From PNAS:
Scholars have long debated the reasons underlying Asian Americans’ exceptional educational outcomes. Psychologists emphasize individual cognitive ability and the effects of stereotypes on performance. Culturalists point to values, beliefs, norms, and behavioral patterns unique and intrinsic to ethnicity. Structuralists focus on socioeconomic status within and beyond the family, including a group’s position in a society’s status hierarchy. Data limitations and quantitative modeling constraints, combined with contentious ethnic politics, have rendered social scientists at an intellectual stalemate. This standstill has consequences: The lack of a strong social science voice in the debate has lead pundits to liberally evoke culture to explain poor or exceptional group outcomes; the simplistic framing of group culture has fanned fury, pitted groups against each other, and led Civil Rights activists to advocate for group interests to promote a political agenda. Meanwhile, the general public has remained deprived of knowledge generated from rigorous scientific research. However, Amy Hsin and Yu Xie propel the debate forward with their refreshing analyses and insight in their PNAS report, “Explaining Asian Americans’ academic advantage over whites”. [Jennifer Lee, Department of Sociology, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697]

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