SVCA Letter to Governor Brown on AB1726
Honorable Governor Brown:
Despite the strong opposition from many Asian American organizations, California legislature passed AB1726 (Bonta) this month. AB1726, in essence, is a duplicate of AB176 (Bonta) that you vetoed last year. We applaud your previous decision and we urge that you take the same action this time again.
Regrettably, AB1726 is equally divisive, unfair, unscientific, and infeasible. We believe that your concern over its predecessor bill AB176 holds true in this current case: “Dividing people into ethnic or other subcategories may yield more information, but not necessarily greater wisdom about what actions should follow. To focus just on ethnic identity may not be enough.”
AB1726 is clearly divisive and unfair. It does not stipulate the collection of similar racial data from any group other than the Asian Americans Pacific Islanders. The bill, for example, does not require Cuban Americans, or Mexican Americans to report their ethnicities other than the generic “Hispanic.” Similarly, it does not require Jewish Americans, Arab Americans or Irish American to report ethnicities other than the generic “White.” It is indisputable that those sub-groups within the Hispanics and Whites are ethnically and culturally diverse. Singling out Asian Americans for stratification is not only unfair to Asian Americans, but also to all Americans.
AB1726 is unscientific. It confuses ethnicities with national origins. For instance, China as a country officially recognizes 56 ethnic groups among its citizens, including, for example, Korean, Hmong, Muslim and Mongolian. So identifying oneself as “Chinese” or “Taiwanese” doesn’t disclose that person’s true ethnic and cultural background. Furthermore, the impact of the citizenship of one’s ancestry -- and in many cases multiple citizenships within the family tree -- is not necessarily a deciding factor of that person’s genetic makeup, or socioeconomic situation and educational status. Therefore, such stratification tactic encoded by AB1726 wouldn’t have been a useful factor in allocating educational or health resources of California.
In addition to all the problems above, this bill cannot be realistically implemented. Besides putting substantial costs on California taxpayers, the system is not intended to, nor is it able to, monitor and verify the accuracy and integrity of the self-identified data generated under this bill.
California does not need a bill that could only divide our communities. California does not need more heightened racial tensions. Please veto AB1726.