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Opinion: Asian-Americans a wedge against affirmative action
Emil Guillermo questions why Asian-Americans are being used in case on racial preference in admissions.
October 10th, 2012
08:00 PM ET

Opinion: Asian-Americans a wedge against affirmative action

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

Opinion: Filipino-American nurses' language lawsuit a civil rights victory for all
Filipino-American nurses in California recently won a discrimination lawsuit.
September 24th, 2012
01:20 PM ET

Opinion: Filipino-American nurses' language lawsuit a civil rights victory for all

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) - To the average American, the name Wilma Lamug may not have any meaning at all. But to the more than 3 million people in the Filipino-American community, the name could some day be as important as that of Rosa Parks.

Lamug and 68 other nurses in California’s Central Valley have achieved a major victory in their two-year language discrimination fight against the Delano Regional Medical Center. Without admitting guilt, the medical facility has agreed to undergo anti-discrimination training and monitoring, and more importantly, pay out a settlement to the nurses of nearly $1 million, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The nurses’ advocates at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center call the deal the largest language discrimination settlement in the U.S. health care industry.

Some might be very familiar with discrimination based on skin color or an ethnic look - but based on language or accented English? Some people - especially those who feel that English and only English should be spoken in America - might lack sympathy.

If that’s you, the case of the Filipino nurses of Delano, California, is instructive to understand how language discrimination can lead to a hostile workplace, one that’s unhealthy and illegal. FULL POST