The Sides to Affirmative Action and the Impact on Asian American Students

By Angely Xiong

In the recent awakening of current news, the Supreme Court last week has reviewed two affirmative action cases that have placed Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at issue. Harvard University was accused of holding Asian American students to higher standards in the college admissions process, while the University of North Carolina was accused of discrimination towards both Asian American and white students in favor of other racial groups. The affirmative action lawsuit against Harvard University was indirectly proposed to end race-conscious college admissions.

As millions of high school students enter the college admissions process each year, it is important to reflect on how these two national cases will affect the affirmative action policies that have been implemented in the US. Concerning prestigious American schools, it has been argued that Asian American applicants are held to higher standards such as Harvard’s personal rating system or Asian Americans “having the lowest acceptance rate for each SAT test score bracket”

All of this could be tied back to the model minority myth which has stereotyped Asian Americans as “smart, successful hard workers.” While it may seem like a compliment, it creates a comparison to other racial groups in the US including Black and Latino Americans. In addition, it skews perceptions and undermines the intelligence and efforts of Asian American students. The model minority myth does no favor in connecting racial communities together. Instead, it provokes competition and polarization that creates a racial wedge.

Affirmative action is a helpful concept for the college admissions process, but for Asian Americans, it can be argued that it has done more harm than good. With how the current political ideologies of the Supreme Court looks like, there is a chance that race-conscious admissions could be eliminated in the United States. Rather than eliminating a system of policies which have benefitted millions of people of color, the American education system should work on improving affirmative action so that it does not place Asian Americans or any kind of applicant at a disadvantage of being accepted into colleges. Race-conscious admissions are important to not only ensuring diversity of American universities, but also allowing greater opportunities to students who have been disproportionately affected by outcomes from upbringings, especially people of color and first-generation Americans.

Whether or not you support affirmative action, removing it, or working to further change and develop the policies– it is crucial to realize that Asian Americans are not a monolithic group that should be labeled as a model minority. If so, it causes issues in our society that have led to such cases of Asian American discrimination as can be seen within the college admissions process.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: