Impacts of Affirmative Action on Asian- Americans

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This paper expresses misconduct against Asian- Americans in the college applications process scene. Affirmative action affects not only those of Asian descent but impacts other minority races such as African Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanics. This paper examines the Harvard court case on Asian discrimination and other minorities through the use of SAT scores and Interviews.


Despite America's long rough history with the oppression of minority groups, one might think individuals have learned from past mistakes. However, revisions have been unfavorable. Loopholes have been found and racism is done under handedly. Applications, hopes of success, and dreams of a better education are held in the hands of corruption. Stereotypes are chained to the futures of Asian- Americans. It is a crime to aspire to be a doctor and save the lives of people in need. It is a crime to have a stereotypical extracurricular talent such as playing the violin. If you really wanted to be a part of the ivy league community you should break the stereotypes. But how can someone break a stereotype they didn't knew they had? It is something placed against someone without consent. Since Asians are good at math, they should score much higher than everyone else in the minority pool. Acceptance should be based on capability but instead after pure qualification, is based on a personality test at Harvard and many other schools. This allows for the cleaning of the minority pool and this is where the association of stereotypes comes in.

Capability should also be based on what your progress was over the past three to four years of high school; instead, the focus has shifted to who can score higher on a three hour test?. It is unfortunate- the competition and cut-throat setting this process has caused. Fears of Harvard becoming an Asian school, or god- forbid a school with a majority of minorities, has extended to taking drastic measures causing chaos and distress. Finally, it has been challenged in the Supreme court. Literature Review: In recent news, such as Asian American Coalition, Harvard has been accused in engaging in a systematic discrimination against Asian Americans who apply for admissions. Despite proof that most of these applicants are very well qualified, Harvard backs their claim by Establishing racial quotas and penalization of Asian- American applicants by judging upon racial non academic criteria such as racial stereotypes in the interview process. Business Insider explored the qualifications an asian must possess in order to surpass another race. One of those include Asian-American students' SAT scores have to be 140 points higher than white students', 270 points higher than Hispanic students', and 450 points higher than black students'. A stronger fact to support my claim, is the clear discriminatory distinction an interviewer listed on an applicants file during an interview plays the violin, and of course, wants to become a doctor.

However, this is not only a phenomenon happening at Harvard, colleges have turned the tables of what was once a badge of honor', to an overbearing obstacle in the admissions process. The reality is, it never occurs to caucasians, who have factors other than their SATs and grades considered for admission that they are the biggest beneficiaries of affirmative action. Policies are designed to favor them for reasons that have nothing to do with their academic accomplishments. Origins of Affirmative Action Affirmative Action was first enacted by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, although this concept was introduced in the early 1900's. According to Cornell law, Affirmative Action is defined as A set of procedures designed to eliminate unlawful discrimination among applicants, remedy the results of such prior discrimination, and prevent such discrimination in the future. One of the first occurrences of Affirmative Action that related to race, was during the U.S. involvement in World War II. Many African-Americans contributed to the war effort while still being subject to Jim Crow segregation laws. A civil rights activist, A. Philip Randolph, led a nationwide effort to protest to express grievances. This March on Washington Movement was planned to be a demonstration on the U.S. Capitol, taking place on July 1, 1941. On June 25, 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt, issued Executive Order 8802, which created the first Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC) and forced defense contractors To provide for the full and equitable participation of all workers in defense industries, without discrimination...

However, Executive Order 8802 did not use the term Affirmative Action. It was the first presidential order of President Johnson to lay the groundwork for later implementations of this public policy. President Johnson's order was later expanded to even include the non- discrimination of women. Many colleges and universities also adopted Affirmative Action policies to increase their minority enrollment. These policies usually took the form of preferences in admissions for applicants of a minority race, although some colleges generated strict quotas or reserved a specific number of spots for minorities. The use of affirmative action in all of these areas was initially intended to be temporary. However, the goals of affirmative action policies shifted from equality of opportunity, to the equal representation and outcomes for minorities. According to a c-span report on U.S population distribution by race, in 1960, the Caucasian population made up 88.6%. The African American population was 10.5%, leaving other minority races 1.9%. This phenomenon maintained for almost a decade. The issue was once to appease one minority race; this however, is not the case anymore. Like many changes in American society, racial representation has changed as well.

Harvard Court Case Harvard has been accused of giving lower personality ratings to Asian-American applicants. The news reminded many Asian-Americans of some painful stereotypes that might have been disguised with a title such as Harvard. Part of why Asian-Americans have a complex in getting into an elite college is the belief that the prestige or title of the institution will draw away attention from people associating them with stereotypes. When Trump first took office, the Justice Department dug up a two-year-old complaint against Harvard that alleges the school has quotas on how many Asian Americans it accepts. It opened an investigation into Harvard's admissions practices, which many feared would create a chilling effect on other schools with affirmative action programs. Asian Stereotypes While the current stereotype of Asian-Americans is that they are smart, a century ago, Asians and Asian-Americans were perceived by the Western World as savages or full of filth and disease. They were perceived as marginal members of the human race, and were denied the right to become naturalized U.S. citizens. According to The New York Times, the 2016 Post-Election National Asian-American Survey shows that South Asians and Southeast Asians are less likely to be perceived as intelligent when compared with East Asians. Reports of hate crimes, qualitative studies of the Asian-American population, and common racial slurs express that South Asians are more likely to fall victim to stereotypes about terrorism. These stereotypes might have no direct affect on college admissions, but they play a role in how different Asian-American groups experience discrimination in society. SAT Injustice Data shows tests like the SAT are biased against students from low-income households. Poorer students tend to perform worse on the test.

The difference might be the costly prep courses, books and tutors, some experts say. Blacks and Hispanics also consistently score lower on the SAT than whites. According to NPR, a new study finds that scores on standardized tests are of little value in predicting students' performance in college. This being said, many colleges have given applicants the opportunity to submit their application under test optional. "When a college considers going test-optional, one of the first reactions that people, including alumni, feel is that the college will be admitting less qualified students," he added. Syverson says the study should reassure admissions officials who've decided to go test-optional. Affirmative Action in China In China, there is affirmative action in education for minority nationalities. This may equate to lowering minimum requirements for the National University Entrance Examination (gaokao), which is a mandatory exam for all students to enter university.

This exam can be compared to the SAT or ACT. It also tests english that to many English speakers is very hard to understand. Some universities even set quotas for minority students. Further, minority students enrolled in ethnic minority-oriented specialties (e.g. language and literature programs) are provided with scholarships and/or pay no tuition, and are granted a monthly stipend.


Regarding extensive research, there are personal biases, personal experiences, and other impeding factors to acknowledge. One of those being my racial bias-- being Asian- American. I do not come from a low income family which is important to acknowledge when discussing the majority of minority applicants. Furthermore, I am in the college application process; hence why I sought interest in this topic. Although I have done pervasive research on the Harvard court case, I am only limited to sources speaking on the court case rather than personally experiencing the trial myself. I plan on applying to well known schools; however, I am not applying to one of the private Ivy League schools such as Harvard. This issue is recent and I am mostly limited to online sources rather books written in this study.   

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Impacts of Affirmative Action on Asian- Americans. (2019, Oct 30). Retrieved July 25, 2024 , from

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