Bill that creates Asian subgroups on education, health care forms causing backlash

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Some Asian Americans are outraged over proposed state legislation that would require Asians to fill out their specific ethnicity on higher education and state health care forms.

Some Asian Americans are outraged over proposed state legislation that would require Asians to fill out their specific ethnicity on higher education and state health care forms.

"It's wrong to sub-divide people and it creates tension, and nobody benefits from this, it's dangerous, this is totally racist," said Jim Yan, a Piedmont resident.

Despite the diversity of California's large Asian-American and Pacific Islander populations, state agencies only break down demographic data for a few of the major Asian groups.

Assembly Bill 1726 would require higher education institutions and public health agencies to collect more data from additional AAPI groups across California.

"In the future, they might use that data to make some of the policies that are going to target sub categories of Asian Americans," said Ruhua You of Sunnyvale.

Not so, says Oakland Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D), who sponsored the bill.

"Some of these folks might be misled, and I believe their concerns are misdirected, this is a bill about supporting and embracing the AAPI community, and the diverse communities of our state," said Bonta.

Bonta believes, by failing to measure a large portion of the AAPI population, California is unable to track the progress of the most disadvantaged segments of that population.

"I think more information is better, more data is more helpful, and the more we know, the more informed our decisions can be," he said.

San Jose State University sociology professor Hien Do, has been asking for this type of data for years. He says it's important to not lump all Asian Americans into the same group.

"If we are saying that we are a diverse university, a diverse community, a diverse society, and we have resources that are limited, who should we target, and why?" asked Do.

The assembly Committee on Health is expected to review the bill in the coming weeks.

If passed, the full assembly could vote on it later this spring.
Related Topics:
newsracial profilingracismdiversityasian americancalifornia state assemblycalifornia legislationeducationhealth carecivil rightscensusSan Jose State University
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