By Helen Raleigh
This month the Pew Research Center published a study on racial and gender wage gaps. I usually don’t take this kind of study too seriously because it doesn’t differentiate people’s education, work experiences, and professions, even though the study acknowledges these three factors alone can explain more than 70 percent of wage gaps among gender and race. Typically, these types of studies aim to generate attention-grabbing headlines that fit certain political narratives.
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Yet despite all the data imperfection, one chart of this recent Pew study really stands out. Even though the headline still focuses on the usual political narrative that “White men out-earn black and Hispanic men and all groups of women,” I’d like readers to pay attention to Asian men’s earnings.
According to the [Pew] chart, except for a short period in the 1990s, Asian men consistently out-earned all other racial groups, including white men. The latest data shows Asian men earned 117 percent as much as white men did. Similarly, Asian women out-earned all other racial groups. Since the popular political narrative insists U.S. social, political and economic systems are “dominated by whites” and “stacked against minorities,” what gives?