“What’s Good For The Jews New Jews Asians?”

As I discussed here, two of the most noteworthy amicus briefs supporting Abigail Fisher’s discrimination complaint against the University of Texas were filed by Asian-American organizations.

Both of those briefs (this one and this one) cite Daniel Golden, who argued in The Price of Admission (2007) that “Asian-Americans are the new Jews, inheriting the mantle of the most disenfranchised group in college admissions.” As Peter Schmidt pointed out, the briefs filed by Asian-American organizations opposing affirmative action represent “a marked departure from the position most other Asian-American groups have taken on the issue.”

S.B. Woo, a founder and moving force in one of those organizations, 80-20 National Asian American PAC, explained to an interviewer that the organization’s decision was influenced by a survey completed by over 45,000 Asian Americans who were asked whether they were for or against Fisher. “The ultimate result,” he said, “was about 98 percent of all Asian Americans were for a race neutral merit based admissions system.” The excellent brief filed by Woo’s organization (along with several others) in Fisher eloquently states its principled opposition to admissions policies “in which disfavored minority groups, such as Asian Americans, face more stringent admissions standards than either whites or African Americans.”

To the surprise of some and dismay of others, however, this weekend 80-20 endorsed Obama for re-election, citing his appointment of Asian-Americans to various positions and calling on Asian-Americans to “deliver a bloc vote to prove Asian American votes can make a winning difference in this election.” Replying to the emailed notice of this decision, I requested that my name be taken off 80-20′s mailing list:

Why any organization would support an administration that calls for government discrimination against its members — in the form of racial preferences to other groups, making Asian-Americans have to achieve at far higher levels than members of those other groups — is beyond me. Doing so is your privilege, but it is my privilege not to have to read anything else you write.

There is nothing surprising or even troubling about Prof. S.B. Woo’s performance here. A University of Delaware physicist (now retired), he was a one-term Democratic Lt. Governor of Delaware and an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for both the U.S. Senate and House who supported Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich, and Hillary Clinton for president before endorsing Obama in 2008. Nor do I mean to suggest that Asian Americans, or any other group, should be single-issue voters, supporting or opposing candidates only on the basis of “what’s good for [insert group name here].” Still, I do find it odd that an organization whose sole purpose is fighting discrimination against Asians should support a president whose administration is an unrelenting advocate of policies that systematically discriminate against Asian applicants to selective universities, a pervasive policy of discrimination that is not negated or even attenuated by a few token appointments.

The Jews (perhaps we should now say the Old, Original Jews) at least kept their attention sharply focused on their own self-interest long enough so that they didn’t support racial and ethnic favoritism in admissions until they were no longer its victims.

Say What? (12)

  1. Karmaisking September 2, 2012 at 9:12 pm | | Reply

    I suppose the relevant question is this: Would Romney do any better for AAs?

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but Romney has not recently on touched the affirmative action issue and walked (ran?) away from the issue as Governor:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/02/romneys-record-on-affirma_n_1564644.html

    So would should 80-20 do? Options are:

    1. Not vote for the current candidates, and, say, support Ron Paul (who does have a clear position on affirmative action but is not in the race). Pointless.

    2. Support an unknown position in Mitt “Make My Day” Romney – a man who has run a thousand miles from the issue and has done not one single thing in favor of Asian Americans as far as one can tell.

    3. Support Obama, just to show that Asian Americans can vote as a block, because in some cases he has elevated AAs to positions of responsibility in government – but still lodge briefs and oppose affirmative action where is disadvantages AAs.

    I don’t know the “right” answer. But I know it isn’t (2).

  2. Karmaisking September 2, 2012 at 9:13 pm | | Reply

    I suppose the relevant question is this: Would Romney do any better for AAs?

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but Romney has not recently touched on the affirmative action issue and walked (ran?) away from the issue as Governor:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/02/romneys-record-on-affirma_n_1564644.html

    So what should 80-20 do? Options are:

    1. Not vote for the current candidates, and, say, support Ron Paul (who does have a clear position on affirmative action but is not in the race). Pointless.

    2. Support an unknown position in Mitt “Make My Day” Romney – a man who has run a thousand miles from the issue and has done not one single thing in favor of Asian Americans as far as one can tell.

    3. Support Obama, just to show that Asian Americans can vote as a block, because in some cases he has elevated AAs to positions of responsibility in government – but still lodge briefs and oppose affirmative action where is disadvantages AAs.

    I don’t know the “right” answer. But I know it isn’t (2).

  3. Karmaisking September 2, 2012 at 9:14 pm | | Reply

    First post was sent in error. Apologies.

    1. CCSU September 10, 2012 at 4:38 pm | | Reply

      I would propose that 80-20 has another course of action, in addition to the 3 suggested in the Karmaisking posting, namely, to withhold endorsement in this presidential election.

      Why is a candidate, whose administration has demonstrated record of not opposing clear discrimination, be more preferable to another, whose position on the issue is ambiguous?

      By voting as a block in support Obama, simply because “in some cases he has elevated AAs to positions of responsibility in government,” is a betrayal of 80-20 founding principle opposing discrimination.

  4. Cobra September 11, 2012 at 6:08 pm | | Reply

    CCSU writes:

    “By voting as a block in support Obama, simply because “in some cases he has elevated AAs to positions of responsibility in government,” is a betrayal of 80-20 founding principle opposing discrimination.

    How is opposing discrimination a “founding principle” in AMERICA?

    –Cobra

  5. CCSU September 11, 2012 at 9:31 pm | | Reply

    “How is opposing discrimination a “founding principle” in AMERICA?”

    The US constitution and many federal and state laws.

    1. Cobra September 11, 2012 at 11:00 pm | | Reply

      The original draft of the US Constitution (the version the Founders actually WROTE) was horribly discriminatory against non-Whites and Women.

      I’ll repeat my question:

      How is opposing discrimination a “founding principle” in AMERICA?

      –Cobra

      1. CCSU September 12, 2012 at 1:28 am | | Reply

        Refer to the website of 80-20. Its stated mission was to prevent discrimination against the constituents it serves. There are many other organizations in America with similar goals for their respective constituents.

        Do you still believe THE US Constitution is still discriminatory?

  6. Cobra September 12, 2012 at 7:15 pm | | Reply

    The Constitution is an amendable document. In the hands of the racist far right, who knows what it can be interpreted to say, or changed into.

    –Cobra

  7. ccsu September 14, 2012 at 1:44 pm | | Reply

    Interpreting the US Constitution is the exclusive responsibility of the US Supreme Court. Being a non-lawyer, I thought it has been in good hands for decades.

    Whom among the justices, current or otherwise, do you count as “racist far right?”

    You can also help me stop scratching my head:

    Why such great anguish for you when I suggest that 80-20, by its recent endorsement, betrays its founding principle?

  8. Cobra September 17, 2012 at 7:27 pm | | Reply

    Which court case do you wish to start our discussion on?

    Dred Scot?
    Plessy v Ferguson?
    The Civil Rights Cases of 1883(Love to hear Roger Clegg’s opinion on THOSE majority decisions)
    Cumming v Richmond?
    Lumm v Rice?

    Bring it, baby. Show me what you’ve got.

    –Cobra

  9. ccsu September 18, 2012 at 11:29 am | | Reply

    Just list the names of the justices and cases that you believe they have interpreted with “racist far right” tint.

    The question is not what I have got; I am not a lawyer. The question is “what have you got?” when you implied that the US constitution can (has been?) unjustly interpreted.

    Just so that I do not have to apply for admission to a law school in order to do research in its library, a more recent case, that has been fully covered in the press, would be a good place to start.

    You rattle of case names like a real lawyer, I think I can learn a lot here without going to law school.

    I will repeat my other question:

    Why such great anguish for you when I suggest that 80-20, by its recent endorsement, betrays its founding principle?

    ccsu

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