The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Affirmative action article missed several key points

    This letter is in response to Taylor Davis’ April 1 article in The Reflector about how affirmative action is unfair. Let’s be honest. Of course it is. But so are all other alternatives except for straight line cut admissions. So calling affirmative action “unfair” but praising Bush’s alternative as “more fair” is inherently hypocritical. But no one has a “right” to go to college, and the need for educational diversity must (and does) outweigh any need for fairness.
    Davis says, “Schools can also consider a student’s socioeconomic status as a factor. This approach avoids a direct reference to race, but it targets diversity because many racial and ethnic groups are disproportionately poor. All of these ideas are legally defensible, unlike the Michigan’s policy.”
    It is not that these ideas are legally defensible; merely that they are “morally acceptable” to the Bush Administration-whatever that means. Using race IS constitutionally acceptable (therefore legally defensible) according to the Supreme Court.
    The Supreme Court, in the 1978 Bakke v. University of California case, approved of using race as a consideration, but not as the sole consideration and not in a quota. The University of Michigan conforms to those guidelines.
    At the same time, the Bush Administration approves the use of euphemisms and “code words” like “socio-economic” or “low-income” to say the same thing as “black” or “Hispanic.” Are they referring to poor whites? No. So let’s be honest in our classifications. I have no problem with the pursuit of “diversity.” It is necessary for the learning environment in higher education institutions. But it is hypocritical to say that using these code words will bring about a “new” diversity while at the same time preserving the “old” diversities.
    The targets of these “code-words” will continue to be racial minorities, and rightly so. How is it any more fair that a person from a middle-class family is overstepped because some applicant happened to be from a “low-income” family?
    I personally think it would more insulting that some selective institution overlooked me because by some irregular lifestyle variable such as family income as opposed to a permanent, natural condition, such as racial background. If this were the case, I would make my parents quit their jobs so I could become eligible. One cannot “make” their biological parents Hispanic.
    Let’s also be clear about two other things. The Texas system that President Bush is lauding is one designed by Democrats. Then-Gov. Bush merely signed it.
    The Texas system is based on the idea that the top 10 percent of all high school students will have a guaranteed slot in the University of Texas system.
    Therefore, it admits the top students at predominantly minority urban and rural high schools even if those students score lower than white students who are not in the top 10 percent of mostly whiter (and more affluent) suburban schools.
    So, if you are a student in a high-performing school with an “A” average but not in the top 10 percent, no worries. Just move into a low performing urban or rural school for your semester before applying for college. The idea is the system rewards minority students for staying in poorly performing public schools.
    John Eric Beasley is from Warner Robins, Ga.

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    The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
    Affirmative action article missed several key points