2011 年英语语言文学专业
专业能力测试试卷(样题)
I. Summarize the two views (that of the author and that he criticizes) in the following passage and then write a commentary. Your answer should not exceed 1000 words. Asian Americans have increasingly come to be viewed as a “model minority”. But are they as successful as claimed? And for whom are they supposed be model? The model minority thesis first surfaced in the mid-1960s when journalists began publicizing the high educational entertainment levels, high median incomes, low crime rates, and absence of juvenile delinquency and mental health problems among Asian Americans. This publicity served an important political purpose at the height of the civil rights movement: proponents of the thesis were in fact telling Black and Chicano activists that they should follow examples set by Asian Americans who work hard to pull themselves up by the bootstraps instead of using militant protests to obtain their rights. Until today, similar political rhetoric can still be heard. Many politicians and pundits ask: “If Asian Americans can make it with their stress on hard work and education, why can’t African Americans?” Such comparisons pit minorities against each other and generate African American resentment toward Asian Americans. The victims are blamed for their plight, rather than racism or an economy that has made many young African-American workers superfluous. Without question, the socioeconomic status of Asian Americans as a whole has improved since the early 1940s. The median family income of Asian Americans in 1990 ($42,2
  40) stood above the national average ($35,2
  25). Asian American households are more affluent than any other racial or ethnic group including Whites. Asian Americans also have an enviable record of educational achievement, with almost twice the national average of college graduates. The figures, however, can be misleading. The celebration of Asian American success has obscured reality. First, most Asian-Americans live in California, Hawaii and New York ? states with higher incomes and higher costs of living than the national average. Thus, while
Asian Americans living there may earn more, they also have to spend more. The so-called high earnings of Asian-Americans relative to Caucasians are really deceptive. Comparing family incomes is even more tricky. Some Asian-American groups do have higher family incomes than Caucasians. But they have more workers per family. For example, in 60% of Chinese American families (compared to only 51% among the US population as a whole), more than one person worked, which helps to account for their higher family income. If per capita income, rather than family income, had been used as the measure, then Chinese Americans are making considerably less than the national average. Second, a detailed study of the San Francisco-Oakland Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area showed that Asian Americans were unevenly disturbed in the economy. Professionals clustered in accounting, dentistry, nursing, health technology, and engineering and were underrepresented in law, teaching, administration, social services, and higher levels of the medical profession. Managers were more likely to be self-employed than employees of large firms. Sales persons were retail clerks but seldom brokers or insurance agents. Clerical workers were mostly file clerk, typists, or office machine operators, and not secretaries or receptionists. Few Asian American held jobs in the heavy machine, electrical, paper, chemical or construction industries. Most female operatives were garment workers. In short, Asian Americans were concentrated in occupation that did not pay as well as other jobs in the same industry. Third, the low unemployment rate of Asian-Americans ? another measure often used to depict their economic success ? merely camouflages high unemployment. Wary of being on welfare, many Asian American workers apparently would rather hold low-paid, part-time, or seasonal jobs than receive public assistance. Fourth, the high labor force participation rate of Asian American women ? supposedly a sign of their ready acceptance by employers ? is in reality a reflection of the fact that more Asian American women are compelled to work because the male members of their families earn such low wages. It is true that working Asian American women earn a higher median income than do white working women, a larger percentage of them work full time, which helps to drive their median income
upward. But despite their high educational level, they receive lower returns to their education than do white women, while the disparity between and those of white men is even greater. In other words, they are not receiving earnings that are commensurate with their years of schooling. Fifth, with regard to the educational attainment of Asian Americans, the sizable influx of highly educated professionals after 1965 has inflated the average years of schooling completed. Critics of the model minority stereotype point out that the most important consideration should not be educational level, but returns to education, which more clearly reveal the existence of discrimination. For Asian Americans, their returns are still not on a par with those received by white men. For example, since some Asian professionals haven’t been able to find professional jobs, they have bought small businesses, thereby increasing the number of “managers” in the Asian Americans ? particularly the Korean American ? population. In 1988, more than three-quarters of Korean greengrocers, those so-called paragons of bootstrap entrepreneurialism, came to America with a college education. Engineers, teachers, or administrators while in Korea, they became shopkeepers, after their arrival. For many of them, the green grocery represents dashed dreams, a step downward in status. Moreover, many of them operate only small mom-and-pop stores with no paid employees and very low gross earnings. They run a high risk of failure and work long hours. Many of them could not stay afloat were it not for the unpaid labor they extract from their spouses, children and other relatives. Finally the “model minority” image homogenizes Asian Americans, hides their difference and obscures the poverty found within their ranks. For example, while thousands of Vietnamese-American young people attend universities, others are on the streets. They live in motels and hang out in pool halls in places like East Los Angeles; some join gangs. Hmong and Mien refugees from Laos have unemployment rates that reach as high as 80 percent. A 1987 California study showed that 3 out of 10 Southeast Asian refugee families had been on welfare for 4 to 10 years. Even within the relatively successful groups, such as Chinese Americans and Korean Americans, there are serious problems and difficulties. 25% of the people in New York City’s
Chinatown lived below the poverty level in 1980, compared with 17% of the city’s population. Some 60% of the workers in the Chinatowns of Los Angeles and San Francisco crowded into low-paying jobs in garment factories and restaurants. It is the same with Korean Americans. Most of the Korean immigrants do not become shopkeepers. Instead, many find themselves trapped as clerks in grocery stores, service workers in restaurants, seamstresses in garment factories and janitors in hotels. In sum, most Americans know their “success” or “superiority” is largely a myth. They also see how the celebration of Asian-Americans as a “model minority” perpetuates their inequality and exacerbates relations between them and other minorities, esp. African-Americans. II. Write an essay on one of the issues below, using relevant reasons and/or examples to support your views. Your essay should be written in your own words and should not exceed 1000 words. Topic 1: Public figures such as actors, politicians, and athletes should expect people to be interested in their private lives. When they seek a public role, they should expect that they will lose at least some of their privacy. Topic 2: As long as people in a society are hungry or out of work or lack the basic skills needed to survive, the use of public resources to support the arts is inappropriate ? and, perhaps, even cruel ? when one considers all the potential uses of such money.
 

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