Elliot Larsen once said, ‘Affirmative action is the attempt to deal with malignant racism by instituting benign racism.”

Affirmative action is a policy that requires active measures be taken to make certain that blacks and all minorities enjoy the same opportunities in all aspects of life a policy used mostly in employment and school admissions processes. But when race becomes the ultimatum in admissions decisions, everybody has a right and a need to question these policies.

Some people say that this favoritism is overdue compensation for years of slavery. But since when has ‘liberty and justice for all” meant repentance for our ancestors’ pasts?

We are absolutely no longer a slave nation, and we are most definitely transitioning away from being a discriminating nation. There is clearly a diverse movement in this country that agrees that the need for unmerited and disproportionate retribution is over.

Just a few years ago, a very notable case was brought in front of the Supreme Court. The University of Michigan Law School was being tried for reverse discrimination concerning admissions policies. The school granted admissions based on a point system and admitted students to ‘promote diversity” and ‘interracial interactions.”

When the verdict came back in support of using race as a factor in admissions decisions, outgoing Dean of Michigan Law Jeffrey Lehman said, ‘This ruling will enable the Law School and other institutions of higher education to continue serving as a pathway to a more fully integrated society.”

But shouldn’t this ‘more fully integrated society” be more integrated on the basis of ideas and cultures rather than color?

We need to reward hard work, discipline and achievement. We need to discontinue judging students because of their race rewarding some and punishing others.

Merit requirements are grades, test scores and athletic, musical and leadership excellence. They are participation, understanding and willingness to learn and exceed expectations.

Merit is not being born a certain race or sex.

The aforementioned are traits, not achievements. They need not be treated as mental hindrances and disadvantages. Not only can this practice hurt some of the best-suited applicants for certain places of higher education, it can be offensive and insulting to those who benefit from it.

Racial minorities are not less qualified, less talented or less capable than anyone else. Treating them as such is immoral in every way. This treatment is an offense to those who benefit.

Therefore, it is time that we stop treating race as a hindrance by giving groups special privileges, which effectively destroys the merit-based system that our forefathers so valiantly sought.

Martin Luther King Jr. is a perfect example. He never said that African Americans were discriminated against before, so let’s discriminate against the majority now. He said that we need a colorblind society in order for justice to reign supreme. That statement is still glaringly true. Affirmative action today does not solve problems. Instead, it continues a vicious cycle in which the public retains the view that minorities are still victims, which prevents America from fulfilling the ideals of the Civil Rights movement.

With the application rush beginning and Admissions beginning to make decisions about UR’s incoming class of 2013, it is a necessity that the office look this year at applicants in a completely colorblind and gender-blind manner. The college community will benefit by admitting the most qualified students with a diverse range of opinions, not necessarily applicants whose physical traits are different.

Rogers is a member of the class of 2012.



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