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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Time to treat everyone equally

Published: February 8, 2008
Section: (Audio/Video), Audio Segments, Opinions

From the earliest age we are taught in our schools that racism is an evil institution, a plight on our society. We are told that we should only judge people by the content of the character and not by the color of their skin. I wholeheartedly agree with these sentiments. Racism is an evil thing and makes absolutely no rational sense. It leads to such wickedness and has led to the discrimination of countless people. Still there are certain notions about racism that don’t make sense. It is idiotic to assume that racial minorities themselves can’t act in a discriminatory manner as they are just as racist as anyone else. Furthermore, government policies such as Affirmative Action and certain other initiatives anger me as they create a new system of racism. Finally, horrific double standards have arisen that are just not fair to many people.

For my education class last year, I had to read numerous works concerning race. All of them broadened my perspective on the subject but one notion among the many concepts we learned stood out for its sheer irrationality. One work, maybe Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? said that racial minorities themselves cannot act racist. This idea is absolutely outrageous. To assume that an entire racial group cannot act racists while the dominant group is the only group that can is well…racist! By making an overarching generalization about a group of people, the author is herself fitting people into stereotypes and ironically, committing the sin she so adamantly despises. Also, I have seen firsthand that racial minorities can, in fact, act racist. For the past two summers I did Americorps in Paterson New Jersey, a place where…well let’s just say there weren’t a lot of tall goofy white people. I would regularly be stared at in the streets and called names. I was made to fill discriminated by the color of my skin and the perpetrators were all racial minorities. Members of all ethnic groups can act racist. It is irrational and hypocritical to assume otherwise.

I absolutely despise affirmative action and any programs in admission that give preference to people of racial minority backgrounds. First of all, why should people be judged better for the color of their skin? Like Martin Luther King jr., I believe that the content of one’s character should be the sole determinant of one’s success in life. However these, yes, racist officials seem to give preference for the arbitrary characteristic of race. Also, how dare someone admit a lesser-qualified minority candidate than a more qualified Caucasian applicant. Some may say that minorities have been put down by our society, and Affirmative Action is the way to correct this problem. I think it makes it worse. There are many Caucasian people who come from disadvantaged backgrounds and minorities who do well off. Why shouldn’t we be finding a way to help all those disadvantaged applicants rather than erecting a racist policy that only assists minorities?

A number of wretched double standards have also been created that are completely unfair. For instance, numerous black scholarships exist all throughout the country and if they are privately funded, I support them. But when a group at BU created a scholarship for Caucasians, they are branded racists and get national media attention. Why is it that Blacks can have their own scholarship funds and whites can’t? Furthermore, a double-standard in comedy has arisen as well. A fine line has been created that allows minorities to ridicule their group while whites are socially barred from doing so. And the one tool that people can always use is to brand people “racist,” one of the worst designations in our society. It unfairly happened to Gravity Magazine and their supporters last year and it may even happen to me as I write this article. The title has even been given to an admirable professor who simply wanted to add humor to his class while objectively teaching about this despised institution.

I am the least racist person I know. I view ALL people as equal and don’t care if your black, white, red, or blue. As long as you are a good person, work hard, and have good character, you’re all right in my book. I simply wanted to illuminate some my irritations with the racism debate around this country and closer to home. And I just want to say in closing; if you want to promote Affirmative Action, you may want to include tall people. I have been isolated from society all my life and add just as much diversity to this vertically-deficient campus.