Affirmative Action: Thanks but no thanks.

When I finished my undergrad but before I got my MBA, there was a brief stint when I thought I wanted to be a lawyer.  My mother is a lawyer and so is my mentor so this seemed like a reasonable thing to do.

In 2002 I took the LSAT and later applied to 2 very prestigious universities in the Northeast. My academic records and LSAT scores were excellent and I had great recommendations so I expected that I would get in to at least one of the 2 and that I’d be well on my way to being Annush, J.D.

But that didn’t happen.
Not because I didn’t get accepted, but because of a letter I received.

One of the schools I applied to sent me a letter telling me that they were happy I had applied to their school because I was Hispanic and a woman.  Apparently all the time and energy I had invested in my education took a backseat to the affirmative action check boxes on the application.

I had heard about people taking advantage of affirmative action policies to get into certain colleges.  As a matter of fact, years ago when I was applying to undergrad, it was common knowledge that by checking the Native American and African American boxes, you would have an advantage.  I even know of someone who miraculously got into an Ivy League school with a less than stellar GPA after lying on their application by saying he was a minority and writing a fictitious personal essay about having survived cancer in the midst of parental drug addiction.

But it’s all fun of games until you realize that maybe you are getting an advantage because they don’t think you are good enough, and when I got that letter I was offended to the point that I withdrew my application.

Today I read that the Supreme Court is going to take up college affirmative action.

In this day and age, I feel that affirmative action should die.  If perhaps there was a time when it was necessary to have quotas to ensure that everyone would have an equal opportunity, I don’t think that is the case any more. As a minority I find it disgraceful that there are people who still think that we [minorities] can’t be held to the same standard, and it saddens me that some don’t feel we wouldn’t measure up if we were.

The assumption that minority students wouldn’t get into a school on their own merits is    condescending and above all, racist. Affirmative action dooms even the most accomplished and deserving members of a minority group to a future where their accomplishments can be questioned because as a group they had unfair advantages.

Of the 8 justices who will hear the case (Elena Kagan will not participate), one is a Hispanic woman and one is an African-American man.  I hope they share my belief that the only way to end racial discrimination is to stop discriminating based on race.

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