Editor, Daily Nexus,
Regarding the “Connerly’s Vision Would Hinder Academic Research” article (Daily Nexus, May 19, 2003), I am deeply troubled by the insistence (by the public media perhaps) that minorities (Asian in my case) need some sort of “racial equalizing” or “racial classification” in order to provide race-based statistics and somehow mitigate the injustices from the past. I have benefited greatly from previous generations of equal opportunity programs (Educational Opportunity Program in my case), which I have knowingly and approvingly participated in.
However, this continuing mission to allow race as a conduit of preferential treatment is forever a “ball and chain” mentality that we, as minorities, should strive to get rid of. As much as I have benefited from EOP while at school in UCSB, I think that the real danger is our continuing dependence on race as a tool to even the playing field. Are we that helpless still? Are the effects of the civil rights movement that slow? Are we forever mated to that proverbial cycle of dependency, that somehow by virtue of our race that we will always be entitled, in our opinions, to race-based quotas?
I was a UCSB graduate of electrical engineering in 1987 and I was just recently appointed as a physical scientist for the United States National Weather Service in Washington D.C. I was able to obtain the appointment, I would hope, from my previous education, expertise and experience and not because I am “entitled” to the position based on my race and/or gender. I am respected by my peers hopefully from what I have done, what I can do and what I can add to my group, not by what I am supposed to receive as a reparation for past mistakes.
As far as education is concerned, it would behoove the State of California, and all of us, to probably spend more time and effort (and probably more money!) for the economically disadvantaged bright students, of all races and gender, that attend or are planning to attend UCSB. At this point in time, we need our young people to put more stock in personal responsibility rather than personal entitlements. It is my hope that a great institution like UCSB would admit and assist intellectually gifted students without a preferential bias towards race and/or gender. Ward Connerly might be an extremist in his aspirations for a “colorblind” society but his message should ring true for all of us striving for that personal excellence. And that message is that personal excellence is earned and not given.