Top 5 things #SCA5 are totally not like…

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SCA5 — Senate Constitutional Amendment 5 that was recently tabled and then withdrawn in California — would’ve done one thing: repealed Prop 209 and restored the capacity for UC schools to employ race-based affirmative action among other considerations in making college admissions decisions.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

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SCA5 withdrawn, task force called for to address affirmative action | #edu4all

California State Senator, Leland Yee, who has now clarified his position in support of repealing Prop 209. (Photo credit: IB Times)
California State Senator, Leland Yee, who has now clarified his position in support of repealing Prop 209. (Photo credit: IB Times)

Following Speaker Perez’s halting of SCA5 — a bill that would repeal Prop 209 for institutions of public education in California — from advancement yesterday, SCA5 author State Senator Ed Hernandez has withdrawn the bill, saying that he will examine possible amendments.

Although considering SCA5 did nothing but strike two words — “public education” — from the state constitution, I’m not entirely sure what those amendments might be.

More substantively, Hernandez has vowed to start a state-wide task force to address the issue of affirmative action in higher education, and to combat the profound untruths and misinformation that has characterized the debate over SCA5 in the last few weeks.

Hernandez said he wants to get more positive information out to the public and to dispel what he calls misinformation about SCA 5. To do that, he said he will create a commission of elected officials; experts in constitutional law; community leaders from different ethnic groups; students; parents; and representatives from the UCs, CSUs and community colleges.

The point, he said, is to address concerns opponents have, which might mean amending or even rewriting the proposal.

This turn of events is a positive one, and should provide California voters the tools they need to have the complex, nuanced, and fact-based conversation that the issue of affirmative action deserves. Further, it will permit a conversation that reflects all positions on the topic — particularly, the diverse positions that can be found even within the Asian American community alone.

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The effect of Prop 209 on UC admissions and campus diversity | #edu4all #NoLiesNoHate #SCA5


If you’ve been following my blog over the past week, you’ve seen my writing on SCA5, Senate Constitutional Amendment 5 being advanced in California to attempt to repeal Proposition 209, which passed in the mid 90’s and took effect in 1998 on the UC admissions process.

There continues to be a lot of numbers flying around, and a lot of is being interpreted really bizarrely. The most significant problem with the numbers being quoted back and forth is that most are citing on-campus student demographics as either whole numbers or as fractions of state population. These numbers either completely ignore changes in overall population size (and thus applicant pool size), or are using Census data as proxies for that number.

Yet, the most appropriate numbers to use isn’t enrollment data, or state-wide population numbers: it is admission and application data from the UC school system. Enrollment data is complicated by the additional factor of student choice — which can be influenced by things like scholarship availablity, geographic locale, and major offerings — so it’s largely irrelevant to the debate of affirmative action in college admissions. State-wide population numbers fail to fully address the fact that in regards to college admissions, changes in population size are only relevant insofar as they produce an increase in applicant number.

So, again, to set the record straight, here is the impact of Proposition 209 on UC admissions and campus diversity. All numbers were crunched from this report, which was released by the UC office of the president (UCOP).

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Why I support affirmative action: An open letter to Chinese America | #NoLiesNoHate #edu4all

affirmative action signs

Dear Chinese America,

I love you more then you’ve ever really understood. When people ask me who I am, I proudly say I am Chinese American. And, while I may not be that great at being Chinese American — I don’t speak Mandarin very well, my Cantonese is worse, and yes technically I am Chinese Canadian — you’ll tease me for it, but you’ve never truly held it against me.

My whole life, I’ve associated you with honour; with respect; with dignity; with discipline; with intelligence; and above all, with love: love for one’s parents, one’s children, one’s elders, one’s friends, one’s community.

And that’s why I’m so disappointed right now. That’s why I just don’t understand why you’re saying the stuff you’re saying.

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List of #AAPI Groups & Posts in Support of Affirmative Action and #SCA5 | #NoLiesNoHate #edu4all

Photo credit: AALDEF
Photo credit: AALDEF via Angry Asian Man

Despite the prevailing narrative that Asian Americans are overwhelmingly against affirmative action and SCA5, a bill that would if passed repeal elements of Proposition 209 for public education, this narrative is far from true. It turns out that there is a large, but underreported, population of AAPIs who stand in support of affirmative action and SCA5. In the National Asian American Survey (NAAS), 70% of Asian Americans and 65% of Pacific Islander Americans supportive affirmative action programs. So where are we in the mainstream coverage of SCA5? Are our voices being drowned out by the vehement, and occasionally misinformed, anti-SCA5 rhetoric?

This post is an ongoing list of Asian American/Pacific Islander groups that have issued statements in support of affirmative action and SCA5, as well as an ongoing list of blog posts and op-eds that support this measure. Since the pro-SCA5 efforts have just started mobilizing, this post will continue to be updated with more information.

If your group has come out in favour of affirmative action in general, and/or SCA5 in particular, please leave a comment or tweet me (@Reappropriate) to add your group to this list.

Continue reading “List of #AAPI Groups & Posts in Support of Affirmative Action and #SCA5 | #NoLiesNoHate #edu4all”