As a former moderator of the Asian American Students Alliance, I would like to applaud Gordon Siu for astutely pointing out AASA’s misstep in publishing a poverty statistic out of context (“AASA fails to meet its mission,” Feb. 11). AASA indeed missed out on an opportunity to explain how statistics can mask the fact that many facets of the Asian American community continue to be underserved.
But Siu goes too far in saying Yale would be better off if AASA did not exist. Rather, ethnic organizations such as AASA have long been ardent voices for racial equity and social justice on campus, even before the cultural houses came into existence. AASA and other ethnic organizations at Yale have, on many occasions, courageously protested acts of racism and prejudice on campus. Even in recent years, AASA has played an integral role in responding to incidents of violence directed at minority students, the publication of offensive articles in campus publications and hate speech spray-painted onto University property.
It is preposterous to write off AASA’s existence and dismiss its long history of combating intolerance on the basis of one error in judgment. In fact, Siu’s column simply reaffirms the necessity of strong ethnic organizations like AASA to raise awareness about ongoing injustices the Asian American community faces both locally and nationally. I suggest that Siu step up and take a leadership position in AASA; maybe then he’ll see its immense potential as a force for good.
The writer, a former editor of the Yale Daily News Magazine, is a 2007 graduate of Calhoun College and former moderator of the Asian American Students Association.