The Student News Site of Fitchburg State University

The Point

The Student News Site of Fitchburg State University

The Point

The Student News Site of Fitchburg State University

The Point

I am Affirmative Action!

Hull Bay Productions
Tonia Magras at Hull Bay Productions.

I’ve had a lot of discussions over the summer about the United States Supreme Court ruling, essentially ending affirmative action as a factor in college admissions. Many were outraged and saw this as a step back in achieving diversity at the collegiate level, even suggesting that the workplace is next. It was a fear that even the most educated and successful individuals shared.

But some other discussions left me puzzled.

Some of the most thought-provoking and technical minds I know, all of African American or Latino descent, said to me, “I never benefited from affirmative action.”

In the voice of Lil John, front man of the rap group Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz – because after all, it’s the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop: “WHAAAAAAAAAT???”

We’re not talking about one, two, or even three individuals. I counted: 42. I spoke with people older and younger than I, and the same sentiment rang true. The more I heard this response, the more I wanted to ask others. To say the least, I was very disappointed.

My disappointment wasn’t my “you must be ignorant” annoyance boiling in the pit of my stomach, but for this simple premise: if they were or were not an affirmative action hire – how would they know?

By law, companies and organizations aren’t allowed to identify candidates as affirmative action hires. In fact, the only information that can be saved are the demographics of the workforce. Meaning, no individual would know if they were hired because they were the top candidate or the top candidate of color.

How do you like those diverse apples?

But let’s get back to my point: why is being an affirmative action hire construed as a bad thing?

I would like to think that affirmative action opened doors for me that may have remained shut. In fact, I live with the idea that because of affirmative action, I’m a 3-time Emmy-award winning producer; a 7-time Emmy-nominated producer and director; a 12-time Communicators Award winner; and directing my second feature film. Had not those doors been open, would my road be the same?

Having been the only person of color in many newsrooms, organizations, and events gave me a power that the others in the room didn’t have. I used my voice to point out racism and prejudice despite those in the room. I used my power to speak for myself, and not the entire race. And I continue to use my power to fight to hold those accountable for any injustice and I’m not afraid to take on the status quo. Being the only ‘one’ in the room meant that I had the unique opportunity to not allow things to be said or acted upon. And if not for affirmative action, I would have never been in that room.

As we see an ending to the decades old protection of not being denied due to race, creed, color, or gender, I wonder what those rooms will look like going forward. The ruling negates that our voice be considered, and without that consideration, those only ‘ones’ in the room will become fewer and far between.

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About the Contributor
Tonia Magras
Tonia Magras, Editor In Chief
Tonia Magras is a transfer student at Fitchburg State University and the editor in chief for The Point. She is majoring in Film and Video with a Honors minor. Tonia is finishing her undergraduate studies and will be pursuing a masters in hopes of one day becoming a professor of film and video studies. Tonia is also principal owner of Hull Bay Productions where her and her husband/partner Gregory are finishing their second feature film, More Than Our Skin.

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