Picture this scenario! A graduate student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering serves as a teaching assistant. A native of South Korea who came to the United States at 13, he spent six years in Southern California Ÿ the nation's biggest melting pot Ÿ prior to enrolling at the UA. Sounds like an enthusiastic advocate for affirmative action, doesn't he? Well, not this one!
Affirmative action had its purpose when first introduced, but in recent years it has increasingly become a "crutch" for many. I would consider it a personal insult for someone to even insinuate that I am here because of assistance from affirmative action and not based on my academic qualifications. I feel no need to be particularly grateful for these so-called "equality programs" because I am sure affirmative action had absolutely nothing to do with why I am here.
Liberals continue to insist that affirmative action is needed to promote racial equality on college campuses. But in actuality, the majority suffers from the consequential reverse discrimination. I would cite my alma mater, the University of California at Irvine, as a prime example: the minorities make up over 50 percent of UCI's population makeup! No region in the West comes close to such ratio, not even southern California! It is no great mystery as to why the University of California decided to abandon affirmative action.
Affirmative action is no longer the "Great Equalizer;" it is now a special-interest program that gives preferential treatment to the minority and denies those in the majority who are more qualified. Yes, everyone deserves the same opportunity, but not at the expense of the qualified individuals who just happen to be in the majority. Let the merits speak for themselves, and let us not again make the mistake of judging someone based on racial and cultural background. Away with affirmative action!
John Y. Ahn
Electrical Engineering Graduate Student
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