“Now Asians — and I am lumping all of us together right now — I find it hilarious that this is the hill we’re willing to die on…”
So, said comedian Hasan Minhaj, speaking about a recent lawsuit over Harvard’s admissions policy. Minhaj covered the Asian-Americans who are suing Harvard University, complaining about admissions policies that are unfairly weighted against Asian applicants. The comedian talked affirmative action, Harvard and race, during the premiere of his new Netflix show.
This October, Harvard University was taken to Federal Court in Boston over affirmative action. The case involves the college’s quota for Asian American students; the school denies they have a quota at all. Overall, Asians make up 5.8% of the United States population, but made up a little over 22% of last year’s freshman class at Harvard.
Minhaj shared these statistics, then joked, “We are straight dunking on every other minority group, but in classic Asian-parent fashion we’re like, ‘Twenty-two percent? Why not 100 percent?’”
The case basically argues against affirmative action, saying that Asian students (an overall minority) are being unfairly discriminated against in favor of other groups. The nation is watching this case, which could have long reaching implications for affirmative action and college admissions.
According to the plaintiffs, Harvard University requires higher standards for Asian Americans than they do for applicants of any other race. If this is true, it means that Harvard is acting against Federal and Civil Rights laws. Since some aspects of the admissions policy are not based on academics (they include things like “personal ratings”) it is difficult to determine whether the University is discriminating against Asians or favoring one race over another.
According to Harvard, they have a “holistic” policy of admissions, which does not discriminate against anyone. The University also states that their policy does consider race as a factor and that they purse a “diverse” class each year; they deny the use of racial profiling to achieve that goal.
Minhaj, who is Asian, described the plaintiffs in this case as the “worst kind of Americans” and insinuated that these Asians would ruin things for all. Since the case may have lasting impact on affirmative action, it has triggered conversations and debates over race in education at all levels. Many schools, local governments and activists are closely watching the case to see how the court rules.
The case has the potential to head to the Supreme Court, which could result in changes to Affirmative Action that would impact schools and employers at all levels. The new Netflix program may bring new awareness to the plight of those with the grades, but who are not the “right” race to make up the mix that Harvard wants for its incoming classes.
~ Patriotic Freedom Fighter