Editor's Note: Emil Guillermo is a journalist and author. He writes for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund and at www.amok.com.
By Emil Guillermo, Special to CNN
(CNN) - Asian-Americans helped build the transcontinental railroad in the 1860s. They are being used again, this time to build the case to destroy something that has transported millions of people of color to a more equitable life in America: affirmative action.
In Fisher v. Texas, which the Supreme Court began hearing Wednesday, Abigail Fisher, the plaintiff, seems to have done remarkably well.
Not bad for a good, but not great, student who failed to qualify for admission to the University of Texas in 2008 under the state's Top Ten Percent Plan.
The plan calls for all students in the top 10% of their graduating classes, regardless of race, to be automatically admitted to state schools. After that, the school fills out its admitting class by considering remaining students on a number of factors - among them, race.
The policy was designed to keep with current law, which allows for affirmative action.
Fisher, who was in the top 12%, didn't make the cut.
Fisher's case is weak. To bolster her claim, she has enlisted the aid of Asian-Americans.
In the main brief of her case, Asian-Americans are mentioned 22 times. Her lawyers argue that the Texas system is race-based and favors blacks and Hispanics over whites and Asians. FULL POST
By Alicia W. Stewart, CNN
(CNN) - In 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order 10925, ordering that federally funded projects "take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin."
Five decades later, a young white woman and a Texas school's admissions policy stand central to a monumental Supreme Court case. The justices began hearing oral arguments Wednesday over the constitutionality of racial preferences in consideration of the students it accepts.
It could change how schools determine whom they let in and whom they keep out.
Justices to re-examine use of race in college admissions
Affirmative action began as a simple idea to expand equality and has morphed into a charged and divisive topic.
What is affirmative action, and how is it different from when it began?
Here are five things to know. What would you add? Let us know in the comments below.
By Moni Basu, CNN
(CNN) – Abigail Fisher argues that the University of Texas unconstitutionally considered race in admitting students, resulting in her exclusion. She sued the university, and on Wednesday, the highest court in the land began hearing the case, reigniting contentious debate on whether a policy of preferences does good or harm.
Should America consider new limits on racial preferences? Or ban them altogether?
Should we be chanting "Long live affirmative action"? Or cheering its death?
A few years ago, in a Supreme Court ruling on school desegregation, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote:
“The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."
Simple enough to say, but, of course, a far more difficult notion to implement. FULL POST
By Monica Attard, CNN
Sydney, Australia (CNN) -"Smoking hot" was how many observers described Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard's blistering attack on sexism and misogyny in the bear pit of Australia's Parliament on Tuesday.
The roar of support from Australian women on Twitter was deafening. So too was their rage when the parliamentary press gallery almost uniformly condemned Gillard's excoriation of the Leader of the Opposition coalition, Tony Abbott, as hypocritical and showing poor political judgment.
For 15 minutes Gillard tore into Abbott before the Australian House of Representatives, the expression on his face going from a wry smile to embarrassment.
The occasion was a highly charged debate on a motion brought by Abbott to sack the Speaker of the House, Peter Slipper. Slipper, a coalition turncoat who helped the government bolster its numbers by taking up the highly paid position last year, stepped aside in April amid allegations of fraud and sexual harassment.
What defines you? Maybe it’s the shade of your skin, the place you grew up, the accent in your words, the make up of your family, the gender you were born with, the intimate relationships you chose to have or your generation? As the American identity changes we will be there to report it. In America is a venue for creative and timely sharing of news that explores who we are. Reach us at email@example.com.
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