These Asian Americans who fight to sacrifice affirmative action are sorely misguided
None of the Gen X Indians I grew up with attended an Ivy League university for their undergraduate studies.
Many were good at studies. They just didn’t apply. Our immigrant parents wanted to keep an eye on us, so we simply filled out applications for admission to local schools.
Northwestern University, along with the University of Chicago, has become our benchmark for academic achievement. That was a mistaken way of thinking because there are so many other great schools out there, including the University of Illinois at Chicago.
My older sister was accepted to Northwestern but chose not to enroll in order to save my parents from paying the annual tuition, then about $11,000.
My brother, shocked that he made the cut, ended up graduating from NU several years later. My younger sister didn’t bother to apply and went to UIC.
When I attempted to join Northwestern’s Class of 1993, I received the dreaded thin envelope in the mail. I was not crushed. Much smarter students in my class also received rejection letters, and I became a Wildcat in graduate school after following my older sister to Loyola University.
I only felt aggrieved by Northwestern when it turned down my oldest niece and rudely placed my oldest nephew on its waiting list.
Ayana was also kicked out of her dream school on the East Coast. Zain also didn’t get into the West Coast college that was close to his heart. Both landed happily at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
But their experiences confirmed just how ruthless the college admissions process can be for even the best high school students in the country, who, at the risk of sounding like a swaggering aunt, were my niece and nephew. .
Many young Asian Americans, including Indians, will tell you that the odds are stacked against them. It’s not exaggerated. A higher rate of Asian American students are not entering these selective colleges because there is a higher proportion of Asian Americans applying, the Center on Education found last year. from Georgetown University and Workforce Researchers. Asians make up less than 6% of the total US population, but make up 20% of the student body on top college campuses. We are also “overrepresented” in community colleges.
I can understand that these statistics are not much comfort to teenagers who struggle in high school to be rejected by admissions officers. What I can’t fathom is the Asian American contingent that teamed up with right-wing legal strategist Edward Blum to dismantle affirmative action in higher education, which would harm future black students, Hispanics, Native Americans and many Asian students.
While overall enrollment of Asian Americans in selective colleges would increase by a measly 2% if only test scores were considered, 21% of Asian Americans admitted under the holistic system would be losers, a showed the Georgetown study.
Nine states, including California and Michigan, have already ended race-based college admissions. The rest of the country may soon be forced to follow suit based on recent arguments presented to the mostly conservative U.S. Supreme Court in the Student Fair Admissions cases against Harvard and the University of North Carolina.
A light bulb went on in Blum’s head after his latest effort to quash affirmative action failed when he recruited a white woman who did not enter the University of Texas at Austin to pursue the ‘school.
“I needed Asian grievances,” said Blum, a white man, knowing full well that many Asian Americans have voiced grievances about the college admissions process for years.
They just didn’t publicly accuse black students and other brown students of stealing places from them and white students at universities until Blum, who heads the SFFA, came along.
Shamefully, the SFFA crowd remains silent on how legacy admissions disproportionately benefit white students at the expense of all students of color, including Asian Americans whose predecessors rose up with others to combat systemic racism.
Most of us stay in this fight. Nearly 70% of Asian Americans support affirmative action, according to a recent poll of registered Asian American voters.
Ultimately, if fairness is the goal, many of us need to stop reinforcing elitism by equating acceptance into highly selective universities with talent and success, says policy expert Kevin Kumashiro education and former dean of the School of Education at the University of San Francisco. .
And we must continue to push for the democratization of the system to ensure that all students have access to quality education, Kumashiro said.
There’s no question that anti-Asian bias — and bias against all people of color and other marginalized communities — can exist in the college admissions process, just as it does in society. in general.
Seventy-one percent of college admissions counselors nationwide are white, raising the question of why those tasked with creating diverse campuses are themselves a homogenous group.
But eliminating affirmative action is not the answer and will only push the nation further into the abyss of “old-fashioned” racial inequality.
Rummana Hussain is a columnist and member of the editorial board of the Sun-Times.
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