Diversity Among Asian Americans Divides Them on Affirmative Action

Image for Diversity Among Asian Americans Divides Them on Affirmative Action

U.S. News and World Report - A federal judge in Boston is scheduled to hear closing arguments Friday in a highly publicized lawsuit alleging that elite Harvard discriminates against Asian-Americans.

Much of the spotlight has been on affluent Chinese-Americans with stellar academic scores who say the college rejects Asians in favor of lesser-qualified applicants. They say factoring in race hurts Asian-Americans.

But others in the Asian community say that a race-blind process relying solely on academic scores would also hurt Asian-Americans. Southeast Asians, for example, who largely came over as refugees from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, are under-represented in higher education.

“The narrative right now is very focused on a very specific segment within the Asian-American community that does not represent the larger Asian-American community,” said Quyen Dinh, executive director of the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center .

The center signed on to a “friend of the court” brief by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund , siding with Harvard’s use of what the university calls a “holistic” review of an applicant…