If you look at the pattern of Indian immigration to the U.S. since 1965, it is always highly educated immigrants, with accommodations for other skill levels. Since 1990, however, overwhelming emphasis has been put on those who are highly trained in STEM fields. So you have this concentration of STEM professionals who value education even more intensely than the earlier waves of immigrants had. And they’ve built up this infrastructure for their kids, including this whole minor-league spelling circuit just for South Asian kids.
The levels of spelling performance improved so much over the years that they had to introduce other metrics to eliminate kids. So in 2013 Scripps introduced a vocabulary round, and that increased the difficulty tremendously. Now you can spell right onstage all the way to the finals and you still might not make it because you don’t have a high enough vocab test score to advance to the next round.
They seem like they’re less brittle than their millennial equivalents, partly because of the techniques they have for emotional control.
There’s that, but they’ve also been taught to expect less. For example, almost none of the Bee parents had any expectations that things would go well for their child. They hoped. They were doing everything they could to make it happen. But there’s this overwhelming sense of precarity. Even with the brightest kids,
Tuesday, April 30, 2019
"they’ve also been taught to expect less. For example, almost none of the Bee parents had any expectations that things would go well for their child"
From an interview with the author of Beeline: What Spelling Bees Reveal About Generation Z’s New Path to Success: