A striking phenomenon of the contemporary science scene is the remarkable Asianization of the American research laboratory: Asians now represent in certain disciplines, such as chemistry or engineering, the majority of graduate students in many American universities. In many of these institutions, more than half the postdoctoral fellows (the most exploited but also most productive sector of the research establishment) have received the bulk of their college or university education in Asia.
Across all sectors, Asians in US STEM [science, technology, engineering and maths] careers are not reaching leadership positions at the same rate as white people, or even as members of other underrepresented groups. In academia, just 42% of Asian men are tenured, compared with 58% of white men, 49% of black men and 50% of Hispanic men. Just 21% of Asian women in academia are tenured, the lowest proportion for any ethnicity or gender. They are also least likely to be promoted to full professor.But why? The authors argue that
east Asians’ humble demeanour could cause them to describe the implications of their research in modest terms, which might bring them lower ratings from reviewers.On the other hand,
a work group of the US government’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports that Asians are often perceived as ‘forever foreign’, which can affect how others assess their ability to communicate, their competence and, more importantly, their trustworthiness.It’s all good to be hardworking, patient, family oriented and so on, but if you don’t sex up your research, you don’t get promoted. And don’t get trusted either.