Chinese Students in America are All ___

Saturday, January 14, 2012 19:39
Posted in category The Big Picture
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Dan over at China Law Blog took a bold step last week by laying out (and accepting comments on) some of the common stereotypes that surround Chinese (some say Asian) students studying in the U.S.

Entitled Chinese Students In America. It’s Bad Out There, the core of the post is a the list of “observations” of Chinese students on U.S. campuses. The list is pretty much what you would expect from the title, and in my 20+ years of studying with, managing, mentoring, and teaching to Chinese students, I cannot say anything here is new or surprising… it’s just all in one place

  • - They don’t come here to learn. They just come here for the grades.” I have heard this one at least a half dozen times.
  • - “I am convinced that if our teacher asked the class what 2+2 equals, and nobody spoke up who is not from China, not a single student from China would answer.” I have heard some form of this one at least a dozen times.
  • - “They are killing class discussion. They never contribute.” One student told me of how all the students not from China agreed not to speak one day to see what would happen. There was no class discussion and the teacher asked them not to do it again.
  • - “I cannot even stand having to listen to them give presentations. Their English is terrible and they don’t even try. Somebody else must have taken the tests for them.”
  • - “The school is going to regret having admitted them. They will never donate money to the school as alumni. It will be like they were never here at all.”

.. and that is just half of Dan’s list

Some of the “observations” on the list, particularly those that are focused on issues of Chinese (asians) integrating on campus,  I would say are valid on the widest most generalized terms.  Others that Dan included in the post (and in the  comments that followed) were either racist in tone, inflammatory, or just go to show the depths of immaturity that some of America’s finest students have to offer.

This list actually reminded me of the ho rah rah surrounding the clip above a couple of years back where a student at UCLA make the epic decision to load a Youtube rant about Asians on campus… and all the parodies that came from it…

In reading this list, one of the more important things that I come away with is the fact that this issue is that not only is this issue not only not going away, it is likely to get worse.  More mainland Chinese students are going to school in the States, with an exponentially increasing growth curve, and many of these schools have been working on building strong foreign student programs for high school and undergraduates alike.  Part of it is economic, perhaps a large part for some schools, but it is also about building the widest possible student bodies possible to provide the deepest ecosystem possible.

At any rate, I recommend readers take a look at Dan’s post, and spend some time in the comments section.  There is a healthy (and for the most part) respectable debate going on in the comments section, and some of the responses from Chinese readers offer nice insights on the stereotypes exists… and why.

* Moderator comment – I have been receiving a number of comments that are in violation of the comments policy. Comments that I will delete.  I am doing so as I am not interested in All Roads becoming the latest medium for personally attacking consultant, lawyers, or accountants who operate inside (and outside of China).  This post is focused on the stereotypes that American students hold of Chinese students, and any comments focused on that subject are welcome.

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