Andrea Guerrero has an article in the January 2 Christian Science Monitor purporting to explain “Why We Still Need Affirmative Action.” Her strongest argument seems to be: me.
As a law student, I was in the last class of affirmative action beneficiaries at the University of California, Berkeley….
As an undergraduate at Stanford, I also was admitted under affirmative action….
I was admitted to the law school because of my demonstrated ability to succeed. But I was also admitted because of my experiences and background as a Mexican-American, which the school viewed as valuable to creating a class that was diverse in many ways….
Were it not for race-conscious admissions, I would not have been admitted to Stanford or to Boalt Hall. Affirmative action gave me the chance to reach my highest aspirations. It did not do my homework, take my exams, or pass the bar for me. It simply gave me a chance….
Now in the legal profession, I am an immigration attorney in the border region with a clientele that is predominantly Mexican and Mexican-American. Within this community, I provide pro bono services and educate people about how the laws of this country affect them. I relate culturally and linguistically with my clients. Unfortunately, there are not enough lawyers like me.
Ms. Guerrero writes that she “was born in Mexico to a Mexican father and American mother and raised mostly in the United States.” I wonder if she would have regarded it as unfair if she had been rejected by Stanford or Berkeley in favor of someone with two Mexican parents because of a belief that such a person could have provided twice as much diversity. I also wonder whether she thinks that her “experiences and background as a Mexican-American” should have been taken into account in deciding whether she passed the bar exam.
UPDATE – See Kimberly’s terrific post on her Number 2 Pencil. The permalink’s not working; go to the site and scroll down to the second post you come to under Jan. 2.
UPDATE 1/6/03 – Stefan Sharkansky adds some personal testimony to a discussion of this article.