My Struggle With Affirmative Action

Proposition 209 passed in 1996 and prohibited public education institutions to consider race, sex, and ethnicity during the admissions process. This dramatically affected the acceptance rates and representation of African American and Latino students in higher institutions. Senate Constitutional Amendment (SCA-5) was introduced in 2012 and if passed, would ban Proposition 209, allowing public education to take in to race, sex, and ethnicity into consideration again. SCA-5 was extremely controversial in the Asian American community because they thought that this would negatively affect them and their chances into getting in to college. There was an assumption that Asian Americans now had to try extra, extra hard to secure a spot in selective colleges and universities. During the time when SCA-5 was a topic of discussion, I was in community college getting ready to apply to universities to transfer to. Being Chinese American and feeling the pressure to succeed, I personally felt nervous about getting accepted to accredited university. “… our online petition at collected more than 100,000 signatures, most of which came from Californians of all ethnicities but particularly from Asian Americans” (LA Times, Yanli Yang). This was actually a petition that I ended up signing off on. I didn’t know much details on SCA-5 and I didn’t fully grasp what affirmative action was. All I knew was that if passed, it would be much harder for me to get in. Initially, I was only thinking for myself. Then, I thought about all the ethnicities that fell into the diverse category of “Asian American” and how it would be even more unfair for the underrepresented and disadvantaged ethnicities that were Asian Americans. What I failed to understand was that it “would make a small difference to highly represented student populations like Chinese Americans, but it would make a big difference to improve college access for other highly qualified but underrepresented students such as Hmong, Cambodians, Laotian, Samoans, African Americans, and Latinos among others” (Angry Asian Man). What I also failed to understand was that universities go through a holistic admissions process, so race would only be one of the many factors that they look at.

By Kelly An

Works Cited

Pan, OiYan. “Hate, Fear and Lies: How Anti-Affirmative Action Haters Are Shoveling Bullsh*t about SCA5.” Angry Asian Man. N.p., 10 Mar. 2014. Web. 11 Mar. 2017.

Yang, Yun. “Asian Americans Would Lose out under Affirmative Action.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 1 Oct. 2014. Web. 11 Mar. 2017.


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