Tag Archives: affirmative action

Emil Guillermo: Linsanity? That was his last contract for $30 million, Jeremy Lin, the Harvard baller, has a saner deal in Charlotte.

Jeremy Lin is probably happy to get out of LA and heading South. –to Charlotte.

I think he’ll have a breakthrough year,  playing for the love of the game again.

He’s a cultural hero, but he’s also still a good NBA player. In Charlotte, he’ll get a chance.

Read my NBCnews.com piece on Jeremy here.

I also see my latest column here: www.aaldef.org/blog


Emil Guillermo: The Asian American fault-line in California is spreading nationally…and turning into an Asian American civil war.

We saw it with last year’s debate on S-CA 5, the bill that would have restored affirmative action.

A group of Asian Americans were aggressively against affirmative action.

Traditional Asian American civil rights groups were for affirmative action.

The aggressive AAs won.

Check out how this is coming down nationally in my new column here:

It’s an Asian American Civil War.



New #SCOTUS ruling on affirmative action passes the buck and says let voters decide

The best possible spin on the Supreme Court’s decision on affirmative action in Michigan is that it doesn’t end affirmative action.

The decision did not say affirmative action was unconstitutional.

It merely narrowly decided that Prop.2, the Michigan initiative that voters passed to end race-based affirmative action in that state could be applied and that the equal protection clause was not violated.

It even sounds good. Let the voters decide, right?

OK, but why do we leave it to the voters to decide on that issue and that issue alone, and not on every single item that the University officials oversee?

Why take that power away from the professional educators?

As I went through the 6-2 opinion, I wasn’t that surprised that someone liberal like Breyer would vote with Kennedy, Roberts, Alito, Scalia and Thomas.

Breyer stated he was for some forms of affirmative action, but didn’t see why the voters shouldn’t be allowed to weigh in.

But then there was Sotomayor’s lengthy dissent, which took the hardline, that this ruling indeed was setting up the situation where down the line we might  see the tyranny of the majority, and see the violation of minority rights under the equal protection clause.

That’s what was at stake here.

The majority of justices seemed happy enough to see the voters figure out where they stand on affirmative action.

After reading Sotomayor’s minority dissent, I’m not sure if that’s such a great thing.

We know how fair elections are now, with money driving everything.

That means we’ll probably see  a lot more SCA-5 style battles–until the court makes yet another ruling on the constitutionality of race based methods in university admissions.

UPDATE: 4/23/2014

It’s not surprising that the courts want to get out of the race business. Just like the legislatures have gotten out of legislating by relinquishing their role to the initiative process for the tough issues.

So if the elections are so important, why do electoral rights seem to be under attack? From the Voting Rights Act provisions, to campaign finance, has there been a more activist Supreme Court to reverse  the rights of minorities?

And now elections are the preferred way to settle racial fights? Sounds like SCOTUS just gave itself cover for its horrendous decisions, putting it all on the electorate.




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Politicians bail on effort to revive affirmative action in California; As predicted SCA5 was DOA

There will be no referendum in California this year, after all, as a conservative group of Chinese Americans have scared off legislative support for a move to put race back in public admissions and hiring—at least for now.

Senate Constitution Act 5, or SCA5, was sent back by Democratic leaders to the senate, and a new call was issued to start up a bi-cameral commission to discuss how to solve the state’s diversity issue in college admissions and public hiring.

Starting up a commission to look into a problem is always safer than actually working to solve the problem. Normally it’s a bogus thing. But there needs to be a way to get people out of the polarized debate that usually occurs when the topic of race comes up.

>See my piece: http://diverseeducation.com/article/61218/ <

Last week, an organized group of conservative Chinese Americans gloated that their intimidation tactics had killed SCA5.

Apparently, the heavy handed tactics of targeting Asian American elected and politicians, as well as calling outspoken advocates racists and engaging in nasty name-calling debates, was enough to make some key Asian American politicians withdraw support for the measure as it exists.

Plain and simple, they caved. Not just the Asian Americans, all of the Dems.

Maybe a commission can help build a consensus that can revive the revival effort, and bring a referendum before California voters. 

But it still won’t happen before 2016. 

By then, it should be clear just how far back a generation of Prop.209 has set back this great state’s diversity efforts. And voters should be ready to act. Or not.


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Supreme Court Affirmative Action ruling: Fisher sent back to the 5th Circuit

By a 7-1 ruling, The Supreme Court of the United States has sent the Fisher case that challenged affirmative action back to the lower court.

How do you get the rabid anti-AA types to rule with the rabid pro-AA types? You rule on a procedural matter on the law, and then throw the case out. In this case, the strict scrutiny requirement in the current law wasn’t followed to the court’s satisfaction. Instead, it saw the lower courts as being too deferential to the University of Texas and not challenging its use of race.

There were other better reasons to throw it out, but this one will do.

This is a victory of sorts. Affirmative action is not dead, and Fisher? Well, she can decide to take the matter up again. But there’s another case next year, and she might want to cut her losses.

More to come.

No SCOTUS Affirmative Action decision today after all: Maybe this week?

Scuttlebut had it (you know ole Scutty, don’t you), that the Supreme Court’s decision on that affirmative action case heard last October would be made public as the Court opened up for business this week.

That was the word from the Supreme Court blog over the weekend.

Of course, no one knows for sure. The SCOTUS blog is no oracle.

As of 10 a.m, EST, the Fisher case did not come up. But more opinions are expected on Wednesday.

So for those going to the AALDEF dinner tonight, you have at least one more night for speculative conversation.

But if an opinion appears this week, I’m sticking to my guns.

I wrote about the Fisher case on the AALDEF blog back in October, and based on that hearing, I think the UT affirmative action program will survive.

Read what I had to say here:


Or at least, I hope UT’s plan will survive.

Without it, Fisher gets her revenge, but society loses a valuable tool to foster equal opportunity.




No schlemiels here, but are Asian Americans the New Jews in battle over affirmative action? Also: One way to thwart the system

The question is raised once again in the cyclical affirmative action fight in college admissions. Those against affirmative action are saying Jews and Asian Americans have both been victimized  by race-concisous admissions.

That  may be true. But is that a reason to get rid of affirmative action?

One commenter on my sfgate.com blog says that 86 percent of blacks and Latinos who get into exclusive schools are from wealthy backgrounds. I don’t know if that fact is true or not, but what difference does that make?  That’s always been a comeback by affirmative action foes. Poor kids are cool, but don’t give affirmative action to the Cosby kids.

I’d say that the well-to-do blacks and Latinos may even be so-called “legacy” admits, i.e., their parents went to the school. I actually am all for that for minorities. Most of the time, the parents were admitted through a more race-concious process. I don’t have a problem with creating a “legacy of affirmative action” where the off-spring of grads get admitted. It does show, after all, how an institution can change by generation.

What I don’t like is that if you get rid of race-conscious programs, the non-Cosby kids, the ones most deserving of a leg up, may lose that opportunity of a lifetime.

That’s why affirmative action is worth preserving.

There’s one another issue brought up by the the “New Jews” argument. If one makes the case that by experience Asian Americans are like the Jews in terms of discrimination faced in college admissions, can you then say that one’s common experience is valid in defining ethnicity? Considering how self-identification has been a standard in the Census(it’s merely “you are what you say you are,” you don’t have to show me any DNA)  it’s not illogical for Asian Americans to check the box on any form and say they are black, or Latino, or white.

That may be a better way for you anti-Affirmative Action folks to thwart the system. 

I remember reading Dean Henry Rosovsky’s book on Harvard where he said that Filipinos’ experiences were more closely aligned to blacks.

Maybe that’s why when I was at Harvard I felt more comfortable in my Afro American Studies courses than I did in my  Romantic Poets class.

But it may also be why I remain adamant about the need for affirmative action. Asian Americans are far from a homogenous group. Disparities within the group will have a much harder time being addressed if race-concisous admissions are eliminated.