Place Me In a Small Box and My Big Voice Will Be Heard

affirmative-action

Minority students on college campuses discuss the way they feel about diversity in a type of “hushed” way. Maybe they are scared that if they speak out someone will judge them or maybe they just feel comfortable talking to someone who understands them. Either way, it deserves to be talked about. This is a matter that is becoming increasingly popular in the sense that minorities are speaking out—in more ways than one such as through protests and social media.

Black Lives Matter

Blackness T Shirt

Affirmative action allows for underrepresented minorities a chance to be successful with opportunities they otherwise might not have had without it. Sayings like “#Black Lives Matter”, I feel like, have a much more powerful meaning in a place where there is a limited amount of diversity. It gives them a voice they probably didn’t think they had. When people of color experience discrimination on college campuses, it gives off the sense that they don’t belong, they aren’t wanted, or they are just there for a statistical number that the university is required to have legally according to the government. Well, I am here to say that I am NOT a number and neither are you. The minorities that go to the same schools as you, deserve to be there and got into those schools for a reason.

In a PBS News Hour podcast Gwen Ifill interviewed Richard Kahlenburg and Janai Nelson on affirmative action and the case Fisher v. the University of Texas. Basically, they believed that diversity is a very favorable trait to have on campuses and it’s necessary for a college experience (PBS). One key component of affirmative action is to help out minorities who are below average on the socio-economic scale and what they point out is that they deserve the same rights as anyone else. Another point is that people stereotype people who receive “special treatment” from affirmative action are stereotyped into being less successful due to them getting into schools that are considered too advanced for their skill level, which I think is complete nonsense. Universities are supposed to provide the resources and opportunities for EVERYONE to be successful NOT just a select few.

Fisher
Fisher v. the University of Texas

The amount of minority students attending colleges and universities is increasing and the amount of discrimination is becoming more prevalent—this needs to change. The cases involving Payton Head at the University of Missouri and Tatiana Sy at Ithaca College are just two of the voices that have been heard where the Presidents of those schools were forced to resign due to the fact that they did nothing to help those students.

Payton Head
Payton Head

I decided to ask a few certain minority students (and in the podcast I interviewed one specific person) their take on affirmative action, how they felt about the diversity on their campus, if they hear a lot about discrimination on college campuses and how they find that information, and what they thought could be better or what they could do to fix it (if fixing it was necessary).

The answers I got were very similar. Most of them dealt with the fact there could be a difference in definitions for diversity. It could be taken as having a lot of people on campus but most define it as having different people of different cultures, ideas, and as a lot of people call it—a “mixing bowl”. These people I interviewed all said they found out their information through an assortment of social media sites, which is common nowadays because that’s how we all find out what’s going on—especially in young adults. For the last question, one response really got to me. The question was, “What could be done to fix the issue of discrimination on campuses (if you think there is an issue to fix)?” Her answer was, “Nothing. No one listens. Everyone is ignorant.” To me, this saying we are helpless. I do not believe that at all. Change can happen if we attempt to do it.

Affirmative action is NOT the problem. It is ignorance. Minorities deserve the same rights as any other individual and once we all figure that out, discrimination in college campuses will decrease dramatically.JMU twitter pic

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