I’ve experienced anti-Asian prejudice since I was a kid. The first time I ever rode a school bus, my white neighbors leaned across the aisle, stretching their eyes and pantomiming buck teeth amid stifled laughter.
When I was 15, a New York City policeman caught me jaywalking and asked me frankly if I spoke English, expressing surprise when I responded in perfect Newyorkese.
And yes, when I applied to Harvard in 2012, I was told that I might as well subtract 200 points from my SAT score — or just give up entirely. Top universities already had more Asians than they could handle, and I wasn’t different enough to make the cut.
Already then, the anti-Asian bias in elite schools’ admissions was an open secret. One Chinese-American acquaintance confided to me that she was advised not to be “another Asian girl who plays the violin”; Harvard rejected her.