Alex Drechsler at Brown University confronts the dilemma of discriminating on the basis of race in order to remedy discrimination on the basis of race.

There was a time when judging someone based on the content of his or her character, not skin color, was the goal, but that changed along the way:

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to hear again a case on race-based affirmative action, perhaps it is time for us as students to reconsider the efficacy of this widespread policy beyond its constitutionality….

Yet what is important, and where proponents and opponents of affirmative action diverge, is the conflation between poverty and race. Of course, it is clear that not all minorities are poor and that not all poor people are minorities. Yet race-based affirmative action flies in the face of this logic. The statement made by a policy of race-based affirmative action is that every member of a minority group is inherently prone to poverty — that somehow, solely because you were born with a certain skin color, we must treat you differently. This policy appears almost archaic in that it indicates that every individual of a minority group is innately different because of his or her race or skin color.

Brown University’s admissions office must move beyond racial divisions.

What becomes further meddled in the conflation of poverty and race is that there are alternatives to race-based affirmative action that are conveniently overlooked. This issue is not an all-or-nothing scenario where the elimination of affirmative action will automatically trigger a buildup of the ultra-affluent on college campuses at the expense of those who were born with a deficit of opportunity. Specifically, I propose that race-based affirmative action be replaced entirely with a socioeconomic status-based affirmative action system that awards any applicant who has had difficulties and obstacles such as those mentioned earlier….

Let us stand for equality, break down the barriers erected between races, and treat each individual with colorblind lenses by assessing exclusively their merits and personal character.