Affirmative action shouldn’t be about race

In Tuesday’s opinion column titled “Apologies from affirmative action,” the author Paul Cruse III takes an unfortunate stance on the issue of affirmative action. There are many sound and applaudable justifications for affirmative action; it is important to note that the crimes of our ancestors are not a valid justification. In the United States, the limitations placed on crime prevent children from inheriting the crimes of their parents, thus referencing slavery and other similar atrocities committed against blacks in the past is not a valid defense because those who committed those crimes are long dead.

Further, the issue of affirmative action should not be a race issue; it should be an issue of opportunity. Mr. Cruse’s column simply perpetuates a cycle that he as a journalist should be trying to stop. His entire piece concerns race, a regrettable misstep. As Mr. Cruse writes, “empowering the poor and less fortunate” is the purpose of affirmative action; it is not meant to empower a particular race. A column dealing with affirmative action that is only about race is missing the point.

Finally, I strongly doubt that advocates against affirmative action question the past suffering of black people. Seeking to defend affirmative action by refuting an argument that is seldom used does not strike me as a productive use of time. Rather, citing the severe economic and social disadvantage that blacks still experience today would have provided a much more powerful defense.

As a supporter of affirmative action, “Apologies from affirmative action” seems like a step in the wrong direction. Regardless of race, gender or nationality, we as a people have an obligation to help those who are less fortunate then we are. Making the issue of affirmative action about race does a disservice to this ideal.

Tim Sally

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Freshman in Engineering