ust before the start of my senior year in college, I received a job offer from the local newspaper. A short time later, I ran into a former editor of the college paper where I had previously worked and told her the news. “Congratulations, Jason,” she said. “I heard they were looking for more minorities.”
I don’t know if it was her intention, but the remark stung. The episode crystallized for me one of the major drawbacks of affirmative-action policies. In the name of helping some blacks, they taint the accomplishments of all blacks. No one with any self-respect wants to be perceived as a token, whether in the workplace or on a college campus.
Black professionals who came of age in the era of racial preferences have been dealing with this stigma for decades. Stephen Carter, a Yale law professor, recalls applying to Harvard Law School in the 1970s after completing his undergraduate degree at Stanford. The school initially rejected him but reversed its decision after learning that he was black. “Naturally, I was insulted,” Mr. Carter writes in his memoir, “Reflections of an Affirmative Action Baby.” “Stephen Carter, the white male, was not good enough for Harvard Law School; Stephen Carter, the black male, was not only good enough but rated agonized telephone calls urging him to attend. And Stephen Carter, color unknown, must have been white: How else could he have achieved what he did in college?”
Read the full story from the Wall Street Journal here.