Miss Musings

A modern miss provides commentary on sociological and psychological issues concerning politics, the media, literature, and everyday observances.

Affirmative Action is Not Just Black and White

1/16. A number. A legal number. I am Native American.

De jure: slash a pumpkin pie into sixteen pieces and shove down a cold, cloying slice. Schrodinger’s cat purrs: I am one of them, yet not. Check the box: I’m in. Leave it blank: I’m out. My hand quivers over the keyboard. De facto: white, def. “The absence of color.” My hand grasps the mouse and scrolls, leaving the box absent of an incorrect smudge. I am not Native American.

At times, affirmative action, or utilizing it to circumvent unjustifiable scrutiny, appears systematic. Some students assume that if they report that they are a member of a minority group to prestigious institutions their qualifications will skyrocket over the balding heads of admissions counselors. Affirmative action is used by many colleges and workplaces to ensure equal access to resources, and potentially eradicate interracial and inter-gender discrimination. Since the desegregation of public schools, social justice in education has been at the forefront of our minds and policies. What’s wrong with that?

Photo courtesy of the Public Domain

Photo courtesy of the Public Domain

In many cases, people may self-identify as a minority in hopes of having a statistically better chance of receiving admission or a job offer. It is unethical, but not uncommon. So we attack the system because it has a crack that greed and immorality has so abruptly wrenched open, one that is seductive in its promise of prestige, yet disturbing in its existence. Must we deem affirmative action to be too easily manipulated, when its benefits are tangibly beautiful, like wildflowers blossoming under our heavy heels?

We all benefit from affirmative action; for example, I attend an extremely diverse school in Orlando, in which I am a minority, and I have learned through both personal experience and observation that having preconceived notions about people is a waste of time. Our races do not dictate our thought patterns, however, we oftentimes we do all share common speech patterns, languages, privileges, and disadvantages based on our genders and ethnicity. Yet it is these subtle variations, the plights we may have faced, that enhance our conversations among people who do not share our backgrounds. I have friends of many different faiths, from different countries, and who possess Spanish, French, and other accented tongues, and in many ways I am happy that my interpersonal educational experience is shaped by what they say. School becomes a microcosm of the world, and ethnocentrism is abolished in favor of friendly cultural relativism and global perspectives.

A fine example of affirmative action at its most effective is at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The gender breakdown is roughly 50/50, which is unheard of for an American tech school, and the racial pie chart is relatively well split among ethnic groups. Some claim that it is “easier to get into” the school with an already abysmal acceptance rate because of this difference distribution. Instead, most should view the school as the “perfect society,” a Utopian concept where the tech world is equally shared among groups, who all share the common spirit of innovation, yet the differing mindsets of people across the globe.

Diversity in educational settings is critical to establishing a culturally-sensitive mind, however, this still is not enough to defend affirmative action for the more disgruntled members of the conversation. One must look at the benefits beyond the conceivable: America was built by people with one common goal: dreams. We believe in the pursuit of happiness, yet, not everyone is able to get past the social and socioeconomic barriers to obtain the one thing that holds the nation together. Once we are here, we deserve freedom. I am a firm believer in the concept of hard work, and that no matter one’s background, one can aspire and gain anything. Yet, this is idealistic. Judgment and setbacks still exist through policy and groupthink, and one cannot underestimate the power of social sanctions in our society. It is harder if you are a minority, a woman, or of a not “privileged” group. But, affirmative action is not meant to “cut a break” for racial minority groups, international students, or even women and men. It is designed to propel people to government positions, CEO statuses, and financial power, so that more people of historically underrepresented groups may have voices to look up to and incentives to shoot for the stars.

I see it every day: my face lit up when I heard about women in the business and technology spheres. I get goosebumps when I imagine a female president. And whether or not I agree with President Obama’s stances, I still watched his inauguration with awe at history unfolding right before America’s eyes, for better or for worse.

Affirmative action could be renamed to aspiration action. We want everyone in the country to simply aspire. With an aspiration, one will work. With work, one will shake the world and bring up those who do not feel strong enough to give it a shot.

Policies are rarely black and white, or Hispanic or Asian. They are one thing alone: American.

1/16. A number. A legal number. I don’t check the box – I only check the truth: white. If my seat disappears to someone equally qualified, who is a more meaningful 1/16 or higher, I will smile. I am not a victim of affirmative action. They are a winner of aspiration action. And I am ready for them to inspire globalism and a special kind of education: people education, where we learn that there is not a majority or minority. Not in this country, one that was designed to be a melting pot. This is America. This is our chance to create a nearly unbiased society, where free access means recognizing privilege, and actively contributing toward its equalization for all members.

What is your opinion of affirmative action? Leave a comment below. 

 

Want a job? Make your own

As I watched my fellow future-driven high school students seek out summer jobs and internships, I felt a bit left in the dust. However, I realized that I was not in dire need of money, and I do not really need a job. What I really wanted was work experience; so I made my own opportunity to learn the ropes of business and be my own boss.

 

mmlogo

 

Going into blogging for hypeorlando, I was unsure of how much of a time commitment it would be. I assumed that the main portion of the work would revolve around reporting relevant content frequently and in a timely manner. While this is true, I quickly realized that blogging is a business. At this point I have been blogging for less than a month, but I have learned the ins-and-outs of WordPress, how to read Google Analytics, how to edit quickly, how to queue posts, how to use hashtags effectively, and how to “build my brand” as the elusive Miss Musings. Social networks have become much easier for me to navigate, and I have even picked up some HTML skills. I am aware that participating in marketing and social media internships would have warranted me similar skillsets, but I did not need to fill out an application to learn how to make a name for myself in the ever-competitive world of journalism.

Let’s recap: in less than a month at hypeorlando, I have gained skills in marketing, social media, networking, branding, blogging, writing, editing, and general “audience pleasing.” I already knew I was a great writer, but blogging consistently and building my own “internship” allowed me to play with journalism and technology and pick up new strategies I know will be valuable to any company I may encounter after college.

So if you are like me and do not “need” a job financially, but want to learn something over the summer or get an edge in college/job applications, just create your own job. You could blog for hypeorlando, build your own blog, or seek out a different entrepreneurial venture that is suited to your tastes. I came from an extensive background in technology and journalism, so blogging fit in perfectly with my skills and interests. Not everyone needs to intern for Apple or even have a paying job at McDonald’s to learn new things.

It’s “your future” theme week! I will be posting Mon. Wed. and Fri. on how to succeed as a young professional. This is just post number one – tune in Wed. for another post like this! Be the first to know everything: follow me on Twitter and like Miss Musings on Facebook

When you give a girl a cup of Java…

To me, writing computer programs is practically like eating candy; it’s an addictive treat I allow myself to indulge in after a long day’s work and each language is a platform of new, exciting flavor. Sometimes, I sneak in a quick program-writing session when no one is watching and get hooked eliminating the inevitable bugs, partaking in the endless cat-and-mouse game that leaves me mentally tired, yet oddly satisfied. I cast the wrappers, or binary numbers, aside and cosset myself with a cup of Java; I could see myself kicking back and programming every night hereafter.

 

proposal

Source: http://www.geeksugar.com/Geeky-Wedding-Vows-22722529#photo-30952714

 

 

Admittedly, when I first took a computer programming class at age fifteen, I had no idea where to write code. But my inexperience was not what initially frustrated me about computer science: it was the fact that I did not understand the potential at my fingertips. It took a few re-watching periods of the movie War Games and several documentaries on artificial intelligence for me to figure out that the more coding knowledge I acquired, the more power I would have over the most dominant machine on earth. Hence, the quest for control progressed quickly, and I almost did not even take the time to realize that I was head-over-heels with typing lines of code, or as I liked to call them, blocks of supremacy.

To put it simply, I want to be a superhero… of computer science. My AP Computer Science A course made me well aware of the ability computers have, and the skill of the programmer. In the future, I would like to make my home-made programs grand scale: I want to re-create the Enigma machine, analyze risk within seconds, and cure disease with computers by writing programs. My curiosity has led me to writing rudimentary programs similar to these projects, but I know that given access to more software and research mentors, I can let my imagination run wildly along the lines. To prepare for a life of code, I attended an engineering camp, and at the end of the computer science class a list of electives to take at the university appeared on the screen. I thought only two things: I want to take them all, and I want to take them now. I am hoping that my analytical skills will lead me to a successful career in CS, and I could eventually become a hallmark woman who develops her own programming language and owns a software development company, and perhaps inspire girls to pursue CS along the way.

My goals in computer science can easily be summarized as follows: research in college, learn the ropes, and become a professional business woman who has developed her own programming language that can be used for anything from artificial intelligence to healing the world. Is it an ambitious aspiration? Perhaps so, but I have every intent to attain it. Later on, more will unfold: will I become a start-up consultant? Will I get hooked on research and become a director at some prestigious (or not, but soon to be) college? Will I have a TED talk, my life’s aspiration?

Whatever I do, I’ll do in a superhero cape and a pioneer hat.