Ward Connerly, a leader in the fight against affirmative action, went toe to toe on the issue with Janelle Wong, the director of Asian American Studies at the University of Maryland on MSNBC Wednesday.
Connerlly believes the Supreme Court ruling banning affirmative action in public higher education in Michigan benefits everyone because it allows the people to decide.
“The decision helps everyone because it says this is one the people can decide if they choose to do so…Yes, I always support the right of the people to make that decision,” said Connerly. “Our goal was to make sure that every individual had equal treatment when they applied to college. In California we have 113 I think community colleges. Everyone can apply and be admitted there. We have 23 state university’s. We have 9 University of California campuses. The UC campuses are supposed to be select. You earn your right to go there. We don’t just give it to you. The reality that in some communities, black communities especially, the striving for higher education is not as great as among Chinese Americans.”
“That is simply not true that the striving differs across neighborhoods,” countered Wong. “There a recent study that says controlling for parents education and income, all groups, Chinese Americans, black Americans, Mexican Americans, everyone values and invests in education at the same rate. It’s whether or not you have the economic arsenal to pursue those dreams of college and university.
“Affirmative action does actually benefit all of us. I think about my children’s experience going to college and I know that affirmative action helps to ensure that they have a college experience rich in diversity and that creates a much better learning experience for my children. The vast majority of Asian Americans share this viewpoint. They support affirmative action.”
You can watch the six minute debate in its entirety below.