I disagree with Michael Eilers column "Affirmative action benefits all colors" (Jan. 19). Mr. Eilers, a white male from a stable, middle class family, who attended private schools, is understandably biased. Mr. Eilers represents the liberal wealthy sentim ent that discrimination against white males is the fair retribution for slavery and discrimination against minorities. Clearly, Mr. Eilers' view could be considered racist, because he refuses to understand that poverty is multi-cultural and multicolored.
Dr. Martin Luther King, whom I respect and admire, taught that unity and equality was necessary for peace and harmony. However, many of the arguments from proponents of affirmative action believe these same doctrines of Dr. King.
Mr. Eilers, how do you explain to a poor child that he cannot be a firefighter, policeman or teacher because he was born a certain color? Or to a father and his family that he did not get the job, even though he is well qualified, because the government r equires quotas? Are the racist legacies of the past any better than the legalized discrimination policies of today? To me, the answer is a clear and resounding NO! Affirmative action is racism, not unlike America's past. However, because it is legalized, claims are falsely made that it adds to our "cultural richness" and "equal access" that would otherwise be obstructed by political and economic leaders in covert dealings.
Every American must accept personal responsibility for his or her actions. No longer do I or many others accept the demagoguery that white males are the root of all evil. It is easy to blame people like me for poverty, crime and the demoralization of Amer ica's minority populations. That is, until you understand that I, and many like me, come from backgrounds that are not as privileged as Mr. Eilers'.
Discrimination is against the law, as it should be. Those who discriminate should be punished to the fullest extent possible. However, we must come to terms with our past and rise to the challenge of our future. To depend on programs that benefit many sol ely on race will only seek to separate and divide this nation. We must begin to look beyond race and to challenge all citizens to strive for excellence in all endeavors.
It is very easy to blame someone else for your failures. America cannot guarantee you success - only the opportunity to do so.
S. J. Sasser
UA alum, class of 1991