*Wakes up…wipes crust off of eyes…checks facebook app… (stand by) …eyes buck…confusion commences*
So, I woke up and I read this article floating on my news feed on Facebook:
Reddit Users Can’t Deal With a Black Kid Getting into All 8 Ivy League Schools
If you’d like to read a write up about the original congratulatory effort, click here for the USA Today article. Anyway, I read the article and naturally I am appalled. To give a bit of background, a 17-year-old African-American boy, named Kwasi Enin, earned acceptance into all 8 Ivy League colleges. WOW. I would get into the difference between being African-American and Black-American, but I’d be going into another blog for another day. The fact that this young man got into all 8 high profile colleges due to his ethnicity leads back to the bane of a lot of White peoples’ existence: Affirmative Action.
As soon as you bring up minority success in a bias institution (education, corporate, etc.), affirmative action has to be the only answer. It had nothing to do with his 2250 out of 2400 SAT score, #11 rank out of 647 students, or his multiple extracurricular activities. Maybe his volunteerism at a local hospital or excellence in advanced placement courses were simple icing on the cake to that dark skin that attracted these thirsty admissions officers. Hmmm…
But, for a moment, let us pretend that we live in a perfect world without affirmative action.
Let’s go back before 1961 when Kennedy signed that despicable executive order. Native Americans were hit with the whole “Manifest Destiny” in order for the IMMIGRANTS to move westward and take over the land around the 19th century. Their land was stolen from them. *Pause: Does anyone know what THEY called this land before the settlers renamed it? …I thought not.* In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act was signed into law to prevent these people from immigrating to the country. Basically, once they had enough over here to finish the transatlantic railroad, there was no more use for them. In April 2010, Arizona SB 1070 was signed into law that was supposed to be an immigration law that was obviously set against the Hispanic population. In a nutshell, if you’re caught without your “freedom papers” (sound familiar), you can be shipped out of the country. This law gives too much room for discrimination. After 9/11, people with a middle-eastern origin or appearance were treated as terrorists. Freedom of religion was obviously not in the Bill of Rights for them. Due to their Catholic background, the Irish suffered discrimination at the hands of Protestants simply because of their religious beliefs. People, also, thought that they were an inferior race meant only for servant work. And Black people…too much to list. Slavery, 3/5 Compromise, Separate but Equal doctrine (case law adopted from the outcome of Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896), poll taxes and so much more.
What I’m trying to say is this: If we live in a country that has a history of discrimination and exclusion, what problem should we have with affirmative action? Nobody wants to bring up the G.I. Bill that came about after World War II. Was that NOT affirmative action? White people got every piece of privilege for that one. They could get easier access to education, mortgage loans, and careers after they came back from fighting for the country, but Blacks that were G.I.’s were afforded much less. Affirmative action is supposed to be for all that are disadvantaged (not black, brown, yellow, or red), but somehow it just has “minority” attached to it somewhere.
The fact that most White people feel like they can’t use affirmative action to their own advantage actually solidifies the argument of White privilege in this country. It is for DISADVANTAGED groups of people. So, a child of immigrants that is a first generation American doesn’t qualify as a disadvantage? Throw the entire pool of accolades Enin has amassed and look at affirmative action and his skin color.
We really have to look in the mirror and see who we are. Let this young man enjoy his success and be thankful that it is possible. Dark skin is NOT going to get you into 8 Ivy League colleges at the same time. If so, it would have been done 10x over by now. Stop discriminating and love someone.