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We Still Need Affirmative Action

We Still Need Affirmative Action

You are a New York City taxicab driver, a very dangerous profession in our society. A young African American male hails you late at night. You observe the male’s clothing and decide that this may be trouble. Despite your obligation to pick him up, you drive on. Was your decision to racially discriminate a significant one? Dinesh D’ Souza, a former editor of The university newspaper, does not seem to think so. In his recent visit to the campus and in a debate over affirmative action, D’Souza asserted that racism, although it may still exist, is no longer holding back the African American community and is not a justification for affirmative action.

As D’Souza writes in his book, The End of Racism, “Racism undoubtedly exists, but it no longer has the power to thwart blacks or any other grouping achieving their economic, political, and social aspirations. It cannot be denied that African Americans suffer the slights in terms of taxi drivers who pass them by, pedestrians who treat them as a security risk, banks that are reluctant to invest in black neighborhoods, and other forms of continued discrimination.” Mr. D’Souza, although he may not realize it, has pinpointed the importance that race still plays in our society. Race matters. It matters to the taxicab driver who sees a young black male as a mugger; to the cop who assumes that a black male in a nice car is the likely perpetrator of a crime; to the shopkeeper who follows the minority around the store.

These are not minor inconveniences. These are barriers to opportunity. Mr. D’Souza argues that the taxicab driver who drives away is playing the odds in his favor. Why? Because the taxicab driver has incomplete information. The cabbie i…

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…ight choose not to question a number of things. D’Souza does not realize the fundamental truth of his own conclusions; that his life experiences were essential to his perspective.

We, the students of univeristy, are here to learn. The pedagogical framework that is the college learning environment is principally built on the intellectual and social interactions of the student body. We learn from each other.

We learn when what we believe based on our experience conflicts with the perspective of another. We learn when those who have been treated differently question our assumptions. In this learning, in the classroom and outside, race matters. Experience is fundamentally altered by race. In an academic community that looks to learn, diversity of race is essential. Dinesh D’Souza is wrong: race still matters. There is still justification for affirmative action.

No Prison Time for Juvenile Crime and Violence

No Prison Time for Juvenile Crime

Students are shooting up schools across the country. Kids as young as twelve and thirteen are being convicted of murdering their peers. Right here in Hanover, two teens have been charged with the murders of Dartmouth professors. Although juvenile crime across the country may not be on the rise, high publicity, headline-grabbing juvenile-perpetrated homicides certainly are.

Prosecutors, attempting to satiate public demand for “justice,” have begun trying these juvenile offenders in adult courts and sending them to adult prison. But is it really fair to send children into a penal system like ours, which ignores rehabilitation and is almost exclusively focused upon retribution? Is it right to essentially give up on these children at such a young age? Is this aggressive prosecution tactic in the best interest of the juvenile defendant or the community as a whole? No.

Most studies and statistics suggest that sending juveniles to adult prisons increases recidivism rates among those teens transferred. Jeffrey Fagan, who spearheaded an extens…

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… Responsibility must be instilled on these kids, and punishment must be administered, but dooming children to hard time is hardly justice. When kids perpetrate violence they must be punished, but these kids also deserve a second chance, and this country has the means to support that second chance. No 12-year-old should spend the rest of his or her life in jail; no 13-year-old should spend time in an adult prison; and no 14-year-old should be denied a reasonable chance to turn his or her life around. This country must strive for something better.

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