Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Race debate needs minority view

Over the past five years, I had to endure, as an African-American student, some of the most ignorant comments and attitudes I ever thought possible on a “progressive” campus. With all the uproar about the over-simplified, tired, uninformed articles about minorities and their presence on campus, I thought it would help if an article was actually written by a living, breathing minority.

I first want to address the common misconception that minority students got in at the expense of a white student. No one ever seems to question how white students are admitted to the university. Who are these people who believe they are entitled to an explanation about my presence here? Why must minority students feel as though they need to recite their list of accomplishments just so people won’t accuse them of “getting a handout”? Let’s be real, I did not take anyone’s seat at this university except for mine and I am not in the habit of having to explain myself. Other minorities should follow this example.

Now let’s talk about affirmative action.

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Affirmative action was designed to help to level the playing field for minorities (not just African-Americans) in terms of education, scholarships, jobs and careers that whites monopolized and still do. What people don’t seem to realize is racial minorities aren’t even the primary beneficiaries of affirmative action. According to the United States Department of Labor, white women benefit the most from affirmative action, and given that white women outnumber any group of racial minorities on campus, why isn’t this an issue? Why does everyone have something to say when it comes to race, but want to argue for a colorblind society?

Next, let’s look at the actual numbers of racial minorities on campus. According the UW-Madison Academic and Planning Analysis’s data from 2008, here is the breakdown of the racial makeup: African-Americans 2.9 percent, Native Americans 0.7 percent, Asian-Americans 3.6 percent, and Hispanic Americans 1.8 percent, which brings the grand total to 9 percent. With those numbers, I hardly think there are many white students sitting to next a minority and wondering how they got in.

I know I am beating a dead horse, but it would help if people stop thinking they know everything and actually learn something. Forums about these issues, multicultural groups, events and other outlets are available for all students to attend. Sadly, only minorities and a handful of whites actually get the message and preaching to same choir isn’t going to change anything.

Now on this colorblind thing.

It is suspicious that people are arguing for a colorblind society, as if it were going to change anything. The colorblind argument is just a wolf in sleep’s clothing that allows our society to evade the mistakes of the past and to devalue their impact on our present.

Jessica Pharm

Senior, majoring in journalism and mass communications and African-American studies

[email protected]

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