May 29, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Asian Americans back teaching about slavery, oppose race in college admissions

Bayside High School Asian American seniors walk to their seats for their graduation ceremony

Bayside High School seniors walk to their seats for their graduation ceremony held on the St John's University campus in the Queens borough of New York. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

Asian Americans overwhelmingly support teaching historical topics like slavery, racism, and segregation in public schools but strongly oppose colleges using race and ethnicity in admissions, according to a new survey.

Why it matters: This data is a rare look at the nuances Asian Americans have around race and education four years after the pandemic, when the nation saw surges in anti-Asian hate and a racial awakening sparked by the murder of George Floyd.

The big picture: The broad survey of AAPI residents about education came right before pro-Palestinian protests struck college campuses and after previous studies showed Asian Americans are still worried about hate crimes.

By the numbers: 7 out of 10 of those in this most recent survey support teaching of slavery, racism, and segregation in K-12 public schools, a new AAPI Data/AP-NORC survey reveals.

  • Another survey shows that 9 out of 10 U.S. parents of K-12 students, regardless of what race they are, think slavery should be taught.
  • There's less agreement among Asian Americans when it comes to teaching about sex and sexuality, although more than half (53%) are in favor and 19% opposed, the survey found

Yes, but: Just 18% of Asian American adults think universities should consider race and ethnicity in admissions.

Zoom in: Few support school boards influencing what is taught in K-12 classrooms.

  • Fifty-six percent of AAPI adults oppose individual school boards restricting what teachers and students discuss — with just 17% approving of such influence.

Between the lines: An Axios review of federal data on the 70th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Brown vs. Board of Education ruling that banned separating schoolchildren by race found that America's public schools are becoming more separate and unequal.

  • The typical Asian American student, however, attended a school with a larger proportion of another race: 34.3% white and 25.1% Asian American on average — one of the nation's most racially integrated student populations.
  • That's unlike white, Black or Latino students who typically attend segregated schools.

Methodology: The survey was conducted from April 8 to 17, 2024, by The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and AAPI Data, using the Amplify AAPI Monthly survey drawing from NORC's Amplify AAPI® Panel designed to be representative of the U.S. Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander household population.

  • Online and telephone interviews were offered in English, the Chinese dialects of Mandarin and Cantonese, Vietnamese, and Korean with 1,068 Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders aged 18 and older living in the United States.
  • The margin of sampling error is +/-4.7 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample.
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