NEW YORK — When Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed earlier this month to change the way students are admitted to the city’s most elite public high schools, he was surrounded by dozens of enthusiastic students, union leaders and elected officials, amid signs proclaiming “All Kids Deserve a Chance.”
纽约——本月早些时候，当市长白思豪(Bill de Blasio)提出改变该市顶尖公立高中的入学方式时，他身边围绕着数十名热情的学生、工会领袖和民选官员，以及“所有孩子机会均等”的标语。
Noticeably absent were representatives from one group that would be heavily affected by the change: Asian-Americans, whose children dominate those schools.
“This cliché of, ‘If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu’ really felt like it rang true,” said U.S. Rep. Grace Meng, D-Queens and graduate of one of the schools, Stuyvesant High School, who was not invited to the event. “I don’t think with any other community if there was such a large impact or sweeping change, they would not have been consulted or brought into the discussions.”
“‘不是坐在餐桌边，就是在菜单上’这种陈词滥调听上去还真是那么回事，”来自皇后区的国会众议员孟昭文说。她毕业于其中一所知名学校史岱文森高中(Stuyvesant High School)，那次活动没有邀请她参加。“我想在其他社区，若是有如此大的影响或者这么大的变化，他们不会不被征求意见或者获邀参与讨论的。”
Asian-American community leaders say that in New York, far from being the “model minority” — a term many view as disparaging and inaccurate — they are the overlooked minority, taken for granted in the city’s calculus of political power.
It does not seem to matter, Asian-American officeholders and activists say, that all five Asian-American elected officials at the city, state and federal levels are Democrats, like de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Nor does it matter that Asian-Americans of all backgrounds, including East and South Asians, now make up almost 15 percent of the city’s population, with the total number up by more than half since 2000. Or that the number of Chinese and Korean registered voters has doubled over the same period, according to the Center for Urban Research at the CUNY Graduate Center.
亚裔公职人员和活动人士称，在纽约市、州和联邦层面的全部五位亚裔当选官员跟白思豪和州长安德鲁·科莫(Andrew Cuomo)一样都是民主党人这一点，似乎于事无补。不同背景的亚裔美国人，包括东亚和南亚人，现在占纽约人口的15%，自2000年以来，这个数字增加了一半，也没关系。同样没关系的是，纽约市立大学研究生中心(CUNY Graduate Center)的城市研究中心(Center for Urban Research)有数据显示，华裔和韩裔的注册选民数量同期翻了一番。
“It’s not just one thing, and it’s not just one time,” said Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, a Democrat who represents Chinatown and lower Manhattan. “It shows a huge blind spot for Asian-American communities as a whole.”
But it was de Blasio’s proposal to tackle the vexing issue of segregation at the specialized high schools that galvanized Asian reaction. The eight schools, which have a single test for admissions, have a disproportionate number of Asian students, and few black and Latino ones.
De Blasio has proposed throwing out the test and instead admitting students based on their class rank and state test scores, which would increase the numbers of black and Latino students significantly. Because the number of seats at the school are limited, that would necessarily mean fewer Asian students would get in. Changing the admissions method would require an act of the Legislature for the three long-established specialized schools, and perhaps for all of them.
But in announcing the plan de Blasio did not mention the schools’ importance to Asian-Americans. Despite stereotypes about their success, Asian-Americans are the poorest immigrant group in the city, noted Joseph P. Viteritti, a professor of public policy at Hunter College, and many view the schools as a ladder to the middle class, and the test as the fairest way to determine admission.
但白思豪在宣布该计划时，并没有提及这些学校对亚裔美国人的重要性。亨特学院(Hunter College)公共政策教授约瑟夫·P. 维特里蒂(Joseph P. Viteritti)指出，尽管人们对亚裔美国人的成功存在刻板印象，但亚裔美国人是该市最贫穷的移民群体。许多人把这些学校视为通往中产阶级的阶梯，而该考试是最公平的入学方式。
A report released Thursday by the Asian-American Federation, a network of community service groups, found that 9 in 10 Asian households in poverty lack affordable housing, and one-quarter of those eligible to work did not have health insurance.
Richard A. Carranza, the schools chancellor, intensified matters when he said in a television interview, “I just don’t buy into the narrative that any one ethnic group owns admissions to these schools.”
纽约校监理查德·A·卡兰萨(Richard A. Carranza)在接受电视采访时表示，“我只是不能接受学校入学资格由某一个族裔群体所有这种说法。”
John C. Liu, a former councilman and city comptroller whose mayoral ambitions were derailed by financial improprieties, called Carranza’s remarks “the most offensive and irritating comments that Asian-Americans have heard in quite some time.”
刘淳逸(John C. Liu)是前市议员和纽约市主计长，其竞选市长的雄心因财务不当行为而受到阻挠，他称卡兰萨的言论是“很长一段时间以来亚裔美国人听到的最令人反感和愤怒的言论”。
Liu, along with Chin is a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, another of the elite high schools.
刘淳逸毕业于另一所精英学校布朗克斯科学高中(Bronx High School of Science)。
Carranza, asked whether he could have displayed more empathy to Asian-American families deeply invested in the current system, did not back off his comments.
“If you choose to be offended as an Asian resident of New York City, that’s a choice you make,” he said. “If you choose to not be offended, that’s a choice you make. But the statement is true: No one owns it. The City of New York, taxpayers, own the public school system of New York City.”
Asked about the criticisms, Eric Phillips, de Blasio’s press secretary, seemed more conciliatory: “When leaders in a community tell us we need to do more to engage them, we take it as a serious sign we have to do more, and do better,” he said in a statement. “While we aren’t going to shy away from doing what we believe is right, every community has a right to be heard and engaged — and it’s our job to make sure this community is a part in that process.”
A central question in the debate is where Asians fall in the worldview of the city’s political establishment. Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, had initially backed de Blasio’s proposal. But after facing a backlash from Asian community leaders, and the prospect that some donors would cancel future fundraisers, Adams moderated his position and expressed reservations.
“Some progressives seem to be pushing the narrative that Asians are not minorities, immigrants and people of color,” said Assemblyman Ron Kim, D-Queens. And that is “even worse when done in the name of reform and social justice,” he added, and may drive some Asian-Americans to embrace more conservative and Republican candidates.
De Blasio’s proposal coincided with new revelations that Harvard University had used intangible measures like personality traits to lower Asian applicants’ ratings, in an effort to limit their numbers at the college.
Lost in the rhetoric, Kim and other elected leaders said, is the fact that Asian-Americans are hardly monolithic on issues of race and education, as evidenced by their wide range of opinions over affirmative action.
Jo-Ann Yoo, executive director of the Asian American Federation, said, “As much as we understand and applaud the mayor’s efforts to diversify the specialized high schools, there is tremendous anger among parents around the lack of engagement prior to the announcement.”
In their view, rather than making Asian-Americans part of the solution to the racial imbalance at the specialized schools, de Blasio targeted them as the problem, making the prospect of selling them on the change that much more difficult.
“He ran for office, in part, by saying he would open the pathways for political engagement and community engagement” in a way that former Mayor Michael Bloomberg did not, said Basil A. Smikle Jr., a former executive director of the New York state Democratic Party. “But sometimes the process is just as important as the outcome, and the process unfortunately tarnished the potential outcome of this policy.”
前纽约州民主党执行主任史米克(Basil A. Smikle Jr.)表示，“他竞选市长时说，他可以打开政治参与和社区参与的途径，”——以一种前任市长迈克尔·布隆伯格(Michael Bloomberg)未能做到的方式——“但有时候，过程和结果同样重要，不幸的是，这一次的过程玷污了这项政策的潜在成果。”