On May 6, 1882, 135 years ago, President Chester A. Arthur signed the Chinese Exclusion Act, the first race-based law enacted by the U.S. Congress. The Act heralded the start of a dark chapter in U.S. history. Over the following 61 years, Chinese were not allowed to immigrate into the U.S. Chinese Americans already in the U.S. were cut off from family members back home, who were not allowed to travel to America to reunite with their family. Chinese children born in the U.S. were not recognized as American citizens. Chinese Americans became one of the racial groups in the United States suffering the greatest discrimination.
Though the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed in 1943, Chinese Americans have not yet achieved true racial equality. Following 1943, many Chinese Americans still suffered the consequences of school segregation and other forms of illegal discrimination. Even today, colleges in 42 states, especially Ivy League schools, still use racial quotas, racial stereotypes and higher admissions standards to discriminate illegally against Asian American students. Like the originators of the Chinese Exclusion Act, these colleges use same excuse for their discrimination: there are too many Asians (Chinese).
In remembering the 135th anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act, the Asian American Coalition for Education (AACE) calls upon all Asian American individuals, organizations and elected officials to jointly condemn and reject all race-based discriminatory policies and practices of any type, including illegal use of race in college admissions.
Mr. YuKong Zhao, the President of AACE emphasized: “For much of America’s history, race-based policies have been used to oppress Asian Americans and to create racial divides. It is time for all racial groups to unite and reject race-based policies. We should jointly help to improve the education quality in poor neighborhoods and enable more disadvantaged children to attend colleges, instead of using illegal racial balancing to restrict high-performing Asian American students. It is not morally conscientious to victimize Chinese Americans again, 135 years after first inflicting devastating suffering upon them.”
Limiting Asian American students’ admission to Ivy League universities and other colleges is a lose-lose situation. The negative impact is felt not only by Asian Americans, but America as well. Because of these universities’ discriminatory admissions policies, the most-qualified students are not achieving their full potential. The U.S. suffers when the best-qualified Asian-Americans are not receiving the training to become the best leaders this country could have, as scientists, engineers, economists, artists, business and community leaders.
Asian American Coalition for Education
May 5, 2017