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The Blue & Gray Press | February 17, 2018

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Take Action to Diversify Campus

By HENRY BRISIBE

As a black male attending a predominantly white university, I feel as though affirmative action is definitely in place today, and I am almost certain that my race played a part in me gaining admission to the University of Mary Washington.

The question is, how much consideration is given to one’s race when making admissions decisions? According to thesocietypages.org, the Supreme Court has ruled that consideration of an applicant’s race or ethnicity is legal.

I personally see no problem that an admissions committee considers a student just because of his race, especially where a school lacks diversity.
Affirmative action occurs to give “under-achieving” students a chance, but to consider students who are different from the majority of the application pool. When affirmative action is applied fairly, it is done for the overall well being of a community, whether it is for a college class or an executive board. It enables students of different viewpoints and backgrounds to take part in a group of people they might not have been included in otherwise.

Historically minorities have been discriminated against, and while this is less so today, sometimes the playing field needs to be leveled a bit.

Minorities still have less access to the educational opportunities and high-salary job positions that those in the majority enjoy, so affirmative action helps to even the scores on this.

We live in a society where the involvement of all races is needed to create fair laws that benefit the most people. The population is no longer predominantly white. America is more diverse now than it has ever been, and if projections are correct then in the very near future whites could become a minority for the first time in U.S. history. If there is not any proper representation of all races, how can we fairly make way for a better society?

The United States, unlike other countries, tries to incorporate all different kinds of ethnicities and backgrounds to accurately represent the voice of our country, and, as a result, is working its way to a more just and diverse society.

Comments

  1. 2010 alum

    Let me begin with the qualification that everyone needs to make today before launching on a commentary involving race relations: I am not a racist. Now that that’s out of the way, Henry, I don’t know you nor do I question whether or not you “deserve” to be attending this or any other institution of higher learning. I do want to ask why is it that when colleges, especially UMW, discuss diversity, it really only means racial diversity. UMW has a very visible and active LGBT community, which certainly adds quite a bit of diversity, but is rarely brought up when UMW seeks to attract prospective students. The overwhelming majority of UMW students come from a middle to upper-middle class background. Yes, there are some who hold jobs, but they are in the minority here. Nationwide, race is often determines socioeconomic status, and the lower rungs on the socioecnomic ladder are laden more heavily with racial minorities. However, those minorities that attend UMW are usually not from working class or low income families. They come mostly from the same neighborhoods and the same school districts that the majority WASP students came from.

    You ask how can a better society be created without proper represenation from all races. College is a microcosm, and UMW works hard to encourage racial diversity. But to what end? What use is a visually diverse student body when it does not understand, first hand, the plight of the working class and low income members of society? What use is a visually diverse student body when the majority clings to left/liberal leaning politics and refuses to entertain other political ideologies, whether it be libertarian or anarchist? I agree that racial diversity is an important element in determining the makeup of a student population. I agree that it enriches the experience of everyone involved. But affirmative action has a narrow scope and consequently this narrow vision of diversity has taken a hold of everyone and refuses to let go. Aside from the logistical nightmare doing so would cause, why not open affirmative action to other minorities: religious minorities, intellectual and political minorities, etc?

  2. James

    Hey 2010 alum…
    sexuality is way different. How uncomfortable would it be if there was a box on the application “check yes if you are _gay _bi _straight _only gay when you drink.” Sexuality is an intrinsic quality, vs. extrinsic like race. Some may manifest their sexuality in an extrinsic way, but there are many who do not.