WASHINGTON — The Japanese American Citizens League issued the following statement on Aug. 20.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice accused Yale University of discriminating against Asian American and white applicants in its undergraduate admissions process.
The DOJ has stated that Yale has violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and demanded that the university remove affirmative action policies from its 2020-2021 undergraduate admissions cycle. These accusations come following federal investigations into several higher education institutions accused of using affirmative action to enact racist admission policies.
The JACL reaffirms our continued support of affirmative action and the admissions policies that Yale University has enacted to fairly evaluate every applicant’s individual merits.
Access to education has always been a political issue and racism has continued to impact not only the access that students of color have had to higher education but also the quality of education that they receive. Race-conscious admission processes may not be perfect, but help to acknowledge how institutional discrimination continues to be a barrier to equitable access to education. The Supreme Court has affirmed this perspective on multiple occasions that race may be considered in admissions decisions.
We refuse to allow AAPI model minority stereotypes to be the wedge that creates tension across communities of color on this issue. We are not a monolith, and across our ethnic diversity, we have seen educational disparities particularly for low-income first-generation students and students with limited English proficiency. AAPIs have benefited from affirmative action, not only in education but in the workplace as well.
We denounce this audacious attack from the administration that attempts to create a wedge within and between the AAPI community and other communities of color.