Reader questions affirmative action's course


While I can appreciate Michael Eilers's point of view that affirmative action has provided him with good experiences, perhaps an experience of mine - or rather, of my nephew's - might help him understand why some people question where it has led.

My nephew is enrolled in one of TUSD's "magnet" programs. When he was in the first grade there, his teacher informed my sister that my nephew didn't belong in the program because he wasn't "white." This threw me - it took awhile for me to understand that what she meant was that my nephew is half Mexican.

I felt sick - is this what my nephews will have to face, being categorized as "white" or "Anglo" by one group and "Mexican" or "minority" by another, depending on the issue at hand? And is the sole purpose of magnet programs to lure "white" kids to "mino rity" schools, rather than also providing these special opportunities to students in poorer neighborhoods?

Even if the purpose of magnet programs is to bring different students together, as opposed to segregating them under the same roof, and this teacher was just another misinformed snowbird with her foot in her mouth, the fact that she would say such a thing makes me wonder - is this where we want to be? Is this what the Civil Rights movement was about?

I was just a kid then, so maybe I misunderstood, but I thought it was about equality, not division.

Linda Wilson
Computer Science