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View Diary: Groundswell of asian american opposition to affimative action (48 comments)

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  •  an unstated aspect of this broader issue (9+ / 0-)

    is that california stopped expanding the UC and CSU systems to meet a growing state population some time in the 90s, so getting into college has become an increasingly brutal struggle, where once both systems were open to a much broader slice of californians.

    as resources shrink, people get more intense about defending their slice of the pie. the past decades of austerity and the abandonment of public higher education is a major contributing cause to this mess.

    i would be surprised if this destroyed the democratic coalition, though. people can divide on a single issue and yet find common ground on different issues.

    it's also worth pointing out that it is not as simple as "asian." that ethnic label covers a vast and diverse range of people, not all of whom are demographically overrepresented in the ranks of higher educations. if you look at those comments on the position, the names are all chinese, and in pinyin to boot. some communities within the broader asian-american or immigrant community do not have the socioeconomic advantages as others. ideally, any future affirmative action would be a lot more fine-grained and sensitive than the crude racial blocs it used before prop 209 (and which all public discourse uses on the topic).

    •  The 'Pinyin' folks don't have quite the same (0+ / 0-)

      history and baggage that those of us who have been here longer carry. That is both good and bad.  Bad because they are unaware of the history of racial wedge politics here. For example- I notice a good number of republicans have leaped onto this anti-SCA5 bandwagon to try to turn this into a partisan advantage; and bad because they seem unaware of the fact that all of us asians in amerca, are in some sense standing on the shoulders of several generations of civil rights activists. They don't have a sense of shared destiny with other people of color.

      On the other hand, they see things with fresh eyes and bracing honesty.  You see, all the asian american legislators came from the older generation of asian activism. That is why they all voted for SCA-5 without a peep of protest. They were being good democratic foot soldiers and closing ranks in solidarity with other democrats. This is what the older generation of asian activists were conditioned to do. The Pinyin folks, on the other hand, have no problem calling it as they see it. They know a raw deal when they see it. We asians are reaching a critical mass here in CA. Sooner or later we will have to assert our own voice instead of just being footsoldiers in other people's armies.

      •  you can call it being footsoldiers (1+ / 0-)
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        or you can call it a hard-won lesson on the importance of solidarity as a political organizing tactic, when one is not in the demographic majority.

        and as i argued above, the post-209 reality didn't benefit everyone equally. there are a lot of working class lao and hmong kids in the valley (or viet in san jose or OC) whose experience with higher ed is vastly different from the taiwanese and chinese and indian immigrant affluent homeowners on the peninsula.

        i expect the GOP's ability to make hay on this issue to be rather limited to the existing reservoirs of support that they previously had among asian californians (anti-tax small businessmen, elderly anti-communists). i would be pretty surprised to see this shift partisan voting patterns very much over time. most voters make their decisions for a dense web of reasons, and even if a given voter buys into the GOP's anti-affirmative action rhetoric, that support will be in peril the moment the GOP starts trying to gut public spending on higher education again.

        (disclaimer: despite the pinyin handle, i'm a white californian, and speak from an essentially outside but adjacent perspective on this discussion)

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