OPINION: Asian Americans Shall Not be Victimized Again By Race-Based Policies

YuKong Zhao | President, Asian American Coalition for Education

Three weeks into the landmark Harvard trial, after Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) revealed mounting evidence of Harvard University’s discrimination against Asian-American children, Harvard is mobilizing a moral campaign this week by putting ten more students on the witness stand.

As expected, the defendant and its witnesses will most likely label SFFA’s litigation as “an assault on diversity” and possibly “an assault on people of color.”  If the legal argument is weak, why not try to win by claiming the moral high ground?

To Harvard and many colleges who adopt its admissions model, however, no amount of moral preaching, gaslighting or deflecting justifies unequivocal discrimination against Asian-American children. If you understand the Asian-American experience, you will know why.

The first major wave of Asian immigrants, who were mostly Chinese, came to America during the 1850s. Although their sacrifice and hard work were essential to the completion of the Continental Railways, their contributions were not recognized. Contrarily, their resilience and work ethic were perceived as a threat to the white establishment.

Consequently, the Chinese Exclusion Act, the first race-based policy in the history of the United States, was enacted in 1882. Ever since then, Chinese Americans became one of the most discriminated-against racial groups in the United States alongside blacks and Native Americans.

Sixty years later, President Roosevelt signed the Executive Order 9066, authorizing the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Another group of Asian Americans was victimized by yet another race-based policy.

Starting in the 1980s, attracted by rapidly growing demands for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) talents in the United States and partly sanctioned by Deng Xiaoping’s open-door policy in China, a new wave of Asians — mostly highly educated Chinese and Indians — immigrated to America.

These new immigrants have since become the backbone of America’s high-tech industries and key contributors to this nation’s economic prosperity.

Blessed by the great cultural heritage that values education and hard work, most Asian Americans raise their children successfully. While the American society at large is suffering a decline in the quality of K-12 education, Asian-American children outperform their peers both academically and in many extracurricular measures.

While a shortage in STEM talents is undermining our high-tech industry and jeopardizing our national security, many Asian-American children excel in this area. Today, they dominate all STEM-related high-school competitions and STEM-related Olympia teams.      

With such outstanding credentials both in academic and extracurricular measures, anybody with common sense would think Asian-Americans applicants should be welcomed or at least treated fairly by our nation’s top universities. Nevertheless, the reality reveals a sharply different picture not only in Harvard University but also in many other colleges that emulate Harvard’s discriminatory admissions model.

Asian-American children never ask for any favorable policies. They achieve outstanding performance through diligence and devotion to education. But they are labeled as “over-represented” by liberal politicians and many college administrators who blatantly turn them into a target for racial quotas.

The racial quotas imposed by Harvard and many other selective colleges have led to overwhelming study-load, stress and even suicides among Asian-American children. As Ron Unz rightly put it:

[T]hese leading academic institutions have placed a rather strict upper limit on actual Asian enrollment, forcing these Asian students to compete more and more fiercely for a very restricted number of openings. This has sparked a massive Asian-American arms-race in academic performance at high schools throughout the country, as seen above in the skyrocketing math and science competition results. When a far greater volume of applicants is squeezed into a pipeline of fixed size, the pressure can grow enormously.

In the worst case, ten students have committed suicides in Henry Gunn High School in Palo Alto, California over the last seven years, many of whom were Asian American.

To add insult to the injury, as revealed by Daniel Golden in 2007 and confirmed by Students for Fair Admissions during the ongoing lawsuit, Harvard and many other selective universities widely use racial stereotypes to discriminate against Asian-American children.

In spite of their exceptional credentials on all objective measures, Asian-American applicants are consistently rated the lowest by Harvard’s personal ratings, which crudely categorize them as unlikeable, indistinguishable, or weak in grit, leadership and risk-taking. Such outrageous discrimination is both baseless and insulting to Asian Americans who are among the best in terms of entrepreneurship, technological innovation, arts and creativities.

In Silicon Valley and other R&D centers across the nation, Asian Americans are a pillar of American ingenuity. On every main street in America, any Chinese or Korean restaurant, any Indian- or Pakistani-run gas station greatly exemplify leadership and a risk-taking attitude. 

Unfortunately, history repeats itself in an uncanny way. When the Chinese Exclusion Act was introduced, ethnic Chinese were branded as “yellow hordes,” inferior to white Americans.

In the 1920s, Harvard introduced the holistic-evaluation approach, reducing Jewish enrollment from 17 percent to 7 percent in just one year by rating them low in personal ratings. Today, Harvard employs the same dirty tricks to stigmatize Asian-American applicants.         

In order to escape from such stigmatization, Asian-American children are frequently cautioned by college counselors to hide their racial and ethnic identities when applying to Harvard and other prominent colleges.

About six years ago, the Pew Research Center applauded Asian Americans as the “highest-income, best-educated” racial group in America. If it was not for the horrendous discrimination by Harvard and its likes, a successful group like such would never have to hide their proud cultural roots.

Coming back to the current Harvard trial, I foresee that Harvard will glorify the race-based admissions policies but hide an ugly truth in this week’s defense: Race-based college admissions is just a small bandage used conveniently by politicians to cover up a large, deep-cut wound — failing K-12 education in too many black and Hispanic communities, which is the real root cause of a lack of racial diversity in America’s selective universities.

According to a New York Times article published on August 24, 2017, “Even with Affirmative Action, blacks and Hispanics are more underrepresented at top universities than 35 years ago.” Race-based policies have failed the black and Hispanic communities too!

It is also to be expected that, during its defense, Harvard will neglect to mention the very fact that Asian Americans are also “people of color,” coming from very diverse background and were historically victimized by unspeakable race-based policies such as the Chinese Exclusion Act and Japanese Internment.

Harvard has no courage to admit that its race-based social engineering is re-victimizing Asian Americans, who are among our nation’s most dedicated contributors.

Mr. YuKong Zhao is the President of Asian American Coalition for Education, who leads Asian-Americans’ fight against Ivy League colleges’ discriminatory admissions practices.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

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