Utterly Meaningless » Blog Archive » AA NOT ABOUT RACE
  • AA NOT ABOUT RACE

    Filed at 3:35 pm under by dcobranchi

    Southern Methodist University shut down an anti-affirmative action bakesale because of “safety concerns.”

    Matt Houston, a 19-year-old sophomore, called the group’s price list offensive.

    “My reaction was disgust because of the ignorance of some SMU students,” said Houston, who is black. “They were arguing that affirmative action was solely based on race. It’s not based on race. It’s based on bringing a diverse community to a certain organization.”

    He’s right. Some SMU students are ignorant.

    6 Responses to “AA NOT ABOUT RACE”


    Comment by
    Ross
    September 25th, 2003
    at 4:08 pm

    I think it is kind of strange that students at SMU had the affirmative action bake sale since TX does not allow race to be a factor in college admissions. Or maybe SMU does not receive state funds so they are allowed to discriminate? So the bake sale seemed kind of silly but then the remark by the student defending affirmative action sounds like at least the students think they have affirmative action. Any Texans around who know if SMU has affirmative action or not?


    Comment by
    Daryl Cobranchi
    September 25th, 2003
    at 4:51 pm

    SMU is private. They can do anything they want.


    Comment by
    Skip Oliva
    September 25th, 2003
    at 5:55 pm

    SMU… the same school that got the NCAA “death penalty” for corruption in its athlethic department.


    Comment by
    Sofia Bitela
    September 29th, 2003
    at 11:49 pm

    Dear Ross,

    You asked a good question. Daryl’s right; since SMU is a private university, it does not fall under state legislation banning the specific use of race in admissions decisions. I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding, or more likely, unwillingness to understand about what happened. I personally know Matt Houston; we’re in the jazz orchestra together. The Young Conservatives of Texas set up a bake sale protesting affirmative action without alerting administrators to the true intention of the bake sale. Any event held on campus grounds must have paperwork filed through the appropriate offices and have prior approval. I did not appreciate the message they were sending out; whether intentionally or not, the bake sale presented a message in which minorities were considered of less value than whites. If they’re so sincere about “debating” the virtues and vices of affirmative action, they could have attended the open forum on October 8th. During the forum, both sides will be allowed to air and defend their views. No one is declared right or wrong; it provides the opportunity to engage in a healthy exhange of ideas. Holding a bake sale in which it takes four blacks or two Hispanics to equal the value of a white applicant is not the best way to get the message across to others. The bake sale was shut down because it violated SMU’ Student Code of Conduct, which specifically states, “All members of the University community are protected from harassment, including, but not limited to, members according to their race, ethnicity, age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and religion. Any words or acts deliberately designed to disregard the safe or rights of another and which intimidate, degrade, demean, threaten, haze, or otherwise interfere with another person’s rightful action will not be tolerated on the basis of the standards of the SMU community.” Before anyone goes around crying about First Amendment violations, the statement that directly precedes it states that SMU ” will maintain the University as a forum for the free expression of ideas under the laws of the state and nation.” Setting up a protest which presents minorities as having less value than white applicants, whether intentionally or not, violated SMU’s Harassment Policy. As for affirmative action at SMU, I do not know SMU’s specific policies regarding race in admissions, but I do know that for every three images of the Aryan dream, SMU tries to bring one person of an ethinically diverse background. As of right now, the racial demographics are approximately 75% white and 25% minority, including all blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, international students, amd whoever else may fit in according to SMU’s guidelines. As for affirmative action itself, it can take many forms. It is not limited just to race or gender. Religious status is taken into account, as well as home environment (i.e. urban or rural). In fact, the University of Michigan, the defendant in the highly publicized affirmative action case, gave twenty extra points to individuals who came from a rural environment. Athletes were given about twenty or thirty points extra (don’t quite remember). Just about anything that sets you apart from another person gets factored into a college’s admission decision. If you want to cry about the unfairness of affirmative action, cry out against all of it. Complain about how those country people are taking up spaces that should go to city slickers. Bitch about how giving athletes extra points hurts those who are not athletically inclined, for whatever reason. I will not say affirmative action is perfect. I think it has serious flaws that should be addressed. However, I would rather have a world with affirmative action than without it. People who completely oppose affirmative action forget the former admissions policies, in which wealthy white Anglo-Saxon Protestant males were heavily favored since they had the greatest access, financially and otherwise, to academic and social opportunities and resources. Ross, I agree with you. I, too, am confused about why white students who obviously have been accepted to and are currently attending SMU would be upset about affirmative action. Affirmative action isn’t even about “filling quotas” or “taking another qualified applicant’s spot”, a pervading viewpoint that oftens results in the devaluation of a minority student’s presence, which goes to show that even with a program like affirmative action, racial minorities in particular have to work harder to prove themselves. What it’s really about is, when all things are considered equal in terms of high school transcripts and academic and extracurricular achievements, which applicant can help bring a different viewpoint to the campus and provide other students the opportunity to meet someone outside of their social bubble. Whether it’s the Hispanic kid, or the Jewish kid, or the kid from the town with a population of only a thousand people, or the star athlete, each one has a unique perspective on life; accepting different perspectives is essential to success both in school and in the workforce. Bringing in another Barbie doll or Ken from Millions of Dollars City, USA, won’t exactly help provide the diverse atmosphere students will encounter in the real world. I hope I helped shed some light on why the bake sale was shut down and the affirmative action issue altogether. Skip Olivia, what does the “death penalty” have to do with any of this? Feel free to email me at sbitela@mail.smu.edu.


    Comment by
    Sofia Bitela
    September 29th, 2003
    at 11:54 pm

    My email address is for anyone who would like to email me with any questions or comments. Looking at the post, it looks like I’m asking Skip Olivia to email me, which he or she could do if he or she so desired.


    Comment by
    Ross
    September 30th, 2003
    at 6:35 pm

    The actual points (as given elsewhere on this site, I did not double check this being basically lazy) are:

    Geography
    10 points – Michigan resident
    6 points – Underrepresented Michigan county
    2 points – Underrepresented state

    Alumni
    4 points – “Legacy” (parents, step-parents)
    1 point – Other (grandparents, siblings, spouses)

    Essay
    1 point – Outstanding essay (since 1999, 3 points)

    Personal achievement [i.e., sports, non-scholarship]
    1 point – State
    3 points – Regional
    5 points – National

    Leadership and service
    1 point – State
    3 points – Regional
    5 points – National

    Miscellaneous
    20 points – Socio-economic disadvantage
    20 points – Underrepresented racial-ethnic minority identification or education
    5 points – Men in nursing
    20 points – Scholarship athlete
    20 points – Provost’s discretion

    Since SMU does engage in AA practices I totally agree with the students who held the bake sale. MLK spoke of hoping that some day his children would not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. (paraphrasing, once again just too dang lazy) Racism is horrible and should not be tolerated. By you don’t end discrimination by sanctioning more discrimination.

    If a black child and a white child are attending the exact same school and one of them studies hard and the other slacks off and underperforms do you really think skin color should determine who gets in? If the slacker is the white kid and the white kid is the one who gets in then I believe who would both agree that a grave injustice has been done. I the slacker is the black kid and the black kid is the one who gets in that is just as wrong. The person who performs should be rewarded.

    More should be done to make college affordable for all people who are qualified to attend and admissions should be blind to the socio-economic status of the applicants. Once admitted, the student should be able to receive a financial aid package that would allow them to attend the college of their choice. But race should not matter. When I ran track I would have been insulted if I would have been given a headstart over all the other runners because I am white. I competed fairly and won my fair share of races. But at the end of the day, I knew where I stood. By basing admissions on race you not only stigmatize the people who actually benefit from that policy you also stimitize everyone of that group because it well be assumed that just because the fit into the “prefered” group they could not have made it on there own merit.

    Regards,

    RT