Straight A′s

Asian American College Students in Their Own Words

Book Pages: 248 Illustrations: Published: August 2018

Asian American Studies, Pedagogy and Higher Education, Theory and Philosophy > Race and Indigeneity

The American Dream of success for many Asian Americans includes the highest levels of education. But what does it mean to live that success? In Straight A’s Asian American students at Harvard reflect on their common experiences with discrimination, immigrant communities, their relationships to their Asian heritage, and their place in the university. They also explore the difficulties of living up to family expectations and the real-world effects of the "model minority" stereotype. While many of the issues they face are familiar to a wide swath of college students, their examinations of race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality, and culture directly speak to the Asian American experience in U.S. higher education. Unique and revealing, intimate and unreserved, Straight A’s furthers the conversation about immigrant histories, racial and ethnic stereotypes, and multiculturalism in contemporary American society.


"Offers powerful insights into what today’s Asian American students may feel, perceive, and experience within their circles and communities." — Raymond Pun, Booklist

"Offers fascinating insights into the nature of academic achievement and the American Dream." — Matthew Reisz, Times Higher Education

Straight A’s does not aim to pick a side or solely focus on the lawsuit [against Harvard]. Instead, it explores a variety of issues pertinent to AA students who have been living, as identified by the authors, ‘straight A lives’ (p. 6) and who have also been impacted by the Model Minority Myth.”

— Rudisang Motshubi, College Students Affairs Journal

"The book is a great preliminary text for those interested in Asian American studies and higher education experiences. This is especially true for Asian Americans who are interested in unpacking the complications related to attending college. Overall, the text serves as a way to uplift seldom heard voices and use them to open larger conversations." — Reuben B. Deleon, Journal of Asian American Studies

“While Asian American students occupy a rather visible position vis-à-vis debates concerning affirmative action and admission standards, the issues that these students face during their undergraduate careers remain obscured. Privileging the voices of students who are negotiating the present-day terrain of the neoliberal university, Straight A’s offers a rich collection of narratives that at times cohere with and at other times diverge from master narratives concerning Asian American academic achievement. A much-needed book.” — Cathy J. Schlund-Vials, editor of Flashpoints for Asian American Studies


Availability: In stock
Price: $25.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Christine R. Yano is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i.

Neal K. Adolph Akatsuka is Coordinator of Publications and Programs at the Mahindra Humanities Center, Harvard University.

The Asian American Collective: Joan Zhang (head), Claudine Cho, Amy Chyao, Shannen Kim, Brooke Nowakowski McCallum, Min-Woo Park, Lee Ann Song, Helen Zhao

Contributors: Josephine Kim, Franklin Odo, Jeannie Park

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  vii
Foreword / Franklin Odo  xi
Introduction: Tiger Tales and Their Tellings / Christine R. Yano  1
1. Family and Class  30
2. Race  58
3. Sexuality and Gender  89
4. Intimacy  107
5. Mental Health  123
6. Organizations  151
7. Extracurricular Activities  170
Conclusion: Straightness and Its Consequences / Christine R. Yano  192
Reflection: One Alum's Perspective / Jennie Park  199
Afterword / Josephine Kim  204
References  209
Asian American Collective  217
Contributors  221
Index  225
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0024-2 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0010-5
Publicity material