Donald Trump’s Department of Justice and a group of 20,000 unnamed and unknown Asian-Americans who call themselves Students for Fair Admissions are suing Harvard University in federal court in Boston seeking to strike down affirmative action at colleges and universities. They claim Harvard discriminated against Asian-Americans when it rejected them but accepted African-Americans (Blacks) who they perceived as “less qualified.” In 2017, Harvard had its most diverse class in the University’s 380 year existence—50.8 percent of Harvard’s entering freshmen were from nonwhite ethnic groups. Although Asians (including people from China, East India, Korea and Vietnam) make up only 5.6 percent of the total U.S. population, they made up the largest percentage, 22.2 percent, of nonwhites admitted to Harvard. Blacks made up 14.6 percent of Harvard’s 2017 incoming freshman class, and we are 13 percent of the U.S. population.
I can’t blame this suit on them being “millennials.” To me, the Asian-American plaintiffs, including students and parents of students denied admission into Harvard, are just plain greedy and selfish. They are also again trying to perpetuate the stereotype that they are inherently more intelligent, more qualified, more entitled than Blacks when it is absolutely not true. Although little is known about the plaintiffs, more is known about the SFFA’s leader, Ed Blum, a white, male anti-race activist who reeks of nationalism. Blum challenged race aspects of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which gave Blacks the right to vote, and he won, resulting in increased racial gerrymandering and voter suppression. However, Blum brought a similar affirmative action lawsuit against the University of Texas, using a white woman, Abigail Fisher, and he lost. If these plaintiffs can’t see they, too, are being pawned, pimped and used by this white man, Blum, then they don’t belong at Harvard.
In its defense, Harvard admits to using race as one factor in its admissions process, but for the benefit of all to strive to achieve diversity.
“To become leaders in our diverse society, students must have the ability to work with people from different backgrounds, life experiences, and perspectives,” said Rachael Dane, a Harvard representative
Kudos to Harvard. Because no matter how many businesses Asians open in Black areas, they cannot replicate the Black experience, and they certainly do not return to help serve and give back, thereby uplifting our community as many of us do.
Affirmative action was enacted for Blacks pursuant to the 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution. This case threatens admissions policies and could strike down affirmative action not just at Harvard but at every college and university throughout the country and at every level, including graduate, medical, law, Ph.D. and other postgraduate programs. The present makeup of the Supreme Court would pose a potential “danger” to the future of affirmative action. Also, 60 Asian-American associations support this case. Blacks are harmed by this lawsuit, and every Asian stands to benefit from it.
This case is like a slap in the face. Blacks have been completely loyal to the Asian-American community and overwhelmingly support their businesses. Survey the urban and metropolitan landscape throughout this country and who are their customers: not whites and certainly not Asians. It’s Black consumers, and in many areas, we are Asian-owned businesses’ sole lifeline although not hired to work in them. We (Blacks) pour our hard-earned money into Asian-owned businesses so they (Asians) can send their children to schools such as Harvard. Yet, Asian-Americans and the Justice Department are trying to destroy opportunities for our African-American (Black) children to attend those same schools. Furthermore, by supporting Asian-owned businesses, Blacks help them send their children to private elementary, middle and high schools, whereas oftentimes, our own children attend public schools. What is worst, the legal fees for the lawyers representing the Asian-Americans are being paid for by donations from businesses and merchants that Blacks help support!
Moreover, despite Blacks’ loyalty, the trend of mistreatment by Asian merchants of Blacks seems to be on the rise. There’s no shortage on YouTube of Blacks, especially women and girls, who have endured beatings with brooms and other objects; being punched, kicked, refused service for no reason; subjected to blatant racism and disrespect; being falsely accused and lied on to the police and others; and even being shot and killed by female and male Asian merchants, business owners and their employees. And let’s not mention the lack of respect, support and patronage by Asians of Black businesses. Yet, that is the thanks we get. Our individual rights don’t count.
Because of the Harvard lawsuit and for these reasons, I founded Black Money Matters just last month (November 2018) to remind Black people to support Black-owned businesses. Black Money Matters is a not-for-profit social action coalition, the primary focus of which is to emphasize, promote and raise awareness and consciousness about Black economic empowerment. Our motto is, “Buy Black at All Cost.” Black Money Matters will also address and seek short- and long-term initiatives where law and economics converge that negatively affect the Black community, as in this case. Urge people of all ethnicities, including Asian, to sign the petition to dismiss this divisive, frivolous, dangerous lawsuit immediately. The petition is located at https://campaigns.organizefor.org/p/BMMBuyBlack or a link on our website at www.blackmoneymatters.org. My hope, vision and mission is to inform as many people as possible about this case, to raise awareness of our spending in the Asian community and to encourage Black people to seek out, buy from, patronize, support and create Black-owned businesses instead of funneling money outside of our community to businesses that support this lawsuit.
A Baltimore Sun newspaper article about Asian business owners contributing $20,000 to Mayor Catherine Pugh’s campaign fund is very timely and enlightening vis-a-vis this case. As is proven, documented and noted by Pugh, Asian-owned businesses, including taverns, liquor stores, bars and carryouts, have been a major contributor to urban communities’ blight and drug activity. There’s certainly a connection. Unfortunately, Blacks have become so accustomed to sub-par treatment from Asian-owned businesses that we don’t demand more from them. For example, at Corner Carryout in my neighborhood at York Road and Woodbourne Avenue, on any given day, Black people are lined out of the door, but the business is devoid of any Black employees. Incidentally, the owner’s name is Kim, a common Korean surname. Also on any given day, as I drive from east to west at the crack of dawn to catch the West Baltimore MARC train, Black people are either lined up, outside dancing or crossing Fulton at Pennsylvania Avenue, competing with rush-hour traffic to make their way through the assembled crowd to Red Fox Tavern or the liquor store, its next door neighbor. How can that be good for our children, who have to pass by this degradation as they walk to the elementary school one block away? And how does a liquor store being open at 6 a.m. improve the outlook or quality of life for my (the Black) community?
Also, as the Sun aptly covered, the same type of activity goes on at Oxford Tavern Bar, which I bypass as I travel from West to East Baltimore in the evening. Incidentally, each corner of that intersection (North and Fulton avenues) has either a liquor store or a carryout. And before I reach it, I bypass others, including Little Lantern House Chinese Carryout, which is no more than a small area with a boarded up window, dirty floor, four empty dirty walls and a 2 x 4 sheet of Plexiglas. Accordingly, I wholeheartedly support any initiative by Mayor Pugh and others against renewal and revocation of these liquor or food prep licenses.
Black spending (consumerism) was projected to be $1.3 trillion in 2017 and projected to be $1.5 trillion by 2021. We contribute millions of dollars into the Asian (including Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean and East Indian) community on a daily if not hourly basis, both in store and with online purchases including nail salons, liquor stores, gas stations, Chinese and other food restaurants and carryouts, beauty supply businesses, extension and weave hair purchases, clothing and apparel stores, eyelash and eyebrow services, convenience stores, Dunkin’ Donuts and grocery stores.
By continuing to support Asian-owned businesses in our community, even before our own businesses, it’s as if we’re shooting ourselves in the foot and, ultimately, contributing to our own economic, social and intellectual demise. Here’s a thought: Boycott all Asian-owned businesses, purchases and services, both in-store and online. Blacks must wield our economic power as leverage to fight back and send a resounding message.
Blacks must rethink this apparent one-way relationship between Blacks and the Asian-American community. We (Blacks) must be strategic in our spending and stop pouring money into communities where Blacks are not appreciated and our money is not valued. And as a Black woman, I refuse to sit and watch rights that our ancestors fought, bled, cried and died for in a country we’ve helped build beginning centuries ago be swiftly taken away without a fight.
We must take action now!
Martina D. Evans is founder of Black Money Matters.