Affirmative action divided Asian Americans and other People Of Color. Here’s how

Conservative activist Edward Blum has divided Asian Americans and other People of Color by leveraging the narrative that affirmative action policies harm Asian Americans, which critics argue prompts harmful infighting among communities of color.

Characterizing the adversary: Edward Blum, known for launching legal attacks on civil rights, has focused on ending the use of race and ethnicity in college admissions, arguing affirmative action is racist against white people.
* In 2015, Blum changed his strategy to emphasize how affirmative action impacts minorities, saying he needed Asian plaintiffs.
* Scholars like Jeff Chang from racial justice nonprofit Race Forward criticize this approach, saying it pits Asian Americans against Black and Latino communities, harnessing both real issues and false narratives.

The impact: Critics argue that pitting Asian Americans against Black and Latino communities undermines the achievements of Black and Latino students.
* Many believe that this divisive strategy feeds into the “model minority” stereotype where Asian Americans are portrayed as a “good” minority group, often used to downplay systemic racism faced by other racial groups.

Asian Americans and affirmative action: Despite arguments that Asian American acceptance rates at elite universities may be suppressed, proponents like Sally Chen from Chinese for Affirmative Action insist ending affirmative action is not the solution.
* She suggests that while there is a need for anti-bias training for those assessing Asian-American applications, removing the consideration of race could be detrimental.
* A 2019 study also suggested white students were more likely to gain admission due to legacy connections, parental donations, or athletic status, indicating these factors rather than affirmative action might be disadvantageous to Asian American students.

The aftermath: Experts and activists fear dismantling affirmative action will primarily benefit those with wealth and privilege, while the fallout will disproportionately affect communities of color who now have dwindling methods to correct imbalances in education.

View original article on NPR

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