Re: “Dr. King, your famous ‘dream’ is dead,” 1/26
“Dr. King, your famous ‘dream’ is dead” is yet another trite, oversimplified column on the “negatives” of affirmative action from someone of limited exposure’s perspective.
Dr. King did fight for the equality of all people; he also fought for all people to be given the chance to succeed and develop their full potential. All affirmative action tries to do is level the playing field ecognizing that there once was institutionalized sexism and racism in our society, and that remnants of those prejudices still exist in many parts of this country. Affirmative action does not strive to be an injustice, it strives to correct, or at least help ameliorate, the many injustices that have been inflicted on many people throughout this nation’s bloody, black-and-blue history.
Affirmative action programs at the university level recognize physically and mentally disabled persons and athletes-basically anyone that has something different to add to the composition of the student body to ensure diversity.
In terms of accepting ethnic students with different GPAs and SAT scores, I may be the first African-American person you know to say, “Yes, it does happen.” If you look at the quality of schools in the neighborhoods where the majority of ethnic students and lower-income white students come from, there’s no question that these students have experienced an educational disadvantage. They may not have had all high-tech computer labs, or a full set of textbooks in their classrooms, to attain the 3.8 GPA in high school, but that does not mean the same students could not compete at the college level with their upper-income white counterparts whose families had the resources to pay for a $1000 SAT-prep class.
I’m not at all ashamed to be an African-American on this campus, or to admit that I am helped in some way by affirmative action programs. I do not feel devalued in any way, and do walk on this campus with my head held high because I know I’m intelligent, creative and hard-working and an asset to this university-I have earned my place here, regardless of what naysayers believe. I am thankful affirmative action programs also recognize that fact and have taken measures to ensure that myself, as well as other students, are given the opportunity to make the most of their potential. Affirmative action’s only aim at the university level is to try to bring in the most awesome, diverse student body the university can have for that particular year. And to address the comment on Dr. King’s dream being “dead,” I must say I sharply disagree. Being an African-American person, I see the very essence Dr. King’s dream-that we all be treated equally as spiritual and human beings-implemented everyday of my life. I see the dream every time I am able to go to lunch with my group of multiethnic friends and we can all dine together at the same table; or perhaps when I go shopping in any store in Sunset Place I desire without fear of being harassed; or maybe its something as simple as walking on the grounds of this campus, which used to be segregated only 50 years ago, to attend my classes.
Bridgett R. Brown