A high-profile federal lawsuit alleges Harvard discrimination against Asian Americans students may allow an opening for a conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court to strike down affirmative action. The legal strategist who filed the lawsuit on behalf of those students oversees a group that is expressly anti-affirmative action. On behalf of the students, he asserts the Ivy League schools discriminate against Asian American students by capping the number of admissions of these students (which may include those who are Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander).
Proponents of affirmative action policies say race-conscious admission and hiring is necessary for all students of color – including Asian Americans – in order to fight back against long-held inequality in higher education and the job market.
Plaintiffs are alleging that the so-called “model minority myth,” which holds Asian Americans to be overwhelmingly successful, both in academics and professionally, is harming them in this instance and beyond. They argue that Asian American students do have overall better academic performances, but are rejected for the purpose of racial balancing by the school in order to admit black, white and Latina/ Latino students who are less qualified. Furthermore, not all Asian Americans fit this “model minority” stereotype, which obscures the fact that there are very low graduation rates among some ethnic subgroups of Asian Americans, including those who identify as Vietnamese, Hmong, Bhutanese, Bangladeshi, Burmese, Filipino, Southeast Asians and Cambodian Americans. Meanwhile, Chinese, Taiwanese and Korean Americans enroll and graduate at much higher rates. Continue reading