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Asian-American Students Suing Harvard Over Affirmative Action Gain Justice Department Support

By The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department lent its support Thursday to students suing Harvard University over affirmative action policies they claim discriminate against Asian-American applicants, in a case that could have far-reaching consequences in college admissionsRead full story


  • This support from the Justice Department is surprising but at the same time it simply makes sense. I grew up in a community that Asian American immigrants flocked to for the excellent public school education and proximity to both LA & OC. In the span of one generation, the community became majority Asian American immigrants. Over that same time, amongst incredibly bright students we became conditioned to the fact that Harvard would systematically only accept one or two students per year from our school(s). We were told that as Asian Americans from the same community, we were competing with one another. Looking back with the context of the broader education landscape in comparison to feeder private schools, this is definitely discrimination. That said, the entire system is fundamentally and thoroughly broken, so it’s important to consider that this is only one tiny piece of a much larger and more complex puzzle.

  • Asian-American here probably means Chinese, Indian or Korean.

    I wonder how Nepalese, Cambodian or Laotian candidates fared.

    Or if they get lumped together as Asian-American.

    Asia is a big and diverse place. Diversity within “Asian Americans” should also be a consideration.

  • Gah. This really gets my goat. Agreed with Junta and Jessica on the exclusion of many Asian groups in the consideration. This whole lawsuit reeks of privileged Asians whining about going to Duke instead of Harvard — which IS in fact how it all started. For the record, Asian American households have a higher median income than that of even white households. (See my previous thoughts on this issue here:

    College admissions are a zero-sum game, with only a limited number of available slots. Most of those slots today go to white students. Affirmative action, while flawed, opened the door for many disadvantaged students and gave them a chance at the American Dream. The way this whole case is being set up, it’s pitting one minority group against other minority groups — letting the dominance of white admits and the real issues in education escape scrutiny.

    For example, regardless of race, poor students have much less access to a good education, as well as resources necessary to making a so-called well-rounded applicant that elite colleges so desire. They often are relegated to bad schools with bad teachers, outdated learning materials, lack of budgets for extracurricular activities and “non-core” classes. Poor students are also disproportionately minorities. (Bottom five median household income households as of 2016: Salvadoran Americans, Somali Americans, Honduran Americans, Dominican Americans and Iraqi Americans. African American households — sixth from the bottom)

    And yes, these students need extra help to even the playing field, to provide that equality of opportunity that has traditionally been a core value of this country.

  • I’m tired of people from 48 countries with extremely different cultures and backgrounds being lumped into “Asian-American”. Indian people don’t have the same culture that Korean people do, nor Taiwan with Kazakhstani people, or Pakistani and Cambodian. Is anyone else tired of our white culture forcing people to be lumped into the “Asian-American” category and then making “Asian” culture mean something for all “Asians”?

  • Providing minority students with a more diverse opportunity for admission can be morally acceptable. But if it goes too far, they will face strong resistance from the counterparts. #education #university #college

  • Maybe I hold a bias as an Ivy League-gunning Asian-American, but I love this movement. I support minority education, but one must be objective in who has the best statistics and work ethic fit for a particular school, regardless if they “checked the box” as a minority or not.

  • Everyone loves the idea of a meritocracy until they see the output. Everyone loves the idea of using multiple factors to achieve diversity until they see the output. Nobody likes finding themselves excluded because they couldn’t meet criteria needed to gain admission.

  • The implementation of Affirmative Action was and continuous to be the worst law ever implemented in the US. Since inception of the law in the 1980's, many of us (a small segment of minority students in colleges across the US) complained about it. This gave unfavorable access to colleges and jobs to the less qualified. Minorities, at least myself, never required handouts or a law to excel in school or in my career. Only lazy and bureaucratic folks with a different agenda support affirmative action. This is a country of opportunities which is ready to help those that are willing to sweat it out to reach their goals. As a young college student in 1981 I was able to discover all of the magnificent tools given to me by the US. are you telling me that these tools no longer exist? The US is in a better situation socially than back in the 1980's.

  • I teach business students from “Asia,” including Pacific Islanders, Vietnam, Cambodia, etc. I will be watching this situation unfold with interest.

  • This is a big win, and an exellent opportunity for starting public conversations on many issues surrounding "Asian" Americans, including its definition, many of which we recognize exist but simply have ignored.

  • Two things are important here:

    1) Diversity is far more important than the majority in power ever wants to admit.

    2) Asia is a very diverse continent. Lumping in all people from Asia as one group, and then setting an admissions cap, is roughly analagous to lumping in all people from North and South America as "Americans", and capping admissions.

  • I think I already heard this same class action a half year ago...?

    Interestingly,Trump administration joined to back up the students aganist Harvard university .

    Now is 2018 and still racial issues are always headline.

    Why do people forge the homogenous group oftentimes?

  • Pity young "Asians" (whatever definition that is) who had no idea who Edward Blum is.......they don't know who they are helping and what that eventually means to themselves.

  • It's tough competition out there for the best schools. Applicants to the University of California (Berkeley) are running into the same issue.

  • Race should have never a criteria of admissions to begin with. If i am white but more qualified as a student, no college should have any right to deny me admissions for the sake of staging racial diversity. That is of itself, racism. This is why white students don’t have a place in South African universities. This can easily become a real life slippery slope.

  • Admissions should be colorblind. But, it isn’t as if Asians who are not accepted are going to be just as successful at the next school.

    And maybe some diversity does add value.

    The whole thing just tickles me, first world problems.

  • Race should not be used as the only source of determining whether excepting a student or not. How it should play a supporting role in the decisions.

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