dilluns, de desembre 31, 2012

Mexico Lifting Gay Blood Donation Ban: Report

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/27/mexico-gay-blood-donation-ban-lift_n_2370570.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003


Mexico Lifting Gay Blood Donation Ban: Report


Posted:   |  Updated: 12/27/2012 2:31 pm EST


Mexico has reportedly become the first North American country to end its ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men.
Blabbeando reports that new blood donation regulations came into effect Dec. 25, which screen donors based on sexual history rather than sexual orientation, meaning that HIV and Hepatitis negative gay and bisexual men with safe-sex histories may donate blood provided they are not sex workers or injecting drug users.
The report also notes that Mexico's National Council to Prevent Discrimination (CONAPRED) has released a statement both confirming and applauding the new regulations.
The statement reads in part:
"...From now on, medical/scientific criteria will be used to identify pathogens in the blood and the focus will be turned to risky behaviors rather than social groups.
In making these discriminatory distinctions, the [previous] norm explicitly violated the prohibition against discrimination present in the Constitution and the Federal Law to Prevent and Eliminate Discrimination, as well as Article 24 of the American Convention on Human Rights and Article 26 of the International Civil and Political Rights Treaty, among other international instruments of law, which establish that every person is equal before the law regardless of any condition."

Clam popular a Palma per la Independència dels Països Catalans

http://www.llibertat.cat/2012/12/clam-per-la-independencia-20364


Clam popular a Palma per la Independència dels Països Catalans

Recorden que hi ha més de vuitanta persones a les Illes encausades i immerses en processos judicials "per la seva lluita contra la política del PP".

Més de set mil persones segons els organitzadors, s'han manifestat aquest diumenge pels principals carrers del centre de Palma  per reclamar la independència dels Països Catalans en la commemoració del 31 de Desembre, data que recorda l'entrada de Jaume I a l'Illa.
La marxa estava convocada per la Plataforma 31-D sota el lema "Els Països Catalans decidim: autodeterminació!". El conjunt d'organitzacions de l'Esquerra Independentista de Mallorca (EIM), que forma part de la plataforma, farà bloc propi sota el lema: “Independència, socialisme i feminisme”.
Els nombrosos assistents, concentrats a l'inici de la marxa en el Passeig del Born, portaven esteladas i un dels crits més corejats fou el d'Independència. El portaveu de la Plataforma 31-D, Joan Mateu Ferrando, va considerar que "cada vegada hi ha més motius" per reclamar l'autodeterminació i va defensar la importància que aquesta independència sigui conjunta, de tots els Països Catalans. Així, en relació al procés obert a Catalunya, va remarcar que és necessari reivindicar que Balears també forma part d'aquest espai.
Després de recórrer els principals carrers de Palma, la marxa va acabar a la plaça dels Patins, on els 4 independentistes que van ser encausats -i avui ja absolts- pels incidents de la Diada de Mallorca de l’any 2010, van llegir un manifest que que denuncia la política empresa pels governs de Bauzá i Rajoy i remarca que el conjunt de la nació pateix "un dels atacs més durs a la identitat nacional des del final del franquisme". En aquest sentit, es va fer referència explícita a mesures com l'eliminació del català com a requisit per a accedir a l'administració o a l'espanyolització del nom d'alguns municipis de les Illes.
El text del manifest posa èmfasi en el fet que actualment hi ha més de vuitanta persones a les Illes encausades i immerses en processos judicials 'per la seva lluita contra la política del PP'. Amb tot, s'hi destaca també que tot plegat ha generat la històrica construcció de plataformes i entitats que lluiten per a mostrar-hi rebuig.
Un cop llegit el manifest la marxa es donà per tancada amb la Muixeranga, els Segadors i la Balanguera, i els concerts d'Al-Mayurqa, Valtònic, Eixut i la colla de bastoners de Gràcia "Cop a cop".
Darrere de la Plataforma 31-D hi ha des de PSM-IV-E i Esquerra fins a l'STEI-i, les organitzacions de l'Esquerra Independentista de Mallorca (Pinyol VermellAlerta SolidàriaSEPCEndavant-OSAN i Arran), l'Assemblea Nacional Catalana de Mallorca, el Grup Blanquerna, Solidaritat per la Independència i l'associació Diada de Mallorca.
Durant la darrera setmana ja s'han fet més de mig centenar d'actes arreu de l'illa, en commemoració del 31 de Desembre, que han comptat amb una nombrosa participació.

The best tablet computers of 2012

http://mg.co.za/article/2012-12-31-tablets-of-2012

Arthur Goldstuck looks at the best tablet computers of 2012.


The best tablet on the market is not always the best value for money on the market.
While most major technology manufacturers make tablets, not all are able to bring them to market at prices that makes sense. As a result, no-name brands compete alongside the biggest names in the business. They can’t match the quality of the big guys, but their prices are often unbeatable.
The choice for the best tablets of the year takes both of these factors into account. The tablet ranking is divided into 10” devices or thereabouts, those with screens smaller than 9”, and then the overall choice of Tablet of the Year.

10” Tablets
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 has one differentiator that looks pretty mundane when you merely examine the specs: a detachable stylus – the S-Pen – for writing and drawing on the tablet screen. It’s pressure sensitive, which allows it to come into its own for creating art that requires the simulation of different levels of pressure. The Note includes a tilt-to-zoom feature, which takes some getting used to, but can enhance photography and gaming alike. 
The iPad 4 whips the Note on price but, beyond the dazzlingly sharp retina display, it has introduced little differentiation from its predecessors. The screen does put it ahead of Samsung’s other 10” play, the updated Galaxy Tab, though, despite the latter adding facial recognition to the mix.
Little separates the top three, with each claiming the edge in one or two departments. The honorable mention, however, may be a surprise. The iPad 2 is now 18 months old, but for that very reason Apple has slashed its price, despite it being adequate for most tablet tasks. That makes it the best value for money 10” tablet on the market.
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 N8000, with S-Pen stylus. 1 GHz Dual Core processor, 2GB RAM, 600g. Ships with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). R7699 (Foschini Group)
  • iPad with Retina Display (4th generation). R5195 (iStore)
  • Galaxy Tab 2 P5100 10.1”, Android 4.0, 1GHz Dual Core processor, 1GB RAM, 32GB storage, microSD slot, face recognition, voice calls. R5899 (Foschini Group)
  • Honorable mention iPad 2, R4199 (iStore)
Tablets – 7”-9”
The iPad mini is a surprise package in every sense of the word. While we know the screen is close to 8”, the number 7 in the specs fools us into thinking it is on a par with standard 7” screens. It isn’t. It’s not very much smaller than a full-sized iPad, yet is so thin and light, it is far more portable. The operations are smooth, the battery life is satisfying and the price … that price! Considering that the name-brand equivalents available in South Africa, from Samsung and Huawei, start at around R4 500, this is one of the great tablet buys of the year.
It’s worth mentioning the budget tablets here as well, and three of the ones I have used give a satisfying price-performance ratio: Colpad 2 from TabletWorld, the no-name brand 7” from Android-tablets.co.za, and the locally adapted Wise Touch from Wise Tablets.
  • iPad mini, 7.85” screen. R3395 (iStore)
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab P7300 8.9” screen, 1GHz processor, 1GB RAM, 16GB storage, 3G, Wi-Fi, USB. R6198 (8ta)
  • Colpad 2 3G, Android 4.0, 7” screen, 1GHz processor, 4GB storage, dual SIM slot, 3G and Wi-Fi. R1999 (Tabletworld.co.za)
  • Android-tablets 7”Gen 1, Android 2.3, 1.2GHz processor, 4GB storage, microSD slot, 3G and Wi-FI. R1150 (Android-tablets.co.za)
  • Wise Touch 7” Gen 1, Android 2.3, 1GHz processor, 4GB storage, microSD slot, Wi-Fi, localised apps. R1395 (wiseshop.co.za)
Tablet of the year
Finally, the Tablet of the Year, chosen from the devices above: the iPad mini. Give it a USB port, and it would be my overall Gadget of the Year. That honour goes to a non-consumer item, the Alcatel-Lucent lightRadio, a cellular base station that fits into the palm of your hand. It is so small and portable you probably will never spot one in use, yet it has the potential to solve most of the problems with holes in urban network coverage that bedevil mobile communications.
The iPad mini is not designed to solve anyone’s problems except those of Apple itself. It introduced the device as a result of watching its competitors taking ownership of the 7” tablet market, which late chief executive Steve Jobs insisted would never be viable.
The current slump in Apple’s share price is partly ascribed to the fact that the iPad mini for the first time positions Apple as a follower rather than leader and innovator. But it also shows that, even when following, Apple is hard to beat. – Gadget.co.za
Arthur Goldstuck is editor-in-chief of Gadget and founder of World Wide Worx. Follow him on Twitter orPinterest

Jeje, solo por postiar algo xD


diumenge, de desembre 30, 2012

SBS K-pop Super Concert in America Girls' Generation - Intro + Ge...

Chale...

http://www.lemonde.fr/technologies/article/2012/12/28/apple-abandonne-les-poursuites-contre-le-dernier-telephone-samsung_1811267_651865.html


Apple abandonne les poursuites contre le dernier téléphone Samsung

Le Monde.fr avec AFP |  • Mis à jour le 



Un iPhone 4S d'Apple et un Galaxy S de Samsung.

Le géant informatique américain Apple a accepté vendredi 28 décembre d'abandonner ses poursuites contre le dernier modèle de son rival Samsung dans la guerre des brevets qui les oppose, car le fabricant coréen a assuré qu'il ne le vendrait pas aux Etats-Unis.
"Apple va accepter sans demander de dommages et intérêts de retirer sa demande [antérieure] d'inclure le Galaxy S III Mini dans ce litige, étant donné les déclarations de Samsung selon lesquelles il ne va pas fabriquerutiliseroffrir,vendre ou importer ce produit aux Etats-Unis", explique le fabricant à la pomme dans un document enregistré auprès du tribunal fédéral de San Jose (Californie).

Le mois dernier, Apple avait demandé l'ajout de toute une série de modèles de téléphones multifonctions de Samsung à son litige avec le fabricant coréen. Apple s'est par ailleurs vu débouter à la mi-décembre de sa demande d'interdire à la vente d'autres smartphones de Samsung.

BATAILLE DEVANT LES TRIBUNAUX
La première manche de l'affrontement Apple-Samsung, le plus important de ce type depuis des années aux Etats-Unis, avait été remportée par la société américaine le 24 août : les jurés avaient conclu que Samsung avait bien violé ses brevets et devait verser 1,049 milliard de dollars de dédommagements.
Les deux groupes sont en concurrence directe sur le marché des smartphones et des tablettes informatiques, Samsung occupant la première place mondiale pour les premiers et Apple pour les secondes. Ils ferraillent devant les tribunaux de plusieurs pays, où ils s'accusent mutuellement de violations de brevets, avec des résultats jusqu'ici très variables

Sweden turns imported waste into energy

Arrests ordered in singer's mysterious death

Chale

http://www.lemonde.fr/technologies/article/2012/12/28/apple-abandonne-les-poursuites-contre-le-dernier-telephone-samsung_1811267_651865.html


Apple abandonne les poursuites contre le dernier téléphone Samsung

Le Monde.fr avec AFP |  • Mis à jour le 

Un iPhone 4S d'Apple et un Galaxy S de Samsung.
Le géant informatique américain Apple a accepté vendredi 28 décembre d'abandonner ses poursuites contre le dernier modèle de son rival Samsung dans la guerre des brevets qui les oppose, car le fabricant coréen a assuré qu'il ne le vendrait pas aux Etats-Unis.
"Apple va accepter sans demander de dommages et intérêts de retirer sa demande [antérieure] d'inclure le Galaxy S III Mini dans ce litige, étant donné les déclarations de Samsung selon lesquelles il ne va pas fabriquerutiliseroffrir,vendre ou importer ce produit aux Etats-Unis", explique le fabricant à la pomme dans un document enregistré auprès du tribunal fédéral de San Jose (Californie).

Le mois dernier, Apple avait demandé l'ajout de toute une série de modèles de téléphones multifonctions de Samsung à son litige avec le fabricant coréen. Apple s'est par ailleurs vu débouter à la mi-décembre de sa demande d'interdire à la vente d'autres smartphones de Samsung.

BATAILLE DEVANT LES TRIBUNAUX
La première manche de l'affrontement Apple-Samsung, le plus important de ce type depuis des années aux Etats-Unis, avait été remportée par la société américaine le 24 août : les jurés avaient conclu que Samsung avait bien violé ses brevets et devait verser 1,049 milliard de dollars de dédommagements.
Les deux groupes sont en concurrence directe sur le marché des smartphones et des tablettes informatiques, Samsung occupant la première place mondiale pour les premiers et Apple pour les secondes. Ils ferraillent devant les tribunaux de plusieurs pays, où ils s'accusent mutuellement de violations de brevets, avec des résultats jusqu'ici très variables

En un país donde hay aborto selectivo... a ver si pelan

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/dec/30/india-gang-rape-un-call-action


India gang-rape victim cremated as UN chief calls for action to protect women

UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon urges Indian government to act urgently following death of 23-year-old Delhi student
Indian protesters rally in Delhi following the cremation of the 23-year-old gang-rape victim
Indian protesters rally in Delhi following the cremation of the 23-year-old gang-rape victim. Photograph: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images
The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, has urged the Indian government to take action to protect women after a 23-year-old student died of injuries sustained during a gang rape in Delhi.
"Every girl and woman has the right to be respected, valued and protected," Ban said in a statement in which he welcomed efforts by the government but called for "further steps and reforms to deter such crimes and bring perpetrators to justice".
The intervention of the UN takes the fallout from the incident two weeks ago to a new level and underlines the damage it has done to India's international image, already battered by corruption scandals, a huge power failure earlier this year, and slowing economic growth.
The body of the still unnamed victim was cremated according to Hindu rites in Delhi shortly after dawn on Sunday. More details have emerged about her: the eldest of three children, she was reportedly a bright and funny independent woman from a humble background who impressed her tutors at medical college and taught schoolchildren in the family home, a one-bedroom flat, to help with finances. Her father is reported to be a loader at Delhi's airport.
Friends quoted by local media said she was planning to marry the 28-year-old male friend she was with when the attack took place.
The prime minister, Manmohan Singh, and Sonia Gandhi, the president of the ruling Congress party, met the plane carrying her remains from Singapore, where doctors had tried to save her life following 10 days of treatment in India. Singh and Gandhi, with other senior Indian politicians, have been criticised for their slow and high-handed response to the incident, which has generated outrage, grief and anger across India.
"It's been a huge challenge to all of them. They have seen the whole affair as basically a law and order problem. There has been no conversation. But that style of top-down politics is not going to work any more, particularly with young, aspirational urban people," Swapan Dasgupta, a Delhi-based analyst, said.
Figures published on Sunday revealed that despite 635 reported cases of rape and 745 arrests in Delhi this year, there has been only one conviction. A total of 572 rapes were reported to Delhi police in 2011, up from 507 in 2010, 469 in 2009 and 466 in 2008. The government has said it will bring in fast-track courts to accelerate the legal process.
The funeral was conducted in secrecy and under heavy police guard, with the media abiding by a collective decision to stay away. Demonstrations calling for reforms and the execution of the six men detained for the attack continued in Delhi and other major cities, as they have done every day for nearly two weeks.
Despite a major security operation that has kept mourners and protesters away from the centre of the capital, there were some clashes on Sunday afternoon. Local newspapers said more than 18,000 police had been deployed, nearly a quarter of the Delhi force's total strength.
India has been plunged into an extraordinary bout of self-analysis following the woman's death. The media has given blanket coverage of the attack, which took place on a moving bus in south Delhi on 16 December.
All of Sunday's front pages and news bulletins were devoted to the incident and its aftermath. High profile new year parties in the capital and elsewhere have been cancelled. Bollywood stars have expressed their shame and anger. One of the biggest, Shahrukh Khan, posted on Twitter: "Rape embodies sexuality as our culture and society has defined it. I am so sorry that I am a part of this society and culture."
Bollywood itself has been under fire. One columnist spoke of how plots of often classic films "sanctify pestering and stalking of women".
The new interest in sexual crimes has led to reports that would have struggled to make it on air or into newspapers in the normal frenzied India news cycle, where often sensationalist TV channels compete ruthlessly. One major newspaper ran a list of sexual crimes against women that have taken place during the ongoing battle between security forces and Maoist guerillas in the centre of the country. Headlined "Women suffer big in India's state vs rebels war", it held both sides responsible.Over the past 24 hours other reported incidents have included women attempting to take their own lives after being gang raped, the attempted murder of a rape victim in Rajasthan and an infant dying after a rape in Gujerat. In West Bengal a woman was reportedly raped by three hospital workers after seeking treatment for her baby. A woman was also allegedly assaulted on a bus in Delhi. One man was arrested.
India's courts have a backlog of hundreds of thousands of cases, which would take decades to clear if all were heard. Facilities for forensic analysis are few and poorly-equipped. Healthcare in many of the rural areas where assaults are endemic is often rudimentary. The UN has offered to help India "strengthen critical services for rape victims" with technical expertise and other support as required," Ban said. The problem is, however, enormously complex. For example, women in rural India are rendered more vulnerable because a lack of sanitation facilities forces them to defecate in woods or fields after dark.
Dasgupta said the affair had laid bare the gulf between India's political elite and younger voters. "There's a big demographic factor that we are beginning to see. How parties react to it will determine their political future," he said.
Priyamvada Gopal, page 24

Qué buen sencillo, aún después de 22 años xD


What would Girls' Generation do in my place? xD


I just totally looove Boney M


divendres, de desembre 28, 2012

Un cop més, les raons per la independència

http://www.elpuntavui.cat/noticia/article/7-vista/8-articles/605997-un-cop-mes-les-raons-per-la-independencia.html


Un cop més, les raons per la independència
28/12/12 02:00 MIQUEL RIERA
Ara que sembla que tenim un full de ruta clar cap a la independència i que des de Madrid s'endureix l'ofensiva per aturar el procés, fóra bo recordar, un cop més, les raons que ens han dut fins aquí i que van ser el principal motiu que més d'un milió i mig de persones sortissin al carrer per la Diada. Són raons que vénen de molt lluny, des que Felip V va anorrear les institucions catalanes, des de la repressió franquista que va estar a punt d'ensorrar la nostra llengua i la nostra cultura, i que també han persistit, malgrat que molts van creure que passaria tot el contrari, durant tots aquests anys de democràcia. Hi ha, en primer lloc, la permanent constatació que del munt de diners que paguem els catalans a l'estat ens en tornem les engrunes. I no solament això, sinó que aquests diners són invertits en infraestructures deficitàries arreu de les Espanyes, mentre persisteixen importants mancances en aquest camp a Catalunya. La llista és llarga i inclou des del greuge dels peatges, el retard en l'arribada del TAV, la mala gestió als aeroports o coses del tot increïbles com que hi hagi, encara, una sola via ferroviària en un tram molt important de la connexió amb el País Valencià. Espoli fiscal i dèficit d'infraestructures a banda, en el pot de les raons hi ha també el persistent ofec de la identitat catalana amb, com a principal greuge, una llengua que no pot normalitzar-se plenament i que rep atacs constants per part d'un govern que l'hauria de protegir. Tot plegat amanit des del 2006 amb la retallada de l'Estatut i per una sentència del Tribunal Constitucional dictada des dels seients d'una plaça de braus. Amb la diferència que, aquest cop, el brau és a punt de saltar la barrera i fugir lluny, ben lluny.
(Article publicat a Presència número 2131, del 30 de desembre de 2012)Darrera actualització ( Divendres, 28 de desembre del 2012 09:44 )

Ay, pero si los nuevos ricos pululan por todos lados...

Palacio del Hielo en Sochi, listo pa las olimpiadas


China intensifies cyber crackdown

De turista en mi propia ciudad, Museo de Antropología


divendres, de desembre 21, 2012

The Stream - Apocalypse No?

Vaya...

http://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2012/12/20/hollande-denonce-la-colonisation-brutale-en-algerie_1808911_3212.html


Hollande dénonce la colonisation "brutale" en Algérie

Le Monde.fr avec AFP |  • Mis à jour le 

Pues sí, tener sufriendo a la gente no vale la pena...

http://elpais.com/elpais/2012/12/20/opinion/1356033873_156364.html


EDITORIAL

Regular la eutanasia

El Gobierno francés ha aplicado un método de deliberación apropiado para alcanzar consensos




Las tecnologías médicas pueden salvar muchas vidas, pero también prolongar el sufrimiento y la agonía de forma innecesaria. Ocho de cada 10 franceses considera conveniente legislar sobre el derecho de los ciudadanos a morir con dignidad y acelerar, si es necesario, la llegada de la muerte. De acuerdo con este estado de opinión, el Gobierno francés ha anunciado que en los próximos meses enviará al Parlamento un proyecto legislativo para regular la ayuda al suicidio y la asistencia médica en el final de la vida. Con esta decisión, Francia se dispone ahora a transitar un camino, el de la regulación de la eutanasia, que hasta ahora han recorrido en Europa muy pocos países: Bélgica y Holanda han reglamentado la eutanasia activa, mientras que Estonia y Suiza admiten la ayuda al suicidio.
El alcance de la regulación se conocerá en los próximos meses, pero tan relevante como el contenido de la ley es el camino seguido para consensuarlo. El presidente François Hollande creó hace seis meses una comisión interdisciplinar cuyo cometido era recopilar la información necesaria y facilitar una deliberación pública serena y constructiva. Bajo la dirección de esta comisión se han celebrado debates en todo el país y se ha recogido la opinión de decenas de expertos y personas que tenían algo que aportar. La comisión ha emitido un informe que propone regular la ayuda al suicidio y la asistencia médica para acelerar el final de la vida en casos de enfermedad degenerativa en fase terminal e irreversible y siempre a petición del enfermo. La comisión considera que no hay aún consenso para plantear la eutanasia activa —que un médico pueda causar directamente la muerte de un enfermo a petición de este—, pero sí para que pueda facilitarle los medicamentos necesarios para poner fin a su vida. El Gobierno ha encargado ahora al Comité Consultivo Nacional de Bioética que proponga fórmulas concretas de regulación.
Se trata de una iniciativa y un procedimiento apropiados que sería bueno emular al plantear asuntos que generan controversia. El miedo al coste electoral de debates de esta envergadura impide muchas veces abordar cambios legislativos con amplio consenso social, pero que no pueden expresarse políticamente. El resultado es que las posiciones inmovilistas, aunque sean minoritarias, consiguen bloquear cualquier avance. El procedimiento seguido en Francia para abordar esta cuestión es un ejemplo a tener en cuenta.

Fascinante como va presionando el status quo...


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/20/opinion/asians-too-smart-for-their-own-good.html?src=me&ref=general&_r=0

OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Asians: Too Smart for Their Own Good?





AT the end of this month, high school seniors will submit their college applications and begin waiting to hear where they will spend the next four years of their lives. More than they might realize, the outcome will depend on race. If you are Asian, your chances of getting into the most selective colleges and universities will almost certainly be lower than if you are white.
Asian-Americans constitute 5.6 percent of the nation’s population but 12 to 18 percent of the student body at Ivy League schools. But if judged on their merits — grades, test scores, academic honors and extracurricular activities — Asian-Americans are underrepresented at these schools. Consider that Asians make up anywhere from 40 to 70 percent of the student population at top public high schools like Stuyvesant and Bronx Science in New York City, Lowell in San Francisco and Thomas Jefferson in Alexandria, Va., where admissions are largely based on exams and grades.
In a 2009 study of more than 9,000 students who applied to selective universities, the sociologists Thomas J. Espenshade and Alexandria Walton Radford found that white students were three times more likely to be admitted than Asians with the same academic record.
Sound familiar? In the 1920s, as high-achieving Jews began to compete with WASP prep schoolers, Ivy League schools started asking about family background and sought vague qualities like “character,” “vigor,” “manliness” and “leadership” to cap Jewish enrollment. These unofficial Jewish quotas weren’t lifted until the early 1960s, as the sociologist Jerome Karabel found in his 2005 history of admissions practices at Harvard, Yale and Princeton.
In the 1920s, people asked: will Harvard still be Harvard with so many Jews? Today we ask: will Harvard still be Harvard with so many Asians? Yale’s student population is 58 percent white and 18 percent Asian. Would it be such a calamity if those numbers were reversed?
As the journalist Daniel Golden revealed in his 2006 book “The Price of Admission,” far more attention has been devoted to race-conscious affirmative action at public universities (which the Supreme Court has scaled back and might soon eliminate altogether) than to the special preferences elite universities afford to the children of (overwhelmingly white) donors and alumni.
For middle-class and affluent whites, overachieving Asian-Americans pose thorny questions about privilege and power, merit and opportunity. Some white parents have reportedly shied away from selective public schools that have become “too Asian,” fearing that their children will be outmatched. Many whites who can afford it flock to private schools that promote “progressive” educational philosophies, don’t “teach to the test” and offer programs in art and music (but not “Asian instruments,” like piano and violin). At some of these top-tier private schools, too, Asian kids find it hard to get in.
At highly selective colleges, the quotas are implicit, but very real. So are the psychological consequences. At Northwestern, Asian-American students tell me that they feel ashamed of their identity — that they feel viewed as a faceless bunch of geeks and virtuosos. When they succeed, their peers chalk it up to “being Asian.” They are too smart and hard-working for their own good.
Since the 1965 overhaul of immigration law, the United States has lured millions of highly educated, ambitious immigrants from places like Taiwan, South Korea and India. We welcomed these immigrants precisely because they outperformed and overachieved. Yet now we are stigmatizing their children for inheriting their parents’ work ethic and faith in a good education. How self-defeating.
To be clear, I do not seek to perpetuate the “model minority” myth — Asian-Americans are a diverse group, including undocumented restaurant workers and resettled refugees as well as the more familiar doctors and engineers. Nor do I endorse the law professor Amy Chua’s pernicious “Tiger Mother” stereotype, which has set back Asian kids by attributing their successes to overzealous (and even pathological) parenting rather than individual effort.
Some educators, parents and students worry that if admissions are based purely on academic merit, selective universities will be dominated by whites and Asians and admit few blacks and Latinos, as a result of socioeconomic factors and an enduring test-score gap. We still need affirmative action for underrepresented groups, including blacks, Latinos, American Indians and Southeast Asian Americans and low-income students of all backgrounds.
But for white and Asian middle- and upper-income kids, the playing field should be equal. It is noteworthy that many high-achieving kids at selective public magnet schools are children of working-class immigrants, not well-educated professionals. Surnames like Kim, Singh and Wong should not trigger special scrutiny.
We want to fill our top universities with students of exceptional and wide-ranging talent, not just stellar test takers. But what worries me is the application of criteria like “individuality” and “uniqueness,” subjectively and unfairly, to the detriment of Asians, as happened to Jewish applicants in the past. I suspect that in too many college admissions offices, a white Intel Science Talent Search finalist who is a valedictorian and the concertmaster of her high school orchestra would stand out as exceptional, while an Asian-American with the same résumé (and socioeconomic background) would not.
The way we treat these children will influence the America we become. If our most renowned schools set implicit quotas for high-achieving Asian-Americans, we are sending a message to all students that hard work and good grades may be a fool’s errand.

Carolyn Chen is an associate professor of sociology and director of the Asian American Studies Program at Northwestern.

Para moscovitas muy adinerados...

dijous, de desembre 20, 2012