To the Editor:
Does anyone really believe that Ann Arbor and Yale, two of the most selective, prestigious universities in the country with the best higher education in the world, admits unqualified students? (I exclude the relatively small quotas allotted to athletic recruiters.) My own education, at least, has been enormously enriched by the African-American community at Yale as I’ve come to grips once again with the strange, sad and hopeful history their unique perspective brings before me.
Some writers have invoked the words and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in their own favor. If it weren’t for the African-American community’s activist push to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the University calendar, I probably would never have attended a service in his honor, nor been directed to deeper thought about his life and legacy than the vague liberal myths I learned in elementary school. Nor would his nonviolence have pointed me to a new understanding of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and in turn to the activist and intellectual projects that I’ve taken on this year.
You might say, therefore, that affirmative action changed my life. It has helped me, a descendant of slaveholders, to seek for new ways to do justice in this world. If that’s racism, the term means nothing anymore.
Chris Ashley ’05
February 5, 2003