Emil Guillermo: Harvard's Asian Americans prove Blum suit is bogus
August 3, 2018 6:28 PM
Here's an Asian American fact.
With all our different micro groups, we need each other if we're to show that being 21 million strong, or roughly six percent of the nation's population, actually means something.
That's the importance of unity.
But in 2015, what I call the Asian American civil war began in earnest.
It seems to be succeeding in tearing our broad community apart.
The issue in this civil war isn't slavery. Of all things, it's affirmative action, and admission to America's elite colleges, specifically Harvard.
And now with legal deadlines approaching, the rhetoric is heating up again as we come close to a showdown in a Boston federal court.
This week, Lee Cheng, an attorney for the Asian American Legal Foundation, told the Boston Globe his belief that Asian Americans applying to Harvard must meet a higher bar.
But the bar isn't higher.
It's high for everyone. And it's not unfair, really.
Still, it's confusing. As one parent asked me, "Why must Asians score higher on the SAT or get better grades?"
It's just that grades and test scores are only one factor in a formula that includes where you live, whether you're a jock, need financial aid, your lineage, ethnicity, and whether you're on what's being called a Z-list.
Z-list? Being on it is said to give someone a push for admission. Unfair? The practice is reported to have benefited whites or legacy students.
Was there an AZian list or some kind of nefarious race filter? The New York Times reported this week that there was a special review where race was considered broadly, but that practice has reportedly ended.
Still, based on where the law has been since Bakke, nothing Harvard did in admissions appears illegal.
Even consideration of personal factors that tended to disfavor Asian Americans isn't discriminatory. Everyone was subjected to it. And it's one factor of many.
Cheng, however, wants to make sure Asian Americans speak with one voice on the overall issue.
But you have to speak like him.
Cheng actually believes that Asian Americans who benefited from Harvard's admissions process have no right to talk about the issue, at all.
In the Boston Globe on August 1, Cheng actually brings it closer to my civil war metaphor by bringing slavery into his argument.
From the Globe: "Cheng said it would be akin to a child of a slave-owner arguing that slavery should remain in place, or a beneficiary of segregation arguing in favor of it."
Well, by that logic, it would definitely discredit not Asian American Harvard grads and those for affirmative action, but Ed Blum, the instigator of this whole thing.
Which leads to the question: why would Cheng and others throw their unequivocal support to Blum in this fight?
Blum is a white man, hell bent on preserving a diminishing white status quo, using Asians to split people of color on race issues like affirmative action.
Cheng was trying to help his cause in the Globe. But his rhetoric does the opposite of his intent. His illogic only exposes how self-interested Asians are willingly being used and manipulated for Blum's purposes.
But you do understand why Cheng must attack Asian American Harvard students past and present, right?
They are the biggest obstacles to Blum's argument.
Harvard didn't discriminate against Asian Americans in admissions.
They got in.
A lot of them. And in large numbers.
They're more than 22 percent of the last admitted class.
How can you argue any illegal discrimination was done at a private school when Asian Americans--at six percent of the nation's population--are overrepresented as it is?
The Harvard Asian Americans, like other people of color, see through the ruse of Blum. And that's the person who should be the target of your outrage.
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Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator.
Updates at www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.The views expressed in his blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.
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