To the Editor:

Meghan Clyne ’03 suggests that a minority student can use the personal essay to attest to struggles with racial discrimination (“The racism of affirmative action,” 2/5). How does she account for those students who may or may not have encountered racism but do not incorporate it into the personal essay? I have been insulted for my own ethnicity in the past, but my personal essay had nothing to do with my ethnic background. By proposing that a minority student should or at least can use the personal essay to discuss his or her experience with racism in hopes of bettering the chance of getting into a university, Clyne offers only a weak alternative to the “magic race box.” According to Clyne’s alternative, a minority student like myself would have to write about my ethnicity in the essay in order to account for my race. She says the personal essay is where a student can bring up something not discernible in the application. While I do not approve of the Michigan’s scientific method, I cannot see how writing extensively on the subject of ethnic struggle is any less of a magic box than placing a check next to Indian or Pacific Islander.

Sarah Woo ’06

February 5, 2003