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Affirmative action does not discriminate against Asian Americans

Jul 05, 2023

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The Supreme Court’s landmark decision on June 29 to gut affirmative action has now made it illegal for colleges to consider race as a specific factor in their admissions process. The plaintiffs argued that Harvard admissions unfairly held Asian Americans to a higher standard when it comes to objective measures like test scores, while giving them low marks when relying on personality metrics. 

Straight Arrow News contributor Ruben Navarrette says that the Supreme Court ruling was driven by politics and way off base. According to Navarrette, If college admissions programs are guilty of any discrimination, it is against Black and Brown applicants, not Asian Americans who are well represented in the student body. 

It’s time to smell one of the big lies about affirmative action — that the practice of colleges and universities taking race and ethnicity into account in admissions results in discrimination against Asians.

For the last 50 years, it’s been white males who claimed that affirmative action amounted to “reverse discrimination” against them, after being laughed out of court, because it’s hard to argue you deserve 2% of the pie when you already control 98%.

White males began to use Asians as a stalking horse to help topple affirmative action. The trouble is the claim that Asians are being discriminated against is just as laughable. I bet most civil rights lawyers know it, as do most college admissions officers. They just won’t say it out loud because they’re afraid that they’ll come across as anti-Asian. I’m not “anti” anyone. As a journalist, I’m just pro-truth. And as a Mexican American, with two Harvard degrees, I know the truth about what’s going on in the admissions process at elite schools.

Unfortunately, we didn’t find much truth at the Supreme Court, which recently, as expected, struck down the practice of affirmative action in college and university admissions.

It’s time to smell one of the big lies about affirmative action that the practice of colleges and universities taking race ethnicity into account in admissions results in discrimination against Asians. For the last 50 years, it’s been white males who claimed that affirmative action amounted to quote, reverse discrimination against them after being laughed out of court, because it’s hard to argue you deserve 2% of the pie. When you already control 98% white males began to use Asians as a stalking horse to help topple affirmative action. The trouble is the claim that Asians are being discriminated against is just as laughable. I bet most civil rights lawyers know it, as do most college admissions officers. They just won’t say it out loud, because they’re afraid that they’ll come across as anti Asian. I’m not anti anyone. As a journalist, I’m just pro truth. And as a Mexican American, with two Harvard degrees, I know the truth about what’s going on in the admissions process at elite schools. Unfortunately, we didn’t find much truth at the Supreme Court, which recently, as expected, struck down the practice of affirmative action in college and university admissions. The cases before the justices involved Harvard and the University of North Carolina, which the plaintiffs claimed were actively discriminating against Asian applicants. All the truth was that the lower courts, which earlier found that the universities were not discriminate against anyone, and trying to achieve and more diverse, and thus and 2023, more realistic, and more relevant student body, the lower courts got there by relying on the facts and the law. Meanwhile, six conservative justices on the Supreme Court, a majority that calls the shots got where they want to go, by relying on politics. There was no suspense about what was going to happen, given that several of the justices had previously spoken out publicly against preferential treatment based on race ethnicity, if it had relied on the facts, and the law, like it was supposed to, the High Court couldn’t follow the lead of the lower courts and found that Asians were not being systemically discriminated against in the way that African Americans and Latinos have been in the past. Let’s just say no governor has ever stood in the doorway of a university to prevent an Asian student from enrolling the way that Governor George Wallace did in the 1960s. To keep black students out of the University of Alabama. In order to make a legitimate and believable claim of discrimination. It would have helped a lot if Asians who applied to Harvard, for instance, could show that the admissions policies at that school demonstrate discriminatory intent or disparate impact. They could show neither. For one thing, no one was making the argument that Asian applicants were inferior or academically deficient like they did with blacks and Latinos. And for another, the undergraduate student body at Harvard is now more than 30%. Asian, where we expect it to believe, as the plaintiffs claimed that being Asian was keeping people out of Harvard. That’s shocking. Has anyone shared that news with the nearly one in three Harvard students who are in fact Asian? See, I’m a veteran of the affirmative action wars. My take goes back 39 years way back to the spring of my senior year in high school in 1985. That’s when white friends and classmates with grades and SATs scores that were inferior to mine told me that if quote, I hadn’t been Mexican, I would not have gotten into Harvard and Yale, Stanford, Princeton, UC Berkeley, you get the idea. I’ve studied and written about this topic, affirmative action longer than I have any other and here’s what I believe we’re having the wrong discussion. Instead of trying to make victims out of people who have not been victimized, we should instead talk about whether preferential treatment in college admissions based on race and ethnicity hurts those that it was intended to help. I believe it does. It’s a shame that the opponents of affirmative action didn’t care enough about its real victims, to even start that conversation.

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