Suck It Up

posted January 16, 2003 by Jenn


Alright, if you haven't heard about what's going on with University of Michigan and the race-based admission dispute, here's the skinny:
Some students who want to attend UofM were turned down because of their race. They were White and UofM needed to admit more Black and other minority students to meet its quota. This has turned into a huge stink that will go to the Supreme Court and has even gotten Bush Jr. to send his team of rabid lawyers to impose the White House's stand on the whole situation (the White House stands with the students).

Now, I will say this: UofM's policies are a little skewed. I don't know the full details of it, but I'm aware of a point system they use to rate an applicant. Because of their affirmative action policy, being Black or another "Non-white" race gets you a full 20 and it seems that's a lot. Something's not right with a system that, when all other things are equal, chooses a student based on color alone. Maybe it's good for their PR.

On the other side of the same coin, the policy has probably given some people of color a chance that they wouldn't have gotten otherwise. The standard flavor of racism in this country looks down on people of color, especially Blacks and Hispanics. There are plenty of reasons for this but that's fodder for another rant. If the reviewer felt so, a student that was Hispanic or Black probably wouldn't get admitted even if he or she had the same education, credentials, financing, etc as a white student. Even beyond school admissions, affirmative action is responsible for some higher stake, higher profile jobs, such as the Supreme Court itself. Judge Clarence Thomas is there because of affirmative action. (It's fascinating, then, how he leans heavily against it in his rulings, but I digress.) I myself have probably been given a chance somewhere because of affirmative action, but I couldn't say where or prove it. So, affirmative action has its uses, as long as they aren't stretched.

Well now that the intelligent portion of this post is finished, I'd like to end with a more emotionally based segment.

I'd like to say this to the students: How does it feel, huh? How does it feel to be shut out because of the skin you were born with? Though lucky for you, we live in times where all you have to do is complain, then something gets done about it. It also helps that you're White in that situation. It gets major national press while the on-going, unspoken racism against those who aren't White continues with barely a mention in anyone's evening news. There was a time that it took military force to allow Black students to get into high school. It took years of strife, pain, blood and death to get Black students admitted into schools. Lucky lucky you.