Do schools actually try to choose East Asians over Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders as well as underrepresented people? When i saw the application for colleges (4 years ago) it always grouped Asian and Pacific Islander?
I think there’s a lot of informal bias against all Asians especially at the most elite universities, and attempts to keep the Asian representation down. But when it comes to differences within Asian-American ethnicities, it’s more complicated than that. It’s that we don’t all start in the same place, by any means. Here’s a hypothetical example:
Chinese-American family where both parents are doctors. Children have been extensively prepared for college since sixth grade and expected to attend elite university.
Chinese-American family where parents work in food service. Parents are poor but immigrated with enough social capital to maintain the cultural tradition of the paramount importance of education. Children are encouraged to go to college from young age, and expected to go to the best college that the family can afford. Well prepared.
Cambodian-American family. Parents have severe PTSD from refugee experiences, rarely leave the apartment and do not speak English. Children do not prep for the SAT or have access to tutoring and may also have PTSD due to exposure to gang violence. Not prepared at all.
If you’re an admission officer, you’re going to favor the top two, whether you do or don’t understand the differences between Asian-American ethnicities—If you’re not allowed to consider ethnicity or any other background factors, the groups who are the most disadvantaged will CONTINUE to be the most disadvantaged. And they won’t get much extra help because people outside will point at them and claim “all you Asians are supposed to be so smart, it must be your own fault you didn’t get into that college.”