In a surprising move, four Asian-American groups have petitioned the Supreme Court to end race-based college admission decisions claiming they discriminate against Asian applicants.

This move is counter to the stance most Asian-American advocacy groups typically take and argues that using race as a factor in admission leaves Asians out in the cold.

Inside Higher Ed has more information on the brief:

“Admission to the nation’s top universities and colleges is a zero-sum proposition. As aspiring applicants capable of graduating from these institutions outnumber available seats, the utilization of race as a ‘plus factor’ for some inexorably applies race as a ‘minus factor’ against those on the other side of the equation. Particularly hard-hit are Asian-American students, who demonstrate academic excellence at disproportionately high rates but often find the value of their work discounted on account of either their race, or nebulous criteria alluding to it,” says the brief.

It was filed on behalf of the 80-20 National Asian-American Educational Foundation, the National Federation of Indian American Associations, the Indian American Forum for Political Education, the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law. 

The brief focuses heavily on research studies such as the work that produced the 2009 book, No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal: Race and Class in Elite College Admission and Campus Life

The book suggested that private institutions essentially admit black students with SAT scores 310 points below those of comparable white students. And the book argued that Asian-American applicants need SAT scores 140 points higher than those of white students to stand the same chances of admission.

Several Asian-American groups — the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, the Asian American Justice Center, Asian American Institute, and Asian Law Caucus — have filed briefs opposing getting rid of raced-based admission practices. These groups argue that Asian-Americans have benefited from such programs and that the problem with college admissions isn’t that black and Latino students take spots from Asians, but that the system has become hyper competitive.

The news of this brief comes on the heels of a new study by the Pew Center, which held Asian Americans up as a sort of model minority, with higher education rates and incomes than their peers. However the study was published, many Asian Americans have been very vocal about the fact that their community isn’t monolithic and still faces very real challenges such a poverty.

The brief filed by the Asian-American groups is just one of three challenges to race-based admission policies the Supreme Court is considering. It will interesting to see how the highly partisan court decides in the coming year.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    if asian americans are so smart why ain’t they rich?

  • Pseudonym

    Dear Asian-American Groups:

    Before you take a stand against what you call “race-based admissions,” please read up on the history of institutionalized discrimination of blacks in the United States. Learn about the WWII GI bills or the Pigford farmers’ case which led to huge growths in the white middle class while black soldiers and farmers were left behind to rot in un-educational and financial ruin. Learn why affirmative action exists in the first place- for both blacks and women. Then once you have all of that, you should understand why these movements are necessary, why you do not apply, and how the effects you may think they have on you are irrelevant/mute points. Real talk, if you don’t like it, you can move back to the country of your forefathers. Most of those countries are pretty homogeneous, so you won’t have to worry about “race-based admissions” and can prosper without having to live under the special arrangements that must be made in the United States given its unique history. However, if you want to remain in this country as an Asian-AMERICAN, you need to understand this country’s history, its huge debt to black American society, and respect any attempts to pay them.

    [*drops mic*]

  • Rocks


  • abcd

    oooh the oppression olympics begin!!!!

    SMH – yeah, lets counter prejudice and stereotypes with…prejudice and stereotypes.

    Pseudonym – really, thats your argument – go back to your countries of origin? Maybe you need to look at the historical racism and discrimination committed against east asians and south asians in this country (Japanese internment, chinese railroad workers, banning on indians and asians from entering this country until the last few decades).

    At a certain point, I don’t know when, people are going to have to learn people are people. I make no comment on either side of the AA argument. It is complex and clearly still makes people hot under the collar no matter what position you take.

  • emm

    I agree that it is time race based admission decisions. We’re in 2012, and it is simply not fair.

  • Pseudonym

    They’re not simply “race-based admission decisions.” Read up on your history. Also, there are still race-based hiring practices, so how about you tackle the eradication of that issue? Your thought process only serves to exacerbate the gap between the “haves” and “have nots” based on racial discrimination as opposed to lessening that gap. Even for Asians, they have this thing called a “bamboo ceiling.” Asians can make up 80% of entry-mid-level tech and science jobs, yet they are completely cut out of high-level jobs, just as blacks are. The applicant stats alone go to show that those positions are reserved for whites only- and not because they simply performed better.

    As you said, we’re in 2012. It is simply not fair that we still have white male cronyism dominating the fields and sticking to race-based hiring practices. They throw a bone and allow non-blacks the low-mid level positions, but still block us from being at the top. Until THAT is no longer an issue, I don’t want to hear any complaining about what people perceive as “unfair race-based admissions.”

    ALSO, note: I expect a student with all the resources they need available to them to perform well on standardized tests and such. Yet, I am more impressed by the student who is working with a lot less support and resources who is performing a little below, just as well, or even better than the privileged student. They demonstrate more potential and resourcefulness. Just sayin’.

  • Ms. Information

    Can’t they just open more beauty supply stores so we can send their kids to Brandeis and Harvard while our kids go to Morris Brown? Oh yeah..wait

  • Pseudonym

    Yes, that is my proposal under the conditions that any Asian-American wants to complain about the US having programs in place in an attempt to help undo the damage of institutionalized racism against blacks. I am aware of the history of US mistreatment of Asians HOWEVER you’re missing the main point: this does not block many Asians from obtaining success. They may not be CEO of IBM, but they’ve got a pretty high ceiling for success. You do not read articles or watch 20/20 specials revealing how among identical resumes, those with Asian names are automatically thrown in the garbage. “Black-sounding” names, however, are tossed away. Therefore, your point is moot. (Just realized I misspelled it above.)

    When THAT becomes an issue for Asians, then we can talk about negative effects of hiring practices for them.
    Until then, they need to realize that this is a consequence of the country that they live in, accept it, or move elsewhere. (Hell, they can go to France, for all I care, but to go back to their family’s countries (in CERTAIN countries like China, Korea, or Japan vs., say, Malaysia where all the Chinese discriminate against the Malays and pretty much have a relationship analogous to to that of whites and blacks in the States) because the homogeneity will make race a virtual non-issue, which is what seems to be their main complaint.

  • Pseudonym

    hahaha! and I love it!

  • JC

    I think we need to move on from Affirmative Action, it is not politically sustainable. We need Affirmative Funding, targeted funding in black early childhood development and k-12 education.

  • RightOn


  • Ms. Information

    lol, sorry, I had to :P

  • Shirl

    Ok..Now that was funny. Hahaha. I just spit out my coffee

  • Me

    I normally agree with a lot of what Pseudonym writes, but today I’m with abcd. This country was built by the oppression and discrimination of many groups. Africans weren’t the only group of people that were lynched in this country, or subjected to harsh labor, or denied employment because of the way they look/sound in the centuries of the “building” this country. To this day, I have Asian colleagues and former classmates who legally change their names to an American name because employers won’t hire people with names they can’t pronounce. Asian Americans contributed enough to this country to call it their home too. So I find it extremely disrespectful to tell anyone to “go back to your country.” Many of them are no different than the Black Americans who are so far removed from their African roots that the only language they speak is American English. They are American, and this is their country. They have just as much a right to challenge the system as black people. We’re not the only nor the last group of oppressed people on this planet. Stop acting like we hold the monopoly on injustice.

  • Kam

    Umm, Chinese, Koreans, Japanese and South Asians have on average higher income groups than whites included.They tend to be highly educated and highly paid as a whole. But those numbers start to decrease when you add in other Asian groups. But they don’t have the poverty levels like other minority groups.

  • Kam

    I disagree, I think Asians get discriminated just as much as Blacks do, and the discrimination seems to be acceptable. Making fun of Asians food, language, way of speaking, immigration status etc seems to be largely acceptable in American culture.

  • Kam

    Well, what’s stopping us from opening our own beauty supply stores and sending our kids to Brandeis and Harvard in large numbers? And don’t say racism, since Africans come here and do the same thing as Asians.

  • Ms. Information

    No…it’s the connections that Asians have with hair retailers (you can research the FACT that they purposefully block Blacks out of the process) accompanied with savvy business sense…it is Hegemony in it’s purest sense…selling a product to someone convinced that they have to have it to feel, look, be better…..I do support the black owned ones in my city, but after a conversation with an owner, she let me know that some of the Asian hair retailers refused to sell to her.

  • Pseudonym

    It’s not disrespectful given the context . If you are Chinese-American and want to go to a place where race does not matter in hiring, chances are you’re most likely to find that in China. Why? Because most of the people you will be competing against will be Chinese and have Chinese names, so you can level the playing ground in that context. Any female that doesn’t want to be discriminated against for her sex would do best working in a field dominated by women. It’s the same idea. I think you calling it disrespectful is just a knee-jerk reaction to the phrase b/c of how it can be used in other contexts instead of actually seeing how it is being used here.

    Anywhoo, no one is saying that black people have the monopoly on injustice. HOWEVER, the solution to gaining justice on the part of Asian-Americans is not to attack systems in place to counter racial discrimination against blacks. They should be able to be more constructive than that and come up with a better approach to get justice without kicking another disadvantaged group in the face.

    This approach is more of the have-nots fighting amongst themselves instead of the powers that be that have put them there in the first place. Don’t go after black people who are getting admitted/hired, go after the white people who aren’t admitting/hiring you!

    Also, it seems this group is making a lot of assumptions about college admissions. Colleges are no longer just looking for SAT scores and grades- an even emphasis is placed on extracurricular activities, community service, general people skills, etc. I’ve read articles about the Chinese SAT mills where parents send their children to do drills for exams 40 hours a week. After all that, you think these kids have time for sports, drama club, etc? Also, from my exposure to Asian culture through my friends, it’s also an issue that a lot of Asian parents are pressuring their children into the same fields: medicine or engineering/science- and preferably medicine. There aren’t enough medical school slots in the country for every single Asian kid whose parents want them to be a doctor, just as not every white, black, etc. person who applies to medical school is accepted. I’m sure that if Asians grew more appreciation for other disciplines, this wouldn’t be as much of a problem. Right now, 99% of Asian-American college students seem to be aspiring to 1% of the available jobs.

    One example I remember hearing of the case for diversity is that a company (can’t remember which one, it was yeaaaars ago) put together a mini-van using an all-white team and it bombed horribly. Embarrassed, the original team disbanded. New one was build and it was quite diverse and they went on to design the best minivan that was available. Hiring all Asians is just going to get you back to the first scenario. Anyone who’s worked in Asia or an Asian-dominated environment knows that the culture is different than that of the US and many of their methods would not succeed in this country. I feel that people and the US can learn a lot from Asian discipline and that a lot of people from the more workaholic Asian countries can learn a lot from the US’s consideration customer service and personal growth. So, diversity is good. And as for the fight for more Asian-American professional growth, do what you want. Just leave black people out of it.

  • Me

    I don’t know. Your argument kind of sounds like your saying Asians should be penalized for working hard because African Americans are still excelling at the lowest rates–like the system won’t be fair until everyone else achievements are knocked down to the current level of black achievement. I know many Asian Americans whose parents rode them on both academics and “strategic” extra curricular activities (e.g. sports, no, but music, yes).

    Granted: I’m leery of any proposal that would amount to another system that forces black people to dig themselves out of a hole before they can even start competing, but I’m not opposed to revisiting whether or not affirmative action in its current state is accomplishing the goal it set out to tackle. I definitely don’t think assigning arbitrary points to an applicant’s race is the best approach to adjusting for socioeconomic disadvantages.

    Yes, diversity is critical to the viability of any team/society, but racial diversity doesn’t trump diversity of thought, and I have to admit that there are cases where underprepared minorities are occupying seats in the classroom/boardroom. The same could be said of non-minorities, but I’m just saying I think the backlash I’ve been reading on this comment section has been unwarranted when it leads to comments that pretty much say “if you’re too accomplished to be discriminated against like we’re discriminated against, you need to go back to where you came from so we can keep receiving our hand outs.” (I know my statement was very exaggerated.) Does that mean if/once black people reach a level of academic excellence that sets us up on the less beneficial side of the curve that we can be told to go back to Africa?

    Affirmative action shouldn’t help us overcome injustice while simultaneously penalizing another group that did nothing to set us back. So instead of telling Asians to shut up or get out, how about we dialogue about alternatives to affirmative actions that better equalizes the starting point for everyone.

  • Me

    Now this is a great idea! I had been trying to formulate this thought for a couple years now, and you managed to summarize it very succinctly. Affirmative Funding. Send that one to

  • Me

    Or (brain fart)


  • simplyme

    This may be a little controversial but…..have they thought that maybe this isn’t discrimination, but rather Asian Americans tend to NEED higher SAT scores to be admitted because they tend to be lacking in other areas?

    Theres no quota system any more (I think) so colleges can look at race as a factor but in relation to the student’s life experiences…not to admit x number of a certain group to the exclusion of others. College applications are based on a sum of several things..gpa, test scores, but also essays expressing philanthropic life goals, life experiences, community service, certain character traits, hobbies, non academic talents..etc. Basically they want people that will do well, but also contribute to the campus atmosphere in a positive way..not just sit in the library studying all day. Maybe Asian students tend to be lacking in other areas so need higher test scores than other groups to be admitted to top schools.

    Race is such an intangible factor. I remember meeting a Hmong student at an awards banquet a few years back who had a relatively mediocre SAT score but got into Harvard because of the community service work he was doing in his community and the fact that he had to work in addition to everything else that he was doing to help support his family. He ultimately wanted to do something in his career that supported his community. and I think his story is very similar to quite a few Black students that get into top schools that contribute to these statistics. So…. no I don’t think schools are discriminating against Asian Americans at all..there are other factors at play. I think its important to remember that a high SAT score does not deem someone worthy of attending an Ivy League university. They are admitting people not scores.

  • Pseudonym

    @Me: That statement isn’t only exaggerated, it’s not a logical continuation of what I said. Once racial and sex discrimination does not exist, then affirmative action won’t have to exist. I can tell you that even then, the Ivy League schools aren’t going to be all Asian b/c it takes more than a high SAT score to get there. The schools will still choose students with diverse backgrounds, experiences, interests, etc. so that they can benefit from growing intellectually with peers who can expose the to different views and schools of thought. Also, in service/social fields such as education, medicine, and social work, you still would need diverse racial/cultural student populations in order to have cultural competence when practicing in different communities. The challenges you would have and approaches that would work for you as a nurse/teacher/social worker in an Asian-American community are completely different from those you would experience in a Latino-American/black American/white American/mixed/upper class/lower class/etc. community.

    I don’t even follow where the “go back to Africa” would come from…for many reasons, but overall, the ultimate goal is to even the playing field for EVERYONE and not need affirmative action. Until the professional stage stops being racially discriminatory, affirmative action will exist. If you are of Asian descent and are an American, you have to deal with the existence of affirmative action for women and underrespresented groups because that is the US political climate, even though you had nothing to do with it. (Asians are not underrepresented in scientific fields because almost everyone wants to be a doctor and majors in science.) It is the same as how I do not agree or morally/politically support the US efforts in the middle east, however, my tax dollars go to the efforts there because I am a citizen of this country. As citizens of this country, they have to recognize the discrimination against blacks and allow for efforts to exist to combat it. I don’t buy the argument about them not getting into the schools that they deserve b/c I don’t think a high SAT score automatically means you are smarter. There is actual research (with data) that shows that there is no correlation between one’s SAT score and how well one performs in college.

    AND back to what I said and someone else said below, not sure if it only comes down to test score is China, Korea, or Japan, but in the US a whoooole lot more goes into the college admissions process than just standardized test scores. Extracurriculars, community service, letters of recommendation, a great essay of purpose, etc.- those all play a big part of the process as well. Honestly, I think these people complaining are awfully presumptuous to assume that their admission came down to them and an underqualified black student and if the underqualified black student wasn’t admitted, they’d be an automatic “in.”

  • dc

    Really good points.

  • Pseudonym

    Apparently, the Asians have monopolized the beauty supply market and won’t sell to blacks. Africans that come to the States- save for refugees- and do well are usually wealthy back home.

  • WhatIThink

    LOL! So called race based Affirmative Action for college admissions is simply a con game. Why? Because first and foremost the main issue with education in America is not at the secondary level. Most high schools and middle schools in the US are separate and unequal. Most blacks go to schools that are typically underfunded and produce substandard results. Therefore, the children are 9 times out of 10 not going to be prepared to go on to college and if they do are not going to be as qualified as those who come from better schools with better educations and higher qualifications. But now the whole focus of affirmative action has shifted from making the schools that all children must attend by law equal, but to the colleges and universities which are not mandatory by law. Which misses the whole point to begin with which is that black folks have always received a substandard education from grades 1-12 as a matter of systematic policy. If you don’t fix that then pushing affirmative action at the college level through admissions policies is a moot point. And of course it is going to be attacked because that is precisely what it was designed to do. So it is a con game because it does not address the real issues of race in education and second because it provides a platform for all these folks to attack such programs as “reverse discrimination” when in fact all these programs were designed, implemented and are run by whites. LOL!

  • Me

    These are good points. It might help if schools were a little more transparent about how different parts of the application work in favor of being accepted. I know I’d be interested in knowing just how much weight the qualitative portions (activities, essays, etc) have.

  • Me

    Ok. I can definitely agree to a lot of your argument in favor of admissions being much more encompassing than just SAT scores. I’ll even go further to say I don’t stand behind their scapegoating black applicants as their evidence of being discriminated against.

    I only made my exaggerated comment in response to the go back to Asia comment. That’s particularly jarring to hear directed at anyone on American soil (maybe because I’m Haitian American and heard that too many times growing up to believe there’s an appropriate application of the phrase, save for legitimate homeland security instances). Right or wrong, I value the insight/input of everyone that wants to add value to this country, and I think it’s healthy to challenge and question the efficacy of a broad reaching program and the effects of its externalities.

  • Me

    This comment and JC’s above is at the heart of the education argument. I agree. Affirmative Action at the collegiate (even at the professional) level only treats the symptoms and completely ignores the actual illness. I strongly believe that the use of property taxes for the funding of education plays a major role in upholding the inequities.

    I don’t think it’s right for certain districts to be able to fund high end resources, supplies, facilities, while others are scraping by as a result of the housing market game. The property taxes that are collected and allocated towards education should be pooled at the state or federal level and distributed equally across all schools. No school should be using tax dollars to create an advantage over any other school, in my opinion. Fund all schools equally, and if parents in certain districts are so well off that they want to give their kids more than what their tax dollars are supplying them, let them use their after-tax money to enroll their kids in privately funded community based activities and programs, but those tax dollars are meant to fund public goods, which should be available to the entire public.

  • isolde3

    I don’t know what’s funnier, the assertion that the reason why so many Asian students lap the field in standardized testing and grades is because all they do is study or that the testing gap between Blacks and Asians exists because black students are somehow more well rounded then their Asian American counterparts. Some of you sound so ignorant, and it’s obvious that you’re only tossing around these stereotypes to make yourselves feel better.

    Watch this documentary on youtube about a bunch of Asian applicants applying to the ivies. The majority of them are heavily involved in extra-curricular activities, and only one conforms to the stereotype that some of your are so eager to apply to all high scoring Asian American students.

  • Lex McDickerson

    Ok so I have been following this issue for about 20 years. Clearly in China, Korea, Japan there is an obsessive importance placed on test scores. So much in fact, these countries are starting to review their methods based on the rates of depression and suicide stemming from this test and grade obsessive culture. Data also shows that asians have a high rate of suicide and depression at American universities based on undue pressure by their families to excell. To each their own, but the problem is when asians arrive in the U.S. They have the false assumption this educational philosophy translates to the U.S. and it does not. There is no rule that says if you get a perfect GPA and a perfect SAT score that you get admitted to college in front of anyone who has lesser scores than you! That is just not the case and asians hurt their children by leading them to believe that it is true. So if Harvard has 150 open spots asians think that 150 asian kids with 4.4 GPAs and perfect SATs should fill every spot for Harvard’s freshman class? That’s not the way it works… If a kid with lesser grades has 1)A better interview or 2)Better/Stronger recommendations 3)Was a proven leader 4)Brings academic diversity in their major i.e Romance language, Philosophy, Women’s Studies, Education, Music ect. Not just Math, Science, Engineering.. any IVY has those in spades! Being a Math, Science wiz may be cool to your parents and family, but it’s nothing special in IVY land! Honors and AP classes are not sports or activities! The big thing people don’t bring up is sports. No not the asian kid who just joins the track team to boost his application to Harvard. I am talking big time varsity sports Football, Basketball, Baseball, Track ect. The top schools the IVY League as well as Stanford, Duke, Northwestern ect. place a lot of importance on their sports programs. So right there you will have 100′s of great students, excellent students but not perfect students who will be admitted EVERY YEAR before perfect SAT perfect grade students!!! That’s just reality! I myself was recruited by every IVY to run track and I had above average grades. Then there is the final blow…Good old American Diversity! Before many asian parents or grandparents arrived here in the U.S. we had a hundred or so years of educational discrimination based on race. That is NOT going to evolve into educational discrimination based on scores! All colleges will continue to be melting pots of races, abilities and backgrounds. So asian parents when you drive your 7 year old past the baseball fields, football fields, soccer fields, cheerleading try-outs to take them to a tutoring session, you might already be ruining their chances of going to Harvard, Yale or Stanford!!!!!!

  • African Mami


  • Pseudonym

    SO TRUE!!! There was a professor at my college whose research (I think she’s was in the sociology department) showed that the most critical years are elementary and that reaching competence at the junior high level AT THE LATEST is crucial for success in higher education.

    Having attended a top tier school and having friends that have also, I can see why this is being ignored: many of the university slots are going to educated Africans, Caribbeans, or their children who are grouped together with black Americans under the “black” box. Those students tend to do well (most Carib students are younger b/c they skipped a grade when they came to the US) so people think “Hey! Affirmative action is working!” without realizing that all the doctors are Okafors and Josephs. In my class of 100 black students or so, there were less than 20 actual black American students. I say this not to be divisive at all, but to point out as to a completely missed failure of the affirmative action system. And perhaps a reason people don’t notice that these horrible elementary schools are not preparing enough black American children for the university level and drastic changes need to be made. During college I was a mentor for a 7th grade girl who wanted to be a doctor when she grew up and didn’t know how to spell it. You think she was ready for pre-med courses 5 years later at that rate?

    If ever there was a real desire to even the playing field, our K-12 schools is DEFINITELY where our efforts should go.

  • Pseudonym

    The Chinatown SAT testing meals are a real thing. I’ve read about it in an article about the Asian “bamboo ceiling” in the US. We’re not saying that is it ALL Asian students, but rather are sharing that a lot of Asian immigrant parents don’t realize that the admissions process in the States in different and think that test scores in the #1 way into school (My Taiwanese friend told me that when her sister took a certain test they actually told her the place number she was- i.e. received the 10th best score or 100th.) so they stress test scores over other things. Check out the Tiger Mom or take a poll of how many Asian people you know went to school as a pre-med or who played the piano in junior high even though they hated it. A lot of Asian parents have an identical idea of what it takes to be successful and they push their kids to fit that mold.

    Even check out the meme High Expectations Asian Father:

    It.Is.HILARIOUS! but hits on a lot of the points we brought up here.

    There are definitely well-rounded Asian-American students-especially now that the Asian-American community has been in the US long enough for there to be 3rd (and maybe 4th?) generation kids whose parents have a better understanding of how the US system works. Anywhoo, my opinions aren’t from out of thin air or speculation. Everything I’ve learned about Asians and have stated on this discussion, I’ve learned from Asians- either my own friends and peers or writers and journalists. Unless they’re lying to me en masse…

  • Me

    Actually, I canattest to the same thing. I know I’ve had conversations with international (and even just 1st generation) friends along the lines of how we just don’t get how we’ve been able to use the system to our advantage, while it seems black Americans have the hardest time making it work for them. Not that we’re all living in luxury, but it’s definitely apparent from the outside looking in that there’s a gap in the plan.

  • KMO

    Oh dear. I hate this type of argument but I have to call b*llshit on some of these comments.

    First, how incredibly hypocritical of some of you to bemoan over the racism that is (unquestionably) facing Black Americans and in the same breath spew racist vitriol towards Asian Americans. Absolutely deplorable.

    Second, to say that Asian Americans don’t receive discrimination to the same degree as Black Americans is misleading and quite frankly, ignorant. Certainly there are differences in the TYPES of discrimination felt by different racial groups, but who are you to judge the impact of that racism simply because you feel you’ve been treated more poorly?

    Am I to understand that you select contributors rationalize A.A. as being some sort of a reparation or consolation for years of systematic racism and past slavery? So in that sense, the US should only apply A.A. to Black American descendants of African slaves? Black Americans who’s families came to the US through immigration should be excluded? In the same thought process, than shouldn’t a Japanese American descendant of Japanese people forced into internment camps during WWII take precedent over a 2nd generation Haitian American? If not, then your argument falls apart.

    And to the contributor above who implied that all White Americans living today somehow ‘owe’ all Black Americans living today for the horrendous actions of past generations (sorry I’m in a hurry and I can’t find the exact post), I must ask… Why is it that Black Americans are always saying they wish to be treated as individuals and not to be judged by the actions of others in their racial group (a completely legitimate request) but at the same time claim that there is a duty of all White Americans today to make reparations for the actions of in their racial group? Have Black Americans been mistreated throughout America’s history? Absolutely. But why am I, a White American female who has never treated anyone with any disrespect based on race, somehow indebted to all Black Americans because of the actions of others? My family didn’t even come to the United States until the early 1900′s, but yet because I’m white you’ve got the authority to slap a label on me as a contributor to the unbalanced social and economic structure of my country? Surprise! You’re a racist.

    Not only that, you’re downplaying the achievements of my Black American collegues who fought for their success just as hard as anybody else to get to where they are, *without* the need for A.A. That program only perpetuates the ridiculous stereotype that somehow Black Americans are intrinsically *less* capable than their White counterparts, and that couldn’t be further from the truth.

    One last note. My husband is Asian, we went to University together (both undergrad and grad school), and I’ve never, ever seen a single human being work so hard and study such long hours just to achieve their goals as him. He was frequently mocked and shut out by his classmates (both Black and White) because he WASN’T in the medical, scientific, or technical fields. He stayed awake days at a time just to make sure his comprehension of his study went above and beyond what was required of him just so he could reach his personal goals. I had him read this article and he agrees completely with the Asian rights group pushing for A.A. to be reversed. He feels that A.A. is just another way for the majority to discredit the minority by labeling any achievement a result of A.A. programs because (and this is blatantly obvious) when a minority gains personal success, it is often attributed to A.A. bias. You can’t deny that this is true… unless you’ve never heard of the term “Affirmative Action Diploma”, in which case I can’t help you.

    All people of all colors and countries are equally intelligent and capable of success. Quit implying that Black Americans cannot succeed without help. If you’re going to push for something, push for better early education for ALL Americans from all backgrounds. Once the poor and impoverished (of all races) are granted equal access to an at-school as well as at-home education, than these silly arguments will fade faster than you can see it happening.

  • S.

    A lot of these comments *are* incredibly ignorant (including KMO’s rant about not being apart of the racist infrastructure because her “White” antecessors didn’t enter the country til after the 1900’s). Oh boy. I don’t even feel like touching that one today -___-

    All these comments telling Asian AMERICANS to “go back” to their “country of origin” is simply ridiculous because 1) This is a FREE country and they can do as they please as long as it’s legal 2) This IS their country of origin!

    God forbid Black American parents plan to have children, plan for their future, get seriously involved in their children’s academic careers by (appropriately) pushing them to excel and expecting them to be at average/above average intelligence. Oh the horror! It’s too much to ask of great-grandchildren of slaves (many whom were educated shortly after being emancipated despite their very limited, limited resources btw O_O)!!

    I swear, SO MANY problems could be fixed in the Black community if Black parents, tomorrow, decided that they would assume responsibility for their children’s success and failures, and not blame it solely on the school sytsem. No the system is not perfect but I don’t see Black parents doing all they can to help their children’s academic careers. What I DO see are Black parents who are feverishly involved in their children’s athletic careers, as if their future retirement depended on it.

    It sucks being apart of a community of people who put 99% of all their energy and fight into being athletes and entertainers and combating racism through elementary level activism instead of coming up with plans to reform their local public school systems and consistently going to the voting booth (for both local and national elections) to further our personal agendas.

    And here we are getting up in arms about another oppressed group of Americans taking action for their own well being.. smh

  • isolde3

    Immigrant attitudes about testing, Tiger Moms, and Chinatown SAT meals, have nothing to do with the blurb from the book highlighted in the article stating that Asian American students have to score on average 140 points higher on the SAT’s than whites to be granted admission. But please, feel free to just gloss right over that because it’s convenient. No matter what Asian Americans or children of immigrants feel they are entitled to by virtue of testing, it still doesn’t negate the fact that those Asian American students are held to a higher standard. Your insistence of focusing on Asian immigrant attitudes is misguided anyway, because it isn’t just first generation Asian kids that are affected by the “bamboo ceiling.” The ones that don’t apply to your Asian nerd stereotypes, the ones that according to you and others are “well rounded,” and know that college admission is based on more than test scores also have to score 140 points higher than whites to gain admission.

  • Pseudonym

    “Quit implying that Black Americans cannot succeed without help. If you’re going to push for something, push for better early education for ALL Americans from all backgrounds.”

    We are not implying that black Americans cannot succeed without help- we are implying that since racism still exists in hiring, someone’s gotta force these white hiring personnel to open their eyes to the fact that there are blacks who are can perform the tasks just as well. And stop throwing resumes into the garbage simply because they have a “black-sounding” name. (Check the research- it happens often.) No one’s asking for extra help because they’re incapable of performing on their own- we’re staying that there should be a distinction made between not having as many accolades because (a) you simply cannot perform a task and because you (2) don’t have the resources available to you. Notice there’s been no evidence that blacks (or women, since you are a woman) being admitted via affirmative action aren’t succeeding in their posts- the reason being that they fall into the latter category.

    And please let’s not create the myth that all successful black people are the result of affirmative action. As you said yourself, this is not true. Before affirmative actions there were non-whites (men and women) and white women who were denied admissions despite the fact that they had better test scores, experience, etc. than the white males that applied. Affirmative action is not simply about giving opportunities to those who score lower, it is about controlling racism and sexism in the admissions and hiring process.

    We’re only pointing out black children because (1) this is a site targeting black women, many of whom have black children and (2) black children seem to be getting the short end of the stick, overall. Trust me, our goal is not to swing the pendulum of discrimination away from black people onto another group. For you to suggest that is preposterous. The goal and aspiration is to achieve MLK’s dream that “little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

    As you learned from your husband’s experiences, we do not live in that nation yet and I, personally, support any efforts being put into place that will bring us closer to that goal.

    “Have Black Americans been mistreated throughout America’s history? Absolutely. But why am I, a White American female who has never treated anyone with any disrespect based on race, somehow indebted to all Black Americans because of the actions of others?”

    As a citizen of this country, yes. It’s like an example I gave earlier. I do not support the US’s efforts in the middle east. However, as a citizen of this country, my tax dollars went toward supporting that unnecessary war and- in the aftermath- my tax dollars will have to go to finance the rebuilding efforts there. That’s what it means to be a citizen of a country. They say we have a democracy. The upside about democracy: sometimes you win and get to do what you want. The downside: sometimes you lose and have to do what you don’t. I will have to pay to build schools in Afghanistan and Iran and you will have to pay to better inner-city schools in the US. That doesn’t make anyone racist, not racist, or a scapegoat. That’s just…democracy.

  • Pseudonym

    (democracy and citizenship)

  • apple

    james is that your pic? if i was 30 years old ;-)

  • apple


  • poodlekiss1922

    Here’s my thing. All of these whites and asians are whining about how we’re taking all their seats and they can’t get into school because of Affirmative Action. I’m going to use the medicine example because I know it well and I have scholarly journal sources to back it up. Please be assured that this is a microcosm for higher education as a whole. In 2004, 2,803 black students applied to allopathic (MD granting) medical schools. Last year, around the same number of people applied. That means the numbers are not increasing. In fact, they have declined. In 2004, 1,086 people matriculated. Last year, about 1500 black students matriculated. Last year, about 44,000 students of all races applied. About 19,000 matriculated. Let’s do math. 1500/19000= 0.08 percent. Moral of the story= affirmative action is not keeping you from becoming a doctor. You need to holla at the whites and other asians with all the seats. About 250 of those students matriculated at historically black medical schools. Without those, we’d have almost no doctors. Now please tell me that race should not be a factor in at least medical school admissions! PS: Only half of all black patients are seen by black doctors (that make up about 7% of all doctors, so don’t say the white and asian doctors are taking care of us.

  • poodlekiss1922

    Oh yeah, almost forgot my sources:

  • poodlekiss1922
    I’m going to use medicine as an example because it is one that I know well. Rest assured this is a microcosm for higher education as a whole, especially professional schools. In 2004, 2,803 black students applied to allopathic medical schools in the US (medical schools that grant an MD). Out of those students, 1,086 matriculated (were accepted AND attended). Last year, about 3000 black students applied to allopathic medical schools. About 1400 were accepted. This means our numbers of students have not significantly increased, and definitely have not increased at the same rates as whites or Asians. Last year, about 44,000 students applied to all US medical schools, and about 19,000 were accepted. Let’s do the math. 1500/19000=0.08 percent. If you want to be mad at someone for taking your seat, be mad at the whites, other Asians, Indians, and other international students who are overrepresented. What’s wrong with that, you say? We make up 13% of the US population but hold less than one percent of all medical school seats. Half of all black patients are seen by black doctors. Black doctors make up about 7% of all doctors in the US, so obviously there is a need. Doctors want to practice in their own community. Black patients want a doctor who understands them. The numbers don’t lie. Let’s do more math: of course our average test scores our lower. There is less competition amongst us because our sample size is lower. Less applicants, less competition. That, my friends, is simple statistics. Don’t you know how to run an ANOVA?

  • KMO

    *We are not implying that black Americans cannot succeed without help- we are implying that since racism still exists in hiring, someone’s gotta force these white hiring personnel to open their eyes to the fact that there are blacks who are can perform the tasks just as well. And stop throwing resumes into the garbage simply because they have a “black-sounding” name. (Check the research- it happens often.) No one’s asking for extra help because they’re incapable of performing on their own- we’re staying that there should be a distinction made between not having as many accolades because (a) you simply cannot perform a task and because you (2) don’t have the resources available to you. Notice there’s been no evidence that blacks (or women, since you are a woman) being admitted via affirmative action aren’t succeeding in their posts- the reason being that they fall into the latter category.*

    - I did not say once that those who have benefited from A.A. did not meet the standard for the job/school into which they were accepted. I merely used this common (and unfounded) belief as an example to better explain my position.

    *And please let’s not create the myth that all successful black people are the result of affirmative action. As you said yourself, this is not true. Before affirmative actions there were non-whites (men and women) and white women who were denied admissions despite the fact that they had better test scores, experience, etc. than the white males that applied. Affirmative action is not simply about giving opportunities to those who score lower, it is about controlling racism and sexism in the admissions and hiring process.*

    - Exactly. Again your reply seems a tad condescending, although oddly we agree. Of course this myth is an outright falsity, that doesn’t mean that bigoted people with bigoted ideas won’t believe it. For example, take the “Birthers”. No matter how many times they see President Obama’s birth certificate, no matter how much proof is given to repudiate their views – they will never change their opinions. But you certainly can’t fix or even treat blind ignorance just by labeling it crazy and going down the same path. That’s just treating the symptoms instead of the cause.

    *We’re only pointing out black children because (1) this is a site targeting black women, many of whom have black children and (2) black children seem to be getting the short end of the stick, overall. Trust me, our goal is not to swing the pendulum of discrimination away from black people onto another group. For you to suggest that is preposterous. The goal and aspiration is to achieve MLK’s dream that “little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”*

    - Once again, that is not what I implied. I didn’t say that those posting racist venom towards Asian Americans above were trying to push racist ideas towards another group – I only pointed out how hypocritical it was for them to complain about racism when they too were fueling racist ideology. Pot, meet kettle.

    *As you learned from your husband’s experiences, we do not live in that nation yet and I, personally, support any efforts being put into place that will bring us closer to that goal.*

    - Precisely. So how exactly are these people helping the problem? They’re (rightfully) complaining about racial injustice towards Black Americans and in the same statement spread racial hatred for Asian Americans. Hypocrisy at it’s finest, and not helpful in the least.

    *As a citizen of this country, yes. It’s like an example I gave earlier. I do not support the US’s efforts in the middle east. However, as a citizen of this country, my tax dollars went toward supporting that unnecessary war and- in the aftermath- my tax dollars will have to go to finance the rebuilding efforts there. That’s what it means to be a citizen of a country. They say we have a democracy. The upside about democracy: sometimes you win and get to do what you want. The downside: sometimes you lose and have to do what you don’t. I will have to pay to build schools in Afghanistan and Iran and you will have to pay to better inner-city schools in the US. That doesn’t make anyone racist, not racist, or a scapegoat. That’s just…democracy.*

    -And here is where we disagree. I cannot and will not hold any one person responsible for any actions but their own. I cannot feel pride or guilt for anything except for what’s done by my own will. For example, I do not expect peaceful Muslims to atone or apologize for the events on 9/11. Those not directly involved have no moral obligation to me or anyone else. Here’s another – Hypothetically, let’s say that a family member of mine was raped and murdered by a Black American. Would it be right for me to request that all Black Americans atone for this? Of course not. So how can you expect me to feel guilt for a crime or an injustice that was not the result of my own duties? Especially considering I’ve worked a good portion of my life trying to help mend these racial gaps that push these fictional walls between us.

    And it begins and ends with equal opportunity to *education*

  • WhatIThink

    And the other thing that is totally hilarious and farcical about all of this is that after 300+ years of affirmative action for white folks in terms of racism, slavery, Jim Crow and so forth, folks want to come out of the wood work and scream about the affirmative action program created by government which go nowhere near as far as the programs historically created by government to give an upper hand to whites. That is how you know that these people are frauds and failures. Asians have no problems getting into schools in the U.S. are you serious? Really? And by no means do white people have problems getting into any school of their choice? So how on earth does some measly “preferential admissions” policy equate with: legal slavery? 3/5ths of a human? the homestead act? Jim Crow? Redlining? and so forth and so on? All of which were explicitly created to put power and wealth into succeeding generations of European immigrants to America on land stolen from Native Americans. Now after all those systematic built in preferences for white folks people want to sit up and complain about some one or two individuals who were mediocre and dumped in with a bigger pool of applicants and potentially picked over as some sort of reverse discrimination?

    Reverse discrimination by who? You mean by the descendants of the same white folks who created this country based on affirmative action for whites who still run the school boards and universities? Really now.

    Some people are just stupid.

  • SS25

    For the record WHITE women benefit the most from Affirmative Action. Research it then come on here and scream about A.A. and black people.

  • KMO

    Who exactly is ‘screaming’ about Affirmative Action? Is it wrong to think it would be better to fix the inequalities in the education system facing Black Americans? Really?

    And how exactly have I benefited from Affirmative Action? I graduated with honors among the top 20 students in my graduating class of 1100 students and am going to paying off student loans for the rest of my life for University and Grad School – all of which will be coming out of my own pocket. I’ve lived and worked in East Asia (in a country where it’s next to impossible to climb the corporate ladder as a woman, much less a foreigner) basically since I graduated so I haven’t had any ‘Affirmative Action’ employment ‘opportunities’ (if you can even call it that), either. If anything, this proves my point further. I’m insulted that anyone would even imply that my years of hard work and study were attributed to A.A. instead of my own drive and ambition.

    You’re missing the point entirely.

    I’m not saying that the reasons for A.A. aren’t valid problems that need to be addressed seriously. I’m saying that it’s a far, FAR more important issue to address and correct the extreme inequality in the quality of education between urban and suburban schools. Programs like A.A. only treat the symptoms of a much deeper degree of racism in the United States which will never get solved until we look at them with a different perspective.

  • Mademoiselle

    Stats for total US college enrollment:

    Total enrolled (public and private) 21,789,991
    Total white enrollment 15,255,560 (70.0% of total)
    Total black enrollment 3,140,352 (14.4% of total)
    Total asian enrollment 1,652,706 (7.6% of total)

    Source U.S. Census Bureau (Table B14004):

  • SS25

    @KMO I’m not missing your point I just don’t care what you have to say. You need to stop with the ranting. Why exactly are you on Clutch?

  • Pseudonym

    I will agree that some of the comments have been racist toward Asian Americans. I did not make any of them and I don’t agree with them, so no need to argue that point. My main points are (1) as citizens, Asian-Americans have to deal with US politics (If they don’t want to, well…there’s a whole world of countries out there for them to check out), (2) a lot of Asian-American students are going after a small limited amount of available slots with identical resumes (not everyone has to be a doctor or engineer- I would say over 3/4 of the Asians I know at least started college as a premed or engineer), (3) it takes more than SAT scores to get into college, (4) it’s presumptuous for them to assume that they aren’t being accepted to schools simply because they’re Asian and other people are black.

    Also, I didn’t mean to come off as condescending- I just wanted to stave off possible counter-arguments by addressing them all in one go. I didn’t imply that you think that blacks are incapable; I was just highlighting another reason why affirmative action exists that is often ignored as people focus on a few lower SAT scores (which have been proven to be culturally bias anyway)- blacks and women who were well-qualified (and maybe even overqualified) were- and still are- discriminated against in the hiring process. I’m sure you’ve heard the statistic about how much money a woman makes compared to a man with the same experience in the same exact position.

    Honestly, I just don’t buy the argument that Asian-Americans students are being left behind. I went to a top university and we had about 3 rows of Chens (after a 5 minute run of “So-and-so Chen,” everyone started laughing after every one b/c it seemed to never end!). My Ob/Gyn is Asian and so is my Primary Care physician. So is the lady who runs the dry cleaners downstairs and my mom’s friend who was a Sony engineer and now owns a Thai restaurant. I’ve even had Asian professors who couldn’t speak a word of fluent English and spent semesters anxious about my grades because they couldn’t teach me anything due to their inability to form a coherent sentence (<–That last one is an example of Asians getting jobs that they shouldn't even have!). Honestly, I think it could come down to the fact that almost every Asian student thinks they want to go to medical school and believes that a 4.0 GPA and good SAT scores will guarantee them a slot. Doesn't work that way. Also, too many of their parents pressure them into all wanting the same one or two jobs. That just decreases one's chances.

    Blacks make up 13% of the population, Asians 5%. If every black student decided they want to be a doctor- even with 4.0s and good SAT scores- they wouldn't all be admitted. (1) Because it takes more than grades and (2) there's a degree of cultural competence that medicine needs and you won't have that if all the doctors are black American. We need Mexican doctors who will educated other doctors about Santerias and the typical Mexican diet, we need Chinese doctors who will know about alternative medicines one could be taking, we need Jewish doctors to explain why dead bodies need to be reported to the family right away, etc. Once again, there's more to being a doctor than just scientific knowledge.

    Lastly, your examples don't work because they do not line up with the analogy of CITIZENSHIP. We're talking tax dollars and a social problem created by the US government (just research the WWII GI bill and Pigford farmer cases) and society (blacks didn't have single-parent households until reconstruction when black men wouldn't be given jobs and the only way their family could eat was if they moved out of the home and allowed their wives to go on welfare), which is why citizenship is relevant. Extremist Muslims don't all fall under the same government, so you can't use that example. A black American person raping your family is a personal issue, so that doesn't apply either. What does apply is the fact that your tax dollars age going to building schools in Afghanistan. You can't just not pay taxes because you didn't fight in the war. You can't not pay taxes to fix the roads because you don't have a car. You can't not pay taxes to support the public library because you have every book you need on your Kindle. The world just doesn't work that way- especially in cases where the problem was caused by your country's government.

  • Pseudonym

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  • MySister’sKeeper

    I used to frequent a black owned beauty supply shop in LA. They had to close down. The owner said it’s nearly impossible to break into the game. The asians run it and keep the blacks locked out.

  • Pseudonym

    @isolde3: oH! I wasn’t glossing over that fact b/c it’s convenient. Sheesh! Chill out. This is a subject with many angles- I can’t hit them all. I have a suspicion: go talk to some Asian-American students who apply to college to be an English major, Marketing major, Arts major…just pick ANYTHING except pre-med. I have a feeling those students won’t need crazily high SAT scores for admission (Unless it’s been discovered that some are using that as a trick to get into schools. I’ll admit it- I considered it when I was applying to school. Get into a school with a top medical school program under the guise of being an English major and then switching right away.). Schools want diversity and it seems the vast majority of Asian-American students want to be pre-med. Therefore, in order for a school to have diversity, they’re not going to admit 200 Asian-American pre-meds to their 200 available slots. Since the bulk of Asian-American students are competing for the same slots- whereas student of other racial/cultural demographics are spreading themselves out throughout the disciplines- the competition is more difficult.

    It’s similar to the field of medicine. You wouldn’t believe it, but Dermatology is one of the most difficult residencies to get into (their average test scores are up there with Neurosurgery!!) and their students have the highest test scores. Why? After the gruel of med school, there are a lot of students who get sick of grinding and just want to chill out and have a nice lifestyle. Given that, a lot of medical students started applying to dermatology (even the overachieving ones) and that made it more competitive so to get into Dermatology, one has to have the best of the best test scores. On the other hand, Ob/Gyn which is more challenging , takes longer, and carries more risk would be expected to have higher scores but actually one can get into that field without having an insanely high score. Why? Because the hours are awful and the lawsuits are ridiculous so less people apply and, therefore, there is less demand and less applicants with extremely high scores to choose from. You follow me? Most Asians I know who aren’t doctors or engineers at least started out as pre-med on in engineering. In a way, they’re doing it to themselves when 99% of them aspire to the same exact thing. But I say they should aspire to be doctors and engineers anyway. They compete to their highest potential b/c they aspire to the ultimate and that’s admirable. However, they just have to realize that not everyone of them can be accepted and those accepted are going to have higher scores, just as not all Asian medical students are going to match to Dermatology, no matter how easy of a field it is and how high their test scores are. The competition is extremely high!

  • Pseudonym

    oH! and my comment wasn’t in response to the article. It was in response to your comment: “I don’t know what’s funnier, the assertion that the reason why so many Asian students lap the field in standardized testing and grades is because all they do is study or that the testing gap between Blacks and Asians exists because black students are somehow more well rounded then their Asian American counterparts.”

    I was telling you that the testing mills are real and Asian-American well-rounded students exist as well, but a lot of their parents guide them to all have identical resumes (geared toward med school) going in so it’s hard for anyone to stand out and make a real impression. And they’re all applying for a very small number of available slots.

  • so what?


  • Grant

    Look at that, while Asians make up 4.8% of the overall population they are 7.6% of the college population, while blacks and whites are about at their corresponding population. So Asians are nearly double, yet they complain?

  • Grant

    You’ve benefited from your whiteness your entire life. You were treated better from the day you were born by society, if you are too dumb to see that you are not worth debating.

  • KMO

    Oh well then my apologies. I wasn’t aware that being white rendered me incapable of enjoying the content of this website. Especially since the majority of the articles are generally relevant to all people, regardless of race. Did I miss a “Black People Only” banner on the main page, perhaps?

  • KMO

    I read through all of my responses and you know, it’s strange… Not once did I say that I’ve never indirectly benefited in any situation simply by being white. But I haven’t benefited from A.A. as I made clear earlier.

    I suppose when all else fails it’s best just to insult people, no?

  • SS25

    @KMO First of all, if you look in the info section it states its for black women. I come on here for health, beauty, news, and things going on in my community. Not for some white girl to rant/preach.

  • KMO

    Just because the target audience is Black Women doesn’t preclude anyone else from enjoying or finding it useful. Way to perpetuate the ‘them and us’ mentality.

    Although, I find it rather odd that so many people are against my support of the idea of securing equality in terms of education regardless of racial background. Or are you (and others) clinging the idea that simply because a white person is saying it, they must have an ulterior motive?

    I must say, this is the first time I’ve ever received such a negative backlash for supporting racial equality. Seems at odds with the ideals I generally see promoted on this site.

  • Nikia

    But what about Asian-American groups who do not perform at the same levels as Chinese/Korean/Japanese-Americans, such as those from the Khmer, Hmong and Burmese communities, who may actually benefit from “race-based” admission?

  • KMO

    I can only really speak to my observations of Asian people that grew up in Asian societies (I live in East Asia), but I will assume that for the most part cultural ideology and values (for lack of a better word) still trickle down for the most part to their children who are raised in America, so if I’m wrong about that then please excuse my assumptions. This may be lengthy and sound a bit scattered or unrelated, but bare with me… I have a point, I promise.

    I’ll compare (in an anthropological sense) Eastern culture and Western culture (somewhat broadly, sorry). Western society is what is called a ‘Guilt Society’. Our moral code is shaped by an inner negativity we would feel when we do something that is morally unacceptable (be it religious, cultural, or personal in nature) and how *we* would feel if the negative action we committed was reversed and committed against us. For example, a young child takes a toy from another child. The parent teaches that child that it is wrong, and ‘How would you feel if they took your toy?’.

    In an Eastern society (Shame Society), moral codes are (mostly) based on how others will view their negative actions. How others will perceive them based on what they do (both right and wrong). In the same example, if a child in a shame society would take a toy from another child, the parent might say “If you do this, everyone will see that you’re a thief”.

    A more obvious comparison can be made when you look at how Western cultures tend to have high homicide rates, whereas Eastern cultures tend to have high suicide rates. Guilt and Shame. The same, but not the same.

    Now, I’m not making any observations on which society functions better with which brand of morality (I’ve lived in both and both have pros and cons). But in situations like this, it’s somewhat easier to see where people of Asian cultural backgrounds are coming from.

    Asian cultures put an enormous amount of pressure on their people to be the best. At any rate, at any cost. It’s not simply just about having the best (being rich, respected, loved, etc) but by actually being THE best. This is where the Shame Society comes into play. If you’re not actually *THE BEST* at whatever it is you’re doing, then someone, somewhere is looking down at you.

    As an American, this took me years to wrap my head around.

    So, what I imagine their internal beef with Affirmative Action is that even simply being *perceived* as having gotten to where they are based on racial background (even if it’s not the case, and I don’t believe that that is what Affirmative Action really is about) is in their minds not really being the BEST. Sort of like a shortcut. Regardless of whether or not that’s true (and I don’t believe that it is) it’s all a matter of perception and that’s how their culture functions. And quite frankly, it’s a stifling, suffocating standard to live up to.

    Although I think that the Asian Community requesting that A.A. be dismantled is pretty ridiculous, after living here for quite a while (I work with a non for profit women’s right’s group), I do see where they’re coming from.


  • NOitAll

    Interesting. Asian-Americans don’t like being considered the “model minority” yet they file a brief with the Supreme Court asking for things to be made easier because they are the “model minority.” They have become as adept at double talk and coded language as white people.

  • KMO

    I meant bear* not bare… Sorry, I don’t hear English that much anymore.

  • Mademoiselle

    Very interesting observation. So using your logic, the two sides of this argument are:

    a/pro) AA serves to rectify the guilt of centuries of discrimination against the merit of minorities

    b/con) AA is a source of shame for anyone wanting to prove that they’re the greatest based on merit alone

    You said you think dismantling AA would be ridiculous, yet you sympathize with the Asian community. What’s your take on a middle ground?

  • KMO

    @ Mademoiselle

    I don’t necessarily sympathize with their viewpoint on the issue, actually. Just from a cultural perspective I can see where they might be coming from. Only making an observation, really… I’m beginning to think I not all that adept at getting my point across and for that I apologize.

    Usually when I comment on topics like this I like to keep my personal opinions out of my observations… it taints my objectivity and can skew my views.

    So this is my personal opinion on the matter (so I guess take it with a grain of salt)…

    I feel as if there is maybe a disconnect in understanding in the Asian community (if not only the ones attempting to repeal A.A.) as to why these programs are necessary. Asian communities generally have unlimited access to high quality education as well as a deeply rooted cultural pressure to be successful (not that this pressure doesn’t exist in other communities, I would just say it’s stronger in Asian societies). I’m not sure if they fully comprehend the extremely unequal educational systems and support that is offered in urban communities. They live in a world where they (generally) have great educational tools available to them and a society that expects and pressures them to be successful at the risk of being shamed if not.

    On the other side in urban Black communities, you’ve got kids that are just as bright and capable as their counterparts, but are only granted access to a sub par educational system in a society that looks down on them only to later blame them for their lack of educational and professional advancement. This is why A.A. programs are important – if you don’t start on a leveled playing field, the bias will need to be evened out later in the game. I don’t think subject Asian community fully understands these issues because they’re not present in their communities.

    This is why instead of pushing for A.A. programs (not that I think they’re not valuable or necessary because I do), I just think that the bigger issue here is how American society is willfully denying Black children the educational resources and support that it provides to the rest of it’s society.

    High quality education is the most valuable investment a society can give to it’s members. It’s incredibly unfair that it should be denied to any individual, especially an entire group of people. Knowledge is power… Education sheds bias and opens doors for all when it’s available to all.

  • Ravi


    the perceived extreme inequalities in the quality of education between urban and suburban schools are a symptom also. If you put every student from an urban district into suburban schools, there would still be a sizable gap in achievement between white and black students. Until the large gap in achievement is addressed, A.A. will continue to be a necessary evil to ensure disadvantaged minorities get access.

    BTW, symptoms are supposed to be treated too, not just the root cause. If you break your leg and a symptom is extreme pain, the doctor will likely cast your leg AND give you pain meds to treat the symptom. No one is arguing that we shouldn’t do something about the root racism that plagues the world. You can treat the symptoms with programs like A.A. and still do something about the root cause.

  • Ravi

    Oh, and you mentioned the Japanese up above. They did get reparations for the internment, as did most groups that the U.S. has wronged over the years that weren’t black. Not sure why it’s so different when we ask for our reparations.

  • KMO

    Fair assessment. I can concede to that argument.

    Ideally, we could go further and analyze how a society (in this case the US) could get as close to eliminating racism as a whole as possible (human nature dictates that eliminating it entirely is a near impossibility… even from the most open minded cultures and situations comes a ‘team pride’ mentality). But doing that would require a monumental restructuring of cultural ideas, emotions and perception. Hopefully one day humanity will be able to achieve this. Although if you truly examine how racism and prejudice formulate in human beings, what we really see is that these ideas are inherited, not inherent.

    As a minor example of this… I grew up in a very, very ‘liberal’ home. My father was one of those old school 1960′s left wing political activists. My mother came from a very conservative Evangical Christian family but home as a teenager in the late 60′s to join the women’s liberation movement. As a young child, I attended an international school where I was surrounded by different cultures, languages, beliefs and people from all types of backgrounds. Although it sounds like a very liberating and open environment in which to grow up, at the same time being in that kind of environment sheltered us away from the real world. My friends and schoolmates played together, studied together… but I don’t ever remember ‘race’ coming up in any situation. Maybe it was just the ignorance of children or maybe we genuinely didn’t notice… But the first real moment I ever remember ‘race’ coming up as an issue is when my mother sent my siblings and myself to her parent’s house for spring break around when I was 11 or so. We didn’t see my maternal grandparents very much as they lived basically smack dab in the middle of the Everglades and my parents didn’t really agree with their ideology.

    I remember sitting on a bench outside of the lake next to their house with my grandmother. She asked me about school, homework, my friends… I was telling her some story about my friend Maya’s birthday party when she interrupted me and said, “Maya… that sounds like a n****r’s name… I hope you’re not hanging around with any n****rs”.

    I was kind of taken aback at that moment. I had only ever seen that word written in Huckleberry Finn or referenced as ‘The N Word’ in history class. Although I knew of it’s existence, the negativity of the word and it’s historical significance, it never struck me as something real, something… tangible. Kind of like when you read about WWII and you see the word ‘Jap’ (racial slur for Japanese people) written out. It’s hard to grasp the emotions that run behind these labels unless you hear them or experience them in context… does that make sense?

    Anyway, I’m rambling. I don’t remember if I talked to anyone about what my grandmother said… Not sure if I ever brought it up again. But after that it was like I really became aware a racial construct in American society. Before I knew there were different kinds of people from different backgrounds, but after I became aware that there existed certain stigmas and labels that divided people into little groups or a little invisible hierarchy. Looking back, I realize that although I grew up in a little society where everybody was equal and people were judged as individuals not as representations of their race… I also realize that my ignorance about certain issues wasn’t really preparing me for the real world. But I do think that if the world as a whole were like the school I grew up with, racism would have a chance to eradicate itself.

    The point is (my God I wrote far too much… apologies), I was fortunate to have a wonderful, high standard education surrounded by people of many different backgrounds and cultures and that alone sort of bred my school mates and I into a world without prejudice, if only for our youth. I feel (and it’s just my opinion based on my experience) that if all children, all people were allowed this type of high quality, mix-cultured education we’d be better off. And from what I’ve seen first hand in my charity work, unfortunately, is that the good schools, good learning materials, good extra curricular programs… all were granted to majority white/asian middle class and up communities. The run down schools with 8 year old text books, little or no computers, very very few government grants… All were afforded into majority black/hispanic communities.

    If we cannot eliminate racism as a whole, this is the first thing that needs to change. It’s damaging to these communities, it’s damaging America as a society, and it’s damaging these innocent children that deserve no less than first rate opportunities.

    Yes, I agree, A.A. programs are a necessity to balance out the unbalanced system that we have in America… but I guess I just feel like it’s not anywhere near enough. I suppose in my head it feels like a bigger discrimination for A.A. programs to exist without also righting the overwhelming discrimination in the education system.

    For me, ideally, both would exist… but until that idea comes to fruition I just feel like it would be more helpful as a whole to improve the education system. That’s all I’m saying.

    (I just realize how long I blabbered on… sorry, I’m running on like 8 cups of coffee… I appreciate your patience if you have read this far).

  • KMO

    Very good question. I believe the US Government has an obligation to do so, that reparations should have been recognized as their obligation immediately following the abolishment of slavery, and that they should have continued to pay reparations up until the present and beyond – and the fact that they haven’t is one of the many, many examples of the deep-seated social injustices and racist policies against Black people in America in existence- as well as shining a spotlight on the cowardice and ability of our government to whitewash history. That is my personal opinion, although a somewhat unpopular opinion in certain circles (old white neo-conservatives mainly).

    Ironically, one of the more prominent arguments *against* paying reparations is how to separate out the descendants of black slaves and the descendants of black immigrants. Quite frankly, in my opinion there should be no distinction between the two. It is the government’s fault for not doing the honorable thing and paying reparations when they should have, so figuring out who get’s what is the government’s problem as well. Black Americans have endured so much discrimination and pain at the hands of an unjust and corrupt system that I can’t believe that there is even debate about whether or not they should be paid. Of course they should. Anyone with a soul knows that they should.

    I’ll take it a step further. On top of reparations paid to Black Americans, I also believe that America should loosen, if not remove the strict regulations it has dealing with trade with Africa. One of the main reasons African countries are having trouble developing, are constantly at war within themselves and with other African countries is because they are incapable of developing international trade and thus stable economic security. Africa is basically shunned from the international trade game for basically no reasons except negligible treaty issues and ‘threats of disease’ which America OVERLOOKS when it comes to most areas of the world, but no, not Africa. If Africa was allowed to develop independently throughout the world and was not controlled and regulated by those who wish to stifle and take advantage, it would no doubt be one of the most advanced, economically rich, and fertile places on the planet. If that were allowed to happen, the world would be able to see what amazing things that Africans (and their descendants) all throughout the world are capable of accomplishing. Instead they are forced into a type of economic slavery with that image being plastered all over the world for all eyes to see. It’s the evil of human nature at it’s worst, and it seems like no one is doing anything about it.

    That being said… 9 times out of 10 I don’t get involved with conversations like this. Every time I bring up my opinions (above) on this subject it gets flipped around on me from all angles. There’s always someone who will call me a ‘race traitor’ and someone else will call me an ‘arrogant white bitch’. I don’t see how I could be both simultaneously, but that’s just the way it is I suppose. It’s a sensitive subject and I can see why people (of all races) get very emotional about it. I just hope I don’t get too much of a backlash from anyone for simply stating my beliefs, but if my experience has taught me anything, it’s that the negativity coming my way is a near-certainty.

  • Ravi

    I agree that the inequalities that you witnessed in schools needs to change. I’m arguing that it’s just as much a symptom in need of treatment as the inequities in higher education and that you shouldn’t deal with their treatment as mutually exclusive. Inequities in k – 12 education and higher education can both be addressed. More money and effort are being spent on addressing the latter — by far.

    Being present at the type of school you attended won’t do any more to rectify the root cause of the achievement gap than A.A. will. It is a minority of children from all races that receive the type of education that you describe above. While there are proportionately fewer Black children in such schools, they still have significant representation. Regardless of the school, we still can observe a gap between black students and everyone else at the same school. This means that the type of school or curriculum is not at the root of the problem. While I agree all students could likely benefit from such an education, students from all races would equally benefit from said education and the gap would be preserved.

    I also agree that A.A. programs don’t go far enough. A.A. is a form of discrimination regardless of what you have done to the overall education system. To be clear, I don’t have a problem with discrimination per se. I don’t have an anti-discrimination stance; I am anti-subjugation. I believe that discrimination is necessary to avoid subjugation and fight white supremacy. Discrimination is often used to fight subjugation. Women in science and engineering programs is discrimination; having parking spots for the disabled is discrimination; Title IX is discrimination; a graduated income tax system is discrimination; special education is discrimination; violence against women programs is discrimination; maternity leave is discrimination; having child labor laws is discrimination. Discrimination is how we combat against the marginalizing of all those deemed “other” by those that are in power. Without discrimination, we will ensure that the pre-existing social stratification will be preserved.

    Anti-discrimination would have us stick our heads in the sand concerning the very real inequities that exist throughout the world. How can we address the de facto subjugation of certain populations if we refuse to treat them differently or even bother to distinguish? Without discrimination we will still see the haves and the have-nots; we just won’t recognize that a disproportionate number of them look a certain way. This will leave systemic, unconscious white supremacy free to dump the ills of society onto a relatively small population that tends to share certain characteristics that we no longer consciously recognize.

    I don’t think anyone would disagree that we need to fix the education system, but that won’t do much to rectify the effects of white supremacy that caused the problem. You can equally fund the schools giving them identical buildings and curricula, but the inequities that A.A. is attempting to mitigate would still exist.

    BTW, some of the most “under-performing” inner-city schools in the nation are also the highest funded. Look up the per-pupil spending of DC public schools. Then compare it to your local suburban public school per pupil spending. This won’t be fixed with “better” schools. The schools themselves are just another symptom.

  • Ravi

    This appears to be a very different position from your earlier statements. Earlier you seemed to question the validity of an argument for A.A. on the basis of reparations saying:

    “Am I to understand that you select contributors rationalize A.A. as being some sort of a reparation or consolation for years of systematic racism and past slavery? So in that sense, the US should only apply A.A. to Black American descendants of African slaves? Black Americans who’s families came to the US through immigration should be excluded? In the same thought process, than shouldn’t a Japanese American descendant of Japanese people forced into internment camps during WWII take precedent over a 2nd generation Haitian American? If not, then your argument falls apart.”

    This makes you seem a bit anti-reparations and also seems to be very different than your current position. I’m sure there is some way to reconcile your current and former positions, but it isn’t readily apparent how. It is possible that this seemingly contradictory stance might be a small factor in why people tend to characterize you in such vastly different ways.

    My critique was only in reference to your former position. It seemed you weren’t taking into account the fact that Japanese received reparations for the internment in your analysis of why their argument falls apart. Bringing up the Japanese would only be relevant if they didn’t get reparations. A.A. would serve as reparations for those that never got it. Additionally, trans-atlantic slavery didn’t just impact those that were taken. It decimated the whole of the western side of the continent and many millions died before even making it to America. Those that were to any extent affected would have a likely claim against the U.S. If we were to go to any country and wipe out a significant portion of the civilian population, a strong argument could be made that we owe restitution to those that we didn’t kill that remain in that country.

  • Ravi

    “Inequities in k – 12 education and higher education can both be addressed. More money and effort are being spent on addressing the latter — by far.”

    That should have read “spent on addressing the former”

    more money and effort are spent on fixing the k — 12 achievement gap. Relatively little is done in higher education save a few programs and the very inexpensive race-based preferences given in admissions and scholarships.

  • Rhuled Bi Reeson

    I find it ironic that Asian Americans are in a similar situation that Jewish Americans were on this topic over 40 years ago. Here is an excerpt from an article in the New York Times’ “Times Topics” web page:

    “Affirmative action, however, met staunch opposition from Jews, who assailed what they called a quota system. Some leaders feared that it would create polarization jeopardizing the economic and political status of Jews and white middle-class people — that it was, in effect, reverse discrimination. Jews have long argued against the quotas of elite universities and colleges that were used to exclude them, regardless of academic merit. Jewish groups saw minority admissions programs as the reworking of the old, disreputable system.”

    A link to the article:

    Plus ça change…..

    I’m writing from Canada, and although we’re a very multicultural society (especially in cities like Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal) we don’t have anything like affirmative action quotas. That would frankly strike us as completely ridiculous.

    That being said, Canada hasn’t had a history of slavery either, so we don’t have that historical baggage which seems to be a partial reason for American affirmative action programs.

    From a viewpoint of fairness, if affirmative action can be seen as a form of reparations for slavery, then it should stand – but it only should be applied to descendants of American slaves. This could be a partial solution to the issue of AA applicants leaving too few spaces for other applicants to obtain.

  • educated

    Obviously you just so biased enough to leave out institutionalized discrimination against Asians like when they were paid next to nothing to build railroads and Japanese internment camps and the Chinese Exclusion Act, etc. These people got over it. You need to, too.

  • Insomniac

    @ KMO

    I’m late to this party…just got through all the posts.

    I don’t agree with a lot of what was in your ORIGINAL post, and I support a lot of what other commentators have said in opposition to what the Asians groups are saying in their petition to the USSC…these groups really need to take a step back and reflect for a moment.

    HOWEVER, I don’t agree with the post asking you why are you here on this site? Clearly you’re not a lunatic racist; so you’re welcome to throw in your 3 cents…hell, throw in a dime if you wish! We all rant at times, when we feel strongly about something. But as long as it is within the confines of the discussion, then so be it. I welcome your input and viewpoint…your thoughts evolved to reveal that your intentions were not sinister and diabolical.

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