Institutional Racism Against Asian College-bound Youngsters

Marisa Ming Yuen

Recent rulings of the Supreme Court on the Fisher vs. U. of Texas case involving race-based college admission process merit our close scrutiny of the issues. One of the issues to be analyzed is whether Asian youngsters have been hurt by having to face higher (than other racial groups) barriers at college entrances. If so, we have to collectively speak up against any possible violation of Asians' rights to equal protection guaranteed by the 14th amendment of the US Constitution.

While the legal mandates of Affirmative Actions are to give help for all minority groups in gaining admission to colleges, in reality college admission process has HURT Asians by setting tougher barriers for Asian youths to be accepted. Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade reported in his 2009 book, "To receive equal consideration by elite colleges, Asian American applicants must out-perform White, on the average, by 140 points, Hispanics by 280 points, Blacks by 450 points"(out of the Total 1600 points) in SAT scores. Subsequently, more research articles were published which pointed to the possible anti-Asians features of race conscious college admission practice of elite universities. e.g.:

  1. Wall Street Journal 5/31/2012 -Opinion: College admission biased against Asians ;
  2. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 6/3/2012 - Asian Americans and Affirmative Action,
  3. The New York Times, 12/19/2012 - Asians: Too Smart for their Own Good?
  4. The Economist, 4/27/2013 - Affirmative Action: Unequal Protection

What did our Asian civil rights organizations do with such published data? 80/20 National Asian American Educational Foundation, filed an amicus brief jointly with Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights supporting the petitioner in "Fisher v. Univ. of Texas." 80/20 also conducted an open survey of 47,000+ Asian Americans and found 98% of the respondents opposed to race-conscious admission policy. On April 9, 2013, 80/20 Initiates' President Dr. S. B. Woo and Khin Mai Aung of AALDEF formally debated at Columbia University, New York City on same topic. (Please refer to the attachment for highlights of the debate.)

Despite numerous published data indicating the ANTI-Asian aspects of race-based college admission, there are a few Asian organizations which steadfastly continue to support it. Below are two such national organizations:-

  1. OCA-Organization of Chinese Americans, Phone: (202)2235500
  2. AALDEF- Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund Ph (212)9665932

It is unconscionable that these Asian organizations chose to side with other racial groups and would not challenge the published discriminatory practice of colleges which created tougher admission standards designed to HURT the many aspiring Asian students. Whatever reasons motivated leaders of these Asian civil rights organizations to support anti-Asian policy and practice of public institutions, their constituents must question them. I urge each of you to protest these leaders' failure to carry out their mission in the willful support of institutional racism against Asian college-bound youngsters.

It is time for members and volunteers in the Asian communities to speak up. If you agree with my sense of justice, please respond to this email from with "I agree." Print your Name, City & State Asian organization(s) you belong, your email address, & comments. "

If you would like to share this appeal to others to seek justice for college-bound Asian youngsters, feel free to forward this message to them.