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OCA Reaffirms Commitment to the Policy of Affirmative Action
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OCA Reaffirms Commitment to the Policy of Affirmative Action

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
01 May 2012

CONTACT
Tom Hayashi | Executive Director
202 223 5500 | thayashi@ocanational.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. – OCA, a national organization dedicated to advancing the political, social, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs), is proud to reaffirm its commitment to the policy of affirmative action. Since its origins in the early 1960s by President John F. Kennedy, affirmative action has been a cornerstone of equal opportunity and a response to historical discrimination. The importance of affirmative action does not simply entail race, but also effectively addresses discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, class, and religious beliefs.

While OCA does not support quotas, we strongly recognize that the policy of affirmative action is essential in promoting a more equitable level playing field for all APA students in the application of admission policies, especially for the historically and presently underprivileged. It is also important to note that a diverse learning milieu at educational institutions is consistent with the societal trend for achieving diversity in all sectors, including within the work force where APAs will be expected to survive and thrive in. A less than diverse student body will only ill prepare students when facing professional expectations to effectively negotiate diversity and to lead heterogeneous social environments. Therefore a broadly represented environment sparks innovation through relationships, networking, and dialogue that is essential to a cutting edge economy.

In recent months, OCA has been closely monitoring the court cases involving the affirmative action admissions policy of the University of Texas at Austin. In this case, a former applicant to the University of Texas was denied admission and is currently claiming that the school’s admission policy is inconsistent with the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The United States lower courts have consistently ruled in favor of the admission policy prior its appearance before the Supreme Court.

OCA urges the Supreme Court to rule in favor of the University of Texas. While it is difficult to encompass an entire community with a one-size-fits-all policy, affirmative action has been an essential part of reversing years of discrimination and providing opportunity to those who lack the available resources to succeed. It would be simply disrespectful to ignore the realities of racialized economic disparity among all communities by basing educational standards solely on merit. Such a notion is not realistic. We must have policies that are attuned to evaluative processes based on merit as well as other considerations that affirmative action policies have effectively achieved in engendering equality. Repealing decades of affirmative action policies is dead wrong. We must move forward, not backward. Ending affirmative action is not good for anyone.

OCA’s reaffirmation of its support for affirmative action can only be summarized by President Lyndon B. Johnson who avowed:


"Men and women of all races are born with the same range of abilities. But ability is not just the product of birth. Ability is stretched or stunted by the family that you live with, and the neighborhood you live in—by the school you go to and the poverty or the richness of your surroundings. It is the product of a hundred unseen forces playing upon the little infant, the child, and finally the man.”
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1322 18th St. NW
Washington, DC 20036
 
P: (202) 223-5500 | F: (202) 296-0540 | E: oca@ocanational.org