Mormons Versus Asians Smackdown

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Mormons Versus Asians – sounds like promo for the ultimate smackdown between Market Dominant Minorities. But the Mormons win this round, though it’s not clear who wins/loses the ethnic popularity / fear contest when both groups have a history of being persecuted and chased out of places across the western US.

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Here’s another one for the “if Asians are so damn smart why does everybody still think Whites run everything” file. Asiansgot the Tiger Mother From Hell cover, but the Mormons made Newsweek and Business Week. Usually it’s the Jews that Asians get compared with, but Mormons are a more stealthy over-achieving “market dominant” minority. Here’s Business Week’s June 9 2011 take “God’s MBAs: Why Mormon Missions Produce Leaders” on a group that is perhaps one-third the Asian American population but we have ZERO presidential candidates to their two plus:

The Mormon Church is 181 years old, and its adherents compose less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, according to a 2009 American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS). Yet Latter-Day Saints hold, or have held, a seemingly disproportionate number of top jobs at such major corporations as Marriott International (MAR), American Express, American Motors, Dell Computers (DELL), Lufthansa, Fisher-Price (MAT), Life Re, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Madison Square Garden, La Quinta Properties, PricewaterhouseCooper, and Stanley Black & Decker (SWK). The head of human resources at Citigroup is Mormon, and in 2010 Goldman Sachs (GS) hired 31 grads from BYU, the same number it hired from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

If anybody can convert those names to percentages, then I can compare them to other groups, such as the catholics who are 25-33% of everything, but it’s gotta be higher than Asians. Most Asians who convert to western religions are catholic, evangelical, or other ethnic Christians such as Korean churches. It is a faith considerably more strict in some ways than Asian cultures and beliefs that strain the definition of “Christian”, but we don’t hear horror stories about Mormon households as academic gulags in pursuit of Harvard. On the other hand, Mormonism certainly might be one path to success beyond the average Asian experience for those in the market for a different faith. (I had an aunt who went to BYU which was glad to have Chinese students, but she didn’t stick with that church for long)

Then there’s Newsweek’s Mormon moment .”Mormons Rock! They’ve conquered Broadway, talk radio, the U.S. Senate-and they may win the White House. Why Mitt Romney and 6 million Mormons have the secret to success.”. Compared to the 11 Asians in the House and Senate, Newsweek found 15 Mormons in congress, about 5 times as many per capita as Asians.

No question the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is “having a moment.” Not only is Romney running again—this time, he’s likely to be competing against his distant Mormon cousin Jon Huntsman Jr. The Senate, meanwhile, is led by Mormon Harry Reid. Beyond the Beltway, the Twilight vampire novels of Mormon Stephenie Meyer sell tens of millions of copies, Mormon convert Glenn Beck inspires daily devotion and outrage with his radio show, and HBO generated lots of attention with the Big Love finale. Even Broadway has gotten in on the act, giving us The Book of Mormon, a big-budget musical about Mormon missionaries by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Avenue Q writer Robert Lopez that, with 14 nominations, is expected to clean up at the Tony Awards on June 12.

At least nobody is complaining that Mormons are displacing other groups at the Ivy Leage… yet.

Wesley Yang on What Happens To Those Poor Model Minority Kids

Hyphen magazine had this to say about the New York Magazine article on the dark side of the Model Minority Kids. The part I found most interesting was a section that essentially said that the Euro-Americans still had it all over the Asian kids when it came to popularity, sports, and especially SCORING WITH GIRLS. Yeah test scores are nice, but how does an Asian boy compete with a white guy who has great test scores AND HAS THE HOTTEST PROM DATE? (in my case I guess you just go out and find a nice Asian girl with a CS degree…)

Dear Wesley Yang,

Props to you on your New York magazine cover story “Paper Tigers: What happens to all the Asian-American overachievers when the test-taking ends?” which has been re-Tweeted and linked on Facebook by every Asian American with Internet access in the past 24 hours. In its online version, the article has already elicited 180 comments and counting. Many of the comments are part of a fairly vigorous debate between those readers who found your article to be insightful, those who found it to be self-indulgent, and those who hold every other possible opinion that lies between those two poles. I tell ya, there’s something about Asian Pacific Heritage Month that just gets everyone so riled up.

Internally, we at Hyphen had a similar debate. Our staff is diverse in background and opinion — one of our few across-the-board commonalities being reliance on the never-ending email thread — which is reflective of our mission to explore and feature the Asian America that exists outside of Model Minority mythology.

The Model Minority Myth may have been based on generalizations of “Asian culture,” but it has been perpetuated in order to justify tacitly the racial limitations in the workplace and classroom you aptly speak of in your article. Asian American employees are never quite “management material” and Asian American students paradoxically need to out-Asian themselves academically in order to get into elite universities, compared to whites

About the Author

MIT electrical engineering computer science graduate has written conservative columns on politics, race / culture, science and education since the 70s in MIT The Tech and various publications in including New Republic and National Review.