Arizona bans affirmative action—Is Texas next?
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said he had a dream his children would grow up in a nation where they were not judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
I too have the same dream for future generations; however, probably not in the same context many thought King referred to in his speech.
On November 2nd, Arizonans voted to amend their constitution and ban affirmative action. The amendment makes affirmative action programs in the state administered by government units unlawful.
Arizonans spoke out in a great majority (60-40) to ban affirmative action and stop making race an issue. Now, it’s our turn.
The Texas GOP Platform opposes affirmative action. While the Civil Rights Movement served its purpose, in present day, it is only serving to make race more so of an issue than it should ever be.
A few weeks ago in an ongoing online chat during ABC’s Vote 2010 Town Hall, the topic of affirmative action came up. The majority of participating students were against affirmative action and for the ban in Arizona, but naturally, there were a small handful of students who thought affirmative action was necessary for minorities to have equal opportunities as the rest of the country.
While we may not all experience the same results, our nation does afford its people with opportunities to succeed regardless of one’s race or ethnic background.
For example, college financial aid programs like the Pell grant and need-based scholarships help everyone receive an education and put us all on an equal playing field for jobs and other employment opportunities.
Throughout my childhood, I was in an extremely unique situation. I grew up in Deep South Texas where the population is so entirely Hispanic that the US Census does not even bother publishing percentages for ethnic backgrounds. My father is Hispanic and my mother grew up the daughter of a Jewish doctor from central Texas. I was always told I had the right name for scholarships and college applications, but when someone looked at my background or my face and saw I was the light-skinned, green-eyed daughter of two very educated individuals, I was, in short, out of luck.
Going through high school, being told I was trying too hard to get good grades because it was obvious I would receive full funding for college because of my last name was disheartening. Having scholarship applications thrown back at my face because I wasn’t a first-generation college student or wasn’t Hispanic enough was equally frustrating.
No one seemed to care about my near-perfect GPA or the science projects I worked for weeks on or the fact I was an officer in every single school club I joined since 3rd grade.
My college application didn’t even ask for my resume. It simply had two buttons marked “yes” and “no” under the question, “Are you Hispanic?”
Many people fought for the so-called equal rights we have in this country today. Why do we keep taking steps back? Why should our last names and skin color matter so much?
If anything, affirmative action is further oppressing minorities because we don’t have to work hard for what the “majority” must earn.
I am a proud Latina, but before that, I am an American.
If we are truly a country of equal opportunities, then we have no minority or majority. We are all Americans. Period.
It shouldn’t matter if you’re black, white, brown or orange with purple spots. As Texans and as Americans, let us all work equally hard for what we earn.