Gregory Hood, American Renaissance, November 5, 2018
In August, the Justice Department gave its support to a lawsuit from a group of highly qualified Asian-American applicants rejected by Harvard because — they claimed — they were Asian. The trial has just ended, and a final ruling will almost certainly come from the Supreme Court. Though the case is ostensibly about the welfare of Asian students, affirmative action’s defenders are worried that if Asians succeed in abolishing race preference, whites would benefit.
The American Civil Liberties Union warned about this in a recent tweet:
Make no mistake: A lawsuit against Harvard that’s purported to represent the interests of Asian-Americans would, if successful, primarily benefit white students. #DefendDiversity pic.twitter.com/f7ssda9O9c
— ACLU 🗳 (@ACLU) October 15, 2018
This sentiment isn’t surprising given the ACLU’s recent Twitter history. In August 2017, the group tweeted what it thought was a harmless promotion, with an adorable little girl holding an American flag.
This is the future that ACLU members want. pic.twitter.com/bAIwuheEco
— ACLU 🗳 (@ACLU) August 23, 2017
The “progressive” view is that Asian plaintiffs are being “used” by white conservatives, as alleged in a recent Washington Post article by Christine Emba. Miss Emba concedes that Asian students have a “real grievance,” and that a recent report from Harvard itself found admissions policies harm Asian applicants. However, she says these Asian plaintiffs are serving as “tools” in a drive to eliminate racial preferences in college admissions. “[W]hat’s left unstated is that white applicants, not Asians, would see the largest gains,” she writes.
In absolute terms, this is true. If preferences were abolished, the increase in the number of whites admitted would be greater than the increase in Asians — but only because there are more white than Asian applicants. The percentage increase for Asian admissions would be higher, and Asians are already vastly overrepresented at Harvard. They are only 6 percent of American population, but 23 percent of Harvard freshmen. With blacks at 15 percent and Hispanics at 12, whites accounted for less than half of the last two freshman classes.
“Diversity” is the liberal god, but Harvard apparently thought it had enough “Asian diversity.” Asians had the highest test scores, the best grades, and the fanciest extracurriculars, but Harvard kept many out by ranking them lower on “positive personality” or being “widely respected.” Asian-Americans are allowed to complain about this sort of thing; not whites. There was no reaction when a study from Princeton found that stereotypically “white” extracurricular activities such as Junior ROTC, 4-H Club, or Future Farmers of America clearly hurt students’ chances at elite institutions.
Alvin Chang at Vox is another commentator who says Asians are being “used to make the case against affirmative action” as a “prop.” He quotes DePaul professor Sumi Cho, who calls this “racial mascotting.” Asians have even demonstrated in favor of racial preferences, holding up signs reading “Asians will not be tools for your white supremacy.”
Asians who oppose race preferences don’t feel like cat’s-paws. Yung Zhao, a vocal Chinese-American activist involved in the movement against affirmative action is “adamant that they weren’t ‘tools’.” Yet comedian Hasan Minhar, who loves to complain about “racism,” slams Mr. Zhao as the “worst kind” of American because he is fighting racial preferences.
Some pundits think affirmative action is necessary because it keeps “people of color” united against whites. “[T]he removal of affirmative action overwhelmingly would benefit white people, not Asian Americans,” wrote John Yang in the Huffington Post, and he complains that recruiting Asians to oppose affirmative action is “a classic divide-and-conquer strategy with echoes of colonial paternalism.” Whites have somehow become “colonial” overseers of a “native” population, even though the “natives” are immigrants.
Janelle Wong, professor of Asian-American Studies at the University of Maryland, says that if Asian-Americans move to the GOP, “[T]hat’s the end of the ‘rainbow coalition’ in the U.S.” In other words, the alliance against whites is over. In a separate piece for the Chronicle of Higher Education, she defends affirmative action because losing it would “damage a multiracial civil-rights coalition that could protect Asian-Americans from discrimination into the future.” Blacks and Hispanics are going to fight discrimination against a group that already does better than whites by virtually every standard?
A surprising number of Asian-Americans — 58 percent — support preferences even if they suffer from them. A majority of Chinese-Americans, however, oppose them, and opposition is especially strong among first- and second-generation Chinese who have not yet absorbed the intricacies of American racial dogma.
The Harvard suits simply want equal treatment. As engineer Morty Du put it to the New York Times, if affirmative action does not apply to the NBA, why should it apply to Harvard? Asians opposed to preferences compare them to China’s Cultural Revolution, “where having ancestors who had been in the ruling class was a permanent impediment.” That applies even more to whites. In a Washington Post article attacking whites who oppose affirmative action, W. Carson Byrd complains that most colleges were “built for and have focused on the educational and employment opportunities of white students” — reason enough for whites to step aside.
What is left out of this debate are the interests of whites, whom just about everyone admits are hurt by affirmative action. Some whites try to escape the consequences either by claiming minority status or by inventing sexual identities that let them pretend to be oppressed. A society can’t function with a citizenry almost entirely identifying as “victims” of a dwindling number of white people, especially when whites are the group suffering the most from official discrimination.
There is only so much plunder to go around, and each group has an interest in claiming to be the most oppressed. Asians are no more likely to win this competition than white homosexuals or any other group that thinks it can compete with blacks, Hispanics, or American Indians. Race preferences, while despicable, were bearable in a majority-white nation with a minority-black population. In a majority-minority nation, only equal treatment has any chance of working. If the Asian-Americans win their suit, a conservative Supreme Court could return the country to that standard. But whatever happens, whites must fight for their own interests because no one else will.