicians were trained in Western instruments and traditional Chinese music to perform the model |885 Interlopers in High Culture operas and revolutionary songs that proliferated during that decade. This musical training helped provide the basis for the renewed public embrace of Western music following the Cultural Revolution. 15 During the Japanese colonization of Korea (1910–1945), the Japanese government limited music education to the teaching of Japanese and Western songs. While the Korean government reintroduced traditional Korean music into the formal educational curriculum following Japanese liberation at the end of World War II, Western music training continued to flourish as colleges and universities established music departments. By the 1990s, ninety-four universities had music schools offering majors in Western classical music performance. The first music conservatory—modeled after schools such as the Juilliard School in New York City and the National Conservatory of Music and Dance in Paris—was established in Seoul in 1993. 16 In Japan, China, and Korea, the aesthetic appeal of Western classical music continues to be imbricated in the extramusical meanings of cultural prestige and modernity ascribed to it. 17 Musicologist Yayoi Everett observes: “From a sociological vantage point, modernizing East Asian nations legitimized and embraced Western art music as a marker of status, along with their commodi- fication of the Western lifestyle.” 18 The lavishly constructed concert halls and professional symphony orchestras in the major cities of Japan, China, and Korea function as visible symbols of the economic growth of the region and of the growing middle class able to patronize these performances. 19 The rising status of and interest in Western classical music in East Asia helps to account for the increasing numbers both of Asian musicians traveling to the United States to continue their musical training and of Asian immigrants enrolling their children in classical music training. For the wave of profes- sional and educated Asians who arrived in the United States following the removal of national-origins quotas and the implementation of occupational and investor preference categories in 1965 immigration policy, classical music embodied high cultural status and transnational cultural capital. Understand – ing the history of Western classical music in East Asia allows us to see how Asian parents are participating in a long tradition of using music to pursue particular cultural, political, and pragmatic goals. 20 Racializing Musical Encounters While the growing numbers of Asians and Asian Americans participating in classical music have now made their presence normative, classical music remains a site that reaffirms ideas about racial and cultural difference. The | 886 American Quarterly assertions made by the musicians I interviewed exemplify the contradictory logic contained in the beliefs that music is a meritocratic culture wherein race does not matter and that race is a feature that differentiates one’s playing and position in this field of culture. Musicians frequently drew on discourses about the universal language of music and pointed to practices such as “blind” auditions to corroborate their belief that musicians are judged solely on skill. In blind auditions—a practice adopted by most major symphony orchestras during the 1970s and 1980s—musicians play behind a screen that conceals their identity completely. Blind auditions not only help create the sense of a level playing field, but also effectively counter stereotypical assumptions about the ability to hear race or other social categories in musicianship. As the prominent violin teacher Dorothy DeLay once stated: “If you have musicians play behind a screen, I would defy anyone to pick Asians out.” 21 Most music making, however, does not occur behind a screen. While as- serting that they had never experienced outright discrimination, musicians nonetheless acknowledged the racialized terrain in which their music making takes place. All of the musicians I interviewed could list a range of racialized assumptions that informed their experience of playing classical music, from stereotypes of being “technicians” who “play without feeling” to tacit no- tions of being “overrepresented” or part of an “undifferentiated mass” that is “overtaking” the field. While these stereotypes typically referred to the “Asian” player, my interviewees acknowledged how they applied equally to Asian Americans. Cara, a Chinese American violinist, further elaborated: “You won’t ever hear a person with a non-Asian background being described as sounding ‘Asian.’ Actually, it would never even occur to me.” To sound “Asian”—a type of playing uniquely linked to Asians—is always understood as a critique, a type of technical playing that betrays one’s racialized body and personality. As Midori’s observation suggests, descriptions of racial and national styles of playing express hierarchical distinctions: “When we hear someone play, we might say, ‘oh, that sounds so German,’ and inherently we hear that as very positive; whereas, if we hear that someone sounds so Asian, we think of that completely negatively.” She described “Germanic” styles of playing as “mascu- line” and “robust,” and noted how the valorization of such traits contributes to gendered beliefs that “women can’t play certain types of music.” 22 The multiple ideas about race and other social categories circulating in Midori’s comment underscore a critical point: there is no “pure” mode of listening. Studies have shown that listeners—even music experts—hear with their eyes; in other words, what we see influences what we hear. In one such study, eighty-eight music teachers were shown videotapes of trumpet and flute |887 Interlopers in High Culture students and asked to evaluate their performances. 23 As the videotapes were synchronized to identical trumpet and flute performances, the only chang- ing variables were the instrument, gender, and race (white and black) of the performers. The music teachers scored the performance of women lower than men, female trumpeters lower than female flutists, and blacks significantly lower than whites. In this example, we clearly see how preconceptions about gender and race—and intersecting gendered and racialized beliefs associated with particular musical instruments—impact evaluations of musical perfor- mance. Such presumptions can serve as self-fulfilling prophecies about the validity of racial and gendered ideologies in music. Within the U.S. context, the belief that Asians are overrepresented or will overtake U.S. music schools activate “yellow peril” anxieties about the success achieved by Asians and Asian Americans in classical music. Meanwhile, images of the hard-working and obedient Asian American draw upon and fuel model minority stereotypes; playing the violin or piano is itself a component of the stereotypical image of the overachieving Asian American who excels at both academics and a musical instrument. 24 In the classical music world, model minority discourses are particularly salient, since the hard work and discipline that classical music training demands overlap with many of the cultural at- tributes “naturally” associated with Asians and Asian Americans. While “hard work” is valorized in the U.S. context, this purported virtue can become deviant when pushed to excess. My interviews were laced with observations such as the following: “[Asians] are always in the practice room working to get things right, but they don’t have an emotional connection to the music” and, “Some people want to assign Asian Americans with an assembly-line mentality, even toward music.” Taken to its zealous extreme, the unrelenting work ethic and discipline of Asians appear to evacuate them of creativity and feeling. Such characterizations help to alleviate anxieties over the success Asians and Asian Americans have achieved in this field of culture, expressing and naturalizing hierarchies in classical music specifically, and in U.S. society broadly. Asians and Asian Americans become the implied foil for normative white Americans, whose balanced pursuit of work and innovation will ultimately prove more successful. 25 Critical of the stereotypical assumptions they faced, musicians struggled to find sufficient distance from them. Katherine, a Korean American violinist, lamented: “For Asian Americans, the whole model minority thing definitely gets played out through music. And there’s not a lot you can do about it. You can try to differentiate yourself with your playing, but it’s hard because so much of the audience doesn’t really know anything about the music.” The lack | 888 American Quarterly of knowledge about classical music that Katherine perceived in her audiences led her to lament that social factors such as race, gender, and sexuality played an augmented role in “selling” performers to audiences. Given the shrinking and graying of audiences for classical music concerts, the decline in radio stations devoted to classical music programming, and the decrease in funding for music education in public schools, many classical musicians use innovative strategies to “sell” themselves to a broader audience in the United States and beyond. 26 Often these strategies involve challeng- ing the boundaries that consecrate the “high” status of classical music by diversifying their repertoire or choice of concert setting. Few musicians have been as skilled at widening the parameters of classical music making as cellist Yo-Yo Ma, whose musical adventures beyond the core canon of the Western classical tradition include experimentations in Appalachian, Brazilian, and Argentinean tango music; collaborations with Bobby McFerrin and the Mark Morris Dance Group; and an exploration of European, Middle Eastern, and Asian musical traditions that developed along the historic Silk Road trade route. Considering Ma’s omnivorous musical interests, it would be an over- simplification to interpret the Silk Road project as merely a reclamation of his cultural heritage. 27 Nonetheless, “returning to one’s roots” is a familiar discursive trope on which Asian American musicians draw to promote specific performance programs and recordings. 28 While Asian American musicians may believe themselves to have a special connection to music composed by East Asians or Asian Americans, they are also cognizant of the authority that the script of “exploring one’s heritage” holds for audiences, particularly within discourses of U.S. multiculturalism. For instance, Cara observed that when she programmed works by Chinese composers in a recital tour, her audiences (which she de- scribed as a mostly older and white demographic) especially enjoyed them: “I’ve started programming the Chinese fisherman’s song in my recitals. It’s a short piece. And it’s gimmicky. But the audience loves it. They always tell me it was their favorite piece.” Cara’s use of the word “gimmicky” is telling. It implies that there is something particularly pleasurable about hearing a song based on Chinese folk tunes performed by a Chinese American musician. Indeed, such audience reactions can form a double-edged sword for performers, as they both offer an opportunity to connect with audiences while also reinforcing discourses of musical authenticity—the enduring belief that different types of music originate from, and therefore belong to, a certain group or place. 29 While classical music represents a space where Asians and Asian Americans can attain success—the international prominence of musicians such as Yo-Yo |889 Interlopers in High Culture Ma, Lang Lang, and Midori clearly attest to this fact—it still remains a highly racialized and racializing field of culture. While my interviewees upheld the view that talent and skill are ultimately rewarded and often cited the high representation of Asians and Asian Americans itself as evidence that racial discrimination does not exist in classical music, they nonetheless displayed an astute awareness of the stereotypical assumptions placed upon them as Asian American practitioners of classical music. As the next section demonstrates, this complex racial landscape is part of what allows Asian parents to see classical music as a unique cultural field in which their children can succeed. Saturdays at Juilliard Pre-College I always avoided Juilliard on Saturdays. All those moms . . . it’s scary. —Jason, Juilliard College graduate Flanked by the Metropolitan Opera and Avery Fisher Hall in the perform- ing arts complex at Lincoln Center, the Juilliard School stands as a cultural institution with a long and distinguished history of education in the perform- ing arts. The reputation of Juilliard as a premier site for music training led some families to consider the school quite early in their child’s musical career. Henry, a Chinese immigrant, commented on the status the school holds internationally: “Julliard is so famous. We heard of it in Shanghai already, but we never expect my son will be a student here.” His decision to pursue a business degree and a professional career in the United States was influenced by his desire to “give his son a chance to develop musically.” Juilliard Pre-College shares much in common with other advanced, pre- college music programs and thus provides a glimpse into the subculture of classical music training. Like many other preparatory music schools, Juilliard Pre-College meets only on Saturdays. Students take courses in the core curricu- lum of Western classical and concert music traditions, including performance training, theory, solfège (ear training), and ensemble experience. Prospective students are admitted on the basis of a performance audition. 30 While some students travel on their own to Juilliard Pre-College, for oth- ers, the weekly commute represents a significant trip that involves at least one parent. Many of the parents I interviewed pointed to the long distances they traveled as a measure of their willingness to make the sacrifices necessary for their children to reach their musical goals. Moreover, for some parents, studying at Juilliard was enmeshed in the experience of transnational fam- ily separation and travel. For example, Sookhyun continued living in New | 890 American Quarterly Jersey with her daughter after her husband’s work required him to move back to Korea. Conversely, Wang Wei maintained her residence in Taiwan but traveled monthly to visit her teenage daughter, who lived with friends in Manhattan. The professional and personal sacrifices undertaken by families typically fell on the shoulders of mothers. Wang Wei, for instance, noted that prior to quitting her job she had less time to help her daughter pursue her musical ambitions, and described herself as a “not so good mother.” Although she viewed the constant travel and family separation as far from ideal, she felt that her maternal duties required such sacrifices: You have to help them, like it or not, so they never come back and say, “Mom, you should have let me do that.” . . . I sacrifice myself and even my career. I’m a business person in Taiwan. I run a company. But now, after two years, my daughter’s here. I quit my company. . . . I think maybe she will feel sorry if she didn’t try. . . . Because you know in Taiwan, maybe I shouldn’t say that, but she’s already the best. Some violinist who taught her before said I shouldn’t limit her, how to say, don’t let her stop here. That’s what I’m thinking. Before that, I’m not so good a mother, because I’m really a business person. Here, Wang Wei draws on gendered and racialized discourses, narrating her actions in the context of being a “good mother” who sacrifices for the sake of the next generation, rather than dreams of the success her daughter might at- tain as a famed soloist. She frames her time and her career as worth sacrificing for her daughter’s chance to achieve success in the global culture of classical music. Like other mothers I interviewed, Wang Wei strove not to appear too boastful or personally driven in her actions. Few of the mothers I interviewed worked full-time outside of the home, a situation some considered a significant sacrifice. 31 Most families were two- parent households that followed traditional gendered divisions of labor, in which fathers represented the primary wage earners. 32 While many parents noted the financial sacrifices that music training placed on the family, they were nonetheless part of middle- and upper-middle-class households that could afford for the mother to limit the amount of work she pursued outside the home. Katherine, a Chinese immigrant from Vietnam, placed her clini- cal practice on hold so she could devote more time to helping her daughter pursue her piano studies. While she deemed this decision to be “worthwhile,” it still presented some internal conflicts: I find myself a little bit cranky. Because I ask myself, what am I doing? I mean I ask myself, I can go back to being a doctor, but why do I hold back my career, tell my kid to make it? Because it’s that hard. . . . I’m a medical doctor. But now I hold my clinical career. . . . It’s |891 Interlopers in High Culture not because we don’t understand that this is a sort of craziness. Some people say, “Look at you guys, you’re crazy! You guys are too ambitious.” Say whatever you want, but that is not true. When you have a child, they want to approach a goal, they have an ideal. If parents don’t help, I don’t know who will. Like Wang Wei, Katherine explained her actions through the rhetoric of parental duty—the idea that “if parents don’t help, I don’t know who will.” While downplaying her own ambitions and desires, she also clearly believed that her daughter possessed unique musical gifts that demanded development. As Katherine elaborated: “The part inside [my daughter], the musical part inside her, that’s something. But a teacher did express it in a very fancy way. It’s one out of how many million have it. We don’t know what it is, but it doesn’t matter because she has it.” This “one out of how many million” quality that Katherine’s daughter purportedly possesses echoes what musicologist Henry Kingsbury describes as “talent”—an elusive trait that holds tremendous import in Western thinking broadly, and in classical musical training specifically. Kingsbury observes: “The fact is that while being ‘talented’ may be positively valued, it nevertheless entails definite moral obligations of musical development. A young person’s talent is an attribution that demands development for the benefit of others as well as for oneself.” 33 Many parents noted the “moral obligation” they felt toward their talented children, whom they frequently described as having a rare and innate feeling for music. Thus, while talent is located in the individual—it is what makes the child singular and exceptional—it is a collective resource for which the family must willingly make sacrifices. Although none of the parents I interviewed began music lessons with the expectation of becoming seriously involved, they felt slowly drawn in by pronouncements of their children’s talent. The gendered pressure to be a “good mother,” coupled with the sense of moral obligation that encircles the idea of musical talent, led my interviewees to depict helping their children musically as a maternal duty. The parents narrated their own stories through the more accepted tropes of good mothering and generational sacrifice, rather than other reasons, such as personal ambition to see their children become famous. 34 Regardless, it is clear that from the geographical distances they travel to the tremendous sacrifices they make, these “music moms” are integral to the drive and success of their talented children. | 892 American Quarterly Socializing among Parents While their children attend class, parents congregate in the lobby and cafeteria, listen in on lessons or rehearsals, hang out by the practice rooms, or gather to make group trips to Chinatown or Koreatown. Chinese, Korean, and white parents tend to socialize separately at the school. While language barriers, particularly for newer immigrants, no doubt play a role in determining these patterns of socialization, my interviews indicate that notions of racial and ethnic difference were also a factor. Many Asian parents commented on the perceived differences that exist between Chinese and Koreans. For instance, a Korean mother observed that “the Chinese is much more competitive than [the] Korean.” Conversely, a Chinese mother contended that Koreans were merely interested in increasing their cultural status and producing “the next Sarah Chang [a prominent Korean American violinist].” While the Chinese and Korean parents I interviewed were careful not to appear overly ambitious or status-driven themselves, they were more at ease displacing those traits onto other Asian groups. At the same time, Asian parents de-emphasized distinctions between Chi- nese and Koreans when they discussed how “Asians” differed from “Americans.” In all of my interviews, “American” correlated with white, an affiliation that underscores the close relationship between whiteness and normative Ameri- canness on the U.S. social landscape. Many Chinese and Korean parents cited differences in ideas about family and child rearing as distinguishing them from “Americans.” For example, Jean Hee, a Korean mother, contended that Americans were less willing to make the sacrifices that classical music demanded of the family: I think it’s different, American parents and Asian parents. Asian parents [want] what is good for children. They like to provide as much as they can for their children, even if they sacrifice a little. But American parents, if they too hard have to sacrifice, they don’t do it. They don’t like it, they’re kind of children themselves a little bit, so individualized. . . . So how can I say, we always count first our children. Whatever is good for them, we like to provide for them as much as we can. Here, Jean Hee drew on discourses of “American” individualism and “Asian” lack of concern for one’s self. Yet, she used this binary formulation to align individualism with childishness and selfishness. In a reversal of Orientalist discourses that infantilize Asians, Jean Hee interpreted “Americans” as being like “children.” |893 Interlopers in High Culture While Jean Hee coded traits such as sacrifice as “Asian,” one did not neces- sarily have to be Asian to embody such characteristics. Joan, a white mother, recalled how her daughter once called her an Asian parent: One day, my daughter said, “Mom, it seems like you’re an Asian parent” [laughs]. I just said, “Well, I guess you know if that’s what it takes, then yeah, maybe that’s what I am.” . . . I think she said that because I always have extra work for her to do and I push. [My daughter] equates Asian moms with pushiness. Not pushy as a person necessarily, but pushing for what they think is important. For Joan, being “pushy” did not suggest a negative characteristic but, rather, was necessary for her child to achieve success in music. Despite having few actual interactions with Asian parents at Juilliard, Joan was nonetheless pleased to be at a music school with so many like-minded “Asian moms.” Associat- ing “Asians” with competitiveness and quality, Joan sought to align herself symbolically with this racial group through shared cultural practices. While Joan linked the pushiness of “Asian” parenting to the visibility of Asians and Asian Americans in music, Henry, a recent immigrant from Shang- hai, deployed the same rhetoric as a way to claim space and ownership in a cultural field not necessarily seen as his own. He used the polarities of “East” and “West” to defend against the view that Asians are the paradoxical inheri- tors of Western classical music. Henry rhetorically asked in our interview: “If the instrument and music belongs to the West, why [are there] so many Asian kids here at the Pre-College?” He then offered an answer: I think this is related to the style of family. I think that West’s country, the West’s people, West’s family, the parents always stop before the line at forcing the child to do something, like instrument, because their culture, I don’t know how to say, the relationship between the parents and children . . . they can’t force them, right? . . . If the children are not willing to do like that, the West’s country, the parents just give up. They say, “It’s your thing . . . if you don’t want to, it’s okay, we don’t care.” But East’s people, East’s parents, they always put their dreams on their children. What they want to do, it’s correct. We ask you to do something, you have to follow. Even though Henry acknowledged that the music and instruments are gener- ally recognized to be the cultural property of the West, he coded the activity of learning classical music—the sacrifice and determination it required of parents and children—as an “Asian” cultural trait. Pursuing classical music training became an implicit way of preserving an “Asian” identity in the face of mainstream “American” society. Aligning success at Western classical music | 894 American Quarterly with maintaining “Asian” cultural and family practices, Henry articulated a space for himself and other Asian families in this cultural field. While many Asian parents readily identified qualities such as focus, hard work, and self-sacrifice as “Asian,” these traits were not perceived to be a natural part of one’s identity but a principle that parents hoped to instill in their children through classical music training. Many of my interviewees cited learning discipline, diligence, and persistence—qualities viewed as translat- ing, not coincidentally, into high academic achievement—as critical reasons for enrolling their children in music lessons. 35 Again, Henry’s remarks are illustrative: I think you will find that most of the children, if they learn an instrument, they don’t have any big problems when they are learning science, mathematics, and something. It’s easy, easy for them! . . . Because if you have this kind of discipline, the concentration to overcome obstacle, do something over and over again, then you will know, “Oh! If I put in every kind of effort, then I will win.” . . . By playing the piano, they can feel like, “Oh, this music is very beautiful,” and in the meantime get this good training and art for the future. Henry perceived discipline and concentration not as attributes that Asians inherently possess, or traits conferred through an inherited cultural apparatus, but qualities to be learned and repeatedly practiced. Participating in classical music allowed children both to develop aesthetic tastes—to experience and appreciate “very beautiful” music—and to hone specific cultural traits that would prime them for success. 36 While parents like Henry cited learning such qualities as discipline and sacrifice as key reasons for enrolling their children in music training, such an explanation does little to illuminate why classical music represents such an appealing vehicle for transmitting those values. The next section explores this central question by showing how parents’ ideas about class and cultural capital influence the decisions that they make. In short, my interviewees selectively mobilize ideas associated with being “Asian,” “American,” and “cultured” to consolidate a sense of class and racial identity projected through “high” cultural and intellectual tastes. “A Very Prestige Kind of Thing” For the Asian parents I interviewed, their understanding of classical music as elite and prestigious was informed by the historical enmeshment of music and international relations of power in their countries of origin, and by the trans- national travel of Western concepts of culture. Many parents viewed amassing |895 Interlopers in High Culture the cultural capital of classical music as one way to measure socioeconomic gains, and broadly linked the growing popularity of classical music among Chinese and Koreans with the economic ascension of East Asian nations. Such a connection emerged clearly in my interview with Sookhyun, a recent Korean immigrant. She noted that, although she studied some piano during her youth, this was uncommon for those of her generation since “my country was not rich enough to educate everyone in piano.” As she elaborated, those involved in classical music were “mostly more educated people . . . and more money. You have to have instruments. And at that time, most families could not afford that.” 37 While she did not listen to much classical music during her childhood, Sookhyun began frequenting spaces specifically devoted to doing so while in college: At that time, our age, classical music was very special, a very prestige kind of thing. I mean somebody who is very special can do it. We thought like that. It’s not like regular people cannot enjoy or have, but our generation, we really liked to hear the classical music, we had some kind of place [laughs], we can actually sit and listen to music. You know, like tea rooms or something? But it’s just for listener. Classical listeners. We pay and then we go in there and listen to music. The tea rooms described above provided places for Sookhyun and her friends to distinguish themselves by consuming this “very special” music. Her percep- tion of classical music as a “very prestige kind of thing” continued to influence her sense of class and cultural identity in the United States. Parents who did not grow up listening to classical music described gain- ing an appreciation for the music through their child’s musical activities. For example, Christine noted that she had little exposure to classical music grow- ing up in Hong Kong and mainly listened to Chinese popular music. This changed, however, over the course of her child’s musical development: I learn it from my kid. . . . [Now] I know a little bit about technique, and the color, and when I listen to classical music, I can understand better. You know, I don’t know how to understand classical music before . . . Even if I listen, I don’t feel anything. But now, I can usually listen [and think] beautiful sound, play very well, or technique, those kinds of things. So for me, I feel advantage. I can understand better. Reinforcing a cultural hierarchy that places popular music below classical music, Christine now felt herself capable of understanding subtle differences between musical techniques and styles. She articulated the deeper understand- ing she gained for classical music as an “advantage”—an unexpected cultural | 896 American Quarterly benefit accrued through her child. Christine, as well as her child, accumulated cultural capital through her family’s investment in musical training. Interestingly, the declining interest and value paid to high cultural forms in the contemporary U.S. context served to fortify a sense of distinction for Asian parents. Indeed, the belief that most Americans do not appreciate clas- sical music allowed Asian parents to interpret their own interest in this elite yet marginalized cultural field as setting themselves apart from—and indeed above—mainstream American norms and values. For instance, Mrs. Lai ar- ticulated a hierarchical distinction between herself and Americans: “Americans normally [are] like fast food, fast-paced society, people don’t want to spend the effort, take the time to love classical music. They love something instant. . . . I don’t know, maybe it’s the Taiwanese standard, like we are more scholar type of family, or more pay attention to culture; we like to keep a higher so- ciety.” Mrs. Lai viewed her interest in scholarly and “cultured” pursuits such as classical music as distinguishing her from the massified culture of instant gratification she perceived most Americans as inhabiting. She held little inter- est in assimilating into the “fast food” culture of America, aiming instead to affiliate with what she perceived to be universalizing modes of elite culture. The perception that Americans enjoy “instant” gratification and Asians prefer a “higher society” surfaced in many of my interviews with Asian par- ents. One can discern a sense of superiority emerging in Nami’s articulation of the difference between Asians and Americans through her comparison of band versus orchestra: Not just here [at Juilliard], but also in orchestra, even public school, so many members in orchestra are Asian kids, because American kids, they do not have the discipline. They have parties, they have play dates, they have soccer games, outside activities, lots of activities outside. But for music you have to sacrifice. American families cannot do it. . . . So there is orchestra group and band group. Band you don’t have to practice a lot, but it’s easy to play. . . . You see more American kids in band group. But Asian kids more statistically, you see in orchestra, because they have discipline so well. Nami’s understanding of band as easy and orchestra as rigorous helped facilitate a process of socialization into the United States through a perceived sense of cultural superiority. Thus, while American families might regard play dates and soccer games as necessary to create “well-rounded” children, in the eyes of Asian families, these activities neither held cultural capital nor encouraged children to understand the importance of sacrifice and discipline. Nami seemed content to yield to American families the multitude of “activities outside” that, in her view, did not require hard work and sacrifice. |897 Interlopers in High Culture These remarks about the professed superiority of Asian parents’ work ethic and cultural sophistication should not be read as mere elaborations of racial or ethnic conceit. Rather, they must be seen as negotiations of socioeconomic and educational status by individuals living in a nation in which racial dis- crimination and linguistic limitations continue to represent real economic and social barriers. Asian parents used their involvement in music as evidence of their intellect and edification—attributes which, as racialized immigrants who do not necessarily speak English fluently, they are not always perceived as holding. While white and Asian parents alike perceived themselves to be distinct from the American mainstream through their intense involvement in classical music, Asian parents faced additional racial barriers converting their cultural capital into other forms of social or economic capital. 38 Indeed, while the Asian parents I interviewed maintained a familiar rhetoric about the democratic promise of the United States—and refused to linger on the difficulties they confronted—references to obstacles they faced as racialized immigrants nonetheless surfaced in our interviews. Jean Hee, for example, referenced the downward mobility experienced by skilled and educated Asians immigrating to the United States: “The parents are more educated, the Asian parents. They are here, but they’re not doing the—how can I say—they are kind of middle class here, or lower middle class. But when they are in their own country they belong to the high class, more educated. The only thing is that language is a problem here.” While Jean Hee mentioned only language as being an obstacle, we can contextualize the experiences she describes within a broader understanding of race and language discrimination in U.S. settings. Investing in musical practices aligned with high cultural distinction allowed “high class” and “more educated” Asian parents to project social identities that affirmed what they felt to be their rightful place on the American social landscape. At the same time, Jean Hee’s comments reflect an anxiety that the accumulation of cultural capital by upwardly mobile Asian immigrants will not prevent a demotion in social and economic status in the United States. While maintaining an association between classical music and cultural prestige, many parents also acknowledged that their involvement in music did not necessarily translate into perceptions of high cultural status in the United States. For instance, Nami noted how “Americans” sometimes perceived her actions less as representing an interest in the aesthetic value of music, and more as evidence of an overzealous drive to push her kids to achieve success. She, too, worried about the unintended consequences that could result from placing overly high expectations on her children. Nonetheless, despite express- ing ambivalence about how her parenting style might place undue burdens or | 898 American Quarterly expectations on her children, Nami continued to affirm what she perceived to be its positive results: “Asian kids, even here, second, third generation, they do so well. Especially in music.” The fame achieved by musicians such as Kyung-wha Chung, Midori, and Yo-Yo Ma help create the perception that classical music is a site where Asians and Asian Americans can achieve success and recognition on an international scale. In other words, Asian parents perceive classical music to be a field wherein their children face fewer barriers and talent can potentially be fully rewarded. Such a sentiment emerges in Sookhyun’s comments: I think maybe in Korea, there’s not many people who are famous worldwide. But a few classical musicians, they are very famous worldwide. And they think, that kind of person is very special . . . [we think] they succeed. So if somebody wants to be real famous worldwide, there’s not many chances in other fields, but in music they see some few people and they think maybe they can be like that. And they all dream like that, I think. And they think that their children has so much talent, and if they put much effort, then maybe they can be like them. Do you dream like that too? I think so, I think so [laughs]. Yeah, and also they have so many difficulties living in America. Being minorities, they have to be somebody. They have to have their profession, or have to be somebody so everybody cannot ignore them and they can have their right treatment from somebody. Here, we can read Sookhyun’s remarks as giving expression to the aspirational desires sought but not always met by racialized immigrants living in the United States. While she demarcates classical music as one of few fields in which Koreans have achieved success globally, she locates her remarks within a spe- cific understanding of the difficulties that minorities encounter living in the United States. Sookhyun’s assertion that one has to “be somebody” to garner respect and “right treatment” reveals an astute awareness of racial hierarchies operating in the United States, including the fact that racialized minorities continue to encounter difficulties and face discrimination. In this way, Asian parents accumulate economic and cultural capital in an attempt to compensate for invisibility: “So everybody cannot ignore them.” Sookhyun linked the efforts of Asian parents pushing their children to attain musical success with the desire for recognition and visibility in an elite cultural field that circulates within and beyond the United States. In so doing, she demonstrates the ways in which Asian parents mobilize the potentials of Western classical music in their efforts to negotiate the racialized terrain of the United States. |899 Interlopers in High Culture Conclusion When Mrs. Kim, cited at the outset of the essay, states that “first priority is Yoon Jee,” it is worth noting that her daughter cringes in response. Yoon Jee’s discomfort underscores the fact that her mother’s narrative does not neces- sarily match her own and suggests the degree to which Mrs. Kim’s comments evoke disquieting stereotypes about racial difference. Indeed, the “music moms” that I interviewed drew upon and reinforced sweeping generaliza- tions about the sacrifice and discipline of “Asians” and the individualism and simple-mindedness of “Americans.” However, these articulations do not represent a mere reproduction of dominant ideologies. Rather, they should also be understood as an engagement with, and reformulation of, a range of racialized beliefs placed upon Asians—as model minorities, as “yellow peril” masses overtaking fields in which they implicitly do not belong, and as racialized immigrants unable to speak the language of English and Western high culture with fluency, ease, or ownership. Asian parents selectively draw on these discourses to position themselves, their tastes, and their parenting styles as superior to those of Americans. In the process, they reframe learning classical music—a Western cultural system long imbricated in global struggles over power, modernization, and imperialism—as an “Asian” cultural practice. They recast Asians and Asian Americans as the rightful inheritors of this field of high culture, and resignify the pursuit of classical music as an implicit means of preserving an “Asian” identity in the face of mass American culture. For the middle- and upper-class Asian parents I interviewed, assimilation and inclusion into “America” did not appear to be their ultimate goal. Rather, they sought to insert themselves and their children into a universalizing field of elite culture that they believed would generate the greatest degree of cul- tural capital for their investment. Race and class anxieties, and an awareness of their status as racialized subjects in the nation, underpinned the choices that they made. Asian parents sought to levy the cultural capital they gained through classical music against the racist structures that made class demotion and invisibility a reality that they experienced as racialized immigrants living in the United States. Ironically, it might be the increasing marginality of classical music in the United States that has allowed Asians and Asian Americans greater access to, and visibility within, this field of culture over the past few decades. Many musicians I interviewed noted the shrinking and graying audiences for classical music and the diminished cultural value and relevance the music holds for most contemporary Americans. In this light, it is worth questioning whether Asian | 900 American Quarterly parents misread the amount of cultural capital that can be accrued through classical music training. It may be that the increasing numbers of Asians and Asian Americans involved in classical music has merely re-entrenched particular racial ideologies. For, despite the many exceptional Asian American musicians who have achieved a great deal of success, and are praised for their passionate and powerful playing, classical music continues to represent a site wherein familiar stereotypes about Asian Americans—as technicians, imitators, and disciplined workers—persist. These beliefs gain traction given the long hours of practice that classical music training requires. The multiple narratives generated by and about Asian American musicians and “music moms” expose the complex ways in which race, class, and cultural hierarchy circulate in the U.S. culture of classical music. If, on the surface, Asian and Asian American participation in classical music threatens to reinforce stereotypical notions about essentialized racial differences, further examination reveals the ways in which the participants themselves actively mobilize these notions in their own struggles over power, transcultural exchange, class, and identity. Refusing their status as interlopers, Asian American musicians and “music moms” assert their own cultural and personal agency in the face of racialized discourses imposed upon them and, in the process, reformulate the boundaries of Western “high” culture and their place within it. Notes My thanks to Tori Langland, Susette Min, Nicole Stanton, Kim Alidio, and Tamar Barzel for read- ing drafts of this essay. I am also thankful for the helpful feedback I received from the junior faculty workshop at the Center for Ethnic Studies and the Arts (CESA) at the University of Iowa, Curtis Marez, the American Quarterly editorial board, and the two anonymous reviewers. 1. Robert Lipsyte and Lois B. Morris, “Teenagers Playing Music, Not Tennis,” New York Times, June 27, 2002, E1, E5. 2. References to the “Asian” (or “Oriental”) mother in classical music began appearing in U.S. mainstream presses by the 1980s, when the enrollment of East Asian and Asian American students increased at music schools, particularly on the East and West coasts. See Leslie Rubinstein, “Oriental Musicians Come of Age” New York Times, November 23, 1980, SM8, who observes that the “Oriental” mother has begun to replace the “Jewish” mother in classical music. Space limitations prevent a fuller exami- nation of the parallels between the racialized rhetoric of overzealous parenting used to describe the “Asian” and “Jewish” mother within and beyond the realm of classical music, a topic explored in my larger project. 3. See Laura Van Tuyl, “Asian Performers Abound on the American Music Scene,” Christian Science Monitor, June 18, 1991, 10; Barbara Jepson, “Asian Stars of Classical Music,” Wall Street Journal, Janu- ary 2, 1991, A5; and Anthony Day, “A Shift in Composition,” Los Angeles Times, April 3, 1994. 4. The precise racial demographic of music schools can sometimes be difficult to ascertain since many, including Juilliard Pre-College, track citizenship status rather than race and ethnicity in their student population. In 2000–2001, East Asians made up the largest number of non-U.S. citizens enrolled |901 Interlopers in High Culture at Juilliard Pre-College; of the 297 students enrolled, 19 percent were Korean citizens, 5 percent Chinese, 3 percent Taiwanese, and 3 percent Japanese. This data is based on student demographic information obtained from the Juilliard Pre-College office. 5. While my essay focuses on middle- and upper-middle-class Asian immigrant families, there is, of course, greater economic diversity in the post-1965 Asian immigrant population. For an astute analysis of the impact that American immigration legislation has had on Asian American communities, see Bill Ong Hing, Making and Remaking Asian America through Immigration Policy (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1993). 6. During 2001–2002, I conducted thirty oral interviews with Asian immigrant parents and Asian American musicians in New York City. Unless otherwise cited, all quotations attributed to musicians and parents come from these oral interviews. I use literal transcriptions from my interviews, with grammatical errors left intact, to underscore that many of my interviewees were Asian immigrants with fluency in more than one language and cultural context. 7. Throughout this essay, I use the term “Asian” parent—a descriptor used by the parents I interviewed— despite the ways that this generalizing label overlooks ethnic particularity within the Asian American population, refers only to Chinese and Koreans, and downplays the fact that many of the parents I interviewed had lived in the United States for many years. In some measure, I understand the parents’ self-identification as “Asian” as signaling an awareness of how the American context homogenizes the specificities of their national and ethnic origins. 8. Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, trans. Richard Nice (1979; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002). 9. Charles Ward, “Korean Violinist Has Stellar Debut,” Houston Chronicle, July 3, 2000; James Oestreich, “The Sound of New Music Is Often Chinese,” New York Times, April 1, 2001; Oestreich, “Music Works Its (Western) Wiles in China,” New York Times, May 25, 2003; and Robert Maycock, “Is Classical Music Really Headed Toward Extinction?” The Independent, April 26, 2005. 10. See Joseph Kahn and Daniel Wakin, “Classical Music Looks toward China with Hope,” New York Times, April 3, 2007; Kahn and Wakin, “Increasingly in the West, the Players are from the East,” New York Times, April 4, 2007; and Wakin, “Pilgrim with an Oboe, Citizen of the World,” New York Times, April 8, 2007. 11. For insightful analyses of Western music in East Asia, see Bruno Nettl, The Western Impact on World Music (New York: Schirmer Books, 1985); Richard Kraus, Pianos and Politics in China: Middle-Class Ambitions and the Struggle Over Western Music (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989); Ury Eppstein, The Beginnings of Western Music in Meiji Era Japan (Lewistown, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen, 1994); Barbara Mittler, Dangerous Tunes (Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz Verlag, 1997); Okon Hwang, “Western Art Music in Korea: Everyday Experience and Cultural Critique” (PhD diss., Wesleyan University, 2001), E. Taylor Atkins, Blue Nippon: Authenticating Jazz in Japan (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2001); Andrew Jones, Yellow Music: Media Culture and Colonial Identity in the Chinese Jazz Age (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2001); Sheila Melvin and Jindong Cai, Rhapsody in Red: How Western Classical Music Became Chinese (New York: Algora Publishing, 2004); Yayoi Uno Everett and Frederick Lau, eds., Locating East Asia in Western Art Music (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2004); and Mari Yoshihara, Musicians from a Different Shore: Asians and Asian Americans in Classical Music (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2007). 12. Eppstein, Beginnings of Western Music, 5. 13. Atkins, Blue Nippon, 49–50. 14. Ibid., 24. 15. Kraus, Pianos and Politics in China, x. 16. Hwang, “Western Art Music in Korea,” 78. 17. See Melvin and Cai, Rhapsody in Red, 307–13; and Kraus, Piano and Politics in China, 25. 18. Everett, “Intercultural Synthesis in Postwar Western Art Music,” in Locating East Asia in Western Art Music, ed. Everett and Lau, 8. 19. See Christopher Small, Musicking: The Meanings of Performance and Listening (Middletown: University of Wesleyan Press, 1998), and Melvin and Cai, Rhapsody in Red, 301–2. 20. Chinese (from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China) and Koreans are the two largest Asian groups repre- sented at Juilliard Pre-College specifically, as well as within classical music training in the United States more broadly. I see this as reflecting, in part, wider post-1965 immigration patterns; classical music training remains a largely immigrant family practice, and in the contemporary period, relatively fewer | 902 American Quarterly Japanese (in comparison to Chinese and Koreans) immigrate to the United States. My interviewees also pointed to the longer history and stronger infrastructure for classical music in Japan, and sug- gested this as another reason why fewer families migrate to the United States specifically for classical music training. Finally, we can attribute the heavily East Asian demographic of classical music to the deployment of Western classical music in Japan and the influence of that nation in disseminating the music to China and Korea. 21. Quoted in Joseph McLellan, “Do Unseen Musicians Get Fairer Hearings?” Washington Post, July 13, 1997. Significantly, blind auditions have led to a 30 to 55 percent increase in women winning orchestra positions since major symphonies began adopting the practice. Still, such practices make it difficult to implement policies to increase the number of underrepresented minorities (particularly African Americans and Latinos) in symphony positions and do little to dismantle barriers faced prior to the audition process. 22. The complex and often unspoken hierarchies of race, gender, and nation that impact how listeners hear and evaluate musical performance merits further examination than space allows here. For an astute analysis of the gendered and racialized Asian American body in musical performance, see Deborah Wong, Speak It Louder: Asian Americans Making Music (New York: Routledge, 2004). 23. Charles Elliot, “Race and Gender as Factors in Judgments of Musical Performance,” Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education 12.7 (Winter 1995/96): 50–56. 24. Much has been written about the ideological function of model minority discourses, and how these discourses implicate Asian Americans in broader ideologies about “deficient” minorities—specifically blacks and Latinos—and the meritocratic nature of U.S. society. See, for instance, Keith Osajima, “Asian Americans as the Model Minority: An Analysis of the Popular Press Image in the 1960s and 1980s,” in Promises and Prospects for Asian American Studies, ed. Gary Okihiro (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1988), 65-74. 25. David Palumbo-Liu astutely analyzes in Asian/America: Historical Crossings of a Racial Frontier (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1999) how the U.S. mass media activated “yellow peril” discourses during the 1980s and early 1990s to describe the escalating ascendancy of Japan. Such media reports helped resolve U.S. anxieties about Japanese success by positioning Japan’s conformist culture against a U.S. culture of individuality, originality, and creativity. 26. For a general sense of the “crisis” that permeates the U.S. classical music industry, see Emanuel Ax, “Fading Out,” New York Times, March 17, 2002; Charles Wuorinen, “A Golden Age Is Long Past,” New York Times, March 17, 2002; and Greg Sandow, “Behind the Tuxedo Curtain,” Village Voice, September 17, 1996. 27. For an astute analysis of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project, see Mina Yang, “East Meets West in the Concert Hall: Asians and Classical Music in the Century of Imperialism, Post-Colonialism, and Multiculturalism,” Asian Music 38.1 (Winter/Spring 2007): 1–30. 28. Over the past few years, the Ying Quartet, a string quartet composed of four Chinese American siblings, have programmed a “musical dim sum”—short selections by contemporary Chinese compos- ers that, as they put it, explore their cultural heritage; their recently released CD Dim Sum (Telarc Records, 2008) records these musical efforts. The “return to roots” discourse is not limited to Asian Americans. Consider, for example, cellist Matt Haimovitz’s CD Goulash (Oxingale Records, 2005), which explores his Romanian and Middle Eastern ancestry. 29. See Martin Stokes, ed., Ethnicity, Identity, and Music: The Musical Construction of Place (New York: Berg, 1994), for the relationship between musical authenticity, place, and race, and Ingrid Monson’s Saying Something: Jazz Improvisation and Interaction (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996) for the ways that jazz musicians strategically negotiate the tension between universal and ethnically specific viewpoints in music. 30. During the academic year 2000–2001, the overall acceptance rate for students was 27 percent. During that same year, 39 percent of the students were on financial aid. The school tuition of $7,000 per year was only part of the cost of music education, which can include instruments, summer programs, travel, and additional lessons. 31. I interviewed only one single mother, a woman who worked at a Chinese beauty salon with her own mother. Many parents singled her out to me as having a very difficult life. In the other families I interviewed, the fathers held professional occupations in fields such as business, engineering, technol- ogy, and medicine. |903 Interlopers in High Culture 32. The patriarchal structure and assumptions followed in these families might account for the reason that boys in particular were discouraged from pursuing music professionally. Many of the male musicians I interviewed discussed the intense resistance they faced from their parents about their decision to become a musician (although some women faced conflicts as well). 33. Henry Kingsbury, Music, Talent, and Performance: A Conservatory Cultural System (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1988), 76. 34. While voicing strong disapproval of couples who lived apart for the sake of their child’s musical training, Jean Hee also questioned whether other issues might be at play: “Maybe the relationship is not that good, or maybe there are mother-in-law or some other family problems, so [the wife] just gets away from the situation.” While the topic of family or marital strife did not arise in any of my interviews, I did not expect they would, given language limitations (particularly with newer immigrants) and the relatively structured setting of the interview. 35. The emphasis on the social value and intellectual function of classical music has wide circulation in the United States—from claims that playing Mozart to infants can help stimulate brain activity to the oft-cited statistic (in music circles, at least) that music majors hold the highest acceptance rates to medical school. Classical music, in this sense, is valorized as a vehicle for educational achievement and social mobility, rather than a desired profession. 36. Of the seventy-six graduating seniors in 2000–2001, approximately half went on to attend a college or university rather than a music conservatory, suggesting that many Juilliard Pre-College students do not necessarily pursue music as their eventual profession. 37. A few parents also linked their involvement in classical music to their Christian faith, noting that their first exposure to the music was in church. 38. See Aihwa Ong, Flexible Citizenship: The Cultural Logics of Transnationality (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1999), for an astute discussion of the limitations that upwardly mobile Chinese transnational subjects encounter in attempting to convert economic capital into high social standing in the United States.
Since 1965, and especially after 1990, more skilled migrants have come to the United States from Asia than ever before. First, please give at least three examples of public laws that shaped these mig
Princeton University The Adaptation of Migrant Children Author(syf $ O H M D Q G U R 3 R U W H V D Q G $ O H M D Q G U R 5 L Y D s Source: The Future of Children , Vol. 21, No. 1, Immigrant Children (SPRING 2011yf S S . 219-246 Published by: Princeton University Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41229018 Accessed: 12-09-2016 21:36 UTC REFERENCES Linked references are available on JSTOR for this article: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41229018?seq=1&cid=pdf-reference#references_tab_contents You may need to log in to JSTOR to access the linked references. JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected] Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at http://about.jstor.org/terms Princeton University is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The Future of Children This content downloaded from 22.214.171.124 on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:36:32 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms The Adaptation of Migrant Children Alejandro Portes and Alejandro Rivas Summary Alejandro Portes and Alejandro Rivas examine how young immigrants are adapting to life in the United States. They begin by noting the existence of two distinct pan-ethnic populations: Asian Americans, who tend to be the offspring of high-human-capital migrants, and Hispanics, many of whose parents are manual workers. Vast differences in each, both in human capital origins and in their reception in the United States, mean large disparities in resources available to the families and ethnic communities raising the new generation. Research on the assimilation of these children falls into two theoretical perspectives. Culturalist researchers emphasize the newcomers’ place in the cultural and linguistic life of the host society; structuralists, their place in the socioeconomic hierarchy. Within each camp, views range from darkly pessimistic – that disadvantaged children of immigrants are simply not joining the Ameri- can mainstream – to optimistic – that assimilation is taking place today just as it has in the past. A middle ground is that although poorly endowed immigrant families face distinct barriers to upward mobility, their children can overcome these obstacles through learning the language and culture of the host society while preserving their home country language, values, and customs. Empirical work shows that immigrants make much progress, on average, from the first to the second generation, both culturally and socioeconomically. The overall advancement of the immi- grant population, however, is largely driven by the good performance and outcomes of youths from professional immigrant families, positively received in America. For immigrants at the other end of the spectrum, average socioeconomic outcomes are driven down by the poorer edu- cational and economic performance of children from unskilled migrant families, who are often handicapped further by an unauthorized or insecure legal status. Racial stereotypes produce a positive self-identity for white and Asian students but a negative one for blacks and Latinos, and racialized self-perceptions among Mexican American students endure into the third and fourth generations. From a policy viewpoint, these children must be the population of greatest concern. The authors cite two important policy measures for immigrant youth. One is to legalize unau- thorized migrants lest, barred from conventional mobility channels, they turn to unorthodox means of self-affirmation and survival. The other is to provide volunteer programs and other forms of outside assistance to guide the most disadvantaged members of this population and help them stay in school. www.futureofchildren.org Alejandro Portes is the Howard Harrison and Gabrielle Snyder Beck Professor of Sociology and director of the Center for Migration and Development at Princeton University. Alejandro Rivas is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at Princeton University. VOL. 21 / NO. 1 / SPRING 2011 219 This content downloaded from 126.96.36.199 on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:36:32 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms Alejandro Portes and Alejandro Rivas rapid growth of the immi- grant population in the United States is one of the most important demographic and social trends confronting this society. Close to 13 percent of the U.S. population today is foreign-born. In 2008, 1.11 million immigrants were admitted for legal permanent residence; another 72,000 as refugees and asylees.1 Although the flow of unauthorized immigration slowed in the wake of the economic crises beginning in 2007, the resident unauthorized population approaches, according to the best estimates, 12.5 million.2 Among the most important social conse- quences of this large immigrant flow are the reconstitution of families divided by migra- tion and the procreation of a new generation. Unlike adult immigrants, who are born and educated in a foreign society and whose out- look and plans are indelibly marked by that experience, the children of immigrants com- monly become full-fledged members of the host society with outlooks and plans of their own.3 If their numbers are large, socializing these new citizens and preparing them to become productive and successful in adult- hood becomes a major policy concern. That is the challenge facing the United States today. The rapid growth and diversity of this young population have naturally sparked worries and questions about its future. We review in the next section the various theo- retical perspectives that researchers have advanced on the question of how young immigrants are adapting to life in the United States and shaping their futures, but first it is necessary to make some important prelimi- nary distinctions. Although public discourse and some academic essays treat this young population in blanket terms, the truth is that the term migrant children conceals more 220 THE FUTURE OF CHILDREN than it reveals because of the heterogeneity of its component groups. First, there is a significant difference between children born abroad and those born in the host society. The former are immigrant children, while the latter are children of immigrants – the first and second immigrant generation, respectively. Research points to major differences in the social and cultural adaptation of the two groups.4 Another distinct group, the “1.5 generation,” includes children born abroad, but brought to the host society at an early age, making them socio- logically closer to the second generation. Vast differences in the human capital origins of these populations and in the way they are received in the United States translate into significant disparities in the resources available to families and ethnic communities to raise a new generation in America. These young immigrants also differ by their countries of origin and their socioeconomic background. It turns out, though, that the two characteristics overlap to a large degree because immigration to the United States has divided into two streams. One is made up of highly skilled professional workers coming to fill positions in high-tech industry, research centers, and health services. The other is a This content downloaded from 188.8.131.52 on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:36:32 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms larger manual labor flow seeking employment in labor-intensive industries such as agricul- ture, construction, and personal services.5 Professional migration, greatly aided by the Hl-B temporary visa for highly skilled work- ers that was approved by Congress in 1990, comes primarily from Asia, mainly from India and China, with smaller tributaries from the Philippines, South Korea, and Taiwan. Manual labor migration comes overwhelm- ingly from adjacent Mexico, and secondarily from other countries of Central America and from the Caribbean. To the disadvantages attached to their low skills and education are added those of a tenuous legal status, as the majority of these migrants come surrepti- tiously or with short-term visas.6 To the extent that migrant workers, either professional or manual, return promptly to their countries of origin, no major conse- quences accrue to the host society. In reality, however, many of them, both professionals and manual workers, stay and either bring their families or create new families where they settle. Over time, the divide in the major sources of contemporary migration has given rise to two distinct pan-ethnic populations in the United States – “Asian Americans,” by and large the offspring of high-human-capital migrants, and “Hispanics,” the majority of whom are manual workers and their descen- dants.7 Vast differences in the human capi- tal origins of these populations and in the way they are received in the United States translate into significant disparities in the resources available to families and ethnic communities to raise a new generation in America. Naturally, the outcomes in accul- turation and social and economic adaptation vary accordingly. The research literature has focused on these differences, although it has been largely The Adaptation of Migrant Children oblivious of their historical origins, treat- ing “Hispanic” and “Asian” as almost time- less, immanent categories. In examining research findings about the adaptation of migrant youths from these distinct groups, it is important to keep in mind that adapta- tion is not a process that happens to a child alone. Rather, it entails constant interaction with others. Language and cultural learning, for example, involve not just the individual but the family, with parents and children commonly acculturating at different paces. Similarly, self-esteem and future aspirations are not developed in isolation or even under the influence of families alone. And many circumstances (including, for example, age of migrationyf V K D S H W K H Y D U L H G W S H V R I V R F L D l interactions that migrant children will have in the host society. Theoretical Perspectives on the Future of the Second Generation Social scientists have offered a range of per- spectives on the future of this large cohort of immigrant children, each with its own impli- cations for both the second generation and society as a whole. In this section, we outline briefly these contrasting perspectives; later we review empirical findings bearing on them. Researchers’ explanations of and predictions about the social and economic assimilation of children of immigrants vary according to their views on the nature of assimilation, the extent to which assimilation will take place, and the segment of society into which the children of immigrants will assimilate. Theoretical perspectives fall into two groups that may be labeled “culturalist” and “struc- turalist.” Culturalist views emphasize the relative assimilation of immigrants into the cultural and linguistic mainstream; structur- alist perspectives emphasize the newcom- ers’ place in the socioeconomic hierarchies VOL. 21 / NO. 1 / SPRING 2011 221 This content downloaded from 184.108.40.206 on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:36:32 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms Alejandro Portes and Alejandro Rivas Table 1. An Overview of Theoretical Perspectives on Assimilation Perspective Primary proponents Views toward assimilation Empirical basis Cultural perspectives Hispanic challenge Samuel Huntington Pessimistic, not happening Theoretical The new melting pot Richard Alba and Optimistic, occurring just as in generations Secondary review of historical and Victor Nee past and transforming society’s contemporary research on immi- mainstream grant assimilation Structural perspectives Second-generation Philip Kasinitz, John Optimistic, the second generation is situ- Cross-sectional study of second- advantage Mollenkopf, Mary C. ated in a social and cultural space that generation young adults in New Waters, and Jennifer works to its advantage. York City Holdaway Generations of Edward Telles and Pessimistic, Mexican Americans stagnât- Longitudinal study of three-plus exclusion Vilma Ortiz ing into the working class or assimilating generations of Mexican Americans into a racial underclass in Los Angeles and San Antonio Segmented Alejandro Portes and Mixed, assimilation may help or hurt so- Longitudinal study of second- assimilation Rubén Rumbaut ciai and economic outcomes depending on generation youths in San Diego parental human capital, family structure, and South Florida from early ado- and contexts of incorporation. lescence to young adulthood Age of migration Rubén Rumbaut, Dow- Mixed, native-born youths and those arriv- Analysis of 2000 census data and ell Myers, and Barry ing at an early age have definite linguistic various Current Population Survey Chiswick and educational advantages. Migrants data arriving in adolescence are at risk. of the host society and focus on such areas as occupational achievement, educational attainment, poverty, early childbearing, and incarceration. The two broad types of assimi- lation need not have parallel outcomes. For instance, an individual who is fully assimi- lated into society’s cultural and linguistic mainstream can still experience poor out- comes in the labor and educational markets. Conversely, an individual may not become fully integrated culturally and still do well both economically and occupationally. For the most part, these views have been formu- lated by U.S. scholars and are grounded on the American experience. Although the body of research on the European second genera- tion is growing fast, no comparable set of theories has emerged so far. Table 1 presents a summary of the views to be reviewed next. Culturalist Perspectives Cultural theories range from pessimistic to optimistic in their view about how and how well immigrants and their children are 222 THE FUTURE OF CHILDREN joining American society’s mainstream. At the pessimistic end is the belief championed by political scientist Samuel Huntington that children of immigrants are not assimilating.8 In this “Hispanic challenge” view, certain groups – Hispanics in particular – have arrived in such large numbers in concen- trated parts of the country that they are not inclined to acculturate. Immigrants and their children resist learning English, place alle- giance in the interests of their ethnic com- munities and home countries, and reject the traditional Anglo-Protestant culture of the United States.9 Huntington s perspective is not rooted in original empirical research, but is rather a response to what he perceives to be cultural forces within the immigrant community that prevent current immigrants from assimilat- ing. Critics have had no difficulty countering his theoretical assertions with evidence that immigrants are capable of assimilating cultur- ally and linguistically. For instance, there is This content downloaded from 220.127.116.11 on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:36:32 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms little evidence that children of immigrants avoid learning English or that they continue to use their native languages past the second generation.10 Nevertheless, Huntingtons Hispanic-challenge theory remains important because it resonates with a certain set of the American public that continues to suspect, evidence to the contrary, that immigration harms the institutions of the nation. On the more optimistic side of the cultural- ist approach are those researchers who have dusted off the traditional melting-pot theory for the twenty-first century. They argue that cultural and political assimila- tion continues to take place just as it has in the past and that immigrants assimilate not into specific segments of society, but rather into a broad mainstream that is simultane- ously changed by them. The champions of the “new melting-pot” viewpoint, Richard Alba and Victor Nee, describe assimilation as “something that frequently happens to people while they are making other plans.”11 Although assimilation may take time, they say, the children of todays immigrants and subsequent generations will eventually join the body of society, even if they do not ulti- mately achieve upward mobility. In Alba and Nee s new melting-pot view, exposure to the host society and assimilation are inevitable. For policy makers, this view implies the need to increase the exposure of children of immigrants to the institutions of the mainstream by, for example, accelerat- ing their learning of English and providing migrant children and their families with information about educational programs and occupational opportunities. The challenge is to avoid the suggestion, implicit in the old melting-pot perspective, that assimilation essentially means imposing the dominant culture on newcomers.12 As supporters of The Adaptation of Migrant Children the new melting pot see it, the mainstream is changing along with immigrants: assimilation is a two-way process. According to Alba and Nee s perspective, assimilation is occurring. Social thinkers should be concerned more with its nature and mechanics than with its factual existence. Structuralist Perspectives Structuralist perspectives too can be orga- nized by their degree of optimism about the future of immigrants and their chil- dren. According to the more pessimistic “generations-of-exclusion” hypothesis, so named after the book ofthat title by sociolo- gists Edward Telles and Vilma Ortiz, immi- grants and their children are isolated from the opportunities for mobility offered by the mainstream, not because they avoid assimi- lation, but because they belong to heavily disadvantaged ethnic and racial groups. In the generations-of-exclusion view, Hispanic immigrants and their descendants move into communities and segments of society that have been racialized – that is, identified in negative racial terms – and marginalized. Past waves of immigrants from Europe were able to assimilate both culturally and eco- nomically by gradually elbowing their way into the more privileged “white” segments of the American racial hierarchy.13 By contrast, todays Hispanic immigrants, whose roots are European, risk becoming a distinct race with consistently worse outcomes than whites. The research of Telles and Ortiz into Mexi- can American communities over several generations has borne out many of the expec- tations of this racialization view.14 In 2000, they re-interviewed Mexican Americans who had been part of a 1965 study of the social condition of the Mexican American com- munity. They then constructed a longitudinal data set following the original respondents VOL. 21 / NO. 1 / SPRING 2011 223 This content downloaded from 18.104.22.168 on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:36:32 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms Alejandro Portes and Alejandro Rivas and their descendants into the third, fourth, and sometimes fifth generation. Most mem- bers of those latter generations, they found, still lived in predominantly Hispanic neigh- borhoods, married within their ethnicity, and identified as Mexican. Socioeconomic gains made between the first and the second gen- erations stalled thereafter, as poverty rates in the third and fourth generations stayed high and educational attainment fell. According to the generations-of-exclusion perspective, children of immigrants can expect to assimilate into the racial and ethnic categories seen as “theirs” by the host society. Outcomes, therefore, will not differ much across generations. These children will not join an all-inclusive American “mainstream,” but rather settle into their place in a seg- mented and racially divided society. From a policy perspective, the aim would be to integrate the second and subsequent gen- erations socially and economically primarily using the same strategies used to address racial and ethnic inequalities among native- born minorities. Proponents of another structural theory, the “second-generation advantage,” see benefits for children of immigrants from living in two societies and cultures. Empirical support for the idea of a second-generation advantage comes from a study of young adults in New York City conducted by Philip Kasinitz and his colleagues.15 The study finds that mem- bers of the second generation supplement their searches for employment by tapping into immigrant social networks and by mak- ing use of resources and institutions estab- lished to aid native racial minorities achieve upward mobility.16 At its core, the second-generation-advantage perspective is that the information and 224 THE FUTURE OF CHILDREN support available to youths who exist at an intersection of several social and cultural currents give them a significant edge for upward mobility. From a public policy standpoint, the aim would be to maximize the ability of these youngsters to make use of their distinct resources. Part of doing so is recognizing that children of immigrants have multiple pathways for transitioning success- fully to adulthood. Between optimism and pessimism lies “segmented assimilation,” a structural view that does not automatically predict positive or negative outcomes. From this perspective, the forces underlying second-generation advantage may indeed be at play, but specific groups of immigrants face distinct barriers to upward mobility. Three forces – the co-ethnic community, government policy toward these groups, and the groups’ race and ethnicity – can work either to raise or to lower the barriers to successful assimilation. Supporters of segmented assimilation focus less on whether children of immigrants are assimilating and more on the segment of society that is their destination. They see assimilation not as leading automatically upward into the middle class, but also as potentially leading downward.17 The segmented-assimilation perspective is supported mainly by findings of the Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study (CILSyf by Alejandro Portes and Rubén Rumbaut. The CILS followed thousands of second- generation youths in San Diego and South Florida from middle school through high school and into post-college young adulthood. The original survey, conducted in 1992-93, interviewed a sample of 5,266 eighth- and ninth-grade students statistically representa- tive of the universe of second-generation youths in these grades. This sample was This content downloaded from 22.214.171.124 on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:36:32 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms followed and re-interviewed in 1995-96, approximately by the time of high school graduation for most respondents. A random sample of 50 percent of parents was also inter- viewed at the same time. The final follow-up survey took place in 2002-03, when respon- dents had reached young adulthood. Approxi- mately 70 percent of the original sample was contacted and re-interviewed. By following the youths through these vital years in per- sonal development, Portes and Rumbaut were able to define predictors of their key social and economic outcomes later in life. Three forces – the co-ethnic community, government policy toward these groups, and the groups’ race and ethnicity – can work either to raise or to lower the harriers to successful assimilation. According to the segmented-assimilation approach, the life trajectories of the second generation are predicted by the racial, labor, and socioeconomic sectors of the host society into which their parents were incorporated and by the resources at their parents’ disposal to aid their offspring.18 Each child must nego- tiate the advantages and disadvantages of his specific family background. Racial discrimina- tion can severely diminish the life chances of second-generation youths who are identified by the host society as belonging to a disad- vantaged minority. The sector of the labor market to which these youths gain access can also affect their lifetime economic well-being, especially because the U.S. labor market has The Adaptation of Migrant Children become increasingly divided, with highly technical and well-paid occupations at the top, low-paid menial occupations at the bottom, and few opportunities in between. A youth s access to quality education will determine his ability to gain well-paid future employment at the top of this “hourglass” labor market. Because of the importance of parental resources and the community context into which new immigrants are received, families of migrants entering the labor force at the bottom of the occupational hourglass can expect minimal upward mobility. But poorly endowed immigrant families can overcome their situation through “selective accultura- tion.” Their children can learn the language and culture of the host society while preserv- ing their home country language, values, and customs – simultaneously gaining a solid foothold in the host society and maintaining a bond with their parents’ culture.19 These chil- dren are thus in a better position to overcome the disadvantages suffered by their parents because they are protected from the negative effects of discrimination and the lure of gangs and street life. Selective acculturation is distinct from second-generation advantage in that it is a strategy employed by parents and the immi- grant community rather than by children themselves and is not common to all members of the second generation. Whereas the ben- efits of second-generation advantage depend on how well children situated between cul- tures can make use of community networks, the benefits of selective acculturation depend on the extent to which parents and a cohesive co-ethnic community prevent children from assimilating to the disadvantaged segments of the host society and induce them to retain key aspects of their home culture. Policy mak- ers evaluating children of immigrants from VOL. 21 / NO. 1 / SPRING 2011 225 This content downloaded from 126.96.36.199 on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:36:32 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms Alejandro Portes and Alejandro Rivas a segmented-assimilation perspective would recognize that assimilation does not neces- sarily bring about positive social or economic outcomes and that preserving elements of the parental culture and resisting uncritical acceptance of all features of the host nation can produce the best payoffs. An emerging perspective that can also be classified within the structuralist camp emphasizes how birthplace and age at migration can shape subsequent educational and occupational outcomes. Rubén Rum- baut gave impetus to this view with his analysis of outcome differences among children born abroad and brought to the United States at different ages and native- born children of foreign or mixed parentage (the second and “2.5” generationsyf ‘ R Z H O l Myers and his colleagues later built on the idea by finding a “gradient of socioeconomic outcomes” for Mexican immigrant women who arrived in the United States at different ages. Predictably, those who arrived as young girls became more proficient in English than did those who came as adoles- cents. Early arrivals also had significantly higher rates of high school graduation, though their advantage declined in terms of college graduation rates or access to white- collar occupations. Similarly, Barry Chiswick and Noyna Deb-Burman concluded that youth who immigrated as teenagers had worse educa- tional outcomes than did native-born youths of foreign parentage and native-parentage youths.21 In terms of policy, the age-of- migration perspective points to the impor- tance of programs targeted on adolescent immigrants, especially those from poor socioeconomic backgrounds. The linguistic and educational disadvantages of such youths can become insurmountable barriers 226 THE FUTURE OF CHILDREN to mobility without strong and sustained external assistance.22 Empirical Analysis of Adolescent Outcomes In this section, we review certain key out- comes of the migrant adaptation process during adolescence. For reasons of space, we limit the review to those outcomes for which a substantial research literature has accumu- lated, leading to significant findings for both theory and policy. Aspirations, Expectations, and Academic Performance Much of the empirical work on immigrant adolescent adaptation focuses on the shaping power of aspirations and expectations – and for good reason. Sociologists and psycholo- gists have provided consistent evidence of the influence of aspirations and expectations on adolescent outcomes. The underlying rationale is straightforward: adolescents who aspire to a university education may or may not fulfill their aspirations; but those who do not so aspire will not get that education. In this sense, adolescent aspirations are a neces- sary condition for subsequent achievement. Empirical work on migrant children’s aspira- tions is based primarily on databases such as the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELSyf W K H 1 D W L R Q D O / R Q J L W X G L Q D l Study of Adolescent Health (Add Healthyf ; the Panel Study of Income Dynamics; and the census Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMSyf 6 R P H V W X G L H V G U D Z R Q W K e publicly available CILS, while many others make use of ad hoc samples. The literature features a bewildering variety of definitions of outcomes and of units of analysis. Some studies differentiate between aspirations as symbolically ideal goals and expectations as realistic ones. Others lump the two as joint This content downloaded from 188.8.131.52 on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:36:32 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms indicators of general ambition. Some stud- ies focus on parental expectations, others on those of migrant youths. Samples may be partitioned across generations – from the first to the second and even the 2.5 generation – and across individual nationalities, races, and pan-ethnicities. Aspirations and Expectations: Areas of Agreement. Rather than review individual studies, we focus on general areas of agree- ment and cite sources. In general, studies in this area converge on five key points. First, immigrant children and children of immigrants (that is, the first and second generationsyf tend to have higher ambition (aspirations or expectations, or bothyf W K D Q W K H L U W K L U G – generation and higher counterparts and have generally superior academic performance.23 The research supports Grace Kao and Marta Tiendas concept of “immigrant optimism” and Portes and Rumbaut s “immigrant drive.” Generally speaking, studies agree with the hypothesis of second-generation advantage.24 Second, immigrants of different national origins vary significantly in both ambition and performance. Asian-origin groups tend to have higher and more stable expectations and to perform better in school; Mexican and other Latin-origin groups and those from the black Caribbean scatter toward the opposite end of the spectrum. These differences are partly attributable to parental socioeconomic status, but they do not entirely disappear after family status controls are introduced – that is, when the comparison is between groups with similar status.25 These findings support seg- mented assimilation and, more broadly, the generations-of-exclusion perspective taken by Telles and Ortiz. Third, parents and peers powerfully influence the ambitions of both immigrant and native-parentage children, The Adaptation of Migrant Children though that influence differs significantly by racial and ethnic group and immigrant national origin.26 Fourth, girls consistently have higher ambition and perform bet- ter than boys, while older youngsters have lower aspirations and worse grades than their grade-school counterparts.27 Finally, aspira- tions and academic performance are strongly correlated, although it is hard to say which causes which. The most plausible interpreta- tion is a causal loop where these outcomes reinforce each other.28 Aspirations and Expectations: Novel Findings. Specific studies advance novel findings that point toward other important trends. Cynthia Feliciano, for example, emphasizes that parental status before migration has dis- tinct effects on ambition and performance.29 Ambition and performance thus depend less on absolute socioeconomic status than on status relative to the average in the country of origin. Krista Perreira and her colleagues and Patricia Fernández-Kelly highlight the importance of cultural capital brought from the country of origin. Although material capi- tal may be higher among natives in the home country, cultural capital tends to be stronger among immigrants and their children, and it leads to a sustained upward drive. Perreira and her colleagues find, however – in sup- port of the Telles and Ortiz generations-of- exclusion hypothesis – that cultural capital dissipates by the third generation.30 Kao and Tienda find that minority youths’ aspirations are uniformly high in the early secondary grades, but that black and Hispanic students tend to lower their aspirations, while the ambition of whites and Asians remains stable through the high school years.31 This conclusion confirms earlier findings that very high aspirations voiced by minority youths early in life may not be realistic. VOL. 21 / NO. 1 / SPRING 2011 227 This content downloaded from 184.108.40.206 on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:36:32 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms Alejandro Portes and Alejandro Rivas In one intriguing study, Vivian Louie reports that Dominican-origin adolescents are more optimistic about their long-term prospects than are their Chinese-origin counterparts, despite their objectively lower academic per- formance. Louie attributes these differences to the specific frames of reference used by both groups. Dominican-origin youths tend to compare themselves with their counterparts in the island, leading them to assess their future optimistically; the Chinese, by contrast, compare themselves with their high-achieving co-ethnic peers and thus have more pessimis- tic expectations of their own chances.32 Self-Identification and Self-Esteem Along with their aspirations and expectations, the self-identities and self-esteem of children of immigrants are key to their assimilation. Self-identities are the topic of a burgeoning literature that has produced a vast array of findings. Researchers’ fascination with this topic is noteworthy because, as their work shows, identities are highly malleable, shifting significantly over time and across social contexts.33 The question is how such a mutable and “soft” variable could have awakened so much interest. Part of the answer is that shifting self-identities lie at the core of the challenges faced by adolescents caught between different cultural worlds. For the most part, parents want their adolescent children to preserve at least some elements of their own identity and culture, while the host society, particularly schools, pulls in the opposite direction. Second-generation youths have been described as “translation artists” as they struggle with and eventually learn to meet these disparate expectations.34 Self-identities are also important because, under certain circumstances, they can trigger collective mobilizations in opposition to the existing sociopolitical order. The massive and 228 THE FUTURE OF CHILDREN violent protests in the suburbs of French cities in 2005 were largely triggered by disaffected second-generation youths who mobilized against what they saw as their permanently subordinate position in French society. Contrary to the “republican” ideology of the French state that sees its residents either as citizens or as immigrants and refuses to recognize any domestic ethnicities, these French-born youths often refuse to call themselves French.35 Similarly, in California in 1994, American-born youths of Mexican origin mobilized in vast numbers against Proposition 187, the ballot initiative that prohibited illegal immigrants from using state social services, which they saw as a direct threat to their and their parents’ identity.36 Self-Identity: Areas of Agreement. Research on self-identity too yields convergent empiri- cal findings. We summarize five such findings and cite specific studies. First, place of birth and length of residence in the host society are powerful determinants of self-identity. The native-born second generation is significantly more likely to identify itself with the United States than are youths born abroad and brought to the United States in infancy. Other things being equal, the effect of length of resi- dence for youths born abroad but brought to the new home country at an early age (the 1.5 generationyf U X Q V L Q W K H V D P H G L U H F W L R Q 7 K H V e trends are supported by both U.S. -based research and studies conducted in various European countries.37 Second, parental effects on self-identities are inconsistent. Higher parental status facilitates identification with the host society, while having a two-parent family in which both parents were born abroad slows it. High parental education commonly facilitates selective acculturation, which is reflected in the use of hyphenated self-identities. Poorly This content downloaded from 220.127.116.11 on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:36:32 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms educated parents who adhere closely to their culture of origin, in part by adopting an authoritarian style of parenting, can cause their adolescent children to reject the paren- tal culture and national identity – what social scientists call “dissonant acculturation/’38 Third, education promotes a dual or “transna- tional” identity. Educated second-generation youths are generally tolerant of ambiguity and capable of incorporating diverse elements from different cultures. Instead of a pan-ethnic label, such as “Hispanic” or “Asian,” they usually adopt a hyphenated American identity, such as Cuban American or Chinese American.39 Fourth, repeated incidents of discrimination by the receiving society lower self-esteem and trigger a reactive ethnicity among migrant youths. That experience often leads them to adopt a nonhyphenated national label, such as “Mexican,” or to move from an American self-designation (hyphenated or notyf W R D S D Q H W K Q L F R Q H ) L Q D O O L P P L J U D Q t youths of color such as blacks, mulattoes, mestizos, and Asians are more likely to experience discrimination and, hence, to develop a reactive ethnicity and adopt ethnic labels that they usually regard as very impor- tant. In contrast, children of white immigrants who adopt the nonhyphenated identity of the host society (that is, “American”yf W H Q G W o regard their self-designation as less salient.41 Self-image: Other Findings The American racial hierarchy has resulted in a plurality of self-designations among children of immigrants. The specialized literature distinguishes four basic categories: nonhyphenated Americans, hyphenated Americans, pan-ethnics, and nonhyphenated foreign nationals.42 Contrary to optimistic views, not everyone joins the mainstream. Indeed, if joining the mainstream means adopting a nonhyphenated American identity, The Adaptation of Migrant Children only a minority of second-generation youths do so. Most adopt other labels, not randomly but along patterned lines. As noted, hyphen- ated American identities are more common among more educated immigrant families, which adopt a path of selective acculturation. Nonhyphenated foreign identities, such as “Mexican” and “Cambodian,” are found among recent members of the 1.5 generation and also among those reeling from experi- ences of discrimination toward reactive ethnicity.43 Pan-ethnic categories, such as Hispanic, are adopted by children disaffected with authoritarian parents and undergoing dissonant acculturation and by formerly “American” youths as a form of reactive ethnicity. It can also be used as a sign of conformity with the American ethnic hierar- chy and the place a person occupies in it.44 Once adopted, for whatever reason, these pan-ethnic labels become stable and power- ful. Among children of Latino immigrants, in particular, the pan-ethnic label “Hispanic” or “Latino” often ceases to be a purely ethnic category to become a “race.” Table 2 repro- duces data from CILS showing that although first-generation parents from Latin America seldom confuse their ethnicity with their race, their offspring do so commonly. For instance, although 93 percent of Cuban par- ents considered themselves “white,” only 41 percent of their children agreed; the rest had mostly migrated to the pan-ethnic Hispanic as their “race.” The same pattern is observ- able among second-generation Nicaraguans and other Latinos. Mexican American youths split between the pan-ethnic label Hispanic (25.5 percentyf D Q G W K H L U Q D W L R Q D O R U L J L Q O D E H l Mexican (56.2 percentyf D V W K H L U U D F H . Studies of specific national groups have yielded original and interesting findings. VOL. 21 / NO. 1 / SPRING 2011 229 This content downloaded from 18.104.22.168 on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:36:32 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms Alejandro Portes and Alejandro Rivas Table 2. Racial Self-Identifications of Latin American Immigrants and Their Children, by Percent National origin Hispanic, (Cuban, National origin Respondent White Black Asian Multiracial Latino Mexican, etc.yf 2 W K H r Cuba Parent 93.1 1.1 0.3 2.5 1.1 0.5 1.4 Child 41.2 0.8 – 11.5 36.0 5.5 4.9 Mexico Parent 5.7 – 2.1 21.6 15.9 26.1 28.5 Child 1.5 0.3 – 12.0 25.5 56.2 4.5 Nicaragua Parent 67.7 0.5 1.6 22.0 5.4 0.5 2.2 Child 19.4 – – 9.7 61.8 2.7 6.5 Other Latin countries Parent 69.5 4.6 0.8 17.8 2.3 1.9 3.1 Child 22.8 1.9 – 14.7 52.9 4.6 3.1 Source: Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study parental and first follow-up survey. Reported in Alejandro Portes and Rubén G. Rumbaut, Legacies (University of California Press and Russell Sage Foundation, 2001yf W D E O H . Mary Waters, for example, found that self- identifications of second-generation West Indians split between a black American identity, an ethnic or hyphenated identity, and an immigrant identity. Youngsters who identify as black Americans tend to perceive more discrimination and lack of opportunities in the United States and therefore adopt a reactive self-designation. Those who identify as ethnic West Indians, hyphenated or not, perceive more opportunities in the United States and try hard to retain basic elements of their home culture as a means to achieve those opportunities. This effort, along with the solidarity shown to their parents, reflects a pattern of selective acculturation.45 Simi- larly, Benjamin Baileys study among Domini- can Americans in Providence, Rhode Island, highlights their use of Spanish as a means to defend their “right” to a Hispanic identity, fending off the black designation foisted on them by the host society.46 Further, Vivian Louie reports that the use of Spanish, plus frequent trips to the Dominican Republic, facilitates the adoption of a more cosmopoli- tan “transnational” identity among Domini- can youngsters seeking to combine elements of both cultures.47 230 THE FUTURE OF CHILDREN Self-Esteem: Convergent Findings. Self- esteem has been the topic of many sociologi- cal and social psychological studies of the second generation. Rosenbergs Self-Esteem Scale, developed by sociologist Morris Rosen- berg almost fifty years ago, has been the in- strument of choice in this research. Not sur- prisingly, repeated incidents of discrimination are found to lower adolescent self-esteem, as does a history of conflict with parents reflect- ing dissonant acculturation. Both Latino and Asian immigrants have reported these nega- tive patterns.48 High self-esteem is associated with both higher educational aspirations and higher academic performance, although the causal direction of these links has not been clearly established.49 Interestingly, self-esteem does not appear to vary significantly among adolescents who adopt different ethnic identifiers. One pos- sible reason is that selecting an ethnic label is a way to protect self-esteem, both among youths undergoing selective acculturation and among those adopting a more critical reactive stance. Lisa Edwards and Andrea Romero found, for example, that Mexican- descent youths make use of vigorous coping This content downloaded from 22.214.171.124 on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:36:32 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms strategies, such as engaging with co-ethnics and adopting a pan-ethnic or nonhyphenated national identity, to protect their self-esteem from the stress of discrimination.50 Making use of the longitudinal data in the CILS, Portes and Rumbaut developed a predictive model of self-esteem by selecting determinants at average age fourteen and applying the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale to the same sample three years later. They found gender to be significant, with girls displaying lower average self-esteem despite their higher aspirations. Dissonant accultura- tion, as reflected in heavy parent-child conflict in early adolescence, significantly lowered self-esteem later in life. Conversely, selective acculturation, as indexed by fluent bilingualism, increased it. With all other predictors controlled, Southeast Asian-origin youths (Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnam- eseyf G L V S O D H G W K H O R Z H V W V H O I H V W H H P R I D O l national origin groups.51 Other studies among Latin-origin youths, such as those by Stephanie Bohon and her colleagues, indicate that Cuban Americans tend to have significantly higher self-esteem than their Latin-origin counterparts.52 The CILS data confirm this finding, especially when Cuban Americans are compared with Mexican Americans: self-esteem scores of the former exceed those of the latter by 25 percentage points. Such differences disap- pear, however, in multivariate regressions, indicating that they are primarily caused by factors such as parental status, length of U.S. residence, and fluent bilingualism.53 Linguistic Adaptation Learning the language of the host society is indisputably a major precondition for mov- ing ahead in it. More contested is the value and role of retaining parental languages. In The Adaptation of Migrant Children a largely monolingual country such as the United States, nativist critics have repeat- edly denounced the existence of linguistic enclaves, extolling the value of “English immersion” programs as a means to fully integrate foreigners into the American main- stream.54 In a more academic vein, Hyoung- jin Shin and Richard Alba in the United States and Hermut Esser in Germany have argued that preserving the use of foreign languages yields little in the way of economic returns to the second generation and that the key priority is to acquire fluency in the host- country tongue.55 Linguistic Adaptation: Areas of Agreement. Research in linguistics, educational psychol- ogy, and sociology takes a more positive view of preserving foreign language use and converges in the following three points. First, fluent bilingualism is associated with higher cognitive development. Second, fluent bilingualism is associated with higher aca- demic performance and higher self-esteem in adolescence.56 Third, fluency in the language of the host society is almost universal among second-generation youths; fluency in the parental languages is much less common.57 Linguistic Adaptation: Other Findings. The direction of causal influence between bilingualism and cognitive development and between bilingualism and academic perfor- mance has not been clearly established. In a pioneering longitudinal study of Spanish- speaking Puerto Rican students, Kenji Hakuta and Rafael Diaz found that fluent bilingualism was a positive and significant influence on subsequent academic performance.58 Data from CILS confirm this association, but not its causal direction. Nevertheless, recent studies consistently report that students coming from a bilingual and bicultural background have higher test scores, higher VOL. 21 / NO. 1 / SPRING 2011 231 This content downloaded from 126.96.36.199 on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:36:32 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms Alejandro Portes and Alejandro Rivas probability of high school graduation, and a higher probability of attending college.59 In all likelihood, the relationship between cognitive development and bilingualism is mutually reinforcing. For linguist J. Cummins, the cognitive advantage of bilinguals lies in their ability to look at language rather than through it to the intended meaning, thus escaping the “tyranny of words.”60 In addition to its positive link with cognitive development, fluent bilingualism also keeps open the channels of communication with parents and allows second-generation youths to acknowledge and value aspects of the parental culture, thus promoting selective acculturation. By contrast, in the United States, English monolingualism among children combined with foreign monolingualism among parents has been found to produce dissonant acculturation in adolescence.61 Ted Mouw and Yu Xie report that fluent bilingualism improves school performance when parents are foreign monolinguals, but that the effect ceases to be significant when parents become fluent in English. They attribute this differ- ence to the influence of parental aspirations on children’s performance and the differential capacity of parents to communicate these goals to their offspring.62 In other words, parents who are foreign monolinguals are able to convey and explain their aspirations to children who are fluently bilingual in a way that they could not if the children had lost the parental language. Once these parents have acquired fluency in English, they can convey their views and aspirations even if their children have become English monolinguals. This pattern – with both parents and children learning the language of the host society – is defined as “consonant acculturation.” Mexican American novelist Richard Rodriguez put the consequences of English mono- 232 THE FUTURE OF CHILDREN lingualism and subsequent dissonant accul- turation in a more poignant personal vein: “I knew that I had turned to English only with angry reluctance the intimate bond that once held the family close. . . .1 was not proud of my mother and father. I was embarrassed by their lack of education that they were not like my teachers.”63 Determinants of bilingual fluency in the second generation include, predictably, two-parent families where both parents were born in a foreign country and the use of a foreign language at home. Another predictor is parental status, with higher-status parents having greater resources for sustaining dual- language fluency in their children. Gender is also important, with females more likely than males to be bilingual – a characteristic attributed to the greater tendency of girls to remain at home and, hence, be more suscep- tible to parental cultural influences.64 Portes and Rumbaut report that, by age seventeen, only 28.5 percent of the CILS sample could be classified as fluent bilin- guals. Among Asian-origin youths, the figure was lower than 10 percent; among Latinos, it hovered around 40 percent. The differ- ence is attributable to the lack of a common language among Asian immigrants and to greater resources for linguistic preservation among Latin Americans. Interestingly, differ- ences in bilingual fluency among the Asian and Latino second generation correlate with differences in self-esteem favoring the latter, despite their lower average family status.65 Adult Outcomes The empirical literature addressing adult- hood, when decisions and events of child- hood and adolescence crystalize into durable outcomes, is marred by several shortcomings. This content downloaded from 188.8.131.52 on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:36:32 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms First, there is a strong tendency among researchers to lump data into pan-ethnic categories, which obscure more than they reveal.66 The label “Hispanic,” for example, combines multiple national origin groups and multiple generations, concealing the considerable differences among them. The label “Asian” is still more egregious, because the groups so labeled do not even share a common language. Second, studies of the second generation in adulthood have been mostly cross-sectional “snapshots in time,” relying on retroactive reports – survey questions asking respondents to recall and report events that took place in the past, often many years earlier – to measure events occurring in earlier life stages. Such designs suffer two major flaws. First, they cannot establish a reliable causal order among variables, because retroactive reports about earlier “causes” are easily colored by sub- sequent events. Even more important, adult samples – even those drawn randomly – exclude members of the relevant population who have for various specific reasons fallen off the universe used for sampling. In the case of the second generation, key outcomes indicative of a downward assimilation path, such as being imprisoned for a felony, being deported (in the case of the 1.5-generation youthsyf R U O H D Y L Q J W K H F R X Q W U I R U Y D U L R X s reasons, remove those individuals from the population normally used as a sampling frame. Ensuing findings inevitably yield an over-optimistic account of the assimila- tion process. Two main data sources for the evaluation of adult outcomes remain. The first is analysis based on a combination of decennial census and quarterly Current Population Survey (CPSyf G D W D 7 K H V H F R Q G V R X U F H L V R Q H R I W K e few longitudinal studies conducted so far on the second and higher generations. The Adaptation of Migrant Children One of the pivotal studies based on publicly available census data was conducted by Rumbaut, who used 2000 census data for the foreign-born population and adjusted results on the basis of combined 1998-2002 CPS data to yield estimates for the second genera- tion. Thus defined, the foreign-born popula- tion of the United States in 2000 numbered 33.1 million and the second generation 27.7 million. Some 40 percent of the foreign- born arrived in the United States as children under eighteen.67 Table 3 summarizes the extensive tables constructed by Rumbaut on the basis of these data for the foreign-born who arrived as children (under eighteenyf and the native-born of foreign parentage – the second generation “proper.” The table includes data for three major Latin American national origin groups, including Mexicans; three Asian groups; and, for purposes of comparison, native-parentage whites and blacks of the same age cohort. Results of the Rumbaut study can be sum- marized as follows. First, all national origin groups make significant progress from the first to the second generation in educational attainment, with second-generation outcomes approaching average outcomes for native whites. Second, although all national origin groups make educational progress, second- generation Mexicans and Central Americans fall significantly behind native whites in rates of high school completion and college graduation. Second-generation Cubans are even with whites, and all Asian national origin groups exceed native-white educational aver- ages in both the first and second generations. Third, male incarceration rates increase for all national origin groups between the first and second generations. Mexican incarcera- tion rates increase the most, and all Latin American second-generation rates signifi- cantly exceed the native-white figure. By VOL. 21 / NO. 1 / SPRING 2011 233 This content downloaded from 184.108.40.206 on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:36:32 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms Alejandro Portes and Alejandro Rivas Table 3. Assimilation Outcomes across Generations, by Percent, ca. 2000 Foreign- Native- National origin Foreign-born* Native-born** born* born** Foreign-born* Native-born** Education Female fertility rate* * * * High High Male Ages: school College school College Incarceration dropout graduate dropout graduate rate*** 15-19 20-24 15-19 20-24 frnmigrarrnsOf 31A 232 11<6 273 1>25 350 3’3 19J 26 17A Latin American origin Cuban 16.9 22.9 9.1 36.7 2.79 4.20 2.3 18.1 1.8 11.4 SaK^doran^ 531 6-4 22-5 23-8 °-75 3-04 4-5 22-9 3-° 16-5 Mexican 61.4 4.3 24.1 13.0 0.95 5.80 5.5 30.2 5.0 25.2 Asian origin Chinese 9.0 58.0 3.6 72.5 0.30 0.65 0.3 1.9 0.4 0.9 Indian 6.7 59.4 5.9 72.0 0.29 0.99 0.7 4.3 0.36 1.6 Korean 3.2 59.6 3.2 69.4 0.38 0.94 0.5 3.9 0.2 2.8 Native parentage White – – 9.1 30.7 – 1.71 – – 1.9 15.6 Black – – 19.3 14.1 – 11.61 – – 4.5 22.5 Source: Rubén G. Rumbaut, “Turning Points in the Transition to Adulthood,” Ethnic and Racial Studies 28 (November 2005yf : tables 2-4. ♦Adults aged 25-39, restricted to those who arrived in the United States as children under 18. **Adults aged 25-39. Data are for individuals with at least one foreign-born parent. ***Adult males, aged 18-39, in correctional institutions at the time of the 2000 census. ♦ ♦♦♦Females of the indicated ages who had one or more children at the time of the 2000 census. contrast, Asian incarceration rates are very low in both the first and second generations. Fourth, female fertility rates in adolescence and early adulthood decline across genera- tions for all Latin national origin groups, but they decline least among Mexican Americans. Mexican fertility rates far exceed those of native-white females and are even higher than the native-black figures, which are the next highest. Fifth, Asian fertility rates are extremely low and decline further between generations. Both rates represent but a frac- tion of the native-white figures. As a whole, these findings from the Rumbaut study are congruent with the segmented- assimilation hypothesis. They also provide support for the new melting-pot perspective advanced by Alba and Nee, with its vision of an inclusive mainstream, by showing 234 THE FUTURE OF CHILDREN significant average educational progress and declines in fertility rates from the first to the second generations. The first source of longitudinal data for eval- uating adult outcomes is CILS, described previously. Because CILS is the empirical basis for the segmented-assimilation model, it is not surprising that its results support this perspective. Although the CILS study suffers from several limitations, including an original sample restricted to two metropolitan areas and significant attrition by the final survey, its main strength is that it is longitudinal, repeat- edly observing the same sample of people over time, thus preventing the censoring of nega- tive assimilation outcomes. It also establishes a clear time order among variables. Table 4 and figures 1, 2, and 3 present a summary of results from the final CILS survey, when This content downloaded from 220.127.116.11 on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:36:32 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms The Adaptation of Migrant Children Table 4. Adaptation Outcomes of Children of Immigrants in Early Adulthood, 2002-03, by Percent unless otherwise specified National origin Had at least Education Family income* Unemployed** one child Incarcerated*** Percent nl¿n Mean school only Mean Median Cambodian/ 13.4 46.7 36,504 24,643 15.5 22.9 31.1 4.6 10.5 158 Laotian Haitian 14.4 15.3 33,471 26,000 18.8 24.7 30.8 7.7 14.7 97 Jamaican/ 14.6 17.6 39,565 29,423 9.5 24.5 25.4 6.0 18.2 159 West Indian Mexican 13.4 37.9 39,589 32,828 9.2 40.8 48.0 9.3 17.0 424 Chinese/ 15.5 6.8 47,723 31,136 14.8 6.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 62 Korean Cuban**** 15.3 8.1 103,992 69,737 3.0 3.0 0.0 3.2 3.7 135 Filipino 14.5 15.9 64,986 55,167 9.5 19.7 24.8 3.8 5.8 593 Total***** 14.3 22.5 55,624 41,668 8.5 20.3 24.9 5.1 9.2 3,249 Sources: Children of Immigrants Longitudinal final survey, 2002-03; William Haller, Alejandro Portes, and Scott M. Lynch, “Dreams Fulfilled, Dreams Shattered,” Social Forces (forthcoming, 2011yf D Q G $ O H M D Q G U R 3 R U W H V 3 D W U L F L D ) H U Q Q G H ] . H O O D Q G : L O O L D P + D O O H U 7 K e Adaptation of the Immigrant Second Generation in America,” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 35, no. 7 (2009yf . ♦Respondent’s family income, whether living with parents or spouse/ partner. ♦»Respondents without jobs, whether looking or not looking for one, except full-time students. ***Self-reports supplemented by searches of publicly available information on incarcerated persons in the Web pages of the California and Rorida corrections departments. ♦ ♦♦♦Sample limited to respondents who attended private bilingual schools in Miami during the first survey, 1992-93. ♦ ♦♦♦♦The average age of the final follow-up sample was twenty-four. Results uncorrected for sample attrition. See text for explanation. respondents had reached an average age of twenty-four. Table 4 presents the data broken down by major national origin groups; figures 1, 2, and 3 summarize results of a series of multivariate models predicting educational and occupational achievement in adulthood, as well as events indicative of downward assimilation.68 Findings from table 4 and figures 1-3 can be summarized in four main points. First, significant and nonrandom differences across second-generation national origin groups generally correspond with the known profile of the first generation in terms of human capital and also in the way they were re- ceived in the United States. Early school dropout, for example, ranges from a low of 6.8 percent among Chinese and Koreans to a high of 47 percent among Cambodians and Laotians. Similarly, teenage child-bearing rates among females range from 0 percent for second-generation Chinese, Koreans, and Cubans to a remarkable 48 percent among Mexican females. Second, good early school grades and positive early educational expecta- tions significantly increase educational attainment and occupational status while preventing downward assimilation. Third, having higher-status parents and being raised by both natural parents also raise educational levels and powerfully inhibit downward assimilation. Fourth, even after controlling for parental variables and early school context and outcomes, there are still differences among national origin groups, especially those associated with a disadvantaged upbringing. Mexican American youths, for example, have a net 19 percent greater chance of experienc- ing events associated with downward assimila- tion; the figure rises to 33 percent among VOL. 21 / NO. 1 / SPRING 2011 235 This content downloaded from 18.104.22.168 on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:36:32 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms Alejandro Portes and Alejandro Rivas Net gain or loss in completed school years Two natural parents** B^^^B^H Family socloeconomic status*** ^^^ЯД^ИД^Д^^Щ School socioeconomic status*** h, ; High school GPA*** ‘¿ Щyb A A A A A Educational expectations in high school*** ^^^^^^^^И^Ш^^^^^^^И^В Chinese/Korean и| 1Щ^^И||Ш| .’ Jamaican/West Indian ||ï||||j|||^ Mexican* ШШ -0.2 -0.1 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 Sources: William Haller, Alejandro Portes, and Scott M. Lynch, “Dreams Fulfilled, Dreams Shattered,” Social Forces (forthcoming, 2011yf $ O H M D Q G U R 3 R U W H V 3 D W U L F L D ) H U Q Q G H ] . H O O D Q G : L O O L D P + D O O H U 7 K H $ G D S W D W L R Q R I W K H , P P L J U D Q W 6 H F R Q G * H Q H U D W L R Q L Q $ P H U L F D ” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 35, no. 7 (2009yf . Note: Bars represent net effects in completed school years with other variables controlled. Statistical significance is signaled by aster- isks as follows: probability of a chance effect is less than 5 in 100 = *; less than 1 in 100 = **; less than 1 in 1,000 = ***. second-generation Haitians and to 46 percent among Jamaicans and other West Indians. Findings in table 4 and figures 1-3 are uncorrected for attrition. Separate analyses showed that mortality for the sample in the final CILS survey was predicted mainly by low family socioeconomic status and single- parent families – the same two factors that also lower achievement and raise the inci- dence of downward assimilation. Correcting for sample attrition, therefore, would simply inflate the follow-up sample and further increase observed inequalities among youths from different family backgrounds. The second source of longitudinal data in this field is the survey of Mexican Americans by Telles and Ortiz, which furnished the 236 THE FUTURE OF CHILDREN empirical basis for the generations-of-exclusion thesis. Although findings are limited to a single national origin group, they go beyond earlier studies in tracing how the assimilation process unfolds after the second generation. The fundamental, and disturbing, finding of the study is that although there is educa- tional progress between the first and second generations, subsequent generations stagnate educationally and occupationally. They never catch up with the native-white averages. For instance, the odds that the Mexican high school graduation rate will equal the white high school graduation rate rise from only .06 among first-generation immigrants to .58 among their second-generation children, but then decline to .30 among members of the fourth and fifth generations. (Odds less than 1 Figure 1. Determinants of Educational Attainment of Children of Immigrants in Early Adulthood, 2002-03 This content downloaded from 22.214.171.124 on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:36:32 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms The Adaptation of Migrant Children Net gain or loss in occupational prestige scores Male*** eiiiliiiBIl Two natural parents 1 Family socloeconomic status*** ¡|||¡|¡||p| School socioeconomic status*** 5 High school GPA*** ^^^^^^ВНнНН Educational expectations in high school*** ШШЛ^^^Ш Chinese/Korean ШШР Haitian W$ß Jamaican/West Indian й!И111 Mexican*** fll^HM -3-2-101234 Sources: William Haller, Alejandro Portes, and Scott M. Lynch, “Dreams Fulfilled, Dreams Shattered,” Social Forces (forthcoming, 2011yf $ O H M D Q G U R 3 R U W H V 3 D W U L F L D ) H U Q D Q G H ] . H O O D Q G : L O O L D P + D O O H U 7 K H $ G D S W D W L R Q R I W K H , P P L J U D Q W 6 H F R Q G * H Q H U D W L R Q L Q $ P H U L F D ” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 35, no. 7 (2009yf . Note: Bars represent net effects in Treiman occupational prestige scores with other variables controlled. Statistical significance is indicated by asterisks as defined in figure 1. indicate a lower probability than whites; .58 indicates that second-generation Mexicans are .58-to-l as likely to graduate from high school as whites.yf 7 K H R G G V R I D F K L H Y L Q J a college degree follow a similar course – from .12 in the immigrant generation to .28 in the second, declining again to .12 in the fourth and higher generations.69 After examining a number of possible determinants of this persistent handicap, Telles and Ortiz pin primary responsibility on the “racialization” of Mexican American children, who are stereotyped by teachers and school authorities as inferior to white and Asian students and treated accordingly. This treatment becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, as Mexican-origin youths close ranks to defend themselves against discrimination, abandoning aspirations for high academic achievement and coming to reject members of their own group who retain such aspira- tions.70 Telles and Ortiz summarize the experience as follows: “The signals and racial stereotypes that educators and society send to students affect the extent to which they will engage and persist in school. Racial stereotypes produce a positive self-identity for white and Asian students but a negative one for blacks and Latinos, which affect school success among Mexican American students generally endure into the third and fourth generations.”71 These conclusions contradict optimistic accounts of the assimilation process across generations, as well as the notion of an VOL. 21 / NO. 1 / SPRING 2011 237 Figure 2. Determinants of Occupational Attainment of Children of Immigrants in Early Adulthood, 2002-03 This content downloaded from 126.96.36.199 on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:36:32 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms Alejandro Portes and Alejandro Rivas Sources: William Haller, Alejandro Portes, and Scott M. Lynch, “Dreams Fulfilled, Dreams Shattered,” Social Forces (forthcoming, 2011yf $ O H M D Q G U R 3 R U W H V 3 D W U L F L D ) H U Q D Q G H ] . H O O D Q G : L O O L D P + D O O H U 7 K H $ G D S W D W L R Q R I W K H , P P L J U D Q W 6 H F R Q G * H Q H U D W L R Q L Q $ P H U L F D ” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 35, no. 7 (2009yf . Note: Bars represent net effects in the Downward Assimilation Index with other variables controlled. Effects have been reflected so that positive scores indicate upward assimilation. Statistical significance is indicated by asterisks, as defined in figure 1. all-inclusive mainstream. They confirm the segmented-assimilation hypothesis on two points. First, immigrants’ reception by the host community plays a decisive role in assimilation outcomes. Second, the achieve- ment drive that first-generation immigrants seek to transmit to their offspring dissipates with increasing acculturation. Policy Implications From this review, it is evident that the assimi- lation of immigrants and their children to the host societies is not simple, homogeneous, or problem-free. Empirical work shows that, on the positive side, much progress is made, on average, from the first to the second generation, both culturally and socioeconomi- cally. On the less rosy side, many individuals and entire groups confront significant barri- ers to advancement, either because they lack 238 THE FUTURE OF CHILDREN Figure 3. Determinants of Upward Assimilation among Children of Immigrants in Early Adulthood, 2002-03 economic resources and skills or because they are received unfavorably by the host community. The varied theoretical perspectives differ widely in the specific assimilation outcomes they regard as being most important. For researchers of the culturalist school, it is most important for immigrants and their children to acculturate, shedding their old ways and language and becoming undifferentiated from the rest of the American population. Whether they move upward is less important than that they cease to be “foreign.” Hunting- ton s Hispanic-challenge view is that immi- grants in general and Hispanics in particular do not want to join the mainstream. Although Alba and Nee s new melting-pot perspective provides a more nuanced account, with atten- tion to socioeconomic outcomes, their overall This content downloaded from 188.8.131.52 on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:36:32 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms emphasis is still on children of immigrants’ joining the mainstream and losing their eth- nic distinctiveness in the process. Structuralist writers are much more con- cerned with socioeconomic outcomes. While the second-generation-advantage thesis of Kasinitz and his colleagues fits within this school, its optimistic conclusions are largely predicated on second-generation youths in New York City becoming “true” New Yorkers; it does not seem to matter much if, in the end, they attain only rather mediocre jobs. The remaining perspectives are more mind- ful that immigrants and their descendants can fully acculturate and still neither move upward occupationally and economically, nor be accepted into native middle-class circles. The aspirations of immigrant parents clearly line up more closely with the structural than the cultural viewpoint: the parents generally care much less that their offspring join an undifferentiated mainstream than that they move ahead educationally and economically. If upward mobility is the goal, the data at hand indicate that many migrant children are not making it. The overall advancement of this population is largely driven by the good performance and outcomes of youths from professional immigrant families, positively received in America, or of middle-class refugees who have benefited from extensive governmental resettlement assistance72 and, sometimes, from strong co-ethnic communi- ties. For immigrants at the other end of the spectrum, average socioeconomic outcomes are driven down by the poorer educational and economic performance of children from unskilled migrant families who are often handicapped further by an unauthorized or insecure legal status. From a policy viewpoint, these children must be the population of greatest concern. The Adaptation of Migrant Children A first urgent policy measure is the legaliza- tion of 1.5-generation youths who are unau- thorized migrants. These children, brought involuntarily into the United States by their parents, find themselves blocked, through no fault of their own, from access to higher education and many other everyday needs, such as drivers licenses, because of their status. This is not an insignificant popula- tion. In 2008, it was estimated to number 6 million and included almost half of immi- grant youths aged eighteen to thirty-four.73 As Rumbaut and Golnaz Komaie put it: “For foreign-born young adults, an undocu- mented status blocks access to the opportu- nity structure and paths to social mobility. It has become all the more consequential since the passage of draconian federal laws in 1996 . . . and the failure of Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform/’74 “DREAM Acts” repeatedly introduced in the U.S. Congress to regularize this population and grant them access to opportunities open to others have stalled. Passage of such legisla- tion is urgently needed lest the situation of this large 1.5-generation population devolve into a self-fulfilling prophecy in which youths barred from conventional mobility channels turn to gangs and other unorthodox means of self-affirmation and survival. The limited longitudinal data available on the adaptation of migrant children point to the importance of volunteer programs and other forms of outside assistance to guide the most disadvantaged members of this population and help them stay in school. A recent study based on the final CILS survey found that respondents who had managed to succeed educationally despite having poor and undocu- mented parents and an otherwise handicapped upbringing had consistently been supported by volunteers who came to their schools and VOL. 21 / NO. 1 / SPRING 2011 239 This content downloaded from 184.108.40.206 on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:36:32 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms Alejandro Portes and Alejandro Rivas exposed them to a different social world.75 The same study found that cultural capital brought from the parents’ home country provided a significant boon because it anchored adoles- cent self-identities and strengthened their aspirations. These cultural memories helped fend off discrimination and maintain a disci- plined stance toward schoolwork. Cultural capital from the home country sustains and is sustained by selective accul- turation. By contrast, dissonant acculturation across generations deprives youths of cultural 240 THE FUTURE OF CHILDREN capital. As they lose contact with or even reject the language and culture of parents, whatever resources are embodied in that cul- ture effectively dissipate. Rejecting parental cultures may facilitate joining an amorphous mainstream, but often at the cost of aban- doning those social and social psychological resources that assist structural mobility. The available evidence supports the paradox that preserving the linguistic and cultural heritage of the home countries often helps migrant children move ahead in America. This content downloaded from 220.127.116.11 on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:36:32 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms The Adaptation of Migrant Children Endnotes 1. Department of Homeland Security, 2008 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics (Washington: Office of Immi- grant Statistics, 2009yf . 2. Jeffrey S. Passei, “The Economic Downturn and Immigration Trends: What Has Happened and How Do We Know?” (lecture, Center for Migration and Development, Princeton University, March 26, 2009yf . 3. Rubén G. Rumbaut, “Origins and Destinies: Immigration to the United States since World War II,” Sociological Forum 9 (1994yf . 4. Rubén G. Rumbaut, “Ages, life Stages, and Generational Cohorts: Decomposing the Immigrant First and Second Generations in the United States,” International Migration Review 38 (Fall 2004yf . 5. Alejandro Portes and Rubén G. Rumbaut, Immigrant America, 3d ed. (University of California Press, 2006yf H K . 6. Douglas S. Massey, “March of Folly: U.S. Immigration Policy after NAFTA,” American Prospect 37 (March/April, 1998yf V H H D O V R ‘ R X J O D V 6 0 D V V H – R U J H ‘ X U D Q G D Q G 1 R O D Q – 0 D O R Q H % H R Q d Smoke and Mirrors: Mexican Immigration in an Era of Economic Integration (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2002yf . 7. Alejandro Portes, Patricia Fernández-Kelly, and William Haller, “No Margin for Error: Educational and Occupational Achievement among Disadvantaged Children of Immigrants,” Annals of the American Acad- emy of Political and Social Science 620 (November, 2008yf . 8. Samuel P. Huntington, Who Are We: The Challenges to Americas National Identity (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004yf . 9. Samuel P. Huntington, “The Hispanic Challenge,” Foreign Policy 141 (March-April, 2004yf . 10. Richard Alba and others, “Only English by the Third Generation? Loss and Preservation of the Mother Tongue among the Grandchildren of Contemporary Immigrants,” Demography 39, no. 39 (2002yf . 11. Richard Alba and Victor Nee, Remaking the American Mainstream: Assimilation and Contemporary Immigration (Harvard University Press, 2003yf . 12. Charles Hirschman, “Americas Melting Pot Reconsidered,” Annual Review of Sociology 9 (1983yf . 13. Mathew Jacobson, Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigrants and the Álchemy of Race (Harvard University Press, 1999yf . 14. Edward Telles and Vilma Ortiz, Generations of Exclusion: Mexican Americans, Assimilation, and Race (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2008yf . 15. Philip Kasinitz and others, Inheriting the City: The Children of Immigrants Come of Age (Harvard Univer- sity Press, 2008yf . 16. Philip Kasinitz, John H. Mollenkopf, and Mary C. Waters, “Becoming American/Becoming New Yorkers: Immigrant Incorporation in a Majority Minority City,” International Migration Review 36, no. 4 (2002yf : 1020-36. VOL. 21 / NO. 1 / SPRING 2011 241 This content downloaded from 18.104.22.168 on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:36:32 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms Alejandro Portes and Alejandro Rivas 17. Alejandro Portes and Min Zhou, “The New Second Generation: Segmented Assimilation and Its Variants,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 530 (1993yf . 18. Portes and Rumbaut, Immigrant America (see note 5yf . 19. Portes, Fernández-Kelly, and Haller, “No Margin for Error” (see note 7yf . 20. Rumbaut, “Ages, Life Stages, and Generational Cohorts” (see note 4yf . 21. Dowell Myers, Xin Gao, and Amon Emeka, “The Gradient of Immigrant Age-at- Arrival: Effects on Socio- economic Outcomes in the U.S.,” International Migration Review 43, no. 1 (2009yf % D U U & K L V Z L F k and Noyna Deb-Burman, “Educational Attainment: Analysis by Immigrant Generation,” Economics of Education Review 23 (2004yf . 22. Arturo Gonzalez, “The Education and Wages of Immigrant Children: The Impact of Age at Arrival,” Economics of Education Review 22 (2003yf . 23. Joan Aldous, “Family, Ethnicity, and Immigrant Youths’ Educational Achievements,” Journal of Family Issues 27 (2006yf 6 W H S K D Q L H $ % R K R Q 0 R Q L F D . L U N S D W U L F N – R K Q V R Q D Q G % U L G J H W . * R U P D Q , “College Aspirations and Expectations among Latino Adolescents in the United States,” Social Problems 53, no. 2 (2006yf < X N L N R , Q R X H 7 K H ( G X F D W L R Q D O D Q G 2 F F X S D W L R Q D O $ W W D L Q P H Q W 3 U R F H V V 7 K H 5 R O H R f Adolescent Status Aspirations (University Press of America, 2006yf & H F L O L D 0 H Q M L Y D U ( G X F D W L R Q D O + R S H V , Documented Dreams: Guatemalan and Salvadoran Immigrants' Legality and Educational Prospects," The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 620 (2008yf . 24. Grace Kao and Marta Tienda, "Educational Aspirations of Minority Youth," American Journal of Education 106 (1998yf $ O H M D Q G U R 3 R U W H V D Q G 5 X E Q * 5 X P E D X W / H J D F L H V 7 K H 6 W R U R I W K H , P P L J U D Q W 6 H F - ond Generation (University of California Press and Russell Sage Foundation, 2001yf . 25. Simon Cheng and Brian Starks, "Racial Differences in the Effects of Significant Others on Students' Edu- cational Expectations," Sociology of Education 75 (2002yf & Q W K L D ) H O L F L D Q R D Q G 5 X E Q 5 X P E D X W , "Gendered Paths: Educational and Occupational Expectations and Outcomes among Adult Children of Immigrants," Ethnic and Racial Studies 28 (2005yf . 26. Kimberly Goyette and Yu Xie, "Educational Expectations of Asian American Youths: Determinants and Ethnic Differences," Sociology of Education 72, no. 1 (1999yf . U L V W D 0 3 H U U H L U D . D W K O H H Q + D U - ris, and Dohoon Lee, "Making It in America: High School Completion by Immigrant and Native Youth," Demography 43, no. 3 (2006yf & K D U O H V + L U V F K P D Q 7 K H ( G X F D W L R Q D O ( Q U R O O P H Q W R I , P P L J U D Q t Youth: A Test of the Segmented Assimilation Hypothesis," Demography 38, no. 8 (2001yf . 27. Feliciano and Rumbaut, "Gendered Paths" (see note 25yf . 28. Jennifer E. Glick and Michael J. White, "Post-Secondary School Participation of Immigrant and Native Youth: The Role of Familial Resources and Educational Expectations," Social Science Research 33 (2004yf : 272-99; Lingxin Hao and Melissa Bonstead-Bruns, "Parent-Child Differences in Educational Expectations and the Academic Achievement of Immigrant and Native Students," Sociology of Education 71 (1998yf : 175-98; Kevin Majoribanks, "Family Background, Individual and Environmental Influences, Aspirations and Young Adults' Educational Attainment: A Follow-up Study," Educational Studies 29 (2003yf . 29. Cynthia Feliciano, "Beyond the Family: The Influence of Premigration Group Status on the Educational Expectations of Immigrants' Children," Sociology of Education 79 (2006yf . 242 THE FUTURE OF CHILDREN This content downloaded from 22.214.171.124 on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:36:32 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms The Adaptation of Migrant Children 30. Perreira and others, "Making It in America" (see note 26yf 3 D W U L F L D ) H U Q Q G H ] . H O O 7 K H % D F N 3 R F N H W 0 D S : Social Class and Cultural Capital as Transferable Assets in the Advancement of Second Generation Immi- grants," Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 620 (November 2008yf . 31. Kao and Tienda, "Educational Aspirations" (see note 24yf . 32. Vivian Louie, "Second-Generation Pessimism and Optimism: How Chinese and Dominicans Understand Education and Mobility through Ethnic and Transnational Orientations," International Migration Review 40 (2006yf . 33. Rubén G. Rumbaut, "The Crucible Within: Ethnic Identity, Self-Esteem, and Segmented Assimilation among Children of Immigrants," International Migration Review 28 (1994yf . 34. Portes and Rumbaut, Legacies (see note 24yf . 35. Cathy L. Schneider, "Police Power and Race Riots in Paris," Politics and Society 36, no. 1 (2008yf . 36. Portes and Rumbaut, Legacies (see note 24yf . 37. Inna Altschul, Daphna Oyserman, and Deborah Bybee, "Racial-Ethnic Self-Schemas and Segmented Assimilation: Identity and the Academic Achievement of Hispanic Youth," Social Psychology Quarterly 71 (2008yf & Q W K L D ) H O L F L D Q R ( G X F D W L R Q D Q G ( W K Q L F , G H Q W L W ) R U P D W L R Q D P R Q J & K L O G U H Q R I / D W L n American and Caribbean Immigrants," Sociological Perspectives 52 (2008yf ' D Y L G + D L Q H V ( W K - nicity s Shadows: Race, Religion, and Nationality as Alternative Identities among Recent United States Arrivals," Identities: Global Studies in Power and Culture 14 (2007yf 7 R P V 5 - L P H Q H ] 0 H [ L F D n Immigrant Replenishment and the Continuing Significance of Ethnicity and Race," American Journal of Sodobgy 113 (2008yf . 38. Kristine J. Ajrough and Amaney Jamal, "Assimilating to a White Identity: The Case of Arab Americans," International Migration Review 41 (2007yf 5 L F K D U G $ O E D D Q G 7 D U L T X O , V O D P 7 K H & D V H R I ' L V D S - pearing Mexicans: An Ethnic-Identity Mystery," Population Research and Policy Review 28 (2009yf : 109-21; Pawan Dhingra, "Committed to Ethnicity, Committed to America: How Second-Generation Indian Americans' Ethnic Boundaries Further Their Assimilation," Journal of Intercultural Studies 29 (2008yf . 39. Benjamin Bailey, "Language and Negotiation of Ethnic/Racial Identity among Dominican Americans," Language in Society 29 (2000yf ) H O L F L D Q R ( G X F D W L R Q D Q G ( W K Q L F , G H Q W L W ) R U P D W L R Q D P R Q g Children of Latin American and Caribbean Immigrants" (see note 37yf $ 0 R U Q L Q J 7 K H 5 D F L D O 6 H O I - Identification of South Asians in the United States," Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 27 (2001yf : 61-79. 40. Portes and Rumbaut, Legacies (see note 24yf ' D Y L G ( / R S H ] D Q G 5 L F D U G R ' 6 W D Q W R Q 6 D O D ] D U 0 H [ L F D n Americans: A Second Generation at Risk," in Ethnicities: Children of Immigrants in America, edited by R. G. Rumbaut and A. Portes (University of California Press and Russell Sage Foundation, 2001yf S S . 57-90. 41. Robert K. Ream, Uprooting Children: Mobility, Social Capital, and Mexican American Underachievement (New York: LFB Scholarly Publishing, 2004yf ' U H Z 1 H V G D O H D Q G $ Q L W D 6 0 D N , P P L J U D Q W $ F F X O W X U D W L R n Attitudes and Host Country Identification," Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology 10 (2000yf : VOL. 21 / NO. 1 / SPRING 2011 243 This content downloaded from 126.96.36.199 on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:36:32 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms Alejandro Portes and Alejandro Rivas 483-95; Kerstin Pahl and Niobe Way, "Longitudinal Trajectories of Ethnic Identity among Urban Black and Latino Adolescents," Child Development 77 (2006yf . 42. Alejandro Portes and Dag MacLeod, 'What Shall I Call Myself? Hispanic Identity Formation in the Second Generation," Ethnic & Racial Studies 19 (1996yf 5 X E Q * 5 X P E D X W 2 U L J L Q V D Q G ' H V W L Q L H V : Immigration, Race, and Ethnicity in Contemporary America," in Origins and Destinies, edited by S. Pedraza and R. G. Rumbaut (Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1996yf S S A . 43. Altschul,Oyserman, and Bybee, "Racial-Ethnic Self-Schemas and Segmented Assimilation" (see note 37yf ; Tanya Golash-Boza, "Dropping the Hyphen? Becoming Latino(ayf $ P H U L F D Q W K U R X J K 5 D F L D O L ] H G $ V V L P L O D - tion," Social Forces 85 (2006yf . 44. Lisa Kiang, "Ethnic Self- Labeling in Young American Adults from Chinese Backgrounds," Journal of Youth and Adolescence 37 (2008yf / R X L H 6 H F R Q G * H Q H U D W L R Q 3 H V V L P L V P D Q G 2 S W L P L V P V H H Q R W H f; Hiromi Ono, "Assimilation, Ethnic Competition, and Ethnic Identities of U.S. -Born Persons of Mexican Origin," International Migration Review 36 (2002yf . 45. Mary Waters, "Ethnic and Racial Identities of Second Generation Black Immigrants in New York City," International Migration Review 28 (1994yf . 46. Bailey, "Language and Negotiation of Ethnic/Racial Identity among Dominican Americans" (see note 39yf . 47. Louie, "Second-Generation Pessimism and Optimism" (see note 32yf . 48. Portes and Rumbaut, Legacies (see note 24yf . 49. Bohon, Johnson, and Gorman, "College Aspirations and Expectations" (see note 23yf * U D F H . D R D Q d Marta Tienda, "Optimism and Achievement: The Educational Performance of Immigrant Youth," Social Science Quarterly 76 (1995yf / L Q J [ L Q + D R D Q G 0 H O L V V D % R Q V W H D G % X U Q V 3 D U H Q W & K L O G ' L I I H U H Q F H s in Educational Expectations" (see note 28yf . 50. Lisa M. Edwards and Andrea J. Romero, "Coping with Discrimination among Mexican Descent Adoles- cents," Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 30, no. 1 (2008yf . 51. Portes and Rumbaut, Legacies (see note 24yf . 52. Bohon, Johnson, and Gorman,, "College Aspirations and Expectations" (see note 23yf . 53. Portes and Rumbaut, Legacies (see note 24yf . 54. Ron Unz, "California and the End of White America," Commentary 108 (November, 1999yf 3 H W H r Brimelow, Alien Nation: Common Sense about America's Immigration Disaster (New York: Random House, 1999yf . 55. Hyoung-jin Shin and Richard Alba, "The Economic Value of Bilingualism for Asians and Hispanics," Sociological Forum 24, no. 2 (June 2009yf + H U P X W ( V V H U ( W K Q L F 6 H J P H Q W D W L R Q D V W K H 8 Q L Q - tended Result of Intentional Actions," in Paradoxical Effects of Social Behavior: Essays in Honor of Anatol Rapoport, edited by A. Diekmann and P. Mitter (Heidelberg and Vienna: Physica- Verlas, 1986yf : 281-90. 244 THE FUTURE OF CHILDREN This content downloaded from 188.8.131.52 on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:36:32 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms The Adaptation of Migrant Children 56. Rubén G. Rumbaut, "Immigrant Students in California Public Schools: A Summary of Current Knowl- edge," Report 11 (Center for Research on Effective Schooling for Disadvantaged Children: Johns Hopkins University, August 1990yf . H Q M L + D N X W D 0 L U U R U R I / D Q J X D J H 7 K H ' H E D W H R Q % L O L Q J X D O L V P 1 H Z < R U N % D V L c Books, 1986yf $ P / X W ] ' X D O / D Q J X D J H 3 U R I L F L H Q F D Q G W K H ( G X F D W L R Q D O $ W W D L Q P H Q W R I / D W L Q R V 0 L J U D - ciones Internacionales 2, no. 4 (2004yf $ P / X W ] D Q G 6 W H S K D Q L H & U L V W : K ' R % L O L Q J X D O % R V * H t Better Grades in English-Only America? Ethnic 6- Racial Studies 32, no. 2 (February 2009yf . 57. Richard Alba, "Language Assimilation Today: Bilingualism Persists More than in the Past, but English Still Dominates," Working Paper (Lewis Mumford Center, University of Albany, November, 2004yf $ O H M D Q G U o Portes and Lingxin Hao, "The Price of Uniformity: Language, Family, and Personalty Adjustment in the Immigrant Second Generation," Ethnic and Racial Studies 25 (November 2002yf . 58. Kenji Hakuta and Rafael M. Diaz, "The Relationship between Degree of Bilingualism and Cognitive Ability: A Critical Discussion and Some Longitudinal Data," in Children's Language, vol. 5, edited by K. E. Nelson (Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1985yf . 59. Lutz, "Dual Language Proficiency" (see note 56yf V H H D O V R $ P / X W ] 6 S D Q L V K 0 D L Q W H Q D Q F H D P R Q g English-Speaking Latino Youth: The Role of Individual and Social Characteristics," Social Forces 84, no. 3 (2006yf - H Q Q L I H U ( * O L F N D Q G 0 L F K D H O - : K L W H 7 K H $ F D G H P L F 7 U D M H F W R U L H V R I , P P L J U D Q W < R X W K V : Analysis within and across Cohorts," Demography 40 (November 2003yf . 60. James Cummins, "Empirical and Theoretical Underpinnings of Bilingual Education," Journal of Education 163, no. 1 (Winter 1981yf : H U Q H U / H R S R O G 6 S H H F K ' H Y H O R S P H Q W R I D % L O L Q J X D O & K L O G $ / L Q J X L V W s Record (New York: AMS Press, 1970yf . 61. Min Zhou and Carl Bankston, "Social Capital and the Adaptation of the Second Generation: The Case of Vietnamese Youth in New Orleans," in The New Second Generation, edited by A. Portes (New York: Rus- sell Sage, 1996yf / R S H ] D Q G 6 W D Q W R Q 6 D O D ] D U 0 H [ L F D Q $ P H U L F D Q V V H H Q R W H f. 62. Ted Mouw and Yu Xie, "Bilingualism and the Academic Achievement of First and Second Generation Asian Americans: Accommodation with or without Assimilation?' American Sociological Review 64, no. 2 (1999yf A . 63. Richard Rodriguez, Hunger of Memory (Boston: David R. Godine, 1982yf S S . 64. Portes and Rumbaut, Legacies (see note 24yf . 65. Ibid., pp. 126-25, table 8.6. 66. Douglas Massey, "Latinos, Poverty, and the Underclass: A New Agenda for Research," Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 15, no. 4 (1993yf $ O H M D Q G U R 3 R U W H V 7 K H 1 H Z / D W L Q 1 D W L R Q , P P L J U D W L R Q D Q d the Hispanic Population of the United States," DuBois Review 4, no. 2 (2007yf . 67. Rubén G. Rumbaut, "Turning Points in the Transition to Adulthood: Determinants of Educational Attain- ment, Incarceration, and Early Childbearing among Children of Immigrants," Ethnic and Racial Studies 28 (November, 2005yf . 68. These results are drawn from two recent papers: Alejandro Portes, Patricia Fernández-Kelly, and William Haller, "The Adaptation of the Immigrant Second Generation in America: A Theoretical Overview and Recent Evidence," Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 35, no. 7 (2009yf : L O O L D P + D O O H U , VOL. 21 / NO. 1 / SPRING 2011 245 This content downloaded from 184.108.40.206 on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:36:32 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms Alejandro Portes and Alejandro Rivas Alejandro Portes, and Scott M. Lynch, "Dreams Fulfilled, Dreams Shattered: Determinants of Segmented Assimilation in the Second Generation," Social Forces (forthcoming, 2011yf . 69. Telles and Ortiz, Generations of Exclusion (see note 14yf . 70. Ibid., p. 132. 71. Ibid. 72. Governmental resettlement assistance has improved the adaptation of middle-class groups escaping com- munist regimes, leading, in turn, to positive outcomes in the second generation, as reflected in the results presented previously for Cuban Americans, mostly the offspring of such refugees. See Alejandro Portes and Alex Stepick, City on the Edge: The Transformation of Miami (University of California Press, 1993yf . 73. Rubén G. Rumbaut and Golnaz Komaie, "Immigration and Adult Transitions," Future of Children 20, no. 1 (2010yf . 74. Ibid., pp. 55-56. 75. Fernández-Kelly, "The Back Pocket Map" (see note 30yf . 246 THE FUTURE OF CHILDREN This content downloaded from 220.127.116.11 on Mon, 12 Sep 2016 21:36:32 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms Since 1965, and especially after 1990, more skilled migrants have come to the United States from Asia than ever before. First, please give at least three examples of public laws that shaped these mig University of California Press Chapter Title: A Quality Education for Whom? Book Title: Trespassers? Book Subtitle: Asian Americans and the Battle for Suburbia Book Author(syf : L O O R Z 6 / X Q J $ P D m Published by: University of California Press. (2017yf Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1p0vk29.7 JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected] Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at http://about.jstor.org/terms University of California Press is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Trespassers? This content downloaded from 18.104.22.168 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms 53 Education has always been at the center of suburban politics. mic7fael jones-co7b7bea nestled among f7bemont’s southern foothills is Mission San Jose, a neighborhood that has long been known for the 18th-century Spanish mis- sion, which marks the main intersection of its historic downtown. 1 More recently, the neighborhood has become internationally recognized for another landmark—Mission San Jose High School. Until the mid-1990s Mission High was a prototypical suburban American school, made up of a largely White middle-class student body. Today it is a premier destination for highly educated families from all over the world, especially Asia, and one of the highest-ranked schools in California (Figure 6). Over the last few decades Asian Americans have transformed the face of many American public schools, especially those at the top. In 2010, California’s fi ve highest-ranking public schools all had majority Asian American student bodies. 2 Th e academic performance of Asian American students in schools across the United States has raised a host of scholarly debates about the factors that constrain and promote their educational achievement—the role of the model minority myth, culture, parenting, income, selective immigration, and other individual and structural factors. 3 But there are other important questions to ask about the forces behind these trends and their impacts. In this chapter, I examine how schools fi gured into the aspirations that many Asian American families brought with them to Silicon Valley and the ways in which their desires and decisions about education reshaped the region’s schools, neighborhoods, and development politics. By taking a close look at changes that have engulfed Mission San Jose High and its wider neighborhood over the past few decades, I argue that schools have been a major catalyst for the remapping of regional racial geographies and a critical battleground for Asian American suburban politics. two A Quality Education for Whom? This content downloaded from 22.214.171.124 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms 54 • A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? For many Asian American families, high-performing schools such as those in Mission San Jose were the dominant factor drawing them to relo- cate to Fremont from around Silicon Valley, the United States, and even abroad. Schools were key to many Asian Americans’ visions of success in the United States and their newly adopted suburban communities. Many viewed education as their primary means of cementing their social and economic status and made highly strategic, calculated decisions to place their children in Mission San Jose schools, oft en at great personal and eco- nomic expense. Once there, A sia n A merica n parents worked hard to ensure that the schools met their expectations in terms of their academic culture, curriculum, and high academic standards. Like generations of White Americans before them, “good schools” were a key part of their suburban dream. But many Asian American families in Fremont also held diff erent ideas about what constituted good schools than those of their White neighbors. As well-educated, technically skilled professionals, many Asian Americans parents placed priority on a rigorous education, especially in math and the figu7be 6. Mission San Jose High School has become an internationally renowned public high school, especially popular among Asian American families. Photo by author. This content downloaded from 126.96.36.199 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? • 55 sciences, that would prepare their children to enter professions like their own. Whereas many established White families claimed to want less com- petitive schools that off ered a more “well-rounded” and “balanced” educa- tion, Asian American families were widely associated with an increasing sense of academic competition, stress, and a culture that placed a premium on high grades and academic rigor. Tensions over these diff erences catalyzed racial and ethnic tensions within the Mission San Jose schools and led a num- ber of White families to leave the neighborhood and the district. Th is was also true for a number of native-born Asian Americans, who perceived the area as becoming too heavily driven by Asian immigrant values. Th e social reshuffl ing sparked by Asian Americans migration to Mission San Jose schools runs counter to the typical narrative of suburban segregation. Most scholarship has focused on Whites’ eff orts to seal themselves off from racial integration in schools, especially with African Americans, because of racism, fears of property value decline, and reduced educational quality. 4 Th e traditional narrative of White fl ight focuses on the movement of Whites away from inner-city schools and the battles fought to give students of color greater access to White suburban schools through policies such as busing and regional redistricting. Th e dynamics of White fl ig ht explored in this chapter are di ff er- ent. In Mission San Jose, academic competition and the perception of dispa- rate educational values between White and Asian American families have produced and reinforced racial divisions. Th is fragmentation occurred within suburbs as well as among two relatively economically privileged groups oft en thought to exist on the same side of the educational divide. Such divisions contributed to the racialization of Mission San Jose schools as spaces that seemingly marked Asian Americans’ inability or unwillingness to assimilate the dominant culture of American education and instead introduce “foreign” practices that many established families claimed were “inappropriate” and “unhealthy” in American suburban schools. Th e racial undertones of educational debates in Fremont were also evident in the public deliberation over school boundaries. As Whites left Mission San Jose and the schools became increasingly dominated by Asian American students, Asian American families found themselves, somewhat inadvert- ently, competing for spots within increasingly racially “segregated” schools. When the Fremont School District tried to redraw the Mission San Jose attendance boundaries to address population and achievement imbalances across the district, the uproar that ensued showed that Asian American edu- cational practices and ideas continued to be marginalized as out of place and This content downloaded from 188.8.131.52 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms 56 • A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? foreign. But the case also showed that education has been an important arena in which Asian Americans have defended their right to helping to craft the culture and character of suburban space. f7bom w7fite to asian ame7bican sc7fools and neig7fbo7b7foods Asian Americans’ decisions about education have transformed the social geography of Silicon Valley and the neighborhoods in which they have set- tled. While immigration reform, globalization, and economic restructuring in the latter half of the 20th century forever changed the face of the valley, not all neighborhoods were equally aff ected. Mission San Jose quickly rose to the top as Fremont’s hub of Asian American families. According to the 2014 American Community Survey, Mission San Jose had the highest con- centration of Asian American residents of any neighborhood in Fremont, with Asian Americans comprising 71% of the population. Asian Americans of various ethnic backgrounds consistently reported that schools were their top reason for locating to Mission San Jose and, for many, to Fremont. In the 1980s, Asian Americans employed in high tech tended to move to Cupertino, Sunnyvale, and Menlo Park—more estab- lished communities closer to the valley core that had higher-ranking public schools. But Fremont, and more particularly Mission San Jose, off ered fami- lies an enticing alternative—increasingly good schools and new upper-end housing at a more aff ordable price. Looking for a nice neighborhood with good schools for their young son, Dan and Elaine Chan had been convinced that Mission San Jose schools were worth a try when they purchased their home in the neighborhood in the early 1980s. Th ey quickly realized what a wise decision they had made. Over the next few decades, many other Asian American families followed suit. Th e path that Irene Yang took to Mission San Jose was typical of many Asian Americans who arrived in Fremont in the 1980s and 1990s. As we chatted over tea in her kitchen, she recalled her early days in Fremont. Irene had recently fi nished her graduate degree, gotten married to Henry, and had her fi rst son. Th e Yangs then decided to move from New York to Fremont. Irene’s brother and mother were already living in the city, and Irene and Henry felt that as Asian Americans, they would have better job prospects on the West Coast than in the East. In the mid-1990s the Yangs rented a home This content downloaded from 184.108.40.206 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? • 57 in Ardenwood, a neighborhood in northern Fremont with smaller and more aff ordable homes than those in Mission San Jose. Th e neighborhood, how- ever, had highly ranked elementary schools, which was the major draw for Irene, just as it had been for her brother who lived nearby. Irene enrolled her son in the Mandarin bilingual program at Forest Park Elementary, which in 1993 was one of the fi rst of its kind in the state. Many credited the program with helping to make the neighborhood attractive to Chinese American families such as the Yangs. Aft er several years Irene’s husband’s real estate business was booming, and they had saved enough to purchase a house in Mission San Jose—a neighborhood where, Irene explained, most Asian Americans in Fremont aspired to live. Th e Yangs made the move right aft er their son graduated from elementary school so as to avoid sending him to a lesser-ranked middle school in Ardenwood and place him on track to attend Mission High. Asian Americans’ migration into Mission San Jose schools compounded year aft er year. As more families moved into the neighborhood for the schools, test scores rose—and as test scores rose, more Asian A merican fami- lies located within the neighborhood (Map 4). In a few short decades, Mission High became one of the highest ranking schools in California, with an internationally recognized reputation. In 2008, 2009, and 2010, Mission High was ranked the number one compre- hensive high school in the state, based on its standardized test scores. In 2009, US News and World Report rated Mission High as the 36th best aca- demic school (among both public and private schools) and 4th best public open-enrollment high school in the nation. William Hopkins Junior High, its feeder school, had the highest standardized test scores among public jun- ior high schools in California in 2005 and 2007. Mission San Jose’s four elementary schools have also been consistently ranked among the highest in the state. Mission High’s academic ascent happened as quickly as its demographic transformation. When the California Board of Education fi rst began record- ing racial demographics in 1981, Mission High was 84% White. Mexican Americans and Japanese Americans who had lived on and worked the land for generations made up the majority of its non-White students. Having grown up in the area, Paula Jones, who now teaches at Mission High, recalled that wel l into the 1980s, the school was referred to as “Little Scandinavia” for its predominance of blond-haired, blue-eyed students. But as Maria Lewis, a longtime Mission San Jose resident and now a teacher at Mission High, This content downloaded from 220.127.116.11 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms 58 • A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? observed, “Th e 1990s marked the end of the dominance of the White, blond- haired group at Mission High.” Between 1981 and 2009, Mission High’s White population declined from 84% to 14%, while its Asian American population soared from 7% to 83%. Growth among students of Chinese and Indian descent far outpaced those of other Asian American groups. In 2009, Chinese Americans made up 49% of Mission High’s Asian American student body, and Indian Americans made up another 17%. Roughly a quarter identifi ed as “other,” a category that likely includes a large number of students of mixed Asian and Caucasian ancestry, which Mission High students commonly refer to as “Wasians” and “Hybrids.” Although neither the school nor the district record parental country of origin, most Chinese American families are reportedly from Taiwan, a trend consist- ent with the larger neighborhood. 5 Most students are native-born, second- generation Asian Americans, and a number are among the so-called nm nm nm nmnm nm nmnm nm nm nm nm nm nmnm nm nm nmn nm nm nm nmnm nm nm nm nm nm nm Legend Fremont Top Rated Schools Mission High Attendance Boundary % Asian by Block Group Less than 32%32.01%–41%41.01%–52%52.01%–67% 67.01% or more 0 1.25 2.5 5 Miles ± map 4. Asian Americans have clustered near Fremont’s top performing schools, all of which rank 10 out of 10 on California’s Academic Performance Index, the state’s standard measure of academic achievement. Th e Mission High attendance area also has the city’s largest con- centration of Asian American residents. Image by author. This content downloaded from 18.104.22.168 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? • 59 1.5-generation, who were born overseas but raised in the United States. In 2010, 76% of Mission High’s Asian American students were born in the United States, but over two-thirds spoke a non-English language at home, an indication of their parents’ immigrant status. Latinos and African Americans made up only 2% and 0.5% of the student body, respectively (Table 2).A s evidence of Mission Hig h ’s chang ing student body, at g raduation time administrators oft en ask students to line up by C’s and W’s because of the large number of graduating students with common Chinese last names such as Chen and Wong. With many parents employed as Silicon Valley engineers and researchers, Asian Americans have also raised the class status of the school and the neighbor- hood. In 2014, 70% of Mission San Jose residents age 25 and over held a bache- lor’s degree or higher, and among these nearly 40% held a graduate degree or higher. Among employed adults, 73% worked in management, business, science, and arts-related occupations, with over half of these related to computer tech- nolog y, engineering, or science. 6 In 2005, the neighborhood appeared on Forbes magazine’s list of the 500 most affl uent communities in the United States with a median income of over $114,000. By 2014, this had risen to $144,000. 7 Th at same year, less than 4% of Mission High students qualifi ed for free and reduced lunch, compared to 17% across the district and 58% in the state. David Li reminded me of just how much had changed in Mission San Jose since he had grown up there in the late 1960s and 1970s. We gathered at Mission Coff ee, a trendy and upbeat café just steps from the original 1981* * 1985 1990 19 9 5 2000 2005 2010 Race White* 84% 81% 71% 53% 39% 19% 12% Asian 7% 10% 25% 41% 57% 58% 84% Hispanic 7% 6% 3% 4% 3% 2% 2% Black 1% 1% 1% 2% 1% 1% 1% Other 1% 1% 1% 0% 0% 20% 1% API Scores*** ——— —882935951 *A l l non-Hispanic categories exclude Hispanic populations. **1981 is the first year that the State of California recorded school racial demographics. ***Califo7bnia’s current Academic Performance Index standardized testing system began in 1999. table 2. Mission San Jose High’s student population went from predominantly White to Asian American in only a few decades. During the same period, the standardized tests scores for the school rose sharply. This content downloaded from 22.214.171.124 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms 60 • A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? mission—an ideal place to think about old and new. Here, Mission High teens crowded around overstuff ed couches and rustic tables piled high with laptops, textbooks, and lattes, while old-timers discussed the local land- scape paintings that lined the walls, read, and visited with neighbors and members of the various local civic and social clubs that regularly met there. Over the hum of these many voices, David recounted tales of his early school life and refl ected on how much had changed. He recalled that when he graduated from Mission High in the early 1980s, “everyone just drove a car to get around.” But during his most recent visit to the school, students were sporting fancier cars than his. Many arrived in Lexuses, Audis, and BMWs, the latter of which is commonly known to students as “Basic Mission Wheels.” Th e popularity of Mission San Jose schools has also driven up the neigh- borhood’s home prices. In June 2016, the neighborhood’s median home sales value was over $1.4 million, compared to around $905,000 for the city as a whole. Houses in Mission San Jose regularly sell for upwards of $400,000 above those of other Fremont neighborhoods. While the neighborhood has long maintained a reputation for large expensive homes, the gap in home values has become more extreme over time. In September 1996, for example, Mission San Jose homes sold, on average, for just over $100,000 more than other homes in Fremont—$326,800 compared to $212,000. 8 Because of its highly ranked schools, real estate agents now commonly describe Mission San Jose as a “diamond area,” a neighborhood where prices simply will not drop. 9 While median home prices actually did decline during the Great Recession, they lost less value than homes in the rest of the city, only 11% compared to 16%, respectively. 10 Schools have come to defi ne so much of the culture and identity of the area that residents will oft en simply refer to their neighborhood by their local elementary school—Gomes, Mission Valley, Chadbourne, or Weibel. In Mission San Jose, even the subtle diff erences among these schools carry real social cachet. global and local education st7bategies Th e concentration of Asian American families within Mission San Jose is no accident. Various scholars have shown that the education of young chil- dren is a major driver of Asian emigration, especially to the United States or Canada. 11 Taiwanese families oft en plot out decisions regarding their This content downloaded from 126.96.36.199 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? • 61 children’s education from a very young age based on their desires for dual citizenship, bilingual education, Chinese cultural education, and American university degrees. 12 Formal channels for information sharing and social networks play a criti- cal role in informing these decisions. Ads for Mission San Jose homes and schools regularly appear in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and India (Figure 7). Many residents reported that news about Mission San Jose schools’ Academic Performance Index (API) scores, California standardized measure of academic performance, was widely circulated abroad and among Asian immigrants in the United States. For instance, John and Tina Cho, who both emigrated from Taiwan, had heard about the “good schools” in Fremont from friends while they were living in Texas. In the late 1980s when John’s company, a geotechnical engineering fi rm, transferred his position to San Jose, they immediately began house hunting in Fremont. Th e Chinese New Home Buyers Guide, a free bimonthly newsletter that is circulated widely throughout Silicon Valley, undoubtedly infl uences the decision of home buy- ers with ads for homes in the neighborhood commonly displaying the tagline “Mission San Jose schools.” figu7b e 7. Mission San Jose homes oft en appear on television and in print ads in Taiwan, India, and China. Th is listing for a single-family home on a Taiwanese real estate website emphasizes its location within the Mission San Jose school district (Yibada, 2010). This content downloaded from 188.8.131.52 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms 62 • A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? Within Fremont, news about test scores and school quality are common- place. Diana Li, who emigrated from Taiwan, suggested that for Asian immi- grants in Fremont, “If you ask them ‘What’s the score of this and that for this school?,’ they all know.” While overstating the case for all Asian immigrants, Diana also emphasized that the city has attracted a large number of Asian American families who place a premium on high-performing schools, oft en as measured by test scores. 13 Parents sometimes go to great lengths to enroll their children in Fremont schools. A number of Mission High parents regularly shuttle back and forth between multiple countries, while their children remain in the neighborhood to attend school. Th ough the number is diffi cult to estimate, Principal Sandy Prairie explained that it was not at all uncommon for her to receive phone calls from Taiwan or China in response to parents’ concerns about poor grades or test scores. 14 School administrators also expressed concerns about Mission High’s increasing number of “parachute kids,” youths left in the United States with relatives, friends, or caretakers to pursue their education while their par- ents remained abroad. In other popular Asian immigrant destinations such as Vancouver and Los Angeles, this has been found to be a common educational strateg y but one that has serious potential consequences. 15 Children are some- times targets of crime and become unruly, and marital aff airs and divorce are more frequent than in other Asian immigrant families. 16 To enroll their children in Mission San Jose schools, families have been known to rent or buy much smaller homes than they can aff ord or shuttle several related or unrelated families through a single house in order to stay within the attendance boundaries. For fami lies from India , doubling or tripling up fami lies into homes or converting rooms into garages in order to aff ord homes in prized neighborhoods with good schools has been found to be common in Silicon Va l l e y a n d e l s e w h e r e . 17 Likewise, several interviewees reported that it was com- mon for immigrant families to pool their resources to buy homes in Mission San Jose in order to enroll their children in the local schools. Th e schools in Mission San Jose are in such high demand that they have also become the focus of citywide debates about unscrupulous attendance practices. In 2004, an exposé in Mission High’s student newspaper, the Smoke Signal, found that 34% of Mission High students surveyed knew someone who attended Mission High illegally. 18 Some described such prac- tices as commonplace. Among them was Sally Park, a second-generation Korean American who admitted that she attended Mission San Jose schools for years by using her aunt’s address. Her mother was a single parent with two This content downloaded from 184.108.40.206 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? • 63 children who could not aff ord to purchase a home in the neighborhood when they fi rst relocated from Los Angeles to Fremont. Even aft er she saved up and was able to purchase a home in Mission San Jose, Sally’s mother continued to work two to three jobs to pay the mortgage. Some I spoke to charged that A sian A mericans were more li kely than other g roups to engage in these prac- tices, though this could not be substantiated. Because so many families have come to the Mission San Jose neighbor- hood for its schools, some say that the schools have contributed to unusually high neighborhood turnover. Mary Walker, an Indian American with two sons enrolled at Mission High, could not attest to whether this was true for the neighborhood as a whole but suggested that her own experiences seemed to fi t the stereotype. Her youngest son was a freshman at Mission High when we met, and thus Mary explained that she and her husband “only need Mission for another four years.” Aft er that they will likely move to a neigh- borhood with less expensive homes, she projected. “I think that the majority of the families will just move out when their kids are done with their school unless they want to keep the homes for their kids, to send their grandkids [to Mission High],” she explained. Stories oft en circulate throughout the neighborhood about immigrants arriving in Mission San Jose with suitcases of cash to purchase homes for exorbitant prices in order to enroll their kids in its schools. Most families I met, however, worked hard to make ends meet. Mary was one of the few stay-at-home moms with whom I spoke. Her husband, who sat poring over a mound of paperwork at the dining room table on the weekend we met, was able to support her decision to remain at home thanks to the six-fi gure income he earned working for the high-tech giant Google. Mary pointed out, however, that in most Asian American families she knew in the neighbor- hood, both parents worked long hours in stressful jobs and relied on their salaries as their “sole means of survival.” Some even hired drivers to shuttle their children around to various aft er-school programs. Th eir detailed plan- ning underscored the importance many Asian American parents in Mission San Jose placed on their children’s education and how hard they worked to support it. While many Mission San Jose families agreed on the trends that were reshaping the neighborhood, they held diff erent interpretations of the forces that drove them and their impacts. Many White families with whom I spoke set their stories of neighborhood change against a backdrop of the tight-knit and stable middle-class community they remembered. Th ey oft en saw This content downloaded from 220.127.116.11 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms 64 • A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? skyrocketing housing prices amid what they perceive as a decreasing quality of life in the neighborhood. Th ey read the overcrowded houses that now pack the hillsides, unscrupulous school attendance practices, and a lack of neigh- borhood cohesion brought on by rapid neighborhood turnover as a cost being borne on the backs of themselves and their children for the benefi t of mon- eyed immigrants with a laser-like focus on the schools. Many questioned whether the neighborhood still held the values and character that drew them to it in the fi rst place. In contrast, Asian American parents tended to empha- size the many sacrifi ces they had made for their children’s education and the value for their children of receiving a quality American education. t7fe value of an ame7bican education Why do so many Asian Americans in Fremont seem to place such weight on high-performing schools? Both cultural and structural forces play formative roles. Th at is, the beliefs, customs, habits, and practices of Asian Americans matter, as do the social, economic, and political forces that have helped to shape these ideas over time. Yet, the former have oft en been the focus of eff orts to explain Asian Americans’ high levels of education and economic success in the United States relative to other groups, propelling Asian Americans’ status as a model minority. 19 Since the term “model minority” was fi rst coined in the 1960s, it has been applied to various ethnic and religious groups to highlight their “success,” as typically measured by income, education, occupation, and other socioeco- nomic indicators, relative to other racial minority groups. Asian Americans, especially East Asians, have been its prime targets. While superfi cially casting Asian Americans in a positive light, scholars have long recognized the fallacies behind the myth and the harm it causes for both those to whom it is applied and those to whom it is not. For nonmodel groups, the model minority myth tends to collectively fault them for failing to achieve in the same ways and to the same degree as the model group, erasing the unequal barriers to and indi- cators of achievement. For model groups, the myth tends to hold all to the high standards achieved by a few, downplaying wide intragroup variation as well as individual and institutional hurdles, including those based on race and class. 20 Th e high academic performance of Asian American students is a com- monly cited feature of the myth. Looking at the emphasis that many Asian American families place on education through a more multifaceted lens This content downloaded from 18.104.22.168 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? • 65 creates a more complex picture and underscores the vulnerability they face within the American social and economic order.In Mission San Jose, many residents related Asian Americans parents’ focus on high-performing schools to educational practices in Asia. In much of Asia, one’s level of education oft en serves as the primary indicator of one’s social status, and one’s test scores oft en serve as the primary signifi er of aca- demic achievement. 21 Excelling academically is the major vehicle for gaining social status and socioeconomic privilege. Randy Zeng, an immigrant from Taiwan, explained that many Asian countries have extremely competitive testing cultures in which “you take the one test and that decides your life.” He described the rigorous exam system that he went through in Taiwan that allowed him to attend graduate school in the United States: You have only one chance to take the high school exam nationwide and rank it. Number one high school, number two high school, all based on your score. It [has] nothing to do with your activity, nothing else, talent, nothing. Strictly that. When you apply to college, it’s the same. One exam decide[s] everything. In both Taiwan and China, exams at the elementary level oft en determine what hig h school students wi l l attend and if they wi l l be able to go to col lege. Exam time is treated as seriously as many national holidays. 22 In India, only students scoring the highest on college entrance exams are able to study medicine and engineering. Th e next best can study business, and those at the bottom have far fewer options. Further, such degrees oft en carry real social weight. “For Indians, it’s more like, if you’re not a doctor or an engineer then you’re nothing,” one Mission High student told National Public Radio reporter Claudio Sanchez. 23 In Vietnamese, one of the biggest insults you can give someone is “Do mat day,” which means that one has lost his or her education. 24 Education is also oft en a critical part of the success stories of Asian American parents in Mission San Jose and one of the only ways that they know of to help their children succeed. Irene Yang brought this point home. While contemplating why parents at Mission High seemed to hold such high expectations for their children, she refl ected on how powerfully her experi- ences as an Asian immigrant had shaped her views: I’m fi rst generation. Th e way I see it is I did well. I did fi ne so far in life, you know? I progressed, did well, because I have a pretty good education from school. So I don’t really know any other way of achieving. This content downloaded from 22.214.171.124 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms 66 • A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? Both Irene and her husband were graduates of Columbia University in New York. To her, their large home, stable jobs, and comfortable middle-class life- style seemed a testament of the value of a “good” American education in achieving wealth and success in the United States.Other Asian American parents said that education was an important legacy they wanted to pass on to their children. “[For the] majority of immigrants, there is no family wealth, there is no inheritance,” Mary Walker explained. “Th e only thing that you can give [your kids] is the skill to make it on their own.” Even though many Asian Americans in Silicon Valley are highly edu- cated professionals, they are oft en also the fi rst in their families to “succeed,” and their class status is still precarious. Anthropologist Sarah Heiman docu- mented a high degree of anxiety among newly minted middle-class suburban- ites who oft en fear “falling back” into the lower classes from which they came. Th is group, she argued, feels a constant need to fi ght to maintain their privi- lege. 25 Having children who thrive educationally is one way of securing that status. Indeed, it is common for all U.S. immigrant groups, not only Asians, to emphasize education among the second generation. 26 American degrees can also translate to high social status and economic mobility. Degrees from American colleges are important forms of social capi- tal that demand monetary returns and job security in Asian countries. 27 Aiwah Ong argues that among Asian immigrants, good schools “ethnicize and index their cosmopolitan citizenship.” 28 A family’s ability to place its children in good American schools shows that they have “made it” within the global economic system. Education also serves as a means by which some Asian American parents seek to protect their children from the eff ects of racial discrimination. 29 If their children can excel in education, many believe that they will stand a much better chance of being accepted into American society and withstand- ing the inevitable blows of racism. Education can even help Asian immigrants gain American citizenship or temporary residency in the United States, as most now enter on educational or professional work visas. Natalie Tindo’s experience is indicative of the chain migrations that oft en accompany educational visas. Like many Indonesians of Chinese descent, Natalie was sent to the United States for college in the 1970s, both to get an American education and to avoid social unrest in her home country. Aft er she became a citizen, she was able to use the family reunifi cation provision of the immigration law to get visas for the rest of her fami ly to come to the United States. Hong Kong immig rants oft en This content downloaded from 126.96.36.199 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? • 67 strategically use their children as a kind of “health insurance” by selecting diff erent sites for their education that will help them obtain Green Cards and expand their real estate holdings. 30 For the parents of children who are not able to gain entry into competitive secondary schools in Asia, placing their kids in U.S. schools can help to ensure that their kids can still attend college. 31 For students from Taiwan, an American education can even serve as a means of avoiding compulsory military service. 32 Th us, for many Asian American families in Mission San Jose, education is not considered among the many credentials upon which they can rely; it is the primary vehicle to raise their social and class status and ensure their fami- lies’ economic and political security. For many families, education is key to the ways in which they conceive of their own success and that of their chil- dren. 33 It is not something to be taken lightly or for granted. Th e value that many Asian American families place on education has reshaped the culture at Mission San Jose schools and raised tough questions about what a quality education means at Mission High. a c7fanged sc7fool cultu7be In its early years, Mission Hig h was widely viewed as an average neig hborhood high school, roughly equal to two of the other fi ve high schools in the Fremont Uni fi ed School District. 34 In 1974 it was well regarded locally, but students’ level of academic achievement was still poor by today’s standards, with grade point averages (GPAs) ranging between 2.0 and 3.0. 35 Shane Taylor, a 35-year Fremont resident, recalled that when his kids were going to school at Mission High in the early 1980s, a time that he describes as before its “transition,” there were many students who performed quite poorly, especially compared to today. In 1987, 65% of students went to college, 40% went to four-year institu- tions, and 25% went to community colleges. 36 But since 2000, Mission High has maintained a near 100% graduation rate and in 2010 had 31 valedictorians (out of 512 total graduates), all with GPAs above a 4.0; 81% of students were on the honor roll, and 94% of the graduating class enrolled in college. Sixty- four students went on to study at the University of California, Berkeley, and several others went to prestigious institutions such as Stanford, Princeton, Harvard, Cornell, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technolog y (MIT). “All the Ivy Leagues know about Mission,” explained Annie Tan, a Chinese American parent of two Mission High students. This content downloaded from 188.8.131.52 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms 68 • A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? Mission High’s curriculum is one indication of change. Once-popular classes in woodworking, auto, electrical, and metalworking skills are no longer taught at Mission High. Instead, Mission High now off ers a vast array of honors and advanced placement (AP) courses, particularly in math and sciences. In the 2009–2010 academic year, 77% of juniors and seniors com- pleted one of Mission High’s 52 AP sections, 85% of which were math- and science-related. In 2011, Mission High was rated as number one among US News and World Report’s “Best High Schools for Math and Science.” Th e school administers around 1,800 AP exams per year (for a student body of 2,150 students). 37 And in 2005, Mission High had the highest AP statistics exam pass rate of any school of its size in the world. 38 Principal Sandy Prairie attributed their success in part to the school ’s polic y of insisting that students take basic prerequisites before enrolling in APs but admitted that the policy has faced heavy parental criticism. “It’s been a huge fi ght and struggle with our parents group because they don’t understand why their kid can’t take [AP biolog y or chemistry] in the 10th grade,” she explained. 39 As students have advanced academically, so too have the credentials of Mission High faculty. Jan Frydendahl, who grew up in the area and gradu- ated from Mission High in the 1980s, is among 4 math teachers at Mission with a doctorate. Sitting in his classroom with various mathematical equa- tions pinned to the wall that I could not even begin to decipher, Frydendahl explained that he pursued his PhD while teaching at Mission High because he realized that he needed to “evolve” to better meet the needs of his stu- dents. 40 Now he teaches only AP math classes. And in 2010, 8 out of the 31 students in his AP fi nite mathematics class went on to study at MIT. In response to heightened demand, the neighborhood has developed a robust network of supplementary education. Ohlone Community College is popularly known as “Mission on the Hill” because of the large number of Mission High students who attend classes there on weekends and over the summer. Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT) prep classes, professional tutors, and other academic services are scattered among the neighborhoods’ many strip malls. Students oft en attend aft er-school and weekend Chinese classes and academic summer camps and are even known to study their textbooks and be tutored on coursework the summer before classes begin. 41 A popular Mission High cheer reaffi rms the school’s reputation: “Cosine, sine—cosine, sine—3.14159—2400s on SATs—and yes, we all take fi ve A Ps.” Th e social life at Mission High has also been transformed. In the 1970s, Mission High held a reputation as a somewhat wild school with regular This content downloaded from 184.108.40.206 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? • 69 reports about girls’ locker room break-ins and wild homecoming parties. One Smoke Signal reporter described it as a place where “profanity bounces off the walls in the hallways and during lunchtime [and] students are ambushed with food in daily lunchroom free-for-alls.” 42 Administrators also regularly complained about the lack of student involvement in clubs. One student joked that the most popular clubs were those with “no consti- tution, no offi cers, no dues, and no meetings.” 43 To d a y, a d m i n i s t r a t o r s debate whether students start too many clubs to pad their college resumes. Mission High’s long list of clubs includes a range of social, cultural, and philanthropic activities that include bangra dance, Bollywood cinema, Chinese yo-yo, Japanese animae, Asian pop music, and raising money for Chinese orphans. Sports serve as another indicator of change. Up until the 1980s, Mission High was largely known as a football school and was ranked among California’s top teams for several years running. But for the past couple of years the school has struggled to even fi eld a varsity team, and in 2002 coaches canceled the season for lack of interest among upper classmen. According to Coach Kevin Lydon, tr ying to muster enthusiasm for footba l l on the Mission High campus was “like trying to sell electricity to the Amish.” 44 Students commonly joke with one another that the only reason to go to a football game is to get physics extra credit (as the physics teacher is also the football coach). Meanwhi le, the badminton team is larger than the footba l l team and, like Mission High’s chess and debate teams, is highly competitive regionally and nationally. In only a few short decades, Mission High transformed from a typical White suburban American high school into an internationally renowned academic institution made up of predominantly Asian American students from middle- and upper-middle-class immigrant families, many of whom placed great weight on their academic success in a competitive and rigorous environment. Th e Pressure to Succeed Swelling Asian American student populations at Mission High corresponded with rising academic expectations and an increasing pressure to succeed. While stress in top-performing high schools is not unusual, the particularly high levels of stress and stressors facing many Asian American students are one of the downsides of “success stories” such as Mission High. This content downloaded from 220.127.116.11 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms 70 • A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? Mission High has been recognized as one of the fi rst schools in the nation to participate in Stressed Out Students (SOS), a program started by a former Mission High teacher that instructs students and parents on managing stress. Noting troubling trends in the numbers of students seeking permission to study at home because of stress and severe mental health problems, SOS was brought to Mission High in 2007 by then vice principal Sandy Prairie. 45 By 2010, it was one of the school’s most active student clubs. According to an SOS survey of 1,175 Mission High students, more than half showed signs of depression or burnout. 46 Another Mission High study found that students average about fi ve hours of sleep per night. 47 And some say that stress has led to rampant problems with cheating. In one extreme case in 2003, six Mission High students broke into the district’s server and altered their grades and offi cial transcripts to improve their chances of getting into the colleges of their choice. 48 Th e Smoke Signal now regularly dishes out advice on manag- ing academic stress and getting enough sleep while also keeping up grades and selecting the right college. High levels of stress are common to many Mission High students, but many with whom I spoke reported that Asian Americans face more stress, or at least a diff erent set of stressors, than many of their White peers. I met up with Paula Jones, a seasoned Mission High teacher, in a break between her classes. Pau la , who is W hite, was surprising ly candid when it came to matters of race on campus. She argued that SOS was particularly helpful for Asian American students and parents “because it addresses stress and Asian ethnic- ity and the pressure that these Asian students are under.” Further, she noted that levels of attempted suicides and other self-destructive behaviors in her classroom were more prevalent among her Asian American students, particu- larly Taiwanese Americans. She recalled one Taiwanese American student who passed out in her class over a B grade and another who tried to hang herself in the bathroom over stress and grades. Such extreme cases under- scored for Paula and other administrators the need for outreach to Asian American students and parents, an area where Paula believes that SOS has been particularly eff ective. One source of stress for many Asian American students is their parents. Asian American parents are oft en stereotyped as overbearing and strict—the prototypical tiger moms. Made popular by the controversial book by Amy Chua, Th e Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom, the term “tiger moms” refers to the stereotypically rigid style of Asian parenting as opposed to the more relaxed styles of Western parents. 49 Having been raised by strict Chinese immigrant This content downloaded from 18.104.22.168 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? • 71 parents who coupled high expectations with unconditional love, Chua describes how her experiences infl uenced the high bar she set for her own children. Her kids were expected to earn straight A’s, speak fl uent Chinese, and compete internationally in violin and piano and were not allowed to have sleepovers or play dates, participate in school plays, watch television, or play computer games, li ke many of their W hite friends. Simi larly, students at Mission High oft en share stories of Asian American parents who go to extremes to ensure their children’s academic success. Th ey talk about those who coach their kids to be valedictorians, scrutinize every grade, quiz and test, call or e-mail their teachers on a weekly basis, and request extra-credit homework and will even do homework assignments for them. Th ey joke about gray-haired, stressed-out students who will throw away an A-minus for fear of getting punished by parents willing to withhold meals from children with bad grades. And they poke fun at the “Asian grade scale,” wherein A = Average, B = Bad, C = Catastrophe, D = Disowned, and F = Forever Forgotten. 50 However, this strict defi nition of success is only one of the many frames that middle-class Asian Americans adopt in order to promote success among the next generation. 51 In fact, few of the Asian American parents with whom I spoke fi t the tiger mom trope, and most believed that the stereotype was overblown. Several spent countless hours volunteering in the children’s class- rooms and did not consider themselves particularly overbearing when it came to their children’s education. Still, many also felt that they held higher, or at least diff erent, expectations for their children than did White parents. John Cho, who said that his friends oft en questioned his nontraditional Asian parenting style, explained: “We give our kids freedom, but not as [much] freedom as White people give their children.” For many Asian American parents, trying to fi gure out how to strike the right balance between the educational values by which they were raised and prospects facing their children in the United States can be quite diffi cult. 52 While contemplating the struggles that she had with her own son over grades and homework, Irene refl ected that “Maybe if I was a third or fourth genera- tion here, maybe I would be more relaxed about it, because I know not every- body has to go to a good college to be successful.” With her son now enrolled in a California state university and majoring in advertising, Irene had fi nally come to some resolve. She was able to see the value in the path that her son had chosen given the opportunities he had available to him, which were dis- tinctly diff erent from her own. Yet, she also felt proud that she had helped This content downloaded from 22.214.171.124 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms 72 • A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? him get to this point by sometimes pushing him when he did not want to be pushed—a trait she attributed to the way she had been raised.Th e pressure that many Asian American students feel is not only parental but also cultural. A Smoke Signal survey found that most Mission High stu- dents cited pressure from family related to culture as the number one cause of their stress, anxiety, and depression. 53 In a CNN report provocatively titled “Are Asian Students Smarter?” that featured Mission San Jose High, Stanford University cultural psychologist Hazel Marcus argued that many Asian American families consider academic success a child’s duty to the family. “It’s the most important role. It’s your job. It’s what you are supposed to do, is to bring honor to the family by becoming educated,” she said. 54 Min Zhou and Xi-Yuan Li argue that Chinese immigrant parents oft en measure their own success by their children’s educational achievements. “If a child goes to an Ivy League college, his or her parents will feel rewarded and are admired and respected as successful parents. If their children are less successful, they lose face,” they note. 55 Stress is also self-imposed, especially among students who are aware of the many sacrifi ces their parents have made for their education. For instance, in response to a 2006 Wall Street Journal article on hyperinvolved “helicopter parents,” Melony Fong, a second-generation Chinese American student at Mission High, wrote: When I think about everything my parents have been through in order to provide me with the opportunities that I have, I’m extremely grateful and, in turn, put pressure on myself to excel. Th is is the main force that propels me into taking challenging courses and achieving good grades. 56 Melony pushed herself not because it was what her parents expected but also because it was what she felt she owed them. Upset by a 2004 National Public Radio report about Mission High that she felt implied that Asian American parents were to blame for the high levels of stress at Mission High, Smoke Signal columnist Rebecca Gao explained that “We aim towards our defi ni- tion of success not because our parents expect us to, but rather because we know what we are capable of.” 57 Joining me at Mission Coff ee, Rebecca later explained that while Asian American parents may foster in their children a desire to succeed and a respect for hard work, by the time they get to high school, most Asian American students push themselves. “By that point it becomes so ingrained in our personalities, in our characters. How do we know that this desire to succeed isn’t us?,” she asked. 58 This content downloaded from 126.96.36.199 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? • 73 Asian American students’ stress is also compounded by the model minor- ity myth. Many Mission High students clearly understood both the upsides and downsides of the stereotype. “Since we’re Asian, we like all the benefi ts that [go] with being a model minority. Except we also have all the pressures as well,” Cindy Wei, a Chinese American senior at Mission High explained. “We always have to be perfect. We’ve got to get those A’s” (Figure 8). Cindy not only earned good grades but was editor in chief of the student newspaper, producer of the Mission High television station, and a regionally competitive volleyball player. Her eff orts were propelled by both her family’s dreams and those of a society that constantly told her that she could and should do better. Various scholars have documented how Asian Americans benefi t, in terms of their confi dence levels, teacher perceptions, and student tracking, from the stereotypes around their academic exceptionalism. 59 While stereotype threat tends to weaken the academic performance of some groups, particularly African Americans, stereotype performance tends to f igu 7b e 8. M ission Hig h students oft en experience hig h levels of stress over their grades. Th is cartoon published in the student newspaper, the Smoke Signal, illustrates the high standards to which many students hold themselves. Image by Cassie Zhang, artist, Smoke Signal, Mission San Jose High School, Fremont, California. This content downloaded from 188.8.131.52 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms 74 • A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? enhance the academic achievements of Asian Americans. But it also adds to stress and anxiety for Asian Americans who do not meet the high standards as well as those who do. 60 Th e Ethno-Academic Divide Academic stress, competition, and changes in social and academic culture impact everyday social relations at Mission High. Over the years, tensions have fl ared among parents and students over issues such as the school’s cur- riculum, homework, extracurricular activities, and parental involvement. Th ese issues, especially those centered on academics, oft en divide White and Asian American families and fuel racial and ethnic tensions in the school and the neighborhood. Racial and ethnic identity play an important role in students experience at Mission High. A 2010 Smoke Signal survey found that 72% of Mission High students thought that ethnicity played at least a “somewhat important” role in social relations on campus. 61 Social groups tend to segregate them- selves along racial and ethnic lines, with the primary divisions being among White, Chinese American, and Indian American students. Indian Americans are sometimes accused of thinking of themselves as White and more assimilated than Chinese Americans and, according to many, mix better with White students. Immigrants are oft en labeled as “FOBs” (f re sh off the boat) or “fobby,” suggesting that they are nonassimilated and thus uncool. Among immigrant students, social lines are oft en further delineated based on familial histories in diff erent regions, social castes, and language groups. While students from mainland China sometimes refuse to work with students from Taiwan, students from Hong Kong some- times reject Chinese mainlanders. Cindy quipped that at Mission High, “instead of the Bloods versus Crips, we have Chinese versus Taiwanese.” Diff erences in language, skin color, caste, and religion among Indian Americans can determine who students will work with in class and are criti- cal identity markers. 62 For instance, Mary Walker reported that Indian American students oft en accuse her son of not being a “real Indian” because he is Christian. Racial and ethnic divisions are common in many schools, oft en stemming from several factors, including peer pressure and socioeconomic and cultural diff erences. For African American and Latino students, tracking into lower- division and special education classes, parental education, income levels, and This content downloaded from 184.108.40.206 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? • 75 teacher biases are commonly noted issues that oft en physically and psycho- logically divide them from their White and Asian American peers. At Mission High, however, competition over grades and stereotypes about aca- demic intelligence drive wedges between and among White and Asian American students. “Mission High is made up of two student bodies,” explained Smoke Signal reporter Jennifer Kao, “those in Honors and those in non-Honors classes.” 63 At Mission High, these are racial and ethnic divid- ing lines as well. Mission High’s academic disparities are most evident between White and Asian American students, whom the California Department of Education considers to be its only “statistically signifi cant” racial groups. In 2009 Mission High’s Asian American students had a base score of 966 compared to 890 for non-Hispanic White students on California’s standard API. Whites make up the majority of students in the lower-division and special education courses, while Asian American students are overrepresented in the honors and advanced placement courses, particularly those related to math and science. Th is academic divide means that White and Asian American students are less likely to be in the same classes, form friendships, and build social capital. Th e academic divide has also generated crude stereotypes about students’ intelligence and work ethic that reinforce their social divisions. White stu- dents are oft en labeled the “dumb White kids,” “blonds,” “ jocks,” “rah-rahs,” and “theater kids,” while Asian American students are referred to as “curve busters,” “nerds,” and “grade robots.” Th e labels extend to all kinds of social actions. Th ose perceived as being studious and academically oriented are frequently deemed “Asian,” those considered nonacademic are called “White,” and those Asian American students who do not fi t their assigned academic label are allegedly “Whitewashed.” Th ese derisive racial labels reinforce social divisions and the model minor- ity myth about Asian American academic success and, in contrast, a preva- lent assumption that White kids, especially White girls, do not earn good grades or study hard. “My best friend and I are blonde, light-eyed and in honors’ classes. When we walk into the room, you can tell from the body language [that Asian students are] thinking ‘Why are you in this class’?,” explained one Mission San Jose student. 64 In a controversial Smoke Signal article, staff writer Anamarie Farr argued that “I am part of a minority that is the object of discrimination at [Mission High]. No, I’m not a Gupta, Chan, Chen, Wu, or Wong. I am Farr and non-Asian. . . . Just because I don’t weigh This content downloaded from 220.127.116.11 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms 76 • A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? myself down with 4 or 5 or even 6 AP classes does not mean that I lack intel- ligence.” 65 Anamarie’s charge of “reverse racism” exhibited one of the many ways that White students and parents have pushed back against what they see as the dominant Asian culture in Mission San Jose schools. Many Whites have adopted the language of racial oppression to describe their sense of pow- erlessness in the face of rising academic expectations. Such claims, however, too oft en dismiss the ways in which White students still hold a privileged status at Mission High as the “normal” students, to which many Asian American students are oft en compared and judged. Th ese debates also played themselves out in the classroom. Alice Mitchell described her anger at discovering that when her daughter was in elementary school, students organized a class vote to decide who was the smartest and most “superior race”—Chinese, Taiwanese, Indians, or Caucasians. Her daughter, one of only a few White students in the class, chose not to partici- pate. But as Alice recalled, the Chinese American and Taiwanese American students clearly outvoted the Indian American students. “I don’t remember who won between China and Taiwan,” she added. At Mission High, the racial divide has become so enmeshed within the academic divide that it lends itself to such biological fallacies. Academic performance also plays a signifi cant role in shaping students’ ethnic identities and peer groups. Among Asian Americans, those students who perform well are commonly valorized by their peers, whereas those who perform poorly are more likely to be marginalized. Maxine Frank, who is of mixed Chinese and Caucasian ancestry, relayed that because she is in honors classes, active in school clubs, and hangs out with mostly other Asian American students, she feels more Asian than White at Mission High. Alice Mitchell suggested that because her daughter had high test scores and grades, she is sometimes deemed an “honorary Chinese” or “blond Chinese” and is more accepted by her Asian American peers than many other White stu- dents. In contrast, Sally Park, who is Korean American and described herself as nearly failing out of Mission High, said that her poor academic perfor- mance made her feel like an outsider and led her to hang out primarily among the few African American and Latino kids at school. As is typical for many Asian Americans who do not fi t the model minority stereotype, Sally dis- tanced herself from her coethnic and racial peers. 66 Sally’s struggle also demonstrates the intersection between race, class, and academic performance that further cements social divisions. At Mission High, it was not only her grades but also her family’s income that led Sally to This content downloaded from 18.104.22.168 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? • 77 feel like an outsider. Her mother was a single parent and was not able to provide Sally with the same advantages as those of many other Mission High students. Now a successful undergraduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, Sally struggled to make sense of how her family’s income had aff ected her experience at Mission: I felt like my experience was so much more diff erent than the average student there. Th ey were involved in so many things. I mean, these kids are just so busy with things. Th ey would be playing some instruments. Th ey would have some sort of lesson like fl ute, or cello, or whatever have you. And then they would have some sort of sporting thing or ballet or whatever. And they all took prep courses for SATs. My mom couldn’t aff ord any of that. I felt like I don’t really belong here and I felt like that what they were doing was how it’s supposed to be. Th is is what successful students do. As Sally demonstrates, diff erences in income are an important indicator of academic achievement not only because of the actual resources that families are able to bring to the table but also because of the ways that “frames of success” are internalized. In Mission San Jose such class divides are subtle, marked sometimes by simply whether one is picked up from campus or not. “Th e Hill kids,” as they are oft en called, must be driven to campus, whereas students who live in “the fl ats” or “the Apartments,” the neighborhood ’s one and only subsidized public housing project, more oft en walk or take the bus to school. “Students are very conscious of their geographies,” Paula Jones explained. While many students do not conform to the given racial stereotypes at Mission High, their social lives are still shaped by them. Several students noted how hanging out with White students, or hanging out in general, can be interpreted as a sign of one’s academic failure. Alternatively, hanging out with the Asian American students tends to suggest that one has no social life at all. Alice explained that even though her son is in honors classes with mostly Asian American students, he does not have many Asian American friends because they usually talk about homework, and “he’s not willing to become one of those robots.” Sam Phillips, who grew up in Fremont just minutes away from his current home in the Mission San Jose hills, attributed “Asian” educational values to his son’s struggle to live a “normal” teenage life at Mission High: Th e Asian culture does not operate like ours in a social sense. Th ey don’t come over to visit [my son] aft er school. . . . I wouldn’t say that they’re not This content downloaded from 22.214.171.124 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms 78 • A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? allowed, but they’re not encouraged to go and hang out with—I don’t think that they’re encouraged to hang out, even with other Asian families. Th ere’s a lot of studying that takes place. Most of the extracurricular activity is pretty limited to either music or traditional stuff like tae kwon do or martial arts or things like that. Sam’s understanding of Asian culture framed Asian American students as strict, homogeneous, and foreign while also helping to reinforce his claim that his son’s activities were normal. While many of the Asian American parents and students with whom I spoke rebutted Sam’s stereotypes, his com- ments point to the prevalent perceptions about Asian Americans that drive the social positioning of Asian American and White students at Mission High as well as the relationships among them. Academic competition also oft en aff ects social relations among diff erent racial and ethnic groups. Th ough both Indian American and Chinese American students tend to do well academically, their performance is still subject to intraracial stereotypes. Mary explained that several Indian American parents have made comments to her about Chinese American students being more competitive and have felt threatened by their academic success. Ellie Cho, John and Tina’s daughter, commented that while racial and ethnic stereotypes surround the academic performance of diff erent groups, most people compete with their friends and those in their classes who more than likely are of the same ethnicity. Between White and Chinese Americans, she explained, “We don’t really compete with them because we’re not like friends with them.” 67 Competition, the pressure to succeed, and diff erent ideas about and expectations of academic success contribute to striking social divisions between and among Asian American and White students and parents both inside and outside of Mission High. 68 Stereotypes about intelligence and real disparities in academic performance aff ect students’ identities, social lives, and, as I will show in the next section, their lived geographies. new neig7fbo7b7food geog7bap7fies of 7bace Th e changing culture of Mission San Jose schools and increasing racial and ethnic tensions have created divides not only inside schools but also within the larger neighborhood and region. While many Asian American families have moved to the area in search of competitive, academically rigorous This content downloaded from 126.96.36.199 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? • 79 schools, many established White families have left in search of less competi- tive schools that they perceived as off ering a more well-rounded and balanced education in a less stressful academic environment. In a clear departure from the traditional pattern of White fl ight, in Mission San Jose the rapid decline in the White population has proceeded amid rising home values and the entry of more well-to-do residents. 69 Th ese patterns have been driven in part by educational competition and diff erences between Asian American and White parents’ ideas about what constitutes a quality education and how their children can succeed. A far less recognizable trend is that even some native-born Asian American families are leaving the area for the very same reasons. Th e departure of both White and non-White families from the area underscores the importance of schools in shaping patterns of suburban racial and ethnic geographies that reinforce the racialization of Asian American space. As more and more White families have left , Mission High has even more clearly evidenced the ways that Asian Americans, and particularly Asian immigrants, are critiqued for their failure to integrate with and adopt the social and spatial norms of their middle-class White peers. Th e New White Flight In a 2005 Wall Street Journal article titled “Th e New White Flight,” Suien Hwang argued that non-Hispanic Whites were leaving Silicon Valley schools that they perceived to be too competitive and narrowly focused on academ- ics, especially math and sciences, at the expense of liberal arts and extracur- ricular activities. 70 Th e article focused on Monta Vista High and Lynbrook High in Cupertino. Few scholars analyzed the issue, but residents and the news media picked up on the debate—some claiming that White fl ight was a reality and others claiming that it was not. 71 Th e controversy became so heated in Cupertino that comments made by district superintendent Steve Rowley during the debate, which were critiqued as blaming Asian Americans students for the increasing pressure felt by White students, were cited by some as a reason for his fi ring two years later. 72 In an interview with the newspaper India-West, former Mission High principal Stewart Kew weighed in on the issue. According to Principal Kew, because Asian American stu- dents were leaving the district at the same rate as White students and because the drop in White enrollment had been, in his words, “gradual,” there was no This content downloaded from 188.8.131.52 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms 80 • A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? support for the White fl ight thesis. 73 However, nearly every parent, student, neighbor, and school administrator with whom I spoke believed that White fl ight was real at Mission High. A common maxim among the Mission San Jose residents was “every time a White family moves out of the neighborhood, a Chinese or Indian American family moves in.” While not statistically accurate, their point underscores the common perception about who the in-movers and out- movers are in the neighborhood. Some described this change as natural neighborhood turnover. Older residents who have lived in the neighborhood for years and no longer have children living at home sell their homes to younger families. Especially since housing prices have shot up in recent years, in part because of the schools, residents who have owned their homes for a long time can cash out and purchase homes in other areas that better meet their current priorities. However, these explanations do not fully explain the trends in the declin- ing percentage of young White families and students in Mission San Jose schools. Between 1981 and 2010 non-Hispanic Whites declined from 84% to 12% of the Mission High population, representing a drop from 1,405 to 273 White students. During the same period, overall enrollment grew by 471 students. Th ese trends were not just about White families failing to move into the neighborhood but also about some who already lived there deciding to move out. While these moves could have been motivated by job relocations, housing prices, or other factors, many of the Asian American and White families with whom I spoke believed that a signifi cant part of this trend included families leaving the area for communities that are within only a few miles of Mission San Jose, such as Pleasanton, Livermore, Foothill, and Sunol. Th ese are areas that have high-ranking schools (but not as high as Mission High) and high- end homes but more White students and what Leslie Clark, a White Mission High student, described as more of a “feeling for the White community.” 74 What explains the departure of families to these nearby neighborhoods? Some credit Mission High ’s increasing class sizes. 75 Two parents with whom I spoke said that Mission High’s overcrowding and poor facilities have reduced the quality of its learning environment. Newer schools in the surrounding areas off er smaller class sizes, better facilities, and additional funding for extracurricular activities, academic enrichment, and other amenities. 76 A more commonly cited reason, however, was that many White families simply felt uncomfortable living in a predominantly Asian American and This content downloaded from 184.108.40.206 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? • 81 especially immigrant community. Several White parents in Mission San Jose shared stories about friends who left the neighborhood because their son or daughter did not get invited to birthday parties or otherwise felt that they did not fi t in with the neighborhood’s dominant Asian American culture. Nina Young, a White Mission High senior, explained the sense of discomfort that both she and her mother sometimes felt living in an Asian American– majority neighborhood: When I was going to school in elementary school, like walking to school, like all the parents and all the kids would be speaking Chinese or another language so like I couldn’t even understand them. And like my mom, I know that she would get kind of like kind of upset because she felt kind of like excluded in a way. ‘Cause like there would be like a few White moms, but that is it. And most of them, like Asian[s], talked their language and you don’t know what they’re saying. So that bothered me, too, because people did it in school sometimes. Unused to feeling like outsiders in their own neighborhoods, some White parents and students took aim at the use of Asian languages in schools and elsewhere. A lice Mitchel l reca l led that when her chi ldren were in elementar y school, she would sometimes hear other White parents make comments such as “What are they saying behind our backs?” when parents spoke together in Chinese. Th ese comments refl ect the sense of social displacement, isolation, and xenophobia that may have contributed to some White families’ decisions to leave the area. While multiple factors play into White students’ declining populations at Mission High, overwhelmingly the most commonly cited reasons among parents, students, and administrators with whom I spoke were academic competition, stress, and the culture of Mission San Jose schools. Many White parents expressed grave concerns about the amount of homework assigned to students, the selection of courses available to nonhonors students, students’ opportunities to participate in nonacademic activities, the level of academic stress, and a desire for their children to have a “normal” high school experi- ence and receive a “well-rounded” education. By “well-rounded,” parents generally referenced their desire for a greater focus on sports, extracurricular activities, and the liberal arts, especially music and theater. “Normal” typi- cally referred to more active social lives and extracurricular activities such as football games and homecoming dances. White parents’ narratives about what it is to be a normal, well-rounded American teen privileged the actions This content downloaded from 220.127.116.11 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms 82 • A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? and practices of their own children as both commonplace and desirable while implicitly critiquing Asian American students and parents for failing to conform.White Americans’ power to label and be labeled as normal and well- rounded was buttressed by a host of social stereotypes of suburban American teens and by dominant educational norms in the United States. 77 George Lipitz argued that Whiteness secures its power by virtue of its invisibility. “As the unmarked category against which diff erence is constructed,” he wrote, “whiteness never has to speak its name, never has to acknowledge its role as an organizing principle in social and cultural relations.” 78 At Mission High, the invisible power that White students and parents held included their quiet acceptance of their own normativity. Meanwhile, despite being in the numer- ical majority, Asian American students at Mission High were constantly reminded by their classmates, administrators, and neighbors that they oper- ated on the margins of normal suburban American life. Many school administrators and parents who had watched family aft er family leave the school also believed that academic competition was a central concern, particularly White students’ declining academic performance rela- tive to that of Asian American students. Principal Sandy Prairie said that she had spoken to many White parents over the years who had decided to trans- fer their children from Mission High to nearby Irvington High, a school with a much higher percentage of White students, more lower-division classes, and a reputation for less stringent courses and homework through its magnet arts program. In explaining their reasoning, she said that many felt that “there wasn’t any way their kids could compete [at Mission], so why bother?” Th e bar at Mission High was simply too high. In order to get their children into a top-tier college, most parents wanted them to graduate in the top 15% of their class and knew that they stood a better chance of doing so at Irvington. 79 Others spoke about families they knew who had moved out of Fremont altogether because they felt that their children could not or did not want to compete. Natalie Tindo explained that a common attitude among the White families she knew who had left Mission San Jose schools was that their children would be “a bigger fi sh” somewhere else. Alice Mitchell, who had lived in Mission San Jose since 1989, described the strategies she had seen families use to keep their children competitive. One White couple had two children—one who was performing well in Mission San Jose schools and the other who was not. While maintaining their house in Mission San Jose for This content downloaded from 18.104.22.168 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? • 83 their higher-achieving child to attend Mission High, they purchased a condo in Pleasanton for the other child to enroll in a less rigorous school. “Th ey felt pretty strongly that [their younger kid] would do just fi ne in a normal school,” she explained. Invoking the term “normal,” Alice reiterated the per- spective I heard over and over again among White parents at Mission High. Th e competitive culture fostered by Asian American parents and students at Mission High was abnormal, if not unhealthy, for their children and was not one that set their children up for success. Others spoke of White students and parents they knew who were con- cerned about Mission High’s academic focus, including its heavy math- and science-based curriculum, the small number of lower-division courses, and signifi cant homework and academic stress. Mission High teacher Paula Jones recalled discussions she had with White parents who elected to send their children to Irvington High instead of Mission High. Th ey explained to her that they were ma k ing the move because Mission Hig h “catered to the A sian students.” She described their sentiment as follows: You don’t honor the needs of the White students. You’ve shut down all elec- tives. Th e wood shop is shut down, which only the White kids sign up for. Th ere are no electives available for the White students that the parents felt were appropriate. All you’re doing is upping the advanced placement this, advanced placement that. Th is is no longer a traditional, regular high school that is amenable to a regular kid. Claiming their values and practices as “regular” and “appropriate,” many White parents had left Mission High with a clear sense that the unconven- tional and unwelcome educational practices of Asian American families drove their decision. Maxine Wan felt this deeply. As a Chinese American student at Mission High who had watched many of her White peers leave the neighborhood, she reasoned that it was because “Th ey would rather go to a school that’s not so amped up on Chinese culture.” Clearly, she was part of the problem. Mary Walker added that not only were Asian Americans oft en seen as the problem, but they were also used as scapegoats for changes in the school that they had nothing to do with, such as wood shop. Wood shop was not shut down because of Asian American students, she argued, but because of statewide education budget cuts. “Th ere are kids that are just regular kids among Asian kids. Th ey are in nonhonors classes and would have preferred those classes,” she said. “Th is has nothing to do with Asian and non-Asian.” Mary’s claim that there were “regular kids” among Asian American students This content downloaded from 22.214.171.124 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms 84 • A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? at Mission High was a rebuke of the criticism and racial stereotypes oft en aimed at Asian Americans but one that simultaneously reinforced the domi- nant norms about what is it to be a “regular” American teen. Social issues also topped the list of concerns among many White students and parents. Leslie Clark and Brandy Patterson, two White Mission High seniors I met with in a cramped but comfortable teachers’ lounge, were clear about why they had considered transferring to Irvington High. Leslie said that her central concern was having a more diverse student body that included more White and non–Asian American students, which she felt would allow her to grow more socially. Brandy thought that at Irvington she would be less likely to be stereotyped. “You’re not every day hearing that you’re White, you’re dumb. Th ere, you might hear it once a week,” she explained. Alice Mitchell expressed relief that her two children were at Irvington High and not in the Mission High “pressure cooker.” Her daughter is a cheerleader, and her son plays baseball. Because of the lack of academic pressure at Irvington High, she felt that she has seen them grow a lot “in the social side of things.” Oft en enough, however, the distinctions between wanting a diff erent type of education and less competitive and stressful schools and feeling uncom- fortable about living in a predominantly Asian American neighborhood can be a bit blurry. Alice said that the families she knew who sent their children to the nearby schools in Sunol were either White or mixed White–Asian American couples who said that they were looking for “less homework,” “more balance,” and “more Caucasians.” “And they’re pretty direct about it,” she noted. Lisa Bell added that while clearly White fl ight at Mission High had multiple causes, at its base it was driven by one simple fact: “Parents want their kids to be surrounded by students like them. It’s as complicated and as simple as that.” White families leaving Mission San Jose schools appear to be making the same kind of strategic educational decisions as Asian American parents to try to give their children the most educational, social, and economic advantages they can. But diff erences in their perceptions about how to best prepare and position their children to compete invite consideration of how privilege and advantage may accrue to Asian Americans and Whites diff erently. I have shown that the experience of most Asian Americans suggests that education plays a key role in their economic and social mobility, but this may not be as critical for Whites. Scholars have long documented the advantages that his- torical and contemporary neighborhood segregation provide to White Americans, including not only access to higher-performing schools but also This content downloaded from 126.96.36.199 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? • 85 neighborhoods with lower crime, higher housing values, more public resources, stronger social networks, and greater social and cultural capital. 80 As George Lipsitz points out, the “possessive investment in whiteness” is something that White Americans carry with them wherever they go, producing unfair gains and unearned rewards in whatever spaces they occupy. 81 Meanwhile, other groups do not receive the same gains by virtue of their skin color and in fact oft en experience social and economic devalua- tion of their spaces. While Asian Americans may have benefi ted in many respects from their access to Mission San Jose’s high-performing schools, their presence seemed to increasingly devalue the neighborhood for many White Americans. As their White neighbors left , many Asian Americans also began to wonder if they might too might be losing out on some of the privileges that living in well-to-do suburban neighborhoods was supposed to aff ord them. Asian Overfl ow Th e neighborhoods in Pleasanton and Livermore to which many White families have relocated are beginning to attract more Asian American fami- lies as well—a trends that some families call the “Asian overfl ow” out of Fremont. For instance, between 1990 and 2010 while the overall population in Pleasanton grew by about 40%, the percentage of Whites decreased from 91% to 67% and the Asian American population grew from 6% to 23%. In addition to changes in overall immigration in the region, Asian American population growth, particularly among new families settling into the area, can be explained by some of the very same factors that led to the rapid rise of the Asian American population in Mission San Jose—the availability of high-performing schools and new homes. But among those Asian American families who have left the Mission San Jose attendance area for these neigh- borhoods, the trend also underscores intraracial divides between native-born Asian Americans and Asian immigrants regarding Fremont’s schools. A point made by several interviewees is that some Asian American fami- lies, particularly those born in the United States, leave Mission San Jose schools for the very same reasons as White families. Th ey tend to see the intense pressure to succeed educationally as an Asian immigrant value and, like White families, feel out of place in a predominately immigrant com- munity. Born in Indonesia but raised in the United States, Natalie said that she considered leaving Mission San Jose because even though she is of This content downloaded from 188.8.131.52 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms 86 • A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? Chinese descent, she neither speaks Chinese nor feels that it is “healthy” to have her children in such a competitive academic environment. She also felt isolated from her many American-born Chinese friends who moved out to Pleasanton and Livermore and oft en encouraged her to do the same: Th ey all left . I could name like fi ve families that I used to know, lived here, our girls grew up together, and one day they just kind of go “Uh, no we’re not coming here anymore” because it’s foreign to them. Th ey don’t feel comfort- able. Being an American, they don’t speak Chinese anymore. Several 1.5- and second-generation Asian Americans adopted the language, practices, and preferences of their White American peers, further distancing themselves socially and spatially from their coethnic neighbors. Like White fl ight, this created divisions between Fremont and other sub- urban communities and also within Fremont. Maureen Xu, who came to the United States from Taiwan at the age of fi ve, lives in the Mission High attendance area but chose to send her eldest son to Irvington High. She cited a number of reasons for her decision, including her son’s learning disability, a desire for less homework and competition, and more family time, social diversity, and space to have a social life and pursue his personal passion— marching band. “I thought, ‘You know, it would really suck to play in the marching band for a constantly losing team,’“ she explained. Interestingly, however, Maureen noted that her youngest son is getting ready to graduate from middle school and wants to continue on to Mission High with his friends. Maureen said that she was considering allowing him to do so, mostly because he looks “more Asian,” has more Asian American friends, and per- forms better in school than his brother. But she added that she and her hus- band (who is White) decided that if he does make the move, he will not be allowed to take honors classes. “We don’t need him to be so stressed out that all the academic curiosity is squeezed out of him,” she explained. “I don’t believe that’s healthy.” Th e geography of race in Mission San Jose and its surrounding areas has been impacted by academic competition and residents’ diff ering defi nitions about a quality education. Academic competition and diff ering social and cultural ideas about what constitutes a good education have become fi lters through which the varied racial and class interests of Asian American and White families are understood and enacted. As both groups attempt to maxi- mize their perceived interests, they have created and exacerbated patterns of This content downloaded from 184.108.40.206 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? • 87 racial segregation between Whites and Asians Americans and even among Asian Americans. t7fe politics of sc7fool bounda7bies In 2000, a new school boundary plan announced by the Fremont School Board catalyzed race and class tensions that had engulfed Mission San Jose schools for decades. Like patterns of White fl ight out of the district, the boundary controversy showed how the changing culture of Mission San Jose schools had raised tense race relations and helped to restructure social geog- raphies that reinforced extant racialized stereotypes about Asian Americans in schools. But it also showed how Asian Americans fought back against the mounting criticism to proclaim the value of their spaces and their right to the type and quality of education they had come to expect at Mission High. Ironically, however, as Whites continued to leave Mission San Jose schools, Asian Americans found themselves fi ghting hard to maintain what some perceived as racially segregated schools that were, nonetheless, high- performing. Th is ironic twist in the long and sordid tale of American racial segregation in suburban schools exposed how new dynamics of race and class have challenged the ways public policy makers oft en understand issues of educational equity. For nearly a decade, between 1991 and 2000, boundary disputes embit- tered and embattled the Fremont Unifi ed School District. Th e central focus of the debate was the Mission San Jose schools. In 1991, Mission San Jose schools had the highest test scores, the largest percentage of Asian American students, and the highest rates of overenrollment and overcrowding among all fi ve Fremont attendance areas. 82 With the goals of equalizing enrollment, facilities, and curriculum across the district, the Fremont School Board began discussions about redrawing school attendance boundaries. Early talks signaled that some Mission San Jose students would no longer be tracked into the esteemed Mission High. Aft er several years of debating which Mission San Jose elementary school was to leave the attendance area and fl i p - fl opping on whether boundary changes would occur at all, in 2000 the school board fi nally settled on Fred E. Weibel Elementary. Weibel was then the highest-ranked Fremont elementary school and the third highest-ranking elementary school in the state and had the largest percentage of Asian American students of any school in the district, with a 75% Asian American This content downloaded from 220.127.116.11 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms 88 • A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? student body. Draft ed in 1999, the plan would direct students from Weibel to Irvington High, where API scores were more than 200 points lower than Mission High and non-Hispanic White students were in the majority. Th e reaction of Mission San Jose parents was immediate and intense. When the school board was deciding which Mission elementary school was to be redirected to Irvington High, Ellie Cho, who was enrolled in a Mission San Jose elementary school, recalled heated parent meetings that sometimes spilled over into arguments between parents at her brother’s Boy Scout meet- ings. School board meetings oft en brought out hundreds of angry parents opposing any changes to the Mission San Jose attendance boundaries. Various protests were organized, including one in which around 175 cars drove around Irvington High to highlight the long commutes and traffi c that would be caused by the change. Susan Barnett, a Mission High teacher, recalled several cars displaying placards reading “Our kids will never go here!” “It got very nasty,” she explained. At least four diff erent groups opposing the proposed boundaries were formed, mostly among parents at Weibel. Stacy Zhong, an immigrant from Hong Kong who had moved into the Weibel attendance area primarily for the schools, was heavily involved in one of these groups. She described how she and other parents sent fl iers to every home in the neighborhood, collected donations, built a website, organized parents to attend Fremont Unifi ed School District meetings, and began a campaign to recall several school board members. Among many other things, parents accused Superintendent Sharon Jones, who proposed and defended the plan, of “social engineering,” or purposive manipulation of the school system by moving students for the sole purpose of raising test scores across the district rather than investing in improving schools. 83 In the lead-up to the decision, parents booed, hissed, and shouted profani- ties at board members during public meetings while bearing signs that read “No, no, no boundary change or see you in court.” 84 Witnesses recalled meet- ings in which students, parents, and school board members were crying. Police offi cers were present at several meetings that lasted well into the even- ing during which hundreds of parents signed up to address the board. Tanya Saito, a Japanese American student at Mission High who served as a repre- sentative to the board, said that she was sometimes scared to leave the meet- ings alone and had to be escorted out. “We were defi nitely hated at the time,” she recalled. Even 15 years later, she was still visibly upset by the memory of how those times divided her community. This content downloaded from 18.104.22.168 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? • 89 Th e views of Weibel parents were not, however, uniform. Th ough some residents argued that both Asian American and White parents were equally upset by the proposed boundary changes, most agreed that Asian American parents were the most upset and active in opposing them. Part of the reason was simply because Weibel was a 75% Asian American school. But there were other reasons as well. Sitting in the home that she had custom built only blocks from Mission High in order to ensure that her children would receive a coveted spot in the school, Stacy Zhong explained that Asian Americans were the most involved because “the whole reason that they had moved to the area is because of the schools.” In contrast, working on the campaign against the boundary changes, Stacy was shocked to fi nd that there were White par- ents who thought that sending their children to Irvington High was a good idea because it was less competitive and their children would have a better chance to “shine.” None of the Asian American families she knew felt the same. “Asian parents want to give their child [the] most, how do you say, competition. Th ey think that you challenge the children in order for them to succeed. You don’t put them in an easy environment so they could feel good,” she explained. Stacy clearly overestimated the extent to which all Asian American parents agreed with her position, yet she also pointed out the dif- ferences that seemed to animate both sides of the debate. Alice Mitchell, who is White, had two children enrolled at Weibel and did not oppose the boundary changes because she felt that her kids would do better at a more “well-rounded” school. She explained that her struggle had not been over whether to send her children to Irvington but rather her initial decision to enroll them at Weibel: We were actually concerned about going to Weibel because of the whole pres- sure cooker elementary school mentality. Not really so sure that I want to do that to my children. Not really so sure that I want to send my children to a school where [when my daughter] was in her kindergarten, there were 120 students in her class. Th ey still had a lottery to get into the school. People camping out at the school to get their ticket to get their child in. And if you didn’t get in, then you [were] overloaded somewhere else. For the 120 kids in her class, I think she was 1 of 5 Caucasians. Th ere was a little bit of concern of being that much of [a] minority. I was like, “Is this really a good thing, not a good thing?” We almost thought that in spite of great tests scores, [it] might not really be what we wanted. Alice said that she was more concerned with her daughter’s shyness at that point than her academics and was looking for a place that would allow her to This content downloaded from 22.214.171.124 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms 90 • A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? “fi ll out on the social side of things.” “We weren’t concerned about her ability to keep up academically,” she explained. “We just wanted to make sure she was going to be able to make friends and explore things socially.” Ultimately, that priority led them to sit out the attendance boundary debate. But as Alice’s comments point out, her social priorities were confl ated with the racial dynamics of Mission San Jose schools in which White students were increasingly in the minority. Like their opinions about White fl ight, the opinions of neither Asian Americans nor White parents about the boundary issues were as simple as these examples suggest. Indeed, parents support for or opposition to the boundary changes were motivated by a complex intersection of various inter- ests and values. Th e boundary dispute, however, helped to show that many White and Asian American parents saw themselves as benefi ting from Mission San Jose schools diff erently. Further, the dispute evidenced the ways in which their views about the kind of education that such schools provided were becoming more and more racially polarized both within Mission San Jose and across the city. Many Asian American parents were not only upset by the prospect of moving to Irvington High but also took off ense at the ways in which school board members approached the issue of the move with parents. Letha Saldanha, an Indian American who served on the Fremont Unifi ed School District’s Equity Commission during the boundary dispute explained to National Public Radio reporter Claudio Sanchez how Asian American par- ents thought diff erently about the issue than members of the school board who were, at the time, mostly White: [Asian American parents] just don’t take a chance with our children’s educa- tion and most of us make a lot of sacrifi ces. Th is is one of the cultural diff er- ences. . . . You don’t go into a meeting with Asian parents and tell them that test scores are not important and that it really doesn’t matter—your child will do well wherever they go—which is what the traditional administration tries to tell us. 85 Th e failure of administrators to understand the weight of the boundary deci- sion for many Asian American parents further fueled racial tensions about the issue. Asian American parents were also deeply off ended by comments made dur- ing various public hearings. Th ey complained of residents who mimicked and mocked their accents, accused them of abusing their children by forcing them This content downloaded from 126.96.36.199 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? • 91 to study, and charged them with making Fremont into another Chinatown. Weibel parents were referred to as excessively wealthy, elitist immigrants who were not assimi lating into A merican cu lture. “Th e fact that [Mission San Jose parents] feel Irvington area schools are somehow inferior to theirs is insult- ing,” Lunette Rawlin, an Irvington High parent, told a San Jose Mercury News reporter during the debates. “Th ey feel that we somehow don’t value our chil- dren’s education as much as they do, and I fi nd this attitude elitist.” 86 In a similar way, Katherine Newman documented how White baby boomers in a New Jersey suburb who were not able to aff ord the middle-class lifestyles that they enjoyed as kids tended to direct their anger toward wealthy Asian A merican fami lies whom they described as “ i l leg itimate elites.” 87 Th e descrip- tion displayed their sense of Asian Americans as foreigners who were taking advantage of an unearned but privileged position in the United States. Like the battles fought inside Mission High, the district-wide debate played on many residents’ sense that Asian Americans’ income, education, and academic achievement were leading to an uneven playing fi eld for Whites. And yet, it also showed how the actions of Asian American families were cast as falling outside the norms of “acceptable” behavior. Comments made about Asian Americans in Mission San Jose schools repeated long-held narratives about Asian Americans as foreigners who were exercising undue control over the fate of the city and introducing ideas and practices that were simply un-American. Th e boundary changes were fi nalized by a vote of four to one by the school board in early 2000. Anna Muh, the fi rst and only Chinese American mem- ber of the school board and the fi rst successful Chinese immigrant to run for offi ce in Fremont, cast the lone vote against the plan. Th e boundary issue, many said, fi gured prominently into her election to the school board, as it helped to galvanize Asian Americans around an issue. 88 Th e other four mem- bers of the board were White, and three were known longtime advocates for Irvington High. 89 When the boundary changes were announced, angry Weibel parents stormed out of the meetings, shouting statements such as “lynch the board” as they left —a biting phrase given the torrid racial history of school desegregation in the United States. 90 In response, Weibel parents initiated a series of legal battles. Among them was a racial discrimination suit fi led by 20 Asian American parents against the Fremont Unifi ed School District, the school board, and the superinten- dent. Th e suit alleged that the district’s plan was racially motivated and designed to divert high-performing Asian American students to other This content downloaded from 188.8.131.52 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms 92 • A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? schools to boost academic scores around the district. Th e lawsuit read as follows: Th e basis of the new boundaries was not equal convenience or equal facilities, but in fact to remove Asian students from the higher performing schools to schools that needed performance scores boosted. Th e board and Superintendent Jones implemented the boundary changes for the purpose of singling out Asian students. 91 Th e suit claimed that the district’s eff ort to seek a racial balance was a viola- tion of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment and sought com- pensatory damages related to any loss in home property values. 92 Meanwhile, some Weibel parents shift ed their focus away from legal action to the creation of a separate Mission San Jose school district. Weibel parents collected over 7,000 signatures in support of the district (as many signatures as the proposed student population), raised over $100,000 in donations, and fi led their petition in Alameda County. 93 Th is was the fi rst time that California had ever seen a new school district petition sponsored by a majority Asian American coalition of parents. Th e proposed district would be over 60% Asian American. In an ironic twist, race and class equity were the central grounds for the county’s and state’s concerns over, and ultimately their denial of, the pro- posed district. In an editorial to the San Jose Mercury News, Fremont super- intendent Sharon Jones argued that the creation of a new Mission San Jose district would “promote racial segregation, cause substantive economic hard- ship to both resulting districts, and signifi cantly erode educational opportu- nities for all students.” 94 Th e Alameda County School Board unanimously rejected the proposal, stating in its report that such a district would carve out an “enclave of privilege” and violate state rules prohibiting racial imbal- ances. 95 On appeal, the California State Board of Education reversed Alameda County’s fi nding regarding racial segregation, arguing that because the proposed district would match the racial composition of the neighbor- hood, this did not constitute segregation. Th e board, however, unanimously upheld the county’s decision to deny the split. Th e denial was largely based on class rather than the racial composition of the new school district, as the board ruled that the proposed district would leave the Fremont Unifi ed School District with more low-income students. Th e various rulings and petitions brought into focus the awkward posi- tion of Asian Americans in educational politics in the city. As racial This content downloaded from 184.108.40.206 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? • 93 minorities, they were subject to forces such as W hite fl ig ht that threatened to isolate them spatially in ways that could disadvantage them. But as a high-income and highly educated group, such isolation might also serve to their advantage relative to less well-off groups, which included both lower- income Whites and other racial minorities. Asian Americans used the tools provided by both their class privilege and status as racial minorities to try to retain their place in Mission San Jose schools. Th e denial of their petition, however, evidenced the limits of their privilege vis-à-vis lower- income groups and other racial minorities in matters of school equity. But it left open questions about how equity is defi ned between high- income Asian Americans and similarly situated Whites as well as among groups that claim to hold such diff erent defi nitions of a high-quality education. In the end, the redistricting plan seemed to achieve the goal of promoting greater program equity across the district, at least in Irvington. By 2009, the percentage of A sian A mericans at Ir ving ton Hig h had doubled to 50% of the student population. Meanwhile, Irvington’s API scores rose from a base score of 715 in 2000 to 831 in 2010, earning it a ranking among US News and World Report ’s top 1% of American public schools in 2009 and 2010. More AP classes were off ered at Irvington, in part due to a compromise with Weibel parents to drop legal action in exchange for, among other things, increasing the number of honors and advanced placement courses at Irvington and allowing students to take classes at Mission High not off ered at Irvington High. During the same period, Weibel Elementary dropped from the num- ber three–rated elementary school in the state to the number three–rated elementary in the district. However, the plan left many highly upset Asian American parents in its wake. Mission High principal Sandy Prairie contrasted the experiences of White parents whose children went to Irvington, who for the most part were “very, very happy,” with the experience of Asian American parents, who “resolved their issues” and “made it work.” Letha Saldanha expressed the disappointment felt by many A sian A merican parents over the school board ’s handling of the issue: Th ere is a myth going on that everything is so peaceful in Fremont aft er the boundary change and everybody is happy. It’s not that everybody is happy. It’s that the people who were impacted have given up and aren’t seething and have just said, “Hey, they’re not going to listen to us so, we are going to work through it.” 96 This content downloaded from 220.127.116.11 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms 94 • A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? Ironically, one of the ways in which many Asian families chose to “work through it” has reinforced the racial divisions between Mission San Jose and the rest of the district, which were at issue in the boundary dispute. According to several residents, aft er redistricting, Asian American families were more likely than White families to send their children to private schools or move into the new Mission High attendance area or out of the district altogether. Sitting in his modest ranch-style home only blocks from Mission High, Randy Zeng explained how he and four other Chinese American families he knew moved from Weibel into the new Mission High boundaries aft er the plan was passed. To do so, he sold his 3,500-square-foot custom-built house and moved into a 1,500-square-foot older home in Mission Ranch, a neighborhood that he felt would be safe from future boundary disputes. Stacy Zhong did the same. She allowed her daughter to fi nish at Weibel and then sent her to private school for two years while her son completed his last two years there, and she and her husband remodeled a home in view of Mission High School. Right aft er her son graduated, they moved into their home inside the new Mission District. According to Principal Sandy Prairie, the district’s underestimation of the value that people placed on Mission San Jose schools is why the plan failed to reach its population targets for the Mission District: What I think the superintendent and school board never dreamed would happen is that people then would be willing to sell their houses once they got out of junior high and move into the attendance area when they hit high school. And that’s what we started to see happen. And that’s why our popula- tion never, ever really went down. 97 In 2001, the year when the boundary change fi rst went into eff ect, the popu- lation at Mission High went down by about 140 students and continued to fall for the next two years. But by year three the numbers started to climb up again, such that by 2009 the school enrollment was back to its 2000 levels. Meanwhile, the Asian American student population and its relative portion of the student body continued to rise year aft er year. While failing to reach its population goals for Mission San Jose schools, the boundary changes and the reactions of students, parents, and administra- tors to them heightened social tensions over the racial, ethnic, and class composition of the schools. Within the debates, Asian Americans continued to be stereotyped as high achieving but abnormal and out of place. But Asian American families fought back against these stereotypes and for a place in Mission San Jose schools. To many Fremont residents and city offi cials, the This content downloaded from 18.104.22.168 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? • 95 debates exposed how deeply Asian American families, particularly Chinese and Indian immigrant families, felt about the schools and what was at stake in their children’s academic success. It cast into stark relief the diff erences between many White and Asian Americans’ defi nitions of a “high-quality education” and how these diff erences are resolved in education politics. • • • In searching for solutions to 21st-century challenges of racial inequality, the past seems to hold fewer and fewer clues to the future. As rapid immigration and internal migration have stirred the American melting pot, old lines have been broken and new ones are emerging. Th ese divisions do not look like or act like the old ones, nor are they driven by the same forces. In Silicon Valley, Asian American and White parents’ interracial academic competition and diff erent defi nitions of “good schools” are among the major drivers of their social geographies. While Asian American families struggle to provide their children with the most rigorous education they can aff ord, some White fami- lies are leaving these same schools that they view as too intense, stressful, and competitive. Just as the failure of schools oft en shapes suburban communi- ties, so too does their success. 98 Regardless of the source, however, the emerging racial divide in Silicon Valley schools and neighborhoods is troubling. Many of the Asian American parents with whom I spoke did not want their children to attend predomi- nantly Asian American schools. Indeed, like most minorities, they held greater preferences for living in racially integrated communities than did White Americans. 99 Many Asian Americans felt that the departure of White families left them in a more “ghettoized” community that was subject to easy stereotyping. While many did not want their children spending their time in theater classes or playing football, they also did not have a problem with other children doing so and welcomed the diversity that White students had once brought to Mission San Jose schools. But aft er the exodus of so many White families, many Asian American parents, especially immigrants, felt that they had little choice. If they wanted to keep their children enrolled in a high-performing, academically rigorous school, they had to keep them in Mission San Jose schools. It was, aft er all, the reason why most had moved to the neighborhood in the fi rst place. During our conversations, some began to question the wisdom of their decisions. Th ey worried that the Mission High “bubble” created a false sense This content downloaded from 22.214.171.124 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms 96 • A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? of the world in which their children were in the majority and among the most successful but was not preparing them for the “real world.” In a society where power and opportunity are not equally distributed based on one’s merit (or test scores), these parents struggled to prepare their children with a useful skillset to navigate the terrain outside their neighborhoods. As Wendy Cheng has noted of Asian Americans in San Gabriel Valley, many did not “feel” their race or the limits of their racialized privilege until they left the boundaries of their community. 10 0 By encountering fewer and fewer Whites in their schools and neighborhoods, many worried that their children would lack the social capital and networks needed to break through the glass ceiling. And indeed, in a market in which 80% to 90% of jobs go unadvertised and are obtained through personal networks, their concerns seem all too justifi ed. 101 Just down the road from Mission San Jose in Cupertino, Tomás Jiménez and Adam Horowitz observed that Asian Americans’ performance in schools challenged the characterization of Whites as the taken-for-granted bench- mark population that sets achievement norms to which all other populations adjust. 102 While I agree that Asian Americans have challenged these norms, they have not completely upset them. Nor have they taken away the power of dominant educational norms to bestow benefi ts upon White Americans within contexts in which they are not in the minority. In leaving Mission San Jose for other neighborhoods, White Americans seems to be reasserting their benchmark status. In tackling this divide, old policy paradigms of educational equity based on Black-White and urban-suburban divides fail to address new realities. Th e debates over school boundaries showed how awkward it was to fi t Asian Americans into boxes of privilege that had largely been drawn for Whites. In apply ing establ ished criteria to prevent seg regation in schools, A sia n A merica n families received mixed messages about their place in the educational system. On the one hand, they were told that their status as racial minorities made them more vulnerable to the forces of segregation and therefore that they could not, even by their own will, voluntarily separate themselves from others. On the other hand, they were told that their desires to create their own school district was “elitist.” Th eir economic status made for easy parallels to the NIMBY reactions of White communities past and present. 103 Undoubtedly, class interests aff ected the desires of Asian Americans to remain in the Mission San Jose district, and their class status enabled their resistance to the boundary changes. But their racial privilege did not work in the same way that it did for Whites. While Asian Americans might have This content downloaded from 126.96.36.199 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms A Quality Education fo7b W7fom? • 97 wanted to carve out an “enclave of privilege,” their enclave was one in which racialized perceptions about them as foreigners, abnormal, and unwilling to adjust to the norms of middle-class suburban American life left them as the target of various forms of otherizing. As much as they prized Mission San Jose schools, Asian Americans also wanted to be able to live in diverse com- munities. Many remained in the face of White fl ight simply because they felt as though there were very few places in which their educational practices were understood and valued, such as at Mission High. But their decision came at the cost of living in more racially integrated neighborhoods—a cost that nag ged at many residents as they considered the va lue of their new found community. Th e debate seemed to be a missed opportunity to have a meaningful con- versation about the diversity of educational goals and interests that Asian Americans brought to Silicon Valley and how schools and neighborhoods could adapt. In this case it might not have meant that Asian American fami- lies would not have had to leave the Mission San Jose schools, but perhaps they felt better about doing so. It might have meant that they did not leave school board meetings bitter that their voices were not heard, that they believed that public offi cials were seeking out creative solutions to meet their needs, and that their core values were not sidelined or discounted. By helping residents work through their fears, policy makers can help communities not only fi nd solutions to tough problems but also build respect and tolerance for diff erence in the process. 10 4 While schools have been at the forefront of Silicon Valley’s politics of development and demographic change, Asian Americans have also quietly made home in the region in other ways. Just down the road from Mission High are several ethnic shopping centers that are popular among Asian American students, who regularly gather there aft er school and on the week- ends for a needed pause from their otherwise pressure-fi lled lives. Th ese shop- ping centers are beloved and active in the lives of their parents and grandpar- ents as well. Th ese multigenerational gathering spaces, however, have not simply faded into the background of suburban shopping centers lining Fremont’s freeway exits and major arteries. Like schools, these spaces have become fl ash points for larger politics over racial and ethnic change in the region. Th ey have become places in which questions about what it means for communities to roll out the welcome mat and make a place for diff erence are being hashed out among friends, neighbors, and various political and eco- nomic interests. This content downloaded from 188.8.131.52 on Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:33:33 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms
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