Reverse racism is still racism

Back when I was in high school, I stumbled upon the University of Michigan’s Web site. On it was an “online calculator” of my chances of being admitted. I keyed in my stats, extracurriculars, community service activities and race, and according to the calculator, I would have had a 99 percent chance of admission to the University of Michigan if I were African American, Latino or Native American. If I had been white, I would have only had a moderately high chance of being accepted. But as a member of the Asian race, my chances of being accepted were the lowest among all the groups.

The zero-sum principle applies in the case of affirmative action. People tend to forget that in order to drastically increase the number of a particular minority group on campus, a school that is even the least bit selective would have to decrease another group’s. So of course, they pick the stereotypically least sue-happy groups (Asians, Middle Easterners, etc.) and give them the shaft. The fact that affirmative action applies to only a few and not all minority groups reinforces the stereotypes it claims to be reducing. If you are going to be racist in terms of college admissions and hiring decisions, you should at least be consistent.

I’m not sure what proponents of affirmative action are trying to say. Is it that an impoverished Iraqi or Korean or, gasp, white kid working 30 hours a week should be discriminated against because stereotypically “his people” are rich Long Islanders and “under represented minorities” (URMs) are all poor students who can’t get through life on their own? Talk about reverse discrimination. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel sorry for the rich Phillips Academy kid who might have to go to Stanford rather than Harvard. It is the poor, non-URM who works for what he gets who is truly cheated. And yes, non-URM’s can be poor and disadvantaged.

It is ironic how affirmative action proponents have decided – through nothing but blatant stereotyping – that Middle Easterners, Asians and white people in general are spoiled, sheltered rich people. Most affirmative action supporters claim they are helping society end racism by promoting certain races and demoting others. You cannot fight racism with racism. A system that is racist against white people or over-represented minorities is as racist as any other system. Racism, just like poverty, can affect anyone. Affirmative action does not end racism; it merely continues the vicious cycle of stereotyping people by their skin color and doing injustice to certain groups of people. Yes, affirmative action is discriminating against different groups of people than the United States did in the past, but that does not make it any less wrong now.

The race card is played every time someone tries to protest against the horribly unjust system. “Oh my God, you’re racist.” “You don’t know what it’s like to be poor and discriminated against.” Tell that to the very “white” victims of the Holocaust. I am the first to say that the way URMs were treated in the past was unacceptable and wrong. However, they were not the only ones discriminated against and they are definitely not the only ones who are still being discriminated against.

Immigrants in general, Catholics, Mormons, Jews and just about every minority group to have ever come to the United States have been mistreated at some time or another. That does not make it all right to favor a few races and discriminate against the others. I do not know why it is still not clear to some people in the year 2003, but racism is always wrong – even in reverse. It was wrong in the past and it is wrong now.

Times have changed and people have changed, but the idea of punishing certain races and promoting others is still very much alive in the United States.
-The writer is a junior majoring in international business.

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