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Why I don't support affirmative action

Updated on June 9, 2014

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.


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    • Skarlet profile image

      Skarlet 5 years ago from California

      @ Jane- My parents are what you would call "white" and when they arrived in this country they had no one. The color of their skin did not help them in any way. My father walked around looking for work the day he arrived and was turned away due to his accent the minute he opened his mouth but he found a way to get work and is not always looking back to those days and blaming Americans for discriminating his accent.

      I think in many ways white people do have it harder because as you even mentioned yourself, when you see white skin you assume wealth and opportunity, when in fact the "white person" could be here with an accent and no relatives. My father's accent is more difficult for American's to understand than most dark skinned people with accents, and most people in this country seem to assume that "white people" are all American's who "know people" and have more opportunity and are not really open minded to the variables.

    • profile image

      Jane 5 years ago

      "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. "

      Maybe because you were born in a wealthy white-American home you didn't have any problem getting around. You didin't have problems looking for a job because you know so many people who were Americans. You didn't struggle with language barrier so you had no problem communicating. However, as first generation Asian-American, my family struggled to find equality in this country.. My mother was rejected many times becausde of her poor English. My father was turned down because he talked with an accent. But you don't know how it feels because you never walked in my shoes.

      Granted, we have our own oppinions. But to say such a thing as white people have it harder is quite an ignorant statment. Sorry if i'm not here to join your little fan club that praises you like bunch of minions. I think once in a whlie you should stand in the angle of Asian-Americans whose language aint English see how that feels.

    • Skarlet profile image

      Skarlet 5 years ago from California

      Great Hub. I admire you very much and agree with you completely.

    • profile image

      Josh 6 years ago

      Affirmative Action is legallized discrimination against white males. If all of women are considered to be minorities because of the feminist movement and every race but caucasian (White European) is a minority who does that leave? That would be white males, someone is definately bent on the extermination of caucasians who have less access to money or the means for survival and everything that's politically correct is skewed towards that end. If someone is truly "diverse" and truly cares about "equality" and knows the actual definition instead of a mere buzzword they would agree with me. Those who believe in Affirmative Action generally just want a paycheck and are hypocrites who could give a damn about true equality. They only care about their own personal interests and the interests of their own race.

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 6 years ago from Northern California

      Thank you MU! Goodness knows it's gotten me into enough trouble over the years...

    • Mind Unsettled profile image

      Mind Unsettled 6 years ago from In My Head

      Awesome hub - I completely agree. Perhaps there was once a time for affirmative action, but now it is simply a form of racism. And, as you mentioned, just being admitted somewhere won't solve the issue. Also, thanks for having the guts to speak out on a controversial issue! MU

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 6 years ago from Northern California

      Thanks Claude! Meritocracy all the way!

    • profile image

      Claude F. 6 years ago

      Soooooo Right on!

      At some point we have to wake up in this country and realize that if we want people to stop considering race we must stop considering race.

      In my experience (in a state HR office that hires thousands) Affirmative Action hurts many and helps very few. The Blacks and Latinos helped by Affirmative Action tend to be from the middle class who least need the help. The Whites and Asians (and yes, the same massive “quota” discrimination that exists within college admissions against Asians is permeated through out the hiring world. I can’t tell you how many hiring managers have told me, when filing a position, “we can’t hire another Asian”) who are hurt by Affirmative Action tend to be from poor back grounds. Simply put: Affirmative Action breads racism and resentment: No body likes to be told they did not get the job because they were not the right color.

      We need to become what America was meant to be: a complete meritocracy. Really, in the ever increasing competition of the Global market place, we can afford to do nothing less.

    • profile image

      eekchan 7 years ago

      I feel that some minorities victimize themselves. My husband is asian and he does not vicitimize himself. I have a half brother who is black and white. The teachers at his school hooked him up with a free scholarship just because he is part "African American." I tried being liberal but at this rate, all this is petty crap. Discrimination happens to everyone, not just minorities. Go to New York and go check out different neighborhoods. You will see real fast how that does not matter what you are some people are just plain mean people are in general. White people are discriminated to. Some minorities hate white people. I never thought I live to be discriminated but I was. I apply for a chinese restrurant job, and I got turned down because I was not chinese or indonesian. And because I had papers. They wanted someone with no papers and no knowledge of the law. They assume because I am white I will sue them. With what money will I sue them when I am searching for a job? Omgosh...

      So yeah there you go...

    • profile image

      Mary Anne 7 years ago

      I am strongly against affirmative action. I understand the broader concept of it, but it is unfair that certain students with lower credentials are getting a better chance than legitimate students with higher credentials. I understand the need for diversity but these kinds of dealing with race in an educational environment is uncalled for. In a way, it even encourages the prejudices we hold against certain races.

    • Betty Reid profile image

      Betty Reid 8 years ago from Texas

      Interesting point of view. I'm an Anthropology graduate student, and in our department there is a very high interest in keeping the student body diverse.

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 9 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      There is still plenty of discrimination in this country. Affirmative action has helped make up for past discrimination and rectify current discrimination. I the company where I worked, when I began there wasn't a single minority or woman skilled trades apprentice. In the headquarters there wasn't a single minority secretary, accountant, engineer. All the minorities were janitors. Affirmative action requirements under federal legislation requiring affirmative action plans and timetables helped rectify this deplorable situation. You may not feel a need for affirmative action in your job or community, but discrimination in the workplace and in other aspects of life in the United States has not disappeared.