Affirmative Action

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Affirmative Action:

Race and success in America Academically

For the most part, in the United States at the age of 5 years old children are entitled to a

“Free” public education. The level of expectations for this education varies from state to state but

are mostly based on the amount of tax revenue generated in your general area. Through Socio-

economic status grouping it is found that race plays an important role in trends of economic

placement. In their essays “The Color of Success” (185) and “None of this is fair” (81), Eric A.

Watts and Richard Rodriguez discuss how being a minority affected them in life from early age,

well through their professional careers. Both author’s lives were impacted by Affirmative

Action, but in two completely different ways.

As a young African American, Watts was often targeted by his peers of his own race and

taunted for engaging in “acting white” (2) activities. It is safe to assume his young peers frowned

upon ambitious and determined behaviors. Such negative behaviors still occur today. Peer

Pressure pushes these students to lower their standards causing “horrendous effects on the black

community” (7). Today Watts is a professor at a majority black university. Watts used the

advantages of Affirmative Action to better himself individually and integrated with the

empowered white students doing the same. By acting contrarily Watts proves that victimization

leads to self-destruction as he explains “So blackness became virtually synonymous with

victimization and the characteristics associated with it: lack of education and poverty” (187).

Richard Rodriguez, on the other hand, is a Mexican American. He is considered

a minority and therefore feels victimized by the Affirmative Action Advantage. He feels it

disadvantages white students by giving minority students the opportunity for “inevitable

success” (4). His dream which he mentions in his...
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