Unfair Treatment Asian Americans Encounter in Education

Topic: Culture and Education
Words: 2533 Pages: 9


For the past decades, Asian American students have experienced prejudices when applying for admission positions in elite colleges. Ivy colleges have been rejecting the applications of many Asian students despite the students having scored high SAT scores and top GPAs. These students also had a wide variety of qualifications, such as awards for extracurricular participation, leadership positions, and educational records (Weinberg, 2009). These discriminatory practices have made it impossible for most overqualified Asian students to gain admission to these institutions. The problem has worsened, making it more difficult for these students to gain positions. The population of Asian American students in colleges has increased significantly from 2.5% in 1995 to 5.1% in 2011 (“Discrimination in College Admissions”, 2022). The number of overqualified students has also increased while the percentage of Asian American students in elite colleges has been decreasing. The current problem is similar to Jewish students in 1925, which was orchestrated by Harvard school (Weinberg, 2009). During this period, Jewish students were more than 27%, but their percentage composition reduced to 15% a year later (Weinberg, 2009). The same problem is currently happening to Asian American students.

Asian American students have faced this issue of race-conscious admission for a long time. However, most media reports and the public perceive these issues as one-sided because they are viewed as opponents of race-conscious admissions (Weinberg, 2009). Nevertheless, Asian American students have the lowest rate of acceptance on every SAT score (“Discrimination in College Admissions”, 2022). They are required to score approximately 140 points above the white student, 270 points above the Hispanic, and 450 points above the black student to get the same admission.

Asian American Movement (AAM)

The Asian American Movement was a significant political party in addressing the issues affecting Asian Americans during the 1960s to 1980s. These issues include youth programs, poverty, healthcare, community advocacy, and education (Nguyen & Gasman, 2015). The organization formed a coalition among various ethnic groups. The creation of the pan-ethnic identity was among Asian Americans, and the development of the cooperative union was a significant target for the movement. Although the organization focused on issues beyond college and academic levels, it helped the college students identify their potential, thereby enhancing change within their campuses (Nguyen & Gasman, 2015). The movement had a significant impact on education as it motivated the students to challenge the stereotypes that affect their representation at colleges. It was also significant in helping Asian Americans bridge the discourse that existed between the community and school.

The students were inspired by the party to work in unison, thereby enabling them to face educational challenges. The main challenge affecting Asian Americans was racial injustices at the college (Museus et al., 2019). The students also worked with local communities of color, which enabled them to change their perceptions. The university environment was also helpful in providing space and opportunities for Asian American to take part in other activities as well as unite based on ethnic lines. This made these students join the Third World Liberation Front’s strike hosted at the San Francisco State College and other strikes such as that at Berkeley. The focus of this strike was to change the admission process, establish ethnic studies, and improve their engagement in academics and in the community that requires social services.

Furthermore, the establishment of the Asian American Movement was to focus on creating the Asian American Studies programs, which will provide a curriculum and engage university and college students with the locals, thereby enacting social change (Tamura, 2001). The Asian American students’ activities focused on social change to enable the community to understand their needs without using force. The movements were mainly geared toward students, which led to increased awareness of their potential in the community as well as in the political industry.


This movement has been able to help end certain discriminations that are associated with the American education system. It made college students fight for racial identity in colleges through the introduction of a curriculum that enables society, as well as other students to understand Asian Americans. The movement has increased students’ awareness at the community level, making them part of society (Tamura, 2001). However, admission has been a problem despite fighting the prejudices repeatedly. This problem has become chronic as it keeps on shifting now and then. Currently, the organization is working hand in hand with the Asian American Coalition for Education to help end the admission prejudices despite the program not being successful. The movement is also not quitting, as it keeps on helping the students to fight the situation.

Asian American Coalition for Education (AACE)

AACE is a non-profit organization that fights for the educational rights of Asian American students. The increased number of Asian American college applicants is attributed to the population growing significantly in recent years (“Discrimination in College Admissions”, 2022). The movement identified studies that uncover how the elite colleges are performing their selective college admissions that are based on discriminatory values. In 2007, discrimination against Asian Americans by the college of Harvard, together with other elite colleges, was very rampant. This made the Golden dedicate a chapter with the title “The New Jews” to compare them with the discrimination that the Jews were subjected to between the 1920s and 1930s (“Discrimination in College Admissions”, 2022). The paper showed how the joining standards were tripled for Asian students. Furthermore, these institutions used stereotypes to discriminate the Asian students. The admission of Asian American students to Harvard in 1993 was 20%; however, the current rate has dramatically declined to about 3% to 5% (“Discrimination in College Admissions”, 2022). These declines are similar to other elite colleges such as Cornell and Yale.

The discrimination of Asian American students by elite colleges and universities has caused a significant problem. Some of the problems caused include mental health problems, study pressure because of the raised qualification target, loss of trust in the American institution system, racial barriers, and self-identification problems (“Discrimination in College Admissions”, 2022). These educational prejudices make Asian students believe that they are less than other students and will not have full American citizenship. The current educational discrimination reminds the Asian community of the past discrimination that they were subjected to and the exclusivity (“Discrimination in College Admissions”, 2022). Therefore, the government should intervene as this happening is similar to those that took place during World War II. The American universities are practicing the same violations against Asian-American applicants’ civil rights.


The organization has dramatically struggled to solve the problem of discrimination during admission, especially with elite colleges and universities. The movement has used various legal measures to ensure that Asian American students are treated fairly during the elite university admission process. However, the American legal system still operates the same way making it impossible to win cases regarding race admission discrimination (“Discrimination in College Admissions”, 2022). Despite the movement having hard evidence and providing the public with information that portrays discrimination activities, justice has not yet been attained. AACE has not stopped its pursuit of justice despite being unable to change the current situation.

Asian American Political Alliance (AAPA)

This party was started at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1968. Yuji Ichioka and Emma Gee were the founders of the AAPA after noticing that many Asian Americans were participating in the students’ protests as individuals instead of being a group. This was necessary as collaboration will help Asian American students fight for social justice, especially in the American education system. They managed this by inviting all the Asian students to form a peaceful and free party (Hartlep et al., 2016). Despite most of the founders of this part being students, they focused on making it a national party that will help solve problems that are beyond academics. The party included Asians such as Japanese Americans, Filipino, and Chinese.

The purpose of creating this party was to unite the Asian community under a single identity and fight for social and political action. The main chapters of this party were located at San Francisco State College and UC Berkeley. The two locations form a significant part of the Asian American movement during this period. This includes the Third World Liberation Front strikes at San Francisco State and UC Berkeley (Hartlep et al., 2016). AAPA was anti-imperialistic and focused on liberating Asian Americans with their self-determination. The party expressed its unison activity with other marginalized groups in the USA and all over the world, specifically in areas that are colonized and decolonized (Hartlep et al., 2016). Through its participation in the Third World Liberation Front strikes, it was able to help the creation of the ethnic study department at UC Berkeley and the setting up of the school for ethnic studies in San Francisco state college. Furthermore, the AAPA was also involved in other saving activities such as the anti-Vietnam War movement and the black power movement. This made the party very influential, and in the process, it encouraged Asian Americans to engage in political activities that helped fight for their educational and social rights.


AAPA has made a significant impact on fighting the prejudices that Asian Americans have been experiencing. The party was able to help fight the education prejudices as before the Asian American students were handling these problems on their own. The coalition made it easy to unite the Asian community towards sustainable goals that will help them fight various education challenges (Hartlep et al., 2016). Apart from handling the admission issues that Asian American students have been facing. It has been able to help with the development of the ethnic study department at UC Berkeley and set up the school for ethnic studies in San Francisco state college. Although the admission discrimination was not fully met, the party made a significant impact on college education.

Democratic Party

The Democratic Party in the USA is among the oldest party in the country and the world. The institutions of this party were set up between the 1830s and 1840s. Initially, the party was known as the party of the common man. The party used to stand for state sovereignty and individual rights. This party has changed significantly in more than two centuries of its existence (D’Souza, 2018). However, in the 19th century, the party supported slavery with the aim of retaining southern support. During the mid-20th century, the party underwent a transition that enabled it to realign its ideologies, supporting minorities’ civil rights, such as Asian Americans. The party also focused on progressive reforms, such as opposing governmental interventions that are unfavorable to most of people (D’Souza, 2018). Furthermore, they help end racism in the education sector by eliminating the elite colleges and universities admission systems. The party has helped eradicate the SAT and ACT scores that are used for admission. However, the party has changed recently, and many Asian Americans are turning away. The Democrats have recently argued about Asian American students being over-represented in elite schools. Asian American students are accused of using white supremacy to get the top.


The party used to make a significant impact on the issues affecting Asian Americans. The party used to join hands with the community to fight the education injustices that Asian American students are subjected to (D’Souza, 2018). These include eliminating the racist admission process that the elite colleges mostly use to eliminate overqualified Asian students. However, the part currently has been viewing the Asian American views regarding elite college admission as using white supremacy to get to the top.

Necessary Process for Fair Admission

Ending Legacy Admissions

Legacy admission is rampant in United States colleges as more than three-quarters of the alumni relatives are given the position to study in the school. Approximately 10% to 15% of the admitted students are legacies in an elite college. This shows that having alumni relatives give one a bonus of approximately 160 points on the SAT (Park et al., 2019). After controlling factors such as GPA and test scores, legacy students have about three times the chance of being admitted to the elite college compared to non-legacies. Using this view of admitting students based on the family’s academic history undermines the quality of the free and fair admission process. Furthermore, there are legacies that are not successful as thought, but they are still given a chance to join the college. This policy has to be outdone because it only leads to prejudices and drops out of the overqualified non-legacy student (Park et al., 2019). American elite colleges tend to defend the position by “fulfilling their educational mission.” They also argue that the financial support generated from the alumni is a significant factor in managing the student body.

Ending Preferential Admissions for Athletes

Many colleges have been admitting athletes students despite having poor academic abilities. It is noted that the average GPA for a student-athlete is 15% of the class rank units, which is lower than other students. For women athletes, it is nine units below non-athletes applicants. This gives them to receive an advantage because they participate in extracurricular. Athletes students are ranked higher than their counterparts during admission. This biased admission process begins as early as the sophomore year of high school (Park et al., 2019). When being admitted to elite colleges, students who participate in athletes have a four times higher chance of getting admitted than non-athletes. Admission based on athletes’ participation has rapidly increased in recent years, making it difficult for overqualified students to get the position.

The school admission board usually supports the process by claiming that sports generate high revenue. It enables the college to fund other co-curricular activities and sports departments (Park et al., 2019). It is noted that colleges that perform in these activities usually profit because of their games. Many colleges have brought out the issue of balancing the school community with the high admission of athletes, even if it extends to favoring students who participate in athletics.

Rethinking Affirmative Action

Race-based affirmative action involves combating inequalities at the societal level as racial minorities are disadvantaged by the system because of prejudices. Introducing policies that favor the admission of the minority is crucial in promoting their education levels. The American justice system has been lagging in cases of minority groups in the country (Park et al., 2019). The lack of hard evidence has made it impossible to tackle such challenges that bring long-term effects to the education and well-being of the minority groups such as Asian Americans. It is impossible to calculate the discrimination level that a person has encountered at the individual level, especially for individuals who have been subjected to racial profiling throughout their lifetime. It is not conversant to use a blanket policy as some will be underserved.

It is necessary to consider the individuals’ experiences before providing the final verdict on their applications. This is because most Asian American students are disadvantaged because of their economic status. Implementing measures to help them attain their education qualification at ease is significant in accounting for their societal disadvantage (Park et al., 2019). The admission officers at elite colleges should consider factors such as health issues, neighborhood crime rates, high school quality, and parental education levels.


Discrimination in College Admissions. asianamericanforeducation.org. (2022).

D’Souza, D. (2018). Death of a nation (1st ed.). All Points Books.

Hartlep, N., Scott, D., & Hartlep. (2016). Asian/American Curricular Epistemicide. SensePublishers.

Museus, S., Wang, A., White, H., & Na, V. (2019). A critical analysis of media discourse on affirmative action and Asian Americans. New Directions for Higher Education, 2019(186), 11-24.

Nguyen, T., & Gasman, M. (2015). Activism, identity and service: The influence of the Asian American Movement on the educational experiences of college students. History of Education, 44(3), 339-354. 8

Park, J., Yano, C., & Foley, N. (2019). What Makes a Fair College Admissions Process? – JSTOR Daily. JSTOR Daily.

Tamura, E. (2001). Asian Americans in the history of education: A historiographical essay. History of Education Quarterly, 41(1), 58-71.

Weinberg, M. (2009). Asian-American education. Routledge.

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