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ERIC Number: ED593251
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Nov-1
Pages: 37
Abstractor: ERIC
Asian Americans and Race-Conscious Admissions: Understanding the Conservative Opposition's Strategy of Misinformation, Intimidation & Racial Division. Revised
Garces, Liliana M.; Poon, OiYan
Civil Rights Project - Proyecto Derechos Civiles
Over the last few years, even as the U.S. Supreme Court was considering the constitutionality of race-conscious policies in postsecondary admissions in "Fisher v. University of Texas" (2016), a new wave of attacks in the conservative agenda to dismantle affirmative action (as the policy is more commonly called) emerged. First, in 2014 long-time opponent of affirmative action, Edward Blum, created the organization Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) to recruit plaintiffs, particularly Chinese American students, to initiate new lawsuits that are currently making their way through the lower federal courts ("Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard University," and "Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina"). Second, the Office for Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), under leadership appointed by the Trump administration, redirected agency resources to investigate claims of discrimination at institutions that employ race-conscious admissions policies (Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, 2018). In one case, DOJ re-opened the investigation of a complaint filed by a Chinese American student against Harvard University, a complaint that the U.S. Department of Education had previously evaluated and dismissed in 2015 during the Obama administration. Most recently, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education rescinded prior guidance on race-conscious admissions that had been issued during the Obama administration (Anderson & Balingit, 2018). These changes by the Trump administration not only discourage the use of constitutionally permissible race-conscious policies in postsecondary admissions, but also seek to intimidate or threaten colleges and universities (that remain committed to using them) with the possibility of DOJ investigations. This report examines the current wave of attacks against race-conscious policies in postsecondary admissions (or affirmative action as the policy is more commonly termed). It focuses specifically on the roles that Asian Americans have come to play, both unwillingly and willingly, in these opposition efforts, and presents new research on Asian Americans' support for affirmative action. Despite efforts by white affirmative action opponents to assert their agenda as one advocating for Asian American rights, and media accounts characterizing the Chinese Americans involved in opposition efforts as representative of Asian Americans in general, best evidence shows that the majority of Asian Americans across ethnicities support affirmative action. Recommendations include: (1) More comprehensive reporting by the media on Asian American stances towards affirmative action would address misperceptions and attempts to create racial division on this topic; and (2) Targeted outreach to develop a stronger connection between research findings and public discourse around the benefits of race-conscious admissions for Asian American students and the community at large.
Civil Rights Project / Proyecto Derechos Civiles. 8370 Math Sciences, P.O. Box 951521, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1521. Tel: 310-267-5562; Fax: 310-206-6293; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Civil Rights Project / Proyecto Derechos Civiles, Center for Civil Rights Remedies (CCRR)
Identifiers - Location: Texas; California
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Bakke v Regents of University of California; Grutter et al v Bollinger et al; Gratz et al v Bollinger et al