It seems as though the CT jumbled up my name with someone else’s letter in response to the “Affirmative Action Bake Sale.” I can only hope that my actually letter will get as much attention as the one I actually didn’t write.
I am writing in response to the recent “Affirmative Action Bake Sale” held by the College Republicans on Friday, March 19th. This event is a direct example of the ignorance surrounding the issue of Affirmative Action. I say ignorance because it seems that the College Republicans could have gone about proving their point in a more intellectual and organized manner. Furthermore, it seems as though the College Republicans are not aware of the reasons why Affirmative Action exist in the first place, despite the flaws it may have. Affirmative Action exists to make it an equal playing field for disadvantaged individuals. This means that people of color and women who are faced with adversities such as poverty, insufficient education, and discrimination are still given equal opportunities for higher education and professional careers. The College Republicans seem to believe that Affirmative Action helps people of color get into universities and top professions only because of their race and not their merit. I agree that the selection process should be based on the qualifications of the individual, but how can people of color ever develop the qualifications if they are never given the same resources as their white counterparts. Affirmative Action is supposed to allow an individual of color to take a place in a university or a company so that their qualifications are not overshadowed by their race. The Democrat & Chronicle article states, “For the students who organized the ‘Affirmative Action Bake Sale’ the price tag on some Mrs. Fields cookies was meant to illustrate the web of preferences and penalties colleges such as UR use when deciding who gets in.” This statement is very offensive because it implies that all of the students of color at the University of Rochester are here because of their race and not their academic ability. It is false to make such claims because the majority of students of color enrolled in this university were in the top 10% of their class in high school, received high scores on their SAT’s, National Honor Society members, and were highly recommended by their teachers. Keep in mind that the U of R is a majority white institution and if any students of color are accepted into this university because of their race it is only one or two students that this applies to, if any. Furthermore, white students benefit from their own personal “Affirmative Action” due to their acceptance into universities being based on their family legacy within the university. A perfect example of this is our own United States President George W. Bush, a Republican. To say that Affirmative Action is racist is to imply that it is a form of reverse racism, which is false. Racism is when a dominant group benefits from the oppression of the subordinate group and not just on an individual level, but institutionally as well. If Affirmative Action was reverse racism, people of color would be majority CEO’s of businesses, Ivy League schools would have majority students of color, inner-cities will consist of majority white people, and more importantly there would be more people of color in Congress. Affirmative Action is not to reverse the roles of racism, but to overcome the affects of racism by creating equal opportunities across the board. The College Republicans believe that Affirmative Action will not help people of color overcome the disadvantages of racism. But how else can we eliminate racism without starting somewhere to create equal opportunities for higher education and employment. If more students of color are admitted into higher education institutions and then go on to prestigious careers, they will be more capable of ensuring that their children will also have the same equal opportunities. Affirmative Action gives people of color a chance to catch up where they have always been held behind. I hope the University community will soon set up an educational forum to discuss the issues surrounding Affirmative Action.
-By Stephanie Fitzpatrick & Sharifa Stewart