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To the editor:
In Young Jean Lee’s February 9th, 2019 article “I’m Asian-American. Affirmative Action Worked for Me,” Lee opens up about her struggles of dealing with the relentless prejudices thrown her way. Lee explains that, without affirmative action on her side, her successes as a screenwriter and the countless doors that opened for her would never have been within her reach. Though affirmative action worked in Young Jean Lee’s favor and is a good way to reach the ultimate goal of diversity, it is not and should not be treated as the best solution for diversity in schools and the work force.
Affirmative action policies started as long ago as Brown vs. Ed; more recent examples include the Texas University scandals in 2015. These policies work towards setting up diverse communities in the educational and work force, to make up for historical exclusions in the United States’ racist past. As a Hispanic, queer woman I know that regardless of my efforts, I’m forced to accept the fact I’ll be excluded for the color of my skin, loving who I want to love, and simply not being a man. However, unlike Young Jean Lee and letting the world keep me down, I tried my hardest in school and graduated high school with a 3.9 GPA with honor roll. I agree that being a minority definitely played into my college acceptances, but if race, sex and orientation was out of the question, I would have still earned my spot into highly acclaimed art schools and Rowan University because I worked hard to fight for my dreams. Affirmative Action basically allows reverse racism and prevents significantly more qualified applicants from opening the doors Lee (a below average student) talked so highly of. Instead of using affirmative action as an excuse to not be racist, maybe, as shockingly as it may sound, college admissions administrators and bosses should just not be racist in the first place.
The goal for universities and jobs shouldn’t be accepting and hiring these unqualified individuals for the sake of diversity, but rather reaching out and helping those in struggling areas who don’t have the best environments to succeed. There are hundreds upon thousands of students and unemployed individuals under the poverty line, most being minorities. Because of this, these people are missing out on the proper resources, facilities and environments to thrive and excel. We should be donating and raising money and awareness to these areas to help these students reach their utmost potential. The nearly 70-year history of affirmative action shouldn’t be needed anymore. By now, every college applicant and employee should have an equal shot from birth of preparing for college admission and the work force. In order for society to reach true equality and diversity, we must do what we can to help those in need. If we want our future generations to have a life that allows access to these opportunities and successes, regardless of their race or gender, we need to act now.