Lecturer David Lee: Affirmative Action Endangered if Kavanaugh Confirmed to Supreme Court

Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Photo of the United States Supreme Court Building

DIVERSE ISSUES IN HIGHER EDUCATION -- The recent lawsuit against Harvard University’s affirmative action program on behalf of Asian American students who allege it discriminates against them doesn’t reflect the reality of the majority of Asian students, who are not people of means and stand to lose if the Supreme Court with Kavanaugh ends affirmative action, said David E. Lee, who teaches Political Science at San Francisco State University and is director of APASS summer bridge and AANAPISI grant programs at Laney College in the Peralta Community College District.

More than half of Asian-diaspora students in the United States attend community colleges and the vast majority attend public schools, while those at Laney make up 30 percent of the student population and tend to be low-income, first-generation, food-insecure and housing-insecure and speak English as a second language, Lee said.

“Our population is the farthest thing from the model minority. It’s anything but ‘Crazy Rich Asians,’” he said, invoking the name of a movie currently in theatres.

The decline in percentages of minorities is likely to continue with a more conservative high court, even though whites are a minority and Hispanics are the plurality in the minority-majority state, Lee said.

“I’ve seen first-hand how affirmative action has benefited the Asian American community, so I’m very concerned that a Kavanaugh Supreme Court with [John] Roberts as the chief justice will swing the court to the right,” said Lee. “I’m very concerned that [the court] will dismantle affirmative action.”

Photo by Joe Ravi