The White House invited Korean pop group BTS to speak on the issue of Asian American hate.
The issues facing Asian Americans have received national attention following disclosures that hate crimes targeting Asians have increased by 339% since 2020.
But behind the scenes, the Biden Administration has attempted to thwart an Asian American civil rights battle underway at the Supreme Court, complicating the White House’s goal to appear as an ally to that community.
“Hi, we’re BTS, and it is a great honor to be invited to the White House today to discuss the important issues of anti-Asian hate crimes, Asian inclusion, and diversity,” said group leader RM.
“We were devastated by the recent surge of hate crimes, including Asian American hate crimes. To put a stop to this and support the cause, we’d like to take this opportunity to voice ourselves once again. We are here today thanks to our army — our fans worldwide — who have different nationalities and cultures and use different languages.”
Another member of the group said they “joined the White House to stand with” the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.
Last year, BTS released a statement on the rising crime targeting Asians:
#StopAsianHate Korean boy group BTS gave their stand on the current rising attacks against Asians.
— SunStar Cebu (@sunstarcebu) March 30, 2021
Students for Fair Admissions, an anti-affirmative-action organization that represents more than 20,000 students, is asking the Supreme Court to overturn precedents that allow schools to weigh an applicant’s race during the admissions process. The majority of students represented by SFFA are Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
However, they now find themselves on the opposite side of a legal battle that Biden’s team has weighed in on.
Two lower courts previously ruled against SFFA after their litigation against Harvard began in 2014, prompting the student advocacy group to appeal to SCOTUS.
In 2003, justices weighed in on the issue of race and higher education in the landmark Grutter v. Bollinger case, which allowed the University of Michigan Law School to factor race into admissions. SFFA would like the court to overturn this decision.
However, the Biden Administration told the court that they would prefer if they refused to hear the case on affirmative action. In a brief submitted as amicus curiae, the Biden government said that SFFA’s petition should be denied, arguing that “the educational benefits of diversity may qualify as a compelling interest because a university may conclude that those benefits are ‘essential to its educational mission.'”
They further argued that Harvard approaches the issue of affirmative action without “the use of quotas or racial balancing.”
“At Harvard, race matters more than every other diversity factor and all but the most elusive academic and extracurricular factors,” a 99-page filing submitted by SFFA said.
They added that Harvard does not just use race as a “plus to achieve overall diversity” but implements a racial balancing program through its “personal rating” score.
On the one hand, the Biden Administration has spoken out against overt and violent discrimination against Asians. On the other, they remain skeptical about Asians being discriminated against as they make their way through the education system.