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New Study Shows Asian American Support for Affirmative Action

Data shows California's Asian Americans support affirmative action.
Despite opposition to California's affirmative action bill, new data shows the majority of the state's Asian Americans actually support the policy. National Asian American Survey

In a recent survey of California registered voters, the National Asian American Survey found that 69.1 percent of Asian/Pacific Islander Americans (A/PIAs) were in favor of “affirmative action programs to help blacks, women, and other minorities get better jobs and education.” These findings are in stark contrast to what had been previously claimed about A/PIAs during the battle over SCA 5.

In 2012, California Senate Constitutional Amendment 5 (SCA 5), which would have allowed the consideration of race, sex, or ethnicity in public university admissions, was shouted down by what was considered to be a vocal minority of Chinese Americans targeting Asian American legislators.

“We can't just let the loudest voices in the room represent what our community thinks, and needs.” said Professor Karthick Ramakrishnan of University of California Riverside, who co-authored the study.

Overall, 65.7 percent of California registered voters surveyed were in favor and 25.4 percent were opposed, with 81.4 percent of Latinos, 83.1 percent of African Americans, and 57.3 percent of non-Hispanic whites in favor of affirmative action. For A/PIAs, disaggregating the data by gender, region, political affiliation, and ethnic group still showed that most supported affirmative action: 59.7 percent of Chinese, 47.1 percent of Korean, and 73.2 percent of Vietnamese.

“This survey highlights the critical importance of surveying the Asian American population.” said Ramakrishnan, “Not only because it is critical for an accurate picture of the electorate in California, but also to have an accurate picture of where Asian Americans stand on an issue like affirmative action.”

Despite opposition to California's affirmative action proposal earlier this year, new data shows the state's Asian Americans actually support the policy.National Asian American Survey