At least academically, it’s an incontrovertible fact that Asian-Americans outperform their white peers (and every other ethnic group). But why such dominance? That’s what sociologists Amy Hsina and Yu Xie set out to uncover, scouring data from two long-term surveys covering more than 5000 U.S. Asian and white students. The answer? It’s a shocker: They work harder.
There is, however, an interesting element: “Students from all Asian ethnic groups put greater importance on effort than on natural ability.” Meaning: White students are more likely to blame poor performance on lack of innate skill, and to exert less effort as a result. Asian students don’t necessarily think they’re smarter–in fact, Hsina and Xie found they have lower self-esteem–but they believe in the power of effort and hard-work to make a difference. The latter is absolutely crucial, and that’s why they succeed.
Of course, it can taken to an extreme. I interact a bit with Amy Chua in my recent book Preparing Your Teens for College (which I enjoyed discussing a few weekends ago with a few hundred Asian-American Christians).
HT: Nancy Pearcey