In his letter to the Record (June 19) arguing against racial preferences in admissions, Carl Cohen says, . . . to give by race is to take by raceand every white student who would otherwise have been admitted but was rejected because his or her skin was the wrong color, was rejected 100 percent. Injustice is not excusable because it is done only to a few.
Nicely worded statement, but off the point. The argument about race in this country is not really about skin color, since whites can be technically darker than blacks or browns. Its not really about ethnicity, either, since most blacks and browns come from a variety of peoples and cultures. Its about the hierarchy of categories we have created, where anyone with even a minute amount of African ancestry is called black and consigned to the most inferior status, and other racial groups are strategically placed between this and the most privileged white category. Its this background, this context, that makes Cohens injustice argument suspect.
Considering race in admissions really means (or perhaps, should mean) considering the injustice that is done daily, as well as the historical effects of that injustice, and trying in some small way to rectify it.
Helen Fox, lecturer in English and the Residential College Social Science Program