Editor’s note: This column has been revised at the author’s request to more accurately reflect her views and provide more context on the issues discussed.
There is a trend that has been sweeping college campuses for years: affirmative action bake sales, in which college Republican and conservative organizations sell baked goods at a rather unique price point.
A cookie will cost you $2 if you are White, $1.50 if you’re Asian, $1 if you are Hispanic or Latino, $0.75 if you are black and so on. The overall purpose is to spark a conversation about affirmative action admission policies in a somewhat avant-garde manner.
The Obama administration has recently backed affirmative action policies in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of Fisher v. University of Texas, which challenged the University of Texas’s admission policies.
In today’s society, one cannot talk about race and discrimination unless it is talking about so-called “white privilege.” Talking about the negative consequences of affirmative action will instantly have one labeled as a “racist” or “bigot.”
All that these groups peddling cookies want is to start a conversation about affirmative action policies in college admissions. University officials have shut down many groups attempting to have said bake sales, the same way political correctness police attack our politicians and pundits.
Avoiding this very important conversation is detrimental to all involved.
There are many arguments both for and against affirmative action. The primary argument for affirmative action is that many black Americans face disadvantages while growing up.
High rates of homicide, poverty and drug abuse all amount to a negative environment for youth in poor inner-city neighborhoods, many of whom are African American.
If we practice affirmative action on a socioeconomic level, by default all of these children will receive preferential treatment, as they should – not because they are minorities, but because they do not have the same advantages that middle-class or upper middle-class students do.
By creating admission policies purely on a socioeconomic basis, we are truly able to help all economically disadvantaged students, not just some of a certain race. In addition, we close the loophole for preferential treatment for middle class or upper middle-class ethnic minorities.
The primary problem with affirmative action is that it does not help minorities. Practicing diversity only for a select ethnic group is discrimination against said ethnic group.
Many Asian-American high school students are not marking “Asian” on their college applications, fearing that it would hurt their chances for admission to elite schools. Asian Americans comprise roughly 5 percent of the population. Meanwhile, black Americans comprise 13 percent of the population. Traditionally successful ethnic minorities do not count when it comes to college admissions. If the purpose of affirmative action is to increase diversity in schools, why should it not benefit all ethnic minority groups?
Some argue that the reason we need affirmative action is because many minority students are not able to afford SAT prep courses and other luxuries. This is true, but it does not apply to simply one race.
Affirmative action does not factor in one’s socioeconomic standing. There are many white, Asian and non-Hispanic students who are just as economically disadvantaged as many black or Latino students, while some individuals of these races come from upper middle class households.
Josh Romney, the son of former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and his wife just adopted a black child. These are the students who will not need special policies to succeed.
Higher education institutions should seek out low-income or disadvantaged students, but they need to be open and transparent about it, and race should not be a factor.
The saddest aspect about affirmative action is it belittles minorities. It makes them think that they should be defined by the color of their skin, not, as Martin Luther King, Jr. put it, the content of their character. It relays a message to ethnic minorities that they are entitled to something simply based on the color of their skin and they need affirmative action to succeed.
I spoke with Judith Reisman, a law professor at Liberty University who has written extensively about affirmative action policies.
She said she remembers speaking to a black doctor once who shared with her, “I am so sad. People will always doubt me and wonder if I am a good doctor, or if I got here because of affirmative action.”
Ben Carson, a black pediatric neurosurgeon, told Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday, “I was asked once by an NPR reporter why I don’t talk about race that often. I said, ‘It’s because I’m a neurosurgeon.’ You see, when I take someone to the operating room and I peel down the scalp. … I’m operating on the thing that makes the person who they are. It’s not the cover that makes them who they are. When are we going to understand that?”
Diversity comes from unique backgrounds, opinions and thoughts, religion, upbringing and beliefs. Some of the most interesting conversations have been with people whom have had different experiences than myself.
Speaking at a posh brunch spot in West London with two young Muslim women from Kuwait was eye-opening for me. Talking to a high school student on a Native American reservation about her plans to become a doctor left me walking away from the conversation with enormous amounts of love and respect for her and the adversity she had faced. Sitting at my family’s dinner table last year with my crazy libertarian friends, a Republican congressional candidate, my straight-off-the-boat-from-Germany father and my good friend from India who is probably as far left as they come, made me realize that politics isn’t that complicated. We agree much more than we disagree.
These are the kind of experiences for which we should all strive. That is true diversity.
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