A group of Asian-American students are currently suing Harvard University for discrimination, claiming that the school has an unpublicized cap on the number of Asian Americans it will accept in any given year. Yet despite its commitment to political activism—including a boycott of Israel—the Association for Asian-American Studies (AAAS), has no intention of supporting the suit. Jonathan Marks comments:
Consider the AAAS’s 2018 conference theme: “Solidarity and Resistance: Toward Asian-American Commitment to Fierce Alliances.” As the organization’s president, Cathy J. Schlund-Vials explains, that theme flows out of the history of Asian-American Studies—a field brought to life by “student activists and faculty protestors” in the 1960s. But the left-wing politics that led the AAAS to endorse the boycott of Israel and to disregard anti-Semitism within the boycott movement also blinds its adherents to some forms of discrimination against Asian Americans.
Janelle Wong, a professor of American Studies and Asian-American Studies took to the Chronicle of Higher Education last week to complain about the situation at Harvard, which is being sued over its affirmative-action policies. . . . Professor Wong’s complaint is that, well, Asian-Americans are complaining. First, Wong argues, Asian-Americans are a much higher percentage of the student body at places like Harvard and Yale than they are of the U.S. population. . . .
In 1922, Harvard’s president, Abbott Lawrence Lowell, sought to institute a Jewish quota. He had discovered that a major cause of anti-Semitism is the presence of Jews. . . . At the time, though, Jews constituted over 20 percent of Harvard’s student body and only around 3.5 percent of the U.S. population. According to Wong’s logic, they had nothing to complain about. Lowell didn’t get the quota he wanted, but new standards did put downward pressure on the troublingly high Jewish population in universities. . . .
How often does one see a person of the left, usually eager to make the leap from disparity to discrimination, mount a vociferous attack on those who acknowledge what appears to be an obvious case of discrimination? Jews see that sort of thing often, and many have stuck with the left nonetheless. Let’s hope Asian-Americans prove less inclined to shrug and let it pass.