Radio 101: Are Asian Americans More Successful?

Radio 101: Are Asian Americans More Successful?

11:10am Jul 31, 2015
Ruhani Panwala
Lopa Shah

Radio 101 is WFDD's education program for high school students. Radio 101 reporter, Ruhani Panwala, tells her story.

There is a growing body of evidence that Asian Americans outperform other ethnic groups on measures of academic success. Ruhani Panwala is an Indian America who relates to this trend.  

With help from her father, she drives herself to do well in school. Both Ruhani's father and her Vietnamese friend, Kevin Vo, feel like their parents also inspired them to do well academically.  

"They've been there for me my whole life, so they make me want to study," says Vo. 

Lisa Kiang, a psychology professor at Wake Forest, affirms that sentiment.  

"Asian Americans are often socialized to believe that doing well in school is one way of gaining mobility, gaining success," says Kiang.  

Ruhani admits she studies hard so that she can make enough money to eventually support her family.

Ruhani hopes that her work will pay off  in a higher-paying job, but Kiang says there are no guarantees. She adds that there is a "bamboo ceiling" that prevents Asian Americans from earning the same salaries as whites.

Asian Americans also have to contend with the "model minority" stereotype–the idea that Chinese Americans are good at math, and Indian Americans are good at engineering, etc.  Kiang says that thesestereotypes can be harmful to young people. "It can create a lot of pressure to succeed, and problems if they're not able to live up to these  high expectations."

Ruhani wishes for greater equality between different ethnic groups. She hopes non-Asians find greater success academically, while Asian Americans find greater success economically.