Challenges to affirmative action are not about “fairness”.

Ali M Collins
3 min readNov 3, 2022


Edward Blum is the man behind two recent cases before the Supreme Court challenging #AffirmativeAction.

The co-authors of the amicus brief signed by over 1240 social scientists supporting diversity and race-conscious admissions. Professor Janelle Wong, Mike Hoa Nguyen, and Dr. OiYan Poon

The very same arguments being employed to challenge race-conscious admission at elite universities are used to justify segregated academic tracking and “merit” enrollment at elite high schools.

In fact, proponents of “merit” enrollment at elite high schools like Lowell High School in San Francisco and Thomas Jefferson High School in Fairfax Co, VA were physically present in Washington D.C. and spoke just after Edward Blum during a rally before the hearings.

Photo 92305525 © Rawpixelimages |

Lowell graduate and founder of Friends of Lowell Foundation Lee Cheng was also involved in previous litigation challenging Harvard’s admission practices. Cheng has a long history of fighting against civil rights. He once stated:

“These organizations, which all came of age largely as the ‘yellow’ affiliates of the NAACP and civil rights establishment.”

Blum has a long history of finding plaintiffs and matching them with conservative lawyers. You may remember the previous affirmative action case that Blum brought before the Supreme Court. The plaintiff’s name was Abigail Fisher.

Blum also heavily backed litigation seeking to dismantle the Voting Rights Act.

This time around, Blum is using conservative Asian Americans to dismantle Affirmative Action. In doing so, he is creating conflict within Asian American communities (who overwhelmingly support the policy.)

As you can see from the graph above, this is an attempt to drive a wedge between Asian American communities and other communities of color. In fact, many Asian American students and alumni organizations showed up in Washington D.C. rallies last weekend to counter these false narratives and show support for Affirmative Action which they see as necessary for the university to meet its educational goals.

Make no mistake, Asian American plaintiffs may serve as the face of this recent attack on racial progress but this is just another well-financed effort to dismantle civil rights gains brought about post-Brown v. Board of Education. And roll back other civil rights gains.

This is also part of the broader campaign by those who seek to “take back” our country to a time when black Latinx and non-Black people of color were not afforded full-citizenship rights as Americans.

If Blum and other conservatives right-wing activists truly cared about ALL students having fair access to elite universities, including low-income white and Asian Americans, they would be targeting “affirmative action” admissions for athletes, donors, legacy and staff (ALDS).

ALDS admissions comprise a disproportionately large percentage of white Harvard students:

“43% of white students are legacy, athletes, related to donors or staff. The number drops dramatically for black, Latino and Asian American students with less than 16% each coming from those categories.”

If “merit” is fair, and race-conscious admissions are “racist” against Asian American students, why isn’t Blum suing Harvard over legacy admissions?

For more info: Please follow the amazing educators, researchers who wrote the amicus briefs in these cases. As well as the hashtag #AffirmOpportunity



Ali M Collins

mom of twins. education nerd. public school warrior. reformed cat-lady. amateur urbanist. social justice addict. BLERD. & most recently Board of Ed Commissioner