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Letter: Affirmative action policies strand Asian-Americans

The biggest injustice in admissions to the elite colleges today is being placed on Asian Americans, not on whites and not on Jews, and most certainly not on non-Asian minorities (i.e., blacks, Latinos and American Indians) who benefit from their race or ethnic background alone. The previous injustice against Jews historically has been, by and large, eliminated by the abolition of their exclusionary quotas after World War II to the elite colleges. They now represent 10 (at Princeton) to 35 (at Penn) percent of each of the eight Ivy League colleges' and of the other elite colleges' student populations. Jews represent 2.5 percent of the total United States population.

The whites are the majority who make the policies and the Asian Americans are the ones who pay the biggest price by being excluded by upper limit quotas for past injustices instituted on all minorities by whites.

Asian Americans were also victims of past racist exclusionary policies created by whites and Asian Americans have not asked for redress to this past injustice. Yet, Asian Americans must pay the penalty and bear the "pain" disproportionately as compared to whites for past policies which they have no part in creating, and they are punished simply because some have succeeded in bettering themselves without the advantages of special programs in spite of tremendous odds against them.The only quotas that exist today are the exclusionary (upper limits or caps) quotas for Asian Americans and the inclusionary (preferential treatment based on race or ethnic background alone) quotas for non-Asian minorities.

This exclusionary quota is similar to the one imposed on Jews pre-WWII which was eliminated by these elite colleges and the Ivy League. So, why should this exclusionary quota exist for Asian Americans in our present day and time? This is the result of reverse discrimination.

Of course, whites must bear some of the "pain" to make room for the non-Asian minorities in the zero-sum game of admissions, but not in any way close to the extent that Asian Americans must bear because of the higher admission standards, as compared to the whites' admission standards, that they have to meet in order to gain entrance to these schools. Asian Americans are not on a level playing field with whites because of these double standards and they "have to be better" than any other group, including the white majority, to redress past injustices for which they were not responsible and, in many cases, of which they were victims.

This is ironic, totally unfair and, in my opinion, contrary to the laws of this country. This goes against the basic tenets of our Constitution.

We need admissions data from these schools on all the criteria and standards that they use, both academic and non-academic, to judge the admissions process' fairness. These institutions have been reluctant to open their files to present this information voluntarily until they are faced with legal action from an individual or a class action suit charging them with reverse discrimination-particularly against Asian Americans. This course of action must be seriously considered now, since no one in power, i.e. politicians or university administrators, has addressed this injustice.

Affirmative action based on race alone creates more problems and inequities among the races and ethnic groups than it solves and resolves. If affirmative action policies are to be continued, they should be based on socioeconomic class, not on race alone. These types of policies would transcend all races and groups. Those who would benefit the most would be the non-Asian minorities, but not exclusively, because they are the most represented in the lower economic classes and are truly disadvantaged. Anyone, of any race or group, in the higher economic classes would not and should not gain an advantage.

Dr. Ed Chin

Shorthills, N.J.


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