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Minorities put in the work, too

Observer Viewpoint | Thursday, January 29, 2004

Only at Notre Dame would a school newspaper have the audacity to print an editorial such as that of Patrick Duncan’s. As a minority student attending this school, I am appalled and deeply offended by this display of outright classism.

Duncan cited Greg Parnell’s column that stated that poor whites perform better academically than middle-class blacks and Andrea sees it just as a matter of socioeconomic class. Well, it is. Try living in a society that puts you down since birth; try living in a society that tells you that you are sub par; try living in a society that outright says that whites are better than blacks and see how motivated you are to try to do better. Many of these children are self-fulfilling prophecies; since they are told by people such as Duncan that they are underachievers since the time they enter school, they believe what they are told and, thus, do not strive to better themselves. It is a matter of socioeconomic class. People that live in impoverished neighborhoods sometimes do not have the means to reach their full intellectual capacities, and they deserve the chance to do so. And they lack the chance due to backward thinking of the majority which seems to feel that derision and mockery are a means of motivation.

As for immigrant children excelling where the blacks do not, it is a matter of culture. When immigrant families move to America, they feel the need to prove themselves and achieve more than most Americans do. Also, they have not yet suffered from the classism and racism that runs rampant in this country; trust me, I know. My mom was an immigrant to this country, and I am a first generation American. I have yet to have my spirit killed by this culture, and that is why I made it to Notre Dame. As I said before, minorities are self-fulfilling prophecies because of articles such as Duncan’s.

Furthermore, what does music have to do with anything? Listening to Garth Brooks or Aerosmith all day isn’t going to make you smarter. A person’s musical preference has no bearing on their intelligence and academic performance. That was just an unnecessary assault to the African-American culture. The fact that Duncan sunk to that level as a means of attack shows his profound lack of morals and virtue, and I believe his prejudiced state of mind.

Duncan was correct about one thing – blacks, and other minorities, are “the victims of patronizing whites who would rather exacerbate the problem and feel good about themselves than actually face the problem and help solve it.” Thank you for making that point clear; I couldn’t have said it better myself. Instead of trying to help educate blacks and help them reach their potential, the majority of this country has taken it upon themselves to belittle and ostracize them. I also agree that throwing money at them isn’t the answer. Helping them is. Ceasing the use of the stereotypes that Duncan himself chose to revolve his article around, and giving the impoverished blacks the ability to end the cycle his cohorts have helped to create.

As for the excessive amount of money that is seen in the projects – well, that is kind of funny. Having had to live in a similar type of atmosphere at one point in my life, I can say with certainty that the money comes from the rich whites. Yes, it comes from rich Caucasians that go to the projects to get a hold of certain pharmaceutical desires. True, some people do take advantage of the government and welfare, but this does not only hold true to blacks. I happen to know students around the nation that have the resources to pay for college, and have financial aid because their parents happen to know accountants and lawyers. Therefore, evasion and fraud and things of that nature are not held strictly within the minority culture.

And I am curious about this guarantee; do you have access to the Harvard admissions records? If not, then you have absolutely no right to make the claim that a poor black would not make it into Harvard. Again, the patronizing is not necessary.

Additionally, the claim that middle-class black children who are outperformed by lower-class whites are the ones getting into the schools of their choice is bias. I happen to be a middle-class minority; are you trying to say that I only got into Notre Dame due to my minority status? If so, you are highly mistaken. I, as well as most of the students here, worked extremely hard to make it here. In fact, I had to work twice as hard as any Caucasian, alumni legacy or male that applied. If anything, minorities have to prove their worth to be accepted into institutions such as Notre Dame. If anything, we have to over-perform; you have it backwards. Additionally, we don’t get rewarded for our efforts, we get scornful articles in school papers discrediting our achievements and ridiculing our merit, as well as questioning our intelligence. Some Notre Dame family.

Fabiola Quinones


Cavanaugh Hall

Jan. 28