What The Department Of Justice's Harvard Lawsuit Means For Asian Students

As An Asian-American, I Have Mixed Feelings On The Department Of Justice's Harvard Lawsuit

Will it help, or will it just hurt more?

As An Asian-American, I Have Mixed Feelings On The Department Of Justice's Harvard Lawsuit

When I first heard a lawsuit was being filed by Asian-Americans against Harvard's racial admission policy, I won't lie to you, I felt vindicated. Let me take this time to lay all of my biases on the table: First, I am an Asian-American. Second, I have gone through the college admissions process in America. Now, both of these things considered, vindication was a relief.

My college process was strained and involved a fair amount of crying in my high school bathroom. As delightful as that sounds, I know that I was part of the class of students with the most applications to universities in the history of college applications. I know this well because many schools listed it as a substantiating reason for their rejection of my application.

NYU even admitted that in just one year, their admission rate dropped from 28 percent in 2017 to 19 percent in 2018, down even further from a rate of 35 percent five years prior.

Now, what does this mean for me and the lawsuit against Harvard? It means that, for a period of my senior year, I felt my ego bruised. I felt disappointed in myself for not being able to scale what I thought were insurmountable odds. I felt very, very lost.

Like I said, vindication was a relief.

But I'm in my first year now, and at some point, you've got to learn how to tread water on your own. And I believe it's crucial to take an objective look at the lawsuit, regardless of personal biases. Because when I read the headline about the Department of Justice issuing their support for the Students For Fair Admissions, the group filing the lawsuit on the behalf of Asian-American students, my initial reaction was that it was a success for Asians in the struggle for equality. Studies have been cited by the group about what is perceived as mistreatment and discrimination against Asian-American students.

"What Harvard will not admit," Students for Fair Admissions told CNN, "is that race is not only an important factor, it is the dominant consideration in admitting Hispanics and African-Americans. An Asian-American applicant with a 25 percent chance of admission, for example, would have a 35 percent chance if he were white, 75 percent if he were Hispanic and 95 percent chance if he were African-American."

They have also cited racial mistreatment in other areas of admissions. Harvard uses a holistic evaluation of all applicants, assessing them in categories like test scores and personality traits. Although Asian students usually scored well on the test score categories, they were scored consistently lower in personality traits like "kindness" or "likability," according to The Guardian.

Harvard denied these claims about engineering racial diversity at their institution and blamed the faulty statistical analysis of the Students for Fair Admissions. Though the trial set in October has yet to take place, I found myself surprised by the Department of Justice's sudden show of support for the Students for Fair Admissions.

The Department of Justice under the Trump administration has made no attempt to cover up its objections to the affirmative action policies on college campuses. This comes hand in hand with the new administration's ushering in of more conservative policies. According to a report gathered by the New York Times, an internal announcement was made to the civil rights division seeking lawyers to work on "investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions."

And I suppose Asian-Americans were the first step.

It's brilliant, if you think about it. How do you combat affirmative action, a policy set in place to help foster equality for races like African-Americans and Hispanics who have experienced brutal and blatant discrimination? How do you do that without leaving the putrid stench of racism and opposition to equality behind? You do it under the pretense of helping another race.

You see, by calling out Harvard's admission policies as racist against Asian-Americans, the Department of Justice circumvents the inevitable backlash for trying to reverse a policy that is supposed to bolster equality. They are heroes, white knights riding in to defend the embittered Asian students who have faced discrimination at the hands of colleges. And while they stamp their approval of supposed equality for Asian-Americans with one hand, they work to dismantle affirmative action with the other.

This is why I believe we must be vigilant and maintain skepticism behind the true motives of the Justice Department. With that being said, if Harvard is proven to have racist policies or a quota for Asian-American students, I do believe that should be corrected. Injustice is injustice. But it needs to be changed without the Justice Department's heavy-handed influence, which will overshadow any victories won for Asian-American equality.

Because, above all else, I understand. I understand what it feels like to have the college process kick the wind out of you, to be crushed, to have true and absolute dreams lay in a puddle at your feet. I mean, is it fair to feel like you have to prove yourself to be beyond a stereotype?

Is it fair to have to endure an onslaught of lectures about how Asians are marginalized in the college admissions process because of preconceived biases in an admissions room miles away from your influence? Is it fair to hear time and time again what personality traits or talents make you indistinguishable from the masses of your race?

No, I'd wager it isn't. And I speak for myself when I say that. But when it comes to the future of American education, I'd have to say that, above all, equality requires us to look at the bigger picture.

Because even if it benefits us Asian-Americans in the now, it doesn't mean that we should allow ourselves to be co-opted into an administration that views us as nothing more than pawns for their own conservative gains. There's absolutely no indication that the Department of Justice's support for us now will translate to future support for furthering equality and social justice for Asian-Americans on the whole.

We are a minority still. We fight for our representation from Capitol Hill to the silver screen. We fight for our protection against discrimination, hand in hand with other minorities. This will not change with the success of a single lawsuit. Because our responsibility is not just to our own, but also to our kind — even, if I may be so bold, our country.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

If 'Hockey Is For Everyone,' Why Is Matt Dumba So Alone In Fighting For Racial Equality In The NHL?

If the NHL is using #WeSkateForEquality, why is Dumba alone in the fight for equality?

On Saturday, August 1, 2020, the National Hockey League resumed play for the first time since March 12, 2020. The season was paused due to the growing coronavirus (COVID-19) spread and a concern for the players contacting the virus and spreading it through the League. Fans and players sat and waited for the hockey season to resume, which took more than 140 days.

Keep Reading... Show less

- Though as a little girl, I had the silkiest, softest hair that would get compliments everywhere I went, since I turned about thirteen I've since had coarse, dry hair no amount of deep conditioning masks or sulfate-free shampoo could fix.

- I started using the Raincry's Condition Boar Bristle Brush several months ago, and while I noticed that my hair had been softer, silkier, and shinier than it had ever been, I didn't make the connection because I never thought a simple hairbrush could make any difference in my hair texture.

- I will be the first to admit that I thought it was ridiculous to spend nearly a hundred dollars on a hairbrush, but this one eliminates the need for me to use any heat tools or styling products on it.

- I put some oil or a serum in my hair when it's wet, brush my hair with the boar bristle brush once it's dry, and end up with the lowest maintenance, shiniest hair I've had since I was 8 years old.


Keep Reading... Show less

Bingeing a romantic comedy is always a good idea, and during this pandemic, these movies bring us one of the only elements of romance we can get. Through all the break-ups, obstacles, and struggles in our love lives, romantic comedies have always been there to make us laugh and keep us company while we cry.

While we love these movies for the beyond gorgeous male love interests, the female protagonists are still the ones we always remember. Although rom-coms are far from reality, it is always fun to imagine what our life would be like if a cinematic studio was behind our love life. So what does your favorite romantic comedies say about your dream guy?

Keep Reading... Show less

Whether you're in an unhealthy relationship currently, you know someone who is, or you just want to have these numbers saved just in case it could one day save someone's life (if not your own), this article is for you. Here are three numbers to save in your contacts ASAP so you can always be safe, both physically and mentally, in every relationship.

Keep Reading... Show less

7 Things You Need To Know About Our NEW Bachelorette, Tayshia Adams

Could THIS be the most dramatic season in "Bachelorette" history?

Bombshell news coming from Bachelor Nation today, Tayshia Adams is replacing Clare Crawley as the bachelorette!

Rumor has it that Clare found her person early on in the process and did not want to continue with the process of leading other men on throughout the season.

Keep Reading... Show less

The NBA is back, and for basketball fans, like myself, it has been the BEST news we have heard since COVID-19 shutdown play indefinitely. I mean, come on, we need to see if James Harden can once again perform so well he has back-to-back 50 point games, Kawhi can lead another team to the championship title, and whether Giannis is going to be back-to-back MVP... among like 500 other things running through our heads!

In the midst of all of the amazing statistics and records that these players are breaking, though, we also just love the NBA because well, there are some pretty good looking guys out there. Here are the 19 hottest NBA players (in no particular order) you would totally let slam dunk on you now that the NBA has returned.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Everything You Need To Know About Macronutrients, Because A Diet Should Be More Than Calories

Pay attention to what you're eating, not just how much you're eating.

Plenty of people are familiar with the "calories in, calories out" (CICO) method of dieting which can be used for losing, gaining, or maintaining weight. This method relies on calculating a person's total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) to ensure that they are not overeating or undereating to achieve their desired weight. TDEE considers a person's height, weight, age, gender, and level of activity to determine what their caloric intake should be — some calculators can factor in body fat percentage as well. When I used a TDEE calculator online, it said that my TDEE would be 1,990 calories if I was trying to maintain my weight, but are all calories created equal? I'd argue that they're not.

It might seem obvious to some of you that 1,990 calories of macaroni and cheese are not healthy at all compared to 1,990 calories of varied foods (fruit, veggies, meat, bread, etc.).

Keep Reading... Show less

Just Because You're Asked To Be In A Wedding, Doesn't Always Mean You Should Say Yes

If you can't invest time, money, and YOURSELF, maybe say no to the offer for the bride's sake!

Being in a wedding is a really big commitment. I personally think if you've never been in one before, you don't understand the time, money, and energy that goes into being a part of it.

Keep Reading... Show less

As any poor college student, a little kick of caffeine for less than a dollar has always sounded great to me. So, naturally, AriZona Iced Tea has been a go-to for as long as I can remember.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

Dear Closeted Latina,

You were never alone.

Remember how the Latin world got rocked when Ricky Martin came out?

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments