Over the last several weeks, the three senators who have had second thoughts about the referendum -- Leland Yee, D-San Francisco; Ted Lieu, D-Torrance; and Carol Liu, D- La Cañada/Flintridge -- said they have received thousands of calls and emails from fearful constituents who believe that any move to favor other ethnic groups could hurt Asian-Americans, who attend many of the state's best schools in large numbers. A Change.org petition to kill the referendum now has more than 100,000 signatures, and email listservs for Chinese-American parents have been flooded with angry posts
Three days ago, the senators sent a formal letter to Assembly Speaker John Perez urging him to stop the bill from advancing any further. "As lifelong advocates for the Asian American and other communities, we would never support a policy that we believed would negatively impact our children," the letter states.
Remember, these are left-wing Democrat politicians, who might normally be expected to support affirmative action schemes. They are refusing, though, to act against the interests of their own children.
Compare this to white American politicians. Would they enact legislation that harmed the prospects of white children? Yes, they have and they would.
There are two angles to this issue. On the one hand, the Asian politicians are clearly more virtuous in having a stronger sense of fidelity to their own children and community. Parents are not supposed to abandon their own children; this relationship is a primary one, based on intergenerational loyalty and support. If it dissolves, then it can't be expected that much will remain of our sense of duty and service to others.
It is currently a major corruption within white culture that the sense of fidelity from one generation to the next is so thin. White parents are relatively good at working hard and responsibly to give their own children a decent upbringing; the failure comes at a public level - that is where the interests of young white people are abandoned.
This is true at various levels, such as the failure to uphold distinctively white communities or a culture of relationships, marriage and family. I'm starting to see it even in a lack of concern for the economic conditions young white people are experiencing. I know young people who are being left with massive student debt (partly because they are forced now to complete their studies to an MA standard), who then have to find work in a highly competitive job market and who are then priced out of the housing market (out of control here in Melbourne). There doesn't seem to be much sympathy for them from older generations who, in general, had an easier launch into adult life.
And the second angle from which to see this issue? Supposedly, Asian culture can be too limited to fidelity at the level of family - something which fosters an attitude of nepotism. It's a good thing about Western culture that there developed a sense of public service as well - service to the larger community and not just to one's family.
To fix things up we need to hold onto our strength (a commitment to public service) but overcome our weakness (a lack of fidelity at a public level to our children and community). Read again the words of the three Asian-American Democrats: "We would never support a policy that we believed would negatively impact our children." That should also exist in the conscience of our own representatives.