Monday, December 26, 2011

College Board study groups Pacific Islanders with American Indians and Asians

Last week, we followed up on a post about the ACT properly recognizing Pacific Islanders by reporting on whether the SAT had also come up to speed. (Unfortunately, the answer is no, they have not.)

While researching to answer that question, I also came across another interesting report published by the College Board this year: "The Educational Experience of Young Men of Color: A Review of Research, Pathways and Progress." It's an interesting topic, but I was also caught by how they reported data on Pacific Islanders. In some cases, Pacific Islanders were grouped with Asians. In others, rather than showing Pacific Islander stand-alone data or "Asian/Pacific Islander" data, Pacific Islanders were grouped with Native Americans (and I assume they meant American Indians and Alaska Natives).

I was surprised because I haven't seen this kind of grouping, but two possible explanations came to mind:

  • More likely explanation: These two groups (American Indians and Alaska Natives on one hand, and Pacific Islanders on the other) have the smallest populations of the major racial groups, so they were lumped together for expediency.
  • Less likely, but my preferred explanation: As we've mentioned before, the Pacific Islander community includes both immigrant populations and indigenous peoples who are native to land that is now the United States of America. In fact, the three largest Pacific Islander American groups (Native Hawaiians, Samoans, and Chamorro) are indigenous to parts of the USA (Hawaii, American Samoa, and Guam). Together these indigenous peoples account for the overwhelming majority of the total Pacific Islander American community. Other than American Indians and Alaska Natives, Pacific Islanders are the only major racial group that includes peoples who are indigenous to the USA.
Want to read the report? Click here: LINK

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