Anti-Affirmative Action Group Files Another Complaint — This Time Against Cornell and Columbia

August 25, 2016
Cornell University's beautiful campus.
Cornell University’s beautiful campus.

Yesterday, guest writer Felix Huang (@Brkn_Yllw_Lns) wrote an incredible essay for this blog suggesting that in talking to Chinese American opponents of affirmative action, we must reframe the conversation away from self-interest and towards collective morality.

This seems a timely observation since something else also happened yesterday: the Asian American Coalition for Education (AACE) — which describes itself as “the proven leader in fighting for Asian-American children’s equal education rights” — announced that it has filed a third complaint against Ivy League universities alleging that the schools’ use of holistic review during college admissions discriminates against Asian American applicants.

Describing the complaint lodged with the Office of Civil Rights at the US Department of Education at the beginning of August, AACE alleged that Cornell University and Columbia University had discriminated against applicant Hubert Zhao when they did not offer him an acceptance to their schools this past spring. The complaint speculates that Zhao was either the victim of racial discrimination, or of political retaliation; Hubert also happens to be the son of AACE president, YuKong Zhao.

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From Self-Interest to Collective Morality: How We Must Reframe the Discussion on Affirmative Action in the Asian American Community

August 24, 2016
San Gabriel Councilman Chin Ho Liao speaks against SCA?5 at a protest. (Photo credit: Pasadena Star-News)
San Gabriel Councilman Chin Ho Liao discusses SCA5, a California bill that would have reinstituted race-conscious affirmative action in the state, at an anti-affirmative action protest. (Photo credit: Pasadena Star-News)

By Guest Contributor: Felix Huang (@Brkn_Yllw_Lns)

When the matter comes under contest, affirmative action’s Asian American advocates readily point to disparities in higher education access for particular Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. According to a 2015 report on AANHPI higher education in California:

  • Filipinx, Thai, Laotian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander students are admitted into the University of California (UC) system at rates significantly lower than the general admit rate.
  • Filipinxs, Native Hawaiians, Samoans, Guamanians/Chamorros, and Fijians are, relative to their overall population, underrepresented in the UC system.
  • Vietnamese, Cambodian, Hmong, Guamanian/Chamorro, Samoan, and Laotian adult individuals (25 years and older) possess bachelor degrees (or higher) at rates lower than the overall state average of 31%.

The importance of noting these disparities cannot be overstated. However, to one particular Asian American audience, this may be thoroughly unconvincing. Persuasive as they might be to a broader audience, the typical pro-affirmative action argument from AANHPI advocacy groups fails to persuade some Asian Americans who oppose affirmative action because they leave an elephant in the room unaddressed.

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New Poll Shows that Trump has Alienated Two-Thirds of Asian American Voters

August 23, 2016
GOP presidential nominee, Donald Trump.
GOP presidential nominee, Donald Trump.

A rarity among national polls, a new political poll jointly conducted by NBC News and SurveyMonkey has included much-anticipated survey data for likely Asian American voters.

The NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll reports that 66% of Asian Americans would vote for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton if the 2016 presidential election were held tomorrow, compared to only 23% who would vote for Republican nominee Donald Trump.

These results are consistent with the findings of an AAAJ, APIAVote and AAPIData poll published in May, which showed that Trump had a 61% unfavorability rating among Asian American and Pacific Islander likely voters. By contrast, that same poll found that 62% of surveyed AAPIs had a favorable opinion of Hillary Clinton.

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Tired of Ryan Lochte? Let’s Celebrate Olympian Amini Fonua Instead!

August 23, 2016
Amini
Tongan swimmer Amini Fonua

By Guest Contributor: Lakshmi Gandhi (@LakshmiGandhi)

If you’re like most people, you are probably fed up by increasingly ridiculous and infuriating Ryan Lochte story. To that end, let’s take a moment to spotlight an Olympic swimmer who is far more deserving of our attention instead.

Most American Twitter users were first introduced Tongan swimmer Amini Fonua in the aftermath of that absolutely horrifying Daily Beast piece in which a reporter doxxed several closeted Olympians.

The openly gay Fonua’s ensuing tweetstorm about the lives of gay athletes was both eloquent and enlightening.

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California’s Proposed Bill to Disaggregate AAPI Data Significantly Weakened in New Amendments

August 21, 2016
Attendees at a recent rally in support of AB1726, a data disaggregation scheduled to reach the CA Senate floor soon. (Photo Credit: @DiverseElders / Twitter )
Attendees at a recent rally in support of AB1726, a data disaggregation scheduled to reach the CA Senate floor soon. (Photo Credit: @DiverseElders / Twitter )

After months of increasingly vitriolic debate that divided the AAPI community, California Assembly Bill 1726 (AB1726) was significantly amended on Friday. In its original version, AB1726 was the culmination of years of lobbying work by California’s AAPI advocacy community, and it would have put in place measures to disaggregate healthcare and higher education data to reveal disparities faced by Southeast Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the state. Using the same ethnic options offered by the National Census, AB1726 would have expanded the ethnic self-identification choices offered in demographic studies conducted by state departments related to healthcare and higher education.

Last year, AB1726’s predecessor, Assembly Bill 176, passed the California Legislature with near unanimous bipartisan support and the backing of several local California advocacy groups, only to be vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown. This cycle’s AB1726 was expected to pass the Legislature with similarly minimal resistance, until it faced inexplicably intense backlash from grassroots Chinese American groups that had originally organized around SCA-5 (and protests against Jimmy Kimmel) in the state. What emerged was a vocal, deeply inflammatory, arguably paranoid resistance to AB1726, wherein opponents suggested while the bill was still in Committees that it would create a “backdoor” to reinstitute race-conscius affirmative action in the state.

How a data collection bill designed was supposed to circumvent California state law prohibiting race-conscious affirmative action in higher education remains unclear to me.

Yet, no one can deny this grassroots conservative Chinese American movement’s growing clout.

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