Asian Americans Students and Affirmative Action
There can be no question that Asian Americans have been subject to racial discrimination in the United States. Until only a generation ago, Asian Americans were essentially treated as second class citizens in American society. They were prohibited from becoming naturalized citizens, voting, and otherwise participating in politics. They were also regularly subjected to racially-motivated violence. For example, by one count, over three hundred Chinese were murdered as a result of racial violence in the West between 1860 and 1887. Asians also could not testify against, live next to, marry, or be educated alongside whites, and they could not own land. But perhaps most notoriously, more than 110,000 persons of Japanese descent, more than two-thirds of whom were American citizens, were interned without due process and with the approval of the United States Supreme Court following the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
Asian Americans Divided Over Affirmative Action
Still, Asian American students today are divided over the issue of affirmative action. While most Asian American civil rights and advocacy organizations strongly support affirmative action, about half of Asian American citizens, according to the little polling data available, identify themselves to be opposed to affirmative action policies. In particular some students believe that affirmative actions programs at colleges actually hurt Asian Americans because they limit the number of Asians who can attend the school, rather than boost their numbers. On the other hand, other Asian students believe that affirmative actions programs at colleges remain necessary to ensure appropriate representations of all minority groups, including Asians, on campus.
Two roommates at the University of California at Irvine offer an example. Michael Nailat, a Filipino American student, supports affirmative action. ...