Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (AAAJ-LA) held a press conference moments ago to announce that lawyers with the group will represent two Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) high school students who wish to present their support of race-conscious affirmative action admission before the Supreme Court if and when the justices hear arguments next year about an anti-affirmative action lawsuit filed against the school by Edward Blum, the architect behind Abigail Fisher’s earlier failed attempts to dismantle affirmative action before the Court.
The two AAPI high school students represented by AAAJ-LA are current applicants to Harvard University, and both believe that race-conscious affirmative action is beneficial; AAAJ-LA filed paperwork yesterday to help the students join an existing group of diverse students who will have “amicus plus” status to present their support for affirmative action in a pending anti-affirmative action case, Students for Fair Admissions, Inc v. President and Fellows of Harvard College.
In the Students for Fair Admissions case, lobbyist Edward Blum specifically recruited disgruntled Asian American students to serve as the next Abigail Fisher, in hopes of weaponizing a stereotyped, Model Minority Myth narrative of Asian Americans against other students of colour. Blum’s lawsuit alleging bias at Harvard was ultimately consolidated around the case of a still-unnamed Chinese American woman.
As the year winds down to a close, these are the top ten political stories that had a major impact on the AANHPI community highlighting the many political issues that have defined the AANHPI community this year. Sadly, many didn’t receive much mainstream media coverage.
How many of these stories were you following this year?
In a completely unsurprising turn of events, the Department of Education yesterday dismissed an administrative complaint filed in May against Harvard University by 60+ Asian American anti-affirmative action activists. The complaint alleged that Harvard University discriminates against Asian American applicants in their race-conscious affirmative action admissions policies but little information was provided to bolster these claims.
The Department of Education announced yesterday that the complaint was rejected because it was too similar in content to a pending federal lawsuit, which had been filed late last year by conservative anti-affirmative action lobbyist Edward Blum.
Last week, I posted a surprising finding with regard to the evidence — or lack thereof — of an anti-Asian American cap quota at Harvard. Spurred by the infamous New York Times infographic shown above, I asked whether Harvard’s published freshman enrollment data supported the popular assumption reinforced by the above graph: that Harvard’s Asian American population was stuck at approximately 20%, and had not increased despite increases in Asian American overall population size.
It turns out that when you do the math, this popular preconception turns out to be false: in actuality, when you crunch the numbers with regard to changing applicant pool and falling admission rate, you find that Harvard’s admitted Asian American student population has increased between 2000-2014 at almost exactly the same pace as our national population growth. In other words, admission data simply do not support the conclusion that Harvard’s Asian American student population has been artificially capped to resist the last decade’s increases in Asian American overall population size.
This is a problematic finding for Asian American opponents of affirmative action, because the belief that Harvard exercises an anti-Asian cap quota is one of the primary reasons they cite to argue that affirmative action is unconstitutional, and violates Fourteenth Amendment protections for Asian American students.
Another major argument that Asian American opponents of affirmative action cite is that Asian American students are being admitted into Harvard at a lower admission rate than non-Asian American students because we are overrepresented in the applicant pool.
Sounds like another testable hypothesis, albeit a harder one to really get at since the numbers aren’t published by Havard or any other private academic institution. Still, I asked myself today, is this also something we can crunch the numbers on?
This is perhaps the most exciting and satisfying report of negative data I have ever read.
Opponents have long argued that existing surveys showing broad support for race-conscious affirmative action among AAPI have obscured disapproval of these policies based on how the questions were worded; earlier studies asked questions regarding affirmative action broadly based on wording used by the non-partisan Pew Research Group. Yunlei Yang of the Silicon Valley Chinese Association criticized this methodology when he wrote for the LA Times in his op-ed (“Asian Americans would lose out under affirmative action“), saying “I find the poll question misleading and Ramakrishnan’s reasoning deeply flawed.”
That criticism was echoed on BigWOWO, where blogger Byron Wong wrote, “If [the poll’s question wording] is not a loaded question, I don’t know what is.” Among his other concerns, Byron went on to advocate for an alternative question wording that limited scope to college admissions, saying:
The basic premise is that had a survey polled Asian American (or specifically Chinese American attitudes) on affirmative action in college admissions, and asking whether or not these policies hurt Asian American acceptance rates, the answer would reveal a resounding majority opposition to race-conscious affirmative action.
Not satisfied, it seems, to simply disprove these nay-sayers, the primary investigators of this year’s surveys on Asian American political opinions have now “clapped back” with an abundance of evidence that almost completely dismantles these (apparently baseless) criticisms.