• Viviane Nguyen

Potential to Check “Vietnamese” Box,State Bill Aims to Desegregate Asian American Data


As an Asian American, where is the box to identify oneself as Vietnamese, Hmong, or other groups?

Currently, there are only two categories to choose from: Asian American and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander. AB 1726, or the Accounting for Health and Education in API Demographics Act (AHEAD), would include these other groups under “Asian American” and require the collection of data on more groups by higher education and public health institutions.

The bill sparked controversy in the Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Supporters claim that desegregated data by ethnicity can help better expose disparities in health care and education. Opponents point out AB 1726 singles out Asian Americans as the only group for desegregation and dividing up the AAPI community.

Authored by Democratic Assemblyman Rob Bonta, the amended version of the bill was passed unanimously in California’s Senate and will head to Governor Jerry Brown for signing. If signed, “Vietnamese” will be one of the boxes available for self-identification.

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Viviane Nguyen She is a lover of politics. She has researched and worked in different levels of government in San Jose, Sacramento, Washington D.C., and Thailand. She is motivated to highlight issues impacting the Vietnamese-American community and Asian American communities at large. She was formerly a Cal-in-Sacramento Fellow at UC Berkeley and notably a Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow at the Goldman School of Public Policy. She wants to write to show why politics, especially in 2016, is important.

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