"Morally inconsistent" is what Karin Wang, of the Los Angeles civil rights organization Asian Americans Advancing Justice, calls the embrace of affirmative action in hiring, but not admissions. Supporters say affirmative action will only help others, but it will not hurt excellent students. "It shows self interest operating above shared societal interests."
"It is now the minorities who . have to figure out how to balance equal opportunities for all with the recognition of merit and freedom." Because Asian Americans are doing so well, they lean toward merit and freedom, while Latinos are more likely to embrace equal opportunity, Liem said.
There are even schisms within the Asian American community, where anger is directed at Chinese Americans who say they support affirmative action in hiring, but fear its application at elite Gucci Belt Snake
has set off political fisticuffs between ethnic groups accustomed to battling side by side.
"It's diverging in different directions among minorities, which is the essence of the conflict," he said. "SCA5 is the first warning shot across the table that the communities have to open a dialogue as soon as possible."
"There was a bombardment of negative information from Chinese language media who framed it as a return to quotas," said Vincent Pan, executive director of San Francisco's Chinese for Affirmative Action. "They whipped the issue into a frenzy."
But times have changed, argues Liem, a philosophy professor at San Jose City College. With the white population shrinking, discussion around affirmative action must change.
And yet, civil rights activist Wang warns, "In our really diverse state, communities like ours have to learn to build bridges and coalitions on all of these issues." Yes, she added, a group of Chinese Americans altered the political process, but "at the expense of alienating other communities."
Woo says affirmative action will not become a litmus test. "We are not like the pro life or the pro gun people," he said. "I don't believe (Asian Americans) can afford to pick one issue and say that everything else is not important."
California Democrats clearly are worried that the controversy might cause significant numbers of Asian Americans who now vote solidly Democratic Armani Belts to turn to the Republican Party. And the GOP has extended a welcome mat.
In simple terms, Hernandez said, affirmative action in a Proposition 209 universe can help make higher education accessible to a greater diversity of students. "That's what big time elite universities back East do," he said. "Our purpose is to educate the Asian community to stand up for their rights," said Taylor Chow of Asian Americans for Political Advancement.
Assembly Speaker John Perez and Sen. Ed Hernandez, strong Latino backers of SCA5, were forced to propose a number of statewide task force meetings to reintroduce the amendment and perhaps rewrite parts that upset many Asian American voters. Hernandez hopes the string of panels will "heal any rifts" between Asian Americans and Latinos.
Last year, 78 percent of Chinese American students applying to a UC campus landed a coveted spot in the freshman class, according to fall 2013 data from UC. However, just 57 percent of Filipino Americans and 48 percent of Pacific Islanders were admitted, rates similar to those of blacks and Latinos.
Fifty five percent of Latino and 45 percent of African American applicants were admitted to UC last year, compared with 65 percent of white applicants.
"The way Asian American students are treated . is a gross violation of the 14th Amendment," which requires equal protection under the law to all people, Woo said. "Is it a surprise to you that in 1965, when affirmative action first came out, every minority supported it? I did, too. But as used in college admissions, it's hurting everyone."
UC schools such as UC Berkeley and UCLA, which now admit fewer than one in five in state freshman applicants. They say the policy will take precious university spots from their children and give them to Latinos, blacks and students from other Asian and Pacific Islander groups who currently have difficulty gaining access to state schools.
In a state where Latinos most of whom support SCA5, the proposed constitutional amendment are about to become the largest ethnic group but where Asian Americans take up nearly 40 percent of all University of California slots, the clash puts a spotlight on an evolving political landscape in which members of minority groups now overwhelmingly make up the majority of the state's population.
But that position is rejected by the 80 20 Initiative, whose fiery website blasts affirmative action in college Hermes Belts For Women
The backlash by Chinese American activists against a measure aimed at restoring affirmative action in the admissions process at California's public universities Ferragamo Belt Cheap
A few weeks ago, the proposed constitutional amendment sailed through the California Senate. Then, just as it appeared to be headed toward the November ballot, a vociferous social media protest from Chinese American groups stopped it cold.
The group points to Princeton University research that found Asian American applicants need much higher SAT scores than all other groups to gain admission to elite universities.
admissions. Woo, who co founded the nonpartisan Asian American political action committee. "I want the Democratic Party to know that if they keep on pushing SCA5, then lots of people will be voting on the Republican side."
Being cast as the enemy to other Asian and minority groups is something Chow says Chinese Americans are "seriously concerned" about. That's why his Burlingame group will use other means to push for bringing more resources to "helping those communities that are underrepresented in the university."
If passed by voters, SCA5 would repeal parts of Proposition 209, a 1996 initiative that banned affirmative action and was at the time panned by Asian American voters.
Henry Liem, who wrote a book in Vietnamese about affirmative action, notes that the policy used to be about making amends for slavery and other gender and racial injustices that hurt women and people of color.
Affirmative action debate create rifts in California's ethnic communities
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