President Biden has spoken out forcefully against anti-Asian racism, but the sincerity of his words is called into question by his administration's decision to drop a lawsuit against Yale University for allegedly discriminating against Asian applicants, advocates tell Fox News.
Biden has been outspoken against racism targeting Asian Americans, such as taking aim at China-linked terms for COVID-19 as well as declaring his administration stood with the Asian American community on the National Day of Action and Healing "in the face of rising violence."
But shortly after Biden took office the Department of Justice dropped the anti-discrimination case against Yale launched under President Trump, which advocates say raises questions about the administration's sincerity on combating anti-Asian racism.
Rep. Michelle Steel, R-Calif., one of the first two Korean American women elected to Congress, told Fox News that the DOJ would have pursued the Yale case if the administration was "serious about combating anti-Asian hate."
"The Biden administration’s decision to drop the Yale lawsuit is totally wrong and sets a dangerous precedent," said Steel. "If the administration is serious about combating anti-Asian hate, that includes protecting the AAPI community from discrimination in the halls of our schools and universities."
"Students of all backgrounds should have the opportunity to compete on an equal playing field," Steel added. "This type of behavior is only hurting future generations from being able to achieve their American dream."
Kenny Xu, author of the upcoming book "An Inconvenient Minority," told Fox News that the Biden administration is trying to "portray Asian Americans as a group that is victimized by White supremacy."
"But when it comes to actual policy objectives, they drop the lawsuit against Yale for actual discrimination against Asian Americans," wrote Xu. "And the reason why is because Asian Americans simply are a low priority for the Biden administration."
Xu said that "in the eyes of educational progressives," Asian Americans are seen as a "privileged group" because they are achieving academically and "study twice as hard as the average American."
"So the Biden administration really has to deal with that," Xu added.
The author also torched Vice President Kamala Harris for prioritizing "racial equity" within the Biden administration.
"What that means is that she wants the ratios of the races to be balanced," said Xu. "And Asian Americans are seen as over-represented in these Ivy League schools because they make up 20% of Ivy League Schools, and that is with discrimination."
Xu predicted that the Biden administration "will only further try to lower the number of Asian students at these universities and at these specialized high schools."
Asian Americans "definitely inconvenience" the political narrative "with regards to race because we are a minority, we have been historically discriminated against," Xu said.
"But because we were able to work hard and achieve at a level that we do in academic excellence, now the progressives, especially within the Biden administration, are targeting us for their diversity culling," he added. "So it does present, I think, an inconvenience to the narrative that if you're a minority, you have to be correct, and if you're White, you have to be privileged."
Edward Blum, president of Students for Fair Admissions, told Fox News that the "lawsuit against Yale was meticulously researched and executed by the Department of Justice" and added that his organization’s members were "very disappointed when the case was dropped by the new administration." Students for Fair Admissions is an advocacy group suing Harvard University over alleged racial bias against Asian Americans in the admissions process.
Devon Westhill, president and general counsel for the Center for Equal Opportunity, called the DOJ’s dropping of the lawsuit hypocritical in a statement to Fox News. The nonprofit center, which aims to "study, develop and disseminate ideas that promote colorblind equal opportunity and nondiscrimination in America," has spoken out on their website about the Harvard lawsuit.
"The failure of the Biden administration to fully embrace an anti-discriminatory agenda is infuriating many, including Asian American citizens," said Westhill. "The hypocrisy is obvious and painful."
The White House pointed Fox News to a fact sheet that outlined different things the Biden administration is doing to combat discrimination against Asian Americans, including "reinvigorating the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, with initial focus on anti-Asian bias and violence" and starting "a Department of Justice cross-agency initiative to address anti-Asian violence."
"It’s so important to not excuse systemic racism, like racial preferences in college admittance or hiring, and marking Asian Americans as ‘less likable’ in certain college admission metrics," said Mark Ang, the president of the California nonprofit Asian Industry B2B, which develops pro-business activities and initiatives and is part of the coalition.
At a press conference Tuesday, Ang said he believes that much of the anti-Asian violence is rooted in attitudes toward affirmative action programs. "When you say ‘let’s take merit out of the equation and let’s judge people by the color of their skin,’ that’s when you start seeing the increased violence," he added.
In February, the DOJ elected to drop the anti-discrimination suit against Yale University, where it was alleged the Ivy League school discriminated against Asian and White applicants during the admissions process.
After the lawsuit was dropped, Yale University spokesperson Karen Peart told Fox News that the school was "gratified" that the DOJ ditched the suit and said they were "also pleased that the Justice Department has withdrawn its notice of violation of Title VI and its notice of noncompliance."
A DOJ spokesperson told Fox News that the lawsuit had gotten dropped "in light of all available facts, circumstances and legal developments." He added that the DOJ’s "underlying investigation to ensure Title VI compliance is ongoing."
Rep. Young Kim, R-Calif., who is also one of the pioneering Korean American women in Congress, eviscerated Biden in a press release after the suit was dropped in February, blasting his administration as "uncommitted."
"President Biden says he wants to bring unity, promote equality and allow for diverse perspectives in the national conversation," wrote Kim. "However, between dropping a lawsuit seeking to protect Asian Americans against discrimination in higher education and failing to appoint any Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders to his cabinet, the Biden administration appears uncommitted."
Kim said all people deserve "to be judged on their merits and not discriminated against because of their heritage, race or background."
The lawsuit was initially filed by the Trump administration DOJ last October and alleged that Yale’s "oversized, standardless, intentional use of race has subjected domestic, non-transfer applicants to Yale College to discrimination on the ground of race."
Fox News’ Cameron Cawthorne, Caitlin McFall and Kelly Laco contributed to this report.