On Affirmative Action

The recent Supreme Court case brought on by one very white Abigail Noel Fisher made me laugh. And the fact that she tried to bring Asian-Americans into her plight was just …

Clearly, affirmative action wasn’t why she didn’t get into her university of choice. She would have fared better if she pointed out the other preferential treatments colleges hand out, like legacies, athletes, and “special” favors. This opinion piece does a good job summarizing the University of Texas’ admission policy. What it fails to consider is how Asian-Americans are indeed harmed by affirmative action in terms of admissions. Just because there is a high population of Asian-Americans students at a school doesn’t mean they were admitted through affirmative action policies. Because let’s be real here: it’s much more likely that they got in by being in the top 10% of their class. In fact, it’s definitely how they got in because affirmative action doesn’t aid the Asian-American population whatsoever.

It also fails to investigate how higher hurdles are placed for Asian to bar an overhaul of the student body by an ~Asian Invasion~.

A 2005 Princeton study found the SAT points on the 1600 point scale that were added to and taken from certain groups: Blacks +230, Hispanics +185, Asians –50, recruited athletes +200, and legacies +160.

A 2009 study found that white students were three times, Hispanic students six times, and black students 15 times more likely than Asian-Americans to be accepted into universities. YEAH. I had a great time applying to colleges.

Look at the racial demographics of some schools that utilize affirmative action:

NYU: Total number of Undergraduates: 22,280; White: 41%; Asian/Pacific Islander: 20%; Hispanic: 9%; African American/Black: 4%; American Indian/Alaskan Native: 0.4%; International: 10%; Race/Ethnicity Unknown: 14% [2011]

UGA: Total number of Undergraduates: 35,552; White: 74.9%; Hispanic: 9%; African American/Black: 7.4%; Asian/Pacific Islander: 5.9%;American Indian/Alaskan Native: 2.6%; Race/Ethnicity Unknown: 3%; International: 3.6% [2011]

BU: Total number of Undergraduates: 15,977; White: 50.6%; Asian/Pacific Islander: 14%; Hispanic: 8.6%; African American/Black: 3.2%; American Indian/Alaskan Native: 0.2%; International: 11.6%; Race/Ethnicity Unknown: 11.8%; [2011]

Columbia University: Total number of Undergraduates: 8,103; White: 88.1%; Asian/Pacific Islander: 14.8%; Hispanic: 13.3%; African American/Black: 7.7%; American Indian/Alaskan Native: 0.6%; International: 12%; Race/Ethnicity Unknown: 6.4% [2011]

Now look to California, where Prop. 209 essentially eliminated the use of affirmative action in college admissions. You will note a stark drop in white students, a small drop in black students, and that the percentage of Hispanic students actually increases (though that can be explained by the highly concentrated Hispanic population living in California).

Berkeley: Total number of Undergraduates: 25,151; Asian/Pacific Islander: 43%; White: 32%; Hispanic: 12%; African American/Black: 4%; American Indian/Alaskan Native: 1%; International: 3% [2011]

UCLA: Total number of Undergraduates: 26,536; Asian/Pacific Islander: 38%; White: 34%; Hispanic: 15%; African American/Black: 1%; American Indian/Alaskan Native: 0%; Race/Ethnicity Unknown: 5%; International: 4% [2011]

UCSD: Total number of Undergraduates: 23,143; Asian/Pacific Islander: 48%; Caucasian: 26%; Hispanic: 13%; African-American: 2%; Native-American: 0%; Race/Ethnicity Unknown: 10% [2011]

UC Davis: Total number of Undergraduates: 24,209; Asian/Pacific Islander: 41%; White: 36%; Hispanic: 13%; African American/Black: 3%; American Indian/Alaskan Native: 1%; Race/Ethnicity Unknown: 6%; International: 2% [2011]

… Need I go on?

Without affirmative action, people get into schools on merit alone. And this leads to an abundance of Asian students, and a lower percentage of students of other races. So indeed, affirmative action in higher education actually helps white people and works against Asian-Americans. We need higher SAT scores to get into schools, and essentially compete with one another in a rather vicious battle to get into good ones.

So in a way, thanks ignorant white people who are fighting against affirmative action. I didn’t know you cared!

But really:

Because I am definitely for affirmative action. Though, it could do with a few tweaks, like not limiting the opportunities of one of the smallest minority groups living in America. In theory, if affirmative action didn’t bar so many Asian students, there would be a more even spread of them and therefore more diversity at different schools. All colleges should also look at schools on a case-by-case basis, so students from all different areas would have a fair chance. It should promote diversity in all fields—in terms of race, income, orientation, gender, location, etc.

I was furious that I was attending Boston College with a relatively homogenous bunch of rich, ignorant white people who had much lower high school grades and credentials than I did, when some of my very accomplished Asian friends didn’t even get in. With people who harassed minorities and felt comfortable openly talking shit about them in front of their faces. With a guy who mistook me for the Korean girl who always sat next to me in class, even though we looked nothing alike (different hair color, different skin tone, height, body types, features, everything) and he spent hours with her in the library the night before. With people who asked me, “… Did you see that huge group of Asians? Why do they only hang out with each other?” when they themselves only hung out with other white people. With people who actually argued with and insisted to minorities that BC was indeed an extremely diverse school, even when presented with the fact that it was rated one of the least diverse schools in America. Under an administration that covered up who knows how many hate crimes, and permitted the prejudiced behavior of the campus police—an administration that brought in metal detectors for only the minority government-run events (and why the hell did they instate a separation between the “normal” aka white and minority student governments?).

And affirmative action isn’t meant to help only people of certain races. It’s meant to help any minority group. It’s there to level the playing field and work towards a future of equal opportunity. And given that men and white people still get paid more than women and minorities, you have to question how much the leg-up on a collegiate level even gives. Also, fun fact: affirmative action helps men of all races get into college with lower grades.

… Yeah.

Just like you can’t pick and choose which parts of the Bible you’ll emphasize and which you won’t even acknowledge, you can’t pick and choose who affirmative action will help and when it’s permissible. Affirmative action isn’t a black and white issue. So don’t forget to cover that hot mess of a cake in yellow frosting.


Summer Holiday: Korea

Hello hello~ I’m finally back to updating this infernal thing. I’d really love to say that I don’t know what I do with all my free time that I never go on Facebook, Gmail, or WordPress, but that’d be an utter lie. I spend all my evenings either eating out and/or watching TV shows while simultaneously reading or translating manga/hwa.

My summer holiday was amazing. It was nice being back in Korea and seeing all my friends living there, and it was such a relief to be able to understand people again. AND I could read everything! EVERYTHING! Not that I understood all the things I was reading but damnit, I could read it all. Kanji can seriously just go curl up and die somewhere, preferably alone. And on fire.

Of course I made a stop at the Hello Kitty Café, as per tradition.

… And had a Baskin’ Robbins cake.

A water bottle popped in my bag and I had to dry all my money. I tried to do this:

But all the won just beelined to the floor instead of gently fluttering down.

I miss having easy access to Korean-Chinese food so much. Jjajangmyun! Tangsooyook! My beloved, now into eternity!

This is supposedly only 4 servings of chicken … right.

I just love Korea.  I love the countless cafes, the fact that young people are actually aware of foreign pop culture, the super cheap BBQ joints, the hordes of people walking around tracks at night, and even the hunt for things in my size.  I love being automatically recognized as a Korean, eating at street stalls late at night, taking cabs everywhere without paying a small fortune, and feeling invincible.

I can’t wait to go back.

I plan to go every year for the rest of my life.