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Affirmative Action Is Not Patronizing

In her column on affirmative action ["Taking In the Scenery," Sept. 23], Stacey E. Blau '98 has once again succeeded in dramatizing the ills of society in an effort to force her viewpoint on the student body at MIT. Her point in this instance - that affirmative action is a program white males use to diversify their surroundings by supplementing the scenery around them - is altogether too blatant an attempt to express her social arrogance.

Affirmative action has and continues to be merely an attempt at preventing women and minorities from being discriminated against because of their history of unjust social inequality. MIT's intent in implementing such a policy was and is to prevent discrimination, not to patronize non-male and non-white students.

I do agree with the idea behind Blau's column - that affirmative action, as it is, should no longer be MIT policy. Admission board members should be beyond discriminatory practices. However, she makes the same mistake that affirmative action does when she attributes its implementation here at MIT to a group of white males. Blau does directly what affirmative action does indirectly; she needlessly homogenizes society into groups based solely on gender and race. She misses the point.

The reason that affirmative action should be stricken from policy is because it views people based on their gender and racial background, while ignoring more relevant measures, like test scores, grades, and especially personality - not because it is patronizing.

Worse, Blau makes no attempt to devise an alternative solution to the problem that affirmative action tries to address. She merely attacks MIT policy without looking at the issues surrounding decisions regarding policy implementation.

DanaS. Spiegel '99