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Conservative Asian American groups work to stop affirmative action in Washington state

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Just weeks after the Washington state legislature voted to overturn the state’s ban on affirmative action, two conservative Asian American groups are leading the drive to stop the action.

Initiative 1000 is an affirmative action policy passed by the state legislature in Washington State on April 28th. Opponents of affirmative action believe that unqualified candidates will be chosen based on characteristics like gender, race and sexual orientation.

According to the Bothell-Kenmore Reporter, I-1000 does not allow any individual to have special advantages when applying to a job or university. Essentially, characteristics like sex and race cannot be a sole factor in selecting a lower-qualified candidate.

Both the Asian American Coalition of Equality and the Asian American Coalition for Education disagree.

Both groups believe that I-1000 does not promote diversity and that it is actually divisive.

KLCC reports the American Coalition of Equality is attempting to reverse I-1000 through a campaign called Referendum 88. In order to get on the November ballot, Referendum 88 must get 130,000 signatures from supporters within 90 days.

Linda Yang who leads Washington Asians for Equality believes Asian American students will suffer under affirmative action.
“If you take education away from us, we’ll have nothing,” said Yang, who is also a first-generation Chinese American. 

Senator Bob Hasegawa is among those Asian Americans who support affirmative action.

“There is a misperception that I-1000 or affirmative action grants privilege to advance less qualified people over more qualified people — that’s absolutely wrong,” he said, according to the Reporter. “… You have to be qualified, but if there’s a proven disparity in either education, on a job, in contracting opportunities, then we have to make that right because that disparity leads to futility when it turns into institutionalized racism.”

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