To Abigail Fisher...

To Abigail Fisher...

Affirmative action was not created to deny qualified white students admission because of their race.
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Dear Abigail Fisher,

I am sure that you have already received a ton of hate from your decision to challenge affirmative action at the University of Texas at Austin. And while hashtags like #StaymadAbby and #Beckywiththebadgrades are a way for people to express their frustrations, they are not the most appropriate way of addressing the issue at hand. So this letter is my attempt to reason with you, and explain how affirmative action benefits students in your position.

Let’s start with grades. Taking race out of the equation, merit is the biggest component when it comes to admission. UT Austin is one of the best public universities in the nation and a top contender among international universities as well. Surely, they acquired this status by admitting students that are cream of the crop and not because they are leading an anti-white crusade.

Some might say that you were fortunate to apply in the year 2008. While it had outstanding applicants that year, back then, UT Austin’s requirement for automatic admission was top 10 percent of the class, which has now been reduced to only top 7 percent. Your GPA was 3.59 and SAT scores 1180 (out of 1600), and while these numbers are decent, they are nowhere close to being considered competitive.

At this point, you would probably argue that there were students with grades lower than yours who still got admitted. Yes, that happens, sometimes, and it sucks. However, to remind you, only five of those students were black or Latino, while 42 of them were white. If race, as you believe, was the key factor in your rejection, then what exactly do you make of those 42 white students with scores lower than yours?

If that doesn’t show you that your race was not the only factor here, there were one 168 black/Latino students who were denied admission with grades as good as, or much better, than yours. Despite these numbers, if you still think that your admission was contingent upon your race, then I’m afraid to tell you that you’re in denial and swimming in a pool of entitlement.

Affirmative action was not created to deny qualified white students admission because of their race but rather to ensure that qualified minorities were not left out because of their race.

Sadly, even when this rule was meant to be advantageous for minority students, the people that truly reap its benefits are middle to upper class white applicants. Let me explain it to you like how Wall Street Journal did perfectly through a hypothetical scenario. University X has a 1000 spots for its incoming freshmen, and because of race-based affirmative action, 20 percent (200 spots) are reserved for minority students. This leaves white students with 800 spots. Now, let’s take away the race-based affirmative action.

When University X is left without this rule, it has to find new parameters to maintain diversity, so it will most likely resort to income level. Since low-income level areas would have some whites along with minorities, they would admit more of those applicants. In order to reach their 20 percent minority rule, they would require 333 affirmative action students (200 minorities along with 133 whites which were included through this criterion), leaving only 667 spots for non-affirmative action students.

You see? Race-based affirmative action allows the system to still work in favor of the upper class white applicants, so you should actually be thankful for it.

Look, I get it. UT Austin has been a legacy in your family, and it is totally understandable that you would want to continue that legacy. What I do not understand is why you would try to end a rule that enables minority students to have the same chance to make UT Austin their family legacy. If attending this school meant so much to you, you should have accepted their offer to attend a satellite school and transfer to Austin sophomore year.

Or, you could have done great at LSU and applied to UT Austin for grad school. Instead, you decided to blame the school and tarnish that name in your family. You made it seem as if the entire system was built to hold back you, a white girl who apparently did everything right but was robbed off by a lesser-deserving minority.

I hope that you use this time to reflect why the Supreme Court decided to rule the way it did. Please take this opportunity to learn that whatever you do in life, you will inherently be at an advantage because you are a white. So is race important? Yes, but not in this instance. This was never about your race, Abigail, but your merit, and you just weren’t good enough.

Sincerely,
Nimra Ahad.

Cover Image Credit: BBC

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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Abortion Bans Are Only A Small Part Of The Republican War On Women

These bans expose the Republican Party for what it truly is.

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This week, several states passed laws that ban abortion after six to eight weeks of pregnancy, before most women even know that they're pregnant. The most egregious of these is Alabama — the state has banned abortion except for in cases of danger to the mother. Exceptions in the cases of rape and incest were actively voted against by the state legislature. Under the new law, any doctor who is caught giving an abortion would be sentenced to 99 years in prison, and the woman would be charged with murder.

Apart from the fact that this explicitly violates the decision of Roe v. Wade (which is the point), this is only a small part of the slow but steady degradation of women's rights by Republicans in the United States. To anyone who believes that this is simply about people being "pro-life" or "saving the children," then tell them to look at what happens after the fetus is carried to term.

Republicans oppose forcing fathers to be involved in the lives of their children that were forcibly carried to term, desires to cut food stamps and make it more difficult to feed said child, cut funding for affordable housing to make it more difficult for them to find homes, cut spending to public education so these children can't move up the social ladder, and refuse to offer the woman or her child health insurance to keep them both healthy. What about efforts to prevent pregnancy? Republicans also oppose funding birth control and contraception, as well as opposing comprehensive sexual education. To them, the only feasible solution is to simply keep your legs shut. They oppose all of these things because it is, in their eyes, a violation of individual rights to force people to do something. The bill also makes women who get abortions felons, and felons can't vote. I'll let you finish putting those two together.

If you view it from this framework, it would seem like Republicans are being extremely hypocritical by violating the personal freedoms of pregnant women, but if you look at it from the view of restricting social mobility for women, then it makes perfect sense. The Republican dogma of "individual rights" and "personal responsibility" is a socially acceptable facade that they use to cover up their true intentions of protecting the status quo and protect those in power. About any Republican policy, ask yourself: does this disperse power or consolidate it? Whether it be education, healthcare, the environment, or the economy, Republicans love to keep power away from the average citizen and give it to the small number of people that they deem "deserving" of it because of their race, gender, wealth, or power. This is the case with abortion as well; Power is being taken from women, and being given back to men in a reversal of the Feminist Movement of the 1970s.

Republicans don't believe in systemic issues. They believe that everyone has the same opportunity to succeed regardless of what point they started. This is why they love capitalism so much. It acts as some sort of great filter in which only those who deserve power can make it to the top. It's also why they hate social policies; they think that helping people who can't help themselves changes the hierarchy in a negative way by giving people who don't "deserve" power, power. Of course, we know that just because you have money and power doesn't mean you earned it fair and square, and even if Republicans believe it, it wouldn't change anything because it wouldn't change how they want to distribute power.

In short, Republican policies, including abortion, leave the average American with less money, less protection, less education, worse health, less opportunity, fewer rights, and less freedom. This is NOT a side effect. This is the point. Regardless of what Republicans will tell you about "inalienable rights" and how everyone is equal, in reality, they believe that some people and groups are more deserving of rights than others, and the group that deserves rights the most are the ones "that will do the best with them." To Republicans, this group consists of the wealthy, the powerful, and the white — the mega-rich, the CEOs of large companies, gun owners and Christians.

So, who do Republicans think deserve power and give it to? People who look and think like them. This, however, begs the question: Who do they want to take it from?

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