An Open Letter to Affirmative Action Reject Abigail Fisher


Dear Abigail Fisher,

From one 23-year-old white female who got rejected from her dream college to another, I have to tell you, I think you’ve taken this whole thing a little too far.

After turning your college rejection into a Supreme Court case and ultimately a national spectacle (see: Fisher v.University of Texas), and even after SCOTUS failed to make a final decision of their own on the matter, your continued, undying confidence in a twisted idea of “justice” is worrisome.

I’m speaking from the perspective of someone who’s been in a similar situation to yours, but if we were in a Robert Frost poem we’d end up on very different roads.

Let me explain.

We have a few things in common. I, too, was rejected from my “dream school” during the college admission process. Then I was also able to attend another well-known four-year school that has given me ample professional opportunities of my choosing. Kind of like how even though you were rejected from UT, you went on to another good school and score a fancy financial analyst position post-grad.

See, there’s this thing called white privilege. You have it. I have it. Our parents have it. And it lessens the likelihood that we’ll experience any kind of deeply rooted inequalities and discrimination.

White privilege means you have an automatic advantage over others because of culturally ingrained social norms. It means there are hierarchies and systems in place to ensure your ultimate success in the world. White privilege means if you don’t get into your “dream school,” you’ll still go on to graduate from another four-year college and find a better than average job in a crappy economy.

It also means once you get to college, you won’t experience both obvious and subtle forms of racism on a regular basis.

Getting rejected from the college you want to go to sucks. But you know what that’s called? Life. You know what actually sucks? The intricacies of systemic racism that have plagued the United States for as long as it’s existed. So does being discriminated against on sight alone because you were born into a race of human beings that have been historically screwed and disadvantaged for as far back as we know.

The biggest joke of all might be the fact that you were able to get a handful of Supreme Court justices to take your problematic and trivial complaints so seriously, and that lawyers, politicians, journalists, activists and individual citizens have all spent their valuable time debating and contemplating affirmative action, all because a girl with a 3.59 high school GPA wasn’t accepted into one of the more competitive and prestigious state schools in the nation.

Not to mention your name will forever be synonymous with attempting to push back against equality. But I digress.

This whole thing is bigger than you and me. It’s not just about isolated incidents or what one person thinks they deserved over other students without any legitimate merit or reason. There’s no such thing as isolated incidents. Everything exists within context, and contextually speaking your rejection from UT was not an instance of inequality.

In her famous essay “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” (you might want to Google it), Peggy McIntosh writes:

“For me white privilege has turned out to be an elusive and fugitive subject. The pressure to avoid it is great, for in facing it I must give up the myth of meritocracy. If these things are true, this is not such a free country; one’s life is not what one makes it; many doors open for certain people through no virtues of their own.”

My genuine hope is that someday you come to terms with the reality that is your white privilege and social location as you move along in this world. Until then, try and let the wise words of Peggy McIntosh sink in.

Image via AP.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin