The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Racial prefernce promotes unfairness

Letter to the Editor | Friday, October 31, 2003

Natalie Bennett’s description, in her Oct. 30 letter, of affirmative action as an “equalizer in a world that is still not equal” is an inaccurate description of affirmative action. Affirmative action, as it is currently enacted, can be considered an equalizer only for disadvantaged minorities, not for all disadvantaged people. Therefore, because it aids certain people while discriminating against others, affirmative action is a discriminatory policy.

Bennett used as an argument a claim, that because minorities have a greater percentage of certain health problems, “who is to say they should not be allowed to see a doctor that looks like them.” Beyond the fact that her conclusion does not follow from her premises, this argument can be further analyzed. Why are there few minorities in medicine? During four years of undergraduate study, students of all colors have the opportunity to prepare for medical school. Therefore, the low percentage of minorities in medicine can’t be blamed on race, as most educational disadvantages can be overcome during undergraduate study.

A further point can be made that the color of a practitioner’s skin makes no difference in the quality of the treatment they provide. I would prefer primary or emergency treatment from a purple-skinned medical genius over treatment provided by a mediocre physician of my color.

In her final point Bennett writes, “I doubt that there are less skilled minority surgeons because they are not qualified, but maybe because they still do not have access to the same economic and educational advantages.” While I share her doubt, for the sake of thoroughness and fairness, her argument must be extended to encompass all who are economically and educationally disadvantaged, not just minorities.

Not all minorities are disadvantaged, and not all disadvantaged people are minorities. Considering these facts, it follows that if preferences are to be given, they should be given based on economic status, not racial status. Certainly it would be unfair for Michael Jordan’s children to receive preferences over poor white children. Preferences based on economic status would not only benefit the disadvantaged of all colors, but would also promote a color-blind society.

Michael LuccifreshmanKeenan HallOct. 29