Scott: Whites still new to racial struggle
Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 18, 2012 00:10
Affirmative Action is being challenged for its supposedly flawed concepts that allow discrimination against white people. The criticism isn’t totally off-base, though most of us are unfamiliar with the “plight of the white man.”
But when there’s institutional racism aimed at black and brown people, we fight against that, so why not fight for our white brothers and sisters in a similar situation if we really want to be fair and progressive?
The dilemma with Affirmative Action is that it allows someone to reasonably claim racism from either side of the argument. For white people who believe they don’t get hired or accepted into a university because of a racial quota, it’s easy to see why they feel disenfranchised.
At the same time, for white people like Abigail Noel Fisher, who sued the University of Texas at Austin on the basis that she was denied admission in 2008 because of race, it’s easy the understand the entitlement that goes along with the family tradition of attending UT. Fisher’s father, sister and friends went to UT.
But for minorities, simple math and percentages show there’s only so much room for them anyway because these are white institutions, still filled with mostly white people, no matter who scores highest on the tests and does well in class.
The logic is that there is no way to turn white institutions into non-white or anti-white. Again, there are too many white people to do this, and you won’t find any research that says white kids are more likely to do anything after high school other than go to college. White kids are going to college. There’s no argument there.
But here’s the problem with blaming quotas for whites who are turned away: it assumes that consideration ended with the quota, as if the minority cap is the admission cap and there’s no need to keep reviewing applications past that.
It shouldn’t be a news flash, but the quota has to be low. That’s why these people are called minorities; there are fewer of them. Even past the quota, which has its own disingenuous effects, white people can still get in. Check that – white people will still get in.
As of last year, up to 75 percent of the incoming freshmen class at UT could be selected from students in the top 10 percent of their class. This clearly establishes who’s so qualified of an applicant that they can say they “deserve” to be there without question.
After that, it’s a competition that fluctuates. In 2009, for example, UT accepted about 45 percent of roughly 31,000 students who applied. Only 51 percent of those who were accepted actually enrolled.
First, this tells us that not everyone wants to go to UT. It also shows that even when the sample size narrows down from 31,000 to around 7,000, the university is still half white – with Affirmative Action.
So it’s important to remember that white people are mostly competing against each other, and rigorously at that.
There are not enough minorities to disenfranchise the white race, just maybe enough to disenfranchise you or the next guy.
Society requires a lot for racial compassion and we’ve seen that through our history. You will have to tell more about the plight of the white man. Much more. Don’t just point out that something isn’t fair, because the “life isn’t fair” concept is the one being addressed in the first place. Instead, come up with a reason why anyone should care. That’s more difficult than we’d all like it to be, but if you want to take on racism, these are the struggles you have to be ready to encounter – institutions not caring about your struggle.
You have a long way to go, white people. I didn’t make the rules and almost feel for you.
Unless there’s something compelling that says the UT isn’t accepting white kids outside of the top 10 percent of their high school class − and the university is still 50 percent white, or that there aren’t enough qualified minority applicants to meet the quota without burdening whites − this is going to be hard to challenge without it coming off as an excuse for why someone couldn’t be one of the white people that makes up half of a campus.
The painful truth is with or without Affirmative Action, “qualified” white students are still likely to become Longhorns or anything else they want to be. This, unfortunately, can’t be said with such confidence about minorities. I’m not making that up or using that idea as hyperbole. Whether or not minorities need these preferences, guilt and stigma are connected to predominantly white institutions in America.
It’s hard to say how many white kids will have to settle for Sam Houston State instead of UT for this to become an issue people can rally around.