The Asian American Obsession with the Ivies

The Asian American frenzy for top-tier schools, such as the Ivy League, Stanford, John Hopkins, and the likes, is a well-known phenomenon no better exemplified by the Affirmative Action Harvard lawsuit. The case sees a faction of Asian Americans, led by a white conservative activist, challenge Affirmative Action on the grounds that the university is discriminating against Asian American applicants. It is, on part, driven by the Asian American obsession with elite institutions like Harvard. The question then arises; what structural institutions shaped the Asian American obsession with higher education?

This article explores the historical and contemporary institutions that have built and sustained this obsession; in particular, the paper demonstrates the degree to which popular belief has over-emphasized the historical influence on modern Asian American perspectives of education.

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