08/20/2017

Why Asians Need Affirmative Action

Editor’s Note: Samantha Wu-Georges is a sophomore studying at the University of Pennsylvania.  She is our Media Intern for the summer of 2017.

When I applied for college two years ago, my family warned me: admissions officers have higher standards for Asian applicants.  If you want a spot at a top school, they cautioned, you’re going to have to study harder, get better grades, and have higher test scores.  Turns out, they were right.  A widely publicized Princeton Study suggests that  “applicants of Asian heritage experience an apparent admissions disadvantage.”  Conversely, the data indicate that being African-American or Hispanic helps admissions chances.  However, despite being a recent member of the group that affirmative action supposedly hurts the most, I staunchly support affirmative action policies.

I don’t blame my fellow Asian students for filing complaints against university affirmative action and holistic admissions approaches.  In fact, I agree that it’s not fair to discriminate against us based on our race.  Nonetheless, consider that such policies, while highly imperfect, may be our only hope at achieving college campuses that represent the actual racial makeup of our country.  While I find the existence of race-based implicit quotas unsettling, what makes me more uncomfortable is our nation’s history of systemic racism and disadvantaging certain minorities.

People of color have historically been discriminated against in America, including Asian Americans.  Before affirmative action, Asians were excluded and can be again.  Former laws such as the Chinese Exclusion Act and Asian Exclusion Act curtailed Asian immigration and, consequently, education in this nation.  Affirmative action combats this discrimination by conferring opportunity to underprivileged students.  The policies continue to help low-income Asian Americans and Southeast Asians today.

Affirmative action protects Asians by ensuring that we are admitted to colleges at all.  We should not turn our backs on the policies that gave our community education and employment opportunities.  Instead, we should support them so that underprivileged students can continue to benefit.  As a student, I know my education is enriched by belonging to a diverse student body. College admissions offices recognize the value of including applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds–we should, too.

Affirmative Action Helps Not Harms Asian Americans

Given few are reading any of the tons of great articles, I summarize why affirmative action helps Asian Americans:

It’s why we’re even in American universities at all. We weren’t a presence before it (controlling for immigration differences). Those in power seek to keep it, namely rich whites.

It’s how we help our own community. Not all Asian Americans are privileged Chinese in suburbs, even if many of the highest profile ones are. Data disaggregation will prove it.

It’s a minimum not a maximum. Those playing the zero sum game (i.e. that Asians are limited when unmerited non-AAPI get quotas) are wrong because admissions isn’t straight-race-based. Admission’s complexity allows all to frame the argument for their own purposes.

It’s how we resist and empower our own. We gain better admissions with affirmative action. It’s how we integrate with this nation instead of being the perpetual foreigner. It’s how we gain the power which those who already hold it want.

Once again, affirmative action empowers Asian America and no rich whites funding surreptitious social media campaigns and non-profit shells will victor in their disinfo/influence campaigns. Asian America rising speaks out in every way against others hijacking us for others’ purposes.

AAAFund Condemns “RAISE” Act

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GOP legislation attempts to separate families, change the racial makeup of America

The Asian American Action Fund (AAAFund) Board strongly opposes President Trump’s support of Senator Cotton’s bill to sharply reduce legal immigration. It is a restrictionist effort to partisan politics, populism, and xenophobia by cleaving ethnic a.k.a. non-white families and negate the landmark 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act of the civil rights era which allowed for immigrant families to be reunited.

Ninety-two percent of Asian Americans are immigrants or the children of immigrants, including respected military leaders, CEOs, frontline healthcare workers, and educators. AAPIs have made innumerable contributions to America throughout its history from the Chinese American laborers who built our nation’s railways and Filipino American farmworkers who gathered the fruits of the earth to Indian American CEOs like Google’s Sundar Pichai and Korean American doctors like Dr. Jim Kim of the World Bank. AAPIs add to the rich diversity and greatness of the United States in every area of its economy and society.

The Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community stands united in political opposition to cutting family reunification and any version of the RAISE Act. We see clearly that this bill is a slippery slope backwards, a throwback to the xenophobia and nationalism that spurred the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Acts which wound up excluding nearly all Asian immigration. We will take political action against the populist, interference, and disinfo forces which brought about such America-harming legislation.

As an Asian American political action committee, we will be closely watching how all our elected officials vote on the issue and we will make our opposition known in the media and at the polls. Our name has “Action” in it for good cause.

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The Asian American Action Fund (www.aaafund.org) is a Democratic Asian American and Pacific Islander PAC founded in 1999. AAAFund’s goal is to increase the voice of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in every level of local, state and federal government in the United States.

Job Announcement: 2017 Joe Montano Fellow for Virginia State Campaigns

Joe Montano (1968-2016) was a prominent activist for Asian American causes, grassroots campaign organizer, close aide to Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) and was Senator Kaine’s Northern Virginia representative. The Asian American Action Fund (AAAFund) and Democratic Asian Americans of Virginia (DAAV) join together to sponsor the Joe Montano Campaign Fellowship Program in his memory.

We are looking for a passionate, hardworking individual who is committed to helping elect Virginia Democrats this year in some of the most hotly contested races in the country.

Role Overview

The Joe Montano Fellow will be responsible for various tasks focused on community engagement and capacity building as an organizer. Candidates with experience building coalitions among diverse groups of people and holding volunteers accountable are preferred. The organizer reports directly to a Regional Organizing Director for the Virginia State Campaigns in Northern Virginia.

Tasks and Responsibilities include but not limited to:

  • Recruit, train and manage volunteers and expand the volunteer network
  • Plan, manage, and participate in phone banks and canvasses door to door
  • Amplify message and create online communities
  • Asian American outreach

Required Skills and Background

  • Exceptionally well organized with the ability to meet strict deadlines
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Disciplined and solution-oriented approach to all tasks
  • Must have access to a vehicle and a cellphone
  • Previous campaign experience preferred
  • Candidates with proficiency in Korean, Vietnamese, or Mandarin are encouraged

Submit your resume and 3 references during Aug 1-8, 2017 to JoeMontanoFellows@gmail.com


Sen. Mazie Hirono is an American Heroine

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Nation’s 1st Asian American female Senator continues lifelong service by voting to keep Obamacare

A few weeks after a devastating diagnosis of stage 4 cancer, US Senator Mazie Hirono (D- Hawaii) reported for duty to the Senate floor, voting to keep Obamacare and healthcare for 20 million plus Americans. On June 26, the night before she went in for surgery, Sen. Hirono spoke on the Senate floor:

Trumpcare would be a disaster to the American people, and we’re fighting it tooth and nail,” Hirono said. “But I also want to be clear, what we’re fighting for. We are fighting for universal health care that is a right, not a privilege, for every American. Tomorrow I’m going into surgery to remove the lesion I have on my rib, but I’m going to be back as quickly as I can to keep up the fight against this mean, ugly, bill.

Melissa Unemori Hampe, Asian American Action Fund board member, stated, “Sen. Hirono is a leading light in the Senate, and has blazed a trail for women and immigrants to be top decisionmakers. Her service and dedication is an example for all of us, and she should be recognized for her willingness to represent her constituents’ interests, despite her personal health. We are fortunate to have her in the Senate and wish her a speedy recovery.”

Sen. Hirono had previously served as Lt. Governor of Hawaii and in the state legislature since 1981. She is the first female US Senator from Hawaii, and the first Asian American female US Senator, as well as one of the first Buddhists in Congress. She is expected to make a full recovery.

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The Asian American Action Fund (www.aaafund.org) is a Democratic Asian American and Pacific Islander PAC founded in 1999. AAAFund’s goal is to increase the voice of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in every level of local, state and federal government in the United States.


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