Acknowledge racism or perpetuate it


The argument raised by Kellen Wilson (“Affirmative action is racist,” March 3), suggested that affirmative action focuses only on appearances.

But what is the definition of affirmative action? It is the proactive effort to ensure all individuals have equal access to opportunity. If Wilson and Oprah were indeed applying to the same school, Oprah would not automatically be selected just because she is black.

Like any other applicant, she would have to prove she is as capable as Wilson to merely be compared on the same par. Only when the two applicants are equally qualified would Oprah perhaps be accepted over Wilson.

Opponents of affirmative action would argue this is not fair. But why not? Yes, Oprah Winfrey is not poorer than Kellen Wilson. And she was never a slave. And I would even concede that Wilson argues he has never discriminated against black people, hence, he should not have to pay the price of remedies for racial discrimination.

However, this reasoning fails to acknowledge the many unearned privileges from which he has benefited due to his skin color: the political advantage of being part of the majority and the economic asset that, whether he uses checks or credit cards, his skin color will not work against the appearance of financial reliability.

Yes, Wilson may be harmed by affirmative action; people who are oppressed are, in some way, harmed, but not all persons who are harmed are oppressed. Affirmative action is effective because it recognizes that racism still exists and that not everyone has the same opportunities.

Bear in mind that racism is perpetuated when we refuse to acknowledge its existence.

Kaitlyn LeSophomore, Biology