Asian Americans Advancing Justice - LA

Building upon the legacy of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center

Not Your Wedge

Asian Americans have historically been used as a wedge to create infighting amongst communities of color who are all disadvantaged by white-dominated institutions and society.

Perhaps the best example is the casting of Japanese Americans (and later, by extension, Asian Americans as a whole) as a model minority. Post-internment, Japanese Americans were positioned as an ethnic group that had overcome racial discrimination and found “success” through being “hardworking” and “following the rules.” Such a view minimized the continuing effects of discrimination on Black people and attempted to deflect attention from institutional racism. Today, Asian Americans are being framed as victims of affirmative action as part of a divide-and-conquer strategy against groups of color that all suffer the effects of racism. 
 
Although created largely to remedy past discrimination against African Americans, affirmative action has opened doors since the 1970s for many Asian Americans in education and in the workforce. In the 1960s and 70s, colleges and employers were actively recruiting Asian Americans along with other racial minorities under race-based affirmative action programs.  Even today, studies show that affirmative action benefits less privileged Asian Americans such as Southeast Asians, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and low-income Asian Americans.
 

Most Asian Americans support affirmative action.

Contrary to mainstream coverage of Asian American (mostly Chinese American) opposition to affirmative action, public opinion polling consistently shows that a majority of Asian Americans support affirmative action. When Abigail Fisher unsuccessfully sued the University of Texas in an attempt to dismantle its affirmative action programs, more than 160 diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander groups signed on to amicus briefs to support race-conscious admissions.  
 
As an Asian American civil rights group borne from the tragedy of Vincent Chin, we fight every day to end racism against Asian Americans and other people of color. We understand the fear that anti-affirmative action groups feel because of the enduring history and current reality of racism in our country, but we believe that they are focusing their energies on the wrong fight. Instead of fighting against other victims of systemic discrimination, we should be fighting together to end residential segregation, inadequate school funding, and the school-to-prison pipeline to create better access to education for everyone.

Who are some of the pro-affirmative action Asian American voices?

Additional Resources:

 

For Legal Help

Advancing Justice - LA’s hotlines prioritize assistance to low-income persons in the following areas of law: family, immigration, consumer, public benefits, employment, housing, and civil rights.

English: 888.349.9695
需要協助嗎: 800.520.2356
हिंदी 855.971.2552

ត្រូវការជំនួយជាភាសាខ្មែរ:

800.867.3126
도움이 필요하십니까?: 800.867.3640
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ต้องการความช่วยเหลือ: 800.914.9583
Cần sự giúp đỡ: 800.267.7395

 

Our mission is to advocate for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders and to create a more equitable and harmonious society.