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8 in 10 Asian Americans who oppose affirmative action believe it’s racist, survey reveals

  • Nearly half (49%) of Asian Americans oppose affirmative action, according to a new survey by higher education resource

  • Of these detractors, eight in 10 (81%) said they oppose the policy because they believe it is racist.

  • Other reasons for opposition include increasing racism against Asian Americans (32%), hurting Asian American students’ chances of getting into their preferred schools (30%) and perpetuating anti-Asian stereotypes (25%).

  • On the other hand, less than a quarter of the respondents expressed support for affirmative action.

  • The survey also looked at differences in opinion by age and the impact of affirmative action on voting preferences.

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A majority of Asian Americans who oppose affirmative action do so because they believe it is racist, according to a new survey., an online resource focused on higher education planning and online degree rankings, polled 1,250 Asian Americans on Nov. 9 and found that roughly half (49%) of them oppose race-based admissions in colleges and universities.

The detractors cited several reasons for their positions. A whopping 81% said they oppose the policy because it is racist; 32% said it increases racism against Asian Americans; 30% said it hurts their odds of getting into their chosen schools and 25% said it perpetuates stereotypes against the community.

In terms of age, older Asian Americans were more likely to oppose affirmative action, with 61% of those aged 54 and above saying they “somewhat” or “strongly oppose” the policy. Meanwhile, 45% of those aged 18 to 24 and aged 25 to 34 expressed opposition to the policy.

The survey came on the heels of the Supreme Court’s hearing of oral arguments for affirmative action cases involving Harvard University and the University of North Carolina. When asked for their opinions on the court cases, 53% of the respondents expressed support for a ban on affirmative action policies.

“As a GenX product of the Vietnam War, I’m sensitive to issues that affect Asian people like me. Several years ago, when I first heard the news about Harvard admission standards favoring people of color to the exclusion of Asians, I recommended to my niece and nephews that they check off ‘other’ instead of ‘Asian’ on their college applications,” Dennis Consorte, a small business consultant, told

“In reality, the SCOTUS decision regarding Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill may have one result on paper, and another in practice. I expect both positive and negative outcomes as consequences of the legislation.”

A quarter (26%) of respondents expressed support for affirmative action . Thirteen percent said they “strongly support” the policy, while 21% said they “somewhat support.”

The survey also looked into the impact of affirmative action on the respondents’ motivation to vote in the recent midterm elections, as well as their choice of candidates, with 58% of midterm voters who voted Republican reporting that they did so for the first time.

An earlier survey conducted by The Economist and British analytics firm YouGov showed that a majority of U.S. adults (54%) also oppose affirmative action.


Featured Image via The Harvard Crimson

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