Phi Beta Cons

Asians & Preferences

It may be relevant to note that some Asians do take preferences in government contracts, and ask for preferences, or even sue for them, where they feel underrepresented. Rochelle Sharpe, “Asian‑Americans Gain Sharply in Big Program of Affirmative Action,” Wall Street Journal, September 9, 1997 (not online as far as I can tell), says that affirmative action helped Asian American-owned businesses more than double their share of contracts in a ten-year period, going from 10.5 percent of contracts in 1986 to 23.7 percent of contracts in 1996. This refers to the $6 billion dollars in government contracts reserved for businesses that control little capital, even though Asian-American firms are actually better capitalized than those started by whites, and their owners have more education.
Also, from a website called Focus on Affirmative Action:  

    • In trades like policework, firefighting, and contracting, Asian Pacific Americans are aided tremendously by affirmative action. The case of the San Francisco Fire Department is instructive. As a study by Gabriel J. Chin, Sumi Cho, Jerry Kang & Frank Wu shows:
      In 1974, the San Francisco Fire Department had only four APAs out of 1800 firefighters. As a result of court-ordered affirmative action plan, the Department now has 174 APAs. As explained by firefighter Captain Bernie Lee, “without affirmative action . . . Asian Pacific Americans would not have had the opportunity to enter in such large numbers.”

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