What are the challenges facing Asian Americans? Affirmative Action – College Admission

1) Why is College Admission controversial?

 Asian particularly Chinese culture attach great importance to education as a means of enhancing a person’s worth and career. China’s imperial civil service examination played an important role in Chinese history of education. It created a group of well-educated officials serving the country. Many Asian American parents, both rich and poor, are willing to make great sacrifices to have their children attend and graduate from elite colleges.

The admission policies of Harvard (and other elite universities) are not transparent and have higher bars for AAPI applicants, requiring them to have higher SAT scores, scoring them lower on personal traits and in general placing higher “barriers” on them.


2) Does an elite college degree set you up for life?

 Many parents think that a degree from an elite college will make a lifetime difference for the graduate. However, for most students, it simply doesn’t matter, according to many and notably, a paper by Stacy Dale, a mathematician at Mathematica Policy Research, and Alan Krueger, an economist at Princeton University*

Other researchers have concluded that “C” students do better than “A”s later on in life. C’s are not necessarily less intellectually capable, they just do not place such a high value on letter grades. Furthermore, C’s are not afraid to fail and are willing to be innovative and think outside the box.


3) How does the University of California handle “Diversity”?

In the early 1970s, Allan Bakke sued the UC Davis Medical School for their quota system. His case went to the Supreme Court which ruled 5-4 that “quota” is unconstitutional while promotion of “Diversity” is allowed.

The University of California has a policy of admitting all students graduating in the top 9% according to their admission index.


* https://www.nber.org/papers/w171592019.05.24


What are the challenges facing Asian American ? Affirmative Action – Workplace

1 What is Affirmative Action?

It all started with the Civil Rights Movements that changed the Immigration Act which allowed Asians and other non-Europeans immigration to the US. In 1961 President Kennedy signed EO #10925, strengthened in 1965 by President Johnson with EO #11246 which requires government employers to take “affirmative action” to “hire without regard to race, religion and national origin” to prevent employers from discriminating against members of disadvantaged groups. In 1967, gender was added to the anti-discrimination list. Affirmative Actions are important in leveling the playing field in the workplace and in College Admission. The latter has been a divisive issue for Asian Americans!


2Has Affirmative Action benefited Women and Minorities?

From 1972–1993, % of Female:

– Architects from 3% to 19%;

– Doctors from 10% to 22%;

– Lawyers from 4% to 23%;

– Engineers from less 1% to nearly 9%;

– Chemists from 10% to 30%;

– College faculty from 28% to 42%.

Similarly, it has benefited African and Hispanic Americans, many have entered the executive ranks. Now Women and minorities are running for the Presidency of the US.


3How can Asian Americans take advantage of Affirmative Action?

Up to recently, Asian Americans did not have political savvy nor power to take advantage of Affirmative Action. In 2006, Candidate Obama signed a six-part questionnaire from 80-20 PAC promising to evaluate data on Asian American and level the playing field.

As a result, Obama appointed many Asians, notably, Steven Chu to run the Department of Energy, Gary Locke as Ambassador to China, Preet Bharara as US Attorney, Denny Chin to 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, Kal Penn and Hines Ward as Public Liaisons and tried but failed to appoint Goodwin Liu to 9th Circuit Court.

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