How does race affect admissions to top-tier schools?

<p>A lot of people say that being of a specific ethnicity (e.g., Asian-American) is an "anti-hook" when applying to any top schools. I was looking at the common application and I found that the section for entering one's background is optional, so how would this even have an effect?</p>

<p>Many names can be identified as Asian-American.</p>