Don’t we have equal opportunity already?

No. But you be the judge. (1) Academic administrators are predominantly drawn from faculty and professionals in universities. The ratio of the number of administrative personnel to the number of faculty plus professional could attest to whether Asian Americans have been discriminated. Nationwide, that ratio for blacks (non-Hispanic) is 0.21; for Native Americans is 0.20; for whites (non-Hispanic) is 0.16; for Hispanics is 0.15, using data provided by National Center for Education Statistics, US Department of Education. However, it is only 0.06 for Asian Americans. In other words, Asian-American faculty and professionals in institutions of higher education institutions have only one third the opportunity to rise into management as all other Americans. Bear in mind that the academic world is where Asian Americans contributed greatly — seven Nobel Laureates in 4 decades.

(2) Statistics from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission show that in companies with over 38,000 employees, Asian Americans are the only minority group that is disproportionately under-represented in managerial positions.

(3) President Clinton promised in 1994 to make his Cabinet “look like America itself.” To his credit, he appointed women, blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans to cabinet and sub-cabinet positions. However, of the 250 such positions that are at or above the rank of assistant secretary, he appointed only one Asian American to be an assistant secretary. One Asian American out of every 250 Americans is not the demography of America: we are nine out of every 250 Americans. When Clinton and Gore campaigned for their second term, their emissaries worked the Asian American community hard. They urged us to contribute generously so that they could, after the election, help us achieve equal opportunity. The Asian Americans responded most generously, some too generously. Asian Americans voted slightly more Democratic for the first time in decades. However, when the election was over and the John Huang scandal ballooned, promises of inclusion and equal opportunity were forgotten. The same pattern of token appointment for Asian Americans continued – one assistant secretary and one acting assistant attorney general were appointed. And of the 845 serving federal judges, only 6 are Asian Americans.

If Asian Americans were grossly under-represented in only one of the above three categories of leadership positions, or if Asian Americans were under-represented in all 3 categories, but only slightly so, there might be more subtle explanations that account for such facts. However, when Asian Americans are grossly under-represented in all three categories and are the only minority group to bear that fate, we think the facts speak for themselves. We must stand up and be counted. We must have the courage to take corrective measures. Our plan of action will help us and our children gain equal opportunity. Indeed, our efforts will help make America “a more perfect Union.”

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