EPISODE 3  |  BIOS & TRANSCRIPT

AA Squared:
AAs on Affirmative Action

Dr. OiYan Poon is a faculty affiliate in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago and in the Higher Education Leadership program at Colorado State University. Her research focuses on the racial politics of college access, affirmative action, and Asian Americans. Her studies on affirmative action include projects on Asian American business owners and public contracting and why Asian Americans choose to support or oppose affirmative action in higher education. Currently, she is completing a study on how race-conscious admissions works at highly selective colleges and universities. She was an admissions reader at UC Davis and a scholarship reader for the Gates Millennium Scholarship program for AAPIs. She is a co-lead author of amicus briefs on behalf of 678 social scientists in support of diversity in SFFA v. Harvard.

TRANSCRIPT

Oiyan Poon: Nobody checks off a box and is like, Oh, I see they checked off Asian. No. Or Oh, I see someone checked off black. Yes, that does not have to. That has never happened.

 

Ava and Kaitlyn: Hey, I'm Ava. Hey, I'm Kaitlyn. Thanks for listening to fresh off the vote or grass roots podcast the mission to make politics exciting and accessible.Our team is 100% self identified Asian American Pacific Islander us ready to make waves for the November 2020 election. We created the podcast as a home for conversations on the different key issues of the US election and to discuss voter and civic engagement strategies for API's by API's.

 

Kaitlyn: Welcome back. So you're hearing from Eva and I today and we're going to be talking about affirmative action. This is something that remains controversial in the US, especially among Asian Americans. We're talking about this because California, one of the states with the biggest population of Asians in the US, we'll be voting on affirmative action this November called proposition or prop 16. Okay, so for those of you who may have missed our Hawaii episode, I'm a Chinese Japanese American born and raised from the Bay Area. But Ava, you're also from California, right?

 

Ava: Yeah. I'm in SoCal, and I'm a first generation Chinese American meaning I'm the first in my family born here. I've been graduated from undergrad for a while. Kaitlyn, you're also graduated to right? Yes, yes, I am. So when you think about the word affirmative action, What do you remember about it?

 

Kaitlyn: So, in all honesty, affirmative action was not on my radar when I applied to college. It just was it was never something that my family or my friends we talked about. So I just had no clue about it. What about you, Ava?

 

Ava: Talking with our team and hearing some of their stories. I actually wasn't sure I was the best person for this episode. I actually don't remember much about affirmative action either. And like, this idea about being an Asian was going to be a hurdle for me in applying for college. Because part of me didn't even want to go to college, I was heavily considering Community College. I was more afraid of taking on debt. Joke's on me now because I'm in grad school. I was way more afraid to take on debt than I was a school. I was absolutely not the best student in high school either

 

Kaitlyn: Very relatable little side note. I was pretty trash in high school, slept all the time. My apologies. Shout out to Mr. Batchelor. Oh, and Mr. Unti. God bless you both. Anyway, we reached out to Dr. Oiyan Poon, an associate professor at Colorado State University and an expert who has done research for decades now on affirmative action. She's going to discuss the history and context of the rise of affirmative action, what it actually is and why this continues to be such a controversial topic among Asian Americans. With that, we hope you enjoy the show.

 

Oiyan Poon: Good morning. Good evening, wherever you are. My name is Oiyan Poon. I have been a longtime researcher and a former admissions reader. My research predicament primarily focuses on the racial politics of admissions and college access with a special focus on Asian American. And I'm currently finishing a research study on how race conscious holistic admissions works, where in which I've interviewed 51 admissions professionals across the country at highly selective institutions.

 

Ava: So I don't think most people come out of college saying they want to one work in college admissions or to stay and work with Asian Americans in college admissions. So how did she come to this kind of work?

 

Oiyan Poon: I started the way a lot of young people who contact me today, like you all. They have questions and they start doing inquiry into this area. I was a college student affairs professional in my early career after college and I worked specifically on retention projects. And my last job in student affairs was at UC Davis where I was the first student affairs officer in Asian American Studies. It was this position that was created by Asian American and other students of color protests against negative racial climate. And one of their major demands was this position. I think in the 90s and early 2000s. There were several hate crimes committed against particular Asian American students at Davis and in the surrounding area. And so my position was created as somewhat of an advocacy position.

 

Kaitlyn: Dr. Poon tells us about what affirmative action is, and a bit of its history for us. It's such a loaded word nowadays, it's wrapped in misunderstanding and legal jargon, especially since it has such baggage to it.

 

Oiyan Poon: So the first time that phrase affirmative action was mentioned or written in a public policy document. It was in 1961, when president John F. Kennedy signed an executive order that required that federally tax funded programs take quote, affirmative action, end quote to ensure hiring and employment practices were free of racial bias. Meaning that they have to be proactive, right? You have to take action, affirmatively, to address the racial inequalities and biases that are prevalent and rife within our society and within our structures of hiring and employment. So it started out primarily in hiring and employment practices. And we as taxpayers, who are of a plethora of ethnic and racial and gender identities, etc. You know, I think President Kennedy's administration recognized that a significant amount of tax dollars were going to public contracting basically all public projects.

 

Ava: Dr. Poon published a study in 2009, then looked at the public contracting of small businesses and the need to consider Asian Americans in future racial disparity studies. The takeaways from these is that even accounting for education, race still affects differences in earning potential. Policies prohibiting the consideration of race and government hiring contribute to and have an effect in the number of work Asian American businesses get these potentially affect teachers, police officers, city planners, people that have a hand in shaping our cities and lives. (Source)

 

Oiyan Poon: When say, like Bart needs planning,

 

Ava: that's San Francisco's light rail system

 

Oiyan Poon: They want to figure out where to place their next station. You need to hire community planners, right and engineers and people to engage the community with where it should go and how it should look, etc. Those are all public monies that go to privately owned firms to do that kind of work. And so, back in 1961, the government recognized hey, these are projects that benefit everybody. And this is tax money that comes from everybody. But the overwhelming majority of the private firms and thus private wealth being developed by the government is going towards white male owned companies and thus white families and people of color and families of color were being left out of that wealth development opportunity. And so that's when the term affirmative action was first uttered.

 

Kaitlyn: We know that race affects teacher student relationships in the classroom. Teachers of color who share the same race as their students tend to set higher expectations of them than other teachers and improve the school experience for students of color. Students of Color with a same race teacher earn higher GPAs, spend more time on homework and have higher expectations for themselves attending college. (Source)

 

Oiyan Poon: And then later, particularly given the history of segregation in public education, public higher education was forced to integrate. Given this strong history of segregation, there needed to be initiatives to push for access across the board, and so. Many colleges and universities voluntarily decided to practice affirmative action, particularly in their admissions practices to allow for more opportunity, especially given the history and contemporary realities of racial inequalities and lack of access outside of white students.

 

Ava: There's this idea that colleges administer racial quotas give extra points for being of a certain race, or that you are being compared to somebody that looks like you. None of this has been true since before millennials and Gen Z years were born. We see that in Bakke versus University of California in 1978. Grads versus Ballinger and gruder versus Ballinger in 2003. Fisher versus University of Texas in 2013. Students for fair admissions versus Harvard in 2014. All these cases aim to reinforce the idea that any racial quota system supported by the government violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

 

Kaitlyn: So we are starting with Bakee verse UC. right after the Civil Rights Act was passed, there was immediate backlash and frustration. In 1978, Alan baki, applied to University of California Medical School at Davis and was subsequently rejected. Twice. Becky's college GPA and test scores exceeded those of any of the minority students admitted in two years Becky's applications were rejected. At the time, University of California Medical School practiced a set aside program where 16 places in each class of 100 for minorities, he argued that UC violated the 14th amendments Equal Protection Clause and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (Source)

 

Ava: We're going to be providing some of the court ruling sound bites

 

Supreme Court Soundbite: other justices will state their dissenting concurring opinion.

 

Oiyan Poon: We have in 1978, a very complicated Supreme Court decision with multiple opinions, but the ruling opinion was written by Justice Powell. And coming from that legal court precedent, you have two key things. Number one, racial quotas are unconstitutional. So for anyone who says that affirmative action is setting aside spots, that kind of preference that very like, hey, because of your race, like that's a huge factor for why you're in. That has not been true since I was two years old. Racial quotas have been illegal since 1978.

 

The second major thing that came out of that lawsuit was that race could remain one of many factors, institutions can consider race for one reason only.

 

Soundbyte: only state interest that failure may be viewed as compelling is the interest of a university in a diverse student body,

 

Oiyan Poon: It can only be considered to achieve the benefits of diversity. And this is what educational science says. Decades of research is that the more racially diverse, your classroom setting is, your learning environment is, the better educational outcomes are. So you get from your students and as a professor I think about this, are my students developing cognitively? There's research that shows that diverse learning settings allow for students to become more civically engaged. There's a whole range of educational, humanistic, benefits that come from diversity.

 

Another controversial piece of that decision in Bakke in 1978. Was that, you can't consider race to address past historical wrongs. But you can consider race for educational benefits because guess what, even white students benefit from racially diverse educational settings. Asian American students benefit not just from getting access, but also from the educational environments.

 

Ava: In 2019, Dr. Poon penned an article addressing that even proponents of affirmative action get this information wrong. In her research, she cited, “Among those 30 interview participants, both policy supporters and opponents, many also stated that the purpose of affirmative action in higher education was to bring about more racial parity or equity in college access.” (Source) Affirmative Action seems to have many pieces and especially about addressing some kind of past guilt? Does this make it easy to be misinformed and biased?

 

Kaitlyn: The next two cases illustrate the racial quota argument and how far that idea expands. Maybe you've heard that admissions use a point system that gives students a leg up on their application. This was ruled unconstitutional in 2003. To white woman Gratz and Gruder sued the University of Michigan, one against this law school, one against its undergraduate college. (Source 1, Source 2)

 

Soundbyte: employees a selection index on which an applicant can sort of score a maximum...

 

Kaitlyn: In any case, there was a point system. I think at large public universities like Michigan, that's partly what they were doing because they got so many applicants. The Supreme Court in the Gratz case said that points were very rigid, they were very inflexible. It then made race an overly determinative factor. In Bakke, and then reaffirmed in both Gratz and Gruder, the Supreme Court said that you have to look at every applicant as an individual, whole person. Right? You can't just be like, “Oh, they checked this box. Let me throw in extra points.” That's, that's too automatic and not individualized. In the twin case of Gruder v. Bollinger in Michigan, that’s the law school case, University of Michigan won that lawsuit.

 

SoundbyteThe law schools pursuit of a critical mass of underrepresented minorities operates neither as a quota.

 

Oiyan Poon: And race was not a point. It wasn't a bonus. But it was something that was part of the context of an individual applicant. And they were able to understand that person's story. Race was not shown to be a determining factor. In other words, nobody was checking off a particular race box. And then they got in because of checking off that box, right? In some cases, some could argue, in the Gratz case, in their undergraduate policy, somebody could check off a box, and that 20 points could put them over the edge. And that's what Gratz was suing over. And that's what Gratz won.

 

Ava: So in 2013, Abigail Fisher sued University of Texas. Her case was brought to court by Edward Bloom, a conservative strategist and founder of Students for Fair Admissions and anti Affirmative Action Group. In that case, University of Texas admitted by law all students who applied that ranked within the top 10% of their high school classes. For the remainder of the applicant pool race would be considered a factor in admission. (Source)

 

SoundbitePetitioner Abigail Fisher was not in the top 10% of her high school class and she was district argued that…

 

Ava: Fischer argued that the school's use of race was not narrowly tailored enough and argued again in the Supreme Court in 2016.

 

Oiyan Poon: In 2016, the Supreme Court again said, yes, you may take race into consideration as one of many factors only if you're trying to achieve the educational benefits that come from having a diverse educational setting. And you cannot do it in a rigid way. You have to do it in a holistic manner. Now I’m speaking as me, not Justice Kennedy. I feel as an educator, that I should want to have the best possible educational environment for myself and my students. And if the science says that having a racially diverse classroom is important, or campus is important, then colleges and universities can consider race as one of many factors. Not THE FACTOR. So nobody checks off a box and is like, Oh, I see they checked off Asian. No, or oh, I see someone checked off black, yes. That that does not happen. That has never happened.

 

Kaitlyn: So let's recap. All these cases have been about extending the definition of a racial quota, and what colleges cannot do. All that to say, all these cases have been built upon and are addressing potentially rigid ways of looking at admissions. Colleges have to look at a person entirely and whether the factor is used to benefit them in their application. Ever in my and Gen Z's modern generation, have quotas have been used to reject students. Did I get all that?

 

Ava: Most recently in 2016, we have students for fair admissions versus Harvard. This was headed by the same lawyer from Fisher's case. In the situation, they claimed Harvard discriminated against Asian Americans in undergrad admissions. A study they used to cite discrimination against Asian American students said that we needed to test at least three to 400 points higher to be considered for elite colleges. They've effectively become the newest face for anti-affirmative action. Groups like Students for Fair Admissions, some that are heavily Asian American have been pushing against laws that would allow for affirmative action in higher ed like Proposition 16. Prop 16 was originally brought to Senate in 2014. But opposition from anti-affirmative action groups have been able to delay it, but we can't understand prop 16 without talking about Prop 209. (Source 1, Source 2)

 

Kaitlyn: California proposition 209 aka prop 209, aka “the affirmative action initiative”, was approved on November 5 1996. It added that the state cannot discriminate against or grant preferential treatment on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education and public contracting. Therefore, Proposition 209 banned the use of affirmative action involving race based or sex based preferences in California. A vote for Prop 16 will repeal Prop 209 and about no means keeping prop 209. In California one way a prop gets on our ballot is through a two thirds majority vote in the Senate and Assembly. What we should know is that it's been introduced multiple times before, in 2012, in 2014, and most recently was introduced by Senator Dr. Shirley Weber in January 2019 and later pushed back to march 2020. It passed in our Assembly and Senate in June and will thus appear on California's voter ballots in November. All that to say, this has been a long time coming in California. (Source)

 

Oiyan Poon: When you have a country that's been built on 400 years of white supremacy, you're gonna get a sense of white entitlement even amongst like the most liberal of people. So after the Bakke ruling you had throughout the 1980’s, a rise of conservative politics. And so in California, what you had was a demographic shift. It was decreasingly a white state. It was quickly moving towards becoming a majority people of color state. (Source 1, Source 2)

 

Ava: When Poon says majority people of color state in the 1980s and 90s, according to the census, California's population shifted heavily from a 10% decrease in white population to a 10% increase in its Hispanic population. The Asian population stayed relatively the same in that amount of time. But OHHH, she said it. This tension contributed to a backlash and white conservative sentiment that came to a head politically with Prop 209. 

 

Oiyan Poon: And so it ends up on the 1996 state ballot, Proposition 209. And the wording is really tricky. And it's really misleading. Because it talks about not allowing for preferences, but has been legally translated into banning affirmative action. All segments of the population with the exception of white voters, voted against proposition 209. In other words, voters of color, in California, including Asian Americans, the majority of them all, voted to maintain affirmative action in the state. The only voters segment that said, we don't want affirmative action anymore, we want proposition 209 were white voters. Asian Americans over 60% voted against Proposition 209 (Source?). I think it's because we as Asian Americans, we recognize anti-Asian racism exists, right? Even back in 1996. In today's 2020, I think that's even more in our face. Racism is real. And so we need affirmative policies. We need policy makers to be able to look with a clear eye to recognize and say, yes, racism is a thing. And yes, we have a responsibility to do something about that.

 

Kaitlyn: Dr. Poon is also getting to the crux of another tension within California and Asian community as well. We both recognize and are aware that even within these diverse bubbles, there are huge problems present. So growing up in the Bay Area, I definitely felt like I was in a bubble. You know, “the Bay and California as a whole are liberal and don't have racism” and that is obviously not the case. Racism happens everywhere. And it's I think we're all seeing that. I started seeing more posts on social media about violence against Asian Americans close to home like in Hayward, in San Francisco places I would not have thought I would have experienced that.

 

Ava: Mm hmm. I think my issue, like, this is a me thing. My personal issue is like, I get annoyed when other people are surprised out of state to see how bad it is sometimes in California. When we basically have the same problems as everybody else, even though we are a blue slash progressive state. And I think the biggest thing with COVID that I'm seeing is maybe not the violence, but this like preparation for violence. Everybody's very much on edge, my family tells me to like, watch out when I like when I have to go somewhere. That type of thing.

 

Kaitlyn: That on edge feeling? Oh yeah.

 

Ava: I just like you never know. And like way more than usual.

 

Kaitlyn: Mm hmm. My grandpa, my grandparents are still going out at the beginning of shelter in place like they'd still be going out to like, just run errands. I was very, very worried, you know, just because you never know what's going to happen. And all the highed tension was just very worrying.

 

Oiyan Poon: They're still working out the language of the proposition itself. But we know it's going to be on the ballot. And what it will do is a “yes” vote means that there will no longer be a ban on affirmative action in public employment contracting and education. State organizations, state entities may then decide to legally be able to consider race as a factor. Consider race as a reality of our lives and who we are as people in terms of the perspectives we bring. The strengths we bring as people of color, as Asian Americans. Which is different, which is different, than from other people and even within the massive Asian American category, right, you've got a whole lot of ethnic diversity.There is a misconception that affirmative action means that it collapses our experiences, and again it goes into that myth of like checking off a box. But instead, what affirmative action does is it allows me to tell my Northeastener Asian American woman experience having faced daily racial bullying and what that means for who I am today. Versus my husband, who brings his growing up with immigrant professional class immigrant parents in a farm town. You are allowed a way to show who you are as a whole story. There's no one story of being Asian American. Right? My husband, he's Thai American. He grew up in like, a little tiny farm town in southern Illinois. And he is so Midwest nice. I am so Boston… *****. I'll go with Mass-hole. Don't say *****. I will go with Mass-hole.

 

Kaitlyn: Historically, Asian Americans have been for affirmative action. In 1996, 61% of Asian American voters rejected proposition 209 in California. So why is it now it seems we're seeing such a backlash? While opinions on affirmative action have relatively stayed the same in recent years, there's been a shift from a specific group, Chinese Americans. (Source 1, Source 2, Source 3)

 

Ava: So according to Poon’s research, her reasons listed on why Chinese Americans have started turning their opinions on affirmative action have mainly been number one. WeChat. Kaitlyn, do you use WeChat?

 

Kaitlyn: No.

 

Ava: Really broadly, it's China's Facebook. Culturally, it's kind of like a little bit of everything. There's like memes about the generational divide of information. And it's also a mainly Chinese user base. There's a limited amount of information first if you don't speak Chinese. Second, if you aren't in a person's immediate circle of friends in that app, say for example, if one of your friends posts on your wall, but she and I are Mutual's, I can see her comments. This way it's set up really is creating this kind of echo chamber within the community. And then the second is the social demographics of Chinese immigrants post 1990s. So Kaitlyn, when did your parents get here?

 

KaitlynYeah, so on my mom's side, I'm fourth generation and then on my dad's, I'm actually fifth generation. So very different experiences.

 

Ava: I mean, I think for both of us, the experience that both of our families would have, is really different than someone who came here post 1990. A lot of policy changes in China and the immigration law allowed a really specific group of highly skilled workers. That's those on these h1 b visas, we've heard about to come to the US more openly, that increased the number of graduate students from China coming to this country. And if you came after 1990, you're more likely to come here as a naturalized citizen, came here on a skilled workers visa, or have a green card. It's worth noting that this increase in Chinese immigrants is mostly from Mainland China, not Hong Kong or Taiwan, because those are different and like their politics is different from someone from mainland. (Source)

 

Kaitlyn: We're seeing a lot of online and in person activism, especially around petitioning against affirmative action, which is really strange to see personally because my feeling is they are usually the least invested or most quiet civically. And a lot of the argument for it is that this is legalizing discrimination, citing the Civil Rights Act. They say that all discrimination is bad and that discrimination is inherently racist.

 

Oiyan PoonThat perspective comes from a deeply misinformed place. And a very superficial reading of civil rights history and trajectories. I get sad when I hear that because I understand where they're coming from. We are, Chinese Americans, are an ethnic minority that is very marginalized in many respects. Our experiences with racism rarely get acknowledged. We're easily forgotten. In some ways I respect and admire some of these folks for really mobilizing immigrant Chinese Americans in the civic world. Where I get really sad is that they're mobilizing based on fear and misinformation. And so it's not a coincidence also that some of them are big time Trump supporters. Because that's Trump's brand, right? What is science? What is evidence? Does that even matter? It's a lot of fear and emotionality, that is not exactly the most logical. And so, I want to be clear that the majority, what we're seeing is that the majority of Asian Americans are still very supportive of affirmative action. But, there is a segment of the population that has been swayed by a social media echo chamber in a way that really makes me sad.

 

Kaitlyn: It's very natural want the best for your kids. But studies show that a parent's education attainment and education level is a huge indicator to your child's education level. This effectively still ties in with your success, income, etc. Sounds to me that as a Chinese American, but not one with parents of the most recent wave of immigration, there is a recognition that we face issues of being a minority, but a lack of willingness to realize we came here under different circumstances within our same ethnic group. You're lumping ourselves under an umbrella of Asian American. But what does that mean, right? Part of signing on to being Asian American is being united, more or less? But how do you be united with everyone when you're effectively throwing people under the bus by asking, “why should someone else give up their spot in this meritocracy”, “if I made it, why shouldn't someone else be able to?” The idea of America being a meritocracy and the idea of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps can be and has been deeply unhealthy as a country. Another question I think comes up in this is then, what does it mean to be qualified? What are the values you're looking at in not just students or your co worker, your employee? How should young people address this, especially with their parents?

 

Oiyan Poon: So I want to ask these parents? And, you know, I'm the daughter of immigrants as well, I know my parents and my elders busted their asses. I know, I busted my ass not only just to get do well in school, but also do well in school while getting harassed on a daily basis. That's a racialized story. I am glad that when I applied to colleges in the 1990s, that my admissions officers took into account my story of who I am, what I had to overcome. Because doing well in my high school, for me, was different than doing well for my white classmates, who did not have to suffer daily racial harassment. I also want to ask the parents, as a parent myself, I want my daughter to do well, too. I want my child to work hard. That's what I have control over. Right? Like I have control over supporting my child's development academically, intellectually and as a person, right?

 

I want her to do well in her life, I want her to be happy. And I want her to be healthy. I, you know, my child is starting kindergarten, and we just had a conversation where she was asking me about racism. And I ended up telling her about the racial harassment I went through as a child, and she was really sad. And I was like, I never want her to ever have to go through that, right? So I get that I want to protect my child. And I want my child to live in a world that is welcoming of everybody, that is fair and just for everybody. And what I do know is that also, for Asian Americans after college who want to go into the workforce, who want to do well, who want to get promoted into leadership positions, that is not happening. We don't see a lot of Asian Americans in senior leadership positions in public sector or in private sector. And so, these are things that Asian American parents, we need to think about too. These are things that Asian American young people need to think about too. We do face a racist and patriarchal society, you're going to have to work harder, and so that hard work should not be dismissed. But to then assume that black and Latinx and Native American families also don't value education or hard work is racist, quite frankly, and there's tons of research that actually shows that in California actually, among public opinion polls, black and Latinx parents actually say that education they say that education is important more often than Asian American parents do. So then to suggest that these other communities of color are not working hard, or they're not having to face so much stuff and to then say like, oh, let's just forget racism exists and just say did you work hard? Well guess what, just thinking about my own case. I had to work **** harder to survive in school, as an Asian American girl. And affirmative action, even in college admissions policies, means that my story gets to be recognized.

 

I want my story, I want my child’s story to be recognized. I want our stories, all kinds of stories from rural communities, to urban communities, to refugee communities to, you know, middle upper middle class tech families, like I want all of our different stories to be recognized and valued and respected and without affirmative action, if you're going to go race neutral or quote unquote, race blind, so stories don't get recognized. They get dismissed. As a former admissions reader, I couldn't take account of those stories fully. In my research now with admissions officers, when I asked them about basically students, especially Asian American students who don't check a box, who don't talk about their racial or ethnic background, these admissions officers tell me it really makes them sad and frustrated, especially when it's a talented student who has worked hard. Because then they cannot account for their whole story. And it actually limits their advocacy for the student’s admission. (Source)

 

As an academic advisor in the UC system. I used to meet so many Asian American kids who were failing out of school. And they were so confused because they were like, but I was at the top of my class. I scored so high on the SAT, but they couldn't write a damn sentence. Like, this was true also, when I was a TA at UCLA. UCLA, right? I had undergraduate students who were juniors, who could not write a whole complete sentence, but they could sure as hell take a bubble test. What do they mean in terms of the development of you as a person, as a civic human being? Not a whole lot of anything. I'd say all of that to just basically question like, what is qualified? What is qualified? Because what the research also shows is that it doesn't matter what high school you go to. If you are at the top of your high school, that is a stronger predictor of your college capacity and capability to succeed than a test score is. (Source)

 

Kaitlyn: We wrapped up our conversation with Dr. Poon by asking her, what is it that people should consider when going to the polls this November?

 

Oiyan PoonI hope people vote based on facts and not misinformation that we've talked about so much. That they're not driven by that information that is being pushed out there to fear monger. I hope people will become educated on information and how it works and whatnot, and from there. In my research, what I found is that Asian Americans are then deciding based on their morality, their moral ethics, what they believe. If you recognize that there is racism in this country, and factually, you understand that affirmative actions, history and its roots, and its purpose is as a tool to address racism and discrimination to combat those things. And you believe that our social institutions have a responsibility to then do something about racism and racial inequality, then I would hope that you would vote in California for Proposition 16. Outside of California. I hope that outside of California, people will think about their morality.

 

AvaWe want to leave you with some concluding ideas and asks from this episode. The affirmative action conversation within higher ed is very compelling. But let's remember that it started out in employment and hiring, to put education and college as the way for people to get ahead in life can be very limiting. Let's recap some myths. There has never been in our modern time quotas or point systems. And it's not about comparing races together. It's also not about addressing past racial disparities. And then there's some newish fears that Asian Americans are bringing up one being that affirmative action legalizes discrimination of fear that our problems have not and are not being heard. And then the last point, which is that we need to be as informed as best as we can.

 

Kaitlyn: Thank you so much for tuning into this episode of Fresh Off the Boat. We are a bunch of young Asian American Pacific Islander youth who are passionate about civic engagement. This may have been our hardest episode to do mainly because how dense the information is so special huge thanks to Dr. Oiyan Poon for giving her time attention and helping make resources accessible to us in writing this episode. If you'd like to read further, we will be plugging them in our transcripts on our website FreshOfftheBoat.comm so please go check it out. We also have another special announcement so drumroll please.

 

Ava: We're launching a buy me a coffee. So if you love our podcast, if you love our mission, please check it out. Any amount helps. We toyed around with some different ideas and we like that with buy me a coffee. There is no reoccurring commitment. It's a way of giving a shout out for a specific episode if you want. In the future though, as we build our podcast, we hope to have some special bonus features for you guys as well. So stay tuned.

 

Kaitlyn:  Follow us on Instagram also at Fresh Off the Boat. You can find us on Spotify, Apple podcasts and Stitcher we upload every single Monday so stay tuned. There's so much to cover during and up until November. But is there something you think we should talk about? Hit us up. We want to know. Our team can't thank you enough for your contribution and support. This Kaitlyn.

 

Ava: this is Ava signing off.

 

Kaitlyn: Thanks again, everyone.

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You. Me. November 3, 2020.

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