There is always a wave of indignation that passes over me when I’m filling out a form that is not medically-related in any way and it asks for me to choose a race out of a list of four or five options.
Let me make this very clear: I am supremely respectful of those that are proud of their race and ethnicity. I love hearing about people that keep the traditions of their culture alive and well in their day-to-day lives, and I admire them. But as for me, just being white, my race doesn’t factor into my life. I don’t think about it all that often, until I’m filling out a form that could have a significant impact on my life and it asks me to choose my race.
Because I know that the University has “diversity goals” to fill. I know that HR departments at businesses also have “diversity quotas,” so it doesn’t matter how eligible I am or how hard I have worked; because I am not a member of a minority and don’t fulfill a diversity requirement, I might not get the job.
Michigan banned Affirmative Action a few years ago, understanding that race doesn’t have anything to do with eligibility. The Supreme Court just last week ruled in their favor, saying that it is their constitutional right to not ask students to identify a race.
People are up in arms about this, saying that if they don’t fulfill a diversity requirement, then surely they are just perpetuating racism in our country. Surely they are discriminating against those of minority by not mandating that there be “x” amount of minority groups represented.
Here’s what is really going to happen. Everyone’s application is on a level playing field. Every single person has the same chance of getting in, and their chances are not skewed based on the color of their skin. No one on the admissions side knows anything about what racial group you identify with, and every applicant is chosen based on their merit.
Every applicant is now either accepted or not based on their transcripts, their standardized test scores and how contributing a member of society they are. They are not either accepted or declined based on the color of their skin.
At the end of the day, if we don’t want to perpetuate discrimination in our society, if we want to finally put an end to racism, then why are we asking for people to fit into an option of four or five race options on every form we create? Why are we accepting and declining people based on how much pigment they contain?
In Michigan and similar states that have banned Affirmative Action, you can get into college based on factors that are solely in your control. If you work hard in school and get good grades, if you have a job or volunteer your time towards something that you are interested in, if you dedicate your time towards furthering your life goals, then you can make that happen. You can get into college if you work hard enough to make it happen.
It doesn’t matter the color that you are or what race you identify most with, at the end of the day we should all have equal chances of making our dreams come true. I should not be told that I can be passed up for a position simply because I fail to fulfill a diversity requirement, something that I have no control over.
You cannot choose what race your were born into or what socioeconomic status you grew up in. You cannot choose your parents income levels and you usually cannot choose your school. But what you can choose is how hard you are willing to work to fulfill your education or your career, and either make it happen or not. But finally, finally, someone is taking notice that if you give me parameters for acceptance based on things that I can control and change, then it is solely up to me, and not the color of my skin, to make it happen.
The same can be said for those in minority and majority groups. Your success should solely be on how hard you work, and that is it. Colorado State University, great as it is, could definitely benefit from leveling the playing field for all applicants. Let us all start out from the same base and prove, with factors that only we can control, how deserving we are.
Collegian Opinion Editor Brittany Jordan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.