A legislative bid to partially reinstate preferential treatment for racial minorities in the college admissions process was defeated in California earlier this month, thanks to a grassroots campaign spearheaded by Asian Americans who had no desire to watch deserving applicants cast aside by racist, progressive social policy.
The proposal would have put an amendment on the November general election ballot to exempt colleges and universities from a portion of Proposition 209 – passed in 1996 – that prohibits discrimination or preferential treatment based on race, ethnicity and national origin.
But a robust effort led by Asian Americans already weary of having to score “140 points more than whites, 270 points higher than Hispanics and 450 more points than blacks” on the SAT college entrance exam defeated the partisan effort.
The groups that played the most active role in deflating Legislative Democrats’ support for the amendment aren’t Tea Party types – they’re Asian special interest groups. But on this topic, their message to lawmakers was similar to Constitutional conservatives’ “hands-off” approach to government. From an analysis in The American Conservative:
In the end, it was the Democrats—for the most part, the party that really matters in California state politics—who folded on SCA 5. And it was Chinese-Americans who were the pivotal group in the measure’s defeat.
Olivia Liao, president of the Joint Chinese University Alumni Association, was quoted in the local press describing the initiative as racist. “[Legislators] feel like the Chinese-American community isn’t paying attention to politics,” Liao said, according to the Pasadena Star News. “We are concerned citizens. We need to stand up when things are not right; we need to be heard. We shouldn’t have any [exceptions)] related to race. After all, America is a free country.”
The newspaper also quoted Marina Tse speaking out against SCA 5. “It has a negative impact on high-performing students and Chinese students,” Tse said. “We need to put merit and academic performance as a priority.”
“What this episode demonstrates is that the zero-sum politics of divvying up a fixed pie — rather than expanding it — is a losing game for Democrats, precisely because America is becoming more diverse,” observed Reason’s Shikha Dalmia today. “…[I]t’ll be a losing battle to ask Asians to conform to the mentality of white liberal guilt.”