U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said on Monday that “minority students across America face much harsher discipline than non-minorities, even within the same school” after the release of a study breaking down student racial demographics and suspension rates. The study also shows that APAs are suspended at extremely low rates. Unfortunately, Secretary Duncan’s comment implies that APAs are not minorities.
This is not the first time media coverage of minorities and education has ignored APAs. Two weeks ago, the New York Times published an article called “To Be Black at Stuyvesant High,” which chronicled the day-to-day experience of a black student at a highly selective New York City public school. The author focused little to no attention on APA students. At Stuyvesant, 1.2% of students are black and 2.4% are Hispanic. The proportion of APA students? 72.5%.
It appears to me that the mainstream media outlets are gravely concerned about reporting on aggrieved or oppressed minority populations—so long as they’re not Asian. (Where was the mainstream media coverage on reports that APA students are struggling?) The few times the author of the Times article mentions APAs, she lumps them in with white students. Articles that cover Secretary Duncan’s comments or the study on suspension rates have included no commentary on why APA students are suspended at such low rates.
I’m not sure exactly why—there are too many possible explanations. What do you think?