The AACP Newsletter
Since 1970 Asian American Curriculum Project, Inc. - Books for All Ages July 2003
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Current and Past Affirmative Action Decisions

Affirmative action regained national attention on June 23, 2003 when the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the University of Michigan to continue its use of race as a considering factor for its law school's admissions.

The following is by no means a comprehensive review of other major landmark cases and situations related to affirmative action, but a sampling of the nation's changing policies since the 1960s when President John F. Kennedy acknowledged the need for a more equal playing field in employment practices.

For more information on Grutter v. Bollinger (the law school admissions case) and Gratz v. Bollinger (the undergraduate program case) go to the following links.

General Overview
PBS's News Hour website - overview and analysis of Supreme Court cases
PBS's News Hour specific article on the affirmative action cases

PDF files of full text of the rulings
Grutter v. Bollinger
Gratz v. Bollinger - court decisions, legal briefs, and resources
Grutter v. Bollinger
Gratz v. Bollinger

March 6, 1961 - The Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity was formed when President Kennedy issued Executive Order 10925. This group aimed to clear racial biases in hiring and in the workplace.

September 24, 1965 - Executive Order 11246 was passed, issued by President Lyndon Johnson. It required government contractors to "take affirmative action" in the hiring and employment of minorities.

July 2, 1964 - The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed. This prohibited employment discrimination on the basis of race and gender.

August 12, 1969 - The Philadelphia Order was passed, which enforced fair hiring in the construction field. President Richard Nixon said "We would not impose quotas, but would require federal contractors to show 'affirmative action' to meet the goals of increasing minority employment."

June 28, 1978 - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the Regents of the University of California v. Bakke case. Alan Bakke had been denied admission into the University of California Davis medical school, despite having a higher grade point average than other candidates who were members of a minority. The Supreme Court ruled that race could be a factor in school admissions, but also held that the school's quota system discriminated against Bakke. He was admitted to the school.

January 23, 1989 - In the City of Richmond v. Croson case, the Supreme Court ruled that affirmative action was being used as a "highly suspect tool" in a Richmond, VA program that allocated 30% of city construction funds to African American-owned firms. The program was ended.

November 3, 1997 - Proposition 209 was passed in California. This prohibited the use of all forms of affirmative action in the state. On December 3, 1998, the state of Washington passed Initiative 200, which similarly banned affirmative action statewide.

For more information on the some of these cases and others, visit the U.S. Supreme Court's website at

Editor's Message

Hello everybody. To our new subscribers, thank you for trying the newsletter out. The AACP newsletter will vary widely from month to month in its articles, editorials, and book selections. Please hang with us as we try to address the entire readership's wide ranging interests.

In next month's newsletter we hope to conduct a survey to better gauge what your interests are. In the mean time, please feel free to continue sending me your email comments and suggestions.

The Latest at AACP
The great news is that we have a very talented group of interns volunteering their time with us this summer. The sad news is that there are few funds and so little time in which we have to utilize their efforts. If you have time to help give the interns a rewarding experience, you're welcome to join us. If you'd like to help financially support our intern program and the projects that they are working on, that would greatly be appreciated too.

For this month's newsletter, a big thank you goes to the following interns - Lydia Chao, Steven Tanamachi, and Alice Tan.

One last question - Philip and I for the last two newsletters have been writing about the National Archives and Records Administration and our research into our own family histories. Would any of you like us to continue with a part three to this series? Give us some feedback. Thanks.

Leonard Chan

Up Coming Events

Here are some events that AACP will soon be attending.
Invite us to your events.
July 12-13
San Jose Obon FestivalSan Jose Buddhist Temple
San Jose, CA
July 19
Books by the BayYerba Buena Gardens
San Francisco, CA
August 10 - 15 Zephyr Point Fellowship Exhibit Sales Zephyr Point
Lake Tahoe, NV
August 30-31 Cupertino's 5th Annual Moon Festival Cupertino, CA
Other Event of Interest that AACP May Not Attend
July 11
Aloha Moving Book Sale Preview Party San Mateo Main Library
San Mateo, CA
July 12-13
10am-5pm Sat.
1am-5pm Sun.
Moving Book Sale San Mateo Main Library
San Mateo, CA
August 2 2nd Annual Topaz Pilgrimage Delta, UT
August 7-10 OCA's Annual Convention Honolulu, HI

Give Us Your Feedback

Please feel free to send us your reviews, comments, and book suggestions. You can contact us at -

The Latest Supreme Court Affirmative Action Decision
and Its Implication for Asian Pacific Americans

An Editorial by Lydia Chao
Some call last month's Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action the most important educational case since Brown V. Board of Education. Though the court struck down the University of Michigan's undergraduate admissions policy of assigning points to underrepresented minorities, it allowed the university's school of law to continue the use of race as a factor in admissions. With this ruling, the value of racial diversity won out over the idea of an equal playing field, at least in the case of college admissions. However, while the effects of the high court decision are apparent for some minority groups, what are the implications for Asian Pacific Americans (APAs)?

A few months ago, Newsweek columnist George Will wrote about Asian Americans as the new victims of affirmative action. Equally, if not more, qualified Asian Americans would be displaced at the nation's top universities for more appropriate minority students. However, this is an oversimplification of the affirmative action story, stemming from the same line of reasoning that fueled the Berkeley College Republicans to hold an "affirmative action bake sale", where blacks were charged $0.25 for a cookie, Hispanics- $0.50 and so on. Whites were charged $1.50.

Affirmative action is not about numbers. It's not about quotas. It's not about being fair or unfair to any particular group. The practice of affirmative action exists in order for minorities to overcome the institutionalized discrimination they face simply by living in the United States. Institutions of government, law, education, entertainment all exist with an inherent bias towards wealthy, white men that has not yet been overcome. For this reason, affirmative action needs to exist.

However, how about Asian Americans? The so called "success story" of Asian Americans first made headlines in the 1980's and the model minority myth was born. All the evidence points to the conclusion that minorities can work their way up to become successful in the United States- just look at the numbers of Asian Americans in top colleges and in the work force. Numbers show that Asian Americans are graduating with business degrees and master's degrees in record numbers. Look at wealthy Asian American enclaves in California. Doesn't this prove that Asian Americans have made it?

The idea of Asian American success is fallacious in more than one way. First, it ignores the glass ceiling faced by Asian Americans in almost every facet of the workforce. Asian Americans are nearly invisible in upper management positions as well as tenured teaching positions at top universities. The glass ceiling exists in a very real way for all minority groups- nowhere near broken, nor even reached, as opponents of affirmative action claim.

More importantly, the simple inclusion of Asian Americans into one racial group ignores the needs of the different ethnicities and cultures that constitute Asian America. For example, the general statement that high percentages of Asian Americans attend college does not tell the whole story nor reveal the breakdown of ethnic groups. Looking at the demographics at Berkeley, the large Asian American population is primarily East and South Asian, with Pacific Islanders and Southeast Asians represented in much smaller numbers. The Asian American faculty includes few Southeast Asians and students have been fighting for a Filipino American professor to teach a Filipino American Studies course. In the general population, Chinese businessmen from the San Gabriel Valley near Los Angeles differs substantially from Hmong migrant workers in California's Central Valley or Vietnamese refugees in Louisiana.

Categorizing all APAs under the same umbrella group (when comparing racial numbers) denies the existence of under-representation of many groups, especially in the area of college admissions. The biggest problem in using Asian American success in colleges and universities (especially top tier schools) as evidence against affirmative action is that the very term ignores the socioeconomic and ethnic differences that exist among Asian Americans, and does a disservice to those who are still struggling to achieve the equal playing field so often lauded as present upon immigration (or in some cases, finding refuge) to the United States.


The following books are discounted for subscribers to our newsletter. The discounts on these books end August 7, 2003.

Polly Bemis
A Chinese American Pioneer

By Priscilla Wegars
2003, 24 pages, hardback.

Book Description -
This biography chronicles the life of Polly Bemis, an immigrant from China who lived in Idaho for over 60 years. She conquered adversity, made many friends, and enjoyed a happy and productive life. For that reason, Polly's story continues to both fascinate and inspire succeeding generations.

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3166, Price $18.85

Okasan & Me
Japanese American Educational Program Book

By Cynthia Konda and Okasan & Me, Co.
Illustrated by Nelson Lee, Margie Oyama, Jerry Chang
2003, 27 pages, paperback.

Book Description -
This book introduces Japanese lnaguage and Japanese American culture through original songs and musical arrangements by Cynthia Konda to children of all ages. Traditional Japanese instruments have been added to the CD recording, such as shakuhachi, shamisen, and taiko. Children will enjoy learning basic vocabulary and pronunciation as well as learning about the Japanese American experience.

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3168, Price $19.95
ORDER -- Item #3169, Price $19.95
ORDER -- Item #3168a, Price $39.90

Filipino Children's Favorite Stories

Retold by Liana Romulo
Illustrated by Joanne de Leon
2000, 94 pages, hardback.

Book Description -
Filipino Children's Favorite Stories comprises a collection of well-loved myths and tales from the Philippines...Many of the tales have been told by mothers to children over the centuries and cover clasic childhood themes, such as the forces of good versus evil, children versus adults, the weak versus the strong, and others.

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #2903, Price $16.95

Chinese New Year for Kids

By Cindy Roberts
Illustrated by Yang Song and Jiayin Yu
2003, 30 pages, paperback.

Book Description -
This is a revised and updated version of Lunar New Year for Kids. Chinese New Year for Kids is a hands-on workbook for parents and teachers that introduces and teach kids about the Chinese New Year.

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3171, Price $10.00

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