Why I don't support affirmative action
My race has caused me some difficulties in my life. I come from a considerably conservative area, where kids from my school screamed slurs at me and spit at my brother when we walked past. It seems the only jokes I ever hear are stereotypical ones. What makes this more intimidating is that my brother and I are the only Asian kids in our town; we were adopted, and our parents are both White. Some of my own family members can also be considerably racist towards other minorities, which makes their views and offensive insults all the more frustrating.
In spite of this, I refuse to use my ethnicity as an excuse or for my benefit. I find it cheap to have an advantage over others, many who grew up as I have, because of my minority status, when one's race is something he or she cannot control. I am offended by people who feel that minorities such as myself need assistance in order to achieve as much as they have... thanks, but I don't need your help. If I needed help, it would be because of something that's not race.
Additionally, I know in my case, it would be futile to select me for anything because of my race because I am hardly Asian at heart; being adopted and raised by my White parents has rendered me more, well, White. From these experiences, I have developed an aversion to affirmative action, and a desire to show everyone that minorities are fully capable of achieving what others can by succeeding without sympathy. I don't need help from anyone, especially because of this part of my identity I was born with that not everyone can have. Also, there are plenty of White people who have it harder than I do and could use a little extra help if they want it.
It also doesn't seem fair to benefit from affirmative action. While race may make things more difficult for people, getting something through the policy won't make things better; it often incurs more wrath and builds more tension because those who lose out through affirmative action may grow bitter or confused.
It is true that I have always loved challenges, and I do not balk at the idea of facing formidable competition at a "disadvantage" as a minority, whether in the college application process or at other times in life. Nonetheless, race means virtually nothing to me, as much as hair colour or height, and I treat it as so.
Being an advocate of equality, I believe that race should be disregarded in most cases, especially when it comes to proceeding in life, as it has nothing to do with abilities or personality. My education means as much to me as it would if I were of any other ethnicity; I am grateful to have learned as much as I have, the manner I have, in America, and nothing more. I just want to go to college and gain the knowledge and experiences to make a better life for myself, by myself.
Affirmative action was created with the best of intentions, but it just seems to me to lengthen the divide between different races. And does it really work? What do you expect someone who doesn't really do that well in high school to do in college? Just being admitted won't solve their problems... they'll need more assistance, and that just gets more complicated. We need to start earlier, with better education and services in elementary, middle and high schools. You can't take something away from someone who is White or something and who worked hard for it.
Minorities make up a large part of the population of my community. However, only a small percentage of them move on to higher education, either for insufficient finances or a lack of motivation. I believe that by simply becoming successful in life, without having accepted aid simply as a minority, I can show people that race should never hold someone back. I do not worry much about my future; I know that anything I do is because of my determination, regardless of any hurdles I might face.
More by this Author
The Leadership Compass is based on the Native American Medicine Wheel, or Four-Fold Way, in which each direction has a main "human resource" from which to draw for support and strength. The point of the...
In order to ensure that an organization functions effectively and efficiently, managers must be able to determine and assess performance levels of both an organization and its individual employees through an appropriate...
Sharon Hays, who wrote the 1996 essay "The Cultural Contradictions of Motherhood," described "intensive mothering" as being self-consciously committed to child rearing. It involves being dedicated to...