October 22, 2018

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: No one should ignore, nor exploit, anti-Asian bias

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To the Editor:

In last Monday’s editorial “Stand with Harvard on Affirmative Action,” The Sun’s editorial board stands firmly with Harvard University on the case SFFA v. Harvard. The Sun admits that the issue at hand is “ostensibly” about “Harvard’s alleged discrimination against Asian-Americans in their admissions process to the benefit of other minorities and white students.”

For this the Sun was “half-right.”

In their later, hastily added clarification for their Monday editorial, The Sun admits that they did “not pay sufficient attention to the specific claims against Harvard,” specifically on the claim that Harvard had used the system of “personal score”, a series of vaguely defined assessment rating students on their “likability, courage, kindness and being ‘widely respected’” to limit Asian admission.

For this the Sun was poignant.

Its Monday editorial is that of the typical argument of the “motivation.” By the editorial’s logic, anyone arguing against Harvard argues against affirmative action as a practice simply because Ed Blum and SFFA, the people behind the lawsuit, have the questionable intent of exploiting this case to dismantle affirmative action. By essentially asserting that the plaintiffs’ motivations render illegitimate the issues the lawsuit raises, the editorial suggests that the “ostensible” core of the case, the Harvard administration’s alleged long-running practice of allowing “anti-Asian bias” to affect their admission process, is worth ignoring.

For this The Sun is hurtful.

Asian students, international and American alike, have for too long suffered the fact that we need to outcompete those of similar talents and characteristics to earn any position, from admission into college to internship and job opportunities. For Asians, the details revealed by the case only confirmed what almost every Asian has long suspected, and many of us have acquiesced to the bias we experience, relegating ourselves to a secondary space in American society. Instead of voicing our concern, many of us choose to own such bias, accepting the box this country has put us in.

The most egregious part of Harvard’s alleged anti-Asian bias is that by using “personal score” to intentionally lower the chance of admission for Asian students, Harvard is conforming to the long-standing stereotype of Asians as being unlikable, unsociable and not “widely respected.” It is no wonder why the Asian Glass Ceiling is such a conscious existence hovering above our atmosphere.

By “standing with Harvard,” as The Sun has clearly intended, what The Sun risks is reinforcing these stereotypes and the glass ceiling that inevitably comes with it. It is as if The Sun, Harvard and the 15 other elite colleges and universities — including Cornell — that submitted amicus briefs in the case are demanding that Asians continue to acquiesce, to accept and to stay within that box.

We cautiously acknowledge that Ed Blum and his SFFA have ulterior motives to overrule affirmative action, and we regret this unholy alliance. But for The Sun to declare in its clarification that “this lawsuit is not the answer to positive race consideration” is to neglect the Anti-Asian bias that is the core fact of this case. To say that because of the potential legal consequence of the Harvard case against affirmative action, we shall for now allow the Anti-Asian bias that Harvard is allegedly committed to, is deeply insulting.

Like the rightful worry that this Harvard case may lead to a legal precedent against affirmative action, Asian Americans and international students are also rightfully worried by the precedent, both legal and social, of affirming Harvard’s actions. Though many within our community may have different opinions on affirmative action, the majority of the contributors to this letter believe that the practice is helping the American society, of which Asians are an integral part. Since for any litigation the facts shall be the core determinants, we believe that it is possible to defend affirmative action while rebuking anti-Asian bias. To prioritize one over the other is deeply troubling to the Asian community as a whole, and to the guiding spirit of the Civil Rights Movement and affirmative action.

Weifeng Yang, ‘20

 Youhan Yuan, ‘21

Aaron Li ’20

Co-President of Mainland China Students Association

Dennis Wang ’20

John Fang ’20

V.P. of External Relations, Ascend Pan-Asian Leaders, Cornell Student Chapter

Ming Yu Yang ’21

Tianyi Zhang ’20

Yuan Zou ’21

Jingfu Zhang ’19

Cheney Yu ’21

Joseph Yang ’20

Xinzhe Yang ’20

Zhikun Zhao ’19

Zeya Peng ’19

Wenchang Yang ’18

Wentao Zhang ’21

Zidong Zheng ’20

Ge Wang ’18

Rong Tan ’20

Wenjie Lu ’22

Zilu Wang ’21

Ella Chao ’22

Iris Zheng ’20

Chengji Liu ’22

Kaishuo Cheng ’22

Yitian Susan Lin ’21

Danyang Han ’19

David Yu ’22

Lijun Yang ’21

Zhifei Jin ’21

Xucheng Wang ’21

Chunlu Li ’22

Zibing Liao ’21

Kunpeng Huang ’21

Yilei Huang ’21

Joe Kuo ’20

Ruiqi Song ’22

Steven Niu ’18

May Shen ’21

Guangze Xu ’18

Leonard Xie ’20

Yueyang Zheng ’20

Haoyang Yan ’20

Renee Lu ’19

Haoyun Xu ’18

Kaley Mi ’21

Shenyu Liu ’20

Xueying Wang ’19

Angela Chen ’20

Julia Zeng ’21

Yang Guo ’18

Janice Wei ’22

Dingqi Zhang ’21

Tianxing Jiang ’21

Tong Suo ’19

Qihang Yan ’20

Chuqi Yan grad

Wentao (Willy) Yang ’20

Eric Ma ’19

Haoxing Pu ’19

Qixi Chen ’18

Yuheng Zhu ’20

Yao Tong ’19

Andrea Yang ’20

Xinyu Huang ’19

Wilson Chen ’20

Kairui Sun ’21

Yuke Wu ’21

Jialu Bao ’19

Xinjie Abby Yao ’19

Yuanzheng Yao ’20

Tingwei Liu ’20

Xinyi Bai ’18

Richard Sun ’20

Yiwen Sun ’20

Shuhao Qing ’20

Haonan Liu ’20