Editor’s Note: We occasionally receive notes from our readers in response to an Intrepid Ed News article or Weekly Digest message. They are appreciated. Most are quite brief, expressing either agreement or disagreement. Occasionally, we receive a lengthier letter that is thoughtful and poignant. We publish this one so the author’s thinking may be shared with a larger audience.
November 3, 2022
To the Editor:
Regarding your weekly Intrepid digest letter dated November 1, 2022, on Affirmative Action, communication of this nature needs to include the voice of those primarily impacted by these decisions—in this case, people of color. Lacking explicit input from systematically othered groups leaves those not affected by these decisions room to come to their own conclusions, especially when prompted with questions. We cannot talk about these issues nor fully understand their impact in independent schools without the perspective of a person of color, specifically a Black person of color when it comes to affirmative action. How can we talk about belonging if we don’t amplify the voices of those who historically do not?
You provided the white person’s narrative, “stealing a spot from my child,” but the other side, which sounds like “my child could never belong at that school without affirmative action,” was not highlighted. In our world where reparations don’t exist, and Black people will never be on the same playing field as white people, race should absolutely be considered, even in admissions, so implying that “we change the mindset, so admission becomes a story of both merit and fit, but not specifically using race and ethnicity,” is harmful. Independent schools should consider race; they should collect data and (at a minimum) have similar demographics to their surrounding community.
I understand the importance of sharing an unbiased perspective in journalism; however, the original message reads from a white person’s perspective and could have been reviewed, preferably by a person of color in Admissions, so it reads more neutrally. It currently reads in a way that only caters to one perspective, disregarding (the arguably more critical) other perspectives.
Dean of Extracurricular Experiences
The Alexander Dawson School at Rainbow Mountain
Las Vegas, NV
Thanks so much for your detailed and thoughtful response, Chrystal. I do understand the points you make and my lesson is that I have to be better at articulating some of the more sensitive issues surrounding race and, as you point out, include those voices that are impacted by the topic.