Diversity needs advocacy and defense

The University of Miami stands as one of the most diverse schools in the country. Equal opportunity and harmony among students of various cultures, races and religious beliefs exist here. We thought we would never have to worry about the shallow minds of the prejudiced and the racist. Well, never say never: in this great month of Black Awareness, the UM student body has just witnessed how culturally tolerant it truly is.

The on-campus Advocates for Conservative Thought have distributed an email protesting the unjustness of affirmative action, and, if I may quote the author, “Affirmative action is Special Olympics for black people.” Furthermore, the group has also been selling “Affirmative Action” cookies in the Breezeway at special rates for blacks (25 cents) and $1 for everyone else.

As a university on the rise, we must first understand who we are. If we take pride in claiming that we are a diverse school, we must take pride in our fellow student body no matter its background, race or creed.

As an African-American first and VP of SG second, I’m greatly offended by the racist gesture of this organization. Although there is such a thing as freedom of speech, one must think before speaking. Be considerate of those you are trying to demean, and, first and foremost, please do your research.

I’ve found many flaws with this group’s efforts to protest.

Firstly, it’s arguing for the abolition of affirmative action, without properly defining it. The proper definition of affirmative action is: “Strategies used to recruit and select qualified individuals from an underutilized applicant pool, (Merriam-Webster Dictionary of Law); it’s not handouts or “special Olympics for black people.”

Secondly, to the Advocates for Conservative Thought: if any of you feel that UM uses affirmative action in any of its admission procedures, please listen carefully. According to the admissions office, UM doesn’t use any form of racial preference in selecting African-Americans for this school. Every black person you see on this campus has earned their way, in your words, “respectfully,” into UM.

I want to commend United Black Students, the Council of International Organizations and the Federation of Cuban Students for adopting a non-retaliation strategy in handling this ordeal. We can’t expect everyone to be in complete harmony. All we can hope is to learn from one another.

Chris Clark can be contacted at cclark@umsis.miami.edu.