Media Advisory: SEARAC joins hundreds of Asian American leaders to protect and promote data disaggregration

August 10, 2017

Mari Quenemoen, 202-601-2970

SEARAC Joins Broad AAPI Coalition to Protect Data Disaggregation from Divisive Tactics

This week, SEARAC joined the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans as part of 77 organizations, 180 community leaders, 105 students, and nearly 500 educators across the country in reaffirming our commitment to serving the diverse needs of our Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
We are deeply alarmed by recent opposition to the collection of detailed data on Asian Americans, with opponents comparing it to data collected by Nazi Germany to persecute Jews and single them out for genocide.
For over three decades, East Asian, South Asian, Southeast Asian American, and Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander leaders have called for detailed data collection to better serve AAPI populations in need. We have found time and again that detailed and accurate data collections — from the U.S. Census Bureau and other federal agencies, to state and local agencies in health, education, and other issues — are essential to helping our communities in need.
As researchers, educators, advocacy organizations, and community leaders, we strive to understand the challenges faced by our student populations, and to serve and support their varied educational needs. We cannot do this without high-quality data.
For example, Cambodian, Laotian, Native Hawaiian, and Samoan Americans have among the lowest rates of graduation from community college. Mental health issues also vary across the Asian American population, with some groups such as Chinese American women showing higher rates of suicide than other Asian American groups. High-quality, detailed data is essential to understanding student challenges in all communities, and is vital to securing public and private resources to help students in need.
To compare the current effort to collect data on Asian Americans to the tactics of Nazi Germany is deceitful and misrepresentative of the goals and desires of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.
Historically, Asian Americans, including Chinese Americans, have been at the forefront of calls for detailed data collection. The purpose of these data is not to single-out a group for persecution or surveillance, but to recognize and support all segments of our community, and to ensure that all students count in education.
As community organizations, educators, and leaders, we believe it is imperative to continue the push for high-quality, detailed data that can serve the diverse needs of our Asian American and Pacific Islander students.
The list of signatories to the open letters can be found here:
  1. Educators
  2. Organizations and community leaders
  3. Students