Asian Americans’ Racial Positionality

A few days ago, I had a conversation with someone close to me regarding the purpose of affirmative action and its effect on the admission of Asian Americans. This person, an Asian man, began by saying that he was anti-affirmative action, and that affirmative action harms the chances of Asian Americans who deserve to be admitted to top universities and job positions just to increase diversity. Affirmative action was an attack on individuals who are “already smart”, who have the potential of being the leaders in our society when given the chance. During his whole spiel, I wondered how many Asians, and white people, were actually informed about the purpose of affirmative action, and why it was created in the first place. Affirmative action as we know it was policies and programs put in place for the first time in the 60s as a explicit corrective for the historical injustices that marginalized communities such as African Americans  and women experienced by giving them opportunities of higher education and employment. Increasing the diversity of these spaces would expose people to different perspectives and life experiences that would allow for the enrichment of knowledge and more representation. Why was my friend and so many other Asian Americans against this?

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