HomeCampusPoll: Asian Americans oppose use of race in college admissions

Poll: Asian Americans oppose use of race in college admissions

By Randall Yip, Executive Editor

A new multilingual AAPI Data/AP-NORC poll reveals a possible shift in the attitudes of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander toward the use of race in college admissions.

What exactly the latest poll means is still unclear, according to those on both sides of the debate on race in admission standards.

The poll of 1,068 AAPIs found 53% surveyed believe the consideration of race is unfair with only 18 percent supporting consideration of an applicant’s ethnicity.

A similar poll just one year ago by the Pew Research Center made similar findings, while also concluding that 53% consider affirmative action in hiring a good thing.

Just how Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders see the use of race in public policy remains a bit muddled.

Just two years earlier, AAPI Data revealed 69% of AAPIs supported the use of race to help Black students, other minorities and women gain better access to college admissions.

Pollsters conducted all three surveys mentioned in this story in multiple Asian languages.

An outspoken critic of race in college admissions, SB Woo of the group 80-20 says it’s difficult to compare poll results because the wording of the poll makes a difference.

He thinks the results of this week’s AAPI Data/AP-NORC poll may have been influenced by outside factors.

“The 2023 ruling of the Supreme Court against the use of race in college admissions may be the reason,” Woo told AsAmNews by email.

Karthick Ramakrishnan, founder and executive director of AAPI Data, says he also believes the Supreme Court could be a factor but thinks more research needs to be done before drawing any conclusions. He says it’s definitely “worth monitoring.”

Past Supreme Court decisions have shifted public opinion both ways. He cited the Brown v Board of Education ruling that desegregated public schools shifted attitudes about race significantly.

Ramakrishnan also pointed out the 2022 ruling that overturned the constitutional right to abortion galvanized the pro-abortion movement and sparked a backlash against both the Supreme Court and politicians who supported the ruling.

He says it’s too early to tell if the Scotus ruling in Students for Fair Admissions v Harvard will cause a similar political momentum swing in either direction.

“The Asian American community is less likely to support a policy if they don’t see Asian Americans benefitting from a policy,” Ramakrishnan told AsAmNews during a phone interview.

While 80-20 opposes race in college admissions, it does not oppose the use of race in hiring.

Both Wu and Ramakrishnan agree how you word a poll will influence the results. To truly compare polls, the wording must be the same.

The latest AAPI Data/AP-NORC poll also explored the teaching of AAPI education and other race issues in schools.

71% endorse subjects such as Asian American and Pacific Islander history. That’s the exact same percentage who would like to see the teaching of historical topics such as slavery, racism, and segregation.

The AAPI Data/AP-NORC poll was conducted in the Chinese dialects of Mandarin and Cantonese, Vietnamese, and Korean and has a margin of error of 4.7 percentage points.

AsAmNews is published by the non-profit, Asian American Media Inc. Follow us on FacebookX, InstagramTikTok and YouTube. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support our efforts to produce diverse content about the AAPI communities. We are supported in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.


  1. Affirmative action was once used to determine underrepresentation of qualified minority groups in jobs and in education. It was used to battle the establishment of a permanent underclass of racial minorities.

    DEI is now being used to replace affirmative action, seeking to create a society being integrated and interdependent.

    Others seek to create a permanent underclass with whites on top. This can be achieved by promoting criteria far above what is needed to complete four years of college study.

    The recent SCOTUS decision erred by ruling that an educational opportunity should be seen as an end unto itself as opposed to a means towards an end.

    Harvard got it right whereas SFFA and 80-20 need to learn how to represent and lead all Americans in fairness. The AAPI community needs to repair the damage caused by the SCOTUS decision.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Worth the Time

Must Read

Regular Features


Discover more from AsAmNews

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading