Last week, news leaked that the Department of Justice under Trump
frenemie appointee Jeff Sessions was going to investigate “discrimination” against white students at college campuses aka affirmative action.
After the criticism that followed, the DOJ changed tactics and announced they were actually investigating discrimination against Asian American students aka affirmative action.
Salon’s Amanda Marcotte reports on this issue and how Asian Americans are once again being used as a “wedge” against black and brown people:
It’s a clever move that allows the administration to pretend its interest lies with protecting racial minorities. But as Rachel Kleinman, senior counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, put it, “The issue here, again, is preserving white privilege. They are definitely, in recent years, trying to use Asian groups and Asian individuals as a sort of wedge minority, to pit them against black and brown students, and argue, ‘You’re losing out because of affirmative action,’” she continued. “But that is really not what is going on.”
“Elevating the question of what’s happening with Asian students is a not-so-veiled cover” for a larger campaign “to decrease diversity on campuses,” agreed Fatima Goss Graves, head of the National Women’s Law Center.
Part of what’s going on here is that the longtime conservative argument that black and Latino students are stealing seats from more deserving white students has failed spectacularly in the courts. Last summer, a woman named Abigail Fisher lost her lengthy court battle against the University of Texas at Austin, when the Supreme Court ruled that she was not unfairly barred from admissions on the account of being white.
It’s telling that Fisher was the best that her patron, an anti-civil rights activist named Edward Blum, could do in digging up a white plaintiff with some halfway plausible claim of discrimination. The problem was that Fisher was a mediocre student who simply didn’t have the scores to get into Texas. It’s true that the school let in 47 students with lower scores than Fisher, arguing that these students had résumés that made up for their lower scores in other areas — but 42 of those students were white. Fisher could never really explain why the 42 white students were fine, but one of the five nonwhite students admitted was somehow taking her seat.
“These colleges and universities that we’re talking about, competitive colleges and universities, have a large pool of qualified candidates,” explained Kleinman. All the Supreme Court said was that once a school is looking at a group of relatively equal candidates, they can put a priority on racial diversity when considering which of those qualified candidates to admit…
Asian-American advocacy groups are generally not too keen on being used as a wedge to push the idea that other students of color didn’t earn their college admissions. Asian Americans Advancing Justice put out a press release noting that the group “opposes quotas for and discrimination against Asian Americans” but that affirmative action policies “which allow admissions officers to evaluate applicants holistically” are conceptually “separate and distinct.”
In addition, the group stated, “Low-income and working class Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders significantly benefit from affirmative action policies.”
To read the full article, go to Salon: Affirmative-action hypocrisy: Foes hope to use Asian-Americans to attack racial diversity on campus