Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Asian American applicants to Harvard join fight to protect affirmative action

AAAJ-LA photo
Jason Fong (at podium) participates in a press conference defending affirmative action.

TWO ASIAN/AMERICAN students have joined Harvard in its effort to defend the schools affirmative action program for underrepresented students.

Both students are from Southern California and are current applicants to Harvard.

“Asian students and other students of color have to face institutional barriers that many white students may not, so I think it levels out the playing field.” said Jason Fong, one of those two students. 

“I got involved in this case because I feel it’s important for Asian/Americans like myself to ask why we aren’t doing more to fight against racism directly. And as someone who has benefited greatly from being educated in an environment with great diversity in race, class and thought, I believe diversity is a valuable criteria for any campus to embrace.”

Fong is active in expressing his political views on social media and was behind the successful hashtag #MyAsianAmericanStory which captured the attention of even the Los Angeles Times. Fong also is a former intern for AsAmNews.

The other student is a Pacific Islander. Both were assisted by Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Los Angeles.


“Opponents of affirmative action continue to peddle the myth that affirmative action hurts Asian American students by placing quotas on their admissions into elite colleges in favor of African American and Latino students,” said Nicole Ochi, an attorney with AAJC-LA. “This is an absolute lie. Quotas, in fact, have been unconstitutional for decades.”

Harvard was sued by Students for Fair Admissions, an anti-affirmative group which has filed a series of similar lawsuits against other universities. The suit was filed by an unnamed Asian/American student who was denied admission.

“We refuse to be used as a wedge by outside players stoking the insecurities of newer Asian immigrants, provoking them to lash out at the very programs that have helped communities of color gain access to higher education," said Ochi. 

"In our current political climate where racism and bigotry continue to be normalized, it is more important than ever to acknowledge that race still matters and should not be the only aspect of an applicant’s story that is excluded from consideration in the admissions process.” (View From the Edge contributed to this report._