To the Editor:
Chandrasekar Ramesh's recent column ("Diversity Isn't Free," Sept. 26) troubled me. If his argument were simply a case for taking more than racial or ethnic identity into account in the College's definition of diversity when it comes to admission, he would receive my utmost support. As a Latino U.S. citizen with an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth, as well as an MBA, my children will not be subject to the same degree of marginalization and hardship as the Latino students currently applying for deferred action. In a world where affirmative action exists to address issues of inequity, these factors are critical and should be taken into account.
If Ramesh were willing to extend his concerns regarding the "model minority" stereotype to the realities confronted by present day Asian-Americans, he would be able to make an eloquent case for the need to admit greater numbers of students from Filipino, Hmong, Cambodian, Laotian and South Korean communities to the College. Of the one million undocumented immigrants from Asia in the United States, one fifth are from South Korea, and one sixth are from the Philippines. More than one-third of Hmong, Cambodian and Laotian-Americans have not acquired a high school degree by the age of 25. The poverty rates for some Cambodian and Laotian-American communities now exceed those of African-American communities.
But Ramesh seems obsessed with making the point that Asians, writ large, are harmed by policies of diversity as though Pacific Islanders, East Asian and South Asian students were better represented in top private schools before the affirmative action era came along, and as though the sum total of Latino, African-American and Native American students exceeded the number of white students at any elite school. Students of color have made up less than one-third of any class at Dartmouth. If admission is zero sum, why not focus on the over-representation of white students rather than harp on the smattering of Latinos, African-Americans and Native Americans accepted to Dartmouth?
Unai Montes-Irueste '98