Saying No to Quotas

Felicia Whatley

Is it really necessary for colleges to ask what ethnicity you are on a college application? Applying for college is like applying for a job; after all, being a student can very well be a full time occupation. Wouldn’t you be offended if a workplace asked your ethnicity?

I don’t think my racial background is any college’s business and should not be a factor in deciding whether I get admitted or not. It’s racial profiling. The minority of students benefit at the expense of the majority.

Human resources may be filling a quota, but I don’t think what race you are should be considered in the first place on a college application.

Minorities do get rewarded in a scholastic environment: there are the College of Business Minority scholarships, the Black Colleagues Association scholarship, the Hispanic College Fund scholarship program, Japanese American Citizens League scholarships, Jewish Federation scholarships and Gates Millennium scholarships.

What if you are just an average American? Is there a scholarship for that too? There is nothing wrong with private groups funding education, or public groups for that matter, whether it be a military organization or the Elks, but when being a part of a certain class or ethnicity excludes others, I think it is unfair and racist.

A 2002 report quoted by the University of Massachusetts, Boston Office of Institutional Research and Policy Studies stated, “Over the past 20 plus years, UMass Boston has experienced marked changes in the demographic makeup of its student body. In the fall 1980 semester, minority students made up about 14% of all known race undergraduate students at UMass Boston. In fall 1990, that had risen to 20.5%. By fall 2000, it was 37.6%, and this semester it has risen to 39.7% in 2002.”

These are good things, but how do colleges get this information? If it is from college applications, it’s just not right. I want to be judged by what I have achieved and what I can achieve. That is the American way, right?

There were 373 International students and 1,778 students who refused to self identify race or ethnicity in 2002. Good for them. That’s awesome.

“We know that 2,608 is an understatement of the total number of minority undergraduates at UMass Boston because language and citizenship variables in our most recent senior survey indicate that significant numbers of those students who refuse to respond to race and ethnicity questions are recent immigrants from Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia, or speak languages that indicate that their families were fairly recent immigrants from those regions.”

Can one even have a discussion about race if he or she is not a minority? Would that make me a racist?

I am a white female Jew and a soldier, but for the record I put “Other”. Other, as in American. I am sure it had no bearing as to why I was admitted.

It is important that there be diversity on campus, but it would also be reassuring to know that everyone really is equal, on paper and in person.