Top 5 things #SCA5 are totally not like…

March 21, 2014
Anti-SCA5 protesters are adorbs.
Anti-SCA5 protesters are adorbs.

SCA5 — Senate Constitutional Amendment 5 that was recently tabled and then withdrawn in California — would’ve done one thing: repealed Prop 209 and restored the capacity for UC schools to employ race-based affirmative action among other considerations in making college admissions decisions.

Why is this necessary? Because since Prop 209 ended race-based affirmative action in California, admission rates for underrepresented minorities — Black, Chicano, Southeast Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Native American students — plummeted by as much as 10% across the entire UC system, with some campuses experiencing an immediate admissions rate drop by as much as 30%; by contrast, Prop 209 has had a minute impact on Asian American admission rates, increasing it by a mere 0.4% immediately upon its passage.

Yet, a vocal minority of Asian Americans — predominantly Chinese Americans situated in Southern California — managed to get SCA5 tabled through an online petition and thousands of phone calls placed to Asian American elected officials. And, while the political clout it takes to kill a bill and send California Dems scampering back to their war rooms is impressive, the anti-SCA5 rhetoric has been based on some pretty shocking untruths and misinformation, much of it originating out of conservative PACs and ethnic news.

The most misinformed, ahistorical, and flat-out bizarre rhetoric arrives in the form of anti-SCA5 opponents who in the last two weeks compared the bill to bunch of stuff SCA5 are not like. You think you are ready, but you have no idea.

After the jump, here are the top 5 things SCA5 are not like.

1. … the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. (from a letter reproduced by the 80-20 Initiative)

SCA5-CEA

The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act did many things, that resulted in the near total exclusion of Chinese immigrants from China based predominantly on Yellow Peril fears.  Not only were “skilled and unskilled labor” from China barred from entry, but the act further emphasized that Chinese migrants were ineligible for naturalization and US citizenship. The act, as well as its many anti-Asian successors, effectively halted virtually all immigration from many parts of Asia into the US for over fifty years, until 1965.

SCA5 is not like the Chinese Exclusion Act, because it does not close the doors of secondary education to Asian Americans based on race. Affirmative action would not bar all or most Asian Americans, or Chinese Americans in particular, from attending university; in fact the population of Asian Americans admitted to UC schools rose the greatest under affirmative action prior to Prop 209, and Asian Americans are still admitted at three times our national population size in most schools that still practice affirmative action.

Also, more to the details of the argument in the letter excerpted above, neither the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act nor race-based affirmative action established race-based quotas for either immigration or college admissions, respectively. While the subsequently passed Magnuson Act did set a quota on Chinese immigration, this was intended as an explicit relaxation of the Chinese Exclusion Act. Quota-based affirmative action has not been practiced since 1978, when it was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court; thus, SCA5 would not permit this sort of affirmative action to be practiced in California.

2. … Jim Crow laws.

sca5-jim-crow

Jim Crow laws were a series of local and state-wide laws throughout the states that codified racial segregation between Whites and their African American numbers. Racial segregation of everything from schools, to bus seating, to water-fountains, to lunch counters was established, and privately reinforced by social norms, as well as acts of violence and domestic terrorism committed by roving bands of vigilantes.

Thousands if not millions of men, women and children were institutionally terrorized by Jim Crow laws, that implicitly condoned acts of violence against their person in order to keep public spaces segregated and Black people disenfranchised as second-class citizens.

Meanwhile, I am unaware of any lynchings that have been committed in the name of affirmative action.

3. … Japanese American internment. (among other examples, a comment posted on the Pasadena Star, upvoted 22 times)

SCA5-internment

Executive Order 9066 was a presidential order that resulted in the forced relocation and detainment of thousands of Japanese Americans into prison camps, where they were housed under threat of death for years. The basis of internment was the misguided suspicion that Japanese Americans — and their parents who were at the time still racially ineligible for citizenship — were loyal to Japan in one of the most devastating examples of the ramifications of the Perpetual Foreigner stereotype.

There is no evidence of any kind that the motivation for restoring affirmative action has anything to do with fears of Asian American students on-campus, in general, or their national loyalties in particular.

 

4. … the Taliban shooting Malala in the head.

malala-original malala-sca5

(Note: The image above is reproduced (with the original misspelling of “Taliban”) from a tweet linked through Facebook. Sadly, I saw the image but didn’t save it before it was deleted, so I had to recreate it from memory. )

How is SCA5 — a bill that would, by the way, promote the education of American children of underrepresented minority communities — not like terrorists who shot a girl in the head for attempting to go to school? Do I really even need to?

5. … missing Malaysian Air jetliner MH370.

sca5-mh370

…I don’t even.

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  • ProudUC84

    Jenn,

    Please read more about Asian American history. In particular Asian American history in California. Asian were heavily discriminated. You mock the comparison to Jim Crow. But read history.

    -Bingham Act: limits where Chinese can live and work in San Francico
    -Asian prohibited from owning land in CA until the 1930s
    -Laws prohibiting marriage between Whites and Asians (along with Blacks)
    – Prohibit Asians from testifying in court against whites (“white” included Mexican-Americans)
    -Special tax on Chinese Miners, laundries,
    -Anti-Coolie Act
    -Immigration Act of 1917 banning entry to “Drunkards, Insane, and Asians”
    -Chinese Massacre of 1871 in Los Angeles where 18 were lynched, making it the largest mass lynching in US history
    -San Francisco Riot of 1877
    The list goes on and on…

    Anti-Asian discrimination doesn’t have a catchy name like Jim Crow. But the suffering, deprivation, oppression are all too real and all to pervasive.

    California was the epicenter of Anti-Asian discrimination. And what is the underlying cause?

    Asians willing to work for less
    Asians willing to work harder by keeping businesses open longer, charging less
    Asians “unfairly” earning more and achieve success

    Do you sense the tone? Does it sound familiar?

    Jenn, how much more discrimination do you feel Asians have to suffer to deserve the special consideration afforded to other oppressed groups?

    How much more discrimination and bias should Asian be subjected to in order to “compete fairly”?

  • ProudUC84

    @Jenn wrt to helping k-12 education. Actually the state has numerous mechanisms targeting low-performing schools with extra resources. Can more be done? Yes of course. CA is 48/50 in per pupil school funding. This is a disgrace. But so far the approaches have not been effective. The biggest correlation with academic success is parental involvement. This has been hard to legislate or promote. How do we get more “black tiger” moms and “brown tiger” moms? At the nearby library where they offer reading tutoring, nearly all the volunteers are older white people. At the local community center, there’s lots of kids playing basketball and other sports. I see numerous black and hispanic volunteers coaching the kids. Role models matter and I’m not seeing the emphasis on academics. This is the honest reality.

    Asians do seem to have a culture of academic achievement. And they don’t seem to have a culture of athletic achievement. And the results are quite predictable.

    I remember back in HS, there was this black girl who did well academically, and seem to have it together. I remember seeing her get sh!t from other black kids for being “acting white” or being a “sellout”. She kept her mouth shut and had few friends. I wasn’t her friend, but I had a lot of sympathy for her.

    The real problem I see with SCA5 and other race based solution is none solve the underlying problem, they just cover up the symptoms by rigging the outcomes to be perceived as fair. And so long as we don’t solve the problem, we’ll never ever get rid of the problem. We’ll be promoting race-preferences for another 300 years…..

  • crazy MMer

    @ProudUC84, heard of Jeremy Lin who’s got both academics and athletics?

    And all the Asians who just went to Sochi also sort of makes your statement moot.

    I totally agree that Jenn needs to get a better sense of real APIA history that Ivy schools don’t bother with because Asians in the UC system have fought hard to even be acknowledged with courses on.

    Also, Latinos are rapidly becoming the plurality in CA, so that means the focus should definitely be on the over representation and “white privilege” of white students if Ed Hernandze and Dr Fang here wants “functional quotas” (by any other name) for CA to be “proportionate with the population.”

  • ProudUC84

    @crazy MMer. NCAA stats show that Asian receive 0.1% of all athletic scholarships. That sure looks like bias. Or maybe most Asians don’t qualify for Athletic scholarships. Pointing out Jeremy Lin, the few Asian-Americans at Sochi is akin to saying the 2 black members of Augusta National is proof of diversity. Harvard does not offer athletic scholarships. Its amazingly rare for any player from Ivy league to play in the NBA. If Jeremy had NBA aspirations, he would not have chosen to attend Harvard.

    But back to the topic. @Jenn, please don’t feel like you need to be an apologist for racial preference, just to fit the societal progressive ethos. “conservatives” are not wrong about everything, and “progressives” are not right about everything.

    Using such a superficial criteria as race to judge someone as smarter, less qualified, faster, not athletic, is simply wrong.

    When I think about my friends, I think of them as, funny, serious, arty, smart, clever, short-sighted, athletic, dork, nerd, cool, whatever. I like them for who they are, what they mean to me. Only when I visualize them in my mind’s eye can I even recall such unimportant things as skin color, race, But isn’t that the goal?

    SCA5 is intended to remind us all that a person ought to be judged on the color of their skin, the origins of their name, and ought to be treated accordingly.

  • crazy MMer

    @ProudUC84, I think you’re conflating achievement with systematic discrimination. I was arguing against your original statement of “Asians don’t have a culture of athletic achievement” – which is simply false if you also lump in the old country athletes.

    But I was pointing out that there are significant numbers of API athletes the mainstream media ignores for obvious reasons – Mirai Nagasu rings a bell?

  • ProudUC84

    @crazy MMer, Agree with you regarding lack of coverage. My point was one of conjecture. Maybe low number of athletic scholarship is due to lack culture of athletics. OR its a sign is massive discrimination.

    My point is, by the logic of progressives, the low number of athletic scholarships for Asian-Americans is proof of systematic discrimination. By my calculations, Asian-Americans are losing out on over $100 million in scholarships yearly.

    And I don’t see a lot of outcry about this by progressives, or by African-Americans who are the largest beneficiaries of these types of scholarships.

    @Jenn, what’s your opinion. Is it lack of culture of athletics among Asian-Americans? Or is is massive discrimination against Asian-Americans when it comes to athletic scholarships?

  • ProudUC84

    @Jenn, Here’s an article about differences in cultural attitudes among different groups when it comes to education.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_8829545

    “We have met the enemy, and he is us” – Pogo

  • @Proud

    Sorry I missed some of your earlier comments; it being a bit of a crazy time on the blog right now. There was a recent article suggesting that there is discrimination within, like, the NCAA; but also, a discouragement among Asian Americans towards pushing their kids towards athletic tracks.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/04/02/297287958/why-arent-asian-americans-getting-their-one-shining-moment

    Are Asian Americans “losing out on athletic scholarships”? Yes, if one assumes that Asian Americans aren’t — somehow despite our higher SES — suffering under lack of access to higher education by non-athletic mechanisms of funding. Yet, we are enrolled in virtually all institutes of higher education at rates higher than our demographics; this strongly suggests we are not being shut-out of academia because of failure to get athletic scholarships.

    I do think that Asian Americans are discriminated against in the world of sports. I do not however think that the argument against this kind of discrimination involves “inadequate access to higher education”.

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