Giving Compass' Take:

• Launched in 2011, WeChat first gained traction among immigrants who used it to stay in touch with relatives and keep up on current events in mainland China. In this sense, WeChat allows Chinese American users to feel at once more Chinese and more American. And this dual empowerment helped enable the Chinese American uprising against affirmative action.

• How can donors and philanthropist create or support apps such as WeChat to end affirmative action for other genders / races?

• Learn more about Asian-American opposition to affirmative action. 

OiYan Poon stumbled upon WeChat largely by accident.

Poon is a professor at Colorado State University who studies the racial politics of higher education. For years she had consistently found that most Asian Americans supported affirmative action, but in 2014, something surprised her: A fledgling network of politically savvy Asian Americans had derailed a Democrat-backed ballot initiative in California that would’ve rescinded the state’s long-standing ban on race-conscious admissions. These activists—with their loud, recurring demonstrations, scathing op-eds, pro-Republican canvassing, and roundtable discussions on Chinese-language talk shows—had materialized unexpectedly, at least to Poon.

Determined to learn more, Poon in 2016 took to her typical research methods—convening a team of students and colleagues to help her pore through court filings, news stories, social-media posts, and the like—in an effort to track these dissenters down. But the few activists who did have an online footprint didn’t respond to Poon’s inquiries. The professor continued to flounder until she took the advice of an acquaintance and opened an account on WeChat, the popular messaging app based in China. The virtual gathering place was a hub for these activists.

Read more about the ending affirmative action app WeChat by Alia Wong at The Atlantic.