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surrounded by white people

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Having been surrounded by Asian American people all my life, I've been kind of shocked at how white grad school is. My house has almost 60 people, and last semester there were around 6 including me, which is an increase from previous years. My department has the same ratio: about 6 Asian Americans out of almost 60 grad students.

According to the official figures from UC Berkeley (download a copy), out of 8372 graduate students from the U.S., 1776, or 21%, are Asian American or Pacific Islander. Compare with 4258, or just over 51%, who are White. Certainly API is the second largest group (third is "No data" at 860, followed by Chicano/Latino at 640, "Other" at 395, Black at 328, and Native American at 115), but it pales in comparison with the undergraduate population: 10456 API out of 24076, which is 43%, compared with 7740 White (32%).

When I was admitted to grad school, I thought it a little odd that my financial aid was from the Eugene Cota-Robles Fellowship, which (as I understand it) is for supporting underrepresented students, but now it makes total sense.

As a side note, there are 1886 international grad students, and out of those 1305 are male, 581 are female. That's almost 70%!

Him Mark Lai

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Today I went to a lunch thing, a Roots program reunion in honor of Him Mark. Him Mark is basically THE guy who got the field of Chinese American history going. My contact with him is through setting up the Roots village database:

He's actually very inspiring. He knows pretty much everything, and he's been collecting materials on Chinese America for most of his life. He's donating his collection to the Ethnic Studies Library here at UC Berkeley.

I found an interview with him from 2003, published in The Public Historian. It's autobiographical, and a fascinating read:

Him Mark Lai: Reclaiming Chinese American History

We talked a little bit today about migration history. He said it would be interesting to map out where all the clans were, just to see the geographic distribution. This shouldn't be too hard, if we fiddle with the database, since the map locations are all in there...

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