Defeat of ‘affirmative action’ bill SCA 5 could be a watershed moment for Asians

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Posted on: March 23, 2014
Source: Pasadena Star News

Asian-Americans were once an afterthought, but the events surrounding controversial Senate Constitutional Amendment No. 5 is an example of why they should not be ignored when it comes to politics and policy decisions, an expert said.

Karthick Ramakrishnan, director of the National Asian American Survey, said the recent defeat of a proposal that would have brought affirmative action back into higher education could be a watershed moment. But it all depends on how different networks such as Democrats, Republicans, large interest cliques and Asians themselves react.

“The Asian-American community in the past has not been large enough to get much attention. And even as they grew bigger, political organizations statewide — including both party organizations as well as interest groups pushing policy — had Asian-Americans as an afterthought,” Ramakrishnan said. “Meg Whitman had Asian ads two weeks before the end of the campaign. Prop 30 did not engage significantly with the Asian community and left it up to Asian-American organizations to do that work.”

Read full article at Pasadena Star News

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Asian-American state senators block proposal to reintroduce race preferences in California

Posted on: March 19, 2014

Source: Washington Post

California voters will not be asked this year to decide whether to roll back California’s ban on racial preferences in college admissions, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez announced Monday….

The move came a week after three Asian-American state senators — who had previously voted for SCA 5 — asked Pérez to put a stop the measure.

“Prior to the vote on SCA 5 in the Senate, we heard no opposition to the bill. However, in the past few weeks, we have heard from thousands of people throughout California voicing their concerns about the potential impacts,” Sens. Ted Lieu of Torrance, Carol Liu of La Canada Flintridge and Leland Yee of San Francisco wrote to Perez on March 11….

The proposal would have put on the ballot a constitutional amendment to repeal the public education portion of Prop. 209, which banned the use of race and sex preferences in public employment, education, and contracting. (Disclosure: I was a member of the legal team that helped draft Prop. 209.) Such race preferences have in recent years been used to favor black and Hispanic applicants (and, sometimes, Filipino applicants), and disfavor Asian and white applicants.

And, indeed, if one is looking for proportional representation, or a “University that looks like California,” then one would want to reduce the number of Asians at the most selective University of California campuses, since Asians are sharply overrepresented there. Even if one is looking for things such as “diversity,” the fact remains that, so long as a disproportionately high number of seats is taken by Asians, a disproportionately low number of seats will be taken by members of other racial groups. That’s true not just for blacks and Hispanics but also for non-Hispanic whites at many campuses. For instance, in 2013 non-Hispanic whites made up only 30 percent of non-international UC Berkeley freshmen — or 34 percent if you assume that all the “decline to state” students were white — while East and South Asians made up 48 percent. Non-Hispanic whites make up 39 percent of the California population, while Asians make up 14 percent.

Read full article at Washington Post