University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
My motivation to attend a Historically Black College or University has a lot to do with black history but not for the most common reasons. For me to be able to properly express my sentiments in making this selection, I would like to begin by speaking of my experience as a black woman and the experience of being black in America. This, I feel, is the only way that I can clearly explain my decision to attend a Historically Black College or University.
In the very beginning of this nation’s history, Americans were under the power of England’s monarchy. The Americans were able to overthrow the shackles of bondage and created a Constitution that declares its steadfast belief in the ideals of freedom, equality and the pursuit of happiness. But immediately after the Declaration of Independence and even after the Constitution was signed and accepted by leaders of the new government, not every American citizen is treated fairly.
This led to the development of several plans that were aimed at making things equal. Among which, affirmative action was praised and pilloried as the answer to racial inequality. First introduced by President Kennedy in 1961, “Affirmative action” was designed as a method of reducing the discrimination that had remained despite the civil rights laws and constitutional guarantees. It was a method that was put in place as a “Temporary Measure to Level the Playing Field” through the offering of the same opportunities to all Americans.
While the “Affirmative Action” plan was intended to have good effects, it resulted in exposing the flaws in the system as “Reverse Racism” began to emerge and the “Bakke” case came about where a white male was rejected two years in a row in favor of admitting other minorities through a quota system. This “Reverse Racism” and other flaws led to a mounting anger against “Affirmative Action” and soon it became a Zero Sum Game as jobs and opportunities became open to minorities but not to whites. During this period, “Preferential treatment” and “quotas” became expressions of contempt.
This is where my drive to apply at this Historically Black College or University comes from because I am a firm believer in the progress that has been made to address this situation. The recent victory of Barack Obama in the United States Presidential Election of 2008 is one of the biggest issues among many other big events that have occurred in America this year. This year’s election was even more controversial because of the racial issue, which they barely, if at all, had in previous elections.
During the course of the campaigns, other candidates may have mentioned the racial difficulties in their speech or public pledge, but no candidate ever represented him-self as a minority. The United States, I am proud to admit, has begun the long process of change. The idea of having a Black President was unthinkable and unimaginable ten years ago. Yet, it must be pointed out that it was only achievable because America is blended by multi-ethnicity, which means America is like a melting pot, where all different races and cultures are mixed in one particular land, often called “a country of immigrants”.
Many other countries aside from than the United States were and still likely to deny minorities as their presidents. This recent success is a clear sign that Obama’s successful run for president has broken through the ‘last racial barrier’. America no longer has to be rudely awakened by the Civil Rights Movement to realize that there is still much work to be done with regards to racism in this country. When Martin Luther King, Jr. died, the nation was ready for a major change. Ending segregation in the South and improving the status of the Negro race is now the correct thing to do.
The victory of Barack Obama sends a message of change that resounds with all the voters; it speaks of change and opportunity for all those who had none and all those who have none. It is this same message of change that has prompted me to embrace my country for taking steps in initiating this change. These Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been trying to change this trend since their inception and I feel that it is my duty to be a part of that proud history and continue the message of change by pushing back the barriers.
As the United States continues to grow in population size, the impact that the minorities have on the future of America will no longer be a minor one, to say the least. Without any effective action, these minorities will not be able to take advantage of the opportunities that America has to offer. Affirmative action was supposed to be the future of a great America. An America as envisioned by the forefathers who declared that no person shall be denied the right to life, liberty or property just on the basis of the color of his skin.
Any effective action, such as taking an active role by applying to Historically Black Colleges and Universities, with regard to improving society should not be about segregating people or creating a different class. It should instead focus on creating opportunities for those who have none and building relationships that will ensure that America can remains as the great country that it has been and is for ages to come. It is said that the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
I am one of those individuals who firmly believe in my dreams and am not afraid to work hard to attain them. I know that I have a long road to travel but I am neither daunted nor intimidated by this because I know that I can succeed. I am also confident in the fact that with the experiences that I can gain from this university there is so much more that I can accomplish in life and I look forward to the day that this dream becomes a reality.