AAPIs for Civic Empowerment Education Fund Statement on SCOTUS Affirmative Action Decision
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for Civic Empowerment Education Fund (AAPI FORCE-EF) condemns the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn race-conscious admissions in both the Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) v. Harvard and SFFA v. University of North Carolina affirmative action cases. The court’s decision negatively impacts all students, especially students from working-class communities of color, and overturns decades-long multiracial organizing efforts for racial equity. Affirmative action opponents, including a small but vocal contingent of wealthy Chinese conservatives, have used racial scapegoating to divide our communities.
Cha Vang, interim co-Executive Director of AAPI FORCE-EF said, “The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn affirmative action is the latest consequence of right-wing efforts to roll back the progress of the civil rights movement. Their end goal does NOT protect Asian Americans against discrimination.”
In California, we have seen how conservative laws harm working-class communities of color. In 1996, 51% of California voters banned affirmative action (Prop 209), which prohibited state institutions from considering race, sex, or ethnicity–specifically in public employment, contracting, and education. Two years later, 61% of voters decided to severely diminish opportunities for limited English proficient students through Prop 227. In 2020, Prop 16 sought to repeal Prop 209 but was defeated. Since these rollbacks on affirmative action, we have seen admission rates for AAPI, Black, Latinx, and Native American students decline.
We also denounce the way that Asians and Asian Americans are being reported about in regards to affirmative action in major news sources, such as the New York Times, NBC News, Fox News, and Washington Post. They claim that “most Asian adults disapprove of racial consideration in admissions” and that SCOTUS’s decision will make student populations on campuses “whiter and more Asian.” 69% of Asian Americans support affirmative action, and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have been organizing with other communities of color for decades to expand racial equity and opportunity in the United States. Asian and Asian American communities cannot continue to be used as props by the conservative movement to advance an unpopular and harmful white supremacist agenda.
But just as the conservative movement has launched attacks on our communities, we successfully come together to push back against racism, homophobia, and their anti-immigrant agenda. Grassroots organizations within our network work year-round to build the governing power of youth. Their programs sharpen young scholars’ analysis on race, class, gender, sexuality, local governance, and culture. As leaders of the rising generation, the youth deserve a higher education experience that strengthens their leadership.
Our statewide network continues to fight for educational opportunity and racial equity for all. We work to hold policymakers accountable to ensure the movement for affirmative action is not lost. By investing in youth and growing power from within our communities, we ensure that people directly impacted by legislation have the power to shape the political narratives and policies that our communities deserve.
- “How to make sense of affirmative action in UC admissions,” Sep 2020, calmatters.org/education/2020/09/affirmative-action-uc-admissions.
- “Views on affirmative action are split along racial and political lines,” June 2023, www.nytimes.com/2023/06/29/us/politics/affirmative-action-polls.html.
- “Supreme Court Strikes Down Race-Based Admissions at Harvard and U.N.C.,” June 2023, https://www.nytimes.com/live/2023/06/29/us/affirmative-action-supreme-court. At the time of the release of this statement, the article’s subheading read, “the court all but ensured that the student population at the campuses of elite institutions will become whiter and more Asian, and less Black and Latino.” The subheading has since been edited.
- “REPORT: 2022 Asian American Voter Survey” (July 2022) https://www.advancingjustice-aajc.org/publication/2022-asian-american-voter-survey.