Race still a factor

Jane Parish Yang

I am writing in reply to Eric Lanser’s letter in the Oct. 31 issue of The Lawrentian. In assembling a diverse class, issues such as regional background, type of high school attended, whether or not parents or relatives are alums, athletic, leadership, or musical ability, and other extracurricular activities are all taken into account in addition to academic merit. Because America is not a color-blind society, race and ethnic background are also factors taken into account, since they are invariably part of a person’s experiences.

Were you taunted on a school playground as a first-grader because you had an Asian surname? My daughter was. Have you been shunned or patronized because of the color of your skin? My husband has. Yet despite challenges and adversity, people strive to overcome discrimination, hoping to be judged on merit and the content of their character. This says much about their moral integrity, which Mr. Lanser seems to admire.

Perhaps one day America will look beyond skin color and judge each person by the content of his or her character, something that Martin Luther King, Jr. hoped for 40 years ago at the March on Washington.

But until that time comes, race and ethnic background will remain a factor in the admissions process.

Jane Parish Yang,
Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
Chair, Committee on Multicultural Affairs