I consider myself a minority here at Yale. I’m poor, a foster child, and I come from a community where white people were certainly not the majority. When I came to Yale, I didn’t know what squash or lacrosse was, and I had never met anyone over the age of 10 who didn’t know how to do a load of laundry.
I went to a high school in California ranked in the 20th percentile in the state — not the top 20th, but the bottom. I was completely unprepared for the shock of the culture of the affluent, but the school doesn’t have orientation programs for people like me.
Why? Because I’m white.
The sad thing is that most people at this school assume that all white people come from similar backgrounds when the reality is that most of the people at this school come from similar backgrounds, including ethnic minority students.
The hardships that affirmative action supposedly makes up for aren’t exclusive to people of one color or another. I went to a lower-level school, my birth mother is on welfare, and my father went to prison. I would bet that the number of ethnic minority students here at Yale who can say any of the three of those (let alone more than one) is rather low, but I’m not a minority and I don’t get special consideration because I’m white.
We should abolish judging people because of their color, period.
Race should not be an issue with admissions and the entire profiling should be taken off of applications. If one is going to look at how much of a disadvantage an applicant has, one should be looking at income, not the color of their skin.
The civil rights movement certainly taught us that judging someone by the color of their skin or their ethnic origin was unacceptable.
Why is it that now Yale and Yalies are trying to tell the U.S. Supreme Court that judging someone’s worthiness for attendance at a university should be influenced by ethnicity?
Many people of minority ethnic backgrounds disagree with affirmative action and similar programs because they know that some people perceive them as a handout, something they didn’t deserve and only received because someone felt sorry for them. These minorities prefer to earn their status and their numbers at institutions by hard work and an even playing field.
The truth is that minorities could be making the same impact or even a greater one without such programs, and then there would be no debating whether minorities are just as qualified as white people.
True, minorities at a financial disposition should be aided more, but all people with such a disposition should be helped, not solely ethnic minorities. All applicants work hard for a position and no one is superior, more challenged, or a better choice for admission based only on the color of their skin.
Mary Elizabeth Rehm is a freshman in Calhoun College.