Angry students rally in the campus of Harvard University but are far from united. Half of the protesters bear signs reading “No more quotas!” or “Asian-Americans have dreams too!” while others hold signs declaring “Diversity for success!” and “Fight for equality!” In the courts, the battle rages on.
Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), a group of more than 20,000 Asian-American students headed by conservative activist and lawyer Edward Blum, is suing Harvard University for alleged discrimination against Asian-Americans in admissions, accusing them of putting a quota on Asian-American applicants. According to the New York Times, Harvard consistently rated Asian-American applicants lower than others on traits such as kindness and likability.
However, Harvard refuted the accusations, claiming the lawsuit was aimed at ending decades-old efforts of racial diversity promotion and that if all consideration of race was eliminated, the number of Black and Hispanic students would plummet. The school denied any racial favoring and stressed that conducted studies were inconclusive.
The case will likely go to the Supreme Court in January, where Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s recent confirmation may ensure that the Supreme Court abolishes affirmative action.
Contrary to the argument that affirmative action gives minorities an advantage, the policy helps level the playing field for historically marginalized groups.
A common myth is that affirmative action is quota-based, creating a zero-sum environment in which the success of one race leads to the demise of another. Yet this is far from the truth, as Harvard and other colleges use a “holistic” process where all qualities of a student are factored, race being a minor factor. The practice addresses racial disparities and attempts to heal the wounds of racism by focusing on the educational inequity for students of color.
For example, after affirmative action was banned in Calif., the amount of Black and Hispanic college students dropped from 24 to just 15 percent, despite Black and Hispanic students making up over a third of Calif.’s college-age population. Several studies by SAGE Journals also show that the removal of affirmative action policies will severely harm African-American and Latino applicants while white applicants’ acceptance rates will surge.
“The point of affirmative action is not to benefit non-white people, but to help those with fewer opportunities,” said Freshman Victoria Nguyen.
Although many Asian-Americans support Blum and SFFA, even more believe that discontinuing affirmative action policies will harm all minorities.
SFFA vs. Harvard University is Blum’s next attempt to abolish affirmative action, using Asian Americans to create a pretense of racial inclusivity. It is clear that abolishing this policy is Blum’s end goal, one that is far from diversity.