To give you a brief background, Malysia is 75% Malyasian and 25% ethnic Chinese, but the Chinese way outperform Malaysians at things such as making money and attending college, in much the way that whites outperform blacks in the United States, with the difference being that the Chinese are the minority in Malaysia.
This situation flies in the face one of the standard explanation for black underperformance in the United States, that discrimination against blacks by the majority prevents them from doing well. In Malaysia, there is legalized discrimination against the Chinese minority, but the Chinese just keep continuing to outperform the Malays.
To the extent that affirmative action is legitimately different than racial discrimination, it should be applied to a majority giving a helping hand to an underperforming minority. To my mind, when the majority discriminates against the minority, that’s just old fashioned racial discrimination like the kind we abolished in the Jim Crow South.
Of course this is interesting because while the majority is institutionally privileged, the minority continues to outperform it. This nicely unpacks two arguments for affirmative action, namely:
We should help consistently underperforming groups at the expense of consistently high-achieving groups.
We should help a discriminated-against minority at the expense of the privileged majority. (In this case, this is even clearer because there is no mistaking systemic discrimination against the Chinese)
So, I ask supporters of affirmative action, what do you think should be done here? Should Malay racial preferences continue, cease, or reverse, to make up for the decades of discrimination against minorities?