Op-Ed: I’m an Asian American Harvard grad. Affirmative action helped me.
I am an Asian American Harvard student, and I am proud to be one of the top students in my class. I have an Ivy League degree from Cambridge, with honors in both mathematics and physics, and I was elected to the Harvard Board of Overseers, which helps faculty members find and hire the best students.
I grew up with a loving family who took pride in me and my accomplishments, so I took this opportunity to build on those opportunities. I am the first Asian American in my family to earn an undergraduate degree and was the first Asian American to graduate from Harvard. I was also the first Asian American in my family to graduate from college. Although I attended school over the course of three semesters instead of one, I still managed to graduate in three years.
I am proud to be an Asian American because of affirmative action, because even though some Asian American students come from middle-class families, affirmative action has helped me.
Affirmative action has been an issue in higher education for over a hundred years, but it has only been for the last few decades that it has become a political issue.
Here’s how it works. In the past three decades, America has seen a shift in how universities do business.
When colleges and universities were still primarily private institutions and not publicly funded, students had a wide array of choices. Colleges and universities could offer free tuition and scholarships to those who could work to pay for them — or students could study for free and get financial aid.
By the 1980s, there was significant pressure on college costs and the state of higher education. Private institutions began to provide less and less financial aid, and there was less room for financial aid to increase. Many universities began to hire “staff” to help with fundraising.
In the 1990s, a different political debate took hold in politics and the American public.
The politics of affirmative action