via Wikimedia Creative Commons by Gunnar Klack
A number of Asian American scholars and activists criticized the Department of Justice, stating that the DOJ’s accusations against Yale that it discriminates against Asians and Whites will create conflict between racial minorities.
“Where you start out in life shouldn’t determine where you end up,” John Yang, executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice, AAJC, said in a statement to AsAmNews. “All students deserve the chance to share the whole story of who they are and why they should be accepted in their college applications. It’s unfair to force students to leave out vital parts of their story, including Asian American students who have struggled against stereotypes and grappled with racial discrimination that unfairly limit their opportunities in school and in the job market.”
Critics of the report also say that grouping White and Asian students together is only a way to use Asian American students to attack affirmative action.
“This announcement is pure politics — a signal once again that the Trump administration will take extraordinary steps to protect White privilege and resort to unfounded racial attacks,” said Anurima Bhargava, former chief of the Educational Opportunities Section of the Civil Rights Division at the DOJ, said to NBC.
“The Department of Justice is doing exactly what the courts have cautioned against, which is to lump together students by their racial background,” she added.
Janelle Wong, professor of government at the University of Maryland, stated that the DOJ “is using Asian Americans to protect the status quo for white applicants.”
Others view the DOJ’s report as a use of the model minority myth, which has been used to drive a wedge between Asian Americans and other racial minorities.
“It’s leveraging the model minority myth to undermine the opportunity to build a multiracial coalition in this country to dismantle racism,” Dona Kim Murphey, a former board member of the Korean American Association, said to Insider.
Critics also noted that the removal of affirmative action would not effect any major change for Asian American applicants. A 2016 study showed that while White applicants would largely benefit from the elimination of race-conscious admissions, removing Black and Latinx students from the applicant pool would increase Asian American students’ chances of admission by only 1 percent.
Jennifer Lee, professor of sociology at Columbia University, says that “affirmative action is not a negative action against Asian Americans.” A survey conducted in 2016 found that two-thirds of Asian Americans supported affirmative action.
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