As An Asian, I Am okay With Affirmative Action

Art/Good Men Project

Art/Good Men Project

Being of the Indian ethnicity, I’ve often heard it will be more difficult for me to be accepted into certain colleges than it is for others, because of schools’ desire to be racially diverse, and because of the fact many Asians are academically talented.

At first, this angered me. I’ve worked incredibly hard throughout high school - why should my effort be diminished simply because of my skin color? Why should someone who is - for example, Native American - be accepted into my dream school, NYU, instead of me, even if my qualifications are slightly greater than theirs? To me, it felt like another form of discrimination.

But then, during my sophomore year of high school, I moved to a new state - a new state, a new town, a new school. And a new cross country team.

Cross country was something I’d poured my heart into for years before moving; making the varsity team was my biggest goal at the moment. But moving across the country in the middle of my high school career was jarring, isolating, lonely. For the first several months, I did not have anyone to sit beside in lunch, or anyone to have sleepovers with on the weekends.

I hoped that my cross country team would provide a home.

But in reality, it did the opposite. Nearly every single person on the team had white skin, silky hair and makeup; they had already formed cliques, groups of friends from the previous year, when I’d been across the country. Going to practice at 6:30 a.m. each day became something to dread, because hardly anyone on the team would even talk to me, much less include me. It’s not that they were all terribly mean - it’s that I was different from literally every one of them, and I was too shy to barge my way into their friend groups.

I quit by the end of that year.

Perhaps if there were a few more people who were like me - in both appearance and personality - then cross country would’ve stayed as something positive for me. But instead, it transformed from something I loved into something I hated.

I do not want college to be a repeat of that experience, and I would not want that for anyone else. Because of that, I’ve come to accept the idea of affirmative action.