I was embarrassed when I read your article ("Regent blasts 'race-based' aid at meeting," Nov. 3) concerning Regent John Munger's attack against affirmative action and push to make all student financial aid need-based.
It worries me that Arizona and its universities are still blemished with leaders who refuse to accept society at its face value. Poverty, lack of education and opportunities for success are problems which still confront many minority groups in Arizona and the rest of the nation. As a group, black and Hispanic Americans are under-represented as engineers, lawyers, doctors and teachers.
Munger traces the problem to the high school and elementary school levels for not graduating enough college-eligible minority students. Without knowing it, he gives support for affirmative action. As a teacher at Sunnyside High School in Tucson, I realize that society still presents obstacles for minorities, and it's an overwhelming struggle to graduate students who feel any hope for a positive future. Many have witnessed injustices from racism and discrimination carried out against them and their loved ones. As a result, growing numbers distrust and even detest societal authority figures such as teachers, administrators and police officers.
However, the purpose of affirmative action is not to help disproportionate numbers of minorities get a break, as Munger irresponsibly leads us to believe. The goal is to promote a better society. For more than 200 years, racist oppression has created "minority groups" whose inferior status would never have been established if they were recognized as American. In 50 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, one out of four Americans will be Hispanic. It will have a devastating effect on our country's position as a world leader if we don't have more minorities succeed.
"I don't consider myself a racist," Munger states. "I'm just trying to get our society to the point of equality." After only 30 years of affirmative action, society is still not to that point. Just as we recruit innovative people to be engineers, communicative people to be lawyers and caring people to be doctors and teachers, we need to recruit innovative, communicative and caring minorities to be positive role models and change more than 200 years of inequity in our society. It is clear; minorities don't need affirmative action. Society needs affirmative action.
Alfonso Ramirez Jr.
Science Teacher, Sunnyside High School
1992 University of Arizona Alumnus
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