A Victory for Asian American Group Would Benefit Whites in Admissions

Asian American Discrimination at Harvard, Harvard Lawsuit, Harvard Admissions Lawsuit

The group suing Harvard for discriminating against Asian American applicants may have other goals beyond eliminating Asian American discrimination in admissions (photo credit: Chensiyuan).

One would think that if the group suing Harvard University for discriminating against Asian Americans claims victory, it would make it easier for Asian American applicants to earn admission to highly selective universities like Harvard. And we’re not suggesting this would not be the case. While no legal victory will, in our view, outright end Asian American discrimination in admissions, a victory could make admissions officers at schools like Harvard more aware of the inherent biases — indeed the stereotypes — they’re relying on when weighing applicants’ cases for admission. But would it surprise our readers if we were to suggest that the person most responsible for leading the charge against Asian American discrimination in admissions, a man we and others have deemed the one-man band with no legal degree fighting the good legal fight, may very well be using Asian Americans as a means to an end in a grand plan of increasing white representation on elite American college campuses?

Are Asian Americans Being Used as Pawns to Increase Whiteness of Elite Colleges?

While it’s just our two cents, if you read our profile of Edward Blum, that one-man band whose raison d’être seems to be ending the practice, you’ll know that it was Blum who unsuccessfully led the charge against the practice of Affirmative Action in the Abigail Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin case before the Supreme Court. This is not his first go at it. It’s likely that Blum simply thought he could make a stronger argument to our nation’s highest court by specifically limiting the argument to Asian American applicants. Fisher was a Caucasian applicant to the University of Texas at Austin. If at first one doesn’t succeed, as they say…try, try again.

And we’re not the only ones who believe this about Blum and his latest case. Just a few days ago, there was a well-argued opinion piece in “The New York Times” by Natasha Warikoo and Nadirah Farah Foley entitled “How Elite Schools Stay So White” in which they write, “Instead of alleging bias against whites, [Blum] and the plaintiffs use supposed anti-Asian bias as a way to undermine affirmative action for blacks and Latinos. In doing so, however, they sidestep a more glaring inequality in admissions: Harvard applicants who are recruited athletes or children of alumni enjoy significant advantages, and these candidates are disproportionately white and well-off. However, neither the university nor Mr. Blum’s legal team address this point.”

They go on, “If Mr. Blum were really concerned with fairness, he would instead question the metrics for admissions decisions that often benefit white applicants: not only athletic recruiting and legacy preferences, but also less visible but still unbalanced considerations like geographic diversity, which favors whites because minorities in the United States are concentrated on the coasts. Indeed, if race alone is removed as a factor in admissions, as Mr. Blum wants, the group that will gain the most might not be Asian-Americans, but whites.”

From atop our soapbox in college admissions, we at Ivy Coach have been calling for an end to the practice of legacy admission in particular for many years since legacy applicants are overwhelmingly white — and they tend to come from privilege since their parents or grandparents attended a prestigious university. Ironically, as more and more time passes, the legacy pool will become less and less white. In the years ahead, more and more Asian American (and Latino, African American, Native American, etc.) students will be part of the legacy applicant pool since the children of these alumni are quickly becoming of college age in significant numbers.

But what do our readers think? Would a victory for the Asian American group challenging Affirmative Action (along with Edward Blum) benefit white applicants even more so than Asian American applicants to America’s elite universities? Let us know your thoughts on the matter by posting a Comment below. We look forward to hearing from you.


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  • Reader says:

    This article saying – If university stop discriminate against Asian students it will also stop discriminate again “White” students or … any other race . This is why university must continue discriminate again Asian student . Also it is implied that “legacy applicants” bad because they mostly “White” – this so racist.

    • Ivy Coach says:

      We don’t follow the logic of your arguments. Why is it racist to call for an end to legacy admission? The legacy applicant pool inherently consists of the progeny of successful people in that their parents or grandparents attended the university. America is supposed to be the land of equal opportunity. Why should the children and grandchildren of such folks have an official leg up in college admissions? And, yes, the legacy pool happens to be overwhelmingly white…but that’s changing as the children of Asian American, African American, Latino, Native American, etc. alumni come of college age. And yet we’re still calling for an end to the practice. It’s not about race. It’s about equal opportunity.

  • Rosemary Laberee says:

    Would a close examination at admission statistics at University of California offer some good information? Proposition 209 (a state constitutional change made in 1996) disallowed them from “discriminating on the basis of race, sex or ethnicity”. They do not practice affirmative action. As a result they have much higher % of Asian students. Almost 35% in 2017. In 2017, of their 46,000 students, 15,400 are Asian and 9,300 are white.

    Schools in the UC system cannot use race as a factor. Period. Prior to 1996, I suspect the % of Asian students who were accepted (as a % of the number who applied) were very different, but you guys would know this better than I.

    I agree with the point that George was making above. How this win for Asians might impact whites, or Hispanics, or African Americans is not really the point. It detracts from the spirit of triumph.

    It is a victory for Asians, who have known for decades that they are rejected in greater numbers.
    This is discrimination. Discrimination is hurtful. Finally, it has been officially recognized. This is good. Good for all Americans who detest discrimination based on ethnicity. Period.

    I think everyone understands that when you give a seat to an applicant, regardless of that applicant’s color or ethnic roots, you are, by definition, not giving it to many others who are standing in line. There will be much griping and there will be suspicion cast upon the motives of the groups who are pulling the curtains back on these kinds of injustices. In the ecosystem of bottle-necked college admissions it is impossible to avoid impacting the delicate balance, but that balance has been purposefully kept unfair. So, no matter what, this is a clear win, which might actually budge that glacier-like indifference to discrimination against Asians.


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