I would like to respond to Daniel H. Choi's [editorial, "Making Affirmative Action Work,"] in The Crimson. I believe that he has a lot to learn about people and their differences. I was deeply offended by his statements. I am sorry that there are people, especially minorities (as I imagine Daniel Choi to be), who still have such bigoted views of groups of people in today's society.
First of all, I am interested to know who put him into the minds and lives of all the "Blacks and Latinos" here at Harvard. I am not denying the statistics or the facts that he used as the basis of his comments, but I find it grossly inaccurate as well as irresponsible to create some all-encompassing reason as to why "the disadvantaged" don't perform as well at Harvard as the "hallowed" majority.
I am not someone who is in constant agreement with the tenets of affirmative action. However, when it aids "Blacks and Latinos" to get an opportunity to be exposed to Harvard and the possibility of a good education, I'm all for it. Funny, but as a fellow student, it seems to me that that should be his only concern as well. It makes me wonder what his vision of an utopic Harvard is. I don't think that a student body with only Whites and Asians would be beneficial to Harvard as an institution either.
Another question I have for Choi is what does it matter to him how others perform? If the Admissions Board saw fit to allow entry of these students, why does he care what they do while they are here or if they finish? Furthermore, the notion that affirmative action allows only the deficient into this institution is wrong and unfair. It might be advantageous for Choi to evaluate how he came to be a student, historically. Discrimination in one's favor is just as ugly.
As a Black woman, I had the grades, intelligence level and strength of character to enter this institution out of high school. I resent the fact that he feels that I have to try harder than he does to be awarded any grade or recognition. Cultural pressure (although I do not think it is as great as Professor Appiah portrayed it) is a factor in one's performance. Many Black people do not feel accepted into the community by students or faculty and such ostracism has a decided effect on one' self esteem. If your self esteem is low, you will not strive to be the very best. Especially when you are made to feel as if the very best you can be is a basketball player, football player, gospel singer or simply a quota filler.
How dare he make such statements about people. I suggest he concentrate on his own studies. Comments such as his are precisely what keep Black people from applying to Harvard and raising the level of the "less-than-stellar" achievement of "Blacks and Latinos" at Harvard. I further suggest that he go research the Civil Rights movement and re-evaluate his understanding of what he perceives as the "worst form of condescension." Lydia Z. Dyett '93