Racism has always been a defining issue in our nation’s history.
Racism has enslaved.
It was the cause of the bloodiest battles to ever take place on our homeland.
It has plagued every level of the law, and has affected every person in this country.
However, our nation has taken great steps to abolish slavery, protect civil rights and encourage success for every race, color and creed.
This is evident in the Supreme Court’s ruling in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke.
In 1978, the Court instituted what is commonly known as “affirmative action.”
This ruling allowed universities across the nation to take an applicant’s race into account for rejection or acceptance.
The ruling caused the floodgates of opportunity for minorities to open.
Minorities began to be admitted to the best institutions of higher learning on a more frequent basis.
It promoted healthy, diverse forms of higher education where students could learn and discuss issues with people unlike themselves.
Minorities have entered the mainstream so well – in the workplace, media, and athletics, for example – that today it is unjust for anyone to be accepted or denied admission to an institution based solely on their race.
Yet sadly, many are clinging to the victim status of the past.
Sean Hannity, best-selling author of “Let Freedom Ring: Winning the War Over Liberalism”noted that conservatives oppose hate crime legislation as well as affirmative action because they aspire to a colorblind society.
I wholeheartedly agree.
Our nation has been vilified with color-consciousness.
An example is the vicious death of James Byrd, Jr. in 1998.
Byrd was beaten, chained and dragged three miles to his death.
Two years later, as the presidential election was approaching, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ran a television advertisement that tried to link George W. Bush to the brutal act because he opposed hate crime legislation.
Hannity and I share the belief that the commercial had no grounds for its accusations.
Hannity explains: “[Republicans] believe that by constantly placing race at the forefront of the national debate, we are reverting to the place from which Martin Luther King Jr. sought deliverance for blacks – that is, a society where men are judged by the color of their skin, not the content of their character.”
I oppose affirmative action because victimizing oneself only creates more barriers between races, and persistent attempts have been made to knock these barriers down.
Race is not an acceptable crutch to lean on in the present day.
Armstrong Williams, a Newsweek columnist agrees: “Affirmative action is defined by its tendency to reduce people to fixed categories: At many universities, it seems, admissions officers look less at who you are than what you are…We must reach a point where we expect to rise or fall on our own merits.”
Admission to universities should be based on grade point average, class rank, standardized test scores, and community involvement, along with many other requisites.
Race should not be one of them.
Universities need to focus on inner passion and success probability rather than outward appearance and color-contrasts, because after all, that’s what diversity really is.
Brandon Lausch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.