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Asian Americans Feel Used Like 'Pawns' in Affirmative Action Ruling

Asian Americans Feel Used Like 'Pawns' in Affirmative Action Ruling

In a white man's lawsuit against Harvard and UNC on behalf of Asian students, no Asian students testified that they had experienced discrimination.

Several prominent Asian American organizations and leaders are speaking out against the Supreme Court's rejection of affirmative action, some feeling they've been used as a “wedge” to roll back civil rights.

Many have pointed out that the lawsuits were led by conservative activist Ed Blum, who is white. While he argued that Harvard and the University of North Carolina’s policies discriminated against Asian Americans, no Asian American students testified that they had experienced discrimination.

“The white supremacist agendas behind these lawsuits use the small number of Asian Americans against affirmative action as pawns in their efforts — weaponizing the model minority myth to divide our communities,” nonprofit Asian American Advocacy Fund said in a news release. “Affirmative action policies have played an important role in securing Asian American access to higher education.”

A 2022 survey from nonprofit APIAVote found that among Asian Americans, 69 percent supported programs “designed to help Black people, women, and other minorities get better access to higher education.” As the Asian American Advocacy Fund noted, “this decision is unrepresentative of what the majority of Americans support."

“Despite attempts by those seeking to divide us to maintain white supremacy and existing power structures, communities of color are stronger than ever," they continued.

While the decision was a major setback for ensuring racial equity in higher education, advocates say there are still measures institutions can take to pursue diversity. They insist that students of color should not be discouraged from applying to prestigious universities.

“The Court’s decision is a major setback for the ability of colleges and universities to create true equality in education,” Chinese for Affirmative Action said in a statement. “However, it is important to recognize that the ruling is strictly limited to race-conscious admissions, and not other important measures such as targeted outreach and recruitment, or ensuring more diverse faculty and college leadership.”

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