Affirmative action is not a handout

by Crystal Brown

It is a sad day in American education when more and more universities are eliminating affirmative action policies in their admission criteria. Let's get one thing straight right now -- affirmative action is not a handout.

The purpose of affirmative action is to diversify the institution it serves. It may not be the best answer, but it currently is the only answer for the prevalent racism that continues to plague our society.

If you believe racism doesn't exist, you are being extremely naive. Racism allowed a guilty man who murdered his ex-wife and her friend to go free. Racism allowed Rodney King to be beaten by four police officers, who were later acquitted. Racism allowed Howard Stern to degrade the name of a Hispanic Tejano singer on the air without a big slap by the Federal Communications Commission.

People who are victims of racism are too often accused of crying "wolf." Many people choose to turn the other cheek when a racist act occurs.

We see how waiters treat restaurant patrons differently, but we refuse to tell the manager. We laugh at off-color jokes at work when, deep down, we know these jokes are hateful. We revert to racial epithets like "nigger" and "wetback," but only if we're really mad. We are all racists to some degree whether we admit it or not.

I was admitted to the University of Houston because I worked hard in high school and graduated with honors. My extra-curricular activities speak for themselves -- cheerleading, speech and debate teams, Drama Club and National Honor Society.

I have not been the recipient of a minority scholarship or received special attention because of my stigmatizing color. However, I would be proud to be recognized by any committee or person honoring women or African-Americans.

It would not be a handout. I would have been worthy of that scholarship as I would be going up against other qualified African -American women.

When I am an alumna of this university, I would like to donate my money specifically to the School of Communication, because that is where my interests lie.

And it is with this sentiment that affirmative action was born. The good ol' boys continued to take care of their sons and grandsons, while women and people of color ran up against systematic discrimination.

Affirmative action is the government's way of gatekeeping equality. Institutions cannot be trusted to promote diversity and equality. Affirmative action policies constitute a small percentage of quotas to be met, and women are grouped in with ethnic persons. The great white male bandwagon is full of hysteria.

We do not want to discriminate against white people, even though it would seem like fair retribution for 400 years of slavery and imprisonment. We want to work beside you, hand in hand, looking out of that great window of opportunity, instead of having that window slammed on us.

Brown is a senior RTV major who is still waiting for her 40 acres and a mule.

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